Rumours that Law may step down increase

CARDINAL Bernard Law sought counsel at the Vatican last night, fuelling speculation he would step down over the deepening sex abuse scandal in Boston.

Papers released in Boston last week, part of a huge collection of Church files that victims’ lawyers pried from the archdiocese, document shocking abuse by priests. The papers revealed a priest beating his housekeeper and threatening alleged sex abuse victims, another trading cocaine for sex, and a third claiming to be the second coming of Christ in order to entice girls training to be nuns into having sex. The documents intensified calls for Cardinal Law to resign. His arrival in Rome has fuelled speculation that he will step down. The pope is the only church official who can appoint and oust bishops. Even when a bishop decides to resign or retire, he cannot leave his post without the pope’s authorisation.

However, Cardinal Law may be in Rome for a different reason. An archdiocese financial panel last Wednesday gave Cardinal Law permission to file for bankruptcy on behalf of the archdiocese, which faces millions of dollars in claims from sexual abuse victims. Law has brushed off calls for his resignation for months, but for the first time he now faces the same request from priests.

Boston-area priests have been circulating a draft statement calling for Law’s resignation. “Events of recent months make it clear to us that your position as our bishop is so compromised that it is no longer possible for you to exercise the spiritual leadership required for the church of Boston,” the petition reads.

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