Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston made famous for covering up decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and resigning in disgrace, died Wednesday in Rome where’d he’d been serving as the chief priest at a parish following the events depicted in the movie Spotlight.
According to the Vatican, he’d been dealing with “a long illness.” The Vatican added that Law would receive a full cardinal’s funeral at St. Peter’s Basilica with the dean of the College of Cardinals presiding over the service and Pope Francis participating. That Law’s life will be celebrated at the Vatican, after already getting promoted to his position in Rome after leaving Boston, is not sitting well with victims of abuse. According to a statement from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (via CNN):
“Survivors of child sexual assault in Boston, who were first betrayed by Law’s cover-up of sex crimes and then doubly betrayed by his subsequent promotion to Rome, were those most hurt. No words can convey the pain these survivors and their loved ones suffered. Every single Catholic should ask Pope Francis and the Vatican why. Why Law’s life was so celebrated when Boston’s clergy sex abuse survivors suffered so greatly? Why was Law promoted when Boston’s Catholic children were sexually abused, ignored, and pushed aside time and time again?”
In Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley used the news of Law’s death as an opportunity to apologize to victims of abuse. “Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities. I deeply regret that reality and its consequences,” O’Malley told reporters.