CARDINAL Bernard Law, former Archbishop of Boston, has been replaced as archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St Mary Major, the Vatican has announced.
In a bulletin listing Church appointments and resignations, the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had named SpanishArchbishop Santos Abril Castello, the Vatican’s vice-chamberlain, to the post.
Cardinal Law turned 80 on November 4, at which time he stopped being a member of Roman Curia agencies.
Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Law to the position in May 2004, about two years after he resigned as Boston’s archbishop amid criticism of his handling of clerical sexual abuse cases in the archdiocese.
Since his appointment to the position in Rome Cardinal Law has kept a relatively low profile. One of his regular duties as archpriest was to celebrate Mass onAugust 5, marking the date in 358 when Mary is said to have caused snow to fall on the spot of the basilica to indicate where she wanted a church built in her honour. It is a popular church event, marked by white flower petals being released from the ceiling of the basilica.
For the past few years, groups representing victims of priestly sexual abuse have asked Pope Benedict to stop Cardinal Law from celebrating such a high-profile Mass.