- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2002

BOSTON He has the ear of the pope and the president. His trips to Cuba and Israel to strengthen the Catholic Church enhanced an international reputation. His stewardship of his Boston archdiocese helped him evolve from outsider to respected leader.
Despite these achievements, Cardinal Bernard Law's legacy may be tarnished by one priest: John Geoghan.
In 1984, Cardinal Law's first year as archbishop, he knew that Geoghan had been removed from two parishes for molesting children, yet he approved his transfer to another parish and stayed silent about the abuse.
More than 130 people later came forward with accusations claiming Geoghan fondled or raped them between 1962 and 1995. Geoghan, 66, was defrocked in 1998 and convicted Jan. 18 in the first of three child sex abuse cases.
Cardinal Law, 70, is now facing charges of negligence and deceit, and several in the media have called for his resignation.
He said he won't step down because he wants to help repair the damage to the church.
Even if he's successful, he won't shake the Geoghan scandal, said Thomas O'Connor, a Boston College historian and author of the book "Boston Catholics."
"It will never leave him. It will dog him forever," Mr. O'Connor said.
When it comes to future assessments of Cardinal Law, forget everything that came before, said Ray Flynn, former Boston mayor and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. "It's what he does from here," he said.
Cardinal Law started the repair work last week when he reversed a long-standing policy and will now require the archdiocese to report even past cases of sex abuse by priests. He established an independent panel to look into church policy and again apologized for his Geoghan decision.
"I wish I could undo what I now see to have been mistakes," he said. "However, that is not a possibility."
Cardinal Law was ordained a priest in 1961.

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