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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Pope Accepts Cardinal Bernard Law's Resignation

Aired December 13, 2002 - 06:32   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get back to this morning's breaking news now, the resignation of Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law. The Vatican announced Pope John Paul II did accept Law's resignation. It happened just 30 minutes ago.
These pictures are from an earlier visit the cardinal paid to the Vatican.

The pontiff has appointed a special administrator to run the Boston Archdiocese. As you know, Law is accused of moving priests from one parish to another after they'd been accused of molesting children.

We want to go to Boston now to check on reaction there and check in again with reporter Bill Delaney.

Bill, are you on the horn?

BILL DELANEY, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, I'm with you in a Boston just waking up, people just turning on their radios and televisions and learning this news, which, of course, will be most important to the two million Catholics in this enormous Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

I think one can easily imagine that the emotion most will feel is relief, because this paralysis in this Archdiocese of Boston now has some chance of changing to some kind of forward momentum for the Catholics of Boston, who felt...

COSTELLO: Right, the healing process can begin.

I want to read you, Bill, Cardinal Law's resignation letter to the pope. It was very short. It says: "To all those who have suffered from my shortcomings and mistakes, I both apologize, and from them beg forgiveness."

Will this resonate with the people of Boston?

DELANEY: I think it will resonate enormously. I think what you'll find now is a shift toward Catholics in Boston feeling a degree of compassion for this archbishop. For all of their anger now, they will -- well, as Christians, begin to feel that perhaps he deserves a degree of consolation himself.

There is anger here, but there's also 18 years as their archbishop. People know that he's worked with the poor very strenuously through those years, he's built bridges to the Jewish community that never existed before. I would think that you'll find from pulpits and in the hearts of many Catholics here a sense now that it's time to move on and, indeed, to forgive Cardinal Law.

Having said that, victims of abuse may find it a harder path to that, given that in all of this time, 10 months, this cardinal has only met with alleged victims of sexual abuse once. Most of them still feel very abused by this cardinal, very ignored by him, and deeply wounded psychologically and spiritually by that.

COSTELLO: You know, Bill, it's interesting you bring that up, because we spoke to a psychologist, who counsels many of those victims, earlier this morning, and she said the fear is, is that Cardinal Law will never come back to Boston.

DELANEY: I think that's a very, very important thing to point out. As we've pointed out again and again in our reporting on this, sure, it's about money, and there's $100 million in claims out there. But what you hear again and again from alleged victims is they want someone to talk to them, and they want above all for this archbishop to talk to them, to sit down with them, to do what a pastoral leader is supposed to do, to console them about this immense wound to their psychologies and spirits.

And if, indeed, the cardinal only comes back for a brief time to answer some depositions, and then begins to shift his attention to a new life in Rome, there are wounds here in many of these alleged victims that can't be healed by just a financial settlement.

COSTELLO: All right, Bill Delaney, thanks for your input this morning. I know you have a lot to do in Boston, so we're going to let you go and prepare your report for "AMERICAN MORNING."

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