April 05, 2005

Cardinal's bad judgment

Boston Globe

By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist | April 5, 2005

HE IS BACK, commenting on the legacy of a pontiff. From Boston, it is difficult to hear Cardinal Bernard Law's voice and not think about promise unfulfilled, ambition derailed, and accountability deferred.

Law once told friends his goal was to become the first American pope. For a long time, his career path kept pace with this lofty ambition, granting him stature as one of America's premier Catholic power brokers. Then the clergy sexual abuse crisis engulfed the Boston archdiocese. After months of revelations about Law's failure to remove sexually abusive priests from ministry, he was forced to resign.

However, Law was not demoted but eventually reassigned to Rome, where he was named archpriest of one of the four basilicas under Vatican direction. This relatively soft landing was not appreciated or understood by victims of priestly sexual abuse nor by others who questioned the justness of his reward.

Law departed Boston without ever projecting understanding of the pain and ugliness connected to the saga of priests as sexual predators and the role he played as enabler. He still lacks the ability to project such understanding, as demonstrated by his recent appearance on ''This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Citing the opportunity Law had in Rome to reflect on the sexual abuse scandal, Stephanopoulos asked: ''Looking back, do you think there's anything more you could have done?"

Replied Law: ''You know, I don't think that this is a time to be reflecting on that issue."

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2005 08:43 AM