Voice of the Faithful
May 22 Forum

By Francis X. Fay Jr.
Norwalk Hour
May 25, 2004

NORWALK — The Norwalk leader of the Tri-State Voice of the Faithful expressed satisfaction Monday with the turnout of 425 at a forum Saturday in St. Paul the Apostle Church at 60th and Ninth avenues in Manhattan that resolved to support continuation of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“We are very pleased by the numbers who came out from the Tri-State area,” said Joseph O’Callaghan of 30 Parkhill Ave., an organizer of the forum and its master of ceremonies. “Our aim was to call attention to the position of several bishops, including our own Bishop William E. Lori and our former Bishop Edward M. Egan, to undercut the National Review Board and the continuing audit of priestly abuses.”

The forum heard from the Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., president emeritus of Fordham University and associate editor of America magazine; Judge Ann Burke of Chicago, a member and interim chairman oft he national board, and attorney Pamela Hayes, former chief of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit and a national board member.

“There must be a change in the institutional culture of the church, a change in how we communicate, a change in managerial style, and a recognition of the personal the professional contributions of lay Catholics,” said the Rev. O’Hare. “Why was there passive denial on the part of church authorities?”

“The tragic failure of our bishops to safeguard our children raises serious questions, for they have yet to acknowledge the enormity of their complicity in the crime of sexual abuse,” said Judge Burke.

She said she had been “astonished” when the bishops attempted to postpone the audit of abuse being undertaken by the office of Child and Youth Protection.

Hayes held up the principal of justice by which all parties to the action or inaction should have the same reliance on that element of law.

The gathering resolved to ask Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to maintain the national board, fill vacancies with people committed to fulfilling implementation of the board reports and recommendations and establish a dialogue with diverse Catholics.


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