January 03, 2005

Attorney: Bernardin lied, visited crime scene

Renew America

Matt C. Abbott
January 2, 2005

The late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin was a controversial figure. Beloved by some and scorned by others, the cardinal for many years exercised immense influence in the Catholic Church in the U.S. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1996.

In 1993, Bernardin was accused of sexual abuse by a former seminarian, Steven Cook, who died of AIDS not long after "recanting" his allegation, saying his memories were "unreliable." Jason Berry and Gerald Renner devote a segment to the Bernardin-Cook matter in their 2004 book "Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II." Bernardin was quoted at a press conference as saying:

"'I've been a priest for forty-two years...and a bishop for twenty-eight years...And you know, it's inevitable that anyone who is in a public position and who takes stands that are controversial is vulnerable. But it's interesting, only three accusations have been made against me, all within the current year (p. 115)

"'What were the other two?' a journalist cut it.

"'One was from a lady outside the state trying to implicate me in a satanic rite that allegedly took place thirty-five, thirty-six years ago. The other allegation was from a young man in another state who accused me and several others of engaging in some kind of orgy with him. And those...are totally false.'" (p. 116)

Posted by kshaw at January 3, 2005 07:49 AM