Full Disclosure Demanded of Church Officials
Public Identification Awaits Those Who Are Unhelpful

NBC 5 [Chicago IL]
July 30, 2003

CHICAGO -- The National Review Board that is investigating sexual-abuse charges in the Catholic Church issued a stern warning on Tuesday to uncooperative church officials: Be cooperative with us or be identified.

Some bishops have said that they will wait for the Vatican to tell them directly to cooperate with the board. That is not the attitude one board member wants.

"Make no mistake about it, unless the bishops of the country are fully committed to this, take our reports, take our recommendations, and run with them, and work with them, and put the protection of children as their very highest priority, then much of our work will be wasted," said Bob Bennett, of the National Review Board.

Francis Cardinal George agrees with Bennett but said the church's leadership has already made a great deal of progress.

"There's an awful lot of loose ends, and the constant care of victims is going to go on for years and years and years. These are people that are permanently wounded. A lot of things remain to be done, but the greatest single promise made in Dallas has been fulfilled."

The members of the review board promise to disclose more details of their work in January. They will outline the number of perpetrators, the number of victims, the number of sex-abuse incidents and the amount of money spent. The former head of the Chicago FBI office, Kathleen McChesney (pictured, right), is heading the investigation.

"The Catholic Church has never provided its numbers to the public," she said. "We're changing that. All the sea changes are going to make a big difference."

Sue Archibald, of the survivor's group The Linkup, said the board's deliberate pace will be helpful to the church's efforts to change.

"What we can expect is, I think, a committed group of lay Catholics who want to see positive reform in the church but are willing to take the slow, necessary steps to accomplish that," Archibald said.

July 24: Lay Review Board Reports On Priest Abuse Investigation


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.