Letter from Cardinal George asks priests to come forward
February 10, 2006 (WLS) -- Chicago's Francis Cardinal George sent a letter containing an ultimatum to priests. Seemingly stunned by the ongoing issue of priest sex abuse, the cardinal has called for any priest living a double life to come forward for the good of the church.
Francis Cardinal George is tending to his wounded flock, dispatching a letter to more than 400 churches across the Archdiocese.
In his letter to priests the Cardinal writes:
"All of us are sinners, but there are types of perversion that are completely incompatible with the calling toward ordained priesthood."
The cardinal apologizes for not acting more quickly to remove Father Dan McCormack, who now stands accused of molesting three boys in recent years. There is a claim that the priest continued to abuse one boy even after the Archdiocese was alerted to an abuse claim.
The cardinal writes, "All of us are shamed. I apologize to each of you for not finding some way to at least provisionally remove McCormack, even without an accuser or accusation."
And then, the Archbishop of Chicago delivered a direct demand of all who wear the collar.
"There is so much I remain unaware of, yet I am, in the end, responsible for it all. I want to say now that if there is any priest that is leading a double life, he should for the sake of the Church come forward."
While the Cardinal has been accused of protecting his own, he has many supporters, some of whom plan a rally outside Holy Name Cathedral on Sunday.
"What Father McCormack did is wrong and awful for the church but Cardinal George is not totally to blame," said Connie McCartney, Catholic.
The cardinal wrote a second letter, this one addressed to the laity. In it, he apologizes for what he calls "the great embarrassment every Catholic must now feel."
A priest told ABC7 Friday night that many in ministry feel especially vulnerable now to unfounded accusations. They worry there is now a "presumption of guilt" against any priest accused of abuse.
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