Victims complain about O’Malley

Victims complain about O’Malley

I don’t envy Archbishop O’Malley his job. He was almost guaranteed to be attacked from all sides as he came in to clean up the mess in Boston left behind by Cardinal Law. Everybody wants him to make their own particular concern his top priority. That’s why I’m not surprised to see this article from abuse victims claiming that they haven’t had their promised personal meetings with the archbishop.

You might get the impression from the report that a lot of victims have not had their meeting, but that’s not true. He’s met with 110 people and meetings with two dozen others have been postponed since October. He’s been a teensy bit busy with massize funding shortfalls, parish closings, the papal death and election, his own father’s death, and everything else. I know I’ve been critical of him too, especially because of what I think should be his priorities, but of course I don’t see what he sees.

Still, he said he is resuming his meetings with them this month. It’s not going to happen overnight. There’s so much to do, that you wonder if one man can do it all.

  • This reminds me of a story that John F. Kennedy recounts in the preface to “Profiles in Courage.”  According to the story, a freshman congressman wrote to one of his constituents, “One of the constant drawbacks about being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive letters from a jackass like you in which you complain that I promised to have the Sierra Madre mountains reforested and that I’ve been in Congress three months now and haven’t done it.  Will you please take two running jumps and go to Hell.”

    Archbishop Sean is unlikely to write a similar letter to the victims’ groups, but I think he could be forgiven if the idea crossed his mind once or twice.

  • It may well be that part of the good Archbishop’s problems of this sort are of his own making.  He has earned the reputation of being an easily pushed around flip-flopper by letting himself be pushed around and flip-flopping.  This then raises understandable questions about the value of his word and makes people waiting for him to come through a bit nervous.  Perhaps if he took a page from some of his fellow bishops who seem to have been “spineing up” since the last papal election, he could avoid some of these problems.

  • Dear Dom,

      Archbishop Sean cannot do it on his own. We all must pray and sacrifice for him continuosly: including the gentlemen who preceeded me above.

  • Archbishop Sean cannot do it on his own.

    Archbishop O’Malley certainly cannot do anything on his own, Sully. Nobody can. He, and we, can’t do anything without God.

    If I were victimized sexually or otherwise by a priest, given the Archbishop’s installation promise, 17 months would seem a very long time. I can sympathize with her and hope she and the other victims are also in our prayers and sacrifices.

    A couple of things from the article puzzle me:

    Through his public relations firm, O’Malley declined to be interviewed.

    Again—I’ve said this before—I don’t at ALL have a problem with the decline of an interview. But does it have to be “through his public relations firm”? (The firm is mentioned twice in one small article. Here’s a thought: could it be that a bishop employing and using a “public relations firm” is…not really good “public relations?”)


    The Rev. John Connolly, who oversees the archdiocese’s efforts to address the abuse crisis, however, called the length of Hickey’s wait “very unusual.’‘

    Is this the same Father John Connolly who replaced Monsignor Murphy as Cathedral rector? Or is it somebody else by the same name?

  • And imagine the expense of employing a public relations firm while the archdiocese is closing churches and Catholic schools? Between the money spent on attorneys fees and public relations you have to wonder about the priorities of an Archdiocese that isn’t “marketing a product” but supposedly preaching the gospel.  Meanwhile the priest’s pension fund is left unfunded? If you are dealing honestly and forthrightly with people why in the world would you need a PR firm?

  • “If you are dealing honestly and forthrightly with people why in the world would you need a PR firm?”

    Because if you don’t the media is likely to eat you alive, unless you happen to have a lot of media savvy (which is not the same thing as honesty and forthrightness) on your own.

    This attitude is as naive as would be one that says that an innocent man accused of a crime doesn’t need a lawyer as long as he deals honestly and forthrightly with the prosecutor’s office and the court.  (One of Patrick O’Brian’s novels includes a story about how his hero, Jack Aubrey, is being framed for some financial skullduggery, and he, thinking of the straightforward cout-martial procedure he is familiar with in the Royal Navy, thinks that all he needs to do is tell the court honestly and forthrightly what happened.  What happens is that he is convicted, sentenced to stand in the pillory, and stripped of his commission.)

  • Well, they have a press office, which in most organizations these days is a kind of in-house PR firm.  I understand that they’ve gotten a lot more media-savvy than they were in 1968, when they basically released Humanae vitae, expecting the media to report it straight, and got gobsmacked by the way it was handled in the press.  The press office was only two years old that year, and they’ve gotten a lot more professional since then, so I’d wager they don’t need an outside firm.  But if they don’t have the in-house expertise, they’d be fools not to have one.