February 03, 2006

Bishops meet group to talk about sex abuse scandals

Radio Iowa

by O.Kay Henderson

A small group of Catholics and ex-Catholics met with three of Iowa's four Catholic bishops Thursday to talk about priest sex abuse scandals. "Catholics for Spiritual Healing" spokeswoman Ann Green of DeWitt says they were "encouraged" that the bishops were willing to meet face-to-face."This was really an unprecedented meeting. We're not aware of anywhere else in the country where all the bishops within a state have sat down with a lay group and survivors," Green says. "We'd like to be say that we're celebrating about that, but it really is a given that they should have been doing this earlier but we certainly do appreciate that they've taken the time."

Green says she and the others had some demands. At the top of their list: asking that former Sioux City Diocese Bishop Lawrence Soens be forbidden from having contact with minors or allowed to conduct mass. "Although he retired in 1998, he is still operating in an official capacity by celebrating masses throughout the state of Iowa and really being held up in esteem by the Catholic Church," Green says.

Green says at least 10 accusations of sex abuse have been made against Soens, and in 2004 another bishop paid 20-thousand dollars to settle a lawsuit involving Soens. In April of 2005, Soens was invited to the Vatican to participate in Pope John Paul's funeral mass.

Posted by kshaw at February 3, 2006 10:34 PM