December 26, 2017


Cardinal Bernard Law forced to resign as archbishop of Boston in 2002 over a sex abuse scandal died in Rome, aged 86. Cardinal Law was accused of moving pedophile priests from parishes rather than confront accusations. He took a post at the Vatican where he worked until 2011. In January, the Boston diocese had allegations of sexual misconduct by dozens of priests over a time span of decades. It avoided bankruptcy by agreeing to sell land and buildings for more than $100m (£74m) to fund legal settlements for more than 500 abuse victims.


The scandal prompted the Vatican to draw up new plans to stop child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. “It is my fervent prayer that this action may help the archdiocese of Boston to experience the healing, reconciliation and unity which are so desperately needed,” he said at the time. The reports led to the resignation of Cardinal Law and the uncovering of further abuse in 102 cities in the US and 105 dioceses worldwide.


Cardinal Law was born in 1931 in Torreon, Mexico, the son of a US Air Force colonel and a musician. He graduated from Harvard University and was ordained a priest in 1961. The story of the Boston Globe investigation by four reporters on how the church had covered up sexual abuse by more than 70 priests in the Boston area was immortalized in the 2015 film Spotlight, which won the Oscar for Best Picture.

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