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Emotion Growing in Boston After Law Resignation

Aired December 13, 2002 - 11:06   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Boston's cardinal, Bernard Law, that's our other top story today, and he is weighing very heavily into the news this morning. He resigned at the Vatican this morning, and he has been under intense pressure to step aside, as you may know, for his mishandling of the church sex abuse scandal.
Our Boston Bureau Chief, Bill Delaney joins us now. He has got the reaction from Boston, which I am sure has been building throughout the morning -- Bill.

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Building and building, Leon. You know, I'm standing outside the grounds of the chancery of the archdiocese of Boston, rolling acres, beautiful buildings, including the Italian palazzo (ph) where Cardinal Law lives. To many Catholics here, the ultimate symbol of the distance between the hierarchy of this church and the average Catholic in the pew. Now, look at this newspaper. This is the tabloid. This is what average blue collar Bostonians tend to read. The "Boston Herald." This is a very different edition than the one that came out at 5:00 in the morning when I first saw a "Boston Herald."

This bulldog edition rushed out, "Law Quits," an emblem of the tremendous emotion now roaring through this city. It's been roaring for 11 months. Now a sense of relief among many, a sense of sorrow among many, but a sense that the job still isn't complete here, that there is still much work to be done for reconciliation between -- this archdiocese has 2,000,000 Catholics -- and the hierarchy who run this archdiocese.

Now, the senior senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, his family close to Cardinal Law for these 18 years that the cardinal's been archbishop here. Senator Ted Kennedy had this to say just a little while ago.


SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, there's evidence cardinal law made the right decision in resigning today, and this is the beginning of what I expect will be a long process of healing. For the victims, for the families, for the Catholic Church, for the Catholic community generally. But today is a new day, and it's a hopeful day, and I expect that this process of healing and reconciliation and forgiveness is going to take a very considerable period of time. But today is a very important day and a hopeful day for many families in Boston.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DELANEY: The man now charged most centrally with trying to bring about that healing in the next several months, auxiliary bishop Richard Lennon. He has been appointed by the Vatican apostolic administrator here. Now, that means he takes over all the duties of Cardinal Law. He is not expected, at this point anyway, to be named the next cardinal. That's a process that will take many, many months.

Another process that will take many, many months -- the legal proceedings here. They will go on and on, Leon. Cardinal Law himself expected back this weekend. He will be in pretrial depositions yet again as of Tuesday, just a few days from now, he goes right back into the legal maelstrom still swirling around here in Boston -- Leon.

HARRIS: Bill, as it's been said this morning by some of the survivors of alleged abuse that we heard talk earlier this morning, this is not the end for them. They are still saying that they want to see some action among the ranks of the bishops who were supervisors who let all this happen underneath their watch as well. Is there anything to read in what's happened this morning as to what's going to happen with those who served under Cardinal Law?

DELANEY: Well, that fierce press conference from plaintiffs' attorney Mitchell Garabedian just in the past hour ago is the best measure I've seen yet of the anger that's still here in this archdiocese.

People want healing. There will be some forgiveness too, but particularly amongst these victims, there is tremendous anger still, and they feel like this is just the beginning of a process, a legal process, a process of removing other bishops throughout the United States who may have known about alleged actions of sexual abuse, and that includes archbishops in New York, on Long Island, in Kentucky, throughout the country.

Now, this is what the Vatican, Leon, always feared the most. This, it's believed, is one reason that when Cardinal Law first offered his resignation back in April, the pope refused to accept that resignation. They have been afraid that this could turn into a house of cards, that once the senior cardinal in the United States resigned, that that could mean pressure on other bishops to resign could become overwhelming -- Leon.

HARRIS: That remains to be seen. Boy, interesting story. Bill Delaney in Boston this morning. Thank you very much, Bill, appreciate it. You have been up bright and early on this story. Good work.


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