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Cardinal Law funeral held at Vatican with no mention of sex abuse crisis

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The funeral of Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Archbishop of Boston 15 years ago after covering up years of sexual abuse of children by priests, was held in the Vatican on Thursday without a mention of what led to his downfall.

About 200 people attended the funeral Mass in a chapel in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica and presided over by a senior cardinal, Angelo Sodano. The wooden coffin lay on the floor with an open book of the gospels resting on it.

Pope Francis entered the chapel for a few minutes after the Mass to bless the coffin and conduct a brief service known as the Final Commendation and Farewell – which he does for all cardinals who die in Rome.

“He dedicated his whole life to the Church,” Sodano said in his homily in praise of Law, who died on Wednesday.

Sodano listed the stages of Law’s clerical life and said the late Pope John Paul had “called him to Rome” to be archpriest of a Rome basilica. But Sodano made no mention of the reason why he left Boston.

“Unfortunately, each of us can sometimes be lacking in our mission,” Sodano said.

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The pope read out a Latin prayer, part of which reads: “May he be given a merciful judgement”.

About 15 cardinals attended, though not Law’s successor in Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. O’Malley said on Wednesday that Law served at a time “when the Church failed seriously in its responsibilities …”

Law was Archbishop of Boston for 18 years when he resigned on Dec. 13, 2002, climaxing a tumultuous year that sparked the greatest crisis in the history of the American Catholic Church.

A succession of devastating news stories by Boston Globe reporters showed how priests who sexually abused children had been moved from parish to parish for years under Law’s tenure without parishioners or law authorities being informed.

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Victims groups have expressed outrage that Law’s funeral was being in St. Peter’s and that he would be buried in a crypt in a chapel of the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, where he served as archpriest.

“Survivors of child sexual assault in Boston, who were first betrayed by Law’s cover-up of sex crimes and then doubly betrayed by his subsequent promotion to Rome, were those most hurt,” SNAP, a victim’s group, said in a statement on Wednesday.

After Pope Francis left Thursday’s funeral, two nuns in brown robes knelt by the coffin and arched over it to pray.

After the funeral, Cardinal Franc Rode of Slovenia praised Law as “a good man with good intentions”.

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“All these provisions about paedophilia were not as severe as they are now so one can’t say that he made that many mistakes,” Rode told Reuters Television, saying it was “another era”. He did not elaborate.

About a half dozen ambassadors attended. The United States’ official representative was Louis Bono, the current chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican.

U.S. Ambassador-designate Callista Gingrich and her husband Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, attended in a private capacity. Callista Gingrich officially becomes ambassador on Friday.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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2020 Election

Here are 5 reasons why 2020’s down-ballot races could reshape America’s future

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The political press always tends to focus mostly on the marquee race for the White House but that's especially true this cycle, as Donald Trump runs for a second term. He demands attention and his antics enrage his opponents and delight his supporters in equal measure.

But national reporters risk missing the big picture by centering so much of their reporting at the top when many of the most important political battles in 2020 will take place further down the ballot.

Trump is catnip for reporters and their editors, but the dearth of coverage of downballot races didn't begin with his election. As the news media in general faces structural changes—with print circulation declining and much of their work moving into digital spaces that are more difficult to monetize--publishers have cut back on reporters assigned to the state and local government beat. Nevertheless, Trump has arguably worsened the trend by getting so much airtime— one estimate suggested that over the past four years, Trump has taken up, on average, 15 percent of the entire daily news cycle on the three leading cable networks, nearly three times what Obama did.

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