Category: Archive

Cardinal Law must step down

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Then we found out that the archdiocese had paid thousands of dollars to buy the silence of the accusers, thus guaranteeing that pedophile priests not only wouldn’t be criminally charged, but that neither would they get the psychological help they so desperately needed.
Then, as the accusations have grown, the archdiocesan finance council just last week gave the church permission to seek bankruptcy protection as a way to deal with hundreds of abuse lawsuits. Not surprisingly, to many Catholics this suggests that the archdiocese is less than eager to fully compensate the victims of clerical abuse.
Finally, we have learned, through a number of disclosures in the last week, that as recently as 1999, long after Cardinal Bernard Law claimed he had gotten tough with pedophile priests, he had been in personal contact with some of the accused, offering his praise and support. The cardinal, in the meantime, has gone off to Rome, apparently to seek the counsel of the pope.
Many Boston Catholics have had enough. Some have mounted regular Sunday protests outside the city’s cathedral. Leaders of Voice of the Faithful, a lay group unfairly slammed and shunned by a suspicious church hierarchy nationwide since its founding earlier this year to address growing disillusionment with the scandal and to seek reform, have all but thrown up their hands. Most recently, 58 Boston-area priests on Tuesday signed a letter calling for Law’s resignation, declaring that “your position as our bishop is so compromised that it is no longer possible for you to exercise the spiritual leadership required for the church of Boston.”
To this call the Echo adds its humble voice. There can be no doubt that Law is a good and decent man who has done many good things in Boston. But as new disclosures pour forth, it is clear that the cardinal’s sympathies have never been with the victims but, rather, with the accused priests, many of whom were clearly guilty. It can be argued, of course, that Law’s failure is not so much of a personal nature as it is a reflection of failure within the church as an institution. But that is beside the point. He, Cardinal Law, and Cardinal Law alone, failed his flock.
In this time of great travail, Boston’s Catholics, and indeed Catholics nationwide, need strong spiritual guidance. An empowered laity can no doubt make things better. But only by honestly and openly confronting its shortcomings, and by making amends, can the church itself hope to regain its footing among the faithful. In Boston, Cardinal Law has demonstrated that he is no longer up to that task.

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