Vatican News Release: The former Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law has died in Rome.
has died in Rome following a long illness. Archbishop emeritus of and Archpriest emeritus of the in Rome, he was 86 years old. Ordained priest in 1961, he was appointed Archbishop of Boston in 1984 where he worked to promote ecumenical dialogue and Catholic-Jewish relations. In 2002 he resigned from his position in Boston following accusations that he had covered up cases of abuse against minors.
Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and Archbishop emeritus of Boston (USA), was born on 4 November 1931 in Torreón, Mexico, son of a U.S. Air Force colonel. He finished his studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; entered St. Joseph's Seminary at St. Benedict, Los Angeles and from 1955 to 1961, studied at the Pontifical Josephinum College at Worthington, Ohio.
Pope Francis sends telegramme of condolence upon the death of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archbishop emeritus of Boston.
As is traditional upon the death of a Cardinal, the Pope sent a telegramme of condolence for the passing of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, who died at the age of 86 after a long illness. The Holy Father sent his message on Wednesday to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals. “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,” the Pope wrote. He also sent his Apostolic Blessing “to those who share in mourning the passing of the cardinal, whom I entrust to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary Salus Populi Romani.” Cardinal Law was the Archbishop of Boston (USA) from 1984 until his resignation in 2002. He was then sent to Rome where he served as Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.Funeral services
The Vatican’s Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations said funeral services for Cardinal Law will take place in St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday, 21 December. Cardinal Angelo Sodano will preside over the Mass, while Pope Francis will celebrate the rites of Commendatio and Valedictio.
Please find below the English-language translation of the Pope’s telegramme:
Cardinal Angelo Sodano Dean of the College of Cardinals
I have learned of the departure of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, and I wish to express my condolences to the College of Cardinals. 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, whom I entrust to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary Salus Populi Romani. FRANCISCUS PP.
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley Statement
on the Passing of Cardinal Bernard F. Law
"Cardinal Bernard F. Law, my predecessor as Archbishop of Boston, has passed away at the age of 86 following a prolonged illness. I recognize that Cardinal Law’s passing brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people. I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones. To those men and women, I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered, my continued prayers and my promise that the Archdiocese will support them in their effort to achieve healing.
As Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law served at a time when the Church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities. I deeply regret that reality and its consequences. Since the day I arrived in the Archdiocese of Boston, my primary objective has been to work for healing and reconciliation among survivors, their families and the wider community of Catholics for whom the abuse crisis was a devastating experience and a great test of faith. In the midst of these groups that were most affected have stood priests and religious sisters of the Archdiocese who have tried to minister to any and all seeking assistance, even when they have been deeply challenged by the crisis that unfolded in the Church.
It is a sad reality that for many Cardinal Law’s life and ministry is identified with one overwhelming reality, the crisis of sexual abuse by priests. This fact carries a note of sadness because his pastoral legacy has many other dimensions. Early in his priesthood in Mississippi Cardinal Law was deeply engaged in the civil rights struggle in our country. Later, he served in the Archdiocese and nationally as a leader in the ecumenical and interfaith movement following the Second Vatican Council, developing strong collaborative relationships with the Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities in Boston. He was well known for visiting the sick, the dying and the bereaved at all hours of the night and day, a ministry that extended to the rich and poor, the young and elderly, and people of all faiths. He also held the care for immigrants and their families in a special place in his ministry.
In the Catholic tradition, the Mass of Christian Burial is the moment in which we all recognize our mortality, when we acknowledge that we all strive for holiness in a journey which can be marked by failures large and small. Cardinal Law will be buried in Rome where he completed his last assignment. I offer prayers for him and his loved ones as well as for all the people of the Archdiocese."