Cardinal George Revises History / Commonweal

On Tuesday (Jan.21), the Archdiocese of Chicago released six thousand pages of documents related to the cases of thirty priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. The files, made public as part of a settlement with victims’ attorneys, offer a predictably depressing view of archdiocesan failures over the past several decades …

“For releasing these documents and for making public the names of known abuser-priests, Cardinal Francis George–archbishop of Chicago since 1997–takes some credit. ‘Publishing for all to read the actual records of these crimes,’ he wrote in a letter warning Chicagoans about the document dump, ‘raises transparency to a new level.’ Perhaps. But he didn’t volunteer these files. They wouldn’t have come out if it hadn’t been for victims who pressed for their release as part of a legal settlement. Still, it’s difficult to take seriously Cardinal George’s brief for transparency when he seems so intent on obfuscating his own role in the scandal.

“That letter was repurposed as George’s latest column in the Catholic New World. It’s titled “Accountability and Transparency” — because, the cardinal says, the archdiocese is “committed” to both. “For more than twenty years,” he writes, “the archdiocese has reported all allegations of sexual abuse to civil authorities and to DCFS [Department of Child and Family Services].” He makes it sound like every allegation the archdiocese has received has been promptly reported to civil authorities. That’s not what happened.”

By Grant Gallicho, Commonweal — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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  1. #1 by Bill Casey on January 29, 2014 - 12:04 PM

    If anyone wants to understand the hierarchical playbook for responding to sexual abuse reports, all one has to do is read the story in the link below which summarizes Cardinal George’s actions in response to allegations presented to him about CONTEMPORANEOUS abuses in 2005-06, when he had FULL authority to deal with them on his watch. If these responses applied to any corporate or public leader, no one would trust the “spin” presented to deny, minimize and excuse them, AND those leaders would be out of a job, if not charged with crimes. George’s behavior, along with that of those under him, represents egregious malfeasance, if not crimes. When do the clergy at large and the laity in the pews rise up to demand the same kind of accountability of the hierarchy that they demand of everyone else in society? The revelations about the Chicago hierarchy’s malfeasance reflect the same pattern of clericalism in every diocese in the world. These aren’t exceptions by rogue hierarchical officials, and they will remain in place until those who have power from below demand otherwise.


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