BOSTON (CBS) – By now, you’ve heard all about the toxic legacy of Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston run out of town in disgrace after we learned of his complicity in enabling and concealing the rape and molestation of children by some local priests.
But before the news cycle moves on, consider the important lesson the sorry story of Bernard Law teaches us – the value and necessity of speaking out against evil.
As best we can tell from his falsehoods, equivocations and, in the end, unapologetic apologies, Law truly believed that protecting the church and himself from legal liability and public embarrassment was a higher priority than acknowledging and opposing child molestation and rape.
In fact, he didn’t see it as his duty at all to be honest about these crimes, simply passing the criminals along to other parishes without a care for their future victims.
Finally, the truth came out, and Law wound up doing far more damage to himself and his church than candor would have inflicted.
On a smaller but no less-repulsive scale, the silence of those around serial harasser and, allegedly, rapist Harvey Weinstein contributed to a lot of unnecessary misery over the years. And for what? So money could be made and careers protected? What a poor set of decisions those were.
Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, namesake of the local university, once wrote that “publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”
And in the face of evil, speaking out is always the right thing to do.