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O’Malley: ‘Specific actions’ needed now to address claims against cardinal

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BOSTON (CNS) — Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley called for “three specific actions” to immediately address allegations of sexual abuse of minors and “sexual improprieties” with seminarians made against Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, starting with “a fair and rapid adjudication of these accusations.”

Second, there must be “an assessment of the adequacy of our standards and policies in the church at every level, and especially in the case of bishops,” he said in a statement issued late July 24. “And third, communicating more clearly to the Catholic faithful and to all victims the process for reporting allegations against bishops and cardinals.”

“Failure to take these actions will threaten and endanger the already weakened moral authority of the church and can destroy the trust required for the church to minister to Catholics and have a meaningful role in the wider civil society,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

The cardinal, who is president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, issued the statement in response to articles in the national media over the past several days that “have reported accusations of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual improprieties with several adults and his criminal violations of the sexual abuse of minors.”

“These alleged actions, when committed by any person, are morally unacceptable and incompatible with the role of a priest, bishop or cardinal,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

In late June, Cardinal McCarrick, the 88-year-old retired archbishop of Washington, said he would no longer exercise any public ministry “in obedience” to the Vatican after an allegation he abused a teenager 47 years ago in the Archdiocese of New York was found credible. The cardinal has said he is innocent.

Cardinal O’Malley added: “In this moment there is no greater imperative for the church than to hold itself accountable to address these matters, which I will bring to my upcoming meetings with the Holy See with great urgency and concern.”

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