Pope Chooses New Boston Archbishop

Reuters [Vatican City]
June 30, 2003

Pope John Paul has chosen the Roman Catholic bishop of Palm Beach, Florida, to succeed the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law as archbishop of Boston, CNN said on Monday.

Boston was the epicenter of a priestly child sex scandal that rocked the Church in the United States last year and, if confirmed, the Palm Beach bishop, Sean Patrick O'Malley, would bring to the job experience of dealing with sex abuse cases.

The Vatican had no immediate comment, though Vatican sources said O'Malley was among those considered for the Boston post, which is one of the most important in the United States Church.

The report by a CNN consultant who is also the Rome correspondent of the U.S. weekly newspaper National Catholic Reporter, said O'Malley's appointment would be announced officially in the next few days in the Vatican and Boston.

In Boston, an Archdiocese of Boston spokesman was not

immediately available for comment.

Law resigned in December after a scandal in which leaders of his diocese were found to have transferred priests who were known sex abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them or reporting them to the civil authorities.

O'Malley was bishop of Fall River, Massachusetts from 1992 to 2002, where he dealt with the case of Father James Porter, a priest convicted of sexually abusing minors in that diocese.

O'Malley set up screening procedures for employees and priests to try to avoid future episodes of pedophilia.

He became bishop of Palm Beach after predecessors there had been tainted over their handling of local sex abuse scandals.

Bishops usually take over their new posts several weeks after they are named.


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