Who was Cardinal Law? Boston Archbishop died unpunished for protecting paedophile priests

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The Archbishop of Boston resigned in 2002 after the "Boston Globe" exposed his role in hiding the extent of sexual abuse among priests in the diocese.

Cardinal O'Malley said the late cardinal, who died at a hospital in Rome, "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".

Law will get a full cardinal's funeral at the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica on Thursday afternoon, the Vatican added later, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, presiding.

Last September, Pope Francis, addressing the commission, said the Catholic Church had moved too slowly to confront abuse.

NECN-TV also confirmed, through sources, that Law had passed away on December 20, 2017 in Rome, Italy, where he moved after the sex abuse scandals erupted.

Law, who spent the final years of his career leading an important basilica in Rome and continued to wield considerable influence inside the Vatican, had been sick and was recently hospitalized.

Bernard Law, a former archbishop of Boston whose alleged failure to stop child molesters in the priesthood sparked a crisis in American Catholic world has died at 86, a church statement said.

When asked whether he believes that Law will be welcomed into heaven, Cardinal Sean O'Malley told reporters that he hopes everyone does but is not the one to judge. "I won't shed a tear for him - I might shed a tear for everyone who's been a victim under him".

Law was appointed archbishop of Boston by Pope John Paul II in 1984 and was elevated to the position of cardinal the following year.

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— April 11, 2005: Despite being disgraced, Law leads a Mass for thousands at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to mourn the death of Pope John Paul II. Even with relatively hardline views on women's ordination, birth control, and other hot-button issues within the church, Law was a popular and well-liked figure in Boston, ranking highly on, for example, Boston magazine's 2001 "power list". He was elevated to cardinal in 1985.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented numerous victims of clergy sexual abuse, said at a press conference Wednesday that Law's death has created "an enormous amount of pain" for victims.

Widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy in the Boston Archdiocese was uncovered by The Boston Globe's Spotlight investigative reporting team, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts.

In response to a question on whether he can forgive Cardinal Law, Cardinal O'Malley said "forgiveness is what Christianity is all about, and that doesn't make it easy". But after hundreds more stories of abuse surfaced, 58 priests signed a letter calling on Law to resign.

Before the funeral plans were announced, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests had urged against a "celebratory focus" on Law.

As Encyclopedia Brittanica notes, Law eventually owned up to "shortcomings and mistakes" and said he now had a "far deeper awareness of this awful evil".

But one positive to come from the scandal, MacLeish said, is that laws have changed: churches are mandated to report suspected abuse to law enforcement.

Garabedian says Law "turned his back on innocent children and allowed them to be sexually abused".

The American church has paid more than $3 billion (£2.24) in settlements to victims, according to media reports and studies commissioned by the United States bishops.

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