In Plain Sight

Father Paul Shanley didn't hide his interest in pedophilia. So why didn't the church recognize him as a problem?

In this season of relentless scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, there has been much hyperbole--sweeping condemnations of the priesthood, predictions of the end of a 2,000-year-old religion. Many Americans watched, sighed and waited for it to pass. But then came the story of the Rev. Paul Shanley. Last week, after all the adjectives had already been used, the details of his sordid career became public--and suddenly there truly were no words too strong.

"It's incomprehensible," says the Rev. Robert Bullock, who has been ministering in Boston for nearly half a century and who has known Shanley just as long. "The...

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