Almost a decade after Bernard Law was run out of Boston amid revelations of pedophile priests whom he had protected as archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Boston, Law is finally out of a job. On Monday, the Vatican announced, indirectly, that Law as out of a job when Spanish Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello was named the new archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major.
The announcement made no reference to Law, who has served as archpriest since May 2004. Advocates for sex abuse victims criticized the late Pope John Paul II for giving Law the prestigious post after his mishandling of clergy sex abuse in Boston, which broke open the abuse scandals that shook the Catholic Church in the U.S.
Law turned 80 earlier this month, the normal retirement age for cardinals, and also lost his right to vote in any future papal election. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, said Law’s membership in several Vatican offices—including the body that advises Benedict on the selection of bishops—has expired.
Not mentioning Law was likely a PR decision, because no good has come from association with that name. The announcement was also a reminder of just how different the response was to Cardinal Roger Mahony. Despite having been responsible for a handful of pedophile priests, Mahony got to keep his job as archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese until he retired this year.