George Elected to Lead Bishops
Religion | He's Hit with Queries about Sex-Abuse Scandal

By Susan Hogan
Chicago Sun-Times
November 14, 2007,CST-NWS-card14.article

Hoping the clergy-child molestation scandals were behind them, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops elected Cardinal Francis George as their new president on Tuesday.

But ongoing scandals in the Archdiocese of Chicago dampened the moment for George, who was grilled by reporters for his handling of recent cases and statements criticizing victims' lawsuits.


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"Protections are in place that are extraordinary," the cardinal shot back in an effort to show the bishops as proactive on the issue.

During this week's fall assembly in Baltimore, the bishops said a preliminary study they commissioned indicates the molestation crisis in the church mirrored society.

U.S. bishops adopted a "zero tolerance" policy on clergy abuse in 2002. George initially argued for a more lenient policy for some sexually abusive priests.

George's three-year term as president means that Pope Benedict XVI has a staunch loyalist leading the bishops' conference.

As president, George, 70, takes on additional duties, including more travel and meetings.



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