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Vatican's child protection chair Sean O'Malley withdraws from World Meeting of Families event

He was due to chair a panel on Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults on 24 August.

Pope Francis (R) and US Cardinal Sean O'Malley
Pope Francis (R) and US Cardinal Sean O'Malley
Image: Vandeville Eric

THE CHAIR OF the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Children, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, has withdrawn from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin later this month.

O’Malley was due to chair a panel on Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults on 24 August, but yesterday the Archdiocese of Boston announced that he would not be able to participate.

His withdrawal follows allegations of abuse at St John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston, where he serves.

It is also claimed that O’Malley’s office ignored warnings about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of sexually abusing children while he was a priest in New York.

In a statement yesterday, the Boston archdiocese said: “Though previously scheduled to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the World Meeting of Families, 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.

It added that O’Malley had “great confidence” in those scheduled to appear on the panel, including Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins, who resigned from the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors last year.

Last week, O’Malley asked the rector at St John’s, Monsignor James Moroney, to take sabbatical leave to allow a “fully independent inquiry” into the allegations.

Yesterday’s announcement also came as a grand jury in Pennsylvania revealed that over 1,000 children were historically molested by hundreds of priests in the state, which church officials had attempted to cover up.

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