Activists Demand Cardinal's Resignation

By Dan Rozek
Chicago Sun-Times
February 26, 2006

Angry activists demanded Saturday that Cardinal Francis George resign as head of the Chicago Archdiocese for failing to aggressively investigate child sex abuse allegations against several priests, including the Rev. Daniel McCormack.

"He's clearly shown kids don't come first in his eyes," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the advocacy group calling for George to step down.

It's the first time the national group has asked a Roman Catholic cardinal or bishop to resign.

But the drastic step is justified because George hasn't moved to protect children who have reported being molested by priests, Blaine said, specifically citing complaints against McCormack.

The Sun-Times reported Friday that an archdiocese review board last October advised George to remove McCormack from St. Agatha church on the West Side because of allegations of sexual abuse. But McCormack remained pastor there until he was arrested in January on criminal charges alleging he had molested two boys.

McCormack later was charged with molesting a third boy as recently as last month, well after George had received the recommendation to remove the priest.

"He didn't even follow his own weak, flawed policy," Blaine said. "He erred on the side of protecting the priest's reputation, rather than protecting kids."

George has no plans to resign, a spokesman said, insisting that the cardinal didn't remove McCormack last October because he lacked detailed, firsthand information about McCormack's alleged abuse.

"He didn't feel we had enough information then to take action," said Jim Dwyer, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

But George is committed to ensuring the church responds more rapidly in the future to allegations.

"He's repeatedly acknowledged the inadequacy of our response to the situation," Dwyer said. "We're improving it to see that this type of inadequate response doesn't happen again."


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