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Cardinal Law wishes he could 'undo the harm'


Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston received a standing ovation yesterday after telling parishioners he wished he could "undo the harm" from the handling of sex abuse allegations against priests.

"I wish that I could turn the clock back and undo the harm and hurt that have been caused to children, to families and others as a result of some actions and decisions made both before my arrival here in 1984 and during my tenure as archbishop," he said at the beginning of Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

Law, who has rejected calls for his resignation, acknowledged he was slow to react to the problem.

"Regrettably, I and many others have been late to recognise the inadequacy of past policies, the dimensions of the crisis and the changes required to restore a sense of trust," said Law, whom critics have accused of not doing enough to keep sexually abusive priests away from children.

"The repeated public calls for my resignation are a clear signal that many feel that my leadership efforts in this area have been inadequate."

Law, who travels this week to the Vatican with other US cardinals to discuss the scandal, called it a "wake-up call for the church," and he said he would impress upon Vatican officials how seriously it has affected the American church.

"The crisis of clergy sexual abuse of minors is not just a media-driven or public perception concern in the United States but is a very serious issue undermining the mission of the church," he said.

After completing his remarks and asking the congregation at Holy Cross to pray for him, Law was given an extended standing ovation.

Washington's archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who discussed the scandal directly with Pope John Paul II two weeks ago, said that the pope is "brokenhearted" by the effect the scandal was having on American Catholics.

"He knows that Catholics in the United States have been tremendously faithful, tremendously loyal and tremendously helpful," McCarrick said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think he just feels brokenhearted by the fact that we've let them down."

SOURCE
CNN



22 Apr 2002