Cardinal Bernard Law resigns
Facing mounting outrage from Boston-area Catholics and clergy over the priest sexual abuse crisis, Cardinal Bernard Law announced today that he would resign as head of the Boston Archdiocese after 18 years in the post. Share your thoughts on the cardinal's resignation and his career in Boston. How will he be remembered? What effect will his departure have? And what comes next for the archdiocese?
Cardinal Law was used as a scapegoat. If it makes one victim feel better then great but the fact is that the policy that the Catholic Church used in the past to handle these few priests was the problem. Many victims also settled law suits with the Church and never went public because they got money and signed a confidentiallity agreement. If they were so outraged, why didn't anyone go to the media or police then? Because of the all mighty dollar! So why aren't they being prosecuted? This crisis has not changed my faith or my beliefs in the church. I do not worship priests, I worship my God. I forgive Cardinal Law because that is what my faith asks me to do. I forgive those who grandstand on behalf of their son or on behalf of their clients waiting for a large payout because that what my faith asks me to do. I do however condemn those who use this opportunity to grandstand their agenda on how the church should operate (ie letting priests marry, ordaining women). Bye the way, for all those that think Bernard Law has a nice retirement package, think again, priest take a vow of poverty. They may not be homless but I'm sure he won't be yachting around Natucket like some former CFO's of Tyco I know.
It was the right thing to do, but what about unintended consequences? For example, Law is in Rome right now. What's not to say that he'll just stay there, claim Vatican City citizenship as he so arrogantly did during one of his first depositions, and therefore be unextraditable? Will he return to the U.S. to face the music? I for one won't be completely satisfied until he's wearing prison orange and is the girlfriend of some bodybuilding lifer. Maybe then he'll understand our pain first-hand. Female clergy abuse survivor (in 1964, was 5, in Cleveland)
Carol, Columbus, OH
After reading the article here on Boston.com and all of the varied responses I just have a couple of thing to point out. 1) He really should have resigned a long time ago (when it first was revealed). 2)Criminal charges will probably (and rightly so)follow should he not high tail it to Rome and 3)As a former Catholic and present Methodist, I think we ALL need to remember what the basis of Christianity is: Forgiveness. Jesus never said forgiving was an easy thing to do. NO ONE IS PERFECT-not you, not I not LAW, not the sickening pedophiles that infeltrated the Church. I do believe he needs to be persecuted to the full extent of the law, but I know that I will personally pray FOR HIS soul and continue to pray for all of the victims that he turned a blind eye to. God works in mysterious ways, and is sovereing...we have to remember OUR FAITH in that, not the actions of a mere mortal.
An investigation should begin in the Catholic Church as to why so many priests are pedophiles, or why so many pedophiles are priests. Perhaps the qualifications, training, and standards for becoming a priest need to be revised!
Nancy, Allentown, PA
The Church must come to grips with the fact that the celibacy of the church has provided a respectable refuge for some individuals with sexual issues, whether these issues be repressed or overt homosexuality, or the horrible actions of the predators. And, preaching against homosexuality, while rampant in the midst of the church, is the worst kind of hypocrisy and denial. And denial is at the root of the reason it turned from individual actions, individually addressed, to a crisis in the church. Perhaps it is elimination of the vows of celibacy that will eliminate the attraction of the priesthood to sexual deviants, and an end to the hypocritical treatment of homosexuals.
Formerly Catholic, Westford, MA
Hurry up and arrest him before he seeks refuge in Vatican City.
Jeff, South Boston
All these allegations of abuse are disheartening and the ones that are true must be dealt with in a delicate manner (there are claims/allegations out there which are blatant lies coming from those who just want to "cash in" on this horrible situation). I do believe that the Cardinal, in his 18 years in the Boston Archdiocese, has also done some great things. These things must also be remembered. While the state must prosecute those who are alleged to have committed these crimes, we as catholics must pray that those hurting will heal and remember that those who have hurt will one day have to answer to Him. Those who have been hurt must now find a way to heal - what I don't understand is how will receiving hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars make the pain any less? The only ones who will truly benefit from a windfall of cash are the attorneys who are frothing at the mouth to prosecute these cases. I believe that Cardinal Law did the right thing in stepping down and that he should have to answer as to why he "looked the other way" for all those years. I do pray that all victims will some day heal and be able to move on with their lives.
As a Christian, I feel confident that God has already forgiven him. I feel he has a repented "heart". I trust that all who has been offended will find it their hearts as well (if they can) to forgive him. My prayer that God will continue to Bless everyone and America.
Diane Banton, Dorchester, MA
I sincerely hope that the Catholic Church will now look deeply within and realize that the rules they impose on people do not work and often result in unhealthy, sick and severely damaging actions. Cardinal Law should resign and deserves punishment, but I believe the problem has a much deeper root.
Although I do believe that Cardinal Law's INTENTIONS were NOT of a criminal nature, they were ultimately wrong. I'm not sure he is the right person to correct this in the church. This has been a sad day for the Catholic Church. I believe his resignation does NOTHING for the victims. The victims need to heal. This resignation doesn't do that for them. As a victim myself, the only comfort they will ever find is knowing that their perpetrator cannot do this to them or anyone ever again. And when their judgement day comes, God will send them to the appropriate place, which will not be heaven. No money in the world will help heal these victims. I've gotten help myself though friends and special non-profit organizations, which has cost me nothing. I'd LOVE to know what they are going to do with the money they feel they are entitled to...rebuild the church? or their respective parishes? or the diocese? seek professional help?? or help other rape victims??? Probably none of these. I'm sure they'll be driving around in new vehicles and doing NOTHING about what they went through. That's what's wrong with this whole outcome. I hope none of the victims get any money. I certainly will not contribute to any collection for their benefit. They should be going after the sick people that did this to them, not me and my church. I do hope they heal from the nightmares and pain that a rape victim goes through. There are many ways of doing that without bringing down the church, something they should be turning to and continue building. I hope that the media and the greedy lawyers and victims will go away and let the church heal and rebuild its strength.