Bernard Cardinal Law's Press
Conference on the Death of John Cardinal O'Connor
Boston's Cardinal Law started the press conference by saying that he and Cardinal O'Connor's family appreciated
the sensitivity of the media during their coverage of his illness.
Cardinal Law said that Cardinal O'Connor had received the Church's prayer for the dying and the
Apostolic blessing yesterday. Cardinal Law, along with Cardinal Baum, had been part of a small group of
friends and family who had spent the day with Cardinal O'Connor. "It was a day of peace for him."
Cardinal Law went on to remember, "Last Labor Day I spent the day with him. We had a good day
together. I asked him 'John, how are you doing with this?" He said 'I have an incredible peace.' "
When asked about the succession process, Cardinal Law said that decision lies with the Holy Father.
The Cardinal then described how the process worked in general: the Congregation of Bishops looks at
possible candidates and makes a recommendation to the Holy Father. However, this is only a
recommendation to assist the Holy Father, it is not a conclusive vote. The decision rests entirely with the
Holy Father. the Cardinal then said "For the moment, however, the focus should be on Cardinal
O'Connor, on the significance of his life."
The Cardinal then noted that "It is a deep personal loss. I will miss him greatly. I spoke with him almost
daily. It was a great privilege to celebrate Mass with him. The tumor prevented him from reading, but he
would say the Eucharistic Prayer from memory. There is no one I have been closer to in the hierarchy of
"I saw him last week. He indicated his sense of peace. He was a man who was a bundle of energy, but
this illness made him dependent on others. I was amazed at the grace with which he allowed others to
help. The last time I spoke with him was on Friday. We talked about the Fenway Youth Event here in
Boston to be held the next day. He was very enthusiastic about it. I wouldn't be surprised if his prayers
helped with the good weather on Saturday."
When asked about his own sense of loss, the Cardinal said, "As you get older and you see friends going
to the Lord, it makes you more conscience of your own mortality. It also makes you more conscience of
the communion of saints. In the course of yesterday, when it was clear that life was ebbing, all of us were
profoundly moved. But our tears were not for John, but for ourselves."