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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
US press: Senior cardinal 'to go'
American press discuss state of Roman Church
The Pope refused Cardinal Law's first resignation
The man at the centre of the child abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church in America will resign amid pressure from fellow cardinals, US newspapers report.

As American cardinals held talks with the Pope at the Vatican about the crisis, senior US Church officials spoke both on and off the record to the press, saying it had already been decided that Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston would leave his post.

Archbishop Law - America's most senior cardinal - has so far resisted public pressure to resign after acknowledging he transferred a priest to another parish despite knowing of sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Now, the front pages claim the pressure to resign comes from within the Church.

The Pope doesn't want this to be known 200 years from now as the paedophilia pontificate. He's accomplished too much

Roman Catholic clergyman

Under the headline 'Law's future on the minds at summit', the Boston Globe reports the cardinals have already reached a decision, fearing the Church will never recover unless he goes.

A senior American cleric, who said he had spoken at length with four of the cardinals, told the paper: ''There is a consensus that Law should ask the Pope again to accept his resignation"

The New York Times says a number of Vatican officials have privately admitted the American Church cannot heal until Cardinal Law steps down.

The Boston Herald fuels the image of an increasingly isolated Cardinal Law with the headline: 'Under fire: Bishops urge Law's ouster'.

The paper suggests the Pope is unlikely to support him any further.

Cultural chasm

And it quotes experts who believe that if there is unanimity among American cardinals for Cardinal Law's resignation, it is likely the Pope will accede to their wishes.

"The Pope doesn't want this to be known 200 years from now as the paedophilia pontificate. He's accomplished too much,'' says one clergyman.

But the Washington Postcarries a story which says the cardinals are denying they intend to force Cardinal Law to resign.

The report coincides with a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday which shows almost 75% of Catholic respondents said Cardinal Law should resign.

Cardinal Bernard Law arriving in Rome
Bernard Law is America's most senior cardinal
People are relieved the Pope has become involved in the issue, The New York Times says, but they do not foresee a solution in the immediate future.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times predicted the debate at the Vatican would be hindered by a "cultural chasm" between US Catholics and Rome.

According to the paper, "The divide reflects conflicting values: New World openness versus Old World secrecy, American home rule versus Vatican centralization, Anglo-Saxon CEO-style management versus a Mediterranean forgive-and-forget attitude toward sinners."

The paper says the main difference is that the Vatican perceive that paedophilia is mostly an American problem, a view rejected and resented in the United States.

The BBC's Brian Barron
"For the American cardinals this is a painful week"
Laura Collura, Italy Daily
"It is not seen as something that could hurt or damage the Italian Church in anyway"
See also:

23 Apr 02 | Europe
Pope condemns US church sex abuse
22 Apr 02 | Northern Ireland
Bishops to discuss child abuse
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