Student Newspaper Publishes Apology to Peoria's Bishop

By Michael Miller
Journal Star [South Bend IN]
February 4, 2004

The University of Notre Dame student newspaper apologized to Bishop Daniel Jenky and ran a rebuttal letter from the Peoria prelate in its Tuesday editions.

The Observer last week ran a viewpoint piece by an ND alumnus named Edward Fitzpatrick who claimed Jenky and the Rev. Richard McBrien, a famous theologian at Notre Dame, knew about a fellow priest's sexual misconduct but didn't act or covered it up.

Jenky denied the letter's assertions on Monday. In his letter to The Observer, the bishop said he was "astonished and horrified" to read the accusations. Jenky, who was a priest at Notre Dame and in the South Bend area for more than 25 years before becoming bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, lambasted the student paper.

"Even for a publication as notoriously without standards as the Notre Dame Observer, printing unsubstantiated and libelous charges against someone's good name is simply unconscionable," Jenky wrote. "Your complete lack of professional judgment has now enabled some special interest groups here in central Illinois to gleefully announce: 'Bishop Jenky of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria has a history of covering up sexual abuse.' You have done me a serious injustice that in the current climate will negatively affect my service as a bishop."

In a letter to readers Tuesday, three Observer editors, including editor-in-chief Andrew Soukup, wrote: "We apologize to both McBrien and Jenky that they were not contacted and given a chance to respond to Fitzpatrick's claims before his letter appeared in print."


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