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AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Interview of Bishop Joseph Galante

Aired April 11, 2002 - 08:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Our "Big Question" at this hour, will Boston's Cardinal Law be forced out? Well, this morning the pressure mounts on Boston's Roman Catholic leader, Cardinal Law, to resign. Boston's archbishop has been at the center of questions about a church cover-up regarding the sexual abuse of children by priests. The scandal is raising serious questions about Law's moral authority. So will he stay or will he go?

Joining us now from Dallas is Bishop Joseph Galante of the Dallas Archdiocese. Good morning. Welcome back.

BISHOP JOSEPH GALANTE, COADJUTOR OF DALLAS: Good morning. Thank you. Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: So, Bishop Galante, what are you hearing? Is Cardinal Law going to resign?

GALANTE: I have not really heard anything except what the papers say and what I've seen on CNN. Basically I think Cardinal Law's decision is this, which he will have to decide for himself, can he continue to be an effective shepherd of his archdiocese. And I think that's going to, I think, be a determining factor for him.

ZAHN: Can you answer that question for us this morning based on the documents that have surfaced that would suggest that Cardinal Law, at least the accusation is, allowed a priest to continue working, allegedly permitting his transfer to parish after parish after being accused of molesting children for years?

GALANTE: Well, I don't -- if you're referring to the Paul Shanley situation, that was a terrible situation and -- but, again, I only know the tenor of what I've been reading, which certainly has been very, very sharply critical of Cardinal Law. But I really can't answer what the internal situation is in Boston. And, again, I think to come to a decision like that, I am sure he will get advice from a lot of people, do a lot of praying. But I also think that bottom line is will he see that he's able to effectively lead the archdiocese? And that's a very difficult decision, but it's one that he has to make.

But whatever his decision, it doesn't rest solely with him...

ZAHN: What else...

GALANTE: ... because...

ZAHN: Yes, what else enters into the equation here?

GALANTE: Well, when a bishop, there recently we've had the resignations of several bishops. Generally if a bishop is going to resign, that resignation does not go into effect until and unless it's accepted by the pope and so for any bishop, and we've had recently some bishops resign. They've had to either in person or by letter submit a resignation to the pope, presumably they talked first to the epistolic nuncio, and then it rests with the pope to decide whether or not to accept a resignation.

ZAHN: And I know you say that all you can really interpret is the tenor of what you've read...

GALANTE: Yes.

ZAHN: ... that you haven't had any exposure to any of the internal conversations going on in the Boston archdiocese, but based on what you've read, does it appear to you that Cardinal Law chose to protect the reputation of the church over the welfare of its children?

GALANTE: I think Cardinal Law would be the first to admit that he made some serious mistakes. He has admitted that. And certainly the mistakes that have been made about not removing priests who have molested children are mistakes that all of us as bishops have to really look at ourselves and say what have we done to our people? Because always the first call to the bishop is to be a shepherd to his people, to nourish them with the message of the gospel and anything that keeps the people from being able to receive that message by putting them and their children in danger really impedes the mission that we carry out.

ZAHN: The "Boston Globe" wrote yesterday that this is not the man that will be able to reform the church. You know, based on what you have seen happen since these stories started to surface, can you agree with that viewpoint?

GALANTE: Well, I think the reformation that has to come, and I really do believe that for all of us in the Catholic Church in the United States this, in one respect, can be a very graced time, because we are being forced to go through a serious self-examination as to our leadership, as to how we do the work that we're called to do. And I think all of us together, especially the bishops, have to seriously examine what our leadership is about and what kind of service we have given and what kind of service we should be giving.

So it's not just one man who's going to determine how we come through this, but all of us together have a very serious responsibility, as I've said many times, to rebuild trust and to earn the trust and confidence of our people. We cannot presume it and we cannot expect that it's going to be given to us just because of who we are.

ZAHN: Well, we always appreciate your coming on and speaking as candidly as you do, Bishop Galante. Thank you very much for your time this morning.

GALANTE: Thank you very much, Paula. All right.

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