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Cardinal Law, central figure in U.S. Catholic abuse scandal, dies

by Kiley Crossland
Posted 12/20/17, 12:08 pm

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston who was publicly disgraced for his failure to stop child molesters in the priesthood, died early Wednesday, according to the Vatican. He was 86. Law had been sick and was recently hospitalized. In 2002, The Boston Globe revealed that Law had orchestrated a cover-up plan to transfer dozens of abusive clergy from parish to parish without notifying parents or police. One such priest reportedly abused more than 130 children in the course of a three-decade career, according to the Globe. Law at first responded by apologizing and promising reform, but after more reports of abuse and public rebukes from some of his own priests, Law resigned. Despite the controversy, Law in 2004 was appointed archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of four principal basilicas in Rome. Advocates for victims criticized the post as a blind favor for a guilty man. Law’s successor as archbishop, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said Wednesday that Law led the Boston archdiocese at a time “when the church seriously failed” in its job to care for its flock and protect children. Pope Francis will preside over the funeral for Law at a Mass scheduled for on Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.

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  • weinpaul
    Posted: Wed, 12/20/2017 07:23 pm

    Cardinal Law did great work in civil rights, immigration and ecuminism. the article is true, but this part of his long life should be mentioned. Sexual drive is very storng. Presently, we are working throuigh sexual abuse (it is also power abuse) in media and government. How he handled sexual abuse issues should be a warning to all of us.