The longer the sexual-abuse crisis continues, the more Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston shows himself to be arrogant and obtuse, a man lacking both pastoral and common sense. Whatever his direct responsibility for the sexual abuse scandal before January, it is now evident that his concern is not for the victims, not for the clergy or lay people of Boston, not for honest dealing with the moral negligence of his subordinates. His allegiance is to Romanitas. What do the cardinal’s bullying words and actions since his return from the Vatican say to the people of Boston, and to all of us? "This is my church."
We have previously hesitated to call for Cardinal Law’s resignation: It seemed unlikely that his successor could get at the internecine dealings in the abuse crisis and the leadership failure in Boston. It was possible, we believed, that the cardinal was right in claiming it was his responsibility to clean up the mess. No longer. He must go.
The Catholics of Boston should proceed with their modest proposal for an association of parish councils and the clergy should assist. But as matters stand, the only real weapon the laity have is cash withdrawal, a powerful and even dangerous weapon-one that should be resheathed when his successor arrives and deals honestly and openly with the church of Boston.