Hundreds Rally to Support Cardinal George

By Sarah Schulte
ABC 7 [Chicago IL]
February 12, 2006

February 12, 2006 - Francis Cardinal George has been under a lot of scrutiny lately for the decision the archdiocese made on recent allegations of sexual abuse against two local priests. Sunday afternoon a group gathered at Holy Name Cathedral to show their support for the Cardinal.

In the past few days, one priest has called for Cardinal George's resignation, another group is calling for a federal investigation into the Cardinal and the archdiocese. The Cardinal's supporters finally say they've had it with just sitting back. That's why they came out Sunday to rally.

"We love Cardinal George!" were the shouts as demonstrators gathered outside Holy Name Cathedral. Following weeks of public criticism over the way Cardinal George has handled the allegations of sexual abuse, hundreds of Catholics came out to support him.

This is awful for the Cardinal. Anything to attack a good shepherd here in Chicago to lead the sheep. I think it's outrageous that they're doing this to him," said Danita Covington.

They chanted, prayed and even shouted ballgame like cheers for the cardinal.

Some acknowledged the Cardinal until mishandled the situation with father Dan McCormack, but these supporters say Cardinal George doesn't deserve the heat he has been taking.

"I think he has handled the situation as well as he could. Could he have done something better? Sure we could all do things better. We're all sinners, we all make mistakes, and we all try to do the best we can," said Deacon John Green.

The Cardinal's biggest critic has been the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Members passed out leaflets prior to Sunday's rally in hopes of convincing the Cardinal's supporters they need demand more from him.

"We've got to get to the bottom of this. We have to shut down this underground railroad for pedophile priest unfortunately the Catholic Church has become. And we've got to investigate. We need a federal investigation," said Peter Isley of SNAP.

The Cardinal himself was not at the rally, but he did comment on the support after a mass on the south side Sunday morning.

"I'm grateful for the support. They're obviously, I hope, very good people I'm sure and it touches me deeply that there would be that support. But I would hope that any gathering be prayerful because we need God's help in all this," Cardinal George said.

Cardinal George plans on announcing change in how the archdiocese will handle allegations of sexual abuse. That announcement can come as early Monday.

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