A high-profile molestation trial involving a defrocked priest kicked off a string of new accusations, tougher church policies and calls from the pews for Cardinal Bernard Law to resign. "I do not believe that submitting my resignation to the Holy Father is the answer to the terrible scourge of sexual abuse of children by priests," Law wrote in an open Jan. 26 letter to area Catholics. "Rather, I intend to implement a comprehensive and aggressive child protection program in order to better uncover and prevent the sexual abuse of children."
Part of that program has been an archdiocesan initiative to go beyond Vatican requirements and report all alleged pedophiles to civil authorities. Church officials declined to say how many names they have reported so far. As a review of personnel records over 40 years continues, said spokesperson Donna Morrisey, "we do not rule out finding additional cases."
Law stands accused of having given the Rev. John J. Geoghan new parish assignments in the 1980s despite having had evidence of a pattern of pedophilia. Law has apologized repeatedly for the Geoghan decisions, saying, "I made a mistake."
In other developments: