Church officials react to sex abuse probe findings
March 21, 2006 (WLS) -- Roman Catholics reacted Tuesday to a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct. The list was released Monday by the Archdiocese of Chicago. It includes 17 names of priests who had not been associated with the church sex abuse scandal, until now.
That list was released with a report that showed many priests accused of sexual misconduct have been allowed to remain anonymous. The report also says there were a number of occasions when church officials could have removed accused priests from ministry but did not.
A recent independent auditing report criticizes Chicago Roman Catholic officials for their handling of sex abuse allegations against Rev. Daniel McCormack, as well as the archdiocese, procedures for monitoring priests accused of abusing minors.
"I give the archdiocese credit for putting those reports out in full, not pulling any punches," said Catholic Theological Union president Father Donald Senior in a telephone interview.
"I guess my first response is terrible sadness. Most especially for the young people involved, the victims, the children, for their families, for its effects on them, and on the church as a whole. As a priest, I find this whole thing to be embarrassing," said Rev. Robin Ryan, Catholic Theological Union.
Father Ryan said he was disappointed with the monitoring system for accused pedophile priests.
"As the report indicated, it wasn't following professional standards," Ryan said.
The archdiocese posted on its web site the list of 55 diocesan priests accused of sexually abusing minors. As of Monday, 17 new names have been added to the existing list of diocesan priests facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Some of the priests have died. Some retired. Others were asked to leave. Some admitted to sexual misconduct and some left with severance packages.
"The church for years has erred on the side of secrecy and a lack of concern for children and the families. So I suppose if we have to make a choice now, and err on one side, it should be erring on the side of full public disclosure," said Ryan.
Father Ryan Says the sex abuse scandal has had an effect on Catholic young adults, and much depends on whether a young adult has been directly affected by this scandal. He said it is important to remember that young adults experience the church at a local level and are not concerned with what bishops are doing.
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