Boston Cardinal expected to see Pope

EMBATTLED Cardinal Bernard Law met with Vatican officials again yesterday, a day after the Boston Archdiocese released more personnel records on sexually abusive priests and 58 clerics submitted a letter calling for Cardinal Law to resign.

Cardinal Law was meeting privately with the top Vatican officials who would handle the damage caused by the sex abuse scandal - the possibilities of a bankruptcy filing by the archdiocese or a resignation by Cardinal Law.

A senior Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cardinal Law’s “agenda was open” but that he was expected to see the Pope later this week.

On Monday, the archdiocese released a new round of records that show church leaders took some allegations of sex abuse by priests more seriously after a formal policy on abuse was instituted in 1993.

Also on Monday, 58 Boston-area priests signed a letter formally calling for Cardinal Law’s resignation.

“The events of recent months and, in particular, of these last few days, 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 letter said.

The Vatican has said little about the previously unannounced visit by Cardinal Law, except for a brief statement by Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls dismissed speculation that the Vatican was weighing the unusual step of naming a “coadjutor”, or a successor, to Law who would serve alongside him to spare him having to resign in disgrace. The official said the idea has “never been considered”.

Last week, the Boston archdiocese’s finance panel gave Law the authority to seek bankruptcy protection for the archdiocese, a move that may prove financially necessary but would infuriate abuse victims seeking damages in dozens of lawsuits filed against the church.

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