Earlier this week, Bishop Sean Patrick O’Malley was installed as the new archbishop of Boston, filling the position vacated by Cardinal Bernard Law last December. O’Malley, 59, one of two high-ranking Franciscan Capuchin friars serving in the US, has a strong history of service for the poor and needy. He is credited with implementing reforms at two Florida dioceses, also plagued by the priest sex abuse scandal, reported the Boston Globe. On Wednesday, O’Malley apologized for the church’s failure to protect sex abuse victims from predatory priests. In addition, he promised reforms and expressed hope for reconciliation with disenchanted Catholics.
In a significant step forward, O’Malley yesterday replaced longtime archdiocese attorney Wilson Rogers Jr. with Thomas H. Hannigan Jr., who assisted him in settling sex abuse claims against the Diocese of Fall River in Massachusetts. “It is my hope that Attorney Hannigan’s expertise in facilitating settlements in matters such as this will move the process toward a just and timely resolution, ” O’Malley stated in a news release, according to the Boston Globe. The Boston Archdiocese currently faces about 500 civil lawsuits alleging priest sex abuse.
Meanwhile, the Vatican yesterday re-launched its campaign opposing gay marriage. Releasing a guidance document entitled, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” the Vatican stressed the “moral duty” of Catholic lawmakers to oppose gay unions as well as the adoption of children by gay couples, the Associated Press reported.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in June overturning a Texas law that criminalized same-sex sodomy, religious conservatives have reinforced calls for a constitutional amendment and state laws prohibiting gay marriage. President Bush this week addressed the issue, stating “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I believe we ought to codify that one way or the other and we have lawyers looking at the best way to do that,” the New York Times reported.