WBEZ | Roman Catholic Church http://www.wbez.org/tags/roman-catholic-church Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Survivors, lawyers say documents prove priest sex abuse cover-up http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/survivors-lawyers-say-documents-prove-priest-sex-abuse-cover-109557 <p><p>Newly released documents offer the most sweeping look yet at how the Archdiocese of Chicago has handled cases of sexual abuse by priests. Attorneys and victims contend they provide clear evidence of a cover-up that started in the 1950s and continues today.</p><p>Victims&rsquo; attorneys put 6,000 pages online Tuesday. They detail alleged abuse by 30 priests against about 50 victims.</p><p>Kathy Laarveld&rsquo;s son was one of those molested by a priest. For years, she was a staunch supporter of her parish. She was the secretary, the cook, even did the laundry for the priests, who were regular dinner guests.</p><p>She had no idea that Vincent McCaffrey, one of these priests she trusted, was abusing her son.</p><p>&ldquo;McCaffrey actually took advantage of my son on his First Communion in my home, in front of my family,&rdquo; Laarveld said.</p><p>It was not until her son told her about 10 years ago -- 20 years later -- that she learned the truth. McCaffrey admitted during court hearings to molesting so many children that he lost count. The documents show he offended at every parish where he served, including that of Laarveld and her son.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t forgive myself, I&rsquo;m his mother. I would have jumped in front of a bus or a train before I would ever have let anybody touch him,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Laarveld and her husband, Jim, are among survivors of priest sex abuse and their families who worked to get these papers released. Their attorneys say they refused to settle their cases unless the files went public.</p><p>The 30 priests described in the documents are about half the number the Archdiocese lists as credibly accused.</p><p>Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented victims in these cases, spell out the accusation of a cover-up. He said, &ldquo;Priests were offending children, and they made intentional and conscious choices to conceal that, protect the priests, protect the reputation of the Archdiocese, and in effect conceal the crime and give safe harbor to the offender.&rdquo;</p><p>The documents show that offending priests moved in and out of treatment and from parish to parish, over and over, without the old parish or new one knowing what had happened.<br /><br />They show monitoring failed repeatedly. Priests and nuns who were selected to keep abusive priests from re-offending told the highest church officials they were not clear what their jobs were. They told officials the priests were breaking restrictions and hanging around kids again. And often, the records show, nothing was done.</p><p>&ldquo;It shows a pattern of repeated abuse, repeated allegations, the Archdiocese working hard to keep that all bottled up in secret and then transferring these gentleman from one parish to another so they can abuse again,&rdquo; said Chicago Marc Pearlman, who has represented nearly 100 victims along with Anderson.</p><p>&ldquo;What is striking to me is every file is very similar,&rdquo; Pearlman added. &ldquo;Each file tells the same story. The only difference is the perpetrator&rsquo;s name and the victims&rsquo; names.&rdquo;</p><p>Consider the case of Daniel Holihan. In 1986, a mom wrote to Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to tell him that the kids called Holihan &ldquo;Father Happy Hands.&rdquo;</p><p>Holihan was reportedly touching and fondling many boys and bringing them to his cottage. When the police showed an abuse-prevention movie on &ldquo;good touch, bad touch,&rdquo; a bunch of boys told their teacher it had happened to them.</p><p>The State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office found at least 12 cases with credible evidence, but did not charge Holihan.&nbsp; A letter thanks the office for its efforts to &ldquo;minimize the negative impact on the parish.&rdquo;</p><p>The documents show the Archdiocese moved Holihan to senior ministry, but let him serve in a parish on weekends for a number of years.</p><p>The Archdiocese has apologized for its handling of cases such as this. In a statement, it&nbsp; acknowledged that leaders &ldquo;made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The pain and the suffering of victims and their families is just something that continues to haunt me, and I think it is also a terrible thing for the church,&rdquo; said Bishop Francis Kane, who oversees pastoral care for the Archdiocese.</p><p>But Kane denied there was an orchestrated cover-up. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t believe there was ever an intention to hide what has happened,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;What happened, I believe, is we&rsquo;ve had a change in understanding. Forty years ago when many of these incidents took place, we treated sex abuse in a very different way.&rdquo;</p><p>The Archdiocese points out that nearly all these cases happened before 1988. None of the 30 priests remain in active ministry. Half are dead.</p><p>The attorneys for the victims do acknowledge some things are better, including a program to help victims and training to recognize abusers.</p><p>But they say they see signs of similar patterns still occurring.</p><p>In the past decade, Father Joseph Bennett was accused of multiple allegations, including penetrating a girl&rsquo;s rectum with the handle of a communion server. In a letter to the Gary (Ind.) Diocese, asking for help monitoring Bennett, the Archdiocese said it only knew of one allegation.</p><p>Attorney Jeff Anderson points out review board reporting to Cardinal Francis George -- Bernadin&rsquo;s successor -- recommended Bennett&rsquo;s removal from priesthood.</p><p>&ldquo;Cardinal George, instead of following that recommendation, took the Bennett file and made his own determination, notwithstanding the fact one of the witnesses in that file described Bennett&rsquo;s scrotum,&rdquo; Anderson said.</p><p>The Cardinal said in documents that he interceded to make sure Bennett -- who, like many of the priests, has maintained his innocence -- had a canon lawyer.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s an excerpt from a letter the Cardinal wrote to a Bennett supporter:</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/letter.PNG" style="height: 370px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>It is this kind of response that angers Kathy and Jim Laarveld. They say their family has&nbsp; paid a high cost for priest sexual abuse, and how the Archdiocese handled it.</p><p>Jim no longer goes to Mass. Kathy tries, but she sometimes starts to sob when she begins to walk into church.</p><p>She says their son, as a boy, was carefree, a firecracker. Now he is a compassionate man who has struggled because of the abuse.</p><p>&ldquo;I look at him and I see the day he was born, all the hope, all the love, the sparkle in his eye, and his face,&rdquo; Kathy said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a very playful individual, but he&rsquo;ll catch himself, and I say, &lsquo;Go for it. Be that little boy you could never be. You always had that over your head.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Her husband, Jim, plans to look at the documents. Their parish had two abusive priests at the same time.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to hurt, although we know a lot of what&rsquo;s in there, I&rsquo;m sure there&rsquo;s stuff we don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to hurt my son. Hopefully we can be with him when he looks at it, because I don&rsquo;t want him to be alone.&rdquo;</p><p>Kathy Laarveld expects that pain will be short-lived. She thinks seeing the documents -- and the acknowledgement this all happened -- will help her son, and her entire family, to heal.</p><p>And she hopes it brings healing to others as well.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/survivors-lawyers-say-documents-prove-priest-sex-abuse-cover-109557 Church to Chicago: New Gay Pride Parade route will block access to Sunday Masses http://www.wbez.org/story/church-chicago-new-gay-pride-parade-route-will-block-access-sunday-masses-94519 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-01/5932351369_108f147ca5_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO — Leaders of one of Chicago's oldest Roman Catholic churches are objecting to a newly-proposed route for the city's annual gay pride parade, saying the event will draw large crowds outside the church entrance and block access to Sunday Masses.</p><p>The parade that has run through parts of Chicago's North Side for more than four decades attracted 800,000 people last year, according to organizers, and has only grown. Crowds often pack shoulder-to-shoulder along the route and take over blocks and businesses during the event held the last Sunday in June to coincide with other pride parades nationwide.</p><p>To combat longstanding concerns about crowds, drinking, traffic and public transportation access, organizers have proposed a new route that extends further north, scales back on the number of floats and has an earlier start time.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/1879221_7561290e2f.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: left; width: 325px; height: 433px; " title="Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Flickr/Weston Renoud)">But the revised route also would now go by Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, where officials are circulating petitions asking city officials to help change the route and earlier start time that conflicts with prayer times. Church officials say they may not have morning Masses for the first time in nearly 100 years on the day of the parade.</p><p>"Your help is needed," a post on the church's Facebook page reads. "Unfortunately, the parade will now pass in front of the church on Sunday morning, making it impossible for parishioners to get to church, not to mention the damage to parish property."</p><p>The Rev. Thomas Srenn said the church, which hosts a weekly evening service geared toward gay parishioners, doesn't oppose the parade on religious grounds.</p><p>"Many of our parishioners will be at the parade and some will be in the parade," he said. "The parish reflects all that diversity. It has nothing to do with the theme of the parade. The change of route and the time brought it right in the heart of our sacred time."</p><p>Church officials have directed parishioners to contact Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney, an openly-gay leader who attends the church in his ward.</p><p>Tunney said he has spoken to Srenn and that they are working on a solution.</p><p>"The previous route has passed additional churches in my ward and both the parade organizers and the city were able to work with and address their needs," Tunney said in a statement, adding that he "will continue to work on addressing their concerns while maintaining the parade as a neighborhood celebration of tolerance and diversity."</p><p>Tunney's office and parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer said they didn't think discrimination was a factor in the petitions.</p><p>Pfeiffer added that there hasn't been damage to buildings along the route in years past. He said that three other churches were on the old route and have never reported issues. Pfeiffer said they've proposed adding barriers in front of the church or monitors to make sure people can get into Mass.</p><p>He said the route wouldn't be finalized with the city until next year when organizers can apply for permits.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 22:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/church-chicago-new-gay-pride-parade-route-will-block-access-sunday-masses-94519 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 U.S. bishops reject candidate tied to Chicago sex abuse http://www.wbez.org/story/news/us-bishops-reject-candidate-tied-chicago-sex-abuse <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Kicanas2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Catholic bishops have chosen a New York prelate to lead their organization for the next three years. The move is an unexpected defeat for an Arizona bishop under fire for his links to an imprisoned Chicago child molester.<br /><br />At a meeting Tuesday in Baltimore, the bishops elected New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a St. Louis native, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan&rsquo;s victory is the first time in decades the nation&rsquo;s bishops have passed over a sitting vice president for their top post.<br /><br />That vice president, Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas, once served as rector of a Chicago archdiocese seminary in northwest suburban Mundelein. In that post, Kicanas heard about three instances of alleged sexual misconduct by a student named Daniel McCormack.<br /><br />The nature of those incidents is murky. An archdiocese-commissioned report describes one as &ldquo;sexual abuse of a minor&rdquo; and says they occurred when McCormack attended a nearby seminary college&mdash;before he arrived in Mundelein.<br /><br />Kicanas approved McCormack&rsquo;s 1994 ordination. As a Chicago priest, McCormack sexually abused more than a dozen boys. Cardinal Francis George had started receiving allegations about the abuse by September 2005 but didn&rsquo;t pull McCormack out of the ministry until Chicago police arrested the priest in January 2006. The roles of Kicanas and George, the outgoing USCCB president, were the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/undefined/sex-abuse-lurks-behind-catholic-election">WBEZ report</a> last month.<br /><br />The National Catholic Register last week pressed Kicanas for his reactions to the report. A written response from the bishop said revelations about the three alleged sexual-misconduct incidents led to a church evaluation of McCormack. He said the evaluation sought &ldquo;to determine if he could live a celibate life and if there was any concern about his affective maturity.&rdquo;<br /><br />The evaluation found that McCormack&rsquo;s alleged misconduct was &ldquo;experimental and developmental,&rdquo; Kicanas added. &ldquo;I would never defend endorsing McCormack&rsquo;s ordination if I had had any knowledge or concern that he might be a danger to anyone.&rdquo;<br /><br />On Sunday morning some victims of priest sexual abuse led a Chicago protest against Kicanas, warning that it would be a mistake for U.S. bishops to elect him. Some conservative Catholic bloggers, meanwhile, seized on the controversy and cited additional reasons to oppose Kicanas. They said he wouldn&rsquo;t uphold many Catholic teachings strictly enough.<br /><br />Kicanas, 69, has pushed for dialogue between the church&rsquo;s liberal and conservative wings. In Arizona, the bishop has spoken against abortion and gay marriage but hasn&rsquo;t denied communion to politicians who favor abortion rights. On immigration, Kicanas has sided against a tough new Arizona law and pushed for a federal overhaul that would include a legalization of undocumented residents. Kicanas promoted &ldquo;comprehensive immigration reform&rdquo; as recently as Friday, when he gave the keynote speech at a church conference in Hammond, Indiana, just southeast of Chicago.<br /><br />Dolan, 60, appeals to many Catholic conservatives as a more aggressive defender of church orthodoxy. Last year, he signed a statement that united leading evangelicals and Catholics against abortion and gay marriage.<br /><br />The Vatican installed Dolan as New York archbishop last year. He had spent almost seven years as archbishop of Milwaukee.<br /><br />In Baltimore, where the bishops are holding their annual fall meeting, Dolan beat Kicanas in the third round of voting, 128-111. Dolan will replace Cardinal George as president this week. In another win for conservatives, the bishops elected Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to take Kicanas&rsquo; place as their vice president.<br /><br />An expert on the U.S. bishops says it&rsquo;s hard to know whether the latest McCormack flare-up shifted votes against the Tuscon bishop. &ldquo;Clearly Kicanas was being attacked and accused of making bad decisions when he was rector of the seminary,&rdquo; says Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. &ldquo;On the other hand, Dolan has also been criticized by victims of sexual abuse.&rdquo;<br /><br />In August, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Dolan &ldquo;quietly, recklessly and deceptively&rdquo; let a priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that &ldquo;at least nine men&rdquo; had accused the priest of sexually abusing them as children.<br /><br />But a SNAP statement applauds Tuesday&rsquo;s defeat of Kicanas: &ldquo;We can hope that his shocking defeat will help deter future clergy sex crimes and coverups by the Catholic hierarchy.&rdquo;<br /><br />The USCCB has no formal authority over bishops but helps them promote Catholic teachings and coordinate positions on national issues such as marriage, immigration and health care. The organization has also formed policies to protect children from sexually abusive priests and other adults.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/us-bishops-reject-candidate-tied-chicago-sex-abuse 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