Boston Victims Decry Visit to Church with Law Link
By Sabina Castelfranco
March 15, 2013
|IN BAD FAITH: Hub sex abuse victims advocates say a visit by Pope Francis, above, to a church where disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law, was in attendance is a ‘slap in the face.’
To the dismay of church sex abuse victims, Pope Francis made his first stop yesterday at the church where Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law was assigned as archpriest after the scandal ?engulfed the worldwide Catholic community.
Francis prayed at St. Mary Major Basilica at 8 a.m. and Law was in attendance, the Vatican confirmed to the Herald.
“It’s a complete slap in the face to Boston victims and Boston Catholics,” said Joelle Casteix, a member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
“Hopefully this is not a harbinger of what’s to come of the papacy of Francis,” Casteix said.
“It hurts the victims,” added fellow SNAP member Becky Ianni. “Law shouldn’t have any honors in Rome. How are the victims going to see this?”
The Vatican said Law was allowed to slip in and pray with the pope.
“Bernard Law entered very discreetly, he entered through one of the side chapels,” said Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Law, the former archbishop of Boston, resigned in?2002 when unsealed court records revealed he had moved pedophile priests among church assignments for decades without notifying parishioners.
In 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed him archpriest of St. Mary Major. He ?resigned from the position after turning 80 in late 2011.
“As archpriest, he wanted to be there” when Francis came to pray, Lombardi said.
Francis, 76, started his first full day as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics by praying in the ?basilica before a famous?icon of the Virgin Mary ?called the Salus Populi?Romani (Protectress of the Roman People).
SNAP members told the Herald last night they hope the pope soon punishes those who looked the other way in the abuse crisis.