Monday, August 01, 2005

"I Have To Leave It At That"

A particular abuse case is really heating up out in Denver.... Last week, Chaput faxed 11 parishes asking "information about child sexual abuse." The 11 parishes had in common the ministry of Harold Robert White, 72, who was laicized last year.

And then, more allegations surfaced, with the Post reporting Friday that White had been accused on "at least" three separate occasions.
The men, all of whom are now in their 50s, described being fondled by White in a swimming pool, while driving his car, at church rectories and at a mountain cabin. While some alleged victims kept quiet, others said they alerted parents or church officials as early as the middle to late 1960s, when White was still early in his career as a priest.

In an interview with The Post last week, White said he did not recall the alleged victim who had been interviewed, and he would not answer questions about whether he had ever been accused.

Cardinal Frank Stafford, then-archbishop of Denver, met with White in 1988, according to a letter sent one of his victims. Last week, he spoke from Rome:
"The only response I can give is I am fully supportive of the archbishop's statement," Stafford said, referring to a statement Tuesday by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput in which Chaput outlines steps taken to safeguard children. "It's been so long that I've been involved in these issues, I really do have to leave it at that," Stafford said.
Despite promises of "evaluation," White served five more years in ministry. This is damaging, especially to Stafford -- who as major penitentiary now handles the dispensation of mercy on behalf of the Roman Pontiff.

White's former pastor seems very forgiving:
"I am a good friend of Father White's, and I personally like Father White, and I personally think this publicity is scandalous because I feel if a person has an illness, whatever it should be, what we should do for these people is pray for them and not criticize them or write stories about them," Kane said. "We should hate sin, but we should love sinners just like Jesus hated sin and loved sinners."
OK, but for the millionth time, loving sinners does not mean looking the other way.



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