Priests worry of a ‘2002 redux’

Boston Herald

August 29, 2018

By Sean Philip Cotter

Voice ‘frustrations’ at meeting

Catholic priests voiced their “frustrations and anxieties” over renewed church sex abuse scandal as Cardinal Sean O’Malley sought to address cover-up allegations to the clergy of the Boston archdiocese yesterday.

“Is this 2002 redux?” The Rev. Paul Soper, the archdiocesan secretary for evangelization and discipleship, said was the overriding concern of the approximately 300 priests who attended O’Malley’s meeting at St. Julia’s in Weston.

Soper was referring to the year the massive Boston archdiocese sex abuse scandal made worldwide headlines.

“They worry we’re falling into that kind of abyss,” Soper said of the churchwide scandal now exploding in Pennsylvania with allegations of official mishandling reaching Boston and even Rome.

O’Malley’s closed-door meeting at the church lasted more than an hour and a half. Priests speaking afterward said O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, gave his side of the story in the scandal involving the ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick — which he is alleged to have ignored. He had another archdiocesan official talk about the ongoing investigation into abuse allegations at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. The meeting also included a town-hall section where priests were able to speak their piece, with many voicing worries or frustrations.

“It was a struggle for everybody,” said one priest who didn’t give his name.

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