There’s a big furor over Cardinal Law celebrating one of the nine “novemdiales” Masses for Pope John Paul at St. Peter’s Basilica this week. Some people are claiming that it’s a slap in the face of Scandal victims to put Law in such a prominent role. I don’t think so.
For one thing, each day the Mass is offered by a particular community in Rome and today’s was that offered by the communities of the three major Basilicas of the city (apart from St. Peter’s). Obviously, the Mass should be celebrated by one of the archpriests of the basilicas. The other two archpriests are already celebrating Masses on other days, representing other groups in the traditional list, leaving only Cardinal Law. It was natural that it should fall to him. He is not being “honored” by the Vatican by this role. It is his job by virtue of being archpriest. Neither is he a representative of the American Church, and thus suggestions that another American cardinal should have celebrated are out of line.