US: Disgraced Cardinal Law, byword for Catholic sexual abuse crisis, dies

A succession of devastating stories by the Boston Globe's Spotlight team had showed how priests who sexually abused children had been moved from parish to parish for years under Law's tenure without informing parishioners or law authorities. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Boston, MA, United States Dec 20, 2017, 02.16 PM (IST)

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston who resigned in disgrace after covering up years of sexual abuse of children by priests and whose name became a byword for scandal in the Catholic Church, died on Wednesday (December 20).

Reuters correspondent Philip Pullella said that "he was perhaps the greatest symbol of the Church's failure to deal with sexual abuse", adding that even if "the American Church has made a lot of progress in changing procedures to keep possible abusers away from children, abuse victims say that not enough has been done".

Law was archbishop of Boston for 18 years when Pope John Paul - who in 1984 had appointed Law to run one of the most prestigious and wealthy American archdioceses - reluctantly accepted his resignation on Dec. 13, 2002, after a tumultuous year in Church history.

A succession of devastating stories by the Boston Globe's Spotlight team had showed how priests who sexually abused children had been moved from parish to parish for years under Law's tenure without informing parishioners or law authorities.

The Vatican announced his death in a one-line statement just before dawn and sources close to Law, who died in a hospital in Rome, said he had been suffering from the complications of diabetes, liver failure and a buildup of fluids around the heart, known as pericardial effusion.

Like those of all cardinals who die in Rome, Law's funeral is likely to be held in St. Peter's Basilica.