Beliefnet
(RNS) Already engulfed by a growing pedophilia scandal, Boston Cardinal Bernard Law is facing additional calls for his resignation from conservative commentators William F. Buckley and Bill Bennett.

Bennett, the former secretary of education and author of "The Book of Virtues," called for Law's resignation in the Wall Street Journal.

"Priests -- including Cardinal Law -- who have been involved in these cover-ups must be removed from positions of authority," wrote Bennett, a Catholic.

Law has come under heavy fire since he acknowledged he had reassigned a now-defrocked priest throughout the archdiocese, despite knowing of his problems with pedophilia. The former priest, John Geoghan, has been accused by more than 130 people of molesting them over 30 years, and is now serving a 9-to-10-year prison sentence for fondling a boy at a pool.

Since the scandal broke in January, Law has announced a "zero tolerance" policy and turned over to prosecutors the names of some 80 priests suspected of child abuse. Throughout the controversy, Law has refused to resign, insisting he must stay to help fix the problem and heal the wounds.

Bennett echoed earlier calls for Law's resignation from the Boston Herald and Buckley's National Review magazine. "One can feel with great sorrow and understanding the derangement of the arsonist, but one does not send him back into the forest," Buckley wrote last month.

Attention, however, is also shifting to another prominent church leader -- Cardinal Edward Egan of New York. On Sunday, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant published court documents that showed Egan had downplayed the problem of molestation while bishop of Bridgeport from 1988 to 2000 and had resisted efforts to compensate victims with monetary settlements.

On Tuesday (March 19), The New York Times reported that the Diocese of Bridgeport last year made a "multimillion-dollar payment" to settle a case brought against Egan and six priests.

Egan has not spoken on the matter, but his successor in Bridgeport has pledged to conduct a full review of the diocese's 285 priests and 86 deacons. Church observers say Egan's silence could damage his credibility. "I would say the only thing that could justify his not speaking is if he is preparing his letter of resignation," said Daniel C. Maguire, a former priest and professor of moral theology at Marquette University. "I think he has to explain or resign."

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