April 13, 2005

Three U.S. cardinals take a stand sensitive to victims of sexual abuse

The Morning Call

When a primary figure in the priest sexual-abuse scandal in America was chosen to lead one of nine public masses to memorialize Pope John Paul II in Rome, the decision stunned some U.S. cardinals and upset the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. To their credit, however, three of the seven cardinals snubbed the Mass led Monday by Boston's disgraced former archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law. The message was clear: It is hurtful to survivors of sexual abuse by priests to give Cardinal Law the honor of leading such an important Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

All of the cardinals have agreed not to talk to the media in the week leading up to the conclave to choose the next pope. However, U.S. Catholic sources told the Los Angeles Times for a story Tuesday that three cardinals avoided the Mass because of Cardinal Law's notoriety: Edward M. Egan of New York, Francis E. George of Chicago and Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles. Aides for three others said they had scheduling conflicts or didn't attend because it wasn't mandatory. Justin F. Rigali of Philadelphia was the only U.S. cardinal to attend.

The pope accepted Cardinal Law's resignation as archbishop of Boston in 2002 after disclosures that pedophile priests had been transferred from parish to parish in his jurisdiction, where they then abused more children. Cardinal Law was transferred last year to the Vatican, where the pope gave him the honorary job of archpriest of one of Rome's four basilicas, St. Mary Major.

Posted by kshaw at April 13, 2005 07:10 AM