Thursday, February 02, 2006

Francis Faces the Cameras

This afternoon, Cardinal George of Chicago will ordain his vicar-general, the eminently-proficient Georgie Rassas, to the episcopacy as his auxilary bishop.

A heavy media contingent will probably be showing up at Holy Name Cathedral. But it'll have little, if anything, to do with Bishop Rassas.

Following quickly on last week's revelations that the archdiocese of Chicago kept a priest in ministry despite having received allegations against him, another case of similar conduct has come to light.
Losing confidence in a monitoring program they have relied on to safeguard children, Chicago Catholic Archdiocese officials have removed from ministry a priest they were keeping under supervision while they try to determine if he abused two young girls decades ago.

Officials also acknowledged that the south suburban priest was not assigned a monitor until a year after the archdiocese first received an abuse allegation against him in March 2004. A spokesman said he could not explain the lengthy delay.

Cardinal Francis George ordered the removal of the pastor of Holy Ghost Catholic Church in South Holland after an emotional meeting this week with St. Agatha parishioners, who voiced outrage that for months they had not known about allegations against their own pastor, Rev. Daniel McCormack.

McCormack also had been placed under monitoring because of an abuse allegation, though his flock did not know that until he was arrested last month. On Wednesday, prosecutors added a third count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse to the charges against McCormack, and law enforcement sources would not say whether the abuse occurred while he was being monitored.

George said archdiocesan officials must look for ways to discreetly take accused priests out of the pulpit even before abuse allegations are found to be credible, said spokesman Jim Dwyer.

"We need to examine and adapt our policies ... [to] withdraw the priest temporarily in a nonjudgmental fashion until the information is absorbed better and the case is resolved," Dwyer said Wednesday. "It will be a better situation for the priest and the parish if we change our policy."
Yeah, it would be better if the policy were changed. But did it have to wait until the fifth year of national revelations and you lot got smacked with bad ink by the boatload?

As an incredulous reader, witnessing all of this on the ground, notes "Wasn't it less than two years ago that the bishops made it sound like the worst was over and we could look forward to a new springtime in the Catholic church?"

Good Lord, you'd think it would've been handled better by now....