I have spent all morning going through the documents recently released by the Archdiocese of Chicago (before you applaud any proposed Archdiocese “transparency,” remember that the documents were only released because the court ordered Cardinal George to turn them over).
Cardinal George has spent a lot of time during the past week trying to minimize the documents’ importance and impact. It is now painfully apparent why: George personally covered up for abusive priests.
Case in point: Joseph Bennett
From the summary timeline:
The Cardinal’s deposition and the file also suggest that the Archdiocese:
May have withheld evidence from the Review Board;
Had more concerns about Bennett’s canonical rights than child safety;
Gave misleading information to other bishops about Bennett;
Claimed that a victim’s accurate memory of freckles and other markings on Bennett’s body were not enough evidence to remove Bennett from ministry;
Told parishioners to “question accusers;”
Never checked to see if boys were working in the rectory with Bennett, even after the
Review Board requested Bennett be removed from ministry;
Called Bennett a “fine pastoral leader” when he was reappointed as pastor of Holy Ghost in 2003, even though there were known outstanding abuse allegations against the cleric; and
Blamed Vatican policies for not removing clerics with allegations of molesting children.
You should read the whole thing yourself. It’s shameful and Cardinal George should be held accountable.