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Cardinal Law Staying Archbishop as Long as God Gives Him Opportunity

Aired April 15, 2002 - 10:46   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now the latest from Boston. Lawyers in Massachusetts say that hundreds of people are coming forward accusing priests in the Boston area of sexual abuse. Cardinal Law of Boston, meanwhile, remains in his post.

Our Jason Carroll has the latest on the growing scandal.

Jason, good morning.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Daryn.

As you know, this controversy isn't going away anytime soon. Cardinal Law sent out a letter to his priests on Friday staying -- saying that he intends to stay on as archbishop as long as God gives him the opportunity. That has angered his critics and brought comfort to his supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): The embattled cardinal of Boston Archdiocese, Bernard Law, did not give Sunday mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross like he usually does. Law remains in seclusion at his residence. The message from the service went to the heart of the issue some say Cardinal Law ignored far too long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But most especially the children and families who have been abused by clergy may gaze upon the wounded but now resurrected Jesus and find hope that our wounds may be healed.

CARROLL: Outside the cathedral, there was another message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prison for Law! Prison for Law!

CARROLL: One Cardinal Law has heard from his critics before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Catholic Church cannot heal with these types of people in office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any Catholics who can go to church and say that they still believe in the cardinal and believe in the Catholic faith, I think really need to do some soul searching.

CARROLL: Not everyone who gathered in front of Holly Cross wanted Cardinal Law to resign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are praying for the cardinal. CARROLL: One man handed out red stickers, a symbolic sign, he says, of support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's the scapegoat right now for this whole issue. There's an oversight of all of the good he's done in this diocese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we as Catholics need to back our clergy.

CARROLL: Law is getting the backing of the National Conference of Bishops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think there's anyone present who understands the challenges that Cardinal Law faces better than himself. He enjoys my prayers, best wishes and I pray also for the Archdiocese of Boston.

CARROLL: Despite support from the church, calls for Law's resignation remain loud and strong. The assurance, he wrote in a letter to priests, saying he would make sure no child is ever abused again in the archdiocese is not enough for his critics. Editorials asking for his ouster keep coming and protesters say they will, too, until Law steps down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: Cardinal Law remains in seclusion. His parishioners say this is the first time he has missed a Sunday Mass. To date, some 500 people have filed claims against the Archdiocese of Boston -- Daryn

KAGAN: Jason, what about criminal charges against church officials?

CARROLL: Well, I know that the state attorney general has spoken on this issue, and he says that in reality there's -- it's probably not very likely that criminal charges will be filed against Cardinal Law. He did say, however, that there is a possibility that other priests within the archdiocese could be facing charges -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Jason Carroll in Boston, thank you.

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