O'Malley: 'So Much Denial' on Abuse

Marie Collins and Cardinal O'Malley, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at a Vatican briefing (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

The new papal commission for protecting minors from clerical sex abuse will recommend stricter standards for accountability of abusers and those who fail to protect children, and will fight widespread denial of the problem within the church, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, O.F.M.Cap., of Boston. “In some people’s minds, ‘Oh, this is an American problem, it’s an Irish problem, it’s a German problem,’” the cardinal told reporters on May 3. “Well, it’s a human problem, and the church needs to face it everywhere in the world. And so a lot of our recommendations are going to have to be around education, because there is so much ignorance around this topic, so much denial.” The cardinal spoke on the third and final day of the commission’s first meeting at the Vatican. Reading a statement on behalf of the entire eight-member panel, he said the commission “will not deal with individual cases of abuse, but we can make recommendations regarding policies for assuring accountability and best practice.”

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