February 04, 2006

Scandal casts new doubts

The Herald News

The Associated Press

CHICAGO Cardinal Francis George's grim concession that he failed to act soon enough to stanch a fresh priest abuse scandal in the nation's third-largest Roman Catholic archdiocese has cast new doubt on reforms taken by U.S. bishops less than four years ago.

George, who played a prominent role in developing the church's response to the clergy abuse scandal that erupted in 2002, accepted blame Thursday for his archdiocese's failure to remove a priest after allegations arose months before he was charged with sexual abuse two weeks ago.

"We thought this was done, or at least contained, and it doesn't seem to have been," a weary-looking George said during a public mea culpa at Holy Name Cathedral.

Defenders of the U.S. Catholic church say the clergy abuse crisis is ebbing after four years of policy changes and massive settlements with victims.
But observers say the Chicago allegations are especially troubling because they occurred on the watch of George, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and a Vatican favorite.

Posted by kshaw at February 4, 2006 07:56 AM