“The most recent data that we have received on the scope of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is no less grim,” he said.
“In France, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CIASE) estimated 216,000 children suffered sexual abuse in the Church from in the period from 1950 to 2020. In Australia, 40% of the child sexual abuse that took place in the period under review of the Royal Commission of Inquiry occurred in an area related to the Catholic Church.”
“These are astounding statistics,” O’Malley commented. “But we cannot allow our reaction to them to obscure their purpose: To assess the measures taken by the Church to treat this scourge; and to make all useful recommendations for the transformation of a failed system based on a quantitative and qualitative level.”
“We cannot repair what we do not recognize. We cannot restore a broken trust if we do not address the heart of the matter. This requires honest investigation, independent inquiry, and informed action,” the cardinal added.
He said that the Church, civil society, and academia could learn from each other to help shape a society that puts “the protection of children among the highest priorities.”
The cardinal said that, in solidarity with Pope Francis’ initiative for a universal day of prayer for abuse survivors, he would be walking at sunrise on Nov. 18.
O’Malley, who was attending the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, said that he would walk with others “in silent communion of prayer with adult survivors of child sexual abuse, their advocates, brother bishops, faith leaders of many denominations and representatives of civil society.”
“We will gather as a global collective in recognition of our commitment — religions and civil society — to walk with survivors on a lifelong journey of healing for us all,” he said.