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.

law10 Keller @ Large: The Necessity Of Speaking Out Against Evil

Cardinal Bernard Law at his videotaped deposition June 5, 2002 in Boston. (Photo by Getty Images)

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.

Talk back to me via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. The leaders of the Catholic Church all over the world have chosen their own futures and the comfort of The Church over the well being of the people that they serve.

    This is no different from what the leaders of many religions have chosen to do, nor is it any different from from what many politicians have done.

    The Boston Globe shoe that the Fourth Estate could, with some effort, bring to light those behaviors that are antithetical to our society. It was perhaps the best thing that the Globe ever did in my sixty years of reading that newspaper.

    Unfortunately, the Fourth Estate has sold itself to political ideology, preferring to peddle political propaganda, and to continue to search for non-existent collusions while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence of the politicization of allegedly incorruptible institutions of justice.

    Isn’t it time that the investigative press return to the model that the Globe used, that of dogged, thorough and irrefutable investigation BEFORE they try the case in the court of public opinion?

    I would be far more willing to give their work credibility if the dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s BEFORE going public?

    It would have saved them from some of the embarrassments that they have suffered in the past year.

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