O'Malley: U.S. Priest Policies Likely to Stand

By Eric Convey
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
February 27, 2004

Vatican officials and U.S. church leaders who will review the country's policies for dealing with sexually abusive priests later this year are unlikely to water them down, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley said yesterday.

"I'm convinced that there will not be any revisions in the immediate future," he said. "I don't think the norms have been in place long enough to give them a fair assessment."

"Norms" is the formal word for the policies that govern the way U.S. dioceses deal with abusive priests. The rules were adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. They got Vatican approval, but with the condition they be reviewed later this year.

Asked whether he discussed revisions during a trip to the Vatican earlier this month, O'Malley said: "I did raise it over there, yes."

Some critics of the church have charged that the policy known as "one strike you're out" or "zero tolerance" will be scuttled. O'Malley said he would be "surprised if there were substantial changes."

"There may be some tweaking of the document, but I would be surprised if there were radical (changes)," he said.

O'Malley also said the archdiocese is proceeding with the defrocking of priests who are being forced from the ministry for abusing minors. "It's a slow process, but we are committed to it," he said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.