Cardinal Bernard Law Retires, And Some Cheer

By WGBH News & Wires

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Nov. 21, 2011

bernard cardinal law

US Cardinal Bernard Law celebrates Mass in Rome in August, 2010. The Vatican announced on Nov. 21 that Law has retired from his most recent position. (Andrew Medichini/AP)


BOSTON — Lawyers and advocates for victims of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse have welcomed news that former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law has resigned from his position in Rome.
 
The Vatican announced on Nov. 21 that the 80-year-old Law had resigned his post as archpriest of St. Mary Major basilica. Spanish Monsignor Santos Abril y Castello has been named as Law’s replacement.
 
Law stepped down as Boston's archbishop in 2002. Critics have said he did little to protect children from predatory priests. The archdiocese deferred comment to the Vatican. 
 
Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for many sex abuse victims, told The Associated Press that now is the time for Law to return to Boston to apologize for his "immoral actions," but acknowledged that was "highly unlikely."

McKiernan gives his take on Law's retirement.

Terence McKiernan of bishopaccountability.org told WGBH News, “It’s good to see the back of Cardinal Law and I think that anyone experienced his time in Boston and has seen how he’s been honored in Rome despite what he did here is happy to see him go.”
 
McKiernan read significance into the way the Vatican announced the news.

“I think it’s also important that he was removed unceremoniously — that his replacement was announced and no great trouble was taken in announcing the fact that he was no longer going to be the archpriest,” he said. “All of that indicates to me that Pope Benedict and his people are really deciding that this is the end of the Cardinal Law era, that Cardinal Law is no longer going to be a patronage boss in the Catholic Church.”
 
Material fromThe Associated Press was used in this report.

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