The Vatican has appointed Cardinal Bernard Law, 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.


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