March 25, 2006

Abuse cases show church can't police itself

Chicago Sun-Times

March 25, 2006


Imagine you are a renter and the landlord leases the place next door to a new tenant. He introduces you to the new guy, never mentioning he's a bit of a fire bug. But the landlord knows the guy has a penchant for setting little fires. Instead of not renting to the guy, or better yet, turning him over to the police, he has a third guy, Mr. Monitor, live with the fire bug, to keep an eye on that guy. Now, besides being a crime, setting intentional fires is a mental problem, and Mr. Monitor is no expert in the field. Actually, Mr. Monitor doesn't know exactly why he is watching the guy, but he does the best he can for someone who has his own full-time job and personal obligations.

If the fire bug sets a blaze that injures your child, how would you feel if you knew the landlord -- who says he is ''regretful and sorry'' -- was aware of the problem? Appalled? Mad as hell? Left to wonder why law enforcement wasn't filing charges against the landlord?

That pretty much sums up the sorry state of the handling of priests accused of sexually abusing children by Cardinal Francis George and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Two reports released by the archdiocese Monday reveal repeated glaring mistakes. There is no requirement that accused priests get treatment by professionals. There is no trained personnel in charge of the accused priests. Even when they are supposedly segregated from society up on the grounds of the Mundelein Seminary, these priests still have the keys to all facilities there, even those where visitors often stay. No one restricts their use of the Internet, which is like giving an alcoholic the keys to the liquor cabinet.

Posted by kshaw at March 25, 2006 07:44 AM