Dallas Resources – March 2002
By Susan Hogan/Albach
"We know only too well the enormous damage caused by pedophile priests," he said. "It casts a dark shadow of suspicion over all the fine priests who perform their ministry with integrity."
Before the bishop finished his remarks, the standing-room-only crowd at the Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe in downtown Dallas broke into applause. Some worshippers rose to their feet in support.
"We are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our priests who have betrayed us," Bishop Grahmann said. "The Dallas Diocese continues to pledge to provide a safe environment in all of our churches."
The bishop spoke indirectly about the civil trial five years ago that put the diocese in the national spotlight.
A jury ordered the diocese to pay nearly $ 120 million in damages in a child abuse case involving former priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos. The diocese later negotiated a $ 31 million settlement and established policies designed to create safer churches.
"We recall our own painful experience," the bishop said. "We must raise up in our prayer tonight the intense pain of all victims. We must bring to our prayers all of our priests and all who serve the church."
A pedophilia scandal involving priests in Boston and elsewhere has been making news for weeks.
Dallas Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Galante has spoken about the scandals on national news programs in his role as spokesman for U.S. bishops.
Bishop Grahmann has kept a low profile in Dallas, mostly letting others from the diocese field questions from reporters.
During Tuesday's service, diocese priests renewed their commitment to serve the bishop, the diocese and the church.
"This recommitment has special significance this year in light of those who have tarnished the unselfish and dedicated lives of ministry," the bishop said. "Tonight, I want to pay tribute to our priests."
Some worshippers said they were yet to be convinced that the church had dealt with the problem of sexually abused children.
But Janet Lopez said she was grateful for the bishop's remarks.
"We can't blame all the priests for a few bad ones," said Ms. Lopez, 30, of Dallas. "I'm glad the bishop is talking about it."
Anthony Densmore, a seminary student, said he found the bishop's comments reassuring.
[Photo Caption: (J. MARK KEGANS/Staff Photographer) Dallas Bishop Charles V. Grahmann prayed for victims of child abuse during the Holy Week service Tuesday night.]
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