Cardinal’s confession: Sex abuse victim reflects on meeting Law as scandal erupted

Gloucester Times

December 21, 2017

By Paul Leighton

Salem — In the summer of 2002, Bernie McDaid and his mother met with Cardinal Bernard Law in the Archdiocese of Boston’s mansion in Brighton.

It was in the early stages of revelations that hundreds of children, including McDaid, a former altar boy at St. James Church in Salem, had been sexually abused by priests in the Boston area.

Law agreed to meet with McDaid and his mother to personally apologize. At the time, the stories of abuse had mostly come out of Boston, and McDaid asked Law why the problem was so prevalent in this area.

“He bowed his head like a puppy dog, looked at the floor and looked back up to me and said, ‘I wish it was just Boston,'” McDaid recalled. “That was a very telling moment in my life. One of the heads of the Catholic church is basically telling you they’re raping and molesting children all over the world.”

McDaid recalled that story on Thursday morning as Law’s funeral was being held at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Law’s death, at age 86 on Wednesday, has sparked emotional reactions among victims of clergy abuse, including anger at Law for his role in covering up the problem and moving abusive priests from parish to parish.

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