Apologetic Lennon Prays for Peace at Home, Overseas

By Robin Washington
Boston Herald
March 18, 2003

In an appeal to the patron saint of both Ireland and the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop Richard G. Lennon prayed in the name of St. Patrick yesterday for peace around the world and within his troubled church.

Joined by his fellow local bishops and several priests, the interim leader of Boston's Catholics celebrated Mass before a mostly filled Cathedral of the Holy Cross, asking for peace in Ireland and Iraq and for reconciliation at home.

"Today we pray in a special way for the homeland of Patrick," he said. "We pray for peace in a particular way today for those areas in the Middle East, especially Iraq."

In his appeal for healing in the church, Lennon offered perhaps his most direct public remarks yet about the clergy sexual-abuse scandal.

"A reconciliation that admits and acknowledges wrongs, and in the name of the church, I apologize for the errors, the sins, the crimes of the past, especially those of clergy sexual abuse," he said.

Those words resonated with Sen. Mary O'Rourke of Ireland, leader of that country's upper house, who called the homily "wide ranging and effective."

"He ranged over peace in Ireland, peace in the world, Iraq, and peace here with his own community," she said.

But Boston's Richard Orareo, who left a handful of protesters outside the church to listen to Lennon - with his back turned - said apologies were only a start.

"We accept the apology, but now it's time to move beyond that apology," he said. "Settlements (with victims) must happen. And then we can move to reconciliation."

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