CARDINAL SEAN P. O’Malley’s task in helping the Archdiocese of Dublin recover from its scandal of child sex abuse by priests just got harder, a lot harder.
The Vatican has rejected the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary bishops in the wake of Irish government reports detailing hundreds of cases of child sex-abuse and a cover-up by church leaders. Initially, the two had resisted demands they resign but acted after the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, failed to support them. The bishops’ reinstatement by the Vatican is a slap at Martin, who has won praise from victim advocates in Ireland for his efforts to steer the church away from practices that allowed abuse to occur and go unpunished.
In May, the Vatican announced that O’Malley, head of the Archdiocese of Boston, would make an “apostolic visitation’’ this fall to the Archdiocese of Dublin to “explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims.’’ The Vatican is sending other church prelates for the same purpose to other dioceses in Ireland.
Their efforts are likely to be hamstrung, however, if the Vatican is undermining the authority of Martin. In May, Martin welcomed the appointment of O’Malley “as the church in Dublin addresses the truth of a dark moment in its history and undertakes a period of conversion, purification, and renewal.’’ Those words of hope and promise are contradicted by the Vatican’s message of the same old tolerance of cover-ups and failed leaders.