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Protesters Say Boston Cardinal Should Resign

Dec 9, 2002 | AP

Facing rekindled outrage from priests and parishioners over new revelations of clergy misconduct, Cardinal Bernard Law stayed away from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday as protesters renewed calls for his resignation.

Some 400 protesters gathered outside the cathedral, where Law had been expected to celebrate mass, as they have since the abuse scandal erupted in January. Law was in Rome instead, archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said; she said she did not know why.

Sunday's larger-than-usual protest was fueled by last week's release of new internal church documents containing some of the most spectacular allegations yet, suggesting church officials tolerated a wide range of clergy misconduct, and not just sexual abuse of boys.

''His presence here is hindering the ability of the victims to come out. He is the real voice of dissent here. He is the one flouting Catholic teachings time and again,'' said Jean Garrity, 43, of Wellesley, a member of the dissident group Voice of the Faithful.

Law has brushed off calls for his resignation for months, but for the first time he now faces the same request from priests.

Boston-area priests have been circulating a draft statement calling for Law's resignation. The petition praises Law for his leadership, but says the release of damaging internal church files makes his resignation ''a necessary step.''

The 250-member Boston Priests Forum plans to discuss calling on Law to resign at a meeting Friday.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Morrissey said she could not comment on the petition because she had not seen it. She also said Law was not deterred by Sunday's protest at the cathedral.

The latest personnel papers, part of a huge collection of church files that victims' lawyers pried from the archdiocese, document a priest beating his housekeeper and threatening alleged sex abuse victims, another trading cocaine for sex, and a third claiming to be the second coming of Christ to entice teenagers training to be nuns into having sex.

Other papers disclosed that a priest fathered at least two children and apparently failed to get immediate medical help for their mother when she overdosed.

An advisory panel Wednesday gave Law the OK to seek a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for the archdiocese a move that could anger abuse victims seeking damages.

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