Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

On 10th anniversary of Boston scandal, Cardinal O'Malley speaks of recovery

Catholic World News - January 02, 2012

Ten years after the release of a sensational Boston Globe report that exposed the tolerance of sexual abuse within the Boston archdiocese, Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that his efforts to revive the faith are based on “our firm conviction that Christ does not abandon his Church.”

In a candid interview with the National Catholic Register, Cardinal O’Malley—who was appointed to head the troubled Boston archdiocese in 2003, after Cardinal Bernard Law resigned—admits that his task was “daunting at the beginning.” But he argues that efforts to restore trust have had positive effects. The cardinal also points to signs of renewal within the local Church, including a dramatic increase in the number of seminarians studying for the priesthood.

Cardinal O’Malley concedes that the programs instituted to prevent abuse were often viewed with suspicion. But he defends those programs—including a “safe environment” program that has been criticized as an inappropriate form of sex education for young children—as beneficial.

Regarding public confidence in the priesthood, the cardinal makes an interesting observation:

Catholics who were involved in the parish were supportive of their priests. But the Catholics who only came to church occasionally were much more suspicious of priests. Those who were already at one arm’s length were now at two arms’ length.

Cardinal O’Malley notes that in the past, when dealing with priests who were guilty of abuse, many bishops “were taking the advice of these professionals who were obviously unaware that there isn’t a cure.” He adds: “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t dawn on the bishop sooner.”

The Boston cardinal says that bishops can restore trust by being present to their people. In an unflattering reference to Cardinal William O’Connell, the powerful prelate who ruled the Boston archdiocese from 1907 to 1944, he says: “One of my predecessors used to go to the Bahamas at Christmas and he didn’t come back until Easter.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our October expenses ($33,217 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,783.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: normnuke - Jan. 02, 2012 7:55 PM ET USA

    The problem with those in authority taking advice from psychologists who were either incompetent (or worse) in dealing with pedophiles was not confined to Catholic bishops. In California (where else) judges were forced to be foolishly lenient in disposing of pedophilic perps if some psychologist with a piece of paper on his wall told him to be. In one case an outraged mother went to the courtroom in session and dispensed justice herself. With a revolver.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Using the figure of Pope Francis for evangelization 2 hours ago
If Catholic priests never preach on sexual morality, be suspicious 2 hours ago
On Bishops and Jesuits, Saints and Angels 23 hours ago
Bishop Finn in Kansas City: Not quite up to date? September 30
Oh, that sort of misconduct September 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Cardinals criticize Kasper proposal, escalating debate on remarriage/Communion CWN - September 18
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30