Cardinal Law returns from Rome with plans to stay in Boston
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Cardinal Bernard Law said Tuesday that after going to Rome for unannounced meetings with Pope John Paul II and other Vatican officials -- meetings at which his possible resignation was discussed -- he plans to continue as leader of Boston's archdiocese.
"As a result of my stay in Rome, I return home encouraged in my efforts to provide the strongest possible leadership in ensuring, as far as is humanly possible, that no child is ever abused again by a priest of this archdiocese," Law said in a statement.
Law closed his statement by reiterating language he used in a letter to Boston priests last week, in which he said "my desire is to serve the archdiocese and the whole church with every fiber of my being. This I will continue to do as long as God gives me the opportunity."
Law's trip to Rome, which he said had taken place in the last few days, had not been publicly disclosed beforehand. Church officials had said late last week that the cardinal was in seclusion at an undisclosed location, and he missed celebrating Sunday Mass, which he customarily attends, at Holy Cross Cathedral.
Besieged by criticism that he didn't do enough to root out pedophile priests molesting children in his archdiocese, Law, 70, has resisted calls that he step down as spiritual leader of 2.1 million Catholics in the Boston area.
In his statement, the cardinal said he had spent the past few days in Rome "to seek counsel and advice" about the child sex abuse scandal rocking not only his archdiocese but the entire U.S. Catholic Church, including its impact on public opinion and church members.
"The fact that my resignation has been proposed as necessary was part of my presentation," he said. "The pope and those others with whom I met are very conscious of the gravity of the situation. It is clear to me that the primary emphasis of the Holy See, like that of the church in the archdiocese, is upon the protection of children."
Law said he intends "to address at length" the way the archdiocese handled child sexual abuse cases "by reviewing the past in as systematic and comprehensive way as possible, so that legitimate questions which have been raised might be answered."
Next week, Law and 10 other American cardinals -- seven who also oversee major U.S. archdioceses and three who work at the Vatican -- are scheduled to meet in Rome with top church officials to discuss the child sex abuse scandal and develop guidelines to prevent future abuse cases.
While the Vatican has not said the U.S. cardinals will meet with the pope, it is widely believed that they will see him.
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