April 07, 2005

Catholic group angry at Vatican's silence

Concord Monitor

Monitor Staff

April 07. 2005 8:00AM

Frustrated that the Vatican has not responded for more than a year, a group of Catholics went public yesterday with a petition it sent to Rome 18 months ago calling for the removal of Bishops John McCormack and Francis Christian.

The group of 20 lay Catholics from around the state had planned yesterday's public release before Pope John Paul II died on Saturday. Out of respect for the pope's passing, members said, they canceled a scheduled news conference and released the documents to reporters individually. The group also plans to post the materials, which include a litany of complaints against McCormack and Christian as well as McCormack's replies, on New Hampshire Catholics for Moral Leadership's Web site.

"We followed the decorum of canon law and kept everything private," said Ed Kirby of St. John Neumann Church in Merrimack. "But for 18 months, (church officials) have essentially done nothing. And we feel we have the right now to tell the laity that there has been no substantial response."

Calls for McCormack's and Christian's removals are not new, nor are allegations that they protected abusive priests at the expense of children. And the people behind this complaint have led the calls for resignation here. What is different is the venue.

The petitioners, led by Jim Farrell of St. Mary parish in Dover, are hoping to persuade Vatican officials that the church's own canon law allows, even calls for, the removal of bishops and pastors who have lost their standing or harmed the church.

Posted by kshaw at April 7, 2005 08:33 AM