By Sacha Pfeiffer, Globe Staff, 12/14/2002
s the shock waves dissipated following yesterday’s Vatican announcement that Cardinal Bernard F. Law had resigned, a sobering reality emerged: His departure does little to resolve the legal quagmire now gripping the Boston Archdiocese, including the nearly 500 pending legal claims and lawsuits brought by alleged sexual abuse victims.
Even with Law gone, ”there’s a mess, a real mess,” said the Rev. John P. Beal, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America. ”You’ve got all those lawsuits out there, and that’s going to be expensive. You’ve got the possibility of the diocese being forced to file for bankruptcy, and what that will mean, God only knows.”
On the legal front, Law’s resignation will have little impact. Although Law is no longer expected to be involved in attempting to resolve the hundreds of legal claims against the archdiocese, settlement talks will continue. He is still expected to attend his next deposition, scheduled for Tuesday – prompting Beal to note ruefully that, with so much unresolved litigation, Law may become a ”professional witness” in his post-archbishop days.