Cardinal Law, Disgraced Figure in Church Abuse Scandal, Dies
January 18, 2018
Cardinal Bernard Law, the Archbishop emeritus of Boston who resigned in 2002 amid a clergy sex abuse scandal, died Wednesday at the age of 86.
"Spotlight" star Mark Ruffalo is not mourning the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly the archbishop of Boston. "Where are we going to celebrate?" said Robert Casarlo, an abuse victim who spoke during a press conference in Boston Wednesday.
Law was once one of the most important figures in the US church, wielding considerable influence inside the Vatican.
Speaking to reporters, some survivors gathered to reflect on Law's death and the abuse they suffered by the priests he oversaw in Boston.
"After we published, Cardinal Law went on a sort of apology tour and made several apologies to the people in Boston for the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse and the job that the archdiocese had done".
But, Law still retained some support in the Vatican and in 2004 he was appointed archpriest of the Basilica of St Mary Major - one of the four principal basilicas in Rome.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston who took over the reeling archdiocese following the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in 2002, reflected on the death of his predecessor by remembering victims of clergy sexual abuse in a statement released on December 20.
"I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones", Cardinal O'Malley said.
Law, whose resignation from his Boston post in 2002 shocked the church and brought abuse into the open, had been living in Rome and was in declining health in recent years.
"As the Church must always do, we seek forgiveness for the sins of the past and for all the things that were done or not done that have contributed to the suffering of so many", he said.
Survivors including MacPherson are outraged over the Catholic Church's plans for a full cardinal's funeral for Law in Vatican City on Thursday, saying he deserves no such dignity. When Pope John Paul II died the next year, Law was among the bishops who presided at a Mass for the pontiff in St. Peter's.
Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented dozens of people who say they were abused by priests, said Law is "an example of the immorality of the Catholic Church" for shielding clergy.
? 1999: Law leads a delegation of Catholic and Jewish leaders to Israel.
Many victims were reminded of the pain of being sexually abused upon learning of Mr. Bernard's death.
The case became the subject of the Oscar-winning 2015 Hollywood movie Spotlight, centred on how the Boston Globe newspaper uncovered the scandal - work that earned the Globe's investigative team a Pulitzer Prize.
Critics such as the lay Catholic group Voices of the Faithful alleged that Law had consistently participated in the relocation of priests he knew to have molested children, and that as a result, he was directly responsible for their continued contact with - and abuse of - additional children.
"Cardinal Law was an individual who allowed innocent children to be sexually abused".
As victims continue to come forward across the world, Pope Francis has vowed a "zero tolerance" policy toward sexual abuse but has been accused of being too soft on paedophiles, extending to them a general policy of mercy he is promoting.
Of the scandal that unfolded over the course of the decade and remains unresolved, she said, "He was the first big name that got out there, where there were documents to prove what was done".