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The Latest: SNAP: No ‘celebratory focus’ for Law’s funeral

December 20, 2017

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston who was a central figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal. (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

An advocacy group for survivors of sex abuse is calling for Pope Francis to keep survivors in mind when he celebrates Cardinal Bernard Law’s funeral Mass.

SNAP, which gained prominence as the U.S. abuse scandal erupted in Law’s Boston in 2002, said no victim of sexual abuse will ever receive the same attention and pomp that Law received in life and is due to receive in death.

In a statement, SNAP’s Joelle Casteix said Catholics should ask the Vatican why Law was promoted to a prominent position at a Vatican basilica after he resigned in disgrace as Boston’s archbishop.

She said: “This celebratory focus on abuse enablers like Law must end. It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change: protecting children and those who have been hurt.”

Law died Wednesday in Rome. Francis is expected to celebrate his funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica later this week.

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11:20 a.m.

Pope Francis has made no immediate comment about the passing of disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law during his weekly general audience.

Francis though is expected to send an official telegram of condolence later Wednesday and celebrate Law’s funeral Mass, an honor accorded to all Rome-based cardinals.

Francis met briefly with Law the day after he was elected pope, when he went to pray at St. Mary Major. Law had been appointed archpriest of the important Vatican basilica in 2004, after he resigned under pressure as archbishop of Boston for having failed to protect children from pedophile priests. He retired as archpriest in 2011, when he turned 80, but was on hand at the basilica to greet the new pope in 2013.

Law died early Wednesday in Rome after a long illness.

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9:30 a.m.

Alexa MacPherson, who says she was a victim of clergy sex abuse for six years as a small child, says she won’t be mourning Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston.

“Good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope the gates of hell are swinging wide to allow him entrance,” she told The Associated Press.

“I won’t shed a tear for him - I might shed a tear for everyone who’s been a victim under him.”

Law, who died early Wednesday in Rome, was the Boston archbishop in 2002 when court documents revealed he had failed to stop priests who molested children.

Law and other church leaders had moved guilty clergy from parish to parish in Massachusetts without alerting parents or police. He resigned amid a public uproar over his actions.

“He just continued to hide everything and cover it up all in an effort to maintain this perfect image of the church,” MacPherson added.

Barbara Sidorowicz, the mother of three abuse victims, also had no good words for Law.

“I’m a person, I cannot ever turn my back on my faith, but I can’t find it in my heart to forgive,” she said. “I cry over what happened to my children, but I can’t cry over him. I can’t even get myself to say a prayer for him. He should have been in jail.”

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6:30 a.m.

A Boston attorney who has represented dozens of people who say they were sexually abused by priests says Cardinal Bernard Law’s death has reopened old wounds.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said that “many victims are reminded of the pain.”

Law, who died early Wednesday in Rome, was the Boston archbishop in 2002 when court documents revealed he had failed to stop priests who molested children.

Law and other church leaders had moved guilty clergy from parish to parish in Massachusetts without alerting parents or police. He resigned amid a public uproar over his actions.

Garabedian says Law “turned his back on innocent children and allowed them to be sexually abused.”

Vatican officials later appointed Law to run a major basilica in Rome. Critics condemned the appointment.

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6:26 a.m.

The Vatican says Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston, has died at 86.

Law had recently been hospitalized in Rome. The Holy See said in a statement that Law died early Wednesday following a long illness.

Law was the Boston archbishop in 2002 when court documents revealed he had failed to stop priests who molested children.

Law and other church leaders had moved guilty clergy from parish to parish in Massachusetts without alerting parents or police. He resigned amid a public uproar over his actions.

Vatican officials later appointed him to run a major basilica in Rome. Critics condemned the appointment as a reward for the cardinal.

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