Bernard Francis Law

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Bernard Francis Law
Coat of arms of Bernard Francis Cardinal Law

Bernard Francis Cardinal Law (born November 4, 1931 in Torreón , Mexico - † December 20, 2017 in Rome , Italy ) was an American Roman Catholic clergyman , Archbishop of Boston and Archpriest of the Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore .


Bernard Francis Law studied at Harvard and Worthington (Ohio) the subjects of Catholic theology , philosophy and medieval history . He received on 21 May 1961, the sacrament of ordination by the apostolic delegate in the United States, Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi , then twelve years worked as a chaplain in the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson . From 1961 he headed the publication of the church newspaper of the diocese, from 1968 to 1971 he worked as secretary of the episcopal council for economic questions.

On October 22, 1973 Pope Paul VI appointed him . to the Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau . He received his episcopal ordination on December 5th of the same year by the Bishop of Natchez-Jackson , Joseph Bernard Brunini . Co-consecrators were the Archbishop of Washington , William Wakefield Baum , and the Archbishop of Cincinnati , Joseph Louis Bernardin .

On January 11, 1984, Pope John Paul II made him head of the Archdiocese of Boston and accepted him a year later as a cardinal priest with the titular church of Santa Susanna in the college of cardinals .

From January 2002, newspaper reports made sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church public; Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston on December 13, 2002 after allegations of failure to properly prosecute and report cases of sexual abuse by his diocesan priests , including John Geoghan . In December 2002, he moved from Boston to Rome, avoiding a prosecutor's subpoena on charges of aiding and abetting child sexual abuse . He had previously testified before two grand juries and a State's Attorney General and five District Attorneys (district attorneys) had investigated him. In his 2003 report, Massachusetts State's Attorney General severely criticized Bernard Francis Law, but did not accuse him of covering up abuse cases and found that he had not broken any law. Bernard Francis Law was employed as a pastor in a nunnery. From 2004 to 2011 he was archpriest of the Roman patriarchal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore .

In the movie

He is featured in the documentary Deliver Us from Evil , which deals with the abuse scandal involving Priest Oliver O'Grady . He is played by Len Cariou in the film Spotlight (2015) . The film, which is based on true facts, explores how the Boston Globe journalists' team exposed the aforementioned sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Boston in 2002 .


Cardinal Law was a member of the following units of the Roman Curia :

Bernard Francis Law was Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy Northeastern (USA) of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem .

Web links

Commons : Bernard Francis Law  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Boston's Controversial Cardinal Law Dies In Rome
  2. ^ Rinuncia dell'Arcivescovo di Boston (USA). In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , December 13, 2002, accessed March 18, 2016 (Italian).
  3. Fox Butterfield: Long Planning Is Cited in Death Of Former Priest. The New York Times , Aug. 26, 2003
  4. ^ Displeasure before the papal trip: US victims' association demands resignation from Cardinal Law. Domradio, January 2, 2008, accessed on March 18, 2016 .
  5. ^ Peggy Noonan: How to Save the Catholic Church. The Wall Street Journal , April 17, 2010, accessed March 18, 2016 .
  6. ^ Office of the Attorney General. Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The Sexual Abuse of Children in the Romas Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. (PDF, 675 kB) Executive Summary and Scope of Investigation., July 23, 2003, accessed March 18, 2016 .
  7. ^ Rinuncia dell'Arciprete della Patriarcale Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Roma e Nomina del Successore. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office, May 27, 2004, accessed March 18, 2016 (Italian).
  8. ^ Nomina di Membri della Congregazione per i Vescovi. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office, February 2, 2000, accessed March 18, 2016 (Italian).
  9. ^ A Brief History of the Northeastern Lieutenancy on the Occasion of its Silver Jubilee ( Memento October 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem , accessed on January 21, 2012
predecessor Office successor
William Wakefield Tree Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
John Joseph Leibrecht
Humberto Sousa Cardinal Medeiros Archbishop of Boston
Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley OFMCap
Humberto Cardinal Sousa Medeiros Croix de l Ordre du Saint-Sepulcre.svg Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy Northeastern (USA) of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley OFMCap
Carlo Cardinal Furno Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló