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Cardinal Seán message


The Catholic Church has reached a crossroads in facing one of the great evils in our world; the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.  In this moment there is no greater imperative for the Church than to hold itself accountable for the crimes of clergy sexual abuse and the failure of those in leadership.

Our commitment is firm: to protect children and vulnerable adults and to ensure that the tragedy of sexual abuse is never repeated in the Church.  Our commitment to uphold the moral standard of the Church and the civil statutes in all matters concerning child safety is absolute. There is no place for compromise or equivocation concerning the welfare of children and young people. Our commitment to provide support and care for survivors is life-long in helping them to heal from the crimes committed against them.  

We have learned much during the past sixteen years and made sweeping and significant changes to all dimensions of the life of the Church, but we cannot be lulled into a sense of achievement that would risk complacency. It is my solemn pledge that at all times and in all places, we will be vigilant in the protection of children, our responsibility to God and the community demands nothing less.

With the assurance of my prayers for you and all your loved ones,

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap

Archbishop of Boston



For the past sixteen years we have worked in partnership with all levels of law enforcement; local, state and federal to maintain the highest levels of child protection. Outcomes of working in partnership include Agreements with both the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (2003) and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts with regard to priests in federal and military service (2005). We continue to stand by both Agreements.

We report all allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy as a first step in every case. We began disclosing the identity of publicly accused priests of the Archdiocese of Boston in 2011. It is important to note that there have been no new allegations of abuse occurring since 2006.

Our recognition of the trauma of the heinous crimes committed by clergy makes the leaders of this Archdiocese committed to the survivors in many ways - none of which can ever erase the crimes of the past but seek to sincerely assist in their healing. The Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach (OPSO) was established and funded in 2002 and each year approximately 300 survivors and, in some cases their family members, are served by the staff of OPSO including connecting and supporting their therapeutic relationships and other services (OPSO link).

The summary of this information is presented here to provide you with some of the facts that evidence the sincerity of our commitment to transparency, prevention and healing. There is always more work to do and we will continue with heartfelt anguish over the failures of the Church and with recognition that our anguish pales in comparison to the pain of the trauma of crimes experienced by survivors.

We commit our Church in Boston to work for healing of the survivors and their families, to adhere to zero tolerance so that no member of the clergy who would abuse a child, youth or vulnerable person be allowed to continue in any ministry. We commit our Church to fully cooperate with civil authorities and always to act with the utmost transparency in a Church where everyone is held accountable, whether that person be a pastor, a teacher, a coach, a catechist, or a Bishop or a Cardinal. We have an obligation to survivors and to you our Catholic family to be true and faithful to accountability.” – Cardinal Seán


The survivors of clergy sexual abuse, with their families and loved ones, must always be the central focus of all dimensions of our ongoing response to the crisis.”
– Cardinal Seán