Monday, March 20, 2006

The Trail of Tears

More from Chicago -- press conference on the abuse audit:
A pensive Cardinal Francis George did not contest the findings Monday and said he would see to it that reforms are made....
Remember, this is the vice-president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and de facto leader of the American hierarchy -- who's been ensconced in his archdiocese for nine years -- talking.

Four years after the Conference he'll soon head was supposed to "see to it that reforms are made," the second-largest See has, by its own admission, not implemented them.

If Roger Mahony gave the statement George had to make earlier today, the bloggers would be going wild right now with visions of resignation dancing in their heads.... But, for some strange reason, nary a peep out there.

On Monday the archdiocese posted on its Web site a list of 55 diocesan priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors—a step long sought by victims' advocates. Only the names of priests accused posthumously remain classified, as they did not have a chance to respond to the allegations against them.

In reviewing McCormack's case, the firm Defenbaugh and Associates uncovered allegations dating to his seminary days. The former vice rector of Niles College told auditors about three allegations of sexual misconduct involving two adults and a minor while McCormack was there, though the auditors found no record of it in his files.

The firm faulted church leaders for their lack of action on a misconduct allegation lodged against McCormack in 2003, saying archdiocese employees violated the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act by not investigating or reporting the allegation, made by the alleged victim's grandmother.

Defenbaugh concluded that the archdiocese had failed to comply with policies for protecting children drafted by U.S. bishops nearly four years ago, citing its failure to review seminary records before ordaining priests and the lack of training for parochial school staffers on what to do when children claim they have been abused.
It was from this session that George went to Mundelein to announce the appointment of the new rector, Fr Dennis Lyle. Apparently, in advance of the press conference downtown, the seminarians were asked to pray for the cardinal.

Word from St Mary of the Lake was that George appeared quite weary -- the words "beat up" were used -- during his 15-minute conference with the seminary community.