The Word from Rome

By John L. Allen Jr.
National Catholic Reporter [Rome]
Downloaded February 14, 2004

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston, has been spending a fair bit of time in Rome. I last saw him at the Centre Pro Unione, where he quietly slipped in as a member of the audience for a lecture and liturgy to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in late January. I suspect that Rome is in some ways a more comfortable environment for Law than the States; he is not stalked by TV cameras here, and, rightly or wrongly, many Roman observers regard him with sympathy, believing Law was unfairly made the scapegoat of the American sex abuse crisis.

Because he’s been spotted so often around town, rumors have circulated that Law is on the brink of being named to some major Vatican post. I spoke with a senior Vatican official on Feb. 12, however, who said that Law will not be named to run an office of the Roman Curia. In part, the senior official said, this is a reflection of the controversy surrounding the cardinal, but it also reflects the fact that Law is already 72, and hence couldn’t put in a normal five-year term before he would have to submit his resignation at 75.

This senior official did not rule out that Law might receive some other position with a lower profile, such as arch-priest of one of the major patriarchal basilicas in Rome. Even in that case, however, the senior official said that no such move is imminent.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.