Boston Archdiocese Edges Closer to a Bankruptcy Filing

Cardinal Law Calls for Special Period of Prayer

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BOSTON, Massachusetts, DEC. 5, 2002 ( The Archdiocese of Boston moved closer to declaring bankruptcy in the midst of lawsuits related to clergy sex-abuse scandals.

The archdiocese said it still hoped to reach a settlement with victims, Reuters reported. Church officials indicated they had not made a final decision on whether to fill under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.

Under Chapter 11, the archdiocese could be freed from the threat of creditors’ lawsuits while it reorganizes its finances.

About 450 plaintiffs already have sued the archdiocese over the sex-abuse scandals, Reuters said.

On Wednesday, an archdiocesan finance panel voted to give Cardinal Bernard Law permission to file for bankruptcy. The cardinal would first need Vatican approval for seeking bankruptcy protection. No Catholic diocese in the United States has ever declared bankruptcy.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Cardinal Law made a special plea for prayers.

«I write to ask you to join with me in a special period of prayer from the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 2002, until the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, January 1, 2003,» he wrote.

«The special intention of this time of prayer will be for healing, forgiveness and reconciliation in the context of the suffering caused to all victim-survivors and their families through sexual abuse by clergy and the consequent pain caused to the members of the entire Church in the Archdiocese of Boston,» the cardinal stated.

«To open this observance,» he said, «I shall celebrate Mass and pray the Rosary at 12:10 p.m. at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Mission Church, 1545 Tremont Street, Roxbury, on December 12, 2002. All are invited to that Mass.

«I would ask that all the faithful pray the Rosary each day during the period of December 12, 2002 to January 1, 2003 in their own homes or in their churches, to beg God, through Our Lady’s intercession, for these gifts of grace we so need.»

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