Cardinal O’Malley Interview with 60 Minutes – CBS News

This is worth watching, I highly recommend it.

One of the reasons Cardinal O’Malley has been leading the clean up from the beginning is because is one of the few Bishops that met with the victims at the time accusations were made. He heard, listen and supported the victims overall, even when wasn’t popular or created enemies among his fellow bishops. 

At the heart of Pope Francis’ revolution in the Catholic Church is a shy Franciscan friar, the pope’s closest American advisor, Cardinal Seán O’Malley. The pope has appointed him president of the Church’s crucial new commission to combat child abuse and named him a member of the Council of Cardinals, the pope’s small “kitchen cabinet” charged with helping redraw the way the church is governed.

O’Malley began reaching out directly to victims, settling cases and acting as a pastor, not a CEO.

Soft-spoken and unassuming, he is usually dressed in the brown habit of his Capuchin Franciscan order and not in a Cardinal’s red robes. He goes by “Cardinal Seán.” And like Pope Francis, he is more inclined to conversation than condemnation. He commutes to Rome from his day job as archbishop of Boston to help Francis remake an ancient institution.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley: It’s a very different world now because of his style.

Part of that style includes the pope’s reliance on advisors like Cardinal Seán O’Malley. O’Malley not only works closely with the pope, but stays with him at the Vatican guesthouse when he comes to Rome on business.

Cardinal O’Malley and then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires became fast friends when the Boston archbishop visited Argentina on church business in 2010. If you want to understand Pope Francis, you’d do well to look at Cardinal O’Malley.

Both share the same outlook — open, non-judgmental, given to simple living, and not afraid to consider change.

One change is the pope’s recognition that child abuse is a church-wide problem that can no longer be ignored or covered up by bishops. O’Malley has more experience than any bishop in the church when it comes to cleaning up child abuse. And Pope Francis turned to him to lead a new child protection commission for the entire church.

Despite his office and influence in Rome, Cardinal O’Malley is a modest man, reluctant to put himself forward. He is humble, a true Franciscan, who would rather be addressed as “Cardinal Seán,” than “your Eminence.” It took more than a year to convince him to agree to an interview. But, he is so approachable you can talk with him about nearly anything.

His reputation for cleaning up the church began when he was installed as bishop of Fall River, Massachusetts, where O’Malley inherited one of the most notorious child abuse cases in history. Instead of lawyering up, O’Malley began reaching out directly to victims, settling cases and acting as a pastor, not a CEO. His success led to a transfer to Palm Beach, where the previous two bishops resigned after accusations of abuse. Then, in 2002, the Vatican sent him to Boston.

Terrified because the Archdiocese of Boston, the onetime symbol of American Catholicism was dissolving, thanks to what was then the biggest sex abuse scandal in church history.

There were a thousand lawsuits against us. The seminary was empty. As I say such anger, disappointment, upset on the part of the people.

Seán O’Malley set a new tone in Boston. The first thing he did was sell the palatial archbishop’s residence and the 28 sprawling acres it sat on.

O’Malley moved into the modest cathedral rectory. He has a deep devotion to working with the poor, particularly immigrants. And is a prominent voice — in any of eight languages — in the Catholic Church’s call for immigration reform. Earlier this year he led a mass at the border wall in Nogales, Arizona, even distributing communion through the fence to call attention to the problem and the church’s position on reform. The pope, who has been a strong voice for immigrant rights, called it “a powerful picture.”

But it’s O’Malley’s work to reform the church on child abuse where he has made the biggest impact.

Norah O’Donnell: For many people outside the church and inside the church, the biggest scandal isn’t the predators, it’s the bishops.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley: One of the first things that came up is the importance of accountability. And we’re looking at how the church could have protocols, how to respond when a bishop has not been responsible for the protection of children in his diocese.