Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dissing the people of God

Another group has called for Cardinal George's resignation over the Daniel McCormack fiasco--and the results of the audits revealed spectacular failures on the part of the archdiocese. It turns out that as a seminarian in the early 1990s, Father McCormack had been involved in sexual misconduct with two adults and one minor but was ordained anyway, with no record of the incident left in his file. But that's not really my point.

The hullabaloo today is about a protest planned for Good Friday at Holy Name Cathedral, a silent vigil calling for George's resignation. In response to the plans, archdiocesan communications director Colleen Dolan had this to say: "To be disruptive, even silently disruptive, is disrespectful. [The cardinal] cannot change the past. He can change the future."

Whether George can actually "change the future" (she's a communications director?) is beside the point, but why the people of God cannot gather outside the mother church of the archdiocese and ask for redress is beyond me. Canon law guarantees their right to gather to make their views known, and it's not like they're running up and down the aisles during the proclamation of the Passion.

Disrespectful? I'll show you disrespectful. How about turning loose on the people of God a man known to have already engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor? How about conveniently neglecting to keep a record of the incidents in question? If you want to see disrespect, read the audits available at the archdiocesan website; prepare to have your hair stand on end. The fact that not a single person involved has been fired is disrespectful in the extreme.

And, finally, why do God's people in Chicago need a "communications director," especially one that seems to have little respect for the people who pay her salary. Another example of Roman Catholic Church, Inc., run amok.

Whether George resigns is beside the point. I tend to think a chastened George, now more aware than ever of the reality of sex abuse by clergy, is better than some new guy sent from someplace else. Whether George should resign as vice president of the bishops' conference is a better question. But someone should be "taking responsibility"--whatever that means anymore--for these failures that endangered children, and I mean something more than a little egg on their faces.


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