From Chicago Public Radio: USCCB Ready to Elect Former Chicagoan Kicanas, Soft on Priestly Pedophilia.

Tom Roeser
October 22, 2010

Thomas F. Roeser is radio talk show host, writer, lecturer, teacher and former VP of The Quaker Oats Company of Chicago. A former John F. Kennedy Fellow, Harvard and Woodrow Wilson International Fellow, Princeton, N. J., Roeser is theauthor of the book Father Mac: The Life and Times of Ignatius D. McDermott. To read more about Tom, Click here.

Ex-Mundelein Rector Said He’d Ordain McCormack Again.

Chicago public radio station WBEZ Friday aired a straight-from-the-shoulder assessment of upcoming leadership change in the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops…a refreshing tell-it-like-it-is news story and interview conducted by Chip Mitchell, chief of the station’s West Side bureau. It’s far different than what we’ll get from the other so-called religious reporters…Tribune’s soft-as-a-cupcake know-nothing relativist “seeker of truth” Manya Brachear and The Sun-Times whichoutsources Catholic coverage to mostly liberal (far Left withMargery Frisbie, center with friend of this blog Jim Bowman)

Here’s the full test of Mitchell’s story including an interview with the father ofa child pedophile victim of the convicted and defrocked former priest Dan McCormack.The story contains unpleasant sexual genitalia particularities which may upset some readers here but which should be absorbed anyhow to get the full extent of the lamentable dereliction of duty by Chicago archdiocesan authorities all the way up the ladder to the Cardinal—all of whom were promoted one way or another following the all-too-late punishment of McCormack’s clerical pederasty on a young man under the age of consent.I’ve entered comments to square with authentic doctrine.


WBEZ:The nation’s Catholic bishops will choose a new leader next month [president of the USCCB]. Both their outgoing president [Francis Cardinal George] and the bishop [Gerald Kicanasof Tucson) likely to take his place have strong ties to Chicago. That’s not all they have in common.Both clerics advanced the career of a priest who molested as many as 23 boys.That’s despite receiving allegations about his misconduct.If the election goes as expected, it’ll provide ammunition to people who argue there’s no accountability for bishops who protect abuses.We report from our West Side bureau:

MITCHELL:Daniel McCormack went to prison in 2007 for abusing boys when he was pastor of St. Agatha’s.That’s a parish in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. To learn more about McCormack, I sat down with a father whose son attended the Catholic school next to the parish.

FATHER: You would try to get to the bottom of it but there was no real way to figure out what was going on.

MITCHELL: I’m keeping the man’s name to myself to protect his son’s identity. The father says his boy started acting out around age 11 after joining a basketball team McCormack coached.The man didn’t find out what was going on until recently.His son’s now 20.

FATHER:He was like “Dad, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”

MITCHELL:The father says McCormack was fondling his son at basketball practice.The abuse didn’t stop there.

FATHER: He would have the children doing tasks around the building.He’d pay them. And there was one incident specifically. It had started raining. My son was out in the yard doing some yard work. He had gotten muddy. After getting done with what he was told to do out in the yard, he came inside. Dan told my son to get out of his clothes: “Go and take a shower.” As my son was getting out of the shower, he would bend him over. He inserted…he inserted his penis in my son.And this happened more than once.

MITCHELL:The man says McCormack abused his boy for more than three years. The family’s now hired an attorney to see if the Chicago archdiocese will agree to a settlement.

FATHER: I really feel betrayed. We entrusted these people with our child.

MITCHELL:You ever heard of Gerald Kicanas? He’s the bishop of Tucson, Arizona now.


MITCHELL:I tell the North Lawndale father how Kicanas helped get McCormack’s career off the ground. This was in the early `90s.Kicanas was Rector of an archdiocese seminary where McCormack studied. Here’s what happened. Kicanas received reports about three McCormack sexual misconduct cases, one involving a minor. But Kicanas still approved McCormack for ordination.

FATHER: How do you do these things in the name of God?

MITCHELL: I tell the North Lawndale father that how the Chicago archdiocese assigned McCormack to other parishes before St. Agatha’s.McCormack attracted more allegations but Cardinal Francis George promoted him in 2005 to help oversee other West Side parishes.Around that time the police arrested McCormack on suspicion of child molestation but they released himwithout charges. Cardinal George kept McCormack in his posts even after the archdiocese sexual review board urged his removal.The father can’t believe this.

FATHER: How is it that you’re notified that someone in your parish is doing something to children and these people are still getting higher appointments?

MITCHELL:It wasn’t until Mitchell’s second arrest—more than four months after the first—that George finally yanked him.The delay outraged victim advocates.But George’s peers still elected him president of theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2007.And who did the bishops elect as vice president? Kicanas, the man who approved McCormack’s ordination in the first place.

DOYLE: They’ve looked the other way.

MITCHELL:Thomas Doyle is a priest and canon lawyer who helped write a 1983 report about clergy sexual abuse.He split fromchurch leaders saying they weren’t following his recommendations. Doyle said bishops kept handling abusers the way Kicanas and George handled McCormack.

DOYLE:They’ve maintained secrecy. They’ve secretly transferred the priests. So they have aided and abetted the commission of crimes.But there has been no instance where the Pope has called any bishop accountable.

MITCHELL: Now U. S. bishops are getting ready to elect a president to succeed George.If they stick with tradition, they’ll elevate the vice president. Again, that’s Bishop Kicanas, the former Rector of McCormack’s seminary.I left several messages for Kicanas about the election but he didn’t call back. I called the Chicago archdiocese to speak with CardinalGeorge or a spokesperson.His staff referred me to the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops. A spokeswoman there said childsexual abuse is not an election issue [sic] and no one else wouldbe commenting. So I called up JeffField of the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. His group often defends how church leaders handle sex abuse cases.

FIELD:To deny a bishop a promotion because of what some deem is improper—when what they do is in line with the church—is wrong.It is ridiculous.

***Let me break in here! Wait a minute-wait a minute!“Because of what some deem is improper”?Somebody tell this guy that pedophilia is more than improper and ecclesial winking at it the same.Where did they find this guy?***

SLATTERY:Much of the research on sex abusers really began in the `90s.It’s a relatively new body of research.

*** Nope.Sin is sin and goes back to the beginning of time.In modern times manifold priestly sexual sins and crimes goes back to the 1960s and large-scale American church….with few exceptions…to accept Humanae Vitae which labeled contraception a sin… including large-scale denunciations of it from such people as Theologian Rev. Godfrey Diekmann OSB and the then columnist-commentator Fr. Andrew Greeley both of whom far from being censured by American hierarchy were lavishly praised. It verifies what another theologian, the authentic kind, told me years ago describing the priestly critics: When you don’t practice chastityyou don’t practice obedience.***

MITCHELL: Jan Slattery heads Chicago archdiocese programs for victims and child safety.She says the way church officials used to deal with McCormack used to be routine.

SLATTERY:We were very quick to take the word of lawyers and psychologists.At one point in time even criminal systems were not putting men in prison for this.They were getting them treatment. But that’s changed.

***Homosexual actions have always been attested as a mortal sin and doubly so when it is inflicted on defenseless children which is categorized as pederasty—so there is no need to consult lawyers and psychologists solely for guidance for “what to do.” What to do is clear. A cleric or anyone else who abuses children should be removed instantly, fired. unhorsed—kaput. Beyond that: The Church has alwaystaught that homosexual tendenciesin any person are within the normal range of human nature, whose fallen condition includes every conceivable kind of impulse that with sincere effort and divine grace can be controlled.When the condition is pathological the offender is to be removed from his/her station of power and requires therapy.Active homosexuality is morally indefensible and has been many times forbidden in revelation and the teaching of the Church.The most extensive declaration on the subject was by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved byPaul VI, November 7, 1975.***

MITCHELL: And Slattery’s right. A Church audit found U. S. bishops received fewer clergy sex-abuse accusations in 2009 than in any year since 2004. Most of the alleged incidents happened decades earlier.But that’s why McCormack stands out.He was abusing the North Lawndale boys just five years ago.And just three years ago a newspaper [The Chicago Sun-Times] quoted Bishop Kicanas as saying he was right to allow McCormack’s ordination.I asked Slattery how she likes the idea of bishops electing leaders who advanced McCormack’s career. She didn’t respond. I asked if she’s aware of any discipline for McCormack’s supervisors.

SLATTERY: I’m not going to be privileged to that if that happened.

MITCHELL:There are people taking a big-picture look at the Catholic sexual abuse crisis and whether theChurch should reconsider leadership. Here’s Boston College theologian Thomas Groome.

GROOME:Celibacy is part of a complex culture that gives priests a sense of deference and entitlement and elitism that can lead to perverse behavior, apparently [sic].

***Breaking in again.The usual liberal line is that “celibacy causes it” as if no non-celibate or married man i.e.athletic coach, youth counselor, ever abused children. Initially clergy need not have been celibate [i.e. Peter who was a married man when he found Christ]—and is not in absolute terms a requisite for clergy.Vatican II conceded that celibacy is not required by the nature of the priesthood itself-- as Eastern Rite priests can marry (but not become bishops)…but the Council promulgated that celibacy is highly desirable,stemming as a virtue stems from Christ’s own words in Matthew 19:10-12].Celibacy was a feature of the earliest hermits and a requirement of the first monastic foundations under St. Pachomius [c. 290-346].The Second Vatican Council named it first among the evangelical counsels to be practiced by religious and declared that “it is a special symbol of heavenly benefits and for religious is a most effective means of dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the divine service and works of the apostolate.” [Decree on the Up-to-Date Renewal of Religious Life, 12]. ***

MITCHELL:Groome says making bishops accountable would require changing how the Church is governed.

***This implies bishops as a class now and in the past are not and have not been accountable.They always have but loose and weak-willed governance has been the culprit.True, in the beginning bishops were elected by their fellows…the first one being Matthias, elected by the apostles to fill the vacancy left by Judas. The Pope always had sovereignty over the selection of bishops but as Catholicism grew world-wide it was not practicable in the very early days for the Pope to know whom to name in a faraway diocese.Also there was the danger that kings would take over the process totally (some did)… so the practice in the very early days was for election ofbishops in some faraway dioceses by the congregants. The great St. Augustine was ordained a priest, was appointed coadjutor and finally elected bishop of Hippo in North Africa as a kind of ratification for one whose reputation as philosopher and theologian had spread throughout Christendom.With later years and the rise of counselor bishops to the papacy,appointment of most bishops gravitated back to Rome.***

GROOME: There are ways available, even within canon law. The canon law of the Catholic Church calls for parish councils—priests and lay people having voice and representation.We’ve never implemented that [sic].And some of it will be reform and some of it renewal. For example when you go back into the history of the Church you find that the priests of a diocese had a real voice in choosing their bishop.And, if you go back far enough, in certain places, even the people had a real voice in choosing their bishop.

But, for now, the faithful don’t have that voice.And only the bishops can vote in next month’s election. So, barring the unforeseen,their next president[Kicanas]—like the one stepping down {George]—will have ties to the man who abused the North Lawndale boys.

***The assumption here is similar to the premise of the radical Fr.Greeley when his mind was intact and consciousness fully with him (before he suffered an unfortunate accident in 2008—his coat caught in a taxi door as the vehicle gunned away--that crushed his skull) that there should be widespread elections and campaigning diocese-wide by various competitors for the post of bishop…the thought being later taken up by the radical Leftwing “Voiceof the Faithful” that the church governance should be replaced by pure democracy—which it hoped would lead to women priests, gay priests and the sanctification ofsame-sex marriage: hence the end of the institutional Church. Return of the clergy to orthodoxy necessitates no change ingovernance but the re-inculcation of doctrine already formulated on the moral law. Rectors of seminaries must guard that admissions not gravitate to a lavender clergy as regrettably is somewhat the case now.

Moreover, Rectors and prelates must be cognizant of the evil of pedophilia. The Chicago Sun-Times religion reporter asked Kicanas if he had to do it over again would he ordain McCormack who at that time was charged with child abuse. Kicanas’ stunning answer:Yes; he was just worried that McCormack drank too much. It’s this man, promoted afterward by this archdiocese, sanctioned by his fellow bishops to run as vice president, who is likely to be elected president of the USCCB next month.WBEZ and its reporter Chip Mitchell have done great service to report this now. Will other media now do the same?Don’t bet on it.***


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