Grumbling about how the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is going to have to pay millions for enabling pedophile priests, Patrick McIlheran wrote:
Personally, I think bishops who protected the abusers ought to spend their golden years in silence on their knees in a monastery somewhere, repenting, but those aren’t the usual terms of lawsuits or settlements. Big money is.
Which made the Brawler wonder: whatever happened to Cardinal Bernard Law? You remember: The Boston Cardinal, the most powerful Catholic in the United States, who covered up for sexual predator priests and now is an officer in the Vatican?
According to the National Catholic Reporter, he's not doing too badly:
Law receives the standard Roman cardinal’s stipend of roughly 4,000 Euro a month (about $5,800 at current exchange rates), and lives in a modest two-story apartment in the basilica that also houses his private secretary and a small community of nuns from Mexico who run his household.
And while his influence pales to that he once enjoyed, he's still an active guy:
Taking stock of the five years since Law’s Dec. 13, 2002, resignation -- coincidentally, the day happened to be Friday the 13th -- he seems to have carved out four roles in Rome:
- Leader of one of the most storied and beautiful basilicas in the Christian world, and a member of a tightly knit community at St. Mary Major. Law’s bond with the priests who live at the basilica, known as the “chapter,” allows him to live something resembling the Benedictine spirituality he has long admired;
- A point of reference for Americans and other English-speakers visiting Rome, celebrating Masses for various delegations and providing hospitality;
- A valued member of an unusually large number of offices in the Roman Curia, the central bureaucracy of the Catholic church, even if he rarely plays the role of “swing vote” or “kingmaker”;
- An informal voice in ecumenical dialogue. When Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury visited Rome in 2006, for example, he asked for a private session with Law, and afterward told members of his party he was impressed. Around the same time, Law received a delegation of Methodists and, according to those present, charmed them with appreciative comments about John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist movement.
If any American cleric deserved to spend his golden years on his knees, in silence, it was Bernard Law.
The fact that he's not calls into question how McIlheran -- or Archbishop Dolan for that matter -- can expect to be taken seriously when they bemoan how the church is on hook for big money. Or does McIlheran believe justice should wait for the next world?