April 10, 2005

Law's papal celebration role outrages abuse victims

Duluth News Tribune

Knight Ridder Newspapers

ROME - Three years ago, Cardinal Bernard Law was at the center of the church sexual abuse scandal in Boston. Monday, he'll take center stage in the Catholic world.

Law will celebrate Monday's Mass of mourning for the late pope at the renowned St. Peter's Basilica - one of just nine such services being conduct at the Vatican. Being selected is an honor bestowed only on the most influential members of the church's hierarchy.

But to victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests - some of the accused worked under Cardinal Law when he ran the Archdiocese of Boston before he resigned over the scandal in 2002 - it's a sign that the church has not come to grips with a very dark period in its recent history.

"It's beyond a slap in the face, it's rubbing salt into some very raw wounds," said David Clohessy, national director of a group representing about 5,000 church-sexual abuse victims. "He's the symbol of the scandal. This is a clear sign that the church is not taking its history of sexual abuse seriously, and that it is not at all in touch with the pain in the American church."

Law, 73, will lead one of the special Masses for John Paul II in what is called the novemdiales - the nine-day mourning period. He was picked because of his position as archpriest of the St. Mary Major Basilica. Law received his current post after being recalled to Rome following his resignation as leader of the Boston Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at April 10, 2005 06:02 PM