April 30, 2005

Bishop reflects on 20 years at post

Fort Wayne News Sentinel

By Ryan Lengerich

After 20 years leading the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Bishop John D’Arcy cherishes his time inside Fort Wayne’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

“Sometimes when everybody has gone home at 6 or 7 o’clock, I go over there because it is so beautiful,” the 72-year-old bishop said. “I pray that the souls of the faithful and priesthood and the diocese will be good and pure and as spiritual as the cathedral is beautiful.” ...

The Rev. James Shafer, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Fort Wayne, remembers when D’Arcy’s leadership began. Priests, he said, were being removed and little reason was given.

“There was an unsettledness among us about what was going on,” Shafer said. “All you saw was somebody leaving and you didn’t know what was going on, and to his credit he kept it confidential.”

That confidentiality would manifest itself in 2003, when allegations nationwide that priests had sexually abused children rocked the Catholic Church. D’Arcy gained national attention for his efforts to alert church officials to sexual abuse while serving in Boston in the 1970s and early ’80s.

After his move, he said a Washington lawyer had helped him probe files, and his tight initial scrutiny into his new diocese’s priests was intentional.

“When the crises broke we had addressed it already, we had removed people,” he said. “I felt an obligation to communicate with people.”

Posted by kshaw at April 30, 2005 12:30 PM