The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


Law seeks peace, healing for church

By Ray Henry, Globe Correspondent, 5/19/2002

On the eve of Pentecost Sunday, Cardinal Bernard Law prayed yesterday for reconciliation, healing, and peace for his archdiocese, beleaguered by the sexual abuse scandal.

During his homily at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Law drew heavily from the closing chapters of the Book of John, which describes how Jesus's disciples sheltered themselves behind locked doors in fear of persecution just before the Pentecost. The event commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

''They were fearful because they had suffered some persecution. Things were not going well for them,'' Law said. ''Things are not going so well for us as an archdiocese.''

In contrast to previous weekends, no protesters picketed at the cathedral yesterday.

So far, about 100 priests in the Archdiocese of Boston have been accused of sexually abusing children and teens. Law was forced to testify this month about his treatment of John Geoghan, the priest who was moved from parish to parish despite complaints that he had repeatedly abused children.

The cardinal has resisted calls for his resignation, and declined an honorary degree under pressure.

The cardinal, who was ordained a priest 41 years ago during the Pentecost, asked yesterday for ''a fresh outpouring of the Spirit's gifts. Give new life to the church in Boston this Pentecost.''

At the end of the Mass, honoring Mary as the mother of Jesus, Lynn Kenn of East Bridgewater offered Law words of encouragement in a letter she read to parishioners.

Pentecost will offer Boston Catholics a fresh start, Kenn, 57, said after Mass. ''I truly believe in my heart this prayer will bring about the peace and reconciliation we all need.''

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 5/19/2002.
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