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Law's Retirement Welcomed By Some In Boston

Advocates for victims of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse have welcomed news that former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law has resigned from his position in Rome.

The Vatican announced Monday that the 80-year-old Law has stepped down as archpriest of St. Mary Major basilica.

Critics say Law did little to protect children from predatory priests.

Ann Hagan Webb, the New England co-coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says she's relieved to hear of Law's resignation.

"It would have been better had he been fired," she said. "He should have been fired many years ago. We've always been very upset that the Vatican rewarded him with this cushy job in Rome."

Nick Ingala, with the Catholic group Voice of the Faithful, has mixed feelings about Law's resignation.

"He's still holding his positions as head of several offices there, including the one that helps the pope select bishops, and has never really been held accountable," Ingala said.

Terence McKiernan of bishopaccountability.org says Law's retirement from a position of "luxury and prestige" at the Vatican is a sign his influence is on the wane.

Law stepped down as Boston's archbishop in 2002. The archdiocese has deferred comment to the Vatican.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on November 21, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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