Pope Francis will preside over the funeral of disgraced former Boston archbishiop Cardinal Bernard F. Law.
Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who died Wednesday at age 86, resigned 15 years ago amid allegations that he covered up priests' pedophilia and permitted them to continue their pastoral service.
Law's service will be held at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Thursday. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate mass and Pope Francis will preside over the "final commendation," the Vatican said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Law, who was recently hospitalized in Rome, died "after a long illness," according to the Vatican.
Vatican announces funeral of #CardinalBernardLaw will be held in St. Peter's Basilica Thursday with Mass celebrated by +AngeloSodano, dean of College of Cardinals. #PopeFrancis will preside over rite of final commendation— Catholic News Service (@CatholicNewsSvc) December 20, 2017
Prior to the announcement, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked the Vatican to keep the survivors of child sex abuse in mind while planning the celebration of Law's life.
"This celebratory focus on abuse enablers like Law must end. It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change: protecting children and those who have been hurt," SNAP said in a statement released after Law's death.
The Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations rocked the Roman Catholic Church in 2002 after the paper revealed how Catholic leaders had spent decades covering up rampant acts of child molestation by parish priests.
Law was never accused of sexual misconduct and called the abuse "morally abhorrent." However, he admitted to knowing about accusations against multiple priests and still permitted them to continue serving in the clergy, judgement calls that the Boston Archdiocese called "tragically incorrect" but made upon "good faith," during a speech given in Jan. 2002.
"I did assign priests who had committed sexual abuse," Law said in a Nov. 2002 apology, according to the Boston Globe.
Following legal proceedings over the Globe's findings, where Cardinal Law gave multiple depositions, former Massachusetts attorney general Thomas F. Reilly said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Law.
Among the most notable accusations against priests, Rev. John J. Geoghan, who was permitted to serve by Law, was sentenced to nine to 10 years in 2002. Geoghan was murdered less than a year later by a fellow inmate at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center.
Pope Francis also expressed his condolences for Law's death in a statement released by the Vatican.
May God "who is rich in mercy" welcome him in his eternal peace, the Pope said.