Boston, Mass., Sep 11, 2018 / 15:00 pm
The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan O’Malley on matters related to sexual abuse.
A statement dated Sept. 9 and published on the archdiocesan website confirmed that, in the future, Cardinal O’Malley himself would handle all correspondence either related to his work as President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors or on the subject of abuse generally.
“Recently, the Cardinal has revised the protocol for receipt of Commission related matters,” the statement said.
“He will now personally review all letters that come to his office related to the Commission or are abuse related, even if they address matters outside his authority. He has made a commitment to refer those requiring attention to the Nuncio to the United States and/or the Vatican.”
Previously, letters addressed to the cardinal were filtered through his personal secretary, Fr. Robert Kickham, who undertook to respond on O’Malley’s behalf if the letter fell outside of his competence either for the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston.
The process came under heavy criticism in July of this year when it emerged that a priest, Fr. Boniface Ramsey, had sent a letter to Cardinal O’Malley in 2015 outlining various rumors and allegations he had heard concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.
At the time, Fr. Ramsey received a response from Fr. Kickham thanking Ramsey for writing but explaining the matter was outside of Cardinal O’Malley’s areas of responsibility and that no further action would be taken.
When the exchange became public, Cardinal O’Malley confirmed in a statement that he had never personally seen Fr. Ramsey’s letter, and that it had been responded to “at the staff level.”