Bernard Francis Law
Bernard Francis Law

Celebrity Profile

Name: Bernard Francis Law
Occupation: Religious Leader
Gender: Male
Birth Day: November 4, 1931
Death Date: Dec 20, 2017 (age 86)
Age: Aged 86
Country: Mexico
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

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Height: in centimeters - N/A
Weight: in kg - N/A
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Bernard Francis Law

Bernard Francis Law was born on November 4, 1931 in Mexico (86 years old). Bernard Francis Law is a Religious Leader, zodiac sign: Scorpio. Find out Bernard Francis Lawnet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


He was a civil rights activist during the 1960's ad was a member of both the Mississippi Leadership Conference and the Mississippi Human Relations Council.

Does Bernard Francis Law Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Bernard Francis Law died on Dec 20, 2017 (age 86).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He received a degree in medieval history from Harvard University.

Biography Timeline


Law was born in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico on November 4, 1931, the only child of Bernard Aloysius Law (1890–1955) and Helen A. Law (née Stubblefield; 1911–1991). His father was a United States Air Force colonel and a veteran pilot of World War I.


On May 21, 1961, Law was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson in Mississippi. He served two years as an assistant pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he was the editor of The Mississippi Register, the diocesan newspaper. He also held several other diocesan posts from 1963-68, including director of the family life bureau and spiritual director of the minor seminary.


Law's brave civil rights activity led him to develop ties with Protestant church leaders and he received national attention for his work for ecumenism and in 1968 he was tapped for his first national post, as executive director of the US Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.


Pope Paul VI named Law bishop of the Diocese of Springfield–Cape Girardeau in Missouri on October 22, 1973, and he was consecrated on December 5 of that year. Law's predecessor in Springfield–Cape Girardeau was William Wakefield Baum, another future cardinal.


In 1975, he arranged for the resettlement in his diocese of 166 Vietnamese refugees who arrived in the United States, and were members of a Vietnamese religious congregation, the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix.


In 1981, Law was named the Vatican delegate to develop and oversee a program instituted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in which U.S. Episcopal priests would be accepted into the Catholic priesthood. In the program's first year, sixty-four Episcopal priests applied for acceptance. This brought married priests with their families into U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses for the first time.


On January 11, 1984, Law was appointed Archbishop of Boston by Pope John Paul II and was installed on March 23, 1984.


On May 25, 1985 he was appointed a member of the College of Cardinals, where he was also appointed the Cardinal Priest of the church of Santa Susanna.

In 1985, delivering one of the few speeches in Latin at the Synod of Bishops, he called for the creation of a "universal catechism" to guard against dissent, especially by theologians. He was the second prelate to call for such a document, which became the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992). Law oversaw the first draft of its English translation.


In January 2001 he was named a defendant in several high-profile cases involving pedophile priests, including one involving priest John Geoghan. Reporter Kristen Lombardi, who was assigned to investigate by Susan Ryan-Vollmar, the editor of the Boston Phoenix weekly, wrote "Cardinal sin", an article about the cases. Mark Keane, a victim of Geoghan, believed that Law had direct knowledge that Geoghan, who worked in the Archdiocese of Boston from 1962 to 1993, was repeatedly molesting children. Keane said that the archbishop not only allowed the priest to continue working, but repeatedly moved him from parish to parish where he had daily contact with many children (one of whom was Keane). Even though abuse by Geoghan had been reported repeatedly in the media since 1996, the new editor of the daily Boston Globe newspaper Martin Baron set the Spotlight investigatory team to work on the case in September 2001. Lombardi acknowledged that the Globe may have had the story before she did, but was delayed somewhat pending the release of sealed records.


In April 2002, following the Boston Globe's public exposure of the cover up by Cardinal Law (and his predecessor Humberto Cardinal Medeiros) of offending priests in the Boston Archdiocese, Law consulted with Pope John Paul II and other Vatican officials and said he was committed to staying on as archbishop and addressing the scandal: "It is my intent to address at length the record of the Archdiocese's handling of these cases by reviewing the past in as systematic and comprehensive way as possible, so that legitimate questions which have been raised might be answered." Law submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Boston to the Vatican, which Pope John Paul II accepted on December 13, 2002. Law wrote in a personal declaration, "The particular circumstances of this time suggest a quiet departure. Please keep me in your prayers." and moved to Rome. In July 2003, Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. was named the new Archbishop of Boston. The Boston Globe said in an editorial the day after Law's resignation was accepted that "Law had become the central figure in a scandal of criminal abuse, denial, payoff, and coverup that resonates around the world". A letter urging Law's resignation had been signed by 58 priests, mostly diocesan priests who had sworn obedience to Law as their direct superior; the editorial said that this letter was "surely one of the precipitating events in his departure". The Globe's exposé of the scandal was the subject of an Oscar-winning film, Spotlight released in the United States in November 2015, in which Law was portrayed by Len Cariou.


In May 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Law to a post in Rome, as Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, a largely ceremonial role. Some saw this an attempt to shield Law from potential criminal prosecution as his new position conveyed citizenship in Vatican City.


In a statement, Cardinal Law said, "It is my fervent prayer that this action [his resignation] may help the Archdiocese of Boston to experience the healing, reconciliation and unity which are so desperately needed. To all those who have suffered from my shortcomings and mistakes I both apologize and from them beg forgiveness." While no longer Archbishop of Boston, Law remained a bishop and cardinal of the Catholic Church in good standing; as a cardinal, he participated in the 2005 papal conclave. By the time of the 2013 papal conclave, he had become ineligible to vote as he was over the age of 80.


Law attainted 80 on November 4, 2011, and lost the right to participate in a papal conclave as well as his memberships in offices of the Roman Curia. He remained as archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore until November 21, 2011, when Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló was appointed as the new archpriest.

It was "commonly believed that [Law would] live out his retirement in Rome" (when he reached 80 years of age). After his retirement in 2011, Law continued to live in Vatican City, and regularly attended the annual July 4 Independence Day parties held by the United States Embassy to the Holy See.


In May 2012, the National Catholic Reporter and The Tablet, a British Catholic weekly, reported that Law was "the person in Rome most forcefully supporting" Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori's petition to investigate and discipline the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a large group of American nuns.


In March 2013, Law was living at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. As of 2015, he was living in the Palazzo della Cancelleria. He visited the United States for the last time in August 2015 for the funeral of Cardinal William Wakefield Baum in Washington, D.C.


Upon his death in 2017, The Guardian says that Law had become "a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church's systematic protection of paedophile priests" because of his failure to stop sexual abuse in Boston.

After a long illness, Law died in Rome on December 20, 2017, at the age of 86. His funeral rites, following the standard for a cardinal who dies in Rome, included Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on December 21 at which Pope Francis said the final prayers. Vatican TV did not livestream the Mass as it normally does.

Family Life

Bernard's father was a US Army pilot during World War I who moved to Mexico after the war to run an airline.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Bernard Francis Law is 91 years, 4 months and 20 days old. Bernard Francis Law will celebrate 92nd birthday on a Saturday 4th of November 2023. Below we countdown to Bernard Francis Law upcoming birthday.


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