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Cardinal Bernard Law Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law.Personal: Birth date: November 4, 1931...

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 3:55 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 3:55 PM

Here's a look at the life of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law.

Personal: Birth date: November 4, 1931

Death date: December 20, 2017

Birth place: Torreon, Mexico

Birth name: Bernard Francis Law

Father: Bernard Law, an Air Force colonel

Mother: Helen Law

Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1953

Timeline: 1953 - Does postgraduate studies at St. Joseph's Seminary in Louisiana and at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

May 21, 1961 - Ordained as a priest in the Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, diocese.

1968 - Serves as executive director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interracial Affairs in Washington, D.C.

1971 - Law is named vicar general of the Natchez-Jackson diocese.

December 5, 1973 - Is made bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese in southern Missouri.

1974-1985 - Trustee at Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio.

1975 - Is made chair of the Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interracial Affairs.

1976 - Is named to the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with Jews.

January 11, 1984 - Pope John Paul II appoints Law to be the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, which has two million Roman Catholics.

1984 - Law receives a letter from a bishop, expressing concerns about Rev. John Geoghan.

May 25, 1985 - Pope John Paul II elevates Law to cardinal.

1990 - Makes an official visit to Cuba and meets with Fidel Castro.

1996 - Demonstrates in front of the White House to urge President Bill Clinton to sign a bill outlawing late-term abortions.

July 17, 2001 - The church sexual abuse scandal widens when Law admits receiving a letter in 1984 outlining allegations of child molestation against the former priest John Geoghan. Law had assigned Geoghan to another parish despite the allegations.

January 09, 2002 - In a press conference, Law apologizes to victims of abuse by Geoghan. Geoghan is later convicted of indecent assault and battery on a 10-year old boy.

April 2002 - Attempts to resign his position as Archbishop of Boston; Pope John Paul II rejects the resignation.

April 17, 2002 - A judge presiding over the case of Rev. Paul Shanley orders Law to be deposed by lawyers of one of Shanley's victims.

May 09, 2002 - Law testifies about his supervision of accused priest Geoghan. Law states that he had relied on his assistants to investigate charges of abuse.

May 19, 2002 - In a letter distributed throughout the archdiocese, Law apologizes for his role in the clergy abuse scandal, but denies knowing about the allegations of sexual abuse against Rev. Shanley until 1993.

August 2, 2002 - Law appears in court to testify about a settlement reached between the archdiocese of Boston and victims of clergy abuse. The archdiocese rescinds the offer shortly after it is announced.

December 6, 2002 - Law is subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating "possible criminal violations by church officials who supervised priests accused of sexually abusing children."

December 9, 2002 - In a letter signed by 58 priests, Law is asked to resign his post as archbishop.

December 11, 2002 - Law resigns as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America.

December 13, 2002 - Resigns as archbishop of Boston.

July 21, 2003 - A spokesman for the Massachusetts attorney general says former Law and other top officials in Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese will not face criminal charges for keeping abusive priests in church parishes.

May 27, 2004 - Law is made archpriest of the Patriarchal (now Papal) Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

November 21, 2011 - The Vatican announces that Law's position as archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major will now be filled by Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello. Law is now effectively in retirement.

December 20, 2017 - Dies in Rome at age 86.

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