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Report: Cardinal Law Subpoenaed In Abuse Investigation

Dec 12, 2002 | CNN

Cardinal Bernard Law has been in Rome this week discussing with Vatican officials the Boston Archdiocese's problems, amid reports Thursday that a Massachusetts grand jury has subpoenaed the archbishop in connection with a sex abuse scandal.

Law has met with two senior Vatican officials, ostensibly to discuss conditions in his scandal-plagued archdiocese, but he has not sat down with Pope John Paul II, a Vatican official said Thursday. The Boston Archdiocese has endured an ongoing sex abuse scandal involving priests and is considering filing for bankruptcy protection.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls confirmed that Law has met this week with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the congregation for bishops, and Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the congregation for clergy.

Vatican sources suggest the topic of the meeting with Hoyos whose office, among other things, oversees questions involving church property -- would be dealing with the bankruptcy issue. Re, whose office oversees the world's bishops, would be involved with the general situation at the archdiocese and Law's future there.

Navarro-Valls said there have been no meetings with the pope and will be none Thursday. But there are indications that a meeting between Law and the pope could take place.

"If there is something at the level of decision or nondecision, it will be communicated here [Friday]," Navarro-Valls said.

The Boston Globe reported Thursday that Law and more than five bishops who worked for him have been subpoenaed to appear before a Massachusetts grand jury investigating "possible criminal violations by church officials who supervised priests accused of sexually abusing children."

The newspaper said that the subpoena was delivered to Law's home Friday.

Opposition to Law as archbishop continues to grow among clergy and laypersons. On Monday, 58 priests signed a letter asking Law to resign from his post.

A Catholic reform lay group, Voice of the Faithful, called Wednesday for Law's resignation.

"There is a state of spiritual and moral crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston," said Jim Post, president of Voice of the Faithful, which claims a national membership of 25,000. "In my judgment, the Archdiocese of Boston has effectively been without a bishop."

Law also resigned this week as chairman of the Catholic University of America board of trustees.

Last week, the Boston Archdiocese released extensive documents detailing startling examples of clergy sexual misconduct related to allegations priests molested children. In addition, the archdiocese Finance Council authorized Law to seek bankruptcy protection for the archdiocese, which faces an estimated 450 claims from alleged abuse victims.

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