Mar 23, 2014

Cardinal O’Malley appointed to papal commission to address sexual abuse; will speak at Men’s Conference March 29



(CNS photo by Paul Haring)

Staff report

SPRINGFIELD – Pope Francis, on March 22, appointed Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley and seven others to a commission that will advise him on sex abuse policy for the Catholic Church, according to published reports by the Associated Press and other news agencies.

In 2002, Boston became the epicenter of the clergy abuse scandal in the U.S. Cardinal O’Malley was appointed Archbishop of Boston in July, 2003 by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2006.

A close advisor to Pope Francis, Cardinal O’Malley, a Franciscan, holds a master’s degree in religious education and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese literature from the Catholic University of America.

He is widely trusted when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse in the church and his experience dealing with the abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston was likely a factor in his selection for the committee.

Speaking of his selection to the committee, Cardinal O’Malley told the media the morning of March 23, “I’m honored to be part of it.”

Cardinal O’Malley will be appearing locally next Saturday (March 29) as part of the Diocese of Springfield’s annual Men’s Conference where he will be a keynote speaker.

The conference, which will be held at Bellamy School on Pendleton Avenue in Chicopee, typically hosts 500 to 600 men. The full day of events include speakers, prayer, music, confessions, and an afternoon Mass celebrated by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell.

To register for the 2014 Men’s Conference, call (413) 549-0300, Ext. 12 or log on to

According to the Associated Press, four members of the new commission are women, one of whom is a sex abuse survivor.

The AP reported that the appointments, “were announced after (Pope) Francis came under fire from victims' groups for a perceived lack of attention to the abuse scandal, which has seriously damaged the Catholic Church's reputation around the world and cost dioceses and religious orders billions of dollars in legal fees and settlements.”

The Religion News Service reported that the other members of the commission include:

- Marie Collins, a sex abuse victim from Ireland who campaigned for accountability in the church

- Baroness Sheila Hollins, a British psychiatrist

- Catherine Bonnet, a French consultant in child psychiatry

- Hanna Suchocka, Poland’s longtime former ambassador to the Vatican

- Claudio Papale, an Italian canon lawyer and official of the Vatican’s congregation that handles sex abuse cases

- Rev. Humberto Miguel Yáñez, an Argentine Jesuit who studied with Francis and head of moral theology at the Gregorian

- Rev. Hans Zollner, a psychologist and psychotherapist who also serves on Germany’s roundtable on child abuse.