Cardinal O’Malley cancels trip to Ireland amid investigation into misconduct at St. John’s Seminary

BOSTON (WHDH) - Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley has canceled a pre-planned trip to Ireland to participate in the World Meeting of Families, citing an investigation into allegations of misconduct at St. John’s Seminary in Boston, a spokesman announced Wednesday.

“Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston and Chair of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, unfortunately will not be able to participate in the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland from August 21-26,” the statement read. “Though previously scheduled to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the World Meeting of Families, important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and the seminarians enrolled in the formation program there require the Cardinal’s personal attention and presence.”

O’Malley announced last week that he had appointed a three-person panel to investigate “serious” allegations of misconduct posted on social media by two former seminarians of St. John’s Seminary in Boston.

O’Malley has appointed Rev. Mark O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Dr. Francisco Cesareo, President of Assumption College and President of the USCCB National Review Board, which advises the USCCB on matters of child and youth protection policies and practices, and Kimberly Jones, CEO of Athena Legal Strategies Group, to oversee an inquiry into the allegations.

“The allegations made this week are a source of serious concern to me as Archbishop of Boston,” O’Malley said in a statement. “The ministry of the Catholic priesthood requires a foundation of trust with the people of the Church and the wider community in which our priests serve. I am determined that all our seminaries meet that standard of trust and provide the formation necessary for priests to live a demanding vocation of service in our contemporary society.”

O’Malley did not disclose the exact nature of the allegations but one man who identified himself as an ex-seminarian said in a blog post that he witnessed inappropriate behavior that included sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse.

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