This afternoon, the Boston Pilot is reporting that Cardinal Sean O’Malley will be expanding the seminary review begun in the wake of reports of homosexual activity and sexual harassment at St. Johns Seminary. We heartily commend Cardinal O’Malley for this move.
BCI readers will recall that a month ago, on Sept 3, BCI characterized the initial investigation panel and approach as lacking appropriate independence in our post, “Is Cardinal O’Malley Whitewashing the Gay Scandal Investigation of St. John’s Seminary? Our explanation was simple–everyone on the investigation panel had ties to St. Johns Seminary or the Archdiocese of Boston. About a week later on Sept 10, coincidentally, the Boston Globe came out and said the same thing in an editorial, which, just so happens to have used the exact same arguments as the BCI post. And now today, Cardinal O’Malley has apparently come to the same conclusion. He said:
I recognize that each member of the original committee has connections or ties to St. John’s Seminary and that given the current challenges of confidence in Church leadership and institutions, the people of the Church and our civic community there may have been concerns regarding the objectivity and completeness of the committee’s findings. For these several reasons I have decided to engage Yurko, Salvesen and Remz to conduct the review of the Archdiocesan seminaries.
We regard this as very good news! The investigation has also been expanded to cover Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston and Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill.”
The engagement of the outside firm is in part because the scope has broadened (thus requiring more resources), and in part because of the need to ensure independence. The Cardinal also said that the review will be led by former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern, with the assistance of Doug Salvesen and others at the firm. He said, “Yurko, Salvesen & Remz has significant experience with the process of review that we seek and does not have an existing relationship with any of the seminaries or the Archdiocese of Boston.”
They are asking for anyone who has information relevant to the review to contact the firm directly, either by email to email@example.com or by calling (617) 723-6900. Relevant information provided by people to the prior investigation panel will be passed along to to Yurko, Salvesen and Remz.
Cardinal O’Malley is to be commended for listening to feedback and adjusting the approach based on the concerns raised. As we wrote previously, the investigation was shaping up to be something of a nothing-burger, so we hope this team goes about it more effectively without the obvious conflicts of interest. We’re also hoping someone will be willing to use the words “homosexuality” and “homosexual harassment” in describing what happened. We’ll see…