January 25, 2004
January 4, 2004
Statement by Susan Archibald, president of The Linkup
The removal of Cardinal Law from his position atop the Archdiocese of Boston can be summarized in one word: FINALLY. Cardinal Law should have lost the privilege to serve Boston Catholics long ago. His continued tenure, despite revelations of criminal conduct and cover-up in his diocese, was a clear indicator of hierarchical arrogance toward the sexual abuse crisis, a lack of true leadership, and an addiction to power.
In terms of the national crisis: I suspect that American Catholic Bishops will declare that Law's resignation brings closure to this crisis. The exact opposite may be true. Documents recently released in Boston indicate that the level and scope of misconduct with priests is far greater than imagined. Other bishops with less than full transparency may soon find severe problems on their hands as well.
In terms of the victims: The stories of crimes and cover-up in Boston have been truth to victims for decades. Law's resignation validates victims' cries for accountability and justice-- but they have paid a price. Law's insistence to remain in office, repeated denials, and apologies for "mistakes" prolonged and intensified the suffering of many victims. We hope that victims across the country continue truth-telling. Each one who stands up can make a difference in protecting the vulnerable and bringing justice.
In terms of the laity: Boston Catholics have achieved a strong step in reclaiming their church. This should encourage other Catholics to become involved and push for positive change in their dioceses. The church belongs to the people, not just the ordained.