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They Did Good Ministry

By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Feb 23, 2004

I can only think that the Boston Globe is misrepresenting the views of the new administrator of the Springfield Diocese. If that is not the case -- if, in his position, in that diocese, at this time, he really said this... well, I can hardly say, "we're really in trouble," can I? We knew it already.

Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk, 66, the leader of the Springfield Diocese until the Vatican names a bishop to replace Thomas L. Dupre, said that as a seminarian and then a young priest in the 1950s and early 1960s he heard of priests who had sex with young men, but "no one thought much about it" because priests didn't recognize how mentally and emotionally damaging their behavior was.

"They did good ministry, they were good to their people, they were kind, compassionate, but they had no idea what they were doing to these young men that they were abusing," Sniezyk said. "It was that era of the '60s -- most of it took place from the mid-'60s to the early-'80s -- and the whole atmosphere out there was, it was OK, it was OK to do."

Catholic priests no longer hold such a permissive view toward sex with young men, Sniezyk said. "Certainly that atmosphere is not present in the church today," he said.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 24, 2004 10:39 AM ET USA

    Evidently those priests were reading the likes of the National "Catholic" Reporter, rather than the Bible or sound treatises on Moral Theology. The prayer book given to me at Confirmation called that sin one that "cries out to heaven for vengeance." Must be they were given different prayer books.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2004 11:53 PM ET USA

    They know not what they do... prayers for our Church

  • Posted by: shrink - Feb. 23, 2004 3:32 PM ET USA

    One might feign shock at the admission of moral bankruptcy. But real shock sets in when considering the coincidence--the reporting on sexual abuse coincides with the occurance of sexual abuse!! Surely there's a mistake! The sexperts--who advise the bishops--are sure that that worn and wounding Church doctrine on celibacy and homosexuality have prompted priests immemorial to bugger boys, it was only in the last 25 years that the kids and parents had the nerve to report these things.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2004 3:09 PM ET USA

    You're surpised? How do you think he got his position?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2004 1:42 PM ET USA

    "They did good ministry, they were good to their people, they were kind, compassionate, but they had no idea what they were doing to these young men that they were abusing..." When's the last time you saw a pedophile make headlines and thought to yourself, "Man, that guy would do good ministry!" Never. The case for zero-tolerance rests with the defense, your honor.

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