You heard it here first

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Apr 27, 2005

Sometime during the first week in May, newspapers in the US-- especially in Boston-- will complain that Pope Benedict XVI is honoring Cardinal Bernard Law by visiting the basilica of St. Mary Major. They'll be wrong again.

The Holy Father will be honoring the Virgin Mary, and you could say that he'll be honoring the ancient Roman basilica. Cardinal Law is the archpriest of that basilica, so it's fair to say he's likely to be on hand for the occasion. But to claim that the Pope is making the trip to show his support for Cardinal Law is simply ludicrous-- a fact that won't stop media outlets from advancing exactly that claim.

If you want to complain about honors bestowed on Cardinal Law, complain about the fact that he is archpriest of the basilica. Don't complain about the particular ceremonial appearances that come with that post.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 10 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Apr. 29, 2005 9:52 AM ET USA

    A suggestion for Phil and those inclined to jot a thank you card, albeit reluctantly, to the Boston Globe. Search the CWNews archives through Dec. 31, 2001, for 'homosexual' and 'Cardinal Law'. In short, Phil, who was editor of The Pilot for a time in Boston under Law had a great deal to report on homosexuality but virtually nothing about Law. CWNews reports sporadically but correctly presented Law as an episcopal lion, standing his ground against certain other U. S. Cardinals and the Globe.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2005 9:00 PM ET USA

    Actually, I don't want to complain about the quote-honors-bestowed-on-Cardinal-Law-unquote. Nice try, though!

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 28, 2005 6:59 PM ET USA

    I don't deny that most of the media hate the Church, Igancio, but in this case we who love Her should be grateful to them. The priests were unfaithful to their vows and hurt many innocents in their charge---as well as some who were not so innocent. And the bishops let them get away with it. It is 100% certain that they they (priests and bishops) would still be getting away with it if it weren't for such enemies as the Boston Globe and (its parent) the NYTimes &al. We should thank them.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Apr. 28, 2005 7:44 AM ET USA

    You can't deny that the media was out to get the church. That is a fact. It is also a fact that a very small numer of priests sinned very badly doing much harm to the persons involved and to the reputation of the Church. The media jumped on that and milked the story for all that it was worth. Their persuit of the story went beyond the desire of journalist to get the story right. They attacked.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2005 11:51 PM ET USA

    Like verax, I can't get exercised about Cardinal Law while Roger is still at large.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2005 8:23 PM ET USA

    The story we really need to hear, and which should make news in the US, is when Benedict XVI garrisons the entire North American Epsicopacy in St. Mary Major, and forms and restaffs it, since it is really still devoted to the "Americanism" that Leo XIII condemned over 100 years ago. Of course, they lied to the Pope about it back then just like they have about the gifts of the new liturgy and the homosexuals. The Am Church criticized the good from Paul VI, and embraced the bad from him.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2005 7:05 PM ET USA

    Has Cardinal Law really screwed up any more than Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops who still hang on to their assignments over here? He is at least out of the business of reassigning men who are criminals to other unassuming parishes. He no longer is playing dumb to the decisions that were made by him or in his name. He was just a top dog that was caught. What about the scurrying rats that are left hiding and still protecting ill men who look for the weak and young for carnal pleasure?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2005 4:26 PM ET USA

    I have spoken up for Card. Law before here. I do so one more time. N. B. Just over a week before JP II accepted Law's resignation, then Card. Ratzinger spoke out in a Zenit interview (early Dec. 2002) about what he termed "a planned campaign" by the U. S. media against the Church. CWNews did not report on the interview. Law arrived days later, & JP II accepted his resignation. I have no complaint. Ratzinger was well informed. I don't think Pope Benedict is on your side on this one, Phil.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2005 1:30 PM ET USA

    I still say Cardinal Law is a lamb, compared to Roger the Terrible !

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2005 1:03 PM ET USA

    I think it is time to let this sleeping dog lie. Cardinal Law screwed up royally. In ecclesiastical terms he paid for it dearly. Once the Lord Archbishop of Boston, now he is the Archpriest of St. Mary Major. It is a wondrous basilica and, to the extent that Cardinal Law spends any time in it, the basilica won't be harmed and the cardinal may benefit. There are other big fish to fry, especially on the Left Coast of America, and there are other basilicas in Rome! Benedicite Benedictus!