N.Y. Group Calls for Bishops' Resignations

By Franci Richardson
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
July 26, 2003

A call for bishops who served under Bernard Cardinal Law to resign gathered momentum yesterday as a New York group responded to a critical report on the Boston archdiocese sexual-abuse scandal.

"It seems to us that all of the bishops involved, for the good of the church, should step down because there's a cloud hanging over them," said Patricia Zirkel, co-director of the Long Island Voice of the Faithful's executive board.

The New York VOTF's plea for the resignation of Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center is an echo of its Boston counterpart's call on all the bishops named in Attorney General Tom Reilly's scathing report to leave.

"We've asked for those bishops to examine their consciences and to decide on their own to resign," said Boston's Voice of the Faithful spokeswoman, Luise Dittrich.

In his 76-page report, Reilly slammed Law and several bishops who were in place between 1940 and 2000 when 789 complaints of sexual abuse were lodged against 237 priests.

Meanwhile, the National Catholic Reporter, in an editorial published in its Aug. 1 issue, also calls for the resignation of bishops John McCormack of Manchester, N.H., Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, N.Y., Robert Banks of Green Bay, Wis., Murphy of Rockville Center, N.Y., and Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans.

"Somehow, it never occurred to these men that child rape is a crime that should be reported to the police, whether or not members of the clergy were `mandatory reporters' under the law," according to the newspaper's editorial. "That loophole became a noose for the 1,000-plus children abused by Boston priests."

David Clohessy, head of the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, said he hopes laymen will work to strengthen the laws that currently aren't strong enough to hold the bishops accountable.

"It's far better for Catholics to work for change rather than give up, stay at home and get even more disillusioned," Clohessy said.


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