BOSTON — News of the death of Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who failed to eliminate sexually abusive priests from the ministry when he was archbishop of Boston, drew a sulfurous outcry in his old archdiocese on Wednesday from survivors still in pain from getting been betrayed by the church they trusted.
“I hope the gates of hell are open wide to welcome him,” Alexa MacPherson, 42, stated at a news conference. Another survivor, Robert Costello, 56, known as the Catholic Church “the world’s biggest pedophile ring.”
Far more than any other figure, Cardinal Law has been the American face of the church’s abuse scandal given that 2002, when investigative reporting by The Boston Globe revealed the scope of the church’s cover-up, such as a practice known as “pass the trash” that shifted abusive priests from a single parish to another.
It has been 15 years given that the scandal forced Cardinal Law to resign in disgrace, but his death in Rome reopened old wounds for survivors. And their lawyers arranged for them to speak publicly.
Mitchell Garabedian, who said he has represented more than 500 people who were abused by Catholic priests, mentioned his consumers told him they felt cheated that the cardinal was in no way brought to justice, and was promoted to a prestigious position in Rome instead. “With all due respect,” he stated, “society has not lost a great protector of kids with the passing of Cardinal Law.”
The reaction in Boston was so visceral that Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, Cardinal Law’s successor in the archdiocese, held a news conference on Wednesday and took questions from reporters, one thing he really seldom does.
Wearing a red scull cap and the flowing brown habit of his Franciscan order, the soft-spoken cardinal acknowledged that the death of Cardinal Law at 86, soon after a lengthy illness, had brought pain to the surface.
“We have anticipated this day, recognizing that it would open a lot of old wounds and cause much discomfort and anger in these who have suffered so a lot currently,” he mentioned. “We share in their suffering.”
He stated Cardinal Law’s personal legacy was broader than the clergy abuse scandal, noting that he had been engaged in the struggle for civil rights and in reaching out to immigrants, the poor and the sick.
“All of us are more than 1-dimensional,” Cardinal O’Malley told reporters. “To be realistic, you have to recognize that there was far more to this man than his blunders.”
Asked if he had forgiven Cardinal Law, Cardinal O’Malley said, “Forgiveness is what Christianity is about, and that does not make it effortless.” He added: “This is not one thing that has been solved. Appropriate now, the hurt is nonetheless there, the healing is nonetheless necessary, and we should all be vigilant.”
The Vatican said that Cardinal Law would be accorded a full, standard funeral Mass on Thursday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, presided over by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, and such as a closing rite by Pope Francis.
Such funerals are standard protocol when a cardinal dies, but the announcement nonetheless infuriated some survivors.
“He is accountable for damaging thousands of children and their families, let alone the folks that committed suicide,” Mr. Costello stated in an interview. He was abused by a priest at his parish in West Roxbury, Mass. for eight years, from the age of eight. “To publicly have this Mass just means they haven’t learned a damned issue,” he said.
Cardinal O’Malley was asked whether such a funeral was proper. “I realize the difficulty with that,” he responded, adding that he would not be attending the service, possessing just returned from Rome.
He then acknowledged another troubling aspect of Cardinal Law’s profession — that right after his part in the scandal was revealed, Pope John Paul II created him higher priest of 1 of Rome’s 4 key churches, the magnificent Basilica of St. Mary Major. The cushy post came with a spacious apartment that was stated to be the envy of Vatican officials.
The cardinal also continued to serve on a number of Vatican committees, like the potent Congregation for Bishops, which makes recommendations to the pope on appointments. That post let him continue to reward his protégés and influence who became bishops in the United States and elsewhere.
“I believe it is unfortunate that he’s had such a high profile in the life of the church,” Cardinal O’Malley said. These days, he mentioned, “that sort of a choice would not be made, but unfortunately we’re living with the consequences of that.”
Cardinal O’Malley was appointed to take charge and soothe the Boston Archdiocese about six months right after Cardinal Law resigned. It was the third diocese he was sent to clean up following a sexual abuse scandal, after those of Fall River, Mass., and Palm Beach, Fla.
In the very first year of his papacy, Pope Francis chose Cardinal O’Malley to lead a new initiative, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Expectations had been high for the commission, which included lay men and ladies, experts on abuse and two survivors of sexual abuse by priests. The pope gave them the task of finding the greatest practices for guarding children, and spreading them in the church about the world, like nations where church leaders denied that kid abuse had ever occurred.
The commission, now 4 years old, has proved a disappointment to numerous church observers and abuse victims. An initiative to create a tribunal to judge and discipline bishops accused of covering up abuse was abandoned, with Pope Francis saying the Vatican currently had mechanisms for performing that. The two abuse survivors quit in aggravation, the pope has but to replace them, and the commission has lapsed into inactivity, according to the National Catholic Reporter, an American news outlet.
Cardinal O’Malley defended the commission’s perform on Wednesday, saying it was attempting to reach individuals in distinct parts of the globe exactly where sex abuse is not discussed. He stated that when he traveled abroad to speak on the issue, he always brought an abuse survivor with him. He stated the commission had utilised funding as leverage to get child protection policies and programs established.
Finally, Cardinal O’Malley was asked whether he believed the Lord welcomed Cardinal Law’s soul into heaven.
“I hope that every person goes to heaven,” he said. “This is what the mission of the church is. But I am not right here to sit in judgment of anybody.”
Published at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 03:03:08 +0000