Earlier today, Pope Francis met in Rome with leaders of the American Catholic Church on the issue of sexual abuse among their own ranks. Speaking after the meeting, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the church leaders "prayed together for God's mercy and strength” and that they “look forward to actively continuing [their] discernment together identifying the most effective next steps.”
Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has been trying to identify those next steps for years now — and it seems like every day, disturbing new information comes out. Just today, the Pope authorized an investigation into claims that a West Virginia bishop — whose retirement Pope Francis just happened to accept today as well — sexually harassed adults.This comes in the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting the sexual abuse and assaults of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of Catholic priests.
Closer to home, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has been implicated — along with Pope Francis — by an archbishop who accuses church leaders of covering up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington when he was accused of sexually abusing both children and adults. Cardinal O'Malley was among the leaders at today's meeting with the Pope. But as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, he found himself in hot water earlier this week when he told Vatican News that his group is not a body that deals with past cases or particular situations of abuse.
Jim Braude was joined by Mitchell Garabedian, who's represented thousands of victims of church abuse; Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the group Bishop-Accountability.org, and Michael Rezendes, who was a member of the Globe’s Spotlight team that unearthed the church sexual abuse scandal in Boston.