I find it odd that so many people are shocked, shocked that the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law will have a proper burial in Rome with Pope Francis overseeing it. Why would we think it would be any different?
In a telegram to the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis wrote:
I have learned of the death 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.
This is exactly what one should expect. Regardless of the local Boston media outrage, Cardinal Law did exactly what he was supposed to do in regards to the cover up of clergy sexual abuse. He did exactly what every Bishop and Cardinal around the world have been ordered to do.
Let’s back up to Rev Gerald MC Fitzgerald who started notifying the Vatican of the epidemic of clergy sexual abuse in 1952. Yes, 1952. He finally met the Pope on August 26, 1963. Remember that date.
In his letters he wrote:
“Personally, I am not sanguine of the return of priests to active duty who have been addicted to abnormal practices, especially sins with the young. Where there is indication of incorrigibility, because of the tremendous scandal given, I would most earnestly recommend total laicisation. I say ‘total’ … because when these men are taken before civil authority, the non-Catholic world definitely blames the discipline of celibacy for the perversion of these men.”
He even once told the Vatican they should by a private island and ship all of the pedophile priests there. For a decade Fitzgerald rang the alarm of clergy sexual abuse directly in the ear of the Vatican. In 1962 they responded.
In 1962 the Vatican sent a secret document to every Bishop and Cardinal around the world called Crimine Solicitationies which means “instruction on proceeding in cases of solicitation”. It has the seal of Pope John XXIII. The instructions in a nutshell were the blueprints of the modern day coverup of clergy sexual abuse.
The following year the Pope finally meets with Fitzgerald and convicts them he will take his assessment under advisement. Knowing the church will do the exact opposite. The plan is already in motion.
The same plan that Cardinal Law followed. Just like every other Bishop and Cardinal. And it hasn’t changed. Move the priests and avoid the civil authorities. And it hasn’t changed.
Their training manual states:
“According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.”
Just stay on course and you too may retire to a luxurious life in Rome and have your funeral mass said by the Pope. All will end well for you. Just like Cardinal Bernard Law.
As they lay Law to rest, I’m guessing they feel a bit of relief. The face of the scandal is gone. They hope to bury the scandal as well. A proper burial and then move on. Just as they always have.