Chicago Cardinal Francis George acknowledges responsibility for the fiasco that evolved out of what is supposed to be that archdiocese’s child abuse prevention program.
He is right to do so. But we are left wondering what he means by that.
The details (see story) are damning: A high-profile priest known to some archdiocesan officials as a potential abuser since his seminary days was allowed to remain in parish service for four months after additional, and current, allegations of abuse were brought against him. Amazingly, in addition to his duties as parish pastor, Fr. Daniel McCormack continued to serve as a parochial school teacher and sports coach. Meanwhile, the priest appointed to “mind” McCormack was rarely present at the parish and had virtually no training regarding what such “minding” might entail.
Further, the report commissioned by the archdiocese to describe its procedures for dealing with “accused priest abusers” -- a study prompted by the McCormack revelations -- paints a Keystone Cops picture of oversight. The archdiocese’s five official “minders” have little or no experience (or training) in overseeing sexual abusers, who live under minimal or nonexistent supervision, free to come and go as they please with access to vulnerable populations.
They've left people with screws loose in place and the foxes are minding the chicken coop.