July 24, 2018
By Michelle Boorstein
The Catholic archbishop of Boston, one of the country’s most prominent Catholic clerics and Pope Francis’s chief adviser on child sex abuse, said Tuesday that while the church now has a strong policy and procedures regarding abuse by priests, “a major gap” exists when the accused is a bishop or cardinal — the highest positions in the church — and that it must be corrected.
“Failure to take these actions will threaten and endanger the already weakened moral authority of the Church and can destroy the trust required for the Church to minister to Catholics and have a meaningful role in the wider civil society. In this moment there is no greater imperative for the Church than to hold itself accountable to address these matters,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley wrote.
O’Malley released the statement as the church reels from the suspension a month ago of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a popular former D.C. archbishop who served as a global diplomat for the Vatican. The Vatican says McCarrick has been credibly accused of groping an altar boy decades ago in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and allegations have surfaced that McCarrick sexually harassed and groped several seminarians and a young priest, and abused a family friend starting when the boy was 11.
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