In Chicago, a careful analysis by activists based on the Church’s own database and on court records has been simply dismissed by the diocese. The report concluded that over half of the diocese’s parishes have at one time or another been served by a priest accused of sexual abuse. The diocesan response was that the priests concerned have been dismissed from ministry.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago said officials have not seen the study, but told of the report’s highlights questioned its conclusions.
“From the description of what we have heard, it appears that the analysis and conclusions are questionable,” said Colleen Dolan of the archdiocese in an e-mailed statement. “The priests referred to in the … report have all been removed and are not in ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago.”
This response is entirely beside the point. The report is not about the current situation, but an attempt to illustrate the geographical scale of the problem. Once again, the Church’s response is to entirely ignore the evidence.
More than half of Chicago‘s Roman Catholic parishes have had a priest accused of sexually abusing a child working there at some point, according to a study released today that was quickly questioned by the Chicago Archdiocese.
In some cases, multiple priests accused of misconduct worked at the same church, according to the study, conducted by reform groups Voice of the Faithful, African American Advocates for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“In almost 60 percent of the parishes, an accused predator worked there,” said Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP.
For example, from 1980 to 1990, 57.7% of Chicago parishes had an accused priest working there, said Bob Kopp, one of the study’s researchers and vice president of Chicagoland Voice of the Faithful. Other decades examined in the study had similar percentages of affected parishes, he said.
- News conference, concerned Catholics and clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss a new study Monday, October 11th (chicagonow.com)
- Chicago Priests Challenging Cardinal George Receive Support (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)
- Chicago Priests Call Cardinal George, President of U.S. Catholic Bishops, to Accountability (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)