- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2002

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) A group of lay Catholics called for Cardinal Bernard Law's resignation yesterday, joining a growing chorus of dissent against the leader of the scandal-plagued Boston Archdiocese.
Voice of the Faithful, banned from meeting in most parishes by bishops skeptical of their motives, said revelations detailing the extent of the crisis left them with no choice but to declare publicly that the archdiocese needed new leadership.
"There is a state of spiritual and moral crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston," said Jim Post, president of the group. "In my judgment, the Archdiocese of Boston has effectively been without a bishop."
Seventy-one persons voted for the motion, two were opposed and two abstained. A motion calling on the pope to replace Cardinal Law also passed by an overwhelming margin.
The vote at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton follows the release of thousands of pages of archdiocese personnel files containing accusations that, in addition to molesting boys, some priests abused drugs and had illicit affairs.
It also comes as pressure mounts among Cardinal Law's fellow priests for him to step down from the archdiocese he has led for nearly two decades.
Cardinal Law has been at the Vatican this week amid speculation that he may resign or get approval to declare bankruptcy in a bid to keep the archdiocese from financial ruin.
Voice of the Faithful's action is significant because for months its leaders have resisted pressure from many members to demand the cardinal's resignation. The fast-growing lay group had hoped instead to work with Catholic officials for reform within the church.
In the calculations of Cardinal Law and the Vatican, however, protests from the laity probably are less important than growing clergy dissent.

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