January 13, 2005

Diocese's dismissal of youth advocate raises critics' ire

The Arizona Republic

Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 13, 2005 12:00 AM

National advocates for those who have been abused by priests criticized the removal of the Phoenix Diocese's youth protection advocate.

But the Rev. Fred Adamson, the diocese's vicar general and second-in-command to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, said the move doesn't lessen the diocese's commitment to youth protection, and a new advocate will be hired.

Jenny O'Connor held the position from 2003 when it was created until Saturday. O'Connor said the reason she was given for her firing was that her marriage was not performed by a priest. advertisement

The diocese will not say why O'Connor was fired.

Generally, Adamson said Catholics consider marriage a sacrament. Catholic couples must be married in a Catholic church by a priest. The individuals must go through standard preparation for a minimum of six months, he said.

"We pastorally encourage marriage in the church so the couple can seek Christ's love in the sacraments," Adamson said. "Otherwise, it is not binding by God for a lifetime."

If the marriage is the reason for the firing, "It is hard to imagine that a church leader could be so cold," said David Clohessy, national executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

He said the firing fits a pattern of backpedaling on the part of bishops regarding protection of children.

Posted by kshaw at January 13, 2005 07:33 AM