Cardinal Francis George Criticized in Book over Honesty on Involvement with Accused Priests

By Margaret Ramirez
Chicago Tribune reporter

September 8, 2008,0,487844.story

Illinois Supreme Court justice says George withheld that he let a priest accused of abuse stay in his home

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who headed an advisory board for the nation's Catholic bishops on clergy sexual abuse, sharply criticized Cardinal Francis George and accused him of being dishonest in a new book being released Tuesday.

In Kerry Kennedy's new book, "Being Catholic Now," Burke said the Chicago-based cardinal withheld from her the fact that he was housing in his residence a priest accused of abuse in Delaware. She says she was "furious at his casual attitude" and that "the cardinal wasn't honest with me. Perhaps he was not honest with himself."

"I found the cardinal's lack of honesty really difficult to deal with. How do I go on to trust what he says to me? This continues to the present day. He and his brother bishops have been in denial all along," Burke said.

Asked by the Boston Globe about Burke's comment, George said in an e-mail that he allowed the Delaware priest to stay in his residence during a visit to Chicago, and that "to the best of my knowledge, I have been honest in every public and private statement I have made about the sexual abuse issue.""I stated publicly that there was no priest in ministry in Chicago who had against him a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor," he told the Globe. "That statement was true when I made it and it is true now."

The priest from Delaware, he said, "was never in ministry here. He was someone I had known for several years who was coming to Chicago for a few days on business. At the time, I was unaware of all the details of his situation; but since, he let me know that a question had been raised about his past. I invited him to stay in my house rather than a parish when he came to Chicago while his own diocese was deciding whether or not he should be in ministry."



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