Pope assigns Cardinal O'Malley to help abuse-wracked Dublin Archdiocese
May 31, 2010 - Globe Staff
Pope Benedict XVI today named Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston to assist the Archdiocese of Dublin, which is the largest of several Irish dioceses reeling from a clergy sexual abuse crisis.
O'Malley will remain the archbishop of Boston, but will also have new duties as an "apostolic visitor" to the Dublin archdiocese, a job that will require him to "explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims,'' according to a statement issued by the Vatican press office. He will also be asked to "monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse.''
The new assignment marks the fourth time in his career that O'Malley, 65, has been asked to intervene in a diocese that had been seriously damaged by clergy sexual abuse. In 1992 he was named the bishop of Fall River, a diocese roiled by the serial pedophilia of the Rev. James R. Porter; in 2002 he was named bishop of Palm Beach, where the two previous bishops had acknowledged sexually abusing minors; and in 2003 he was named archbishop of Boston, replacing Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who resigned over criticism of his failure to remove multiple sexually abusive priests from ministry.
The Catholic Church in Ireland has recently been struggling to cope with revelations of multiple abuse cases in church-affiliated institutions there.
O'Malley was born in the United States, but is a proud Irish-American who frequently talks of his Irish heritage. And the Archdiocese of Boston has rich and deep historic links to the Irish church; many local priests and parishioners are of Irish heritage.
Here is the statement issued this morning by the Vatican:
Following the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the Apostolic Visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.
Through this Visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the Bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.
The Apostolic Visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical Motu Proprio "Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela" and the norms contained in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.
The Visitation will begin in the four Metropolitan Archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.
The Visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, for the Archdiocese of Armagh; His Eminence Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, for the Archdiocese of Dublin; the Most Reverend Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, for the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly; the Most Reverend Terrence Thomas Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa, for the Archdiocese of Tuam.
In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will coordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the Apostolic Visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. The Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has been named Apostolic Visitor. For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organize the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the Superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the "guidelines". In the second phase, the Apostolic Visitors will be: the Reverend Joseph Tobin, CSSR and the Reverend Gero McLaughlin SJ for institutes of men; Sister Sharon Holland IHM and Sister Mairin McDonagh RJM for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.
His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God’s blessings upon the Visitors, and upon all the Bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the Visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour.
Cardinal O'Malley has just issued his own statement:
With deep respect for Pope Benedict XVI and sincere humility, I have accepted the Holy Father’s request to serve as Apostolic Visitor to the Archdiocese of Dublin during the upcoming Apostolic Visitation of the Church in Ireland. I look forward to meeting with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and our working together.
The Church must be unfailingly vigilant in protecting children and young people. Our ongoing efforts in the Archdiocese of Boston to ensure their safety will be helpful for the visitation. It will also be important to respond to the concerns of the Catholic community and the survivors in the manner that will promote the process of healing.
The Holy Father’s letter to the Catholics of Ireland this past March made clear the priority of pastoral care and concern for all who have suffered from the sexual abuse of children by clergy and religious. His prayer that, “by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – [we] will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love.’ will guide our efforts in this visitation. I ask for the prayers of the Archdiocese of Boston for me and for our brothers and sisters in Ireland. May the light of Christ, which is not overcome by any darkness, lead us forward.
And here is a news release from the Archdiocese of Dublin:
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin welcomes the Press Statement of the Holy See announcing that the Apostolic Visitation of the Church in Ireland, already announced by Pope Benedict XVI in his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, is to begin shortly.
Archbishop Martin looks forward to receiving the Formal document which will define the nature and the precise terms and objectives of the Visitation. The Visitation is an important element in the broad process being set in place by Pope Benedict to assist the Catholic Church in Ireland in its renewal.
Archbishop Martin welcomes in particular the announcement that the Visitation is being asked to evaluate the current response to victims and the quality of the assistance which the Church in Ireland owes to survivors.
The Archbishop warmly welcomes the nomination of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley Archbishop of Boston, as Apostolic Visitor to the Archdiocese of Dublin. Cardinal O'Malley's experience and personal commitment render him particularly suited to bring ecclesial solidarity to the faithful and the clergy of the Archdiocese of Dublin at this moment, in which the Church in Dublin addresses the truth of a dark moment in its history and undertakes a period of conversion, purification and renewal.
The appropriate structures of the Archdiocese continue in their reflection on the grave facts identified in the Murphy Report and are offering full cooperation in the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by An Garda Siochana in the wake of the publication of the Report.
It is a very great honor, indeed, for Cardinal O’Malley to be chosen by our Holy Father for this very important and sensitive assignment. It just reaffirms the high regard in which the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston is held by the Vatican. All Hibernians should be very proud in view of the fact that Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley is a member of Tomas Cardinal O’Fiaich, Division #14 in Watertown, MA. Division #14 also counts among its present and former members President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador Raymond L. Flynn, Fr. Aidan Troy, and is the only Division in our noble Order to have been the home division of three Past National Presidents of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America