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Boston Cardinal O'Malley Is Happy To Be Home

Cardinal Sean O'Malley conducts Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End. (Rachel Paiste for WBUR)
Cardinal Sean O'Malley conducts Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End. (Rachel Paiste for WBUR)

Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley is back from Rome. His Palm Sunday service in Boston's South End was O'Malley's first public appearance and public Mass following his return.

Cardinal O'Malley said multiple times during the service that he was happy to be home, and jokingly made a special request for what he calls "Ashes and Palms Catholics," those who only come to church on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.

"I want to ask you to join our frequent fliers program. Each Sunday the rewards are out of this world, and we promise you an upgrade," he said.

O'Malley said he hopes Pope Francis' focus on social issues will galvanize area Catholics to become involved in the church's ministries to serve the poor and suffering.

After the Mass, O'Malley told reporters that while he was in Rome, he spoke with people from across the globe about the importance of addressing child sexual abuse within the church.

"You can't improvise when there's a crisis — if you do, you'll make many mistakes," the cardinal said. "For the sake of everyone, you need to have very clear policies: how you're going to help victims of child abuse, how you're going to address accusations, how you're going to protect the rights of the accused."

He said he hopes that other diocese can learn from Boston and its experience in the sex abuse scandal.

At the recent conclave, O'Malley was the focus of international media attention and was seen as candidate for pope because of his role reforming church policies after the abuse crisis in Boston.

This program aired on March 24, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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