The Vatican has appointed Cardinal BernardLaw, the controversial former archbishop of Boston, to the ceremonial post of archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St. Mary Major. Law, 72, has been resident chaplain at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy of Alma in Clinton, Maryland, since the pope accepted his resignation as head of the 2.1-million-member Boston archdiocese at the end of 2002 amid criticism of the cardinal for failing to discipline priests accused of pedophilia. Victims groups criticized Law’s appointment at one of Rome’s most important basilicas as inappropriate, though it carries status rather than power. Law will still play a role in the Vatican, however, as a member of nine congregations and two councils.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).