As the allegations against Cardinal McCarrick continued to mount in the last month, at least one prominent American cardinal has called for sweeping changes in how the Roman Catholic Church handles sex abuse allegations against bishops and allegations involving adult seminarians, who were not covered in the church’s sex abuse reforms of 2002.
“These cases and others require more than apologies,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, said in a statement on Wednesday. “They raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has not responded to calls for broader reform since the allegations against Cardinal McCarrick were made public last month. The president of the conference, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, released a brief statement Saturday saying that the pope’s acceptance of the resignation “reflects the priority the Holy Father places on the need for protection and care for all our people and the way failures in this area affect the life of the Church in the United States.”
Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, which documents the sexual abuse scandal in the church and advocates for victims, called for Pope Francis to make the trial proceedings against Cardinal McCarrick public, and to open an investigation into how Cardinal McCarrick was permitted to advance his church career despite repeated warnings against him.
“The officials responsible must be identified and disciplined, and the investigative file must be made public,” Mr. McKiernan said in a statement.
Much remains unanswered about Cardinal McCarrick’s alleged abuses, including who in the church hierarchy knew what and when, and whether, as a supervisor, the cardinal handled abuse allegations appropriately in the dioceses he led.
“The resignation of one man is not the end, it’s really the beginning,” said Patrick Noaker, the lawyer representing the two men who said the cardinal had abused them as minors. “We now have to go out and find out if others were hurt.”