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Candidate, newspaper call for resignation of Cardinal Law
By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press, 04/09/02
BOSTON -- Calls for the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law grew Tuesday as two candidates for governor and a major New England newspaper said Law should step down as leader of the Archdiocese of Boston.
Warren Tolman, a Democratic candidate for governor, said he decided to call for Law's resignation after hearing revelations Monday that Law apparently shuffled a priest suspected of child molestation from parish to parish.
"As a churchgoing Catholic and father of three I have reluctantly concluded that Cardinal Law should not lead the Archdiocese any longer," Tolman said. "The fact that he knowingly assigned accused child abusers to new assignments with access to children was the last straw."
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Reich is also calling for Law to resign.
Reich, a father of two, said the issue is not religion, but whether Law failed to protect children from harm.
"If the abuse occurred at a day care center or an elementary school or a sports team the person in charge who covered it up would have been fired and punished," he said in a statement. "This isn't about religion -- it's about a leader and administrator who fundamentally failed in his duties."
Tolman and Reich are the only gubernatorial candidates to call for Law to step down.
On Tuesday, Democratic candidates State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien and former Democratic National Chairman Steve Grossman, as well as Republican candidates Mitt Romney, said they would not call for Law's resignation.
Senate President Thomas Birmingham, also a Democratic candidate, did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday, but at a debate last week had refused to give an opinion on whether Law should resign.
Tolman's and Reich's comments come one day after a lawyer representing alleged victims of sexual abuse held a press conference in which allegations against the Rev. Paul Shanley and church officials' knowledge of his actions were detailed.
New Hampshire's largest newspaper is also calling on Law to resign over the growing church sex abuse scandal.
In an editorial to be published Wednesday, The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., said Law should leave his position in the Roman Catholic Church because "he failed to remove priests accused of sexually abusing children ... and took extraordinary steps to keep the accusations from becoming public."
The newspaper also said Manchester Bishop John McCormack should respond to allegations against him or leave. The paper said McCormack has been tainted by the scandal and has yet to explain himself fully to the public.
"For the good of the church and the Manchester Diocese, until McCormack is able to provide credible rebuttal, he should take an immediate leave of absence from his duties," the newspaper's editorial says.
Messages left late Tuesday with a spokeswoman for the Boston Archdiocese were not immediately returned.
McCormack was in charge of ministerial personnel for the Boston archdiocese from 1984 to 1994. From 1992 to 1995, he handled sex abuse complaints against priests for Law. He moved to the Manchester Diocese in 1998.
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