O'Malley, who is in the city for the conclave that will select the next pope, told The Boston Globe on Tuesday that will be a task for the man chosen to succeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He cited the U.S. church, which adopted a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse some years ago, but where there is no uniform policy for dealing with bishops who failed to move against abusive priests.
"Right now, it's not terribly clear, but it's something the next pope will have to deal with," he said.
O'Malley was named archbishop of Boston by Pope John Paul II in 2003 and cardinal by Benedict in 2006. His predecessor, Cardinal Bernard Law, resigned amidst allegations he was involved in covering up sexual abuse by priests in the Boston archdiocese.
The next pope must also "relate well to the global church," O'Malley said. While the church is growing fast in South America and Africa, its leadership continues to be dominated by Europeans.