By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 08, 2005

Now that Paul Shanley has been tried and convicted, it's fitting to pay tribute to one of the heroines of the drama, 63-year-old Jackie Gauvreau of Newton, who since the mid-1980s has been trying to get the attention of the Church in regard to Shanley. She contacted three priests, two bishops, and estimates she made 40 phone calls to the chancery.

Twice, [Gauvreau] said, she notified Law of the alleged abuse, first at a televised Mass for which she sang in the choir. When Law appeared, "I saw him and I went right for him," Gauvreau said. "I looked him straight in the face and said, 'Paul Shanley, the priest at St. John's in Newton, molested a 15-year-old boy.' I gave him my name and the church I belonged to and he said he would look into it."

After several months passed with no response, Gauvreau approached Law again, this time when he officiated at a Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians parish in Newton, which she joined after her anger at Shanley drove her to leave St. John's. (St. John's has since been closed, and the two parishes have been combined at Our Lady.)

"I said, 'Excuse me, but do you remember I told you Paul Shanley molested a 15-year-old boy?' Have you done anything about it?"' she recalled saying. "And he said, 'I want you to call my bishops. That's why I have them."'

Gauvreau sounds like the kind of woman that would make a lasting impression, especially with her dander up. What did we get instead? Ramnesia. This from an August 2002 deposition:

MacLEISH: So you categorically deny that Jacqueline Gauvreau spoke to you about Paul Shanley at any time during the 1980s. You categorically deny that; is that correct?

Cardinal LAW: I have stated categorically that I have absolutely no memory of such a conversation. That is what I stated.

That doesn't mean there wasn't pastoral solicitude in the mix.

In the Feb. 29, 1996, letter [to Shanley], the cardinal declared, "Without doubt over all of these years of generous and zealous care, the lives and hearts of many people have been touched by your sharing of the Lord's Spirit. You are truly appreciated for all that you have done."

Just curious: what do you think the chances are of Gauvreau's getting a letter of apology from the Archdiocese?

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  • Posted by: michael322 - Feb. 08, 2005 9:15 PM ET USA

    Is it possible that no one in the Vatican was aware of the activities of Shanley ? Why wasn't he defrocked when he advocated sex between adults and children ? Everyone whose name appears on any documents relating to Shanley since the first charges were brought in the 1960's, should be defrocked !!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 08, 2005 8:07 AM ET USA

    The chances of Gauvreau getting a letter of apology from the archdiocese are close to nil. First, such a letter would be both be true acts of charity and of justice which only seem to issue from chancery offices when preaching political correctness. Second it would be an act of decency and ditto. Third, when it comes sometime next century, it will be made gratuitously on behalf of the WHOLE Church, and then only to cover up some other episcopal felonies.