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The Latest: Head of US bishops group praying for the abused

December 20, 2017

BOSTON (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):

11:25 a.m.

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says he’s praying for victims of clergy sex abuse following the death of Cardinal Bernard Law.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo laments that Law’s death could be a moment of more pain for victims. Law resigned in disgrace as archbishop of Boston in 2002 amid revelations that he and bishops across the country had kept child molesters in parishes for decades.

Law died Wednesday in Rome.

DiNardo said the victims’ willingness to speak out bravely about what they had suffered had compelled American church leaders to confront their failures to protect young people.

DiNardo said he was also praying for Law and his family. A funeral is scheduled for Thursday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

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9:05 a.m.

Pope Francis is sending his condolences for the death of Cardinal Bernard Law and says he is praying for his soul.

Francis sent a telegram of condolences Wednesday to the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. The letter makes no mention of Law’s role as the former archbishop of Boston, where he was responsible for covering up for sexually abusive priests in a scandal that erupted across the nation and eventually cost the American church some $3 billion in legal fees.

Rather, Francis’ telegram refers to Law’s final position as archpriest of the St. Mary Major basilica in Rome.

In it Francis said: “I raise prayers for the repose of his soul, that the Lord, God who is rich in mercy, may welcome him in His eternal peace, and I send my apostolic blessing to those who share in mourning the passing of the cardinal.”

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8:55 a.m.

Pope Francis will preside over funeral rites for former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430GMT) Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, will be the lead celebrant at the funeral Mass, with other cardinals and bishops concelebrating.

Francis will then perform the final funeral rite, an honor accorded to all Rome-based cardinals.

Francis on Wednesday sent a telegram of condolences to Sodano that made no mention of Law’s tenure in Boston, where he covered up for sexually abusive priests in a scandal that erupted nationwide.

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8:10 a.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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5:20 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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3:30 a.m.

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

Alexa MacPherson tells The Associated Press she hopes “the gates of hell are swinging wide to allow him entrance.”

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.

Barbara Sidorowicz, the mother of three abuse victims, also had no good words for Law. She says she can’t find it in my heart to forgive Law and that she thinks he should have been in jail.

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12:30 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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12:25 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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