Response from Voice of the Faithful

August 5, 2009 A July 2009 internal document (Background Information for Pastors Regarding Upcoming Legal Document Release) continues the ongoing failed secrecy and spin with which the archdiocese addresses the clergy sex abuse crisis. The document was issued for "…responding to the inquiries…" regarding the recently published deposition (taken November 2007) of Bishop Goedert. The bishop was the Vicar for priests in 1987-91 and cooperated in moving pedophile priests to unaware parishes. This deposition describes the abhorrent behavior that lead to continued abuse of children.

The document penned by Coleen Dolan (presumably with the blessing of the Cardinal) continues to demonstrate their lack of understanding of the issues. In states, "Negotiation and mediation are the most compassionate and efficient ways to resolve claims…". While many survivors find mediation to be best for them and don't even want to begin to face the rigors of a trial, there are situations where the behavior of the archdiocese forces a victim into litigation. Litigation is polarizing and expensive and certainly not the first choice of anyone. But at times it is the just route to resolving the sins of the bishops. We can't help but wonder what Jesus would say to the amoral tone of correspondence emanating from the Archdiocese.

As illustrated in Cardinal George's deposition in January 2008, responding to the Fr. Dan McCormack 2007 conviction of child sex abuse, the archdiocese approach today is little different from the past. In fact, the internal document contradicts itself. It says that under Cardinal Bernadin, policies included "Prompt reporting to civil authorities". Elsewhere it states "Since 2002, the archdiocese has reported all allegations of sexual abuse of minors to the authorities." So what's true? Where was the prompt notification to authorities during the McCormack case? Where was the "zero tolerance" when a history of misconduct in the seminary proactively indicated his predatory interests? No learned lessons were evident with McCormack! The company man perspective about Bishop Goedert is awful and smells too much of the same organizational pabulum you all want the laity to swallow from Boston to Chicago to Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Ireland.

It is evident that Protection of children is NOT the Archdiocesan primary concern; it is the protection of the good old boys club. Based on the internal documents, and the depositions of Cardinal George and Bishop Goedert, the people of the Archdiocese should understand fully the priorities of the hierarchy.

A conscience driven and compassionate hierarchy would have recognized in the 70s and 80s that the practices of that time did not heal the predator. This ruse has been going on since the 4th century, and there are copious documents from the Vatican referring to this repulsive behavior and attitude. So serve the pabulum elsewhere please.

A deposition may appear one sided since it is witness testimony under oath. However, the witness' attorney can always ask the witness to expand and clarify testimony, as done in the Cardinal's deposition. Not one sided at all. What bothers them more? That it appears one-sided or that it is the truth? How do they justify Fr. Grace's advice to McCormack not to speak to the authorities? (See George's deposition on Clearly as a civil lawyer, Grace knew the law. As a cleric, he knew the moral response.

Though Vicar for Priests is to advocate for priests, their priorities are disordered; the innocent and abused children should ALWAYS be first. As the Archdiocese knows, the laudatory statements about Bishop Goedert at the close of the internal document ARE NOT AT ALL SUBSTANTIATED BY HIS DEPOSITION where Bishop Goedert clearly admits knowing the abuse is a crime but did not even consider reporting it to authorities in the 25 cases he was aware of. TO EVEN SUGGEST THAT CATHOLICS WOULD BUY ANY OF THIS "SPIN" IS INSULTING.

We want the internal document to be released and published in the catholic newspaper, The New World, and placed on the archdiocese website. If the document is useful to pastors and associates, why can't the laity benefit by reading? If the archdiocese believes what it writes, why wouldn't the laity understand this unvarnished truth? Don't just lay the document out there; solicit responses from victims and laity. If the document promotes healing by relying on the truth, it will be affirmed. If not, the real truth will prevail.

Tony Jannotta, Permanent Deacon
Coalition of Concerned Catholics
1415 East Central Road #302A
Arlington Heights, IL.

Sandra Stilling Seehausen
Chicagoland Voice of the Faithful
956 Verona Dr.
Cary, IL. 60013

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