|RESIGNED 12/02: ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON
BERNARD FRANCIS LAW
|Birth Date: Nov. 4, 1931
Cardinal Since: May 25, 1985 Title: Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna
The Boston cardinal became the highest-ranking church official to lose his post in the spiraling scandal when he resigned in December 2002. The pope named Bishop Richard Lennon as a temporary replacement.
The scandal gained attention earlier in the year after defrocked priest John Geoghan was found guilty by a jury of sexual abuse under Law's watch. Law apologized for shifting Geoghan from parish to parish despite knowing of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Law gave authorities the names of more than 80 priests accused of abuse, but faced loud calls for resignation after church personnel records showed he and others did not remove another accused molester, the Rev. Paul Shanley. The public outrage against Law reached a crisis stage after the release of thousands of pages of the archdiocese's personnel files that contained shocking revelations. Law traveled to the Vatican and his resignation soon followed.
Law is a member of seven Vatican congregations (major agencies), including the one that nominates bishops. This is the most memberships of any American cardinal.