Andrew Greeley

Church offers Masses in apology for abuse Boston Archdiocese begs forgiveness in unprecedented appeal

WESTON, Mass. -- St. Julia's Church in this Boston suburb is only half-filled, but this Wednesday night's Mass is so important that the parish priest will not give it. The local bishop, Emilio Allue, has the honors, and he pauses and swallows and pauses again, searching for words that have not come easily to him or his Roman Catholic Church.

"Victims of sexual abuse have been seriously sinned against," says the bishop. "To any person who has suffered abuse from a minister of the church, we apologize for what has happened and ask for forgiveness."

Such a statement might be expected to be commonplace by now, in a decade that has seen hundreds of cases of...