| Cardinal Bernard Law
Boston, Dec. 9 (Reuters): Cardinal Bernard Law is in Rome after slipping out of Boston, where his own priests urged him yesterday to step down and angry protesters demanded he face criminal charges for his handling of clergy sexual abuse.
Donna Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, confirmed that Law was in Rome after he abruptly cancelled an appearance at Sunday Mass. She declined to comment on when the cardinal left or when he would return.
A long-simmering crisis in the church boiled over last week as files released by lawyers for alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse showed Law and other archdiocese leaders allowed priests accused of sexual misconduct to remain in the ministry — and even gave new jobs to some of them.
The documents revealed one priest was assigned to two parishes despite his record of molesting boys; another molested young girls while telling them he was the living embodiment of Jesus Christ and a third fathered two children and did not immediately call for help when their mother overdosed.
Law’s arrival in Rome came as a coalition of rank-and-file priests circulated a letter urging him to resign.
“The priests and people of Boston have lost confidence in you as their spiritual leader,” the priests wrote in the letter to Law, a copy of which was published in The Boston Globe.
The Rev. Robert Nee, one of the priests who signed the letter, told Reuters it would likely be delivered to Law's residence yesterday.
The leaders of a larger coalition were set to discuss whether they, too, should call for Law's resignation.