BOSTON (CBS) – Cardinal Sean O’Malley claims his secretary never handed him a letter claiming that now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick had engaged in sexual misconduct with seminarians decades ago.
O’Malley released a statement saying, “I understand that not everyone will accept this answer given the way the Church has eroded the trust of our people. My hope is that we can repair the trust and faith of all Catholics.”
McCarrick recently stepped down as the archbishop of Washington amid allegations he sexually abused a teenage altar boy.
On Monday, Pope Francis weighed in on that and another clergy sex abuse scandal to plague the church. A grand jury report released in Pennsylvania last week found that more than 300 priests abused at least 1,000 children over the last 70 years.
“We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” the pontiff wrote.
“Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”
For Phil Saviano, a survivor of clergy sex abuse, the words are too little and much too late.
“It’s a huge disappointment and I think it’s a failure of leadership of this Pope,” Saviano said. “I’ve been hearing about prayers and I’ve been hearing apologies since the mid-1990s.”
Pope Francis is traveling to Ireland this week for the world meeting of families but Cardinal O’Malley will not be attending. His office saying that O’Malley will remain behind to focus on an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at St. John’s seminary in Brighton.