Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley has apologized to parishioners at a Roman Catholic church because a priest called several men "cowards" for accusing the church's former pastor of abuse.

Bishop Peter Uglietto (oog-lee-ETT'-oh) read a letter from O'Malley on Sunday at Holy Trinity Church in Lowell.

The Sun of Lowell reports that the letter was in response to comments by Monsignor Stanislaw Kempa.

Kempa took to the pulpit on Dec. 11 to lash out at three former altar boys, now in their 30s, who said they were abused by the Rev. Czeslaw Szymanski (shesh-LAV' sih-MAN'-skee) in the 1980s. Szymanski, who was never charged, has since died.

O'Malley said using the pulpit as a "platform for harmful words" was inappropriate.

An archdiocese spokesman says Kempa has taken responsibility.


Information from: The Sun, http://www.lowellsun.com