when i grow up i wanna be a arch-priest

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 30, 2004

From Bernard Cardinal Law's Jan 22, 2003 deposition, concerning a letter and memorandum sent to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano requesting laicization for Rev. Robert Burns.

MACLEISH: Well, Cardinal, why don't we just look again at Exhibit 2 and let me read you the last paragraph and see if you want to modify the answer you just gave.

"During his eight-year presence within the Archdiocese of Boston, Rev. Robert Burns is alleged to have sexually molested six young men. This propensity was known to officials within the Archdiocese of Boston but overlooked in favor of Fr. Burns' solemn assurance of his ability to control his impulses."

Do you see that?

LAW: I see that.

MACLEISH: So you wrote that Father Burns, that his propensity to become sexually involved with young men was known to officials within the Archdiocese of Boston. That's what you said to the Holy See, correct?

LAW: Well, I ... I did not prepare this memorandum; I submitted this memorandum.

MACLEISH: Did you read it?

LAW: I can't say whether I read it or not.

MACLEISH: A memorandum to the Holy See submitted by you as an attachment, I believe, of your letter of April 29, 1999, wouldn't it have been your practice to read communications that were as serious as these, Cardinal Law?

LAW: I would have asked that a memorandum be prepared from the record and I would have trusted the persons responsible for making the memorandum. I cannot state, as I sit here under oath, that I read that memorandum at the time. I would have asked that it be prepared. I would have been -- had confidence that it would have been accurate, but I cannot attest to the fact under oath that I read it.

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  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jun. 01, 2004 8:30 PM ET USA

    I wonder if those who defend Cardinal Law do so because he has had the reputation of being a conservative all these years. I yeild to nobody (this side of the Lefebrists) in my conservatism, but my feeling is that with conservatives like Law on our side, we don't need any liberals.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 01, 2004 2:45 PM ET USA

    Law's claim that he can't recall if he read or did not read a document sent to Cardinal Sodano of such gravity is not credible. One could hardly expect an honest answer from a person with so much to hide as "you got me -- I just lied when I said I was unaware that Burns was accused of molesting young men. You've got it before you in black and white with my name on it."

  • Posted by: cjmichael - Jun. 01, 2004 8:36 AM ET USA

    Let's put things in context. Law was not brought to Rome to oversee the Roman Diocese or even to serve in an doicesan administrative role, that's the job of the 8 other auxiliary Bishops who oversee the diocese for the Pope. Law is the archpriest of the church, not bishop. Good or bad he is still a priest and a Cardinal. It seems to me that this is an obvious slap-down and they're saying to you: WE're watching him! Those who wish he would go into hiding wouldn't be satisfied if he did.

  • Posted by: leila - May. 31, 2004 3:26 PM ET USA

    Pat, how exactly was redress found in the courts? Rereading the depositions of Cdl. Law I am reminded once again to exhort our children to read everything they sign, to deal honestly with everyone, and to let their yes be yes and their no be no. Hmm, that would make a good sermon... Truth was the victim in these scandals, and no restitution has been made.

  • Posted by: - May. 31, 2004 12:32 PM ET USA

    I too am scandalized by the repeated acts of wrongdoing. Still, is it not futile for offender to give one's pound of flesh if the offended party is still not going to be satisfied? Will he not feel he is dealing with an insatiable desire for revenge? Once redress has been found in the courts, is that not a point beyond which the offended becomes an offender? After an offended party has received (to the extent that is humanly possible) the pound of flesh, is it too much to ask that healing begin?

  • Posted by: - May. 31, 2004 10:36 AM ET USA

    Pat, Diogenes should not be satisfied with "his pound of flesh". The horror visited upon the once great archdicoese of Boston by Cardinals Law and Medeiros continues to this day. We should not be allowed to forget what the hierarchy has allowed to happen. Thank you Diogenes

  • Posted by: - May. 30, 2004 1:13 PM ET USA

    With a performance like that I can see why the Pope made Cardinal Law the Archpriest of St. Mary Major in Rome. He doubtless wanted to make it possible for the cardinal to remain in Rome safely immune from similar future exchanges.

  • Posted by: - May. 30, 2004 11:10 AM ET USA

    Not satisfied with your pound of flesh, Diogenes?