DiNardo: With cardinal’s death, keep abuse survivors ‘close in prayer’

| December 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
Cardinal Bernard Law

Cardinal Bernard Law, who had been one of the United States’ most powerful and respected bishops until his legacy was blemished by the devastating sexual abuse of minors by priests in his Archdiocese of Boston, died early Dec. 20 in Rome at the age of 86. He is pictured in a 2010 photo. CNS photo/Paul Haring

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offered his prayers and condolences to family and friends of Cardinal Bernard Law, who died Dec. 20 in Rome, but at the same time he called abuse survivors “brave” and said the Catholic Church must keep them “close in prayer.”

“Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said of Cardinal Law.

“At this time especially we keep close in our prayer the brave survivors of sexual abuse,” he said in a statement. “Their witness would lead to a comprehensive response from the church in the United States to protect and heal the deep wounds of abuse. I pray they may find strength and peace in the mercy of Christ.”

Cardinal Law had been one of the most powerful and respected U.S. bishops until his legacy was blemished by the devastating sexual abuse of minors by priests in his Archdiocese of Boston.

He died at age 86 and will be buried in Rome, where he had his last assignment. His funeral Mass was to be celebrated the afternoon of Dec. 21, according to the Vatican.

In releasing Cardinal DiNardo’s statement, the USCCB said: “As we reflect on the legacy of Cardinal Law, it will likely bring back painful memories for survivors. The church seeks to always respond as supportive pastors.”

“If you have been abused or know of someone who has been abused, contact the local diocesan victims assistance coordinator and, where you may have knowledge of a crime, local law enforcement,” it said.

In his reaction, Cardinal DiNardo said he echoed the statement released earlier in the day by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who said that Cardinal Law had headed the Boston Archdiocese “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.”

He recognized that his predecessor’s death “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,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “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.”

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