WBEZ | Catholics http://www.wbez.org/tags/catholics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Attorneys question Cardinal George for hours about sex abuse http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/attorneys-question-cardinal-george-hours-about-sex-abuse-107949 <p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CardinalGeorgeCROP.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 250px; width: 300px;" title="In a secret deposition last week, the Chicago archbishop had to answer about his handling of a West Side priest. (WBEZ file/Chip Mitchell)" />The case of a defrocked Roman Catholic priest who went to prison six years ago for sexually abusing boys is still dogging Chicago Cardinal Francis George. Attorneys for alleged victims of the priest got to grill George for a full day last week, sources close to the proceedings say.</p><p dir="ltr">That deposition, a secret June 25 session at a law firm downtown, included about six hours of questioning by a half dozen lawyers. The attorneys represented boys and young men who claimed to have been abused by Daniel McCormack, a former pastor of St. Agatha&rsquo;s, a parish in an impoverished West Side neighborhood.</p><p dir="ltr">George&rsquo;s deposition continued a consolidated case before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Clare E. McWilliams, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because McWilliams had ordered confidentiality.&nbsp;The plaintiffs include about 15 alleged McCormack victims with claims against the cardinal and the archdiocese.</p><p dir="ltr">Last week&rsquo;s session was at least the third George deposition about sexual abuse in the archdiocese. The first took place in 2008. Transcripts the archdiocese released months later provided an unprecedented look at the church&rsquo;s handling of sexual abusers among its clergy.</p><p dir="ltr">In McCormack&rsquo;s case, church officials had received reports about his sexual conduct as far back as his days in a Chicago archdiocese seminary in the early 1990s. But officials still approved McCormack&rsquo;s ordination. They assigned him to various parishes before St. Agatha&rsquo;s, part of North Lawndale, a mostly black neighborhood. McCormack attracted more accusations and Chicago police arrested him twice on suspicion of molesting boys.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2005, around the time of McCormack&rsquo;s first arrest, George promoted the priest to help oversee other West Side parishes as a dean. At least one top archdiocese official found out about that arrest quickly, but George claims to have been kept in the dark until after McCormack&rsquo;s&nbsp;promotion.</p><p dir="ltr">Once George did find out, he let McCormack&rsquo;s&nbsp;promotion stand.&nbsp;The priest remained in his posts even after the archdiocese&rsquo;s sexual-abuse review board urged his removal.</p><p dir="ltr">It wasn&rsquo;t until police locked up McCormack in 2006, more than four months after the first arrest, that George pulled the priest from the ministry. The next year, George&rsquo;s peers elected him president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.</p><p dir="ltr">McCormack&rsquo;s conduct has cost the church untold millions of dollars.&nbsp;In fiscal 2012, which ended June 30 of last year, the archdiocese paid $23.8 million in settlements related to priest sexual misconduct, according to church financial statements posted in recent weeks. That sum was the most the archdiocese had paid out for abuse claims since at least 2003. Attorneys for plaintiffs say the lion&rsquo;s share&nbsp;of the 2012 total went to alleged McCormack victims.</p><p dir="ltr">The archdiocese on Wednesday declined to answer WBEZ questions about George&rsquo;s deposition last week or the spike in settlement payouts. A spokesman wrote that the archdiocese never discussed legal matters.</p><p dir="ltr">Questioned in the past about McCormack settlements, the archdiocese said it was reaching out to all victims of clergy misconduct to resolve their claims in a just, compassionate and respectful way. George, 76, has expressed regrets for leaving McCormack in the ministry so long and has apologized to some of the victims.</p><p dir="ltr">Yet McCormack&rsquo;s abuse could keep haunting the archdiocese. Apart from the consolidated case, three more alleged victims of the defrocked priest brought lawsuits this week.</p><p>George could receive more negative attention as McCormack tries to win his freedom. After the former priest completed his prison sentence, authorities sent him to an Illinois mental-health treatment center in Rushville while they sought a &ldquo;sexually violent person&rdquo; designation that would keep him behind bars. McCormack, 44, is contesting that effort in Cook County Circuit Court.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 17:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/attorneys-question-cardinal-george-hours-about-sex-abuse-107949 A historic Chicago church says good-bye to its bells http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-chicago-church-says-good-bye-its-bells-106708 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bell.jpg" title="St. James Church in Bronzeville has been closed for almost four years. Despite parishioners’ efforts to save the church, it’s starting to be slowly dismantled. (Adriana Cardona/WBEZ)" /></p><p>Workers took down the bells at St. James Church in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood Wednesday.<br /><br />The Archdiocese of Chicago plans to demolish the 137-year-old building, despite efforts by the Friends of Historic St. James, a group of parishioners that have been advocating to save the church.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think the cold and rainy weather reflects the sadness and tears that many of us have seeing these bells being removed,&rdquo; said Dave Samber, who&rsquo;s at the forefront of the advocacy efforts. &ldquo;This is the beginning of what could very well be an end, but it doesn&rsquo;t have to be.&rdquo;</p><p>Samber said his group, the Friends of Historic St. James, still has time to reverse the Archdiocese&rsquo;s decision. Parishioners appealed to the Vatican earlier this month to halt the demolition and to suspend the removal of parochial goods, and are waiting to hear back.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">A private real estate developer has said he&rsquo;s committed to investing $5 million to help restoration efforts.</div><p>But the Archdiocese of Chicago said the total cost for restoration is $12 million. In a statement, the Archdiocese said it can&rsquo;t afford to renovate the building and instead will invest $7 million to build a new church a block away on Michigan Avenue.</p><p>&ldquo;The Archdiocese feels that it would be fiscally irresponsible to renovate the existing building &hellip; The new St. James Church will better serve the parish, the parishioners and the community in the future,&rdquo; the statement said.</p><p>According to the Archdiocese, the new St. James Church will seat 500 people. In the meantime, the parish will hold mass in its current parish center, and operate its food pantry, as it&rsquo;s been doing while the church building has been vacant.</p><p>The organ and the bells will be saved for use in other Archdiocesan parishes, a spokeswoman said. Demolition is slated to start May 1.</p><p>But Eva Leonard, who&rsquo;s attended St. James for 30 years, said she won&rsquo;t let go of her church that easily.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are going to move back in there,&rdquo; Leonard said.&nbsp; &lsquo;Cause this is what we want to do. It&rsquo;s my only Catholic church; [I] can&rsquo;t see it torn down, no way.&rdquo;</p><p>Preservation Chicago Board President Ward Miller said he expected to see more dialogue between the Archdiocese and its congregation.</p><p>&ldquo;The Cardinal should have come out with his people, he should have talked to all of us. There just has been dead silence for all of us,&rdquo; Miller said.</p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-chicago-church-says-good-bye-its-bells-106708 Cardinal George ‘fearful’ about cancer but vows to keep working http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/cardinal-george-%E2%80%98fearful%E2%80%99-about-cancer-vows-keep-working-101958 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CardinalGeorge2.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 306px; width: 250px; " title="The leader of more than 2 million Chicago-area Catholics expects to hear next week about treatment options. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />The spiritual leader of more than 2 million Chicago-area Roman Catholics says he is expecting to hear more next week about cancer found in his body and about treatment options.</p><p>Cardinal Francis George on Friday night made his first public appearance since finding out a week earlier that cancerous cells were in his liver and kidney.</p><p>&ldquo;We all live with the Lord as much as possible,&rdquo; he told reporters before attending a fundraiser for his archdiocese&rsquo;s Hispanic ministry. &ldquo;If this is a call to be with him for eternity, then that&rsquo;s a welcome call in that sense. But it&rsquo;s also a fearful call, because there&rsquo;s so much that&rsquo;s unknown.&rdquo;</p><p>George, 75, looked healthy but said medical tests had weakened him. He said Mayo Clinic physicians would help analyze the test results.</p><p>A 2006 cancer battle led to the removal of his bladder, prostate and part of a ureter. &ldquo;I had felt I&rsquo;d licked something and I didn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; the cardinal said. &ldquo;And so that isn&rsquo;t a good feeling.&rdquo;</p><p>George grew up in St. Pascal Parish on Chicago&rsquo;s Northwest Side. He has headed the Chicago archdiocese, which covers Cook and Lake counties, for 15 years. From 2007 to 2010, he was also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.</p><p>The cardinal said he would keep his public schedule unless treatment affected his immune system. He said he was waiting for more information about his condition before informing Pope Benedict XVI.</p></p> Fri, 24 Aug 2012 21:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/cardinal-george-%E2%80%98fearful%E2%80%99-about-cancer-vows-keep-working-101958 A decade on, coaches try to bridge racial divide http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/decade-coaches-try-bridge-racial-divide-101330 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/stcover.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75050192&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>When it comes to race relations, something as simple as a handshake can become a flashpoint. That&rsquo;s what happened about 10 years ago on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. Two youth basketball coaches &mdash; one white, the other black &mdash; were supposed to shake hands after their teams played. But, when one extended his hand, the other refused. The incident fueled tensions that had the black coach&rsquo;s school withdrawing from the league. For more than a decade, the men held hard feelings about each other. For our series, &ldquo;Race: Out Loud,&rdquo; we invited them to sit down to see if they could reach any sort of reconciliation. But, first, WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell spoke with each separately to hear what led to that moment on the court.</p><p>MITCHELL: The African American coach is a guy named Christopher Mallette. In 2001, he headed athletics at St. Sabina in Chicago&rsquo;s Auburn Gresham neighborhood. Mallette wanted to give his flag-football players some tackle experience. And he wanted to give something to St. Sabina players of every sport.</p><p>MALLETTE: Exposure.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;The parish had been mostly black since the 1960s.</p><p>MALLETTE: We just thought, broaden the horizon of players, also the families involved.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;So Mallette proposed that the school join the Southside Catholic Conference. That was a multisport league for grades five through eight. The league&rsquo;s schools &mdash; there were 21 &mdash; they were on the South Side and in a few suburbs nearby. Most of the league&rsquo;s players were white. But Mallette says he didn&rsquo;t expect much resistance to St. Sabina joining.</p><p>MALLETTE: We had every indication that it was a no-brainer. We were a big parish. No issue paying fees and dues and fielding teams and equipment. We&rsquo;re ready to roll.</p><p>FITZGERALD: There was a pride, saying, &lsquo;Hey, St. Sabina wants to join our league.&rsquo;</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;Tom Fitzgerald is the white coach. He headed athletics at St. Linus in Oak Lawn, a suburb 15 miles away. That parish included some families who lived near St. Sabina before the neighborhood turned black.</p><p>FITZGERALD: People were saying, &lsquo;Oh, that&rsquo;s great.&rsquo; You felt like, &lsquo;This was the parish that we lived in when we were kids.&rsquo; I thought it was kind of contagious.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;But it wasn&rsquo;t.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SABINA%20BLDG_0.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Mallette headed athletics at the Faith Community of St Sabina in Chicago's Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>FITZGERALD: I can&rsquo;t identify the source. I can tell you that I did see some unofficial police reports of the crime rate over there in the St. Sabina neighborhood. And they showed some numbers &mdash; between assaults, robberies &mdash; and people are getting nervous now, saying, &lsquo;Well, we&rsquo;re not sending our wives and kids over there&rsquo; &mdash; really concerned for their safety.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;League officials voted 11 to 9 against allowing St. Sabina to join. Fitzgerald cast one of the votes to keep the parish out.</p><p>FITZGERALD: My explanation and rationale behind my vote was that I would not tell people that we would go over to St. Sabina and play and then not show up. To me, that&rsquo;s wrong. And when the vote came in for no the floodgates opened. I could not believe the amount media attention that this received.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TRIBUNE.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette says too much of the attention sided with the white parishes.</div><p>MALLETTE: If your real concern was crime, the crime that was occurring was black-on-black crime. There were no people waiting in their lair here, to jump out of their lair, and rob the families that were coming to play a basketball game.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">MITCHELL:&nbsp;League officials offered compromises. Fitzgerald says he wanted St. Sabina to play at a neutral site for a year or two before hosting games.</div><p><br />FITZGERALD: I honestly felt people would go over there, once the ice was broken. I know how good the people from this neighborhood are &mdash; how genuine and sincere they are. We could have weaned ourselves into a very healthy relationship. But when you force people to go over there, you&rsquo;re going to get resistance.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;St. Sabina rejected the compromise offers. Here&rsquo;s Mallette.<br /><br />MALLETTE: I actually had coaches and athletic directors from other SCC schools, point blank, say, &lsquo;This is about race.&rsquo; And they saw our entrance into the Southside Catholic Conference as an invasion, if you will, of their feeder program to the schools they traditionally went to. I had a coach tell me, &lsquo;I think you&rsquo;re a good guy but you got to understand, at the end of the day, we would rather have Jimmy playing quarterback &mdash; at St. Lawrence or Brother Rice or Marist or wherever &mdash; than Jermaine.&rsquo;<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I said the only way I would consider changing our vote after we had talked about it is if the cardinal called me &mdash; jokingly I said that. Next day, the cardinal calls me at home. I have really put myself in a predicament there.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;The league reversed itself and let St. Sabina in. Many schools gave a warm welcome. But there were flare-ups. At one game, some white parents had it out with St. Sabina&rsquo;s pastor. He&rsquo;s an outspoken white priest named Michael Pfleger. After another game, a St. Sabina player accused a kid on the other team of calling him the N-word. And there was the handshake incident. Fitzgerald says Mallette had refused to shake his hand after a league meeting months earlier.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I&rsquo;m just there, like, &lsquo;You know Chris? Two can play this game.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Fitzgerald waited until the two faced off as basketball coaches and the game ended.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">FITZGERALD: The players line up first, then the coaches.</div><br /><br /><p>MALLETTE: You greet the opposite coach.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: A handshake is just a sign of respect.<br /><br />MALLETTE: You joke back and forth a little bit.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: It&rsquo;s just truly about sportsmanship.<br /><br />MALLETTE: It&rsquo;s just part of the fraternity of coaches and part of what you do.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I was the last one in line. I shook all the kids&rsquo; hands. I shook his assistant coach&rsquo;s hand. And he extended his hand. I just went up to him, kind of got close, put my hand on his shoulder. I congratulated him about a good game but I refused to shake his hand.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And I called, &lsquo;Coach! Coach!&rsquo; I think he looked over his shoulder and kept going.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I made sure that I did not make a spectacle out of it.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LINUS.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MALLETTE: The kids from St. Sabina saw that. You know what? I&rsquo;m sure the kids from St. Linus saw that also. I know the parents from St. Sabina saw it and they were sitting in the stands right next to the parents from St. Linus.</div><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;The St. Sabina parents eventually decided they&rsquo;d had enough. Just before the playoffs, they voted to pull their school out of the league. They said it was a matter of protecting their integrity. But the whole experience left Fitzgerald feeling burned.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I&rsquo;ll tell you, the people who know me and the people I represented backed me up. And that meant more to me than anything else.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;He dabs his eyes.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: You know, I&rsquo;m not a racist. And I&rsquo;m just like, &lsquo;God, that&rsquo;s just mean.&rsquo; Discrimination is not right. Being a racist isn&rsquo;t right. But I&rsquo;m being accused of something that I&rsquo;m furthest from being. And that bothered me.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Despite the feelings, the coaches never saw fit to speak with each other about why they didn&rsquo;t shake hands &mdash; and about why the effort to put St. Sabina in the Southside Catholic Conference failed. More than 10 years passed. This summer we invited them to sit down together.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene):&nbsp;Thanks so much to both of you for agreeing to talk.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;The conversation lasted almost two hours. Christopher Mallette said his players &mdash; the St. Sabina kids &mdash; he said they learned something from playing the white teams that season.<br /><br />MALLETTE: None of our kids could sincerely say they could brand the South Side Irish as racist because they met so many good coaches, so many good parents, principals, nuns, priests. There was an exposure there. You can&rsquo;t stereotype any longer.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: There had to have been a way to make this work .<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Tom Fitzgerald said race was never the issue for his Oak Lawn parish.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LINUS%20BLDG_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Fitzgerald headed athletics at St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn, a suburb just southwest of Chicago. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />FITZGERALD: I wish the test of time would have had an opportunity to allow St. Sabina to stay in. Unfortunately, some walls were built, intentionally or unintentionally, that prevented us all from trying to get that done.</div><br /><br /><p>MALLETTE: I think what hurt St. Sabina most deeply was that so few, if any, or no people from other parishes who stood up and said, &lsquo;You know what? We&rsquo;re standing with you here.&rsquo; And there&rsquo;s also a sense of nostalgia, I think.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: My parents, I mean, there are people my age who had their first few years of grade school at St. Sabina.<br /><br />MALLETTE: Yeah.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That whole area over there.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And, if you even look at where the South Side Irish Parade began, it began at St. Sabina.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Over on 79th Street.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And it went down 79th Street. But you also look at white flight. And when white flight took place and a lot of the South Side folks moved out of those parish communities and moved a little bit further south, a little bit further west. And, at that time, the adults and coaches were kids. They were the kids around the table.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That&rsquo;s where I was born.<br /><br />MALLETTE: Yeah, &lsquo;Why are we moving?&rsquo; And you&rsquo;re told, &lsquo;Crime.&rsquo; And the only thing that you see is black people moving in so, psychologically, you equate black people with crime.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Generically I will agree with that comment but it depends upon how you were brought up too.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette told Fitzgerald the white schools weren&rsquo;t the only ones worried about safety.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SABINA.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MALLETTE: I received letters telling us that someone was going to put a bullet into a kid&rsquo;s back when they show up from the Aryan Nation. We were getting all types of things. We were getting phone calls.</div><br /><br /><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette also talked about what it was like for St. Sabina people to travel to a white parish.</p><p>MALLETTE: We actually got pulled over, we actually got racially profiled, going to a meeting with the athletic board. And that was the one thing I had mentioned and everyone had laughed and shrugged off, &lsquo;That will never happen.&rsquo; And it was a meeting to talk about our kid being called the N-word at a basketball game. And here you get pulled over and you have citizens come out of their homes, cheering the police on. While myself, the father, the mother and the 13-year-old kid are spread eagle with their hands on the trunk of a car, trying to find this meeting place.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That&rsquo;s wrong. I didn&rsquo;t walk in your shoes. For everything that you went through that year, those were shoes that were probably very difficult to walk in.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;I brought up what happened between the two men on that basketball court &mdash; the handshake that didn&rsquo;t happen. Fitzgerald pointed to Mallette&rsquo;s slight from months earlier. Mallette said he didn&rsquo;t remember it.<br /><br />MALLETTE: If I did shun you there, Tom, I apologize. That shouldn&rsquo;t have happened.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BASKETBALL_1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><br /><br />FITZGERALD: Nor should I have shunned you back. That&rsquo;s not what I want to teach my sons.<br /><br />MALLETTE: That&rsquo;s really the most important thing is that our kids get better and do better than we do.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Absolutely.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And I think a large part of that is to see not just all of our successes and all of our trophies and diplomas on the wall but to have honest conversations with our children about where we fell short.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: And maybe shame on some people for not standing by you and saying, &lsquo;Hey, let&rsquo;s try to understand really what&rsquo;s going on here.&rsquo;<br /><br />MALLETTE: Right.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: We missed that opportunity.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">MITCHELL:&nbsp;After talking &mdash; seeing each other for the first time since that basketball season a decade ago &mdash; Tom Fitzgerald and Christopher Mallette got up to leave. They shook hands and said goodbye.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/decade-coaches-try-bridge-racial-divide-101330 Mexico City a progressive outlier in nation’s patchwork of abortion laws http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-09/here-there-catholic-church-big-player-patchwork-abortion-laws-mexico-and <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6022_AP080813047679-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="To show their support of safe abortions, activists displayed 8,000 self portraits in downtown Mexico City. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)" /></div><p><em>This episode of the Worldview was orginally broadcast on August 9, 2011. </em></p><p>Tuesday we continue our week-long look at abortion laws in other parts of the world. It&rsquo;s part of our occasional series <em><a href="http://wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank">Here, There</a></em>, where we look at how other cultures approach challenges we face at home.</p><p>Now we turn our eyes to Mexico, which, much like the U.S., has laws that vary from state to state. In 2008, Mexico City became the first &ndash; and so far only &ndash; place in the country to legalize voluntary abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Like Washington, D.C., Mexico City does not belong to any state.&nbsp;</p><p>Not surprisingly, decriminalizing abortion was a controversial move in the strongly Catholic country. Fifty-three percent of Mexico&#39;s states are still advocating to impose stricter bans on abortion or criminalize it entirely.</p><p><strong>Tuesday on <em>Worldview</em>:&nbsp;</strong></p><p>To learn more, we talk to <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty/ana-langer/" target="_blank">Ana Langer</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/women-and-health-initiative/" target="_blank">Women and Health Initiative</a> at Harvard University&rsquo;s School of Public Health. She talks about the situation in Mexico and describes four Latin American countries that ban abortion under all circumstances, including rape and health of the mother: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile and Uruguay.</p><p><strong>On how the law became possible:</strong></p><p>&quot;A number of factors came together to make reform possible: A leftist government, which has been ruling the city since the late &lsquo;90s, almost 14 years now; a very, very active civil society with feminist groups playing an important role; and good information about the toll that unsafe abortion took on women in the capitol city and on women in the country in general in terms of morbidity and mortality.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the Supreme Court ratifying the law:</strong></p><p>&quot;The judges came to the conclusion that the law was constitutional. . . which came as a surprise to all of us. . . The Supreme Court is quite conservative.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the anti-abortion backlash prompted by the law: </strong></p><p>&quot;Usually what happens in the capitol city has a strong impact on the rest of the country. But in this case, that didn&rsquo;t happen.&nbsp; In fact, what happened was completely opposite to that. Since the law was approved, 17 out of 32 states &ndash; 53 percent &ndash; have now passed initiatives or reforms to ban abortion entirely.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the impact on access:</strong></p><p>&quot;A large number of women . . . travel to Mexico City to get abortions. The procedure is free for residents of Mexico City, but for those who travel they have to pay a fee, but the fee is very modest. . . In the states where abortion is banned, obviously, women with financial resources access abortion, which has always been the case. The poorer women have more difficulty in getting the procedure done at all.&quot;</p><p><strong>Has this changed the number of abortions?</strong></p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s difficult to know the number of abortions performed before the law. . . there weren&rsquo;t any reliable statistics. But if we count legal abortions, the change was amazing &ndash; from a few dozen every year to. . . 52,000 by January [of 2011].&quot;</p><p><strong>On the political dimensions compared to the U.S.:</strong></p><p>&quot;In Mexico you don&rsquo;t see those people demonstrating outside of clinics. Never, ever has a provider been killed so far. . . People may pass judgment on women who seek abortions but it&rsquo;s not aggressive. . .The situation is not as polarized as in the U.S.&quot;&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-09/here-there-catholic-church-big-player-patchwork-abortion-laws-mexico-and Obama vs. the bishops http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-16/obama-vs-bishops-96448 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-15/commend-pope-using-condoms-somewhattopical-ecards-someecards.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="237" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-15/commend-pope-using-condoms-somewhattopical-ecards-someecards.png" title="" width="425"></p><p>A lot of people are speaking for Catholics these days. Over the past several weeks, there's been a great deal of brouhaha surrounding the Obama administration's decision to require that&nbsp;religious employers who have&nbsp;health insurance plans cover birth&nbsp;control.&nbsp;</p><p>On Friday, the bishops gave off positive signals, when Obama offered a compromise allowing hospitals and universities with religious affiliations to not directly provide birth control coverage; instead, the insurance companies would do it.</p><p>This week, the bishops stepped up pressure on the White House.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to this conversation on&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><span class="filefield_audio_insert_player" href="/sites/default/files/120216 contraception.mp3" id="filefield_audio_insert_player-125889" player="null">120216 contraception.mp3</span></p></div></div><p>Since the Chicago area has a host of Catholic institutions--Loyola University and Medical Center, DePaul University, Resurrection Health Care, Holy Cross Hospital, to name just a few--we wanted to find out how this debate is playing out locally.</p><p dir="ltr">We called up Patrick Cacchione, the executive director of the Illinois Catholic Health Association, who says his members fully support the bishops' position. The state of Illinois already requires institutions with religious affiliations to cover birth control. It allows exemptions only when the employers insure their personnel. According to Cacchione, Catholic hospitals use this workaround, in order to comply with Catholic beliefs.</p><p dir="ltr">He'll come on&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight&nbsp;</em>to explain why he thinks the federal mandate is a violation of religious freedom. Cristina Traina, a Northwestern University professor of religious studies, will look at the broad spectrum of Catholic opinion, including the 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women who admit to having used some form of contraception.</p></p> Thu, 16 Feb 2012 14:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-16/obama-vs-bishops-96448 After 8-year union drive, Chicago nurses election begins http://www.wbez.org/story/after-8-year-union-drive-chicago-nurses-cast-ballots-88485 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-29/Resurrection picket.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Some nurses on Chicago’s Northwest Side have begun two days of voting in a closely watched union election.</p><p>Since 2002, Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has been trying to organize thousands of employees at Resurrection Health Care, a nonprofit Roman Catholic hospital chain based in Chicago. But management has not recognized the union. To gain a foothold, AFSCME asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election among about 290 registered nurses at one of the hospitals, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St.</p><p>Some pro-union nurses say their top concern is a patient-to-nurse ratio that has risen over the years. “We don’t feel like we’re doing a good job,” says Kathy Haff, a telemetry unit nurse who volunteers on an AFSCME organizing committee. “If we had a union contract, it would help a lot.”</p><p>The union also claims Resurrection is bearing down about the vote. “People that were wearing ‘yes’ buttons are afraid to wear them because then they’re targets for harassment,” Haff says.</p><p>But management says the only thing it has asked employees to do is vote. Resurrection insists that the pressure is coming from the union.</p><p>“For almost nine years, the union has been harassing Resurrection Health Care,” says Brian Crawford, the corporation’s vice president of public affairs, who says AFSCME unfairly accuses the hospital of abandoning its mission and shortchanging services. “This is the first time [the union] has actually petitioned for a vote, so we’re delighted.”</p><p>Crawford attributes the staffing problem to a “nationwide shortage of nurses” and claims that the AFSCME campaign has scared some away. “Nurses can work anywhere they want,” he says.</p><p>The vote could reverberate beyond the Resurrection chain. Unions have made little progress in Chicago-area hospitals aside from facilities owned by university and government entities.</p><p>The balloting will end Thursday evening.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/after-8-year-union-drive-chicago-nurses-cast-ballots-88485 Cardinal blesses ‘healing garden’ for sex-abuse victims http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-blesses-%E2%80%98healing-garden%E2%80%99-sex-abuse-victims-87664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-09/CardinalGeorge_Healing_Garden.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago’s top Catholic official Thursday blessed what his archdiocese is calling its “healing garden” for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.<br> <br> The garden covers a plot next to Holy Family, a 19th century Chicago church at 1080 West Roosevelt Road, and includes more than two dozen varieties of trees, plants and flowers as well as a 600-pound bronze sculpture of a man, woman and child holding hands, dancing in a circle and smiling. An archdiocese committee that includes four abuse survivors started planning the project more than two years ago.<br> <br> At a prayer service before giving his blessing, Cardinal Francis George said the garden shows “a permanent voice of victims, a permanent apology on the part of the church, and a permanent commitment by the ministers of the church . . . that we are there” for victims who seek help.<br> <br> “We hope,” George added, “that, in the midst of this tragedy, there will be the possibility of new life, of resurrection of the heart in such a way that one can continue with new energy and new vigor and to be not trapped in something that brings death but, rather, find new life — with the help of others and the help of God — that will be, itself, a light to the world.”<br> <br> But the garden isn’t impressing some victims of Catholic clerical abuse.<br> <br> “Cardinal George and other church officials have empowered and enabled sexual predators to abuse more children,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Instead of being punished for those reckless actions, many have been promoted.”<br> <br> Blaine says many church officials ought to face criminal investigation.</p></p> Thu, 09 Jun 2011 21:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-blesses-%E2%80%98healing-garden%E2%80%99-sex-abuse-victims-87664 Sex abuse lurks behind Catholic election http://www.wbez.org/story/undefined/sex-abuse-lurks-behind-catholic-election <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-04/Bishop_Kicanas_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>This story was updated with a clarification on Nov. 12, 2010.</em> *<br /><br /><strong>The nation&rsquo;s Catholic bishops will choose a new leader next month. Both their outgoing president and the bishop likely to take his place have strong ties to the Chicago</strong><strong> archdiocese</strong><strong>. That&rsquo;s not all they have in common. Both clerics advanced the career of a priest who molested as many as 23 boys.&nbsp;They did so even though top archdiocese officials had received allegations about misconduct by the priest. If the election goes as expected, it&rsquo;ll provide ammunition to people who argue there&rsquo;s no accountability for bishops who protect abusers. We report from our West Side bureau.</strong><br /><br />Daniel McCormack went to prison in 2007 for abusing boys when he was pastor of St. Agatha&rsquo;s, a parish in Chicago&rsquo;s North Lawndale neighborhood.<br /><br />To learn more about McCormack, I sit down with a father whose son attended the Catholic school next to the parish. I&rsquo;m keeping the man&rsquo;s name to myself to protect his son&rsquo;s identity.<br /><br />The father says his boy started acting out around age 11 after joining a basketball team McCormack coached. &ldquo;You would try to get to the bottom of it but there was no real way to figure out what was going on,&rdquo; he says.<br /><br />The father didn&rsquo;t find out what was going on until recently. His son&rsquo;s now 20. &ldquo;He was, like, &lsquo;Dad, there&rsquo;s something I want to talk to you about,&rsquo; &rdquo; he says.<br /><br />McCormack was fondling the boy at basketball practice, the father says.<br /><br />The abuse didn&rsquo;t stop there. &ldquo;He would have the children doing tasks around the building,&rdquo; the father says. &ldquo;He&rsquo;d pay them.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;There was one incident specifically,&rdquo; the father continues. &ldquo;It had started raining. My son was out in the yard, doing some yard work. He had gotten muddy. After getting done with what he was told to do, out in the yard, he went inside. Dan told my son to get out of the clothes: &lsquo;Go and take a shower.&rsquo; As my son was getting out of the shower, he would bend him over. He inserted his penis in my son. And this happened more than once.&rdquo;<br /><br />The man says McCormack abused his son for more than three years.<br /><br />The family has now hired an attorney to see if the Chicago archdiocese will agree to a settlement. &ldquo;I feel really betrayed,&rdquo; the father says. &ldquo;We entrusted these people with our child.&rdquo;<br /><br />I asked the father if he had ever heard of Gerald Kicanas, now a bishop of Tuscon, Arizona. Kicanas helped get McCormack&rsquo;s career off the ground in the early 1990s. Kicanas was rector of an archdiocese seminary where McCormack studied.<br /><br />Here&rsquo;s what happened: Kicanas received reports about three McCormack sexual-misconduct cases, one involving a minor. But Kicanas still approved McCormack for ordination.<br /><br />&ldquo;How do you do these things in the name of God?&rdquo; the father asks.<br /><br />I tell him how the Chicago archdiocese assigned McCormack to various parishes. The priest attracted more accusations, but Cardinal Francis George promoted him in 2005 to help oversee other West Side churches.<br /><br />Around that time, Chicago police arrested McCormack on suspicion of child molestation but released him without charges. Cardinal George kept McCormack in his posts even after the archdiocese sexual-abuse review board urged his removal.<br /><br />The North Lawndale father can&rsquo;t believe this. &ldquo;How is it that you&rsquo;re notified that someone in your parish is doing something to children and these people are still getting higher appointments?&rdquo; he asks.<br /><br />It wasn&rsquo;t until McCormack&rsquo;s second arrest&mdash;more than four months after the first&mdash;that George finally yanked him. The delay outraged victim advocates.<br /><br />But George&rsquo;s peers still elected him president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2007. And who did the bishops elect as vice president? Kicanas, the man who approved McCormack&rsquo;s ordination in the first place.<br /><br />&ldquo;They&rsquo;ve looked the other way,&rdquo; says Thomas Doyle, a priest and canon lawyer who helped write a 1985 report about clergy sexual abuse. He later split from church leaders, saying they weren&rsquo;t following his recommendations.<br /><br />Doyle says bishops kept handling abusers the way Kicanas and George handled McCormack: &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve maintained secrecy. They&rsquo;ve secretly transferred the priests. So they have aided and abetted the commission of crimes. But there has been no instance where the pope has called any bishop accountable.&rdquo; <br /><br />Now U.S. bishops are getting ready to elect a president to succeed George. If they stick with tradition, they&rsquo;ll elevate the vice president&mdash;Bishop Kicanas, the former rector of the seminary McCormack attended.<br /><br />I left several messages for Kicanas about the election but he didn&rsquo;t get back. I called the Chicago archdiocese to speak with Cardinal George or a spokesperson. His staff referred me to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A spokeswoman there said child sexual abuse is not an election issue and that no one else would be commenting.<br /><br />So I called up Jeff Field of the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a group that often defends how church leaders handle sex-abuse cases. &ldquo;To deny a bishop a promotion because of what some deem as improper&mdash;when what they do is in line with the church&mdash;is wrong,&rdquo; Field says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s ridiculous.&rdquo;<br /><br />In other words, bishops shouldn&rsquo;t face punishment if they followed church policies.<br /><br />And the church claims it didn&rsquo;t know that predators keep at it. &ldquo;Much of the research on sex abusers really began in the &rsquo;90s,&rdquo; says Jan Slattery, head of Chicago archdiocese programs for victims and child safety. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a relatively new body of research.&rdquo;<br /><br />Slattery says the way church officials dealt with McCormack used to be routine. &ldquo;We were very quick to take the word of lawyers and psychologists,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;At one point in time even criminal systems were not putting men in prison for this. They were getting them treatment. But that&rsquo;s changed.&rdquo; <br /><br />Slattery&rsquo;s right. A church audit found U.S. bishops received fewer clergy sex-abuse accusations in 2009 than in any year since 2004. Most of the alleged incidents happened decades earlier.<br /><br />But that&rsquo;s why McCormack stands out. He was abusing the North Lawndale boys just five years ago. And just three years ago, a newspaper quoted Bishop Kicanas saying he was right to allow McCormack&rsquo;s ordination.<br /><br />I asked Slattery how she likes the idea of bishops electing leaders who advanced McCormack&rsquo;s career. She didn&rsquo;t respond.<br /><br />Is Slattery aware of any discipline for McCormack&rsquo;s supervisors? &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to be privileged to that if that happened,&rdquo; she answers.<br /><br />There are people taking a big-picture look at the Catholic sexual-abuse crisis and whether the church should reconsider leadership. &ldquo;Celibacy is part of a complex culture that gives priests a sense of deference and entitlement and elitism that can lead to perverse behavior, apparently,&rdquo; says Thomas Groome, a Boston College theologian.<br /><br />Groome says making bishops accountable would require changing how the church is governed: &ldquo;There are ways available, even within canon law. The canon law of the Catholic Church calls for parish councils, diocesan councils&mdash;priests and lay people having voice and representation. We&rsquo;ve never implemented that.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Some of it will be reform and some of it will be renewal,&rdquo; Groome adds. &ldquo;For example, when you go back into the history of the church, you find that the priests of a diocese had a real voice in choosing their bishop. And, if you go back far enough, in certain places even the people had a real voice in choosing their bishop.&rdquo;<br /><br />But, for now, the faithful don&rsquo;t have that voice. And only the bishops can vote in next month&rsquo;s election.<br /><br />So, barring the unforeseen, their next president&mdash;like the one stepping down&mdash;will have ties to the man who abused the North Lawndale boys.<br /><i><br /></i></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>* An earlier version of this story said Cardinal Francis George advanced Daniel McCormack&rsquo;s career &ldquo;despite receiving allegations&rdquo; about the priest&rsquo;s misconduct. The basis for our account was a 2008 deposition in which the cardinal answered questions under oath about McCormack&rsquo;s 2005 arrest and George&rsquo;s promotion of the priest to head a deanery. In the deposition, George said he learned of the arrest &ldquo;at the end of August&rdquo; of 2005. McCormack&rsquo;s promotion didn't take effect until Sept. 1, 2005.</em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>The Chicago archdiocese says George misspoke during that sworn testimony. A church-commissioned report says the cardinal didn&rsquo;t learn of McCormack's arrest until Sept. 2, 2005&mdash;one day after McCormack's start date as dean.</em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>The archdiocese says it&rsquo;s significant that George approved the promotion Aug. 29, one day prior to the arrest. &ldquo;I absolutely deny appointing Dan McCormack as dean after learning of the arrest,&rdquo; the cardinal says in a written statement from his spokeswoman.</em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>Accordingly, we&rsquo;ve removed these lines: &ldquo;Both clerics advanced the career of a priest who molested as many as 23 boys. They did so despite receiving allegations about his misconduct.&quot;<br /></em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>We replaced them with:</em> <em>&quot;Both clerics advanced the career of a priest who molested as many as 23 boys. They did so even though top archdiocese officials had received allegations about misconduct by the priest.</em><em>&rdquo;</em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>As our story notes, however, once George learned of McCormack&rsquo;s August 2005 arrest, the cardinal left the priest in his posts, including the deanery position. The cardinal did so even after his sexual-abuse review board urged McCormack&rsquo;s removal in October 2005. McCormack continued abusing boys. Police finally put an end to it in January 2006, when they arrested him a second time.</em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>George insists other archdiocese officials failed to inform him about sexual-misconduct allegations against McCormack </em><em>over the years. But </em><em>the cardinal allowed those officials to continue on in their church careers.</em></p></p> Fri, 22 Oct 2010 18:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/undefined/sex-abuse-lurks-behind-catholic-election