PD Editorial: Problem Priest

Press Democrat
August 15 2010

It's not too late for church to ask parishioners about McCabe

Twenty-seven years have passed since church officials in Ireland labeled Patrick Joseph McCabe a pedophile.

But, in a response that has now become all too familiar, the church chose not to confront this tragedy but to compound it. It shipped the Dublin priest off to America to serve in unsuspecting churches in Eureka and Guerneville.

What were church officials thinking? That there are no children here on the North Coast?

Records show that two years later, McCabe was removed from St. Bernard Parish in Eureka after parents complained of the priest's inappropriate behavior with children.

McCabe, 74, is now in jail in Alameda County, facing extradition to Ireland where he would face charges of sexually assaulting six boys between 1973 and 1981.

The full story of McCabe was not known until recently, when, as Staff Writer Guy Kovner has reported, detailed reports by the Dublin Archdiocese were released. The reports show that former Dublin Archbishop Dermot Ryan as well as former Santa Rosa Bishop Mark Hurley arranged for McCabe's transfer here in 1983.

Hurley, who died in 2001, has already been at the center of controversy for his handling of abusive priests. In an 1995 legal deposition, he admitted shielding abusive priests from prosecution.

And why St. Bernard parish? That parish it appears received far more than its share of attention from abusive priests. At various times, at least three other priests involved in the North Coast diocese's sexual abuse scandal were based there.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.