April 07, 2005

Cardinal, Ousted in Scandal, to Preside at Funeral

VATICAN CITY
Los Angeles Times

By Larry B. Stammer, Times Staff Writer

VATICAN CITY Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston who became a focal point of the Roman Catholic Church's sexual-abuse scandal in the United States, won a coveted role Thursday to preside at one of a handful of funeral Masses for Pope John Paul II.

The appointment, announced by Archbishop Piero Marini, master of liturgical celebrations, appeared to catch other U.S. cardinals by surprise. It stunned sexual-abuse victims' advocates.

One church source close to developments, said here Thursday that cardinals were not consulted about Law's participation. He said the cardinals were simply handed the list of assignments. "It was already printed," he said on condition of anonymity.

Law, who was forced to resign as archbishop of Boston in 2002 after nearly 20 years in that post, will preside at one of eight funeral Masses beginning Saturday following Friday's main farewell and Funeral Mass for the supreme pontiff at St. Peter's Basilica.

The Vatican said Law and the others were chosen because it was an "ancient custom" to entrust one of eight subsequent funeral Masses to a particular group with close ties to the pope. For example, the Saturday Mass is to be said on behalf of the "faithful of Vatican City." Law, in his new role here as archpriest of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major, is scheduled to preside Monday on behalf of the four basilicas in Rome.

Posted by kshaw at April 7, 2005 07:08 PM