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With the Shanley revelations and today’s Globe calling for Cardinal Law’s resignation (and a front page story concerning the implosion of his support) it just seems a matter of time before the Cardinal does resign.

Eileen McNamara has an interesting piece, wondering whether the reason for coddling Shanley is because of blackmail. She writes: Absent blackmail, why would Law recommend to dioceses in New York and California a ”street priest” whose public advocacy of sex between men and boys contradicted church teaching and whose private behavior violated criminal and canon law? Law’s insistence on adherence to convention, after all, is so strict that he had a nun fired two years ago because she had the temerity to wear a clerical stole at a baptismal rite.

She adds: Buried in Shanley’s personnel file might be a hint. ”I have abided by my promise not to mention to anyone the fact that I too had been sexually abused as a teenager, and, later, as a seminarian by a priest, a faculty member, a pastor, and, ironically, by the predecessor of one of two cardinals who now debate my fate,” Shanley wrote to the Rev. Brian M. Flatley in an appeal for Law’s support for his efforts to be appointed director of a church-sponsored youth hostel in New York City.

What are we going to find out next? It’s quite possible (perhaps likely) that Shanley is a liar. If so, why didn’t the Cardinal have the courage to stand up to him? What will it take for him to realize that he is now inflicting more damage on the archdiocese and on the faith of churchgoers by his bunker mentality than if it turned out he had some dark secret of his own made public? What could be worse than the deviousness, evasiveness, the whole drip-by-drip destruction of credibility?

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