.- In a statement released on his blog, the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley gave personal testimony to Pope Benedict XVI's commitment to ending sex abuse within the Church.
The Boston Cardinal recalls that since being named Bishop of Fall River in 1992 and subsequently Bishop of Palm Beach and Archbishop of Boston, “I have had the painful but privileged opportunity to meet with hundreds of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their loved ones.”
“During the course of Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States in 2008, at a meeting with survivors from the Archdiocese of Boston, I presented the Holy Father a book inscribed with the first names of 1500 children who had been sexually abused by clergy and shared that the names marked with a gold cross were children who had died under tragic circumstances. The Holy Father was visibly moved as he read the names,” he explains.
“What is very clear to me — and I think to all who are fair-minded — is that Cardinal Ratzinger and later Pope Benedict has been dedicated to eradicating sexual abuse in the Church and trying to rectify the mistakes of the past,” the cardinal writes.
The Archbishop of Boston also explains that during the height of the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S., “the strongest ally we had in this effort was Cardinal Ratzinger. As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he allowed us to move forward with the Essential Norms which became local Church law in the U.S. and facilitated the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
The Norms, Cardinal O’Malley recalls, “allowed for mandated reporting to civil authorities and embraced a zero-tolerance policy for abusers.
In addition, the Charter called for abuse prevention training that has been attended by literally millions of Catholics. It also requires yearly public audits to ensure that dioceses are in compliance with these requirements.”
“During this Holy Season I urge all of our Catholics to pray for the survivors and all who have been impacted by the tragedy of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy. I also hold in my prayers and ask us all to pray for those persons for whom this crisis has been an obstacle to the continued practice of their faith. Let us pray, too, for our Holy Father, that God will grant him the light and wisdom he needs to guide the Church. And during this Year for Priests, let us pray for our priests, who labor quietly everyday doing the good works of the Lord,” Cardinal O'Malley concludes.