.- When Pope Benedict XVI announced the list for his first group of named cardinals yesterday, some Catholics in Massachusetts were surprised to see their own Archbishop Sean OâMalley on the list--while others thought the elevation only fitting.
Cardinal-designate OâMalley was appointed by the late Pope John Paul II to oversee the Archdiocese of Boston during the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the epicenter of which fell largely in that Archdiocese.
According to the Boston Globe, Jim Marotta, an area parishioner, said yesterday that when the Archbishop arrived, "This city was hurting really badâ¦I think a lot of us were having some problems, and then the closing of the churches didn't help at all.
âAnd yet,â he said, âthe man has still kept it all together."
Often controversial Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy (D), himself a Catholic who has vocally opposed the Church on many issues, said that he sees the elevation as a âgreat personal tribute to [OâMalley], andâ¦an important day for Boston, because it's a recognition of the people of faithâ there.
He called the city âa place of men and women, of families, that are strong believers, and I think it's a compliment to the people here in Boston and, I think, all families are looking forward to a future and a positive hopeful time in the future."
Likewise, Bostonâs Catholic mayor, Tom Menino, who has been criticized by Cardinal-elect OâMalley for his stance on abortion and same-sex marriage, said yesterday that the âdecision serves as recognition of the Cardinal-Elect's tireless leadership during difficult and trying times.â
He praised the Archbishopâs work with the immigrant populations which, he said, âmean so much to the future of the Church and our City.â
ââ¦As a Catholic,â Menino added, âI am proud that the Holy See has honored the Archdiocese of Boston with a Cardinal-Elect. This reflects the national and world standing of the Archdiocese, the City and its people.â
Not all shared this enthusiasm over the appointment however. According to the Globe, Mitchell Garabedian, an area attorney who is still pursuing a number of abuses charges against the Archdiocese said that, "Many victims consider it a slap in the face that Archbishop O'Malley has been rewarded for a job not very well done."
Bishop Robert J. McManus, S.T.D., of the nearby Diocese of Worcester, MA, however, had nothing but congratulations to offer Cardinal-designate OâMalley. He also thanked the Holy Father âfor elevating [OâMalley] to the College of Cardinals.â
âThe Holy Father is assuring usâ, he wrote in a statement, âby his decision that the community of faith in this part of New England, which is guided by Cardinal-designate OâMalley from the Metropolitan See of Boston, continues to be an important voice in the universal Church.â