Source: VIS/Vatican Radio
Cardinal Bernard Law died in Rome yesterday, following a long illness. He was 86. Ordained in 1961, he was appointed Archbishop of Boston in 1984 where he worked to promote ecumenical dialogue and Catholic-Jewish relations. Cardinal Law resigned in 2002 following accusations that he had covered up cases of abuse against minors in his diocese.
An investigation by the Boston Globe Spotlight team (portrayed in the 2015 award-winning film Spotlight) led to the conviction and imprisonment of two former priests, John Geoghan and Paul Shanley. As the story unfolded hundreds of accusers came forward and dozens of priests were named.
In his resignation statement, Cardinal Law said: "To all those who have suffered because of my shortcomings and mistakes I once again from them apologise and from them beg forgiveness."
The diocese went on the settle more than 500 abuse claims, paying out $85 million dollars.
Following the abuse scandal the US Catholic Church has made major changes in how allegations are reported and introduced new child protection policies and procedures.
Pope Francis sent a condolence message to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of College of Cardinals, saying: "I pray for the repose of his soul, that the Lord God who is rich in mercy mat welcome him in his eternal peace."
He also sent his Apostolic Blessing "to those who share in mourning the passing of the cardinal whom I entrust to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Maey Salus Populi Romani."
Cardinal Daniel N DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement: If you have been abused or know of someone who has been abused, contact the local diocesan victims assistance coordinator and, where you may have knowledge of a crime, local law enforcement. As we reflect on the legacy of Cardinal Law, it will likely bring back painful memories for survivors. The Church seeks to always respond as supportive pastors.
"Entrusting his soul to the mercy of Christ, I echo the statement released by Cardinal Seán O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and offer my prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Cardinal Law. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. At this time especially we keep close in our prayer the brave survivors of sexual abuse. Their witness would lead to a comprehensive response from the Church in the United States to protect and heal the deep wounds of abuse. I pray they may find strength and peace in the mercy of Christ."
The funeral of Cardinal Law takes place today, 21 December.
Read more: America Magazine - Cardinal Bernard Law, the face of the church's failure on child sexual abuse, dies at 86 - www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/12/19/cardinal-bernard-law-face-churchs-failure-child-sexual-abuse-dies-86