Boston Cardinal Says Church Contrition on Abuse Must Continue

By Patsy McGarry
Irish Times
January 6, 2012

THE CATHOLIC Church "must continue to express the depth of our sorrow and contrition for how badly we failed those entrusted to our care," Cardinal Seán O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, has said.

"As leaders in the church we must accept our responsibility for those failings and clearly acknowledge that church leadership could have and should have responded more quickly and more forcefully."

He was speaking in a letter marking the 10th anniversary of revelations by the Boston Globe newspaper of an extensive cover- up of clerical child sex abuse by archdiocesan authorities there, which led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.

"... We must, we can and we will do everything in our power to ensure that these crimes, these sins, never occur in the community of the church again," he said.

On January 6th, 2002, the newspaper published court records to show how Cardinal Law transferred abuser Fr John Geoghan between parishes, despite growing allegations against him. A wave of similar revelations followed.

Cardinal O'Malley, who led the Vatican apostolic visitation to Dublin last year, continued: "There is no place for compromise or equivocation concerning the welfare of children and young people. We have learned much during the course of the past 10 years and made sweeping and significant changes to all dimensions of the life of the church, but we cannot be lulled into a sense of achievement that would risk complacency."

His letter accompanied publication of the document Ten Years Later Reflections on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston. It praises the courage of the abused in "coming forward and sharing the accounts of their abuse", which had been of immeasurable help to so many who shared "that terrible experience".


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