Cardinal Bernard Law was treated to a lavish birthday spread, the company of a conclave of clerics and even the music of a mariachi band in a four-star Italian hotel, where guests rolled up in Vatican Mercedes sedans and left singing the praises of the fallen prelate promoted to his Holy City post after decades of covering up clergy sex abuse in Boston.
The resplendent reception that marked Lawâ€™s 80th birthday sent shock waves an ocean away in Boston, where the mere mention of his name still sparks seething anger in clergy abuse victims whose attackers he protected during his years as archbishop.
â€œHeâ€™s closing in on his remaining years, and as a man of faith I know he believes in a final judgment. Iâ€™m curious if heâ€™s getting nervous,â€ said Phil Saviano, who was abused by a Worcester priest almost five decades ago.
â€œI wonder if he looks back on all the good he accomplished and if he thinks that … outweighs so many hundreds of kids on his watch who had to go through so much trauma and emotional pain,â€ added Saviano, who founded a local chapter of Survivorsâ€™ Network of those Abused by Priests.
The Herald revealed yesterday that Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean Oâ€™Malley, in Rome on church business, had snubbed Lawâ€™s Vatican birthday shindig.
Yesterday, an archdiocese spokesman issued a statement saying Oâ€™Malley â€œdoes extend his prayers to Cardinal Law on the occasion of his 80th birthday.â€ With a pair of guards in colorful habits standing silent sentry at the gate, Law and his cloistered concelebrants wined and dined at the Al Chiostro restaurant in the four-star Palazzo Rospigliosi hotel facing the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where Law serves as archpriest. [more]