Returning from a week-long trip to the Vatican, Cardinal Bernard Law of the Roman Catholic Boston Archdiocese announced yesterday that he has no plans to resign after knowingly allowing alleged pedophiles to remain in their posts as priests for decades. Of his refusal to resign, Law said, “I think that it would not serve the cause of protecting children if I were, at this point, to submit my resignation to the Holy Father.”
Law admitted that he knew that now defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, convicted of indecent assault on a minor and charged with child rape and molestation, had been accused of child abuse in at least three parishes, but instead of revoking his duties, Law merely reassigned Geoghan to new parishes. This decision helped Geoghan allegedly victimize more than 130 children since the 1980s according to the Boston Globe. Of his decision, Law claimed, “I didn’t have the knowledge, the experience with this issue, the wisdom of time that I have now.”
Since the publicity spurned by the Geoghan trial, the Boston Archdiocese has released 85 names of priests who are suspected of allegedly sexually abusing children to district attorneys in at least five counties. Law now plans to focus on protecting children, but many are skeptical. Critics have charged that if Law had been in any other profession, he would have been forced to step down. In response, Law said, “It’s important to remember that a bishop is not a corporate executive, is not a politician…the role of a bishop in relationship to the church he serves is something different. It’s the role of pastor, the role of teacher, the role of a father.”
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