Boy's father in pedophile priest case fed up with cardinals
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The father of a boy allegedly molested by a priest lashed out at Roman Catholic leaders Thursday, saying they failed to adequately address the scandal of sexually abusive clergymen at a two-day Vatican summit that ended Wednesday.
"A lot of church people said this was a wake-up call," said Rodney Ford, the father of Greg Ford, who has charged in a lawsuit that he was raped by a now-retired priest, Paul Shanley. "I kind of feel that they hit the snooze button on this and went back to sleep."
At the conclusion of the summit Wednesday, the U.S. cardinals who had been summoned to the Vatican by Pope John Paul II said they would seek to dismiss any "notorious" priest found guilty of "serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors."
The statement, however, does not endorse a zero-tolerance policy -- when one instance of molestation would result in dismissal. That proposal had been under consideration.
"It's very insulting," Ford said of the final communiqué from the meeting. "How many of the victims last night were able to sleep knowing that Rome really didn't accomplish much toward settling any of the cases with the victims, or even reaching out with an apology ... It's really hard to comprehend what's going on over there."
But Ray Flynn, a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and onetime mayor of Boston, called the summit and subsequent recommendations "a very positive first step." He indicated more needed to be done.
"We are looking for reform," Flynn said. "Particularly, we are looking to make sure that what happened to these young victims never happens again, that there is justice and compensation for these victims."
The U.S. Catholic Church has been shaken by a series of lawsuits alleging instances of priests molesting children. As church leaders confront the more recent accusations, they've revealed that they have quietly settled dozens of such lawsuits, handing out millions of dollars to alleged victims, over the years.
Documents recently released by the Archdiocese of Boston -- the focus of the scandal -- reveal that church leaders moved Shanley, the priest accused of molesting Greg Ford, from parish to parish as allegations surfaced. Shanley, according to these documents, had publicly endorsed sexual relationships between men and boys.
Absent from Wednesday's news conference at the Vatican was Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who has come under heavy criticism for his handling of the Shanley case and others.
At that news conference, U.S. Catholic leaders indicated the summit should not be viewed as the end of the church's examination of the issue.
Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the issue of sexually abusive priests will be a priority in June at the bishops' general meeting in Dallas, Texas, where the Catholic leaders will unveil their proposals.
Richard Sipe, a retired priest and psychotherapist who has worked with pedophile priests, said it was too early to say whether the Vatican meeting was a success.
"There was a great significance in the fact of the meeting," he said. "The substance of the meeting is really still to be determined."
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