Disgraced Cardinal Leads Mass for Pope


#1

Why do they call Cardinal Law a “disgraced?” Read on!

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Bernard Law, whose failures to stop sexually abusive priests sparked the worst crisis in American church history, led a Mass for thousands mourning Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday after police whisked away a victim protesting outside.

Law celebrated the Mass without disruption, saying in his homily that Italian, Polish and other pilgrims were inspiring in their huge tribute to John Paul. Nearly 3 million mourners flooded Rome for the pontiff’s funeral last week.

“In these incredible days, the pope continues to teach us what it means … to be a follower of Christ,” Law said, reading slowly in Italian. “Our faith has been reinforced.”

After the service, several worshippers from Europe said they had never heard of Law. American parishioners said they recognized him, but questioned whether the protest was appropriate right after the pope died.

“It’s not the time or the place,” said Mary Beth Bauer, who lives in Maine and had followed the abuse crisis and Law’s resignation.

But some Catholics said seeing the cardinal presiding over Mass at one of the most significant sites for their faith was another sign that the Vatican did not understand the betrayal parishioners felt that he protected guilty priests.

Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and Barbara Dorris, also a leader of the advocacy group, said the Vatican’s choice of Law devastated victims.

“We believe he should take a back seat and stay in the background so Catholics can grieve without having to have the sex abuse scandal in their face,” said Blaine, who had flown into Rome just hours before the Mass.

At St. Peter’s Square, Blaine planned to distribute fliers, but was quickly surrounded by Italian officers who moved her without incident outside the plaza. The officers did not respond when asked why she was removed, but Blaine said they told her that news cameras were not allowed.

Blaine said she felt compelled to travel to the Vatican from her home in Chicago after learning of Law’s public role in memorializing the pope. The Mass is one of nine daily services for the pope for the period of mourning called Novemdiales.

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002 after unsealed court records revealed he had moved predatory clergy among parishes for years without telling parents their children were at risk. He has apologized for his wrongdoing.

More than 550 people have filed abuse claims in Boston in recent years, and the archdiocese has paid more than $85 million in settlements. The scandal erupted in Boston in January 2002 and spread nationwide, causing what American Catholic bishops have called the worst crisis in the U.S. church.

After Law’s resignation, the pope appointed him archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, one of four basilicas under direct Vatican jurisdiction.

Some church leaders have said the Vatican chose Law to celebrate the Mass because he leads an important church, not as a personal honor.

Still, the assignment gave Law a position of influence ahead of the papal election, which is set to begin next Monday.

In suburban Boston, Voice of the Faithful, a lay Catholic organization founded in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis which claims 30,000 members, said Law should not have celebrated the Mass and should not take part in the conclave that will select a new pope.

“Cardinal Law is a living symbol of the Catholic Church’s failures in dealing with the underlying causes of sexual abuse,” the group’s president, James E. Post said, in a statement. He called the scandal “one of the darkest stains on John Paul II’s legacy,” and said Law’s high-profile role is a painful reminder of the abuse and cover-up.


#2

The Survivors Network, which claims more than 5,600 members, has spent more than a decade pressing U.S. bishops to acknowledge the scope of molestation in the church.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Law, through an aide, declined to comment on his participation in the Mass. The Survivors Network had asked the American cardinals to intervene to stop Law, but Blaine said they did not respond.

Blaine, who said a priest began molesting her when she was about 12 and who received an $80,000 settlement from the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, contended the Vatican — not her group — was responsible for making abuse an issue during the papal transition. She did not oppose Law’s voting in the conclave.


#3

Enough with the Cardinal Law griping. Find something new to complain about.


#4

[quote=Scott_Lafrance]Enough with the Cardinal Law griping. Find something new to complain about.
[/quote]

I quite agree. We’ve got to move on.

We allege to be a Church of forgineness and Christian salvation. Does this not apply to cardinals too?

Further, while 500 or so “victims” have filed suits against the Archdiocese of Boston, I’m sure we will never know how many of them are legitimate (although one is too many!) and how many are fabricated so as to reach into the “deep pockets” of the insurance companies. This whole scandal, while grievious, is being used by the media to excoriate the Catholic Church for her teachings on faith and morals. The sad truth is that the level of sexual abuse/predation within the Catholic Church is no greater than within any other large entity, i.e., public schools, other denominations, etc. However, its existence is being used as a modern day witch hunt aimed at discrediting the Church and rendering her teachings hypocritical.


#5

[quote=condan]I quite agree. We’ve got to move on.

We allege to be a Church of forgineness and Christian salvation. Does this not apply to cardinals too?

… However, its existence is being used as a modern day witch hunt aimed at discrediting the Church and rendering her teachings hypocritical.
[/quote]

:amen:


#6

The media would like nothing more than more amunition to admonish the Catholic Church. If commisions have been formed, lawsuits have prevailed, then the church should be allowed to heal. The group that opposes Rome’s actions are being dictatorial in nature and that can’t be allowed either. NO group has the right to order Rome to do anything. They were within their bounds to send requests and make their issues known, but beyond that I think it is wrong.

The emphasis should be on the future now, and protecting all children. Wasn’t it the Pope himself that appointed Cardinal Law to this post?


#7

Have you noticed how many “elder brothers” we appear to have weighing in on the subject of Cardinal Law?

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the younger son, who has “sinned against Heaven and against his father”, returns, his father, overjoyed that his son was dead and now lives, was lost and is found, puts a ring on the son’s finger, shoes on his feet, and kills the fatted calf in thanksgiving.

The elder son is furious, just furious, that his brother, who wasted all his inheritance (the younger brother’s taking of the inheritance before the father’s death was, itself, a MAJOR SIN, on top of the sins which he committed WITH the money)) on “loose women”, is getting all sorts of attention from his father.

Even though his father reminds him, “Son, everything I have is yours, and we will be together always”, he says also, “But we had to rejoice”, because the brother, who was dead in sin, had repented, asked forgiveness, and was now alive in grace.

Now, we know that the kid isn’t going to get thrown out of the house, but he isn’t going to get ANOTHER share of his inheritance. His father might ask around to help the kid get a job, but the kid is basically going to have to start from scratch and work his way without any “inheritance”. HOWEVER, he is back on good terms with his father. . . that’s the main thrust, and what should be the main concern of the jealous older brother.

Too many people are just so hot and bothered that the Cardinal (whose sins were indeed HUGE) has obviously repented, confessed, done penance and is forgiven. Too many people aren’t ready themselves to forgive this man, although they probably think that if they themselves don’t have a fairly good credit balance with God, they at LEAST aren’t like this tax collector (oops, I mean Cardinal). . .

Do I personally think that the Cardinal should have appeared to suffer more? Well, since I’m no mind reader, I don’t know what he suffered, and suffers now. Who can say?

I’m sure the elder brother thought the younger brother hadn’t suffered ENOUGH to justify being forgiven. But it wasn’t really the elder brother’s business, was it. . .not to the degree it was his father’s business, at any rate. And the father appeared to be satisfied with his son’s confession and repentance. . .

I love this parable (probably it’s obvious), and I just wish that more people would take the time to think about what Jesus is telling us in the parable. . .

P.S. I’m in Vermont–our diocese is “under” the archdiocese of Boston, so to speak. I know the sufferings of abuse victims, and deeply sympathize. . .but I hope that in my thoughts as an “elder sister” that I take the words of Jesus to heart, and in my love and concern for victims I don’t forget to pray for the predators as well. We are ALL children of God, and we all need forgiveness and love.


#8

I quite disagree. Moving on is exactly what the bishops want you to do. It certainly would take the pressure off of them.

I’m all for forgiveness, but please remember that Jesus was quick to forgive the least among us, but fought with great fervor against the abuse of power.

Your use of quotes around the word “victims”, certainly doesn’t go unnoticed by me. What a disservice and slap in the face to hundreds who endured the pain one of the worst crimes one can imagine.

You say the level of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is no greater than within any other large entity. Quite the contrary, as evidenced by the John Jay report. Even if it were the same, what’s the point? They’re supposed to be better than other entities! They’re spiritual leaders called by God. Moral leaders. We go to them for guidance. What’s the point of differentiatinting the priest/bishops from others if there is no difference?

Modern day witch hunt? No need. The church proves my points on a daily basis in courtrooms across the country. Read the court documents. They’re public knowledge. Doesn’t take much time to access them. You’d be horrified by what the church lawyers are currently putting these victims through.


#9

[quote=Tantum ergo]…I’m sure the elder brother thought the younger brother hadn’t suffered ENOUGH to justify being forgiven. But it wasn’t really the elder brother’s business, was it. . .not to the degree it was his father’s business, at any rate. And the father appeared to be satisfied with his son’s confession and repentance. . .

I love this parable (probably it’s obvious), and I just wish that more people would take the time to think about what Jesus is telling us in the parable. . .

P.S. I’m in Vermont–our diocese is “under” the archdiocese of Boston, so to speak. I know the sufferings of abuse victims, and deeply sympathize. . .but I hope that in my thoughts as an “elder sister” that I take the words of Jesus to heart, and in my love and concern for victims I don’t forget to pray for the predators as well. We are ALL children of God, and we all need forgiveness and love.
[/quote]

Well said, Tantum ergo!


#10

[quote=danzig]I quite disagree. Moving on is exactly what the bishops want you to do. It certainly would take the pressure off of them.

[/quote]

Welcome to the forums for I see you are a new poster. I think that the crimes of the priests that molested the young people were horrible. I think that it would have been the right thing for the Bishops and the Pope to act more quickly and knowing what we know today it is hard to imagine any other path.

Now, we do need to move forward. The victims deserve all the help for healing, settlement, and assurance that this won’t ever happen again. They deserve our prayers for this healing also. We need to pray that this never happens again. Just as in the holocaust, we must never forget.

That being said, we can’t agree to persecute any of the hierarchy just because they were alive at the time. Some are more guilty of letting it happen than others. God will have to be the judge. I will not read the court cases because I can’t do that. Cardinal Law saying a mass in Europe in a position that the Pope appointed him to is OK with me. I do not think that this signifies anything other than what it is.

We can’t expect the Church to now be held hostage by a political action group.


#11

[quote=Fitz]Welcome to the forums for I see you are a new poster. I think that the crimes of the priests that molested the young people were horrible. I think that it would have been the right thing for the Bishops and the Pope to act more quickly and knowing what we know today it is hard to imagine any other path.

Now, we do need to move forward. The victims deserve all the help for healing, settlement, and assurance that this won’t ever happen again. They deserve our prayers for this healing also. We need to pray that this never happens again. Just as in the holocaust, we must never forget.

That being said, we can’t agree to persecute any of the hierarchy just because they were alive at the time. Some are more guilty of letting it happen than others. God will have to be the judge. I will not read the court cases because I can’t do that. Cardinal Law saying a mass in Europe in a position that the Pope appointed him to is OK with me. I do not think that this signifies anything other than what it is.

We can’t expect the Church to now be held hostage by a political action group.
[/quote]

The issue I would take exception to regarding Cardinal Law is that after the facts of his involvement were surfaced, he refused to step down as the Archbishop of Boston for an extended period of time. To me this was the height of arrogance. To then be reassigned to a cushie new position and to be permitted to participate at center stage indicates to me that the leadership still “just don’t get it”. They appear to be more interested in protecting one of their own, rather than the church laity who were injured. Having spent over 30 years in the military, I have seen the same thing happen when a good man over steps his bounds and abuses his authority.

Although I do not propose that we throw someone away who have made an error in judgement, he should have at least maintain a low profile in the recent activities.

John


#12

I think you have made some excellent points. However, the group that hates him will follow him until he dies and they are sinning in doing that. They need to let go of their hatred. They are using the Pope’s death to further their hatred. It is sad.


#13

Just like we need to let go of this topic. How many Cardinal Law threads do the moderators have to close before people take a hint. Cardinal Law is not up for discussion.


#14

Get ready for this thread to be locked, with an explanation that goes something like this:

Let he wihout sin…blah, blah blah
This is not news…
Jesus preached forgiveness…
This has been talked about enough…

What a shame that this attitude prevails. Isn’t secrecy, intimidation, and shutting people up what got us here in the first place?

Next, I’ll be banned from posting.
But before that happens, I just want to say, please educate yourselves to what happens to the victims every day. It will open your eyes.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.