The Law and The Cardinal

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It seems it’s more a matter of when than whether. Calls for the resignation of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law are rising in volume and number by the hour. The man who allegedly knowingly protected child-molesting priests, who seems to have been more concerned with secrecy and the image of the church than the well-being of its children, is being told by the papers, by politicians, by priests and by thousands of parishioners that his time is past.

Yet even beyond the calls for resignation are the questions of liability: whether Law is legally responsible for the actions of his priests, whether he can or should be taken to court. RICO anti-racketeering laws, obstruction of justice questions and Good Samaritan statutes, the spirit and the letter of the Law and Cardinal Law.


Kevin M. Burke, district attorney, Essex County, MA

Kathleen Reagan, writer and former prosecutor, Plymouth County, MA

Rev. Paul E. Kilroy, pastor, St. Bernard Church in Newton, MA and a founder of the Boston Priests’ Forum

Tom Gagen, chief editorial writer, Boston Globe

Derrick Jackson, Boston globe Columnist.