News that our representative Gene O’Flaherty may be stepping down from his chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee caught many by surprise. After all, O’Flaherty tends to be a steady Eddy, so to speak.
But when his feathers are ruffled as they were last week by a Boston Globe columnist, he threw a bit of a fit and why not?
He was made out to be in the eyes of the public an unfeeling, Roman Catholic with no interest in seeing justice done for those abused by priests. Obviously, this is not the case but when it is made to appear that way in a Boston Globe column written by a widely read columnist, such an assertion is hard to dodge or to talk your way out of.
The issue discussed by the Globe columnist concerned the present statute of limitations discussion going on in the House of Representatives, where 100 of O’Flaherty’s colleagues are considering a bill which would end the statute of limitations.
Present law allows for people to allege they were sexually abused something like 26 years after the fact – and the House has been inclined to consider changing the law. The House would like to end that statute, which is to say, the House is set to open up the time and to give no limits to when someone apparently abused by a priest can come before the court and to seek justice.
O’Flaherty is in favor of such a measure but has reasonable questions as any House chair of the Judiciary Committee would be inclined to ask.
It was in the asking that all the trouble started.
But what kind of attorney would be expected to end a statute of limitations without asking first whether or not there should be limitations or they are just thrown to the wind?
There remains something especially odious about pedophile priests and the Catholic Church’s longstanding effort to hide them, send them away or to expel them without dealing with the damage they did.
Much of this, we trust, has been corrected during the past five years when the church has gone through a long and trying ordeal to be more responsive to the damage done and to the lives ruined or as Cullen said so well in his column, to those who remained unconcerned about the murder of children’s souls.
O’Flaherty is many things but he is not without feelings and not without a knowledge of exactly what is owed by church administrators who shielded pedophile priests for so many decades.
We are not upset with O’Flaherty for questioning exactly what ought to be done, after all, that’s a good lawyer is expected to do.
We are upset that he may leave his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee.
We hope he will allow himself to calm down and to realize that a few bad lines in a Boston Globe editorial about him aren’t exactly the cause to end his career.
In fact, we have urged O’Flaherty to remain on the Judiciary Committee and we are hoping he will do just that.
Keep the faith, Gene. You’re a good guy.