Friday, June 10, 2005

Abuse cases cost Catholic Church $1 billion

...Or so the AP estimates.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe discusses the human costs:
Little children crying, locked out of their own school by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston two days before graduation. Police officers and security guards hovering over a makeshift ceremony in the square across the street. Parents standing in the pouring rain condemning the church leaders and demanding answers.
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Images of a Catholic Church that seemed callous to the human impact of its decisions were broadcast across the state yesterday, after the archdiocese abruptly changed the locks on Our Lady of the Presentation School in Brighton Wednesday and canceled graduation ceremonies for children as young as 3. Church officials said the lockout was necessary to stop a rumored occupation of the school, scheduled to be closed permanently today.

But elected officials stood aghast, and public relations specialists could not fathom the reasoning of church officials in a city where the Catholic Church has been a dominant institution for more than a century, at a time when it is struggling to rehabilitate its image in the aftermath of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

''We're not talking about Al Qaeda here," said George K. Regan Jr., president of the Regan Communications Group, a public relations firm. ''We're talking about nursery school kids."

A local pol gets it on the nose:
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who graduated from Our Lady of the Presentation 41 years ago, said the archdiocese could have easily called him or any of a number of mediators in the community to help head off a possible protest.

He said the principal of the school, Sister Mary Duke, begged the archdiocese to consider locking the doors after the ceremony.

''From a public relations point of view . . . it's not likely a rally would get much attention at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday in June when the temperature is 90 degrees," he said. ''This whole sad, sordid episode is getting a lot more attention. They've reinforced every stereotypical bad opinion people have about them."

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