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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bernard Law — the cardinal archbishop of Boston when the lid was blown off the homosexual priest sex abuse scandal in 2001 — has died in Rome at the age of 86.
Law resigned in disgrace in December 2002 after it was discovered U.S. Catholic bishops had been shuffling sexually abusive priests from parish to parish for over 40 years. He had been named as a witness in the case of homosexual Fr. John Geoghan who had raped or molested an estimated 130 boys over 30 years. Geoghan was strangled and kicked to death in prison by his cellmate in 2003.
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The award-winning Hollywood film, "Spotlight," recounted how investigative reporters brought attention to priest sex abuse that had been covered up by the Boston archdiocese — abuse that was overwhelmingly homosexual in nature.
A report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released its initial report in 2004, concluding, This was not a 'pedophile' scandal but a homosexual scandal. Eighty percent of the alleged victims were male and nearly 90 percent were post-pubescent, with "only a small percentage of priests receiving allegations of abusing young children." An updated report, issued in 2011, revealed similar numbers: 81 percent of sex abuse victims were boys and 78 percent were post-pubescent.
The exposure of the Boston archdiocese began a domino effect that has led to over 11 dioceses declaring bankruptcy over paying out reparations to abuse victims.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the current archbishop of Boston, responded to the news, writing in Crux:
I recognize that Cdl. Law's passing brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people. I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones. To those men and women, I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered, my continued prayers and my promise that the archdiocese will support them in their effort to achieve healing.
The Vatican is confirming Law's funeral will take place at St. Peter's Basilica on December 21 at the altar of the Chair of Peter with Cdl. Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. Pope Francis is expected to preside over the rite of Last Commendation and Valediction. Law's remains will be interred in a tomb at St. Mary Major.
Joelle Casteix, Western Regional Leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), commented:
Our only hope is that the Vatican keeps these survivors in mind when it comes time for the cardinal's funeral. We highly doubt there is a single victim of abuse who will ever receive the same attention, pomp and circumstance by Pope Francis. 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?
She continues, "This celebratory focus on abuse enablers like Law must end. It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change — protecting children and those who have been hurt."
Sources in 2013 maintain that Pope Francis didn't even want to see Cdl. Law when he visited St. Mary Major after becoming pope. The Vatican spokesman denied the claim, adding the pope met briefly with Law.
Since 2002, many dioceses have settled abuse allegations. Church Militant has reported that over $3 billion in financial reparation has been paid out to victims of priest sex abuse, noting that unless homosexuality is rooted out of the priesthood no real effort will be made to remedy the situation.
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