PORTLAND – Amid deepening scandal within the Boston Archdiocese, Maine’s Roman Catholics pondered the impact of the possible resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law or a bankruptcy declaration by the embattled archdiocese.
Either eventuality would have no direct impact on the Diocese of Portland, said spokeswoman Sue Bernard.
“I’m sure it’s got maybe a psychological impact that this might happen to the largest diocese in the province, but as far as practical day-to-day impact, it wouldn’t have any. The dioceses are independent from each other.”
However, Bernard agreed that events in Boston add to the personal pain felt by many Maine Catholics as the sex abuse scandal has unfolded.
“We’ve been affected by the entire crisis, and certainly a resignation or a bankruptcy would be another piece of the pain,” she said.
Some in Maine doubt Law will resign soon, saying he has stayed in his post this long and that if he resigns other bishops would have to follow.
“I think if Law is removed then it will be a domino effect,” said Paul Kendrick, who joined a group of Catholics in Boston on Sunday calling for Law to step down for the good of the church.
Many also are doubtful the archdiocese will ever declare bankruptcy.
They say a filing would force the Boston church to reveal its finances and that, in fact, the church has plenty of property and other wealth to pay damages to the victims of abuse.
But even the apparent consideration of a bankruptcy filing has added to the frustration of some Maine church members.
“It’s a legal maneuver to avoid helping and aiding the victims in a just way, when we really know we have the assets,” said Kendrick, who helped form a Portland chapter of the Catholic reform organization Voice of the Faithful. “You can’t not do the right thing here.”
Ginney Kearney Allen of Kennebunk, who is not a member of Voice of the Faithful, is one of the many Catholics who feels overwhelmed by the continuing allegations and crisis in Boston.
“I think we’ve all heard so much about this over the last few months,” she said.
“For myself, the only answer is praying. I pray for Cardinal Law everyday,” she said. “I just hope that they uncover all the things that are happening.”