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US cardinals hope new accountability stops abusers in future

Published
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listens reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two U.S. cardinals attending the Vatican's sex abuse prevention summit said Friday that the downfall of their former colleague, Theodore McCarrick, was sad for the Catholic church but they hoped a new spirit of accountability would prevent future cover-ups of bishop misconduct.

Cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston and Blase Cupich of Chicago addressed the McCarrick scandal at a press conference on the second day of Pope Francis' summit, which was dedicated Friday to holding the Catholic hierarchy accountable for preventing sexual abuse.

Francis defrocked McCarrick, 88, last week after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults, including during confession. His downfall has sparked a crisis in credibility in the Catholic hierarchy, since it was apparently an open secret in some U.S. and Vatican circles that he slept with seminarians.

"The situation of Theodore McCarrick is a very, very sad moment in history. It's a shameful moment," Cupich told reporters. "And yet, at the same time, it causes each one of us to make sure we live our lives authentically before the people of God that we serve."

O'Malley said he expected the Vatican and the four U.S. dioceses investigating McCarrick would soon release the results of their investigations. The Holy See refused a request from the U.S. bishops conference to conduct a full-scale Vatican investigation into who knew what and when about McCarrick's rise through the church's ranks, agreeing instead to a limited review of the Holy See's own archives.

The Vatican has said it would release the results, though no timeframe has been given. Separately, the four U.S. dioceses where McCarrick worked — New York City; Metuchen, New Jersey; Newark, New Jersey and Washington — are conducting their own reviews.

O'Malley said he hoped the discussions at the sex abuse summit about how bishops are responsible for the universal church would prevent another such cover-up.

"I would hope that any bishop who is aware of this kind of misbehavior would certainly make that known to the Holy See, and not feel that they in any way should try to cover up or turn a blind eye to this," he said. "Transparency is what the way forward is about.

"We have to be able to confront our sinfulness and deal with the conflict and not sweep it under the carpet," said O'Malley.

The Vatican starting in 2000 was aware of rumors of McCarrick's penchant for seminarians. A New York priest wrote a letter at the urging of the Vatican's ambassador to the U.S. after his seminarians complained about his behavior. And yet McCarrick was made a cardinal in 2001 and served as a frontman for the U.S. bishops when they adopted a get-tough policy against sexually abusive priests in 2002.

Bishops, however, were exempt from that policy. The Vatican is still struggling to articulate firm protocols on how to handle accusations of misconduct against them.

___

More AP coverage of clergy sex abuse at https://www.apnews.com/Sexualabusebyclergy

FILE - In this Monday, April 18, 2005 file photo, U.S. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick attends a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. On Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 the Vatican announced Pope Francis defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession.  (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, files)
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, right, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listen reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, left, listens to sex abuse survivor Jean-Marie Fuerbringer, from Switzerland, as he meets member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, right, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listen to reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, answers reporters' questions, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, answers reporters' questions, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, center, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Psychoneurologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Denise Buchanan, right, and member Leona Huggins, second from right, participate in a protest outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, shows an open letter to the Benedictine order before delivering it, outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, right, delivers an open letter to the Benedictine order at the entrance of the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, reads an open letter to the Benedictine order outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain shows an open letter to the Benedictine order before delivering it, inside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, reads an open letter to the Benedictine order outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Sex abuse survivor Evelyn Korkamaz, holding a photo photo of her when she was a child, cries as she tells her story during a press conference of members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
FILE - In this Monday, April 18, 2005 file photo, U.S. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick attends a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. On Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 the Vatican announced Pope Francis defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession.  (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, files)
FILE - In this Monday, April 18, 2005 file photo, U.S. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick attends a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. On Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 the Vatican announced Pope Francis defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, files)
Psychoneurologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Denise Buchanan, right, and member Leona Huggins, second from right, participate in a protest outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Psychoneurologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Denise Buchanan, right, and member Leona Huggins, second from right, participate in a protest outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Sex abuse survivor Evelyn Korkamaz, holding a photo photo of her when she was a child, cries as she tells her story during a press conference of members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Sex abuse survivor Evelyn Korkamaz, holding a photo photo of her when she was a child, cries as she tells her story during a press conference of members of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listens reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listens reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, right, delivers an open letter to the Benedictine order at the entrance of the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, right, delivers an open letter to the Benedictine order at the entrance of the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, answers reporters' questions, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, answers reporters' questions, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, left, listens to sex abuse survivor Jean-Marie Fuerbringer, from Switzerland, as he meets member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, left, listens to sex abuse survivor Jean-Marie Fuerbringer, from Switzerland, as he meets member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, right, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listen to reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, right, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listen to reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain shows an open letter to the Benedictine order before delivering it, inside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain shows an open letter to the Benedictine order before delivering it, inside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, reads an open letter to the Benedictine order outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, reads an open letter to the Benedictine order outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, shows an open letter to the Benedictine order before delivering it, outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, shows an open letter to the Benedictine order before delivering it, outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, right, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listen reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, right, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, listen reporters' questions at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, reads an open letter to the Benedictine order outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Child psychologist and founding member of the Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organization, Miguel Hurtado from Spain, center, reads an open letter to the Benedictine order outside the St. Anselm on the Aventine Benedictine complex in Rome on the second day of a summit called by Pope Francis at the Vatican on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Pope Francis has issued 21 proposals to stem the clergy sex abuse around the world, calling for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops and for lay experts to be involved in abuse investigations. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, answers reporters' questions, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, center, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Malta's Archbishop Charles Scicluna, right, answers reporters' questions, flanked by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Chicago Archbishop, center, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, at a media briefing during a four-day sex abuse summit called by Pope Francis, in Rome, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)