O’Malley’s ‘rebuke’ of pope on sex abuse stirs wide reaction


January 21, 2018

By Inés San Martín

Lima, Peru – It’s not every day that a close ally and adviser to a pope, not to mention a cardinal of the Catholic Church, distances himself from that pope. So when Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston said Saturday night it was “understandable” that Francis’s language in Chile about abuse victims accusing a bishop of a cover-up had caused “great pain,” it was bound to stir reaction.

Peter Saunders, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse and a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors – an advisory body created by Pope Francis in 2014, with O’Malley as its head – offered perhaps the boldest response: He wants O’Malley, not Francis, to be pope.

“Deep down I think O’Malley would like to take action, and if he were pope I think we would be seeing a different world,” he said in comments to Crux.

“But first and foremost, he is an obedient servant – to his boss the pope, not to those he serves,” Saunders said.

In an email sent to several parties on Sunday, Saunders emphasized how disappointed he is in the pope.

“Pope Francis’s attack on the victims of Karadima has lost him more friends than he can begin to imagine,” Saunders wrote, referring to the name of a Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest. “He is certainly not the man I thought he was.”

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