February 06, 2006

Abuse case points to possible policy change

The Catholic New World

By Michelle Martin
staff writer

The case of Father Daniel J. McCormack has pointed out a need for adjustments to archdiocesan policies when it comes to removing priests from ministry following allegations of sex abuse, said Cardinal George.

The archdiocese had no mechanism to remove McCormack as pastor of St. Agatha Parish after police launched an abuse investigation against him because the alleged victim did not make a statement to church officials. The cardinal said at a Jan. 28 news conference that he will ask other bishops for input on what to do in such situations at the March meeting of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and bring it up to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which he serves as vice president.

At the news conference and at a Jan. 30 meeting with about 200 parents and parishioners at St. Agatha (see story, Page 21), Cardinal George acknowledged that the system the archdiocese has had in place since 2002 did not work as it should have. The policies in place, he said, depend on getting an accusation from a victim or a family member which then could be submitted to the archdiocesan Professional Review Board to determine if it was “credible,” a finding which requires a lower level of evidence than a criminal charge. But the victim’s family refused to talk to archdiocesan officials, he said, despite several efforts.

Posted by kshaw at February 6, 2006 01:14 PM