Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bishop Kicanas has only to look in the mirror to understand "why more was not done."

Breaking News: Archbishop Timothy Dolan selected as head of USCCB!  Praise God!

As Matt Abbot notes here, Bishop Gerald Kicanas was aware of accusations of sexual misconduct against Father Daniel McCormack while he was serving as rector of Chicago's Mundelein Seminary but chose to ordain him anyway.  Father Daniel McCormack molested at least 23 boys.  When asked about the situation, Bishop Kicanas said he would do it again.

Now, in a memo dated March 29, 2010, Bishop Kicanas said:

"The recent reports of more cases of sexual abuse of children by priests in Ireland and in countries in Europe saddens, angers and shames us. As Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, wrote, "The child abuse committed within the Catholic Church and its concealment is deeply shocking and totally unacceptable. I am ashamed of what has happened." I share his feelings.

While these instances of abuse happened many years ago and are only now being reported, they rightly shock and upset us. Even if one child were abused it would be tragic, but it is hard to fathom and comprehend that so many were harmed. We ask why more was not done, why these priests could continue in ministry, why the bishops did not report these crimes or deal with the situations more decisively.

The Holy Father rightly described his feelings of abhorrence at what happened and has called the Church to address this tragic situation directly and forcibly. Victims need to come forward so that the Church can express its deep sorrow for what occurred and provide opportunities for healing. Allegations of abuse must be turned over to civil authorities for proper investigation. Any priest who has harmed a child can never return to ministry.

In addressing our struggles in the Diocese of Tucson, I found the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed then by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, attentive and concerned. When I visited the Congregation to emphasize the seriousness of several situations here, they responded. Cardinal Ratzinger and his staff demonstrated they understood the enormity and seriousness of our situation.

Our Church has learned a painful lesson. We need to take ownership of what happened. We need to continue to provide safe environments for our children and vulnerable adults. We need to become champions in the effort raise awareness of and to prevent child abuse.

Last week, I met with a number of our compliance representatives at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. I thanked them for the hard work they are doing to monitor the screening of personnel and volunteers, our programs for the personal safety education of children and their parents and our education on the child abuse mandatory reporting law. With our pastors and principals, our compliance representatives have made the safety of children a priority. They are helping to restore trust that has been so badly damaged.

In our Diocese, I promised victims of child abuse by priests and workers for the Church that we would do whatever possible to make sure that what happened to them will not happen to others. I only wish the past could be changed, but we cannot. Nevertheless, we must make the present and future different, and much is being done to assure that." (See here).

Bishop Kicanas' actions do not correspond with his words.  This is why he should not serve as head of the USCCB.  Why didn't certain Bishops do more to report crimes?  Bishop Kicanas can answer that question better than most.


Michelle said...

The Catholic Church in this country just dodged a bullet. Thank you Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Alencon said...

I'm sorry for my lack of enthusiasm, but choosing the lesser of two evils doesn't seem like a win to me. The tell tale sign seems to be that Arch. Chaput was soundly defeated, and that tells more of the story.

A few months have past but these two links below just tell me more of the same.



God Bless

Stewart said...

That's your opinion Alencon. I think it signals a beginning of change from the Bernardin style of leadership.

Anonymous said...

I agree with every word of this post Paul. It is my hope that once the Catholic Church has sorted out this horrible mess in its own organisation and regained some of its moral credibility on the issue that it will share its experience and skills with other churches and secular organisation who must also have similar problems (and especially with churches and organisations in the developing world which have not been under the same kind of recent spotlight as those in the west - it seems to me that the Church has a special responsibilty to protect children in countries were the civil authorities are not up to teh job). You are right that we can't undo the past, but there is institutional abuse happening right now both in the Church and outside and preventing that comes higher in my list of priorities than raking over old allegations as important as that is.

Site Meter