This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, June 30, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, he may have scored high marks for dealing with church scandals in the past, but is he ready to take on the Boston archdiocese?
The pope getting ready to name this man, Bishop Sean O’Malley, to fix the very center of the sex-abuse crisis here in the United States, the troubled Boston archdiocese, and Ray Flynn says he’s just the man to do that job. Mr. Flynn, of course, a former ambassador to the Vatican and a former mayor of Boston.
Joining us live on the telephone is David Clohessy. He is not convinced that O’Malley is the right guy for the job. David is the national president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
David, to you first. Why aren’t you happy with this?
DAVID CLOHESSY, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, SNAP: Well, we certainly wish him well, and he enjoys a good reputation.
However, first of all, it’s naive for anybody to think that any one man can clean up a mess as horrific as the sex-abuse scandal in Boston.
And, secondly, we’re troubled by the fact that, when O’Malley was in Fall River, Massachusetts, he had considerable feuds with the local district attorney there about secrecy and disclosing records, so much so that the district attorney criticized him publicly several times.
And so we think that the district attorney’s opinion should be something people should pay attention to. The last thing...
CAVUTO: Even, though, David, in West Palm Beach at least and probably more to the point, he’s been very open, has a good track record for going after priests who had any history of abuse.
CLOHESSY: Well, he’s only been in Palm Beach for a couple of months, and I talked to a reporter there this morning who said that not once during his tenure has he agreed to have a sit-down interview with the major local daily paper down there.
So I do think it’s important that people not get their hopes up prematurely here. The last thing in the world the troubled church in Boston needs is to artificially inflate expectations that things will magically change because of any one person.
CAVUTO: Ambassador, what do you make of that?
RAY FLYNN, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN: Well, I think there’s a real opportunity here for the church to provide the level of healing that Bishop Sean O’Malley is noted for. That’s what he did down in Fall River.
I’ve known him for 15, 20 years. He’s a very caring and a trustworthy man, and so I think he has a track record of resolving a number of cases down in Fall River, and many of the lawyers and the victims as well as the parishioners down in Fall River have the greatest respect and admiration for the job that he did.
CAVUTO: Ambassador, should that include then releasing the names of those who’ve been abused in the past or those who have been abusive, more to the point, in the past, as some Catholic groups want to see in order to get full disclosure.
FLYNN: Well, I think if it it’s a creditable allegation against a priest, I think that that information should be brought forward, and I’m sure Bishop O’Malley will agree to that.
CAVUTO: If he doesn’t, is that a bad thing?
FLYNN: Well, it depends on what the allegations are. If they’re creditable allegations against a priest, that information should be brought forward, and I think you’re seeing a policy now that has been implemented by the United States Catholic bishops that mandate that this no longer would be information that would be confined to the Catholic Church, but it would be turned over to the appropriate law-enforcement officials.
So no longer would just sex abuse be a sin or a sickness, it would also be a crime, and you would have to report that information to the appropriate law-enforcement officials.
CAVUTO: David, let me ask you -- I mean are you a practicing Catholic today? Do you go to mass?
CLOHESSY: I’m not. Probably 40 percent of our members, though, in the Survivors Network are still practicing Catholics.
CAVUTO: All right. Now what would make you return to mass?
CLOHESSY: Boy, I wish I knew. I wish there were a simple answer. You know, I’ve been involved in the Survivors Network for almost 13 years, and, given what I’ve heard and learned across the country, it’s tough. Frankly, I’d love to be a person of faith again, and I hope that someday I’ll get there, but...
CAVUTO: Now do some in your family, David, who might still be churchgoers, look down at you, look askance at you? What?
CLOHESSY: No, I’m blessed with a very, very supportive family, and I think a lot of people understand that different survivors respond to abuse and heal from abuse in all kinds of different ways, and, frankly, I envy and I commend those victims who are able to maintain their religious faith, despite horrific things that have happened.
CAVUTO: Ray Flynn, I don’t know hard numbers on this, but what I’ve heard is that the Boston archdiocese numbers are still way down as far as contributions, and that it really didn’t change with all the changes going on there and even with the likelihood of changes to come.
As just a business -- and I know I’m sounding very, you know, cool and cruel here -- that doesn’t look good for that diocese.
FLYNN: Well, that’s the unfortunate part about it, Neil, because of fact that we’re seeing Catholic schools closing, serving poor and needy, hospitals, nursing homes.
Really, the people who are getting hurt her, in addition to the victims, obviously, are working-class people, needy people because many prominent, wealthy Catholics are not contributing to these major charitable causes, and again, it’s always poor people that are getting hurt.
CAVUTO: Indeed. Ray Flynn, final word on the subject. David Clohessy. Thank you both very much.
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