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Law's words frame new play

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Spotlight Report

Letter on Cardinal Law from Voice of the Faithful president

12/9/2002

Below is the edited text of a letter sent yesterday by James E. Post, president of Voice of the Faithful, to the organization's 100-member governing council, suggesting three resolutions aimed at removing Cardinal Bernard F. Law from his post as archbishop of Boston. Post said he expects all three resolutions to be approved.

Friends,

I have notified Council Moderator, Maura O'Brien, that if Cardinal Law has not resigned by the time of our Council meeting Wednesday night, I will invoke the emergency powers granted to the president by the Council to propose that the VOTF Council adopt a resolution calling for Cardinal Law to resign. This resolution will have the unanimous endorsement of VOTF trustees and officers.

We have been working with our canon lawyers to frame this call in a way that may have some diplomatic influence inside the Vatican. There may be some final editing, but I will ask the Council to accept the preamble (below) and then vote (yes/no) on three resolutions:

(1) to call on Cardinal Law to resign;

(2) to ask the pope to acknowledge that the archdiocese exists without the pastoral leadership of a bishop (and to appoint a person of suitable pastoral and moral character); and

(3) to call on Bishop Gregory and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to act on their commitment to bishops' accountability by acting with respect to the situation in Boston.

I anticipate that events will occur rapidly this week. We must be prepared to think clearly, act decisively, and speak with a clear and reasoned voice for Catholics who believe that we have an urgent need to reclaim the moral integrity of our Church.

Regards,
Jim Post

DRAFT TEXT: PREAMBLE

Whereas, faith-filled Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston are suffering and in a state of spiritual pain and distress;

Whereas, this spiritual suffering has continued unabated for nearly one year, since Jan. 6, 2002;

Whereas, hundreds of innocent children, women, and men have been abused by clergy;

Whereas, the archbishop has engaged in a pervasive pattern of behavior to conceal and cover up these evil actions;

Whereas, many faith-filled Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston have lost confidence in the ability of their archbishop to effectively minister to them;

Whereas, this loss of confidence constitutes a crisis of religious and moral leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston;

Whereas, this crisis of moral and religious leadership has brought great scandal to the Catholic Church and to the people of the Archdiocese of Boston; and,

Whereas, this great scandal cannot be corrected without the appointment of a person of moral character and pastoral demeanor that inspires confidence among the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Boston.

(RESOLUTION 1 - a statement)

THEREFORE, We call on Cardinal Bernard F. Law to immediately step aside as Archbishop of Boston.

(RESOLUTION 2 - a petition to Pope John Paul II)

THEREFORE, We petition the Holy Father to acknowledge the need for holy, pastoral leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston; to acknowledge the urgency of this need; and to appoint a suitable person to this position which, de facto, is not functioning at this time.

(RESOLUTION 3 - a letter to Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops)

Dear Bishop Gregory,

Whereas the Catholic bishops of the United States, acting as the USCCB, did approve the Charter and November 2002;

Whereas, the bishops did publicly state their commitment to American Catholics to establish the effective accountability of bishops for compliance with the letter and spirit of the Charter and Norms; and,

Whereas, the administrative actions of Cardinal Bernard F. Law involving cases of clergy sexual abuse have brought great spiritual pain and distress to the 2 million Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston.

We hereby petition America's Catholic bishops, individually and collectively, to acknowledge that a state of moral and spiritual crisis exists in Boston and to respond to the urgent need for pastoral leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston.

We petition America's Catholic bishops, individually and collectively, to join with faithful Catholics in requesting that the Holy Father appoint a bishop to the position of pastoral leadership that is, de facto, not functioning at this time.

This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 12/9/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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