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Deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law
May 8, 2002, Suffolk County Superior Court

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Q. Was it Canon 1277 that brought the finance council into your decision-making with regard to whether or not the settlement could be executed?

A. Well, it -- I think you may need to go back, certainly from around 1290, 1289, to 1295, I think, and perhaps the canon that you cited as well, I don't know that. I think, yes, the canon that you cited as well. I have to confess, Mr. Gordon, that I'm not a canonist, but I have looked up those canons since, and....

Q. Now, you indicated earlier you were aware of some of the terms of the settlement agreements. You were aware that the archdiocese wasn't going to sign on any of the settlements, weren't you?

A. I was aware that 17 persons would sign, but.

Q. Right.

A. I was also aware that the archdiocese would stand behind the settlement.

Q. Okay. So as you understood it the archdiocese was not going to be a party to the settlement? In other words, it wasn't going to be a signator?

A. That's correct.

Q. Okay. But it was going to finance the settlement?

A. That's correct. Yes, it would settle in part. Part of it would be through --

Q. And part of it would be insurance?

A. And part of it would be insurance that the diocese has to cover such cases.

Q. But there was nothing in the agreement, because if I remember correctly, the archdiocese insisted that it not be a party, it would not sign, there was nothing in the agreement that indicated the archdiocese had to approve the agreement? Was that ever put in the terms?

MR. TODD: Objection.

MR. ROGERS: If the Cardinal knows. I object to the form.

Q. If you know.

A. The issue before the council was an act of extraordinary administration, namely, the funding of this settlement. So that was the question: Whether the archdiocese would fund this settlement.

Q. In Canon 1277, let me just ask you quickly before we do have our break --

A. You can ask me, but remember I'm not a canonist.

Q. I understand. But I have a feeling you probably heard about this on Friday. The last sentence of Canon 1277 says, "It is for the Conference of Bishops to define what is meant by acts of extraordinary administration." When the canon refers to the Conference of Bishops, which conference is it talking about?

MR. ROGERS: I object to the form.

Q. If you know.

MR. TODD: Would you feel more comfortable if you have the canon in front of you?

MR. GORDON: I have it right here. It's been marked as Exhibit 3 (Document exhibited to witness.)

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

MR. GORDON: You're welcome, sir.

A. Canon?

Q. 1277.

A. 1277. As you know, this is the 83 code, which is the code for the universal Latin church. There's another code for the eastern church. So when it speaks of conference here, it would be the national -- whatever particular national conference would be appropriate, and so for us it would be the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Q. So that is one instance where they can actually establish a policy that binds the individual dioceses within their conference?

A. That's correct. They can bind -- the conference can bind a diocese because of the, of the terms of canon law or the specific acts of the Holy See which would recognize an act of the Conference of Bishops as a binding act. But we -- for example, one of the things that the Cardinals have said when they went over to that meeting was that we would like to propose to the Conference of Bishops that they propose to the Holy See a recognition of some binding norms for handling these cases for the nation. So we have to decide as a conference that we wanted to do that. We would have to set up those norms, then we would need to submit those norms to Rome and ask Rome, would you, would you give authorization that these indeed become binding in the dioceses of the United States.

Q. Is there a specific resolution that you were able to obtain from the National Catholic Conference of Bishops that set the dollar amounts for what is, are acts of extraordinary administration?

A. You know, I don't have that figure in my head. That figure has been established and it was because it was in excess of that figure that the canonist determined that this was an extraordinary act of administration.

MR. GORDON: I would ask counsel if you could get us the copy of the resolution or vote of the National Conference that establishes that figure, to the extent it's relevant in this case.

MR. ROGERS: I'll make inquiries and see what we can come up with.

MR. GORDON: The Cardinal has, as I understand it, a four o'clock Mass.

THE WITNESS: I do.

MR. GORDON: It's 2:59 and 59 seconds, so in view of our agreement, we'll suspend at this time.

MR. TODD: To resume at nine o'clock on Friday.

VIDEO OPERATOR: It's 2:59 on the video. At this time we're off the record.

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