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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 19:22 GMT
Activists tell archbishop to repent
Cardinal Bernard Law, former Archbishop of Boston
The cardinal's resignation has not satisfied everyone
The resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law as Archbishop of Boston looks unlikely to resolve the scandal over alleged sexual abuse of children by priests.

Activists who have been critical of Cardinal Law's handling of the accusations say his stepping down is only a beginning.

He told us that there was no reason for concern - those are not the actions of someone who is repenting

Mike Emerton,
Voice of the Faithful
"Just because there is a new person in the chair doesn't mean it's over," said Mike Emerton, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic lay group, Voice of the Faithful.

Roderick MacLeish, a lawyer representing more than 200 people suing the archdiocese, said the legal action would continue, but many of his clients took comfort in the resignation.

"It has enormous significance," he told BBC News Online. "It is a recognition by the Holy Father that children deserve protection."

'Overdue'

Mark Serrano, a board member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), described Cardinal Law's resignation as "a long overdue step".

Protest in Boston
Protesters took to the streets over the scandal
"It's sad that it would take the Church this long to remove the man responsible for so much devastation," he told BBC News Online.

Cardinal Law's critics allege that he failed to confront accusations that priests were abusing children, instead transferring priests from one parish to another.

Mr MacLeish, whose legal action led a court to order the Church to release thousands of personnel files on priests, said Cardinal Law had engaged in a cover-up.

"The release of the documents awakened the Holy See" to the magnitude of the problem, he said.

Forgiveness

Mr Emerton was not impressed with the prelate's plea for forgiveness when he resigned.

"Within the faith, there is forgiveness, but you have to repent as well," he told BBC News Online.

He said Cardinal Law had assured Voice of the Faithful in a meeting last month that he was taking care of the problems within the Church.

"He told us that there was no reason for concern, that he had it all under control," Mr Emerton said.

"Those are not the actions of someone who is repenting."

I'm glad that the cardinal did resign, I'm glad that this day has finally come

Christopher Fulchino
A victim of priestly abuse himself, Tom Fulchino said he allowed his own children to go to church but tried to ensure they were never left alone.

But one time his son Christopher says he was called out from Sunday school class and abused by Father John Geoghan, now in prison for molestation.

Christopher Fulchino said he was "proud" of the day that was his birthday as well as seeing Cardinal Law's resignation.

"It's the start of healing," he said. "I hope people can find the strength to come out and be strong and don't be afraid... it just gets better... every day gets easier."

He added: "I'm glad that the cardinal did resign, I'm glad that this day has finally come."

The Church has been rocked by recent abuse revelations

Boston cardinal quits

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05 Dec 02 | Americas
04 Dec 02 | Americas
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