Abuse Victims Ask Pope to Shun O'Malley

By Brittani Hamm
Ethics Daily
April 11, 2008

(RNS) Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are asking Pope Benedict XVI to shun Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley during the pope's U.S. visit after an independent firm reported that the Archdiocese of Boston is not fully providing abuse prevention training to Catholic children.

A recent report from the Boston-based Gavin Group, which has surveyed U.S. dioceses on compliance with abuse-prevention policies, found that 64 of 295 do not have mandated safe environment programs for children. The Boston archdiocese had complied with the other 12 of 13 requirements.

On Thursday, leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) complained in a letter sent to the pope's U.S. ambassador, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

"O'Malley's repeated breaking of the national bishops' policy is scandalous and dangerous," said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director for SNAP.

"For five years, bishops have been required to teach all Catholic kids how to protect themselves. But by O'Malley's own admission, he's failed to provide that training to 20 percent of Boston's Catholic children. That's inexcusably reckless."

The Boston Globe reported Thursday that not all Boston parishes have welcomed the "Talking about Touching" curriculum, and O'Malley has faced resistance from some parishes who find it too detailed or inappropriate.

After the Gavin Group report last month, O'Malley vowed to "continue to work diligently to ensure our children's safety in the Archdiocese of Boston."

But SNAP criticized O'Malley for failing to bring his archdiocese into compliance for the second straight year.

"Boston, of all places, should be the most vigilant, compliant diocese in America the last place to ignore or break the church's official, nationwide child sex abuse prevention promises," Dorris said.


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