March 17, 2005

Pilarczyk holds fast despite the ugly rumors

Cincinnati Enquirer

By Peter Bronson
Enquirer staff writer

If gossip is sinful, Cincinnati Catholics may set a record for Hail Marys this month. Rumors about Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk are being passed around like a collection plate.

One said a group at the recent Catholic men's conference would demand Pilarczyk's resignation. It didn't happen.

Then a rumor said Pilarczyk had already resigned but the pope was too ill to find a replacement or doesn't want Pilarczyk to quit.

"I have absolutely no reason to believe that is true,'' said Cincinnati Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco. "He has never said anything to me that would give a particle of truth to that."

Critics of Pilarczyk point out that other bishops have resigned without warning after top-secret negotiations with the Vatican.

Maybe. But it's probably just wishful thinking. Demands for Pilarczyk's removal are rising. Collections were down 14 percent last year. If the church were a parliament, Pilarczyk might get a vote of no confidence.

"There are two, ever-broadening camps," said Suzanne Schneller. She owns a Catholic bookstore, Innervisions, on Beechmont Avenue, where she hears so much talk, "sometimes I feel like an elevator operator."

Pilarczyk has been accused in news reports and court cases of lying about his knowledge of priests who molested children. As the scandal eats at the church from within, Pilarczyk is blamed.

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2005 09:24 AM