Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap., graciously agreed to be the inaugural guest for The Spirit Fire Global Broadcast Series on Abuse and Faith which launched two weeks ago. What he shared with us is wholly different from the usual interview and is directed at the heart of survivors, our families, and the Church as a family. You can find the broadcast episode here.
Our interview intentionally did not focus on institutional reforms over which Cardinal Seán has presided as Archbishop of Boston and which he has promoted as the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Institutional reforms have been reported by press, by the archdiocese, and by the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). A simple online search will provide much information.
The personal impact and personal stories are what we are collecting for Our Catholic Story. Cardinal Seán shared memories and reflections from that arc of time when he first encountered victims and families who had suffered the harm of abuse in Fall River MA and, then, Palm Beach, FL, before he found himself replaced Cardinal Law in 2002 in Boston.
We hear from the Cardinal as a pastor and a Franciscan friar who thinks back to memories of the grief and struggle among survivors and many others whom he has encountered over decades. What we also hear is the impact of survivors and their families on his faith and on helping the Church heal.
For the sake of clarity, too, we do open by asking Cardinal Seán to describe what the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and his role there, too, working with survivors and others. It’s important to learn what the Commission does – and does not do – to help us all navigate where to look for information, advocacy, and support.
Photo Courtesy Gregory L. Tracy, The Boston Pilot