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Deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law
May 8, 2002, Suffolk County Superior Court

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Q. Okay. Are there other things that go on that you confront as a pastor in dealing with people with issues, it may not be a confession, but are there things at times that makes sense, maybe can be made public but not at this time, or there is a better way to convey it than through mass media?

A. You need to -- you know, it would be good if you could explicate your question just a bit because I'm aware of the fact, for example, that mandated reporting which extends to clergy now and to all church workers going back to 1973 would be very, very extensive in terms of the areas it covers. So the area of confidentiality in terms of spiritual discussion and things of that kind appears to be eroding in our society and our legal system, and it's hard to know, really, what is confidential, you know, what, what is going to be broadcast.

Q. I'm talking here more of traumatic information that will soon be known. It is not uncommon practice for the police or even the media, when somebody is killed in an automobile accident, not to reveal it until the family is notified. And I would assume that in your business of counseling people that you would expect that the family should learn in a setting that's comforting, traumatic, finding out that someone has cancer. It isn't put on the radio or TV. It is tried to be done in somewhat of a supportive setting. Isn't this kind of information, for those 86 people, that kind of traumatic information that would have called for a different kind of response than a press release?

MR. ROGERS: I object to the form.

THE WITNESS: May I answer?


A. I think I answered this previously. This is a question put to me in a different form which you put to me before the break, and I attempted to answer it then, and I will attempt to answer it again as fully as I can. What was intended here was to report accurately and in a timely fashion in a time where there is a media frenzy around this issue and where our experience has been that things which we have assumed had been confidential meetings or confidential discussions found their way into print, and very often with a spin on them which betrayed, really, the substance of what was happening. We felt that in that kind of an environment, the best way and the most accurate way that we could serve the common good would be to tell what had happened, to tell what had happened succinctly and clearly, to tell why it had happened. I attempted on the following Sunday at the cathedral, which has been my wont lately, to say what I had to say on this general issue in the context of the Mass at the cathedral. I attempted to indicate my understanding of the anger, of the sense of double betrayal that many people would have experienced, and I appreciated that, I understood that, but nonetheless, I hoped that even in time the 86 plaintiffs to this settlement would also be willing to be a part of constructing a more global settlement which would involve all of the, all of the victims.

Q. So --

A. At the same time, as I said earlier -- may I finish?

Q. Sure.

A. At the same time, as I said earlier, with the value of hindsight, with the value of hindsight, I would have hoped that concurrent or in a more timely fashion than the issue of that statement, which I think needed to be issued, needed to be issued by the chancellor, needed to be issued as soon as possible, I think that a more timely communication with counsel representing the plaintiffs would have been desirable. Yes, I agree with that. And I can only say, again, as I said earlier, that, that, that this issue, this whole issue as it plays itself out, is full of moments when hindsight would have been helpful.

Q. You're familiar with what the terms of the agreement were? You had some knowledge?

A. I have some knowledge of those.

Q. And were -- was there anything in the agreement that indicated to the plaintiffs the advisory council had to give its approval?

MR. ROGERS: Objection to the form.

Q. If you know.

A. Well, first of all, I don't know.

MR. ROGERS: Okay. All right.

MR. GORDON: All right. That answers the question.

Q. Was it your understanding up until very recently that the finance council was advisory in this role?

A. It was, it was my impression that the matter needed go before the finance council, but I felt that it would be advisory, and, yes, that judgment was questioned in the course of the week.

Q. Who questioned that judgment?

A. A member of the finance council.

Q. Which member?

A. Mr. Kaneb.

Q. Mr. Kaneb?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Now, you know that your counsel were meeting with us over many months?

A. Yes.

Q. At some point there's a name that I don't see here, and I don't know why he was there, but at some point the archdiocese sent Robert Popeo to come to a session with us. Do you know in what role Mr. Popeo was sent to meet with us?

A. I wasn't aware that he was sent to meet with you, but Mr. Popeo has been assisting us in this case.

Q. Has Mr. Popeo been working with the finance committee?

A. No, he had no commission from me to work with the finance committee.

Q. Did -- the finance council. He has --

A. He's not a member of the council.

Q. And he didn't work with the finance council?

A. No. He may have been present -- I think he may have been present at one of the earlier meetings when we presented the settlement.

Q. Did he say anything at that earlier meeting when the settlement was presented?

A. My impression is that he was favorable toward the settlement. Laudatory to the efforts of Mr. Rogers in this regard.

Q. Were you aware that Mr. Popeo met with us at some point?

A. I was not aware of that.

Q. So you don't know who asked him to come meet with us?

A. No, but I would not ordinarily have been aware of that because Mr. Rogers is, is our counsel and so I would presume that those kinds of meetings would be somehow quarterbacked by him.

Q. Do you know who told Mr. Popeo to tell us that if Mr. Garabedian spoke any more with the press, this was several months ago, that the deal would happen, but there wouldn't be the money there?

A. No. That certainly wasn't told with my authorization.

Q. Do you know if any of the finance council people have been meeting with Mr. Popeo?

A. I do not have knowledge of that.

Q. Did anyone ever convey to you that Mr. Popeo's appearance caused a great deal of difficulty in putting the agreement together?

A. I have a vague recollection of having heard something to that effect.

Q. Do you know if assurances were then made after Mr. Popeo's appearance that in fact the deal would go through?

A. It was my intent to have that deal go through. I was committed to that settlement. And that was certainly conveyed to Mr. Rogers.

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