05.31a Cardinal Law's Promotion; The Roman Catholic Church's Toleration of Pedophilia. Cardinal Law, the disgraced former Archbishop of Boston, has just been given a promotion by the Vatican. Pope John Paul has his good points, but he shows by this that he feels early retirement is too harsh a penalty for a bishop guilty of large-scale facilitation of priestly pedophilia. Cardinal Law showed that his first principle was "Look after the clergy," and Pope John Paul apparently shares that principle.

Bernard Cardinal Law was appointed by the Pope yesterday to a ceremonial but highly visible post in Rome, outraging many in the archdiocese that Law left in disgrace at the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Law, 72, will have the title of archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica, a post often given to retired prelates.

Pope John Paul's announcement came two days after the Boston Archdiocese said it would lose at least 65 parishes as it grapples with declining collections, a shortage of priests and fallout from the sex abuse scandal.

The Rev. Bob Bowers of St. Catherine's Church in Charlestown said he was astounded that the Vatican would "reward" Law so soon after announcing church closings caused in part by what he considers mismanagement of the archdiocese.


Law was named in hundreds of lawsuits accusing him of failing to protect children from known child molesters. He resigned in 2002.

Ten months later, Law's successor, Archbishop Sean O'Malley, helped broker an $85million settlement with more than 550 victims of pedophile priests.

Since his resignation, Law has served as resident chaplain at a convent in Maryland. Law has kept close ties with Rome, serving on nine Vatican congregations and councils. He also kept the title of cardinal, retaining the right to vote in papal elections until he turns 80.

"We understand that many in the hierarchy consider Law a smart man with some skills," said David Clohessy, spokesman for the sex abuse victims group SNAP. "We also know, however, that many in the pews consider Law a near criminal with major liabilities."

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