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

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Q. How long were you editor of the Diocesan Newspaper?

A. Until 1968.

Q. So that was approximately five, five and a half years?

A. That's correct.

Q. While you were at the diocese of Natches Jackson, did you have the opportunity to work with any priests who were assigned to the Archdiocese of Boston?

A. No.

Q. Did you -- do you remember if during that period you visited Boston?

A. I don't recall.

Q. After your service as editor of that newspaper, what did you do next?

A. I was assigned -- well, as you know, assignments, your assignment is in accord with what canon law lays out in terms of process, and I was a priest of the diocese of Natches Jackson, so that was my affiliation, and my superior was the Bishop of that diocese. I was asked if I would serve the Conference of Bishops in the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. The Bishop felt that it would be good for me to do that and released me, and I went there.

Q. Who was the Bishop at the time?

A. Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow, G-E-R-O-W.

Q. And when you say the Conference of Bishops, are you referring to the National Catholic Conference of Bishops?

A. That's correct. It's the United States National Catholic Conference of Bishops now.

Q. Was it called National then?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. So you went to Washington, D.C. to work with that organization?

A. That's correct.

Q. Technically you were still, though, assigned to that diocese?

A. That's correct.

Q. And the diocese gave you permission to work there?

A. That's correct.

Q. How long did you work at that Office of Ecumenical -- what was the title again?

A. Ecumenical and Interreligious.

Q. How long did you work in that office?

A. A little bit more than three years.

Q. Did you have a title in that position?

A. Executive director of that office.

Q. Did you have occasion while you worked in that office to meet Bishop Lawrence Reilly?

A. I don't recall. There would have been no reason to have done so, and I don't believe I did.

Q. What were the duties and responsibilities --

A. Excuse me.

Q. I'm sorry?

A. Yes, I would have seen him at the general meetings of Bishops if -- no, I'm not sure he was a Bishop at that time. I don't believe he was a Bishop during that time. No, I wouldn't have seen him.

Q. Okay. When the Conference of Bishops, the National, United States Catholic Conference of Bishops meets, is it, are the auxiliary bishops of dioceses invited usually?

A. Yes. They're members of the conference.

Q. Are there ever separate conferences just of ordinary bishops?

MR TODD: Objection as to form.

Q. Let me ask this. Is there something in canon law that refers to an ordinary?

A. Yeah.

Q. And what is the ordinary?

A. The ordinary would be the Bishop of the diocese as distinct from the auxiliary Bishops who may be assisting him.

Q. Were there ever national meetings just of ordinary Bishops?

A. Not that I know of, no. May I go back to --

Q. Sure.

A. -- a question concerning whether or not I had in a certain time frame seen Bishop Reilly. I do recall that there was an occasion when I did come to Boston and I saw him, and it was to -- I was invited to give a talk, and I saw him on that occasion. And I had no recollection of when that was, but it was in this time frame.

Q. Was this a talk on civil rights?

A. It was a talk about my experience in Mississippi, yes.

Q. And obviously when you came to Boston, you had some conversations with Bishop Reilly?

A. I would have seen him, yes.

Q. You don't remember --

A. I viewed him as a very important person in my life.

Q. Do you remember at all what you talked about?

A. I have no recollection of the conversation.

Q. Okay. Did you ever meet Cardinal Cushing?

A. Met him, yes.

Q. You don't remember any conversations with Cardinal Cushing, though?

A. No.

Q. Was there anybody else that you can recall who was with Bishop Reilly when you met him that time you came to Boston?

A. No.

Q. Okay. While you were -- actually, let me ask you, what were your duties as executive director?

A. To assist a committee of Bishops and the responsibility of this committee was to chart the ecumenical and interreligious relationships of the Catholic Church at the national level.

Q. While you were serving as executive director, did you meet a Father Thomas Doyle?

A. Well, I met Father Thomas Doyle, and I'm trying to look, I'm trying to pinpoint the time. It could very well have been the time if he was serving at the Nunciature at that time.

Q. You met Father Doyle at the Nunciature?

A. While he was there, yes.

Q. What was the Nunciature?

A. The Nunciature which was then, in those days was the delegation, not the Nunciature, the Nunciature is the headquarters for the representative of the Holy See in this country.

Q. After your three years -- strike that. While you were executive director, did you ever attend meetings of the National Catholic Conference of Bishops?

A. Yes, particularly if there was an issue before them relating to the office.

Q. Were you present when a report by Dr. Conrad Baare, B-A or Baare, B-A-A-R-E, was given, or S?

A. I don't recollect that.

MR. GORDON: Okay. Why don't we have this marked as Exhibit 224.

(Document marked as Exhibit 224 for identification.)

Q. Your Eminence, I'm going to show you Exhibit 224, The Role of the Church in the Causation, Treatment and Prevention of the Crisis in the Priesthood. It's a document that was filed, I gather, in the Worcester Superior Court and was marked as depositions in 1995 and 1997. I'm going to ask if you've ever seen this report which today is marked as Exhibit 224.

MR TODD: The question is ever seen at any time?


(Document exhibited to witness.)

A. Well, you know, do you want me to just go ahead and read this now and see if I can recall it?

Q. No. I'm asking if you've seen it before.

A. I have no recollection of seeing this.

Q. Have you heard of --

A. But let me --

Q. I'm sorry.

A. -- look through and see. I don't recall seeing this report.

Q. Do you recall anybody ever discussing this report to you?

A. This report?

Q. Yes.

A. I can't say that I've heard people describing this report. In the -- I have heard some discussion of a report, and if it's this report, then I've heard that.

Q. Approximately what was the date of the report that you've heard of?

MR TODD: Objection as to form.


Q. You can answer.

MR. ROGERS: You can go ahead and answer, yeah.

A. It's difficult -- I see here, November, 1971, and so -- but I must tell you that I do not recall seeing this report.

Q. Okay. But you seem to remember in the early 1970s mention of a report covering this issue?

A. No, no, no, no, no. Not in the 1970s. In the discussion of this case I've heard --

Q. Okay.

A. -- mention of report, and I didn't know whether it's this report or not.

Q. Okay.

A. But I....

Q. Did that come up with discussion with people other than your lawyers about this report?

A. I mean -- yes, yes, not with my lawyers, but with the press.

Q. Okay.

A. Reading press reports.

Q. Anybody other than the press or the attorneys describe this report to you?

A. No.

Q. Okay. After you finished your service as executive director, what was your next assignment?

A. I went back to the diocese and I served as vicar general.

Q. When you served as vicar general in that diocese, was that the second position within that diocese?

A. That's correct.

Q. How long did you serve in that diocese as vicar general?

A. From '71 until I left the diocese in '73, December of '73.

Q. And did your status change at that point in December, '73?

A. Yes, I became a Bishop.

Q. And were you assigned to a diocese?

A. I was.

Q. And what diocese was that?

A. The diocese of Springfield-Cape Giradeau, G-I-R-A-R-D-E-A-U.

Q. And you were the ordinary Bishop at that diocese?

A. I was.

Q. And how long did you serve as ordinary there?

A. I served there until March of 1984 when I was installed as Archbishop of Boston.

Q. While you were the ordinary Bishop of Springfield Cape Giradeau?

A. That's right.

Q. Did you have reports that came to you about -- I'm not asking for any names, but did you have reports of priests having inappropriate contact with children?

A. Yes.

Q. What were the -- what was the procedure that was in place there to deal with those reports?

A. As I, as I recall, there was a sending of the person for a psychological evaluation and for treatment.

Q. Were there less than five instances while you were there?

A. Yes.

Q. Was it more than one?

A. I don't recall more than one.

Q. So it wasn't an ordinary thing that you came across there?

A. That's correct.

Q. Did you consult any of the other Bishops about how to approach this issue?

MR TODD: This issue?

Q. Being a report that a priest had an inappropriate contact with a child.

A. I consulted people who were on my staff, but I did not, as I recall, consult a Bishop beyond the diocese as to what to do here.

Q. Is that priest still a priest at this time?

A. Yes -- no, the priest that I consulted.

Q. That's fair.

A. The priest I consulted.

Q. Is the priest you received a report on still a priest?

A. He's not active, no.

Q. Okay. And what you were indicating earlier was that some of the staff who advised you are still active priests?

A. That's correct. That's correct.

Q. Are any of those priests who advised you working in the Archdiocese of Boston?

A. No.

Q. Are they still at the diocese you left?

A. Yes.

Q. Are they -- is one of them the Bishop there now?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Sometime in 1984, were you named to become the Archbishop of Boston?

A. Yes, in January of '84 is when I found out. I forget exactly when it was made public.

Q. Do you remember when Cardinal Medeiros died?

A. He died in September of '83.

Q. Did the -- do you remember who informed you you were going to be the new Archbishop of Boston?

A. Yes. The Holy Father's representative in this country, who was Archbishop Cardinal Laghi at that time.

Q. It was directly by Cardinal Laghi?

A. He was Archbishop Laghi. It's normal that such a notification would be given by the Pope's representative to the candidate or the person.

Q. So it wasn't by Tom Doyle, Father Doyle?

A. No, no.

Q. Okay. When did you actually become Archbishop of Boston?

A. March of, March 23, maybe, March --

Q. Sometime in March?

A. March in the 20s of '84.

Q. And what is the term for when you became Archbishop of Boston?

A. I was, I was installed as Archbishop.

Q. And what was the term used to indicate that your status had become a Bishop approximately ten years earlier?

A. Ordained or consecrated at the earlier years it was called, but then later ordained.

Q. And so when you were installed as Archbishop of Boston, you were already considered a Bishop?

A. That's correct.

Q. The only thing that changed is the diocese that you were assigned to?

A. That's correct.

Q. Now, the diocese here is an archdiocese; is that correct?

A. That's correct.

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