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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Pope Accepts Resignation of Boston's Archbishop Cardinal Law

Aired December 13, 2002 - 09:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: More breaking news out of Boston. Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of Boston's Archbishop Cardinal Law. The two met earlier this morning at the Vatican.
Let's turn to Bill Delaney, who is standing by in Boston to give us the latest reaction from folks there to this announcement.

Good morning, Bill.

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Paula.

I'm standing at the chancery, what's called the chancery, outside the grounds where what is often described as the palatial residence of Cardinal Law, Archbishop Law is.

None of us know here how much longer the archbishop will be living here. He will remain a cardinal. This morning, as you said at the top of the broadcast, he submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II. He did the same thing in April this time. This time, Pope John Paul II realizing the depth of the crisis here in Boston, accepted that resignation.

Now, Catholics woke up here turning on their radios and televisions, two million Catholics in this archdiocese, a sense of leaf and sorrow mingling for those Catholics.

Spokesperson for the archdiocese of Boston Donna Morrissey had this to say a while ago in the chancery behind me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONNA MORRISSEY, BOSTON ARCHDIOCESE: Today is a very difficult day for people throughout the archdiocese of Boston. But we are going to continue in our efforts to implement comprehensive policies and education programs and outreach to victims, survivors, to make sure that we don't find ourselves in the situation again, and that we can do whatever means possible to help in the healing process for the victims, survivors, and their families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DELANEY: Auxiliary Bishop Richard Lennon now becomes the apostolic administrator in Boston, assuming virtually all of the duties of Cardinal Law -- Paula.

ZAHN: Bill, let's talk about the timing of the acceptance of this resignation, and one of the attorneys representing some 86 plaintiffs in cases against the Boston archdiocese says he thinks this is in part triggered by economic concerns, in part, but the attorney general of Massachusetts announced yesterday, more importantly, that his investigation had turned up evidence of a cover-up which would suggest of criminal behavior of some priests within the Boston archdiocese. Was this the trigger point?

DELANEY: I'm not sure you could call that the trigger point, a profoundly significant event for an archbishop to potentially be brought up on criminal charges, though no one thinks he will ultimately be indicted. Massachusetts law will probably prevent that. They'd have to prove that he had intent to be an accessory to these molestations. They will not be able to prove that.

But this was an accumulation of so many events, just a short list, certainly the subpoenas, but also the petition by the priests, also the continuing pressure from the laity here, from the Voice of the Faithful group, they, too called for his resignation last week. So many things accumulated. Maybe the subpoenas were the straw that broke the camel's back, but when you look back on it now, so much pressure here, 11 months of it. It now seems inevitable that it had to happen.

ZAHN: Finally, in closing, Bill, while the cardinal asked for his congregation's forgiveness, in talking to victims this morning, they say although there is this immediate sense of relief, the healing really is not going to happen for a long, long time.

DELANEY: You know, I think there will be a degree of forgiveness amid the relief. Healing, you're absolutely right, that's going to take much longer, and certainly the victims I've spoken to over the past month, you wonder how many of these men and women will ever heal of this trauma that was visited upon them that they have been trying to unravel for so many years now with so little opportunity to even talk to anybody about it.

So this is public now. But whether they can find some kind of solace from all of this, well, that's another matter, entirely.

ZAHN: Bill Delaney, thanks so much for the update. We appreciate it.

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