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O'Malley invites Law, victims

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Spotlight Report

O'Malley invites Law and victims of clergy abuse to ceremony

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff, 7/18/2003

Archbishop-designate Sean Patrick O'Malley has invited his predecessor, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, and some victims of the sexual abuse scandal that led to Law's resignation to his July 30 installation as Boston's sixth archbishop, church officials said yesterday.

Officials said O'Malley's installation as leader of the nation's fourth-largest Catholic archdiocese will be a more modest affair than the grand celebration that saw Law take the helm of the archdiocese 19 years ago.

''Bishop O'Malley wants to keep the pomp down to a mininum,'' said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocesan spokesman, as he briefed reporters yesterday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End, where the installation Mass will be celebrated.

But as much as O'Malley might want to tone things down, the two-hour ceremony will remain a vast spectacle: Some 2,500 people have been invited, including the archdiocese's 600 priests, 300 priests from the Fall River diocese where O'Malley served as bishop from 1992 until last year, and more than 800 lay people from the archdiocese's 426 parishes.

Color guards of Catholic lay groups, including the Knights of Columbus, will attend, though O'Malley has asked that the knights not raise their swords in salute as they have done at previous installations, Coyne said.

''If everyone who is invited shows up, they won't fit,'' Coyne said. ''But we don't expect everyone who is invited to show up.''

It is unclear whether Law will. He could not be reached for comment yesterday at the Maryland convent he moved to shortly after resigning as archbishop last December. Sister Mother Mary Quentin, superior general of the Sisters of Mercy, said Law was away, as he often is. She would not say where.

''He's gone more than he's here,'' Quentin said, speaking from the Michigan headquarters of the order. ''He's in Rome, and he gets invited to speak everywhere.''

Quentin said she hopes that if Law accepts the invitation to the installation, Boston will treat him with dignity. ''He's not a wicked man. He's done a lot of good. Boston has a lot of class. I hope Boston forgives him.''

As for O'Malley, Quentin said, ''You got a prince in him.''

But O'Malley apparently is less interested in being surrounded by princes of the church than his predecessor. Most, if not all, of the American cardinals were invited to or attended Law's installation. But only two or three of the 14 cardinals have been invited to or are expected to attend O'Malley's, Coyne said. Coyne said that among those expected to attend are Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Vatican's representative to the United States, and two American cardinals, Cardinal J. Francis Stafford and Cardinal William Baum.

Also invited are leaders of other religious demoninations, as well as civic and political figures. Leading politicians, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Mitt Romney are expected, though archdiocese officials would not confirm they were invited and declined to release an invitation list.

''The invitations just went out [Wednesday]. We don't want people reading about invitations in the newspaper before they get them,'' Coyne said.

Coyne said about 30 bishops have been invited. In contrast, more than 130 bishops attended Law's installation in 1984. Among the bishops invited is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, who, like O'Malley, is a Capuchin, a order of Franciscan friar.

O'Malley's two-hour installation is scheduled to be a half-hour shorter than Law's, and will also be more modest. Under his bright white vestments, O'Malley will wear the coarse, brown robe he prefers to the more regal clothing of the Catholic hierarchy.

On the day of his installation, Law was host to prominent Bostonians for lunch in a ballroom at the Park Plaza Hotel. Coyne said O'Malley plans to invite those who attend his installation out to St. John's Seminary in Brighton ''for light refreshments.''

O'Malley met with some alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests earlier this month, on the day he was named to succeed Law. In keeping with his goal of fostering reconciliation in an archdiocese that has been reeling since the sexual abuse scandal exploded in January 2002, O'Malley has invited representatives from what Coyne called ''victims/survivors groups'' to his installation.

''There is no plan for [O'Malley] receiving victims/survivors, but significant blocks of tickets for them have been put aside,'' he said.

Coyne said victims would not be grouped in one section of the cathedral. He said he did not know if demonstrators who have protested outside the cathedral regularly, demanding that the archdiocese do more to compensate victims, will show up at the ceremony.

The installation will begin with a procession into the cathedral, led by the Knights of Columbus and Knights of Malta fraternal groups, followed by the hundreds of priests expected to attend. O'Malley will walk down the center aisle of the cathedral, bless the congregation, then proceed to the cathedra, the archbishop's ornate chair, which sits to the left of the altar. When O'Malley sits in the cathedra, Coyne said, he assumes his position as archbishop. A Mass, made lengthy because of the numbers expected to receive communion, will follow, and O'Malley will deliver a homily.

Yesterday, Law's seal was still over the cathedral. It reads, in Latin: ''To live is Christ.'' Coyne said he did not think O'Malley's seal would be done in time for his installation. O'Malley's seal, taken from a Gospel verse about obedience, translates as: ''Do whatever he tells you.''

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 7/18/2003.
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