"Father Knows Best" Attitude and
The Sathya Sai Baba Organization
From: Glen Meloy
Sent: Sunday, May 05, 2002 10:41 PM
Subject: "Father Knows Best" Attitude and The Sathya Sai Baba Organization
This latest article below about Cardinal Law from today's New York Times is full of highly emotive language that pulls no punches and does not leave it to the reader's imagination to decide what is really going on here.
As far as I am concerned, these same words can easily and accurately describe the attitudes and cover ups that have been going on in the Sathya Sai Baba Organization since 1980 and earlier.
When Cardinal law is described below as "arrogant, haughty and autocratic" does it not remind you of the same qualities and well documented words coming from the innuendoes and attack writings of Sai Baba, Indulal Shah, Dr. Goldstein, Dr. J. Jagadeeshan, Dr. John aka 'Jack' Hislop Bjorn Sandstrom, Thorbjorn Meyer and many others. all of whom hold country leadership roles in the Sai Organization. And let us not forget the public propaganda declarations of support for Sai Baba recently put out by Prime Minister Vajpayee and his Sai Baba worshipping cronies at the Supreme Court of India.
These writings about the cover-up by the Catholic Church leaders could easily apply to many other religious groups who have their own sordid past to account for......and are by no means exclusive only to the Catholics.
Thank God, the Catholic laity is finally challenging the so called leaders and are demanding accountability and change from the hierarchy. Let us all learn from this experience and make sure that our voice of protest is not watered down by weak or tepid commentary that leaves every conclusion up to the reader. It's time to firmly speak out with conviction and strength wherever we can. There is an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and we do need the attention of the world-wide media to focus the spotlight of truth on the Sai Organization just as they have done so on the Catholic Church.
Each voice counts and I want to encourage all who read this to write and/or call their local and federal government leaders, the media NGO, travel agencies and law enforcement representatives and insist that they put out country-wide travel warnings about these sexual abuse allegations.
It's not going to happen until you ask.
"People aren't even angriest at the perpetrators, they're angriest at the
bishops, especially Cardinal Law,"
More and more, this is becoming an echoing statement and it reflects the growing concern about the cover-up which equally, if not more, applies to the Sathya Sai Baba Organization. It's one thing to cover up the sexual abuse activities of a priestly representative for God , but it flies in the face of all justice and goodness when the leaders in the Sai Organization are covering up for the sexual abuse being committed by the one they are convinced is God Almighty Himself.
Now is the time for all good, fair minded and concerned citizens to stand up and be counted.
Much Love and Light,
May 5, 2002
A Revolution From Below in Cardinal Law's Church
By KATE ZERNIKE
HEN Bishop Bernard Law of Boston was elevated to cardinal in 1985, hundreds of Boston's political and social elite flew to Rome for the occasion. The city's television stations carried the ceremony live.
To be cardinal in Boston has always been a thing apart a position of pride and power that reflected the ascent of the Irish from despised and impoverished immigrants to masters of the city. As Cardinal William O'Connell pronounced in 1908, "The Puritan has passed, the Catholic remains. The city where a century ago he came unwanted, he has made his own."
But the fact that Cardinal Law with the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, the Roman Catholic priest who served for 30 years in the Boston area and is now charged in Massachusetts on three counts of child rape has become the most prominent face of the church's pedophilia scandal, is not just due to his position in this most Catholic of cities, or to his stature as the senior American church leader.
Cardinal Law, whom some of his own clergymen have called arrogant, haughty and autocratic, has come in his 19 years in Boston to represent the kind of "father knows best" attitude the church has assumed under John Paul II. A protégé and confidant of the pope, he embodies the patriarchal and authoritarian church this pope has tried to foster.
The Second Vatican Council, from 1962 to 1965, tried to transform the church's top-down structure and declared that the people, not the pope or his officials, were the church. But the current pope, and his cardinals, have tried to restore papal supremacy and hierarchical rigidity.
"Cardinal Law is the quintessential John Paul II bishop," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, who after 20 years as a priest in Boston now teaches theology at Notre Dame.
The parallels between the two men are striking. Both cultivated a role in international affairs Cardinal Law early on met with Fidel Castro, and helped coordinate the surrender of the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega at the office of the papal nuncio in Panama City. Both are credited with improving church relations with Jews, and with a deep concern for the poor. Both, too, are top-down managers.
"When it comes to running the church, they know no way but the way of the autocrat," Father McBrien said. "It's my way or the highway: that's the way the pope runs the universal church; that's the way Cardinal Law runs Boston."
The cardinal was elevated by the pope the same week as the late Cardinal John J. O'Connor of New York, and the two were nicknamed Law and Order, cut from the same conservative cloth as the pope himself. Each became nationally prominent, calling on Catholics to cast their vote in the 1984 presidential election based on the candidates' positions on abortion. In 1987, when American cardinals issued a communiqué allowing that teaching about condoms might be an effective weapon against AIDS, the two issued a dissent.
But of the two men, Cardinal O'Connor had the common touch, while historians likened Cardinal Law to the Cardinal O'Connell who was archbishop of Boston from 1906 to 1944. J. Anthony Lukas described him in "Common Ground," his account of the city's school busing crisis, as "a miniature pope in his own realm," writing, " 'When I ask you to do something,' he once told the faithful, `trust me and do it.' "
CARDINAL LAW'S annual garden party became an event at which no prominent businessman dared fail to appear. And Boston Magazine put Cardinal Law fourth on its annual "power list" last year, far ahead of the governor and just behind Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Cardinal Law also gained power within the church by sponsoring members of his own cabinet to be bishops elsewhere, despite Vatican II's provisions for priests to choose their own bishops, and he served frequently on Vatican committees.
When the pedophilia scandal broke in January, the cardinal dealt with it as a matter for damage control rather than a profound moral wrong. One of his first moves was to hire Robert Popeo, known as the city's best connected and most influential lawyer. And rather than face reporters at Boston's airport as he flew to a private meeting with the pope last month, Cardinal Law had himself driven to Newark International under cover of night.
When American cardinals gathered to answer questions at a press conference after their meeting with the pope in Rome two weeks ago, Cardinal Law slipped out a side door, later explaining with evident irritation that he "had other things to do." This despite the fact that the pedophilia scandal was touched off by the case of the former Boston-area priest John Geoghan, whose sexual abuse of children was known to Cardinal Law and his subordinates for years.
Once back in Boston, Cardinal Law's office sent a letter to his priests, ordering them not to "join, foster or promote" a coalition of parish councils intended to encourage better communication between the cardinal and the faithful, calling it "superfluous and divisive."
The church was never intended to be a democracy. Still, the fact that Cardinal Law came home from the Vatican meeting insisting that he was the one to lead his church out of its crisis despite huge declines in giving to Catholic Charities, despite polls showing that 75 percent of the two million Catholics in his archdiocese say he should resign suggests, as Thomas Groome, a professor of theology at Boston College, said, that "they've learned not a darn thing."
Not surprisingly, Professor Groome said, when polls began showing that Boston Catholics had lost faith in his ability to lead, Cardinal Law consulted the pope. "He looked upward instead of downward," he said. "It was the classic Law thing to do."
But if Cardinal Law symbolizes the problems of the church, the reaction of Catholics in Boston suggests how much the pedophilia scandal may change it. Local outrage has already prompted the cardinal to cancel the most obvious symbols of his stature: the cardinal's Appeal, his yearly fund-raiser, and the annual garden party.
MORE significantly, few believe that Cardinal Law or any American bishop will ever be able to claim the unquestioned authority, religious or temporal, he once enjoyed.
"People aren't even angriest at the perpetrators, they're angriest at the bishops, especially Cardinal Law," said Lisa Sowle Cahill, a theologian at Boston College. "But they're not saying, `I'm not going to church anymore.' They're saying, `I'm going to do something.' That is astounding. That is what is going to change things, not Rome saying, `It's okay, you have to change now.'"