April 24, 2005

Keeping priests on track

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Last Updated: April 23, 2005

Patrick McIlheran

First, new rules from the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee came out. Then, last week, the archbishop put them on hold.

Meanwhile, of course, everyone's attention is focused on whether they'll be serving better bratwurst at the Vatican lunchroom.

Still, something important is happening here in Milwaukee, important throughout the church and to anyone else revolted by the sexual abuse of children by clergy. It merits attention and certainly more than a reflexive rejection.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan's rules were presented as part of an effort to salvage troubled vocations. The rules would place heavy restrictions - such as unannounced home inspections, travel with chaperons, so on - on priests and deacons suspected of misconduct. The rules seemed to strike many priests as oppressive, however, and priests appeared surprised by the rules rather than consulted about them. Uproar ensued.

More surprising, however, was reaction from some groups that have most sternly denounced the church's handling of the abuse crisis. "The Patriot Act of the Milwaukee archdiocese," said an activist with Voice of the Faithful.

Posted by kshaw at April 24, 2005 06:45 AM