- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2002

BOSTON (AP) Facing rekindled outrage from priests and parishioners over new revelations of clergy misconduct, Cardinal Bernard Law stayed away from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross yesterday as protesters renewed calls for his resignation.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Boston said he had left for Rome.
Yesterday's larger-than-usual protest was fueled by last week's release of new internal church documents containing some of the most spectacular accusations yet, suggesting church officials tolerated a wide range of clergy misconduct, beyond sexual abuse of boys.
"His presence here is hindering the ability of the victims to come out. He is the real voice of dissent here. He is the one flouting Catholic teachings time and again," said Jean Garrity, 43, of Wellesley, a member of the dissident group Voice of the Faithful.
Cardinal Law has brushed off calls for his resignation for months, but for the first time he now faces the same request from priests.
Boston-area priests have been circulating a draft statement calling for Cardinal Law's resignation. The petition praises Cardinal Law for his leadership, but says the release of damaging internal church files makes his resignation "a necessary step."
"[The] events of recent months and, in particular, of these last few days, make it clear to us that your position as our bishop is so compromised that it is no longer possible for you to exercise the spiritual leadership required for the church of Boston," the petition reads.
The draft document initially called for 50 signatures, but the Rev. Robert Bullock, the head of a 250-member Boston Priests Forum, said yesterday it would require many more signatories to indicate a "consensus" that Cardinal Law had to go. Once the document was finished, he would sign it himself, Father Bullock said.
"We need new leadership, and we cannot build trust and confidence without new leadership," he said.
The Boston Priests Forum plans to discuss calling on Cardinal Law to resign at a meeting Friday, he said.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said she could not comment on the petition because she had not seen it. She also said Cardinal Law was not deterred by yesterday's protest at the cathedral, but would not say where he was.
The latest personnel papers, part of a huge collection of church files that victims' lawyers pried from the archdiocese, document a priest beating his housekeeper and threatening purported sex-abuse victims, another trading cocaine for sex, and a third claiming to be the second coming of Christ in order to entice teenagers training to be nuns into having sexual relations.
Later in the week, other papers disclosed that a priest fathered at least two children, and apparently failed to immediately get medical help for the mother of their children when she overdosed.

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