April 25, 2005

Cardinal Law’s role in Rome recalls church’s scars

The Christian Century

After a grand funeral attracting world leaders to the Vatican and crowds urging a speedy sainthood for the late Pope John Paul II, the assigning of a former U.S. cardinal to celebrate one of the masses in St. Peter’s Basilica during the mourning period reminded Americans of the scars still present in the U.S. church.

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston who resigned for mishandling the clergy sex-abuse scandal, presided over the mass April 11 while news media covered a small protest from victim advocates who said that Law didn’t deserve the honor.

Two leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) flew to Rome to complain that allowing Law such a prominent pulpit poured “salt into an already open wound.” Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based SNAP, was escorted by Italian police from St. Peter’s Square and kept behind traffic barriers when she attempted to distribute fliers to pilgrims and tourists in the square.

Law presided at one of the daily memorial masses during the nine-day mourning period for John Paul II, who died April 2. Last year, John Paul named Law to the largely ceremonial post of archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Posted by kshaw at April 25, 2005 07:50 AM