Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

In his final press event before the Cardinal blackout, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested that the Vatican adopt policies to deal with bishops who fail to act appropriately on sex abuse allegations. From the Boston Globe:

“There needs to be a path” for disciplining bishops, O’Malley said. “Right now, it’s not terribly clear, but it’s something the next pope will have to deal with.”

Without a protocol in place, he said, it falls to the Vatican to decide what to do with each ­errant bishop on a case-by-case basis. “My point is always that if you don’t have policies, you’ll be improvising, and when you improvise, you make a lot of mistakes,” he said.

O’Malley, perhaps surprisingly, is considered by some to be the most likely American candidate for the papacy, though that scenario remains unlikely. But his comments are part of a broader conversation about the need for the next pope to be a competent manager, able to address the myriad scandals that plagued Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

NPR’s Planet Money recently considered the global Catholic Church as a business and looked at the financial challenges facing the next pope. In that story, Kerry Robinson, executive director of a lay group called the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, acknowledges that the Catholic Church is not a corporation “like Microsoft or The Home Depot”, but notes that it is “comprised of people, facilities, and finances” and suggests that it is in need of leaders who understand this. Listen to that story here.

Categories: Institutions


Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O’Loughlin writes about religion and politics from Washington, D.C., paying close attention to the role of the Catholic Church in public life. His writing has appeared in Religion & Politics, the Jesuit magazine America, on, and in Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership.

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