November 1, 2018
By Helen Drinan
On Aug. 16, 2018, Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement responding to the Pennsylvania grand jury report about the cover-up of decades-long sexual abuse by priests in that state. Attempting to offer some assurance to beleaguered Catholics, O’Malley stated: “The clock is ticking for all of us in Church leadership. Catholics have lost patience with us and civil society has lost confidence in us.”
He further urged “a spiritual conversion” within the church and insisted upon “legal transparency and pastoral accountability.”
As a 71-year-old lay Catholic woman who has worked for the Archdiocese of Boston under Cardinal O’Malley, I feel called by the Holy Spirit to share my professional encounters with the cardinal and our church, because they suggest just how unlikely it is that transparency, pastoral accountability, or spiritual conversion are ever going to happen under its present leadership structure.
In 2006, I was head of human resources for Caritas Christi, the Catholic hospital system run by the archdiocese under O’Malley. I oversaw the investigation of sexual harassment charges brought against Dr. Robert M. Haddad, then the CEO of Caritas Christi. These complaints included unwanted hugs, back rubs, and kissing on the lips of female employees as well as inappropriate discussions of personal matters.