Talk:Bernard Francis Law

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Tricking the Massachusetts Legislature[edit]

Nowhere does this article mention one of Law's dirtiest moves: tricking the Massachusetts House of Delegates into passing a law which shielded him from prosecution. [[1]] In the 1990's, Law pushed a law which would shield confessors from being prosecuted for keeping secret the content of confessions. The Mass. legislature, which was dominated by Roman Catholics, went along compliantly with this law. There was some discussion at the time as to whether it was right for a priest not to tell anyone about a confession of murder, but by Catholic Logic™ it seemed better to leave open the chance to save souls than worry about the needs of the fuzz. However, the key point is that at the same time the legislature was passing laws that made it illegal for teachers not to report signs of child abuse to the authorities. Law saw this and knew he had to cover himself because he was well aware at this time of the pedophile priests and had chosen to pay hush money to families and shielded them from civil authorities. If things continued the way they had been going this would soon become a crime! So, as a "confessor", Law gets immunity from these laws. In 2002 when everything came out, the Mass. Delegates expressed rage at their betrayal by the archbishop and the RCC influence on that body dropped precipitously. (See any number of contemporary Boston Globe articles.) Despite shrill condemnations from the RCC authorities, the Mass. House of Delegates not only upheld the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 but scuttled early attempts at plebiscites to ban it, judging correctly that given enough time, popular opinion would swing to its favor.

Whatever Law did to hide priests, this single action exposes the degree of his KNOWING CULPABILITY IN CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN. Furthermore, it is at a late date (not "it was the 60's, we didn't know any better"). Please do not let this sink into the memory hole. 98.180.8.57 (talk) 18:39, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

USAF in 1931?[edit]

The Air Force didn't exist until 1947. I suppose the author meant US Army Air Corps. If that's true, it should be changed.

There was a Torrejon Air Force Base in Spain not Mexico from the 1950s till about 1990. But it was impossible for him to be born there in 1931. There has never been a US Air Force Base in Mexico. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 144.183.31.2 (talk) 14:50, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Protests during Pope's funeral masses[edit]

" Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger gave Cardinal Law the honor of celebrating one of nine official Vatican masses during the nine official days of mourning."

I think it should be noted in the article that there were protests over having Law oversee the mass because of his association w/ the church sex abuse scandals. This was percieved by victims of abuse by priests, and their families, as a demonstration of insensitivity towards the victims. It may have been only a few people demonstrating, but I think it's notable that the Vatican chose this guy honor the pope after shaming the church (kinda makes you wonder if the Vatican really faulted him for his practice of relocating molestors and not notifying authorities or if the Vatican thought he'd done the right thing and this was a 'reward' for his service) and not everyone was happy with that.

The statement is somewhat inaccurate. As the archpriest of whatever major basilica, Cardinal Law would traditionally be one of the people to preside at one of the formal funeral Masses for a pope. The issue isn't that then Cardinal Ratzinger gave Law the honor of presiding at Mass, but that his ceremonial function wasn't taken away. Lets remember that he was appointed archpriest to remove him from any actual position of authority in the Church, as it is a mostly ceremonial function with not much more responsibility than a local parish pastor. However, when the time comes for ceremonies at the major basilicas (like papal funerals), the little position suddenly is thrust into the spotlight. Gentgeen 20:38, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
So he was given a cushy sinecure in Rome, which "kinda makes you wonder if the Vatican really faulted him for his practice of relocating molestors and not notifying authorities or if the Vatican thought he'd done the right thing and this was a 'reward' for his service". Jhobson1 18:51, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Name Issues[edit]

His full name may be Bernard Cardinal Law but he is much better known simply as Cardinal Law. --mav 03:53 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Our policy is to use the format [{first name if known} Cardinal {surname}]. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles) - Efghij 03:57 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Brain fart - I stand corrected. I'll fix. --mav


Vanadlism[edit]

Some one has deleted the entire section on the abuse scandal, can we get this back?

Law in Rome[edit]

It is incorrect to say Cardinal Law is a member of the Curia. He is not. Further, it is in accurate to say that the curia governs the Church -- neither it nor its members do. Rather the curia is a pastoral tool of the Pope.217.221.184.119 21:03, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

A pastoral tool that is used to govern the Church. Jhobson1 18:49, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't know that "govern" properly conveys what it does. What, exactly, is involved in governing the Church? Perhaps a better word can be found? ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by MikeNM (talk) 01:36, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism undetected since Oct 19, 2005[edit]

On that day User: Pitchka, now known as User: Dwain. inserted an illustration of the coat of arms of the College of Law of Adamson University (Manila), with the caption "Bernard Cardinal Law". How childish! How outrageous that this vandalism has not been corrected for more than 11 months! I shall delete this crap immediately. Too Old 04:54, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

An extreme reaction...Dunfermline Scholar (talk) 01:06, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Article Overly Favorable[edit]

The article refers to Mr. Law as being "hounded" by the scandal. This casts his opponents into an unnecessarily unfavorable light. Mr. Law is a disgrace.

130.13.2.104 12:29, 15 November 2007 (UTC)John Paul Parks130.13.2.104 12:29, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Does it really help the neutrality of the Article to edit it to make Cardinal Law sound like a disgrace? He might be one, but wiki readers should decide that for themselves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by MikeNM (talkcontribs) 01:37, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Law is a paedophile or not?[edit]

It is not clear from the article if Bernard Law is an active paedophile or not. Moreover, as a protector of paedophiles, did he protected other paedophile priests, except those mentioned in the Boston sex abuse scandal? Does the Catholic Church still promote paedophile comportaments among his priests or this practice is currently on hold? Definitely, this article needs more detail informations and disambiguations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Transsylvanian (talkcontribs) 07:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

bad wording[edit]

"His father, a career Air Force officer, was stationed at the Torreón United States Air Force base, making Bernard a so-called 'military brat'." His father's being stationed at the Torreon USAF base did not make Law a military brat. Also, the scare-quotes and the phrase "so-called" should not both be used; to do so is redundant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 139.68.134.1 (talk) 19:44, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Scandal in Boston[edit]

Part of this article might deserve to be split in an different article on the Boston chapter of the sex abuse affairs, in a subset to the article Catholic sex abuse cases. Similar forking could also be done for the Los Angeles diocese, with relevant content being on the Roger Mahony article. The reason that I am proposing a fork is that I always felt that it was inappropriate to blame all the sex abuse cases on just a few bishops, since individual priests are theoretically responsible for their actions, and that there is a general and institutional American sex culture that is unlike anywhere else on Earth. I also feel that it is un-Christian for the laity to refuse to acknowledge its part in the affairs, given that reconciliation and sin are major aspects of Church teaching. ADM (talk) 00:49, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

From above: "...there is a general and institutional American sex culture that is unlike anywhere else on Earth." HUH? I think we need a citation on that! Not sure where that opinion comes from, but much of Western Europe and Canada have a 'sex culture' much like the US (except - IN MY OPINION - they are somewhat less puritanical and hypocritical about sex than the US). William Malmstrom 24.92.217.175 (talk) 19:28, 27 March 2010 (UTC)


In the Sex Abuse Scandal section it says "...a situation furthered by Law's intransigence in not naming priests that he aided with their molestation." I'm changing this. However horribly one might believe Cardinal Law dealt with the sex abuse cases, saying he "aided [them] with their molestation" is taking things too far. "intransigence" itself is a loaded word. MikeNM (talk) 01:46, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Biography[edit]

Early Life

Please be kind - this is my first real entry on Wikipedia. I don't have the experience to edit the page, but I noticed what may be an error.

The article states that Cardinal Law was born in 1931, in Torreón, Mexico, and that his father was "a career Air Force officer was stationed at the Torreón United States Air Force base, making Bernard a so-called "military brat". I have seen this referenced even on the Vatican website [2].

Two things: First, the United States Air Force was created in 1947; its predecessors were the US Army Air Corps (1926-1941) and then the US Army Air Forces (1941-1947). This does not negate the possibility that Cardinal Law's father was "a career Air Force Officer", as the father may have completed his career after the transition to the United States Air Force (post-'47); but at the time of his birth, his father would have been a "career US Army officer assigned to the US Army Air Corps".

Second, I have doubts that the birth place is incorrect - to the best of my knowledge, the Torreón referenced in the article should not be the city in Mexico but the air base in Madrid, Spain, collocated with what is today Madrid-Torreón Airport. The web references to Cardinal Law's bio appear to be circular, given the same wording used over and over. I have yet to find supporting references to his birth being in Spain vice Mexico, but because of the airbase in Madrid-Torreón, the far most likely birthplace is Spain. If someone can provide a reliable citation, that would help. NewHampshireMatt (talk) 09:35, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Restoration of text on sexual abuse cases[edit]

It has come to my attention that User:ADM has eviscerated the articles on Bernard Law and Roger Mahony, moving out practically all the text regarding the sexual abuse cases. I grant that some of the material may need to be trimmed out but I believe that the reduction has been too drastic and does not provide adequate treatment of the single reason why these men are notable outside the Catholic Church. It is unfortunate that a single incident which is not entirely their fault should overshadow their careers but that's what happened and that's what Wikipedia should report, our own personal feelings notwithstanding. I have reverted to the revision prior to ADM's edits. I'm open to trimming the section on sexual abuse cases; however, moving most of the text out of this article is, IMO, inappropriate. --Richard (talk) 15:42, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Regarding Roger Mahony and Bernard Law, the reason some information was removed was because I decided to put it in sexual abuse scandal in Boston archdiocese and sexual abuse scandal in Los Angeles archdiocese. I guess the reason I did that was because I'm not sure Law or Mahony were in full control of their respective dioceses when the scandals occured, and that it was more of a diocesan scandal than an episcopal scandal, even though it arguably involved both. Also, I feel that the articles about the affairs should be broader in scope than the mere biographical material on certain bishops, and that vice-versa the articles about the bishops should not only talk about the scandals. ADM (talk) 11:59, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I still disagree with ADM. I believe the topic deserves more coverage here than the little stub that ADM left behind. However, there was a bunch of unnecessary detail that was creating an imbalance in the article so I deleted it. The deleted text is still in the article on sexual abuse scandal in Boston archdiocese. --Richard (talk) 15:12, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I lived in Boston during the entire time of Law's cardinalship. It was both an episcopal AND and a diocesan scandal. It was well known that sex abuse went back to the time of the 1950's or earlier, including abuse of seminarians under Cardinal Cushing. Law inherited the situation; what is relevant is how he dealt with it. And he dealt with it by covering it up. He went around in public proclaiming the most orthodox position considered acceptable at the time (and the Vatican repaid him for that, indeed), banned female altar servers (even though other American congregations had them) banned female laity in services at his own cathedral and demanded shows of fealty from politicians and humility from those who would approach him. Most of the priests in the archdiocese were afraid of him. They literally would avoid certain topics of conversation--even in the confessional!--for fear that one of the Cardinal's spies would report an unorthodox utterance.
Law induced the legislature to pass a law (under false pretenses, of course) which granted him immunity from prosecution for his actions to shield pedophile priests from prosecution. These efforts (to protect the reputation of the Church) ultimately failed, but the law he had passed covered him long enough to flee to the safety of the Vatican when things got too hot for him in Boston.
Law loved the adulation of the people and the great loyalty the Irish Catholics had for the RCC. He abused this trust to the utmost. He spent his Cardinalship being quite harsh with the people and in the end, showed that he considered himself to be a special creation, not subject to their laws. When people call him despicable, they do not simply refer to the fact that he happened to be the sitting archbishop when the scandal broke. There seems to be an attempt here to protect the person of Law and shove his role down the memory hole. This is attempt to erase his role as an active participant. There is no evidence that he is a pedophile--although there is ample evidence of his misogyny. Yet he thought that protecting the reputation of the church, as well as protecting himself, was more important, by far, than protecting innocent children. For that reason his name will always be an evil one. 98.180.8.57 (talk) 18:39, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Masonic conspiracies[edit]

From what I can tell, Cardinal Law did believe in Masonic conspiracy theories and certainly felt that Masons were a threat to Christianity and the civil State (cf Letter to U.S. Bishops Concerning Masonry). It would be interesting if anyone could find out if he has ever received any kind of negative backlash from the Masons because of his condemnation of their associations. I know it's a stretch to say this, but there is a good chance that many Masonic groups in the U.S. were happy that he was forced to resign, and they may even have encouraged this through their secretive influence in the wider culture. ADM (talk) 14:57, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

You're nuts. The Masons are so broke they had to give up their buildings. And AFAIC they aren't registered as a religious organization to the IRS, so not only are they not a religion, they don't play one on TV either. 98.180.8.57 (talk) 18:39, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Civil Rights activism[edit]

So far, the only evidence that Law was involved with Civil rights comes from the Church itself. It seems like an awfully self-serving attempt at whitewashing its own role during the civil rights movement. The sources from the Boston Globe and the Church's own newsletters are all the same. Absent third-party evidence, this seems like awfully thin evidence - especially given the more obvious proof that occurs later in Law's career, that the Church was willing to lie about the past in order to cover up its own abuses. Those who know Law or knew those he victimized know he never marched for civil rights nor did he perform any significant part in the movement. The Church cannot be the only soruce that provides evidence that he did. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DeanArrest (talkcontribs) 05:09, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Please, reconsider what you have written. Just because it has the word "Catholic" in its title, do you really distrust everything that appears in a magazine (not a newsletter) such as the National Catholic Reporter? Are you really saying that Gill Donovan may have been lying when quoting Charles Evers's praise of his fellow-activist Law? Indeed, are you perhaps thereby diffaming that journalist? Do you think that the Boston Globe made a crass error in stating that as a young priest Law "takes an activist role in support of civil rights, joining the Mississippi Leadership Conference and the Mississippi Human Relations Council. His views on civil rights expressed as editor of the Natchez-Jackson diocesan newspaper lead to threats on his life"? There seems to be no valid reason for wiping all this off the record. The accounts of Law's civil rights activities go back long before the abuse scandal that engulfed him; so there was no reason whatever for you to speak of "an awfully self-serving attempt at whitewashing". Esoglou (talk) 10:32, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
The Boston Globe is considered a hostile source by many Catholics, so, if anything, they would have a bias against Law. Remember, the Globe broke the pedophile priest scandal. They are the paper of the wealthy 'burbs which are more Protestant than Catholic. 98.180.8.57 (talk) 18:39, 27 April 2010 (UTC)