Law Declines Invitation to Attend Successor's Installation [Boston MA]
July 20, 2003

BOSTON (AP) Cardinal Bernard Law will not attend the installation of his successor, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston announced Sunday.

Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley was appointed July 1 as the new head of the archdiocese. He is scheduled to be installed in a July 30 ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Law was among hundreds of clergy members invited to the installation. Each parish was sent two tickets for pastors to distribute, and many dignitaries were also asked to attend, including Law, who remains a cardinal as well as the archbishop emeritus of Boston.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, issued a statement saying Law would not attend, but Coyne did not say why Law had declined the invitation.

Law was widely criticized for his handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal that began in Boston. He resigned in December, becoming the highest-ranking church official to step down over the scandal. He now serves as chaplain at a convent in Maryland.

O'Malley, the former bishop of Fall River and Palm Beach, Fla., also invited survivors of clergy sex abuse and their families to the installation. It was not clear whether any of the alleged victims would accept the invitation. Hundreds of lawsuits claiming sexual abuse by priests are still pending against the archdiocese.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney for 112 plaintiffs who have sex abuse suits against clergy, welcomed the news that Law would not attend.

"I believe it would be a major distraction for Cardinal Law to appear at the installation," he said. "His appearance would cause much distress to many victims."


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