Sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2013)|
Role of Joseph Bernardin
Archbishop Joseph Bernardin was among the first U.S. Cardinals or Bishops to confront the issue of sexual abuse by clergy. He also adapted a strong stance on sexual abuse cases within the clergy by implementing the strongest, most comprehensive policy concerning priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors. Bernardin’s reforms concerning this issue soon served as a model for other dioceses across the nation.
Bernardin himself was accused of sexual misconduct, but his accuser later recanted his testimony. His accuser, former seminarian Stephen Cook, claimed to have been abused by Bernardin and another priest in the 1970s. However, Cook subsequently dropped Bernardin from his lawsuit, being no longer certain that his memories (which had emerged while he was under hypnosis) were accurate.
Scandal under Cardinal George
Prior to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal George had spoken with then Cardinal Ratzinger and asked for his assistance in the matter. After the election of Benedict XVI, the new Pope told Cardinal George that he remembered their previous conversation and that he would attend to the matter.
While Cardinal George has had to deal with the fallout from clergy sexual abuse cases from many years ago, he has come under fire for his actions during a recent abuse case. Cardinal George took some responsibility for the affair, saying, "The sins of priests and bishops destroy the Church, and I think that's what we're seeing here."
It is alleged that Rev. McCormack had abused two boys repeatedly from 2001 to 2005. Cardinal George has faced criticism for allowing McCormack to remain at his post after allegations first surfaced in August 2005. George has acknowledged that he had made mistakes in the case of the Rev. McCormack, who was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on January 21, 2006.
At the time prosecutors were not able to move forward because there was not enough evidence. Instead, McCormack was told to not have any unsupervised contact with minors and had a personal monitor assigned to him. Cardinal George has since indicated that had he known several months ago what he knew now that he would've removed McCormack from his duties right away.
Despite claims of following the Church's procedures for dealing with child-molesting priests, diocesan authorities made no attempt to contact the police. Following this incident, the procedures for reporting abuse in Chicago were reportedly reevaluated by a panel and their importance was stressed.
Novels by Andrew Greeley
At the height of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, author Andrew Greeley wrote The Priestly Sins (2004), a novel about a young priest from the Plains States who is exiled to an insane asylum and then to an academic life because he reports abuse that he has witnessed.
Fall from Grace is a 1993 novel by Father Greeley. It is a story of sin and corruption in leading Irish Catholic families in Chicago and the cover up of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
Francis Pellegrini Death
Francis Pellegrini was an organist and choirmaster at a south side Chicago church, as well as a sociology professor at a city college. He was murdered on May 30, 1984. He was found in his home, with his hands tied with barbed wire having suffered multiple stab wounds. A friend of Mr. Pellegrini and an author of several books on the topic, Fr. Andrew Greeley, claims Mr. Pellegrini had a gay affair with a priest who along with other unnamed priests allegedly abused underprivileged youths. Fr. Andrew Greeley refuses to share any information about the incidents or the perpetrators, but claims to have evidence of wrongdoing.
Fr. Greeley has referred to the group of predators in several of his books, and claims a broad conspiracy prevents the exposure of perpetrators. "There is no evidence against them because no one has complained about them and none of their fellow priests have denounced them," he wrote.
In 2010 Alejandro Flores, who was ordained a Priest in 2010 was convicted of the continual sexual molestation of a pre-pubescent boy since 2005.
Under Archbishop Cupich
Archbishop Cupich, dating back to his days in Rapid City, South Dakota and then Spokane, Washington, was an early supporter, like his predecessor Cardinal George had been of the zero-tolerance policy of excluding the lay and the ordained Catholics who engaged in any kind of sex abuse of minors- or those applying to ministry found to have done so- from ministry, and the notification of the authorities, and of how to deal with cases that involve the sacrament of Penance (where nothing at all can ordinarily be disclosed without very, very special procedures). In August 2015, he moved to suspend (remove faculties to perform the Sacraments) Octavio Munoz Capetillo, the Pastor of Saint Pancratius Parish, from all duties and to notify and cooperate with the authorities.
- Biography of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin
- Bernardin vindicated, says fellow bishop[dead link]
- Cardinal lifts the veil on abuses
- Cardinal George apologizes to disgruntled Chicago parishioners, January 31, 2006 Catholic News Agency. Accessed March 24, 2008.
- Rev. Daniel McCormack : Accused priest was rising star
- "The Priestly Sins, by Andrew M Greeley". agreeley.com. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Clerical abuse in US compounded by crimes and cover-ups
- "Arson strikes parish of molester priest, slain choir director". renewamerica.com. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Andrew Greeley challenged to expose predator ring
- "Breaking News". chicagobreakingnews.com. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Statement on Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo - August 3, 2015 - Archdiocese of Chicago". archchicago.org. Retrieved 26 November 2015.