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By Diogenes (articles ) | May 27, 2004

The Vatican just named a new Archpriest of Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major: Bernard Cardinal Law.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents more than 130 alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests, said the Vatican was sending a bad message by giving Law a high profile new job.

"He apparently is being transferred to a position that is comfortable and appears to be some sort of reward," Garabedian said. "The Vatican either doesn't understand the problem of clergy sex abuse, or it doesn't care. That shows by this new prestigious post given to Cardinal Law."

Well, it' s not a prestigious post. In ecclesiastical terms, it's the equivalent of running one of those electric pool-skimmers 40 hours a week. But variations on Garabedian's theme will be squealing on every talk show and editorial page for a week. And the worst part of it is that Garabedian's charge ("doesn't understand or doesn't care") is unanswerable. It'll be a snowy day in August, it seems, before the penny drops across the river.

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  • Posted by: Gil125 - May. 29, 2004 5:12 PM ET USA

    Few if any pool skimmers live in palaces comparable to that which houses the Archpriest of Sta. Maria Maggiore. And the NY Times story reported that Cardinal Carlo Furno, Cardinal Law's predecessor, had to make do on a stipend of 10,000 Euros ($12,000) a month. He also retains his memberships in many Vatican Congregations---including the one that deals with discipline of priests. And symbolically, running one of the four Major Basilicas in the world ain't skimmin' swimmin' pools.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 28, 2004 10:10 PM ET USA

    I agree with Gertrude. If this cardinal is not to be chastised, then just when IS chastisement appropriate. We as a Church seem quite comfortable in dictating moral standards to the rest of the world, particularly outside of the Church proper, but when it comes to maintaining and enforcing those same standards within our own midst, we fail miserably.

  • Posted by: Gertrude - May. 28, 2004 10:34 AM ET USA

    I don't understand how the Vatican bureaucracy works. Surely His Holiness has the final say? Or does he even know about this latest appointment? I love JPII. But this appointment, even if it is equivalent to pool skimming, can do incalculable damage! If the rest of the world perceives it to be a reward, the image of an uncaring, club of good ol' boys, has just been reinforced! And even most Catholics will see it that way. Law needs to go to a hermitage to do penance for the rest of his life.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2004 9:22 AM ET USA

    Perhaps if Law had been disciplined earlier, or if he had defrocked some of his sodomite priests right away, the payoffs would never have happened. I think this is God's judgment on an evil, weak ecclesial bureaucracy

  • Posted by: Sterling - May. 27, 2004 9:24 PM ET USA

    Despite Law's failings, and they are numerous, it is Garabedian who should be running for cover. Where are his kids going to school while three Catholic schools that serve minorities are closing? He cried and he cried over those poor victims - well, is he shedding ONE TEAR over the new "victims" of parish closings? Let him come clean about how much $$$ he made from weeping over the sex abuse victims. OK, let Law weep at St. Mary Major, but let Garabedian sweep at St. Mary Minor!

  • Posted by: - May. 27, 2004 12:28 PM ET USA

    Law deserves a jail cell, not a job as an ecclesiastical pool-skimmer. His cardinalatial robes didn't place him above the law. This is Vatican bureaucratic butt-covering at its worst.

  • Posted by: - May. 27, 2004 11:43 AM ET USA

    Cardinal Law's talents will be wasted in Rome. He should be posted post haste to the see of Los Angeles where his presence will provide at least an incremental improvement in discipline and order. The current occupant of that see could join with Cardinal Kasper and form a rock band called "Ecumania." The Pope can hire them to perform for his World Youth Day festivities.