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Children's Rights

Cardinal Bernard Law

Bernard Law was born on November 4, 1931, to a U.S. Air Force colonel and his wife in Torreon, Mexico. The family moved from one military base to another; as a result Law was educated in North and South America and the Virgin Islands. He then attended Harvard University and received a degree in medieval history in 1953. Following Harvard, Law entered the seminary and became an ordained Catholic priest in 1961.

During his years in the Catholic Church, Law was known for his work with immigrants and minorities. In the 1960s he was very active in the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi, and in 1968 Law took a job in the office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He became known among church leaders across the country and was appointed bishop in a Missouri diocese in 1973. Law became bishop in Boston in 1984, one of the most powerful Catholic Church regions in the nation. The following year he was ordained as a cardinal.

Law was immensely popular in the Boston area. He rose in international prominence as well within the church. Law also met with President George W. Bush (1946–; served 2001–) and other religious leaders shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Law's leadership began to crumble in 2002 as the child sexual abuse scandal Cardinal Bernard Law walking away from a podium after reading another apology for his role in the clergy sex abuse scandal. (AP/Wide World Photos) spread in Boston, involving hundreds of victims and numerous priests over a period of decades. In December 2002 when secret church documents revealed that Law not only knew about the abuse but actually tried to cover it up, Law was forced to resign as cardinal before the pope.

In May 2004 Law received a new assignment in Rome, Italy. Much anger resulted in Boston that Law should remain in a church leadership position after being directly involved in covering up so much child sexual abuse.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawChildren's Rights - Protection Of Children, Childcare, Child Labor, Kidnapping And Abduction, Forms Of Child Abuse