Sunday, December 8, 2002

Cardinal Law backs out Mass this AM at the Cathedral

Bernard Cardinal Law last night backed out of a Mass set for today at Holy Cross Cathedral, barely 12 hours before hundreds of irate Catholics planned to gather there to demand his resignation.Donna M. Morrissey, Law's spokeswoman, gave no reason for the decision, saying only that Law ``will have no public schedule.''Morrissey would not say whether Law might attend a long-scheduled meeting of the Catholic University board of trustees tonight through Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Law was slated to leave for Washington after his weekly 11 a.m. Mass at the cathedral. Law's withdrawal from the Mass came as scores of his priests waded into what a cleric called ``deeply uncharted waters'' by circulating the drafts of two letters - one polite but firm, the other far more critical - urging Law to resign.``I'm not surprised to hear that,'' the Rev. Robert E. Nee, chaplain of Children's Hospital, said last night of Law's decision not to attend this morning's Mass.Nee wrote and circulated the far more blunt letter to Law, which came after of a week of bankruptcy talk and scandalous revelations in the clergy sex-abuse crisis.A priest who saw a draft of the other letter described it as follows:``I will say that in its essence, as it stands, the letter expresses regret that the cardinal can no longer provide real spiritual leadership to the church in Boston, so compromised has his position become, and thus it is best for the people, for the church, for moving ahead in dealing with the agony of the abuse crisis, that he resign.''

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