ROME – Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston wants to see a report from the Vatican detailing who knew what and when about Theodore McCarrick, once among the most influential men of the Church in the United States – and, as of last Saturday, an ex-priest found guilty of sexual sins with both minors and adults.
O’Malley said he believes that report will include information sent to the Holy See by the four dioceses where McCarrick served, meaning New York, Metuchen, Newark and Washington, D.C.
Knowing what happened, O’Malley said, is “very important” when it comes to possible wrongdoing both in the United States and in the Vatican. Transparency is key, he said if the Church wants to be able to confront the problem.
O’Malley never mentioned McCarrick’s name during a Vatican news conference on Friday as part of Pope Francis’s summit on child sexual abuse. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago did but short of every ecclesiastical title, reflecting the fact that the former U.S. cardinal is no longer a priest.
“The only thing I can tell you is that I and everyone else has to be held accountable, and I’ve always believed that,” Cupich said. “The situation of Theodore McCarrick is a very sad moment in history, a very shameful moment.”
Cupich was tapped by Francis as one of four prelates organizing this week’s summit on the protection of children.
Guaranteeing that children are safe is a priority for the Catholic Church, O’Malley said, adding that Francis understands this cannot be only a “Church effort.”
“By addressing the problem, the Church is helping the broader society,” O’Malley said Friday. “But we have to begin by putting our house in order.”
Addressing the “crimes, the betrayals, inflicted on so many children and vulnerable adults,” he said, is part of the mission of the Church.
O’Malley served as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. He noted that Francis requested a series of documents from the United Nations on clerical abuse be distributed to the 190 participants in his Feb. 21-24 summit.
“We’re part of a human family, and we’re all concerned about the safety of our children,” O’Malley said.
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