Action Alert!

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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