Cardinal O'Malley cancels trip to tend to 'important' issue at homeBy Laurel J. Sweet
August 16. 2018 1:50AM
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley announced Wednesday he is backing out of an upcoming speaking engagement at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland, to give his full attention to the unfolding scandal at St. John's Seminary in Brighton.
O'Malley, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, was slated to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the conference taking place in Dublin Aug. 21-26.
"Important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John's Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and the seminarians enrolled in the formation program there require the Cardinal's personal attention and presence," according to a statement released by the archdiocese.
O'Malley disclosed last week that two former seminarians at St. John's "had posted allegations on social media sites including the Archdiocese's Facebook page that during their time at the seminary they witnessed and experienced activities which are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood."
Msgr. James P. Moroney, the rector of St. John's, is currently on sabbatical leave for the fall semester to facilitate an independent inquiry launched by O'Malley.
The panel discussion O'Malley in Ireland will no longer take part in is titled, "Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults."
The event will mark Pope Francis' first pastoral visit to Ireland.
The Rev. Stephen E. Salocks, professor of sacred scripture, is serving at St. John's Seminary in Moroney's stead.
O'Malley said the allegations, which he suggested involve "seminary issues of sexual harassment or other forms of intimidation or discrimination," are "a source of serious concern to me ...
"The ministry of the Catholic priesthood requires a foundation of trust with the people of the Church," he said, "and the wider community in which our priests serve."