Cardinal Bernard Law dead at 86
December 19, 2017 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Cardinal Bernard Law, Boston archbishop at center of church sex-abuse scandal, dies at 86

Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the Boston archbishop who became one of the most influential Catholic leaders in the United States before resigning in 2002 amid revelations that he and other prelates had known for years of rampant child molestation by parish priests, a scandal that has been called the church’s darkest crisis of the modern era, has died at 86

His death was reported by the Associated Press, citing an unnamed official of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Law was recently hospitalized in Rome. No other details were immediately available.

For more than half a century, Cardinal Law dedicated himself to the church, an institution that became his home after his itinerant upbringing as the son of a commercial and military aviator. As he rose from parish priest to Boston archbishop — the steward of one of the most Catholic American cities — he promoted traditional Catholic doctrine and envisioned the church as a guarantor of social justice in the 20th  century.
posted by Barack Spinoza (42 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
From his NYT Obituary:
The scandal became the subject of the critically acclaimed 2015 movie “Spotlight,” which depicted how a team of journalists from The Boston Globe uncovered the way church leaders shifted molesters from parish to parish.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:39 PM on December 19, 2017 [7 favorites]


I regret that he was the kind of man who will have convinced himself he was dying in a state of grace, and that that comforting thought was the last he will ever have.
posted by praemunire at 9:41 PM on December 19, 2017 [11 favorites]


Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
posted by Talez at 9:44 PM on December 19, 2017 [15 favorites]


I hope he burns in the hell he preached would be waiting for people like him.
posted by rtha at 9:45 PM on December 19, 2017 [26 favorites]


I hope for his sake he was one of those people at the office who’re so bad at their job that you can tell they don’t really understand the product when they describe it to people
posted by middleclasstool at 9:45 PM on December 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


I said things about Maggie Thatcher's death that got my comment deleted from that thread. I'll just consider them being made here, too.
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on December 19, 2017 [57 favorites]


I don't understand how a man who denounces racism in the segregated South and tries to mend Catholic relations with the Jewish community also protects serial child molestors. Disgraceful.
posted by xyzzy at 9:57 PM on December 19, 2017 [7 favorites]


he knew, yet did nothing.
posted by scruss at 10:03 PM on December 19, 2017


I don't understand how a man who denounces racism in the segregated South and tries to mend Catholic relations with the Jewish community also protects serial child molestors.

because protecting one's own source of power is the primary importance in the lives of these fucking degenerates.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:03 PM on December 19, 2017 [26 favorites]


Decisions, decisions. Do I spit on his grave or dance on it?
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:17 PM on December 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


Monster.
posted by Toddles at 10:17 PM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hope his final passage was consumed with worry over what the "millstone around his neck" would entail.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:56 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I worry that when I favorite an obituary post, some might misinterpret it as my being glad that person has died. Well, I'll say I'm not worried about that particular interpretation here.
posted by limeonaire at 11:05 PM on December 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Only the good die young.
posted by borges at 11:08 PM on December 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


That red uniform will fit right in where he is headed.
posted by candasartan at 11:10 PM on December 19, 2017


I think I'll rewatcj Spotlight this week to celebrate. It's one of my favorite movies of the last few years.

I grew up in the church when this was starting to come out and remember my mom being sent Boston Globe clippings by a sibling every few weeks. My confirmation was presided over by a retired bishop who had admitted to knowingly receiving profile priests into his parishes and placing them into roles where they had access to children.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:13 PM on December 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


Does this news make me sad?

No.

Does this news make me wonder when the next season of The Young Pope is coming?

Yes.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:03 AM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


he knew, yet did nothing.

It would have been much better if all he did was nothing, sadly.

I think I will rewatch Spotlight as well, now.
posted by ODiV at 12:34 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]



For more than half a century, Cardinal Law dedicated himself to the church, an institution that became his home after his itinerant upbringing as the son of a commercial and military aviator. As he rose from parish priest to Boston archbishop — the steward of one of the most Catholic American cities — he promoted traditional Catholic doctrine and envisioned the church as a guarantor of social justice in the 20th  century.

He protected and enabled child molesters. Nothing else he did or was matters. May he be reviled forever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:45 AM on December 20, 2017 [22 favorites]


I could have sworn that the city was doing a repaving project in my hood. NOW I know what that hint of brimstone on the air was.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:49 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I thought the Wall Street Journal's alert set the right tone:
Disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law Dies at 86

Disgraced comes first. That's it.
posted by chavenet at 1:56 AM on December 20, 2017 [16 favorites]


Normally the rule on news site is 'whatever you do, don't read the comments.' This is particularly true at the Washington Post (what the hell guys, hire some moderators!).

Not today.
posted by el io at 2:02 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I almost wish I believed in an afterlife so I could think he was burning in hell.
posted by sotonohito at 4:09 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I hope for his sake he was one of those people at the office who’re so bad at their job that you can tell they don’t really understand the product when they describe it to people

According to the Boston Globe obituary, he never actually had his own parish, he was only an assistant, and perhaps that limited experience contributed to his response to the scandal.

My father was a reporter for the Boston Globe in the 1980s, and when we were in the VIP section of the Esplanade July 4th Pops concert one year, I was briefly introduced to the cardinal. His handshake was limp, and he looked right through me as if I wasn't there. I remember thinking, as a precocious 14-year-old budding journalist, hmmm, aren't politicians supposed to be schmoozy and pretending to be glad to meet you? If so, he's not doing it right. (In retrospect, I wonder if it was because I was a woman.)

I was going to do this obit if no one else did, and thought of the headline first: "Will he take the highway or the stairway?"
posted by Melismata at 4:30 AM on December 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


"If there is a hell, its fires wait for them, not us." --Frank Zappa
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:31 AM on December 20, 2017 [8 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by tocts at 4:50 AM on December 20, 2017 [10 favorites]


💩
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:05 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I hope that before he died, he came to understand the horror of what he did.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2017 [13 favorites]


I'm glad that he is dead.
posted by medusa at 7:19 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


As a child, I was made to kiss this man’s ring, as though he were a king. I hope he eternally reaps what he sowed. Enjoy, Bernie!
posted by tristeza at 7:29 AM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


He knew what he was doing and did it anyway. Perhaps the God he claimed to believe in will forgive him but I won't.
posted by tommasz at 7:38 AM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah fuck that guy. Tired of being nice in public.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:50 AM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Normally the rule on news site is 'whatever you do, don't read the comments.' This is particularly true at the Washington Post (what the hell guys, hire some moderators!). Not today.

The comments are turned off for the Boston Globe article, which they sometimes do for controversial articles. This is one where the moderators are probably genuinely worried for their sanity and safety.

Luckily, Metafilter's Own™ adamg has a a brief obit at his site, and the comments are not turned off, so Bostonians can rant away, for example:

You should never say anything bad about the dead, only good.

Cardinal Bernard Law is dead. Good.

posted by Melismata at 7:50 AM on December 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


🖕
posted by tobascodagama at 8:14 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


As I put in Charles Colson's obituary thread:
*
In the Kurt Vonnegut sense.
posted by Hactar at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


You should never say anything bad about the dead, only good.

Good riddance.
posted by Splunge at 9:02 AM on December 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


What pisses me off is he got to scuttle off to Rome and lead a life of luxury and influence to his dying day. The church rewarded him and continued to reward him. That bastard died happy.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 1:55 PM on December 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


Dance on his grave, don’t spit. If you spit, the next person in line will have to dance in your spit.
posted by Anne Neville at 4:33 PM on December 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


What pisses me off is he got to scuttle off to Rome and lead a life of luxury and influence to his dying day. The church rewarded him and continued to reward him. That bastard died happy.

I wonder what information he had to hold over the folks in Rome to get them to take him in. I'm certain there is more to the story.
posted by Toddles at 5:16 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


BYE FELICIA
posted by tzikeh at 7:09 PM on December 20, 2017


I wonder what information he had to hold over the folks in Rome to get them to take him in.

It's pretty clear his crimes were also the Vatican's policy in the first place. Taking him in and protecting him was more of the same.
posted by atbash at 11:16 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Funeral this morning; low turnout, but Newt Gingrich was there. Of course.
posted by Melismata at 11:27 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


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