How Cardinal O’Malley dealt with clergy sex abuse crisis

To mark the fifth anniversary of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s installation as archbishop of Boston, a guest columnist for The Pilot, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, details how the prelate began his tenure by focusing on the clergy sexual abuse scandal that had rocked the New England see.

Barbara Thorp, director of the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach in the Archdiocese of Boston, relates how sex abuse victims teared up during the 2003 installation homily, when Cardinal O’Malley addressed them by saying “You are the wounds on the body of Christ.”

The cardinal followed up in 2006 with a “pilgrimage of reconciliation and hope” to nine parishes where children had been abused by priests, ending each visit by inviting the clergy present to prostrate themselves on the altar in repentance for the sins of abuse.

“A key to understanding Cardinal Sean’s tenure these past five years is the image of standing by the cross of Christ as the only sure path to healing,” Thorp wrote.

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