Loading
Cardinal reaffirms child protection pledge as documents release
Cardinal reaffirms child protection pledge as documents release
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Responding to the release of documents about Chicago priests accused of abusing minors over the past 50 years, Cardinal Francis George has apologized to victims and reaffirmed that no accused priests are presently serving in ministry.

“We realize the information included in these documents is upsetting. It is painful to read. It is not the Church we know or the Church we want to be,” Chicago archbishop Cardinal George said Jan. 21. “The archdiocese sincerely apologizes for the hurt and suffering of the victims and their families as a result of this abuse.”

The cardinal said the archdiocese hopes that the documents’ release and the work of its Office for the Protection of Children and Youth can help abuse victims heal.

The documents – which were released as a condition of a 2005 legal settlement – concern 30 Archdiocese of Chicago priests.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who claims to have won more than $60 million from the U.S. Catholic Church in clerical sex-abuse lawsuits, first received the released files. His office then culled them and posted them online.

Anderson’s office said four of the priests have been criminally convicted of abuse of minors. His office accused the archdiocese of placing priests back in ministry despite them posing a danger to minors.

Cardinal George said that 95 percent of the cases contained in the sex abuse documents occurred before 1988.

“Today, no priest with even one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor serves in the Archdiocese of Chicago,” he said.

“The abuse of any child is a crime and a sin,” he continued. “The archdiocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee to come forward.”

Cardinal George has previously said that most of the accused priests were either dead or out of ministry before he arrived in Chicago in 1997. The incidents were reported to civil authorities and legal claims have been mediated. The cardinal has said that he removed those who had been allowed to continue in public ministry before his arrival.

In his Jan. 21 statement, the cardinal discussed the Catholic Church’s past handling of abuse accusations. He said that some leaders of the archdiocese “made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify” according to “the prevailing knowledge of that time.”

“In the past 40 years, society has evolved in dealing with matters related to abuse,” Cardinal George added. “Our understanding of and response to domestic violence, sexual harassment, date rape, and clerical sexual abuse have undergone significant change and so has the Archdiocese of Chicago.”

 “While we complied with the reporting laws in place at the time, the Church and its leaders have acknowledged repeatedly that they wished they had done more and done it sooner, but now are working hard to regain trust, to reach out to victims and their families, and to make certain that all children and youth are protected.”

The cardinal said that all reports of sex abuse are referred to civil authorities “immediately.” The archdiocese’s Independent Review Board also examines the results of investigations into allegations and makes recommendations to the archbishop about an accused priest’s fitness for ministry and the safety of children.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has paid about $100 million to settle sex abuse allegations against priests, the New York Times reports.

The names of archdiocesan priests known to have abused a minor are published on the archdiocese’s website, Cardinal George said. He stressed that the archdioceses is concerned “first and foremost” with helping abuse victims heal and has run its victim assistance ministry for over 25 years.

He also pointed to background check efforts and abuse prevention programs now running in the archdiocese.

Earlier this month, in a letter to the Catholic faithful of Chicago, the cardinal said the document release can benefit child protection efforts.

“Painful though publicly reviewing the past can be, it is part of the accountability and transparency to which the Archdiocese is committed,” he said. “Accountability to the civil authorities constitutionally responsible for the protection of children is part of the life of the Church here.”


 

Tags: Sexual Abuse, Clerical Abuse

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Nov
28

Liturgical Calendar

November 28, 2014

Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 21:29-33

Gospel
Date
11/28/14
11/27/14
11/25/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 20: 1-4, 11-21:2
Gospel:: Lk 21: 29-33

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/28/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 21:29-33

Homily
Date
11/28/14
11/27/14
11/25/14