Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Cardinal's death prompts sexual abuse activists to take stock of progress

Exported Cardinal Bernard Law who stepped down from his Boston post in 2002 has died
Patty Aguilar | 18 January, 2018, 02:56

Law, who was portrayed in the 2015 Oscar-winning film Spotlight about the Boston Globe's investigation into the scandals in a city where many feared crossing the Church, died in a hospital in Rome where he had moved following his resignation. The Vatican released no details ahead of the December 21 funeral for Cardinal Law beyond confirming it would take place that day.

"Every single Catholic should ask Pope Francis and the Vatican why", the survivors' group said.

On a state visit to the USA in 1998, the then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, said she was berated by Law for her support of female ordination with the cardinal saying he was: "sorry for Catholic Ireland to have you as President".

At a news conference in Boston Wednesday, survivors of clergy sex abuse said they have little sympathy for Law.

A Catholic bishop from Vermont who worked closely with Bernard Law at the Archdiocese of Boston says the embattled cardinal's life was marked by "light and shadows" like everyone else.

Law, who spent the final years of his career leading an important basilica in Rome and continued to wield considerable influence inside the Vatican, had been sick and was recently hospitalized.

The former archbishop of Boston in 2004 was Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome by Pope John Paul II, retiring at the age of 80 in November 2011.

Cardinal Bernard Law's successor as archbishop of Boston said the pain felt by survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the wake of Law's death is a reminder that many wounds are still healing.

O'Malley added that "Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities".

"I deeply regret that reality and its consequences", the statement from O'Malley said.

Law was once one of the most important leaders in the USA church.

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"I think there was a moral imperative at the time to speak for the people who couldn't speak for themselves", Bowers said, "... folks who had been so harmed by the leadership, and the Cardinal's leadership was such a failure in addressing their needs".

When Law resigned in 2002, he was the country's senior cardinal. Law resigned in disgrace shortly afterward and flew to Rome, where Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation.

Law wound up with appointments at the Vatican and in Rome in the years leading up to his death. Advocates for victims saw the posts as a sign of favour for Law by church officials unrepentant about abused children.

The Cardinal, born in 1931 in TorreĆ³n (Mexico) and ordained a priest in 1961, remained under umbrella of church in Vatican and never testified in American courts despite huge scandals he had starring. "Bernard Cardinal Law did not warn the public, he did not warn parishioners, he did not protect innocent children".

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who has represented dozens of people who say they were sexually abused by priests, said that the cardinal's death has reopened old wounds.

The Boston sex abuse scandals by priests in Law's diocese were exposed by the Boston Globe newspaper and chronicled in the movie, Spotlight. The church appeared to have anxious more about its own reputation than about protecting children from life-shattering abuse.

Bottom line: The Vatican and Pope Francis will spit on the victims of Cardinal Law's criminal behavior, and honor a horrendous enabler of child abuse.

The Boston sex abuse scandal broke in 2002.

But many victims aren't accepting the apology.

MacPherson, like Costello, said she doesn't feel like the Vatican should give Law the funeral that he's getting.

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