The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


Law sends apology to bishop in Calif.

By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff, 6/28/2002

In a letter of apology to the bishop of San Bernardino, Cardinal Bernard F. Law says he was not aware of sexual misconduct allegations against the Rev. Paul R. Shanley when he approved the one-time Newton pastor's 1990 move to the California diocese, and did not read Shanley's personnel file until recently.

''The first allegation against Father Shanley of which I was previously aware was made in 1993,'' Law says in a June 19 letter released by the San Bernardino Diocese on Wednesday. ''In these past several months I have learned of allegations going back to 1966. These records, which go back to my predecessor's predecessor, were not reviewed by me before making assignments.''

In the letter, Law also says, ''Had I or any of my colleagues been aware of his history, never would we have recommended him for priestly work.''

In 1990, Bishop Robert J. Banks, then a top aide to Law, wrote the San Bernardino Diocese, saying Shanley was a priest in good standing.

The Globe previously reported that San Bernardino Bishop Gerald R. Barnes initiated a meeting with Law during the Dallas gathering of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier this month, and that Law apologized for approving Shanley's move.

A spokesman for Barnes said yesterday that the bishop had accepted Law's apology.

Michael Rezendes can be reached at

This story ran on page A12 of the Boston Globe on 6/28/2002.
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