April 12, 2005

U.S. abuse scandal follows cardinal to papal memorial

Chicago Tribune

By Steve Kloehn, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporters Manya A. Brachear in Rome and Margaret Ramirez in Chicago contributed to this report
Published April 12, 2005

VATICAN CITY -- The image must have been jarring for many American Catholics: Cardinal Bernard Law, the embattled former archbishop of Boston, on a throne atop the tomb of St. Peter, where Pope John Paul II so often sat.

On Monday, Law celebrated one of the nine special masses at St. Peter's Basilica mourning the late pope, and few of the worshipers in the vast basilica seemed to have any idea who he was.

Vatican officials downplayed his presence, saying that as an archpriest of one of the papal basilicas in Rome--a largely ceremonial role he received after resigning the Boston post--he automatically was slated to preside over the mass.

But for some Americans, who have come to regard Law as a symbol of the wrenching priest sexual-abuse scandal, his presence at the center of one of the church's most solemn moments, more than two years after leaving Boston in disgrace, provoked strong reactions.

Two activists with a Chicago-based group for victims of priest sexual abuse traveled to Rome to protest Law's role. They intended to hand out leaflets, and they attracted many reporters but few passersby before Vatican security escorted one of the women from St. Peter's Square.

Posted by kshaw at April 12, 2005 06:57 AM