Report on Church Scandal Lauded by Reformers

Portsmouth Herald [Portsmouth NH]
Downloaded January 10, 2003

PORTSMOUTH - A recent Portsmouth Herald article on a largely ignored 1985 report that warned of sexual abuse by priests has generated a great deal of response.
(Online at: )

Here a sampling:

The Rev. Thomas Doyle - one of the three original authors of the report and source for the recent news article - e-mailed to say "Karen. Just read it. great job. Tom."

Others wrote:

"Karen, I’m delighted that you and the Herald are further addressing the abuse of children by those in positions of authority in the church. You did a great article interviewing Fr. Doyle. I hope the Herald takes a strong position in calling for the resignation of Bishop McCormack."

"Thanks for the columns expressing the views of two of my fellow St. Thomas More church members: Maggie Fogarty and Lorraine Graham. Their views express my feelings, and the feelings of a great many New Hampshire Catholics, who are deeply distrustful, and greatly disturbed by our bishop’s refusal to acknowledge his amoral role in the sexual abuse scandal.

"Your columns on the sexual abuse scandal will go a long way to bring awareness of that same problem facing the faithful of New Hampshire Catholic church. Our bishop, John McCormack, has admitted to complicity in that scandal while working as a lieutenant for Cardinal Law from 1984 to 1994; but thus far, he has refused to recognize, and to acknowledge the damage to children, their families, and the church itself, that he played in moving, and covering up the movement of those abusive priests.

"SNAP, the Voice Of The Faithful, and other groups who are speaking out for the sexually abused would probably be powerless if not for you, the Portsmouth Herald, and the media in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The media is performing a greatly needed service, in bringing to light these past immoral acts perpetrated on the innocent children in Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and in showing the N.H. bishop’s evil role in the scandal.

"His resignation is but one step toward overall changes needed in the church. To restore trust and allow continuance of the many good works of the church, the church leaders have to be made aware that the culture of hierarchal cover-up must change. Serving the laity, as opposed to total authoritarian control, a return to honesty and openness with the people, and allowing lay input to church policy are other necessary steps.

These steps are needed regain the trust of the flock, for if there is no flock, no laity, there will be no church."

"Your reporting on the cover-up offenses within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in New Hampshire is of great service to the people of the state. It complements the pioneer reporting by the Boston Globe starting earlier this year, that has exposed the disgrace that many of the leaders in "our" Catholic Church have brought upon the church. Were it not for "the media," the devious goings on and cover-ups by the hierarchy would have continued in a never ending higher anarchy of abuse of power and immoral behavior. Many thanks for your factual contributions in spite of the opposition to the free reporting of the horrendous abuses of power which have taken place by the highest levels of church leadership."
On an article about a little girl in need for donations for a life-saving operation, a woman from Michigan wrote:

"Your article about Hayley Ford was sent to me in Michigan by my sister in Portsmouth. I went to school with Stephen want to help. I have e-mailed your article all around the country to classmates, asking them to forward it on to those they have e-mails for. I am hoping we can get our class involved in helping.
"I plan to send help to the Fords to the address you provided. Will the Fords themselves see the card?

"Not only was Stephen a friend, but I also have a different form of severe scoliosis and feel Hayley’s and her family’s pain.

"Thank you for sharing their story so we could help. Please know that your article has made a difference."

Hayley’s grandmother, Peggy Abbott, called to say the response to Hayley’s story has been tremendous.

Editor’s Note: This column consists of unsolicited feedback and opinions from readers about previous issues raised in the Minority Report news series. To respond, e-mail Karen Dandurant at


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.