Boston, Dec. 10 (Reuters): The Archdiocese of Boston was in a state of open rebellion today after 58 priests took the unprecedented step of asking Cardinal Bernard Law to resign in a letter delivered to the senior US prelate’s residence.
“It’s as close to an open revolt as priests can come,” said Stephen Pope, chairman of the theology department at Boston College, when asked of the significance of the statement.
“It’s not that they’re taking to the streets with torches, but this is something they never do,” he said.
The delivery of the letter marked the first time that a group of clergy had formally called for Law to step down following revelations that he and other church leaders shuttled priests accused of paedophilia from parish to parish.
One of the priests accused of some of the most shocking disclosures in the current crisis, the Rev. Paul Shanley, could be released on bail, law enforcement sources said.
Shanley’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Shanley was indicted in June on charges of raping and assaulting four young boys in the rectory and other parts of a Boston-area church during religious classes.