Pope John Paul II chose a soft-spoken Franciscan friar, Bishop Sean O’Malley, to lead Boston Catholics out of a devastating sexual-abuse scandal. There are 500 abuse claims pending against area priests, and the lawsuits could bankrupt the archdiocese. Within hours of his appointment, O’Malley apologized to victims, asking “for their forgiveness again and again.” He also criticized his predecessors for “mishandling” reports of abuse. The last archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law, resigned under fire in December for shielding pedophile priests. The father of one victim said O’Malley seemed to be the answer to his prayers. “He listened to us,” he said. But Gary Bergeron, who was molested as a boy, said the pain was not over. Closure, he said, “does not come with the mere appointment of a new bishop.”
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