The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


At Mass, cardinal mum on sex abuse

By Michael S. Rosenwald, Globe Staff, 6/3/2002

On the eve of a potentially crucial week in the legal proceedings surrounding the clergy sexual abuse crisis, Cardinal Bernard F. Law remained silent on the issue yesterday at Mass, just as he has for the past several weeks.

Law will join a series of high-ranking church officials scheduled to be deposed this week, including Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., and Bishop Robert J. Banks of Green Bay, Wisc. Law is to answer questions on Wednesday and Friday from attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents an alleged victim of retired priest Paul R. Shanley.

Law was deposed for several days last month by another attorney representing alleged victims of defrocked priest and convicted child molester John Geoghan.

"May we experience, even now, with the difficulties that may lie ahead of all of us, the joys and pleasures of Heaven," Law said near the end of his homily yesterday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

Outside, the now-familiar faces of two-dozen protesters still demanded his resignation. One stalwart protester said he plans to begin picketing tomorrow outside the office of Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, asking that he convene a special grand jury to look into criminal charges against Law.

Joe Gallagher, who heads the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors -- previously the Coalition of Concerned Catholics -- said he hoped Law would provide fuller details of his role in aiding problem priests.

"I'm hoping they can back him into a corner and get a fuller and more complete truth than what we saw in the previous deposition," Gallagher said yesterday after Mass.

One Law supporter, who declined to give his name to the Globe and was new to the sometimes raucous scene outside the cathedral, handed out red stickers in the shape of the red skullcap the cardinal wears.

McCormack, who served in Boston from 1984 to 1994, is scheduled to answer questions today in the civil case against Shanley, who is facing criminal charges for allegedly raping one boy and is accused in a civil suit of raping another. Shanley has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mitchell Garabedian, who deposed Law last month in the Geoghan case, is scheduled to depose Banks tomorrow. Banks was auxiliary bishop under Law, becoming Green Bay bishop 11 years ago.

Despite what could be a dramatic week in the ongoing crisis, Law appeared relaxed both during and after Mass.

One parishioner told him he was visiting from New York. Law responded: "I'm sorry New York has to put up with the Yankees."

Michael S. Rosenwald can be reached at

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 6/3/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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