Francis bans Cdl. Law from his own church? It appears not

According to the Daily Mail:

So when the appearance of a disgraced cardinal threatened to cast a shadow over his first engagement, Francis I made sure it couldn’t happen again – by banning him from his own church.

Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002, after being accused of actively covering up for a litany of paedophile priests.’

Despite the scandal which exploded to engulf the entire church, he was given an honorary position at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome.

Though now retired, the cardinal still enjoys a grace and favour apartment in the cathedral complex. So hearing that the new Pope was offering prayers at the very same church, it seems he couldn’t resist a discreet peak.

But when Pope Francis recognised him, he immediately ordered that Law be removed, according to Italian media reports. He went on to command: ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’

One of the new Pope’s first acts will be to arrange new ‘cloistered’ accommodation for the disgraced cardinal, the Italian daily, Il Fatto Quotidiano, reported.

Update: Not so, according to this.

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  • Bad MF

    Smokes! Francis has got fire!

  • Chris

    Wow… WOW. WOW!!

  • Mark

    Good God Mark. PLEASE calm down.

    Since when did you start taking seriously reports on the Catholic Church from the British press by way of the Italian press?

    Not wise.

    • jcb

      Yeah, this would be great, but I’ll wait for a real news source to report it before I get excited. The Daily Mail is … not a scrupulous publication.

    • Mark Shea

      I’m quite calm, thank you. I’m simply noting that this is being reported. I reserve judgement till we have confirmation.

  • JoAnna

    Yes, I would like better confirmation than the Daily Mail – but I hope it’s true.

  • deiseach

    Yeah, I’d wait a bit until we get proper reports. The “Mail” isn’t a particular expert on Catholic matters, and if it’s just lifting speculation from the Italian press, who knows what really happened.

    I read one account that Pope Francis wanted the church to be open to the public, but Vatican security and/or protocol staff shut it down while he visited. Put that, with Cardinal Law maybe not being let in as well, and it’s no big leap to speculation about “Cardinal banned by pope” and then on to “Pope orders cardinal to be kept out”.

    When I read an official announcement (or Rocco Palmo tells us it’s legit, whichever comes first), then I’ll believe it.

  • Jack Quirk

    Well, I hope there’s something to it. Mercy is a good thing, but sometimes a butt kicking is called for in the interest of mercy.

  • Rock

    “I may be wrong about this guy’s handling of the Scandal.” I’m sure I’m missing a joke. But if not, where did he opine on this?

    • Mark Shea

      He hasn’t. I had mentioned in other blogs that I think the hope that he will go around kicking ass and taking names is misplaced, just as it was with Benedict and JPII. I may be wrong.

  • Brett Powers

    Assuming the Mail is accurate. . .(not a good betting proposition. . .but, as I’ve taken a flutter now and then, we’ll run with it for the sake of argument), I feel a thread of disquiet at this.

    Do not misunderstand. Law is a disgrace to the Church and he did in no way the Church or his office honor. But there is something in this story as the Mail reports it that smacks of the Unforgiving, the Impatient, and perhaps the Condemning.

    And again, do not misunderstand. If Francis in fact did this as reported, that is not to say that he is any of these things. But they can be indicators that he is so. And that bears prayerful watching.

  • Mark

    The only thing I’ve read about his handling of the scandals is his strong criticism of the American way of doing things – that is, you know, protecting those guys. So I don’t know what Mark is talking about. I really think Mark needs to stop just throwing stuff up on the blog, stop trying to dig out crazy critics that he can mock, and work on something thoughtful.

    • Mark Shea

      Mark is noting a story that could signal a very dramatic shift and say, “Hm. I might be wrong.” Not too complicated. Your input on what I am allowed to blog about is duly round-filed. I don’t know what this post has to do with digging out crazy critics. I thought two lengthy posts on the lies being circulated about Francis from enemies of the Church were thoughtful. YMMV. And, by the way, when Fr. Z, Taylor Marshall and LarryD at Acts of the Apostasy are all remarking on the embarrassing spectacle that Trads are making of themselves all over the web, you should perhaps pause from feeling butthurt and picked on and consider the possibility that you should direct your fire at the Francis bashers in the Tradosphere and not at those defending him. It’s not all about you, Mark.

  • deiseach

    Though the news that fascinates me (again, courtesy of Rocco over at “Whispers in the Loggia”) is that (1) Francis has not (yet?) restored the Curia chiefs to their positions as is customary after the sede vacante; this could mean he intends to take on the Curia reform which is so badly needed, or at least he’s going to wait, think about who he wants in what job, and choose his own guys and (2) “led by VP Biden, US delegation to Pope’s Installation Mass to include NM Gov. Martinez (R), Nancy Pelosi & Gtown Prez DeGioia”

    Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden at the Papal Inaugural Mass? This is going to be very interesting as to who receives communion or not. It will be complicated, in that as representatives of the American government on official business, any refusal or discreet recommendation that they don’t present themselves to receive could be seen as an insult to the United States and not simply as pastoral correction of Catholics.

    • Brett Powers

      Nanny Pelosi, in particular, needs to be encouraged to not present. And that’s not a political issue, not matter who screams otherwise.

  • Jeff

    Ok, time for me to say a prayer for Cardinal Law, as I just did a near jig at reading this.
    Are we going to see some spring cleaning???

  • Albertus M
    • Meggan

      So, which is it (re: the Telegraph article), he meets Cardinal Law? Or he greets Cardinal Law? Or he meets with Cardinal Law? The truth could be that he saw him and said hello and exchanged a few words or the truth could be that he had a meeting with him. But, some people are jumping to the conclusion that he is now in cahoots with the guy because he “discreetly met the Cardinal.” Sheesh.

      • Mark Shea

        I think the key point here is “He does not banish Cdl. Law”–at least as far as we can tell.

        • An Aaron, not the Aaron

          We’re not the only ones confused by this. David Clohessey, the Church-hating SNAP rep is quoted in both articles, seemingly reacting positively to the Mail’s report and negatively to the Telegraph’s report. Since we don’t know what really happened yet, I’ll just make up my own version: Pope Francis warmly greeted Cardinal Law with a handshake, then kneed him in the groin.

          • Harry Piper

            If only, Aaron, if only.

  • The True Will

    Shocking! Meeting with sinners!

    Of course, remember that “The Morning Star is read by the people who think that the country should be run by another country. And the Daily Telegraph is read by the people who think it already is.”

  • Jack Smith

    I think what happened here is that the Caller mistranslated the original Italian article in Il Fatto Quotidiano. In my reading of that article (with admittedly limited Italian), the reporter recounts the unexpected greeting with Cdl. Law at Mary Major and then himself comments that the Pope must have thought to himself at the prospect of a less than optimal photo op, “I don’t want to come to this church again.” Again, the reporter himself opines that it would be great if the Pope’s first act of cleaning up would be to send Cdl. Law into seclusion.
    So the commentary of the reporter in an Italian paper becomes the actions of the Pope himself in the British paper.

    • Jack Smith

      Meant to say the “Daily Mail,” not the “Caller” above.

  • Molly

    Oh the drama. In fact — no. Francis is unexpectedly confronted with an awkward situation on his first day as Pope so he gives the situation almost no attention other than to politely greet the man in passing and go on with his day. So undramatic that the media has to manufacture some. He dealt with it professionally and prudently, giving no evidence that the public can take any indication one way or another how he will deal with things. I hate our stupid media at times and I’m really frustrated that many Catholics can’t trust an entire college of cardinals and wait and see what their decision holds. CHILL. OUT.

  • Jeff

    Corriere della Sera, Friday edition, pg. 3, reports that “c’e pure il cardinale Law…ma il Papa no lo incontra, solo un saluto formale poi Law si tiene a distanza.” My Italian isn’t perfect, but it appears that Law showed up “but the Pope does not meet with him but only gives him” a formal greeting, “after which Law keeps his distance” (original all in the present tense). No meeting. says the Vatican press office confirmed it was a “greeting,” not “meeting.”

    The man had been pope all of what? 12 hours? He’s supposed to anticipate that the ex-archpriest might show up and, having probably not slept much the night before, issue an order banning him before arriving at the basilica first thing in the morning? Oi-vey.

  • LaVallette

    Since when are Catholics expected to desdain and discard people who have fallen short of what the Church expects of them? That is the secular world’s media’s vindictive way not Christ’s welcoming and forgiving way. “Let him who is without sin” and all that and remember the famous instruction: “There but for the grace of God go I”. There does not need to be a big song and dance, but deliberately ignoring a fellow Catholic and bishop is the Christian pits, all to appease the hard of heart.

  • Osservatrice Roman

    Il Fatto Quotidiano does a lot of muckraking on Vatican affairs: not exactly reliable. Clergy doesn’t usually do a lot of grandstanding and finger pointing. Too old for conclave, Card. Law did take part in the pre-conclave congregations, and don’t recall reports of his colleagues holding their nose…