Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86


The Vatican issued the statement which confirmed his death on Wednesday adding that the cardinal died early Wednesday morning after a long illness. The veteran Vatican correspondent John Allen writes that the former Archbishop of Boston was "a titan of 20th century American Catholicism, [who] ... was at the center of virtually every major development in both the society and the Church of his time".

Speaking to reporters, some survivors gathered to reflect on Law's death and the abuse they suffered by the priests he oversaw in Boston.

Alexa MacPherson, who says she was a victim of clergy sex abuse for six years as a small child, had no words of sorrow at the news of Cardinal Law's death.

Like those of all cardinals who die in Rome, Law's funeral is likely to be held in St Peter's Basilica. After his resignation as Boston archbishop in 2002, he served in Rome as archpriest of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major. The cardinal served in that post until retiring at age 80 in 2011. "I deeply regret that reality and its consequences".

"Cardinal Law, disgraced leader, dies".

"I think there was a moral imperative at the time to speak for the people who couldn't speak for themselves", Bowers said, "... folks who had been so harmed by the leadership, and the Cardinal's leadership was such a failure in addressing their needs".

Law attempted to resign as Archbishop of Boston in April 2002, but Pope John Paul II rejected his request.

The Cardinal, born in 1931 in Torreón (Mexico) and ordained a priest in 1961, remained under umbrella of church in Vatican and never testified in American courts despite huge scandals he had starring. Harassed by allegations, on December 13 of that year he presented his resignation to Pope John Paul II and this one, after having rejected it or times during a year of enormous turbulences provoked by exclusive ones on subject which was launching Boston Globe ( film Spotlight, victor of an Oscar in 2015, narrates that period), he agreed to step aside.

Francis on Wednesday sent a telegram of condolences to Sodano that made no mention of Law's tenure in Boston, where he covered up for sexually abusive priests in a scandal that erupted nationwide.

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The newspaper's uncovering of the scandal was documented in the Oscar-winning film "Spotlight" where the cardinal was portrayed as a remote and out of touch figure who presented the Jewish editor of the Boston Globe with a catechism after their first meeting.

"Most priests who abused children were not criminally charged", Rezendes said.

The funeral of Cardinal Law takes place today, 21 December.

"I cannot ever turn my back on my faith but I can't find it in my heart to forgive", she said.

The survivors of sexual abuse in Boston "were those most hurt" by the cardinal's "cover-up of sex crimes" and his "subsequent promotion to Rome", said Joelle Casteix, SNAP's Western regional leader.

"Many victims are reminded of the pain of being sexually abused upon hearing of Cardinal Law passing away", Mr Garabedian said.

But Cardinal Law's predecessor as Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, noted in his statement that much anger remains directed at Law for his complicity and help for accused priests."I recognise that Cardinal Law's passing brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people", O'Malley said.

The American church has paid more than $3 billion (£2.24) in settlements to victims, according to media reports and studies commissioned by the U.S. bishops.