Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley wants the Vatican to move quickly to discipline bishops who helped cover up child sex abuse.
The Cardinal’s remarks came during an interview with 60 Minutes that touched a range of hot topics within the church -- including clergy sex abuse, treatment of the American Nuns and women’s ordination.
Choosing to wear the brown habit of the Capuchin Franciscan order instead of a Cardinal's red robes, O’Malley addressed the scandal surrounding Kansas City-St. Joseph’s Bishop Robert Finn. The bishop was convicted in 2012 of a criminal misdemeanor for failing to report a pedophile priest within his diocese.
The priest in question, Rev. Shawn Ratigan, was sentenced to 50 years in jail on child pornography charges, Crux reports, while Finn was given two years of probation. Finn is still holding on to his post as bishop.
But O’Malley agreed that Finn wouldn’t even be allowed to teach Sunday School in Boston. And as one of Pope Francis’ top American advisors, the Cardinal's opinions carry weight.
“It’s a question the Holy See needs to address urgently,” O’Malley said about whether Finn should continue in his role.
The Vatican sent O’Malley to the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, with the task of cleaning up the sex abuse scandal that rocked one of the oldest bastions of American Catholicism. He admits he was “terrified” at first. Pope Francis gave his work a stamp of approval by choosing O’Malley as the head of the church’s new commission to protect children.
David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, told The Huffington Post that O'Malley's comments were "more of the same -- talk and speculation."
"We aren't hopeful [about the commission]," Clohessy said via email. "There have been hundreds of Catholic church panels that have created policies and protocols that are essentially public relations and that are honored most often in the breach."
As part of the interview, O’Malley also addressed the issue of women’s ordination. While maintaining that women can play important roles in the church as directors of charities and schools, O’Malley emphasized that he still supports traditional Catholic doctrine that bars women from the priesthood.
“If I were founding a church, you know, I'd love to have women priests,” O’Malley said. “But Christ founded it and what he he has given us is something different.”
On the other hand, he called the Vatican’s crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious a “disaster.” The LCWR represents about 80% of American nuns, Crux reports, and has been criticized by the Vatican for focusing on social justice issues instead of advancing Catholic teachings on abortion and sexuality. The Vatican has appointed three bishops to oversee the organization.
When asked if there should be more women in positions of power in the Curia, O’Malley responded, “Yes. I think there should be. And hopefully, there will be.”
A spokesperson for the LCWR declined to comment.