Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s alleged behaviour was “morally unacceptable and incompatible with the role of a priest, bishop or cardinal,” Cardinal Seán O’Malley has said.
Cardinal O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and a leading “fixer” in the clerical sex abuse crisis, issued a statement addressing the allegations against Cardinal McCarrick.
“Each new report of clerical abuse at any level creates doubt in the minds of many that we are effectively addressing this catastrophe in the Church,” Cardinal O’Malley said, adding that it further compromises her “already weakened moral authority”.
“While the Church in the United States has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests we must have clearer procedures for cases involving bishops,” he continued. “The Church needs a strong and comprehensive policy to address bishops’ violations of the vows of celibacy in cases of the criminal abuse of minors and in cases involving adults.”
O’Malley set out a three-part course of action: “First, a fair and rapid adjudication of these accusations; second, an assessment of the adequacy of our standards and policies in the Church at every level, and especially in the case of bishops; and third, communicating more clearly to the Catholic faithful and to all victims the process for reporting allegations against bishops and cardinals.
The Cardinal closed by assuring that he will raise these concerns with the Holy See “with great urgency and concern” during an upcoming visit.