A leading Catholic Church official has just died in Rome. Cardinal Bernard Law was the long-time head of the Boston Archdiocese, supervising material affairs for more than 360 churches serving two million-plus parishioners.
Law was ousted from his position in 2002 following disclosures concerning his inadequate investigation and punishment of known pedophile priests. He was subsequently appointed to high offices in Rome. He passed away in that city yesterday.
This post does not seek to pass judgment on Law or on what one recent national news report calls "his role in allowing abusive priests to remain in church parishes."
Rather, it merely -- and rightly so, we believe -- underscores the magnitude of church abuses that have turned so many innocent lives upside down over decades. As the above-cited CNN article notes, Law was centrally "emblematic of the scandal that continues to trouble the church and its followers around the globe."
Law apologized often for his enabling decisions. He additionally met with many victims and their families and offered his resignation prior to the point where the public outcry over victim abuse became so strident that the Vatican demanded he leave Boston and assume new duties in Rome.
In the wake of Law's passing, the always present painful memories suffered by legions of abused children who are now adults have been understandably rekindled. We believe that the current news must necessarily spotlight above all else the many lives thrown into turmoil by predatory behaviors and subsequent cover-ups formally engineered at high organizational levels.
"No words can convey the pain these survivors and their loved ones suffered," stated a victims' advocacy group following the news regarding Law.