O’Malley: ‘Great pain’ from pope’s abuse comments ‘understandable’


January 20, 2018

In a remarkably candid statement from the man named in 2014 to head Pope Francis’s own Vatican commission dedicated to fighting clerical sexual abuse, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston on Saturday said it’s “understandable” that the pontiff’s language on the crisis the day before had caused “great pain.”

Those comments, O’Malley said, may create the impression that the pope would “abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity, and relegate survivors to discredited exile.”

In general, it’s unusual for a cardinal to distance himself from a papal statement in such a fashion, especially someone perceived as being close to Francis such as O’Malley.

At the same time, O’Malley, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and also a member of the pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers from around the world, affirmed Francis’s sincerity in coming to grips with the abuse scandals.

“Pope Francis fully recognizes the egregious failures of the Church and its clergy who abused children, and the devastating impact those crimes have had on survivors and their loved ones,” he said.

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