dotCommonweal

A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors

.

Catholic conservatives vs. Bishop Kicanas. (UPDATED)

Next week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will elect its next president. According to custom, the current vice president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson--considered a Bernardin bishop and therefore more liberal--will likely win the presidency. That has some Catholic conservatives up in arms, such as Tim Drake, of the Legion of Christ-owned National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Magazine. Citing articles posted to the Web site of WBEZ (Chicago's NPR affiliate), the conservative news outlet Spero News, and a Boston-based Catholic blog, Drake argues that Kicanas is unfit for the office of USCCB president because of his role in the tragic case of the admitted molester Daniel McCormack, now laicized and jailed (I wrote about him here):

If he isnt elected, the story will be why the bishops parted with recent practice. If he is elected, the story will be how the bishops treat their own, and the message the bishops are sending to society about their willingness to prevent sexual abuse.

Kicanas was rector of Mundelein seminary when McCormack studied there. A 2006 diocesan audit found that in 1992, Mundelein officials learned of three accusations of misconduct against McCormack, two from adult seminary classmates (one from McCormack's previous seminary, then called Niles College), and one reportedly from a minor in Mexico. The records of those allegations, along with their details, were never found. Two years later, McCormack was ordained.

In 2007, Kicanas told was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times saying that he was aware of three allegations of "sexual improprieties" against McCormack, but that they were not "credible," therefore it would have been unjust to deny him ordination. "There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he had learned from the experience," Kicanas reportedly said. explained. The story said he was "more concerned" about McCormack's drinking problem. "We sent him to counseling for that." Finally, the article reported that Kicanas disagreed that McCormack never should have been ordained: "I dont think there was anything I could have done differently." (See update below.)

It's that last quote that Drake believes disqualifies Kicanas. The Spero News op-ed is titled, "Catholic Bishops to Elect Enabler of Child Molester as National Leader," and, according to Drake, "If Bishop Kicanas is elected its likely to strain the USCCBs credibility." Perhaps. But, just as I haven't seen many liberal Catholic outlets complaining about the ascension of Kicanas to the USCCB presidency, I don't recall reading any stories in the National Catholic Register or Zenit warning the U.S. bishops that electing Cardinal Francis George as their president in 2007 would have dire consequences for the credibility of the USCCB (the Spero op-ed Drake links to does refer to George's role in the McCormack case). Which is strange, because in October '05, Cardinal George's own sexual-abuse review board recommended removing McCormack from ministry, and the cardinal refused to do so. McCormack wasn't removed from ministry until January '06. As victims attorney Marc Pearlman told NPR, "I just don't know...how many kids were abused between the fall of 2005 and January of 2006, when he was finally removed."

Two subsequent audits of archdiocesan sexual-abuse policies revealed a system replete with appalling and obvious shortcomings. What's amazing is that more abusive priests didn't fall through its cracks. One audit found that archdiocesan officials had likely broken Illinois law by failing to report and investigate a 2003 allegation against McCormack. The same audit judged the archdiocese in violation of the USCCB's own sexual-abuse policies, adopted in '02.

I won't defend Kicanas's reported claim that there was nothing he could have done differently in the McCormack case. Now we know he had a serial child molester for a seminarian. Obviously, not ordaining McCormack would have been better; but would it have stopped him from abusing? Do we know enough about what Kicanas knew to call him an "enabler"? Did Mundelein officials "enable" McCormack's crimes any more than George's decision not to follow the advice of his sexual-abuse review board? In other words, if Kicanas's critics really believe his election to the presidency of the USCCB will strain the bishops' credibility, after George's election, what do they think is left of it?

Update: The Register has posted a response from Bishop Kicanas in which he corrects the quotes attributed to him in the Sun-Times story I mention above (read the whole thing). It's full of important clarifications. Key passages:

I would never defend endorsing McCormacks ordination if I had had any knowledge or concern that he might be a danger to anyone, and I had no such knowledge or concern. At no time while McCormack was a seminarian at Mundelein did I receive any allegation of pedophilia or child molestation against him. I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone. Prior to ordination, each students readiness for ordination was discussed at length by seminary administrators, faculty, and the diocesan bishop. Furthermore, McCormack was evaluated, as was every seminarian, each of his four years by faculty and students who were given the opportunity to endorse or not endorse his continuing in the seminary. No student, nor faculty, nor anyone, ever negatively commented on McCormack in all the endorsements he received. With the harm that he has done to children and to families, it is tragic that he was ordained. Would that he had never been ordained.(...)

McCormick was in the seminary for 12 years before ordination. At the high school and college seminary, no concerns, to my knowledge, were ever raised about him. From all reports, he was a good student, a good athlete and was most cooperative.

While McCormack was at Mundelein, a student commented to his counselor that when they were in Mexico studying Spanish, McCormick had been in a bar where they had been drinking and that as they were leaving the bar, McCormack had in public patted a person on the behind over clothing. When the counselor reported that to us, McCormack was called in and was asked to give an explanation. His explanation was exactly as was reported to the counselor by the other seminarian. Neither account indicated any sexual act or intention.

In the course of that discussion, McCormack revealed that while at the college several years before he had had two consensual sexual experiences with peers while they were drinking. He assured us that he had worked this through with his spiritual director and that he wanted to live a celibate life.

Nevertheless, because of the seriousness of his admission about behavior that had occurred in his past, he was sent for extensive evaluation to determine if he could live a celibate life and if there was any concern about his affective maturity. That evaluation indicated that the nature of the experiences he had related was experimental and developmental, although it indicated that drinking might be a concern because the experiences involved drinking. He was further evaluated to determine if there were any alcohol issues.

In reviewing his readiness for ordination, to our knowledge he never had any sexual activity with anyone during his four years at Mundelein, giving confidence that he actually did and could live a commitment to celibacy. While he was at Mundelein, no allegation or report or concern of sexual abuse of anyone was ever made against McCormack.

Read the rest here.

(H/T, rather amazingly, Andrew Sullivan.)

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics: 
171 comments
Close

171 comments

Commenting Guidelines

  • All

That Drake piece is as good an example of concern trolling as I've ever seen.

Grant - for some reason the WBEZ link isn't working for me. Is this the story you're linking? http://www.wbez.org/story/undefined/sex-abuse-lurks-behind-catholic-elec...

Sorry, fixed.

Um, isn't this a bit rich coming from the NCRegister? Their legacy of scandal and covering for child rape is pretty legendary, and well-documented. From what I've heard, there are some bishops who have reservations about Kicanas on some adminsitrative matters, but such distinctions won't make Drake's analysis. It would be remarkable if Kicanas were not elected president, and I think a repudiation of his Bernardinesque DNA as much as anything. (Remember, bishops NEVER criticize other bishops -- unless the bishop in question is advocating from common ground or other heresies.) Traditionally, the race to watch is for VP, and the list is interesting, and the vote tallies will be telling, as they are very different personalities:

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New OrleansBishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, CaliforniaArchbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap., of DenverArchbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New YorkBishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, ArizonaArchbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, KentuckyBishop George Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, OhioArchbishop Edwin F. OBrien of BaltimoreArchbishop Allen H. Vigneron of DetroitBishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City

Wish I could be there, but I'll have to leave the field to Rocco. The other dirty secret, or not so dirty, and not so secret, is that getting bishops to run for conference offices is not easy. I mean, who would want it? My impression is that bishops will be happy to have someone less than a cardinal, and other than Francis George, leading the USCCB.

There is no such thing as a transmission system for Bernardinesque DNA. If there was a system Fulton Sheen's and Roncalli's DNA were overlooked and a wasted opportunity. . I'll take Bishop John Wester, Salt Lake; he was trained by retired A/B John R. Quinn, SanFrancisco

Can we just forget about the idealogies and politics...for once! The question remains...what kind of message will Bishop Kicanas' election send about the seriousness with which the USCCB is approaching sexual abuse?!For the good of the church, he should humbly remove his name from the vote. Fair or not, it would be a courageous and noble thing to do...and a blessing for the church.

Angela, in light of your concerns, why hasn't there been a move for Cardinal George to resign given the far greater seriousness of his problems in that regard? This seems to have become a sudden concern about Kicanas. Why?And who would you back?

It is one thing to resign while in office...it is another to not put your name forward for the highest profile position within the Catholic Church in one the largest countries of the world...in the midst of a terrible crisis! I am certainly not suggesting that Bishop Kicanas resign...just humbly step aside from this advancement for the good of the church. As to who should be in the leadership position...I haven't a clue.David, with due respect for your obvious talents and passion...sometimes you make me crazy in how you always see the church as two groups of competing factions. This could be an act to help with UNITY, which ought to be a goal for all of us...in fact, the Lord demands it!

Could it be that you are so blind to see the lethal combination of Kicanas' arrogance and poor judgment to say it would be grossly unfair to hold a man back who would eventually get raping children out of his system and he would do the same thing all over again?It is a new low to paint Tim Drake as some kind of pedophile enabler while making excuses for the real pedophile enabler.

The moral of the story is prelates can get away with anything so long as the person raising a concern is viewed as orthodox. For the record, I have been asking Bishop's Accountabity to join people raising concerns about Bishop Kicanas, which even they have the decency to agree demonstrates the man should recuse himself from taking a leadership position at the USCCB. However, after getting some advice from "SNAP", they have decided they are not interested in taking an action to protect children from the re-emergency of the cult of the good old boy pedophile shuffler network. They see the election of Kicanas as a golden opportunity for some new some publicity stunts for themselves. The potential to see more damage done was a better strategy to get their press releases all ready for their gig. It was really never about the children was it. It is about how sizing up the situation to see who the "conservatives" are and how much damage can be done. Even if it means advancing a man who sees raping children as learning experiences that will eventually work itself out.

Angela, I think we both have the same passion for the same goal of unity, but I see your option as working against that unity, in fact. I'm sure you'd see it differently. But I think Carol McKinley's comments above might be evidence bolstering my reading.

Ok, I think we need to find a new leader. Bishop Kicanas was irresponsible for ordaining McCormick and should have turned over his evidence to the police. Child molestation is not a church but police matter. I realize the church has a long history of autonomy regarding discipline of the clergy, but even the great church reformer Peter Damian believed that accused pedophiles should be placed in a monastery under heavy guard for the rest of their life.http://historywasneverlikethat.blogspot.com/

Carol McKinley,Here's what's going to happen: you're going to tone it down or your comments and possibly your account will be removed.

Theresa and the rest: what do you think you know about what Kicanas knew?

"It would have been grossly unfair not to ordain him...There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he learned from the experience...I was more concerned about his drinking. We sent him to counseling for that."So "the activity" was considered to be part of the developmental process? Sounds like someone who does not understand that "the activity" including the desire to engage in "the activity" is not part of a healthy and Holy developmental process. I am wondering if the bishop contributed to "Always Our Children", or simply supports this erroneous document.

A common message from USCCB members has been that the abuse problem is past, it wasn't really the responsibility of bishops because of their ignorance and being mislead by experts, and they have more important problems to address. (See their public agenda for the week www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-178.shtml ) . George's tenure in spite of "his problems" supports the view. The Kicanas uproar is a tempest in a teapot about the preferred form of embarrassment to be endured by outsiders. Better he should be elected and the fate of the USCCB be purified as it must be in the turmoil that will inevitably follow. Otherwise, the same fruitless haggling (see above) will drag on for years while the potentially important organization fades into obscurity.

The National Catholic Register has published an rebuttal by Bishop Kicanas (in response to questions by Tim Drake) in which he states that he was never told by anyone that the seminarian in question was either sexually active while in seminary or accused of the sexual abuse of a child. Kicansas states that the incident that roused concern was consensual sex with an adult while drinking several years before McCormack entered seminary. Here's the whole piece:http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/bishop-kicanas-responds?utm_source=...

Jack, why not begin the purification sooner, rather then later:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_J._ChaputMy message to the USCCB as a liberal conservative Catholic is simply to "Be Not Afraid".

Updates above. Thanks, Sherry.

"The question remainswhat kind of message will Bishop Kicanas election send about the seriousness with which the USCCB is approaching sexual abuse?!"Angela, you ask that question in a way that suggests that it answers itself. But in light of what Grant has reported here, including, importantly, Bishop Kicanis' subsequent clarifications, I suggest that the answer isn't self-evident. What is your answer to your own question: what is the message, and why?

Nancy - Important question. My answer is that there is no "Boston Globe" working on the situation to induce "purification" soon. A flood of blogging gigabytes has no leverage and is not likely to cause the USCCB to be afraid or even attentive.

The Bishop's clarifications do not address Cardinal George's deposition that reveals there was evidence Bishop Kicanas was aware. Anyone care to follow that lead?Frankly, I'm curious to know why there is a reference to activity 'outside the Sacrament of confession'. Do I understand this to mean that if priests confess pedophilia he can protect himself from retribution until or unless a victim comes forward?I am pretty sure this is how the Sacrament of Confession works. Peculiar it is mentioned in the Bishop's rebuttal. Why bring it up at all? Let us take it to the lowest common denominator - Bishop Kicanas says he had a seminarian on his hands with a problem with a noted problem with booze and a confirmed instance that the booze made him lose his inhibitions and have an inappropriate sexual encounter.I am trying to understand this. Is there someone here that believes this vindicates his judgment and discretion?

Did the Bishop ever find out the age of what the seminarian referred to as 'peers' in these encounters?This still raises many questions in my mind and is going to put the scandal right front and center again while we flush out the answers.

Here are some more questions I have that I would be most interested in hearing insight on:The revelation of these sexual encounters with 'peers' (of unknown age) came when a complaint was brought forward that he inappropriately was patting another man's backside at a bar. But drunken innappropriate sexual encounters had all been worked out with his spiritual advisor, the seminarian said.Well then, what was he doing in the Bishop's office explaining why he was in barroom patting somebody's bum bum?Why did 23 more victims have to come forward before the Bishop supervised the man given this history?

"Im curious to know why there is a reference to activity outside the Sacrament of confession. The confessional seal is absolute. Horrible crimes that are confessed under that seal cannot be revealed by the priest hearing the confession, for example to police, prosecutors, the media or superiors, under any circumstances whatever. (Priests or others with more expertise than me can of course qualify my statement, but I believe that in essence it is correct).In seminary, I'd think this raises important issues. Seminaries are run by priests, whose roles may include confessor, spiritual director, and/or administrator. It seems to me that it's important that a seminarian's spiritual director *not* be his confessor, and that the rector and other administrators *not* be the seminarian's confessor. The latter should be obvious: if McCormack had confessed sexual impropriety to Kicanis under the seal of the confessional, then Kicanis would have been powerless to do what, in his role as rector, he would have been obligated to do.Spiritual direction, to my mind, is a gray area in this respect. My experience with spiritual direction is that confidentiality is promised to the one being directed. Is that confidentiality as absolute as the seal of the confessional? I'd think not. Yet, if the promise of confidentiality can't be taken seriously by the one under direction, then important issues which need to be addressed - such as an attraction to abusive sexual behavior - may never come up. But then, if such things do come up - what is the spiritual director supposed to do about it? Cure him? Report him?

Carol,I can't quite grasp what you see as a problem. Kicanas appears to me to have addressed all of the concerns about his handling of McCormack, except perhaps for a 2nd or 3rd hand account of 3 "incidents" while M was at Mundelein. These incidents may have been the 3 allegations about a single incident in Mexico, or that incident plus two 'experiments' before Mundelein. K explicitly states "to our knowledge he never had any sexual activity with anyone during his four years at Mundelein", which directly contradicts what has been represented as Cardinal George's testimony. If there is a contradiction between that remark and G's testimony, it should be clarified, but I think it more likely that inaccuracies have crept in in the reporting on G's testimony."Peer" is the important term in the comments on M's "experiments" in college. It asserts that M and his partner were a> close in age and b> not in a dominance relationship like that of priest/child or teacher/student. Such relationships are very different from pedophile relations. K considered these peer relations, and I am not sure there was a reason to question that.The Sacrament of Reconciliation came up when K was describing how allegations of sexual activity are generally handled, when K was making the point that M was treated as any student would have been. It does not mean someone who confesses faces no consequences, only that he faces no direct consequences from administrators. The seal of the confessional means it remains within that relationship, but that is probably more consequential than any administrative burden or threat. But I doubt that this was directly relevant to this case.

Jim,Thank you for your kind response - which I agree with, actually.But, I am deeply concerned about the use of it in the Bishop's rebuttal. It almost seems to me to be an inoculation (...which of course, in the strictest sense, it is?) But the placement of it just doesn't sit right with me. If it is a seal then you don't put it out in front as your golden parachute and then go on to do your 'splainin. I can say that I wholeheartedly value the seal of confession and the seal is the seal. And I agree that if these crimes were and are confessed, there is nothing that can be done. However, there are ways to watch him more carefully because surely, outside of the confessional, some consequences of his problem are going to manifest themselves.Excluding any presumption that the seal of confession is involved, here we have a Bishop with a seminarian in his office trying to explain why he's in a barroom inappropriately touching somebody on the fanny and he explains he has a past history of losing his inhibitions sexually when he's tanked up.Common sense would tell you that this problem is still on the table. But even if you were willing to get beyond this, closer supervision was a basic duty of this Bishop. Twenty-three people later you have the audacity to say it would have been "grossly unfair" not to have recognized the signs there was a major problem before ordaining him? Nothing you would have done differently, as in closely supervising him before 23 people were victimized?It is not acceptable and the one thing we should all agree on is that any of the ten names on that list for President and Vice President going forward should have zero history of such poor judgments, whether they are advising people sleeping around is virtue or whether they are leading them into a state of grace. The pulse of their doctrine should have absolutely nothing to do with it.

"Let us take it to the lowest common denominator Bishop Kicanas says he had a seminarian on his hands with a problem with a noted problem with booze and a confirmed instance that the booze made him lose his inhibitions and have an inappropriate sexual encounter. I am trying to understand this. Is there someone here that believes this vindicates his judgment and discretion?"Let's look at what we know. As reported by Kicanis, there were two sets of improprieties:* When McCormack was an undergraduate (i.e. not under Kicanis' supervision), he seemed to have had some boozy, consensual sex on a couple of occasions, as is wont to occur among college undergraduates,at least when I was in college. Presumably, both McCormack and his partner(s) were not minors (i.e. they were college students); it was consensual; and so a reasonable construal based on what is reported here is that whatever this was, it wasn't sexual abuse. Depending on the timeline, it could have happened seven or eight years before Kicanis learned about it. It seems that McCormack successfully positioned it as a couple of isolated instances of youthful experimentation.* He patted someone on the ass in a bar in Mexico. Even though he wasn't physically in Mundelein at the time, he was a seminarian and so under Kicanis' supervision. But patting someone on the dupa is open to all sorts of interpretations. Football and baseball players do it to each other all the time (remember, McCormack was a jock). We're not told here whether the recipient was a male or female, minor or adult, and whether it was a playful swat or a surreptitious fondle. Even it was the latter ... without defending it, I'd have to say that all of us have heard of much, much worse things that clerics have done. Frankly, I'm impressed that the seminary took it as seriously as it seems to. Even so, I doubt that McCormack would have had much trouble explaining it away.I don't know if any of this vindicates Kicanis' "judgement and discretion". But please, please remember this: you're looking at these events through the prism of knowledge of 23 subsequent instances of alleged sexual abuse of minors. Kicanis didn't have those facts at the time. McCormack seems to have been the kind of guy to whom most people were apt to extend the benefit of the doubt.

Carol and Angela --I can sympathize with both your positions. Obviously, the bishops' actions as a group have not been totally adequate given the fact that they have never protested formally and publicly Cardinal Law's continued exercise of immense power in the Church. But it does seems that many if not most bishops are willing to learn from their terrible past judgments about individual abusersd. That's what I have to keep reminding myself -- that there is more to their ministry than keeping perverts from children, and most of them probably aren't total human failures, but rather individuals called on to make very difficult judgements when they had not been treaied to do so. So I have to stop thinking of them as generally wicked. Some bishops certainly seem to be genuinely contrite, so now is the time to make more nuanced judgments of them and on an individual basis.We have to ask: is this individual's terrible judgment likely to last? . In the case of Bishop Kikanas I don't know enough to answer the question. Did he actually *know* from the beginning that that priest had actually raped a child? Is this the sort of behavior he is still excusing in himself? If so, he is a man of incorrigibly bad judgment and should not lead the hierarchy. So what are the facts of the chain of his behavior? Anybody know?Even if we get an answer to that question about the one abuser, it seems to me that another and more important question remains: is Bishop Kikanas (or any of the candidates for president of the group) willing to complain publicly to Rome about the position of C. Law? That to me would be the only sure sign that the candidate is on the side of the children.

Jim,Putting aside the conflict of facts that Cardinal George testified that Bishop Kicanas knew, it isn't quite as simple as saying the boozing led to sleeping around with a 'peer'. The man was trying to claim he was cured of his inappropriate sexual encounters while standing in the Bishop's office explaining why the Bishop received a complaint of his inappropriate touching in a barroom. Helloooooooooo.

Ann,There's more to a Cardinal's role than keeping abusers from children - yes of course - but if they don't have the judgment to do it or they won't do it, going forward, we should all be on the same page that these individuals are not to be considered for leadership roles.Cardinal Law has nothing to do with this equation. If the people right now have a history of being told a priest or fellow bishop for that matter has a problem with booze and when he drinks, he looks around for people to sexually experiment with or touch inappropriately - and they ignore those warning signs until 23 people later -- he should be off any list to advance into a leadership role. He should have the decency to recuse himself.

Carol McKinley: Have you read the deposition? Where does Cardinal George make claims about what Bishop Kicanas knew? Also, you refer to "these crimes." What do you mean by that?

Certainly, nobody on any side of anything should be taking the pulse of his doctrinal convictions and coming up with lame excuses for them.

http://www.childprotectionprogram.org/newsletter/vol6_iss7.htmlThe Reverend John Canary was vice rector of Mundelein Seminary when McCormack was studying for the priesthood. Mundelein officials learned in 1992 about sexual accusations against McCormack involving two adult males and a minor. The incidents began in 1988 when McCormack was at a seminary school known as Niles College, where Canary previously worked, according to archdiocesan reports. Canary said the allegations were noted in seminary records, which then "disappeared." Canary later became seminary rector. In 2006, he was appointed vicar general, a position that became open when Rassas was elevated to auxiliary bishop.While rector of Mundelein Seminary in the 1990s, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas says he knew about three reports of "sexual improprieties" against then-seminarian Daniel McCormack. Still, Kicanas supported McCormack's ordination, he recently told the Sun-Times. "It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him," Kicanas said. "There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he had learned from the experience.

"I am trying to understand this. Is there someone here that believes this vindicates his judgment and discretion?"Carol --ISTM this is the important question at this point in history: are our ecclesiastical leaders men of real discretion and good judgment? Are they such individually *and* as a group?

"it isnt quite as simple as saying the boozing led to sleeping around with a peer. "Carol - "it"? What isn't quite as simple?

Jim P. --Thanks for the informative post. Isn't the seal of Confession a matter of Church law? As such, couldn't it be revised? How to revise it wisely would be a different question.The history of the Church is full of such scandals. I wonder if the seal of Confession is a fundamental part of the problem.

Ann,I once spoke with a former Protestant minister, a convicted pedophile, who made the opposite point. He said that having no one to talk to confidentially about his temptations was part of the complex of factors leading up to his acting on them.

Carol: Do you think you've answered my question? Cardinal George did not make any claims about what Kicanas knew. The lawyer quoted the Defenbaugh audit and the Sun-Times story--which Kicanas is now refuting. You don't have your facts straight.

Carol - that snippet about Canary, other than an exercise in insinuation, is supposed to demonstrate what, exactly? And it relates to Kicanis, how?Certainly, I'm not surprised that Grant's post provides an expedient dumping ground to rehash, yet again, all of the McCormack dirt. I don't see, though, that the volume of recycling is adding to our knowledge of Bishop Kicanis.Nor have I seen any mention so far of his handling of the abuse cases he inherited in Tucson. If we are assessing his fitness for the post, surely that is germane? Arguably, it's much more important than his dealings with a single seminarian many years ago.

"Isnt the seal of Confession a matter of Church law? As such, couldnt it be revised?"Yes, it is church law, and perhaps it could be revised. For my sake, I hope it never is!

Blaming this on the Sacramental Seal of Confession is ludicrous. As Kathy mentions, the seal leads people to confess temptations and obtain the Sacramental grace to avoid acting on temptations. A lifted seal is only going to keep more people from the Sacrament of Grace thereby increasing incidents like this one. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/depo/2008_01_30_Cardinal_Francis_Ge..., as the testimony in the deposition reflects (and linked at bishop's accountability - enjoy the reading) the vice rector of the seminary said the allegations were right in his seminary record and that he was very disturbed to see that they 'disappeared' when Bp. Kicanas was the rector.Gee, I wonder what happened to it? So many questions.Does the disappearance of the allegations in the seminary record, Cardinal George and everyone else's testimony which conflict with the assertions in the Bp Kicanas' rebuttal put into perspective why the meeting after the buttocks rubbing in the barroom and the subsequent revelation in that meeting that something goes awry in his pants when he drinks give any more clarity to the lack of supervision 23 victims later?Bishop Kicanas wasn't even interested in reading the deposition to this day -even before he had this rebuttal published. The more you look into it, the curiouser and curiouser it gets.

"Cardinal Law has nothing to do with this equation."Carol --It seems to me that our greatest practical problem now is not the abuse -- the greatest problem is the coverups and the maintenance in power of those bishops who were the worst offenders. Until they are accused of their cover-ups *publicly* and removed from their offices we cannot be confident that *any* of our bishops have truly changed, and that includes the Pope. Until the American bishops as a group speak out against Cardinal Law publicly we just don't really know where they stand when push comes to shove -- with the clergy or the children.And so the scandal continues.

Jim P. --As a counsellor I'm sure you have some interesting insights on the seal. Would you care to share some of your concerns? It is my understanding that in courts of law other clergymen besides Catholic ones sometimes claim the right to keep silent about confessions. It is my understanding that their claims too have been upheld by the courts. However, though psychiatrists used to have that privilege of confidentiality, in California, at least, they no longer do when it concerns murder and other high crimes. This obviously deserves a whole thread or two or three. Sigh.

Blaming what on the seal of confession? Who blames anything on the seal of confession? "Cardinal George and everyone else's testimony"? What are you talking about? The supposed "accusations" turned up in an interview with Canary conducted in the course of an audit of the McCormack case. Kicanas's version conflicts with Canary's. You may choose not to believe him, but the level of detail is clarifying. I'm afraid you don't have a command of the facts in this case.

Many states that now mandate reporting of child abuse do not make an exception for the priest/penitent relationship or other religious counselors and clients. As far as I know, there has never been a case in which a priest has been in trouble with the law because of reporting requirements. The only privileged communication universally recognized is attorney/client.

Kathy -- You make the very strong defense that the seal has always merited. But there is another side, I think. A psychiatrist I know now grants that it's a good law that requires psychiatrists to report murderers to the State. It is also true that counsellors can persuade miscreants *not* to do evil acts they are contemplating doing, which is also a very great advantage of the seal.Complexity, complexity.Maybe I should add here that Abp. Aymond, who is also up for president of the NCCB, has also recently been the subject of a probe into past abuse in this diocese. The issue is whether or not the names of some abusers from many years ago should be released at this time. He says he has released the names of those abusers who were still a threat, but will not release the names of those who are no longer a threat. (Some of them are even dead.) SNAP, on the other hand, says he ought to release all of the names because there might be victims out there who did not realize that they were not the only victims. That alone could be a great kindness to them. Apparently it is a terrible thing for some children when they think that they have been the only victims -- some even wonder if they have caused the priest to sin.Will this never end.

Will this never end?Certainly not for a while as long as we have division, lack of transparency and an underappreciation of victim problems.I'm not sure babout Kicanas being uninformed, but I also think atacks from the right against certain "liberal" bishops (as happened to Bishop Hubbard a while back, are no tsolely motivated by concern for victims.And so it will go on....

In terms of the seal of Confession, this falls under the freedom of religion, this falls under the freedom of religion. Some above are suggesting the 'seal' is the fix for the 'problem'. But the 'problem' is ordaining pedophiles who actually demonstrate and tell their superiors they have a problem keeping their pants on and Bishops who not only go ahead and ordain them but fail to supervise them until dozens of victims start crawling out of the woodwork. Compounding the problem are people in the pews who make excuses for them.I have read enough testimony to raise major questions and concerns about what he knew and when he knew it and what he did or did not do. There are several seminary officials who make clear in their testimony that the allegations were known and in fact documented in the seminarians file. Those documents subsequently disappeared.In terms of what Bp. Kicanas says he read or knows about the Cardinal's deposition, here's what he said:"I have not read nor do I know any details about the Cardinals deposition.."After all these years, he has not bothered to find out what was said or even what went wrong. I'm sure to some people, this makes him a regular crackerjack for the role of President of the USCCB. I wasn't expecting the peace and justice people or victim's advocates to be among them.Here's some direct compelling testimony:Q. Wasn't it Kicanas?A. I had thought that Father Kicanas was the Rector.Q. Okay. And it goes on to state of the seminary identified that three distinct allegations of sexual misconduct of both adults and of a minor on the part of Father McCormack were brought to the attention of the seminary officials in the spring quarter of 1992. The former Vice Rector recalls [page 96 begins] that these allegations were documented to Father McCormack's file. Have you seen that documentation?A. Only the memo that the Vice Rector wrote at the time. I have not seen the original. And that came to my attention in January of 2006. I remember reading it and being very disturbed by it.Q. And what was it that was in it that disturbed you?A. What you've just read, sir.Q. The memo reflected that there had been multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by McCormack in seminary, correct?A. I believe there were only two when he was a college seminarian and then the immediate incidents of misconduct when he was in Mexico which was the only time there was any indication about a minor. The others were sexual misconduct with his peers in the seminary, I believe.Q. So that would be three involving minors and there's some other adults?A. No. One. I'm sorry, sir. One involving a minor.

Trying to cut through the rhetoric, I'm a little confused about what the bishop actually condoned. He was aware of a seminarian who had consensual sex in college? And the seminarian was drunk and played grabass in a bar while he was in the seminary? Is that all of it? What else did the bishop have knowledge of?

Carol:Again, your comment is nonresponsive. When McCormack was a seminarian the archdiocese had no accusations of pedophilia against him. Kicanas reports:

While McCormack was at Mundelein, a student commented to his counselor that when they were in Mexico studying Spanish, McCormick had been in a bar where they had been drinking and that as they were leaving the bar, McCormack had in public patted a person on the behind over clothing. When the counselor reported that to us, McCormack was called in and was asked to give an explanation. His explanation was exactly as was reported to the counselor by the other seminarian. Neither account indicated any sexual act or intention.In the course of that discussion, McCormack revealed that while at the college several years before he had had two consensual sexual experiences with peers while they were drinking. He assured us that he had worked this through with his spiritual director and that he wanted to live a celibate life.

Of course now we know he was a serial abuser. But at the time, it's not clear to me that anyone at Mundelein had cause to remove him. They suspected he had a drinking problem (although I don't know whether he really did, or this was just a way to get him into counseling) and send him to therapy for it. You are apparently outraged that Kicanas, who has been running the diocese of Tucson for the past eight years, hasn't read George's deposition. (I wish he would, too.) But you're not exactly demonstrating first-rate reading-comprehension skills. You seem to think that exchange from George's deposition is a smoking gun. It's not. George is referring to a memo written by Canary, and George is simply repeating Canary's version of events, which have never shown the detail of Kicanas's most recent clarification, which doesn't include information about a minor.What is it that you think Kicanas could have done? Have you ever spoken to anyone involved in formation? Let's imagine Kicanas was as offended as you are that two of McCormack's peers said he'd made advances and one said he patted someone on the ass in a bar in Mexico. Let's further imagine that Kicanas dismissed him from Mundelein. What do you think happens then? His latent abusive tendencies vanish? What happens if he's not part of a hierarchical structure that demands obedience to a superior and on which he relies for material comfort?

Grant,Yes and the Bishop's assertions conflicts with eye-witnesses at the seminary.At the end of the day, it's going to be a long three years of ripping up the sex abuse stuff again and a campaign to de-fund Bishops' Appeals that will come from orthodox Catholics - a new and exciting phase I guess lies ahead in their future. Oh well.

Hi, Ann, as I'm sure you know (but perhaps other readers aren't aware), deacons aren't confessors in the Catholic church, so my experience with the sacrament is on the same side of the grill as yours :-). Nor am I a counselor by profession. My experience with spiritual direction is as the directee.

Eye-witnesses, Carol? Plural? Who are you talking about? Are you planning on grounding any of your claims in fact or are you content to just make it up as you go along?Funny, I don't recall any multiyear campaigns to defund bishops' appeals after Cardinal George's election. Why do you think that is?

Thanks, Jim P. I thought that deacons sometimes took on the role of spiritual advisor or counsellor or whatever the term is these days. I think there is a need for such advisors, given that most parishioners have the problems of married folks and priests don't. If I"m not mistaken New Orleans has an institute (or whatever that sort of thing is called these days) to train such advisors. (I do get tire of all this change in terminology -- as if that will solve our problems. Sigh.)

"Many states that now mandate reporting of child abuse do not make an exception for the priest/penitent relationship or other religious counselors and clients."It seems that the confessional seal is, in fact, recognized across the United States as being inviolable, even in cases of criminal conduct, including child abuse:"In United States law, Confessional Privilege is a rule of evidence that forbids the inquiry into the content or even existence of certain communications between clergy and communicants."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessional_Privilege_(United_States)

Carol, refresh my memory -- have you also been calling for the resignation of Cdl George? He would seem to be more clearly implicated in wrongdoing than Bp Kicanas. Same goes for Cdl Ratzinger and the Hullerman case and several others subsequent to that. Do you think the pope should resign?

In United States law, Confessional Privilege is a rule of evidence that forbids the inquiry into the content or even existence of certain communications between clergy and communicants.P Flanagan,I hate this metaphor, but you are comparing apples and oranges. Rules of evidence have nothing to do with mandatory reporting requirements.See the following:

New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia disallow the use of the clergy-penitent privilege as grounds for failing to report suspected child abuse or neglect. For a more complete discussion of the requirement for clergy to report child abuse and neglect, see the Information Gateway's Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect at http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/clergymand...

The larger issue is that Bishop Kicanas presided over Mundelein during a period described by many as the "pink palace" and "lavender mafia".Furthermore, Kicanis' legalistic phrasing, "I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone", begs the question of whether there were credible allegations before...

"Rules of evidence have nothing to do with mandatory reporting requirements."Okay, thanks for pointing out the distinction. But don't those reporting requirements also fall under the First Amendment Freedom of Religion protections that cover the rules of evidence? Since 1st Amendment is the basis for Confessional Privilege would it not also be the basis for protection from reporting mandates? Apparently not from your list of states, and so I wonder if there are lawsuits against these reporting mandates in process under 1st Amendment arguments...

Citing NH Laws as violating the Sacrament of Confession of the Catholic Church with respect to priest-penitent is a stretch but people here don't seem to scratch the surface of anything so make hay while the sunshines.Luckily, Jeffrey Anderson has taken all the depositions and those and the exhibits are posted over at Bishops Accountability. Maybe Commonweal can sponsor a webinar and invite Bp Kicanas to finally take a look-see and y'all can kill two birds with one stone?David, in case it isn't clear, Bp Kicanas has a lethal combination of arrogance, detachment, ineptitude that makes him stand out in the crowd of wizards at the USCCB in a unique way. That, and given the fact that Cardinal George only has a few days left to be President and Bp. Kicanas is about to be elected for three years, makes your straw man a little moot. I've done some digging on the Pope and rumors that there's a booty of evidence he shuffled perverts aren't to be found but don't let that stop you from your ad hominem on the Vicar of Christ.

Carol, Grant, Jim - each of you have made good points. But this whole issue and the connection to Kicanas needs more nuance, definition, etc.Seminary Formation System for Archdiocese of Chicago: McCormack was a "lifer" - minor seminary through ordination; thus, he entered at the age of 14-15. This formation process is broken into at least three different schools, faculties, and formation directors:- High school (minor seminary - Quigley North or South) - four years - formation reports about students moving on to the college seminary would have been sketchy at best. Yes, there may have been verbal exchanges between the high school and college formation directors (but nothing substantial). - College Seminary (Niles) - four years - rector, vice rector, formation directors, spiritual directors, professors. There is usually an evaluation every year and student files that are usually split between public information (academic grades; academic achievements, school progress/achievements; then, there would be a private, confidential formation file that would incorporate information from various reporting/admin/teaching folks but would only be seen by a small number voting on passage to each new year. Traditionally, spiritual directors/confession is NOT allowed to be done by a student's formation director for the obvious reasons some of you have stated - it would bind a formation person's hands if significant developmental problems were discussed in confession. McCormack may have had four different formation directors during these four years - yes, rector/vice-rector would be involved but not necessarily know every fact, incident, etc.- Mundelein Theology School - four years - this would be graduate, transitional diaconate, may have involved an internship (probably not for McCormack). Again, like NIles you may have had more than one formation director over the four years. Obviously, there were changes in rector/vice-rector. Yes, Kicanas was moved from vice-rector to rector but he would have relied upon his formation and student directors in terms of recommendations.Given this system, you can see that a serious psychological issue can, at times, be hidden by the candidate. Each formation director may have picked up on one or two aspects e.g. alcohol issues but not come up with a clear, comprehensive profile of the candidate. There are just too many things that can skew recommendations and advancement. The system does not rely or even fall to the rector/vice-rector in terms of the actual ordination decision - they basically ask questions and approve the formation/student director recommendations that should be based on teachers, fellow students, parish work, etc. Again, this means that these folks do a complete and thorough personnel evaluation year after year.Very little information is usually passed from one school to another. Thus, historical incidents can be lost and a candidate basically starts over when he gets to the next school/level.Not sure I follow the arguments around George's deposition and what he said about Kicanas knowing, depth of knowing, etc. Appears that George is sharing what he remembers but not sure that I would give this total credence - Kicanas has rebutted one interpretation of George's deposition. Again, not sure I completely buy Kicanas's rebuttal but so what.The issue here is that the seminary system failed to identify a pedophile - this happens about 15% of the time. It is the nature of pedophilia to begin to become acted on when an individual reaches his mid-late 20's....the end of his seminary career. Yes, there are psych tests and formation programs that may have surfaced McCormack earlier - but Mundelein did not. Kicanas has some responsibility in that process but to blame him for this totally - that is a stretch.None of you really talk about the archdiocesan responsibility after ordination. There does appear to be failure after failure with numerous indicators, events, incidents, etc. and McCormack given chance after chance; moved from parish to parish; and even being promoted in the process. Who was responsible for years of missed signs in his clerical career? Kicanas?Unfortunately, data indicates that more than 50% of the current USCCB membership are bishops who have mishandled sexual abuse by their clerics. Kicanas is no different than most of the USCCB membership. Does this disqualify him? Or, has he learned from his mistakes? Finally, the formation process is more like an art form; versus a laid out scientific process. Formators must be skilled to identify, challenge, and be able to distinquish between normal developmental stages/events and a deep seated condition that is well beyond a developmental stage/period. This is where the McCormack failure happened. Formation needs to be better organized; more consistent; events/incidents must be tested and explained (beyond a simple one time interview). Formators need to be more transparent; need to feel safe enough to raise questions.Remember - formators are pressured by bishops - reality, lack of vocations, lack of ordinations. After 10 years or more of education, it is difficult to suspend or halt a candidate's path to ordination (financial loss; personnel loss; family/personal loss, etc.) There is significant emotional pressure to reach ordination rather than ordering the formation process around different formation/ordination goals that aren't simply grouped year by year; school by school, etc. But, this means living with complexity and allowing each candidate to move towards ministry at his own pace.IMO and my thoughts, for what it is worth.

Bill D, thanks for that perspective. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. To complicate things even further from the formators' perspective: as we've discussed here many times, the candidate has an obvious motive to conceal anything that would disqualify him from ordination. The hard fact is that there is no foolproof or even reliable way to identify a sexual abuser during formation.Bill, you asked, "None of you really talk about the archdiocesan responsibility after ordination. There does appear to be failure after failure with numerous indicators, events, incidents, etc. and McCormack given chance after chance; moved from parish to parish; and even being promoted in the process. Who was responsible for years of missed signs in his clerical career? Kicanas?"George's deposition, already cited here several times, indicates that there is plenty of blame to go around regarding archdiocesan failures after McCormack's ordination; but I don't know of any reason to suppose that Kicanis was involved. Kicanis was rector at the seminary; he was then made auxiliary bishop (a decision, if I may forestall objections by noting, that is made by Rome, not the archbishop) and installed in a vicariate in the northern reaches of the archdiocese. I don't know all of McCormack's parish assignments after ordination, but the egregious abuse happened on the West Side of Chicago, in another bishop's vicariate. Kicanis would not have had any responsibliity for McCormack during those years.

"Bp Kicanas has a lethal combination of arrogance, detachment, ineptitude "Carol - do you know him? I'd be inclined to use the opposite of those adjectives: I've found him to be humble, engaging and quite able. His personality is quite different than that of Cardinal George. If personality matters in presiding over the USCCB - and I don't claim to know what makes for a strong president; I don't doubt that it's part herding cats, part dealing with Rome, part trying to manage the media, and part trying to do more and more with less and less - then we can expect to see a different conference than what we've witnessed with Cardinal George.

Bill,Thanks for your very interesting and astute thoughts.There are several things that are on the record in the paper trail that make this particular situation different from the rest. A conversation took place between Kicanas and McCormack where he was informed, by McCormack in fact, that the fondling complaint in the barroom stemmed from problems relating to alcohol and sex. We have vice-rector on record saying sexual complaints, including one involving a minor, the two other complaints and other sexual relationships he had with 'peers' were part of his seminary record so Kicanas had to know. 1. he was personally told there was a problem with sex when he drinks the booze. 2. The bishop acknowledges the continuing problems with the booze. e. people confirm allegations of abuse, including the abuse of a minor were part of McCormack's seminary record. A review of the seminary record is part of the process of either ordaining or not ordaining the candidate. To know that he ordained McCormack in spite of his personal knowledge that there was continued indulgences of the booze that were still causing him to inappropriately fondle people he was attracted to sexually, to review his seminary record containing the allegations, including the allegations of a minor, to be actively involved in getting him 'help' for the boozing - which he was aware would either lead in the future to sexual problems -- to describe the allegations including those contained in the seminary records which were reported to include the abuse of a minor as 'grossly unfair' to refuse to ordain him - there is no basis for then saying Bp. Kicanas was ignorant. Further, there are pieces of this puzzle missing - including the disappearance of the memorandum in McCormack's seminary file.Sexual problems as described above, including the abuse of a minor, Kicanas himself has described as 'activity'. He acknowledges he was aware of the "activity". The "activity" was recorded in the memorandum that was in the seminary file included allegations involving a minor.Once seminarians become priests, they have another file. We don't actually continue the process of putting things into the priests 'seminary' file. Things can disappear from the seminarians file, as the notorious memorandum describing the abuse did in this case.In order to say you were unaware of what we all now know was told to Kicanas personally by McCormack, a certain memorandum recording the allegations would have to disappear, wouldn't it. But other people saw the Memorandum when McCormack was in the seminary. He was in the seminary before he was....ordained.I feel like I've repeated myself but it is painful to see people contort the situation and I wanted to be clear.Knowing McCormack's problems with booze and sex, and saying it would have been 'grossly unfair' to ordain him - knowing his failure to then at least pass on the information to his immediate supervisor in whatever parish he was first assigned to and say there was nothing he could have done differently after 23 victims become part of the mess is breathtaking audacity.To be several years later and not feel any duty or even any curiosity to review the public record of depositions that may contain information about who saw the memorandum, who knew and when they knew it or acknowledge any of his own accountability in ignoring the warning signs and going ahead and ordaining him which actually turned into a disaster is arrogant. Nobody is disputing that he may be a swell guy to kick around with at a conference. However, his own detachment and arrogance in refusing to acknowledge that he overlooked this man's sexual problems to ordain him and his descriptions 'grossly unfair' and 'nothing he could have done differently' is a stunning indictment that he is not eligible for a leadership role. I submit that nearly everyone who is involved in the campaign to ask Bp Kicinas recuse himself from his name in the hat to become the USCCB President, expects he will refuse to consider the consequences to Christ's Church. We expect the majority at the USCCB will also refuse to acknowledge the ramifications and they will go ahead and elect him. The only thing we can say with conviction is that three years from now when they inventory their precious bank accounts, they will regret doing so.

How does George's deposition contradict what Kicanas has said? They seem to me to describe the same three incidents, though they give different evaluations of those incidents. The only contradictions I see are in George's testimony, since he cannot recall who was rector, and at one point says 3 minors and another time says only one, etc. But that happens during questioning.I cannot understand why Canary says that information "disappeared", since Kicanas' account of the facts parallels Canary's. What exactly disappeared?The one significant difference is that George identifies the victim in the Mexican bar as a minor. Not as a child, but as underage. That raises questions about the age of people in bars in Mexico vs US. (Abuse of an 18 year old is different from abuse of 10 year olds.)I agree that there should be stronger support systems for priests after their ordination, but it needs to be less authoritarian, as if Big Brother is watching, and more helping a mature person to independence.

Carol McKinley: At least you're consistent. You continue to distort the reported facts, so I am forced to conclude either that you don't know what you're talking about or that you have no interest in facts and would rather railroad a bishop who doesn't suit your ideology."Sexual relationships." What sexual relationships? Do you know of any that McCormack had as a seminarian? No. You don't.More ignorance:"Sexual problems as described above, including the abuse of a minor, Kicanas himself has described as activity. He acknowledges he was aware of the activity. The activity was recorded in the memorandum that was in the seminary file included allegations involving a minor."Kicanas does not acknowledge "the abuse of a minor" by McCormack. He says there was no such allegation. He said McCormack patted someone on the ass in a bar in Mexico. Do you honestly think that is abuse? It's not. Conduct unbecoming, but not abuse. Kicanas says he did not know of any abuse allegations. Hitting on a peer is not abuse. Your premises are faulty."To know that he ordained McCormack in spite of his personal knowledge that there was continued indulgences of the booze that were still causing him to inappropriately fondle people he was attracted to sexually, to review his seminary record containing the allegations, including the allegations of a minor, to be actively involved in getting him help for the boozing which he was aware would either lead in the future to sexual problems to describe the allegations including those contained in the seminary records which were reported to include the abuse of a minor as grossly unfair to refuse to ordain him there is no basis for then saying Bp. Kicanas was ignorant. "Carol, you are ignorant. "Continued indulgences." Where is your evidence for that? If Canary is right, and I'm not convinced he is, we have at most three instances of bad behavior, allegedly brought on by an alcohol problem, for which which Kicanas sent McCormack into treatment. Again, Kicanas says he knew of no allegations of abuse. And now you are using the quotes from the Sun-Times story to convict him when he has repudiated those quotes. You do not play fair. Do your homework or go away. And you think that Kicanas, who says he had no allegations of misconduct, should have told McCormack's post-ordination supervisors that he had on three occasions acted out on his sexual desires? Really? Where is your outrage over Cardinal George's refusal to follow the advice of his own review board to remove McCormack after he was arrested for abuse allegations? His brother, incidentally, is a Chicago cop.More ignorance:"However, his own detachment and arrogance in refusing to acknowledge that he overlooked this mans sexual problems to ordain him and his descriptions grossly unfair and nothing he could have done differently is a stunning indictment that he is not eligible for a leadership role."These quotes are from the article Kicanas now refutes.And you top it off with ignorant threats:"I submit that nearly everyone who is involved in the campaign to ask Bp Kicinas recuse himself from his name in the hat to become the USCCB President, expects he will refuse to consider the consequences to Christs Church. We expect the majority at the USCCB will also refuse to acknowledge the ramifications and they will go ahead and elect him."The only thing we can say with conviction is that three years from now when they inventory their precious bank accounts, they will regret doing so."Yes, let's submit. To common human reason, or basic reading skills, which might lead us to conclude that you are full of hot air on this subject, that you are not an honest broker, that your intent here is to torpedo a bishop who has done no worse than the current president of the USCCB, whose election you have not decried, and whose election has not elicited a campaign of defunding. Please, by all means, withhold your offering to the charitable efforts of the bishops conference if it makes you feel better. To the rest of us, it just makes you look small.

Carol --I myself have done a lot of screaming on this blog about guilty bishops. I've read your posts on this thread carefully, and I don't think you've made a case against Bp. Kikanas. Try to see what Grant is saying, please. Exaggerations do not help the cause.

I am quoting the facts obtained deposition, not the article. Wow. Just wow. To think that this kind of willful blindness and cronyism rooted itself the culture of dissent is really an eye opener.I am reminded of the time when the Apostles were astounded that the people they were talking to were not able to hear or see the truth and they asked our Lord why. Lying to yourself about truth eventually completely clouds one's judgment. He said they cannot hear you because they are perishing.

There has to be another bishop besides Kicanas who doesn't have this kind of "baggage" who can lead the bureaucracy known as the USCCB. Sure, as an orthodox Catholic, I'd love to see an orthodox bishop (with a clean record) get the position and right the ship. But, alas, orthodox bishops are in the minority, or so it seems to me.And, yes, I realize that the scandal-ridden Legion of Christ was seen as "wonderfully" orthodox by some. Despite that, I was one of the relatively few orthodox Catholic journalists who, early on, believed the allegations against Maciel. And to think that if I had taken the cowardly way out and defended Maciel and the Legion while lashing out at Maciel's victims, I might have been able to get paid for writing Catholic material for the National Catholic Register. Not surprisingly, they never asked me to contribute any material. Just as well. (For the record, I don't get paid for my columns.) But I digress. Cardinal George may have a fine intellect, but his governance has been very disappointing. I think it's safe to say that he and Kicanas, along with several other parties, handled the McCormack situation poorly. Who should get the most blame? I'm not sure, and, at this point, it really doesn't matter. George will soon be replaced by another bishop as USCCB president -- and I hope it's not Kicanas.Who should get the nod? Again, there has to be a bishop who's orthodox and who has a clean record with regard to the clergy abuse scandal. Right?Then again, maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part.God help us all.

"willful blindness and cronyism"You've reduced your argument to name-calling, Carol.

I don't think I have a problem with fundamentalist Catholics taking issue about a bishop's perceived enabling of abusive priests. Whatever the motive, wouldn't it force them to also take the same position going forward, even against bishops more to their liking? Maybe it's a good thing, even if for the wrong reasons?

I have no particular opinion on who should be president of the council of bishops, but at this point, it looks like the threat-meme could easily become the main issue. I refer, obviously, to statements like "When they inventory their precious bank accounts, they will regret doing so. As far as I know, this is a new low in modern anti-Catholicism: that Tighty-Righty dissenters would make threats about money to try to bully the bishops into electing their preferred candidate, is a new low. Obviously, at this point, the bishops pretty much have to elect Kicanas, or look like a bunch of cowards. And I'm sure the bank accounts will be just as healthy in three years as they are today. (The bank accounts, by the way, are most precious to the poor, who rely on them for help with things like heating their homes in winter.)The whole thing seems to revolve around the thesis that Kicanas was aware that McCormack was a drunk and a homosexual and allowed him to be ordained anyway. The idea that boozing could be a disqualification for the Catholic priesthood is just bizarre. Teetotalism, maybe; boozing, never.

Though I've found this discussion informative, I do not have a position on this issue either way. I must say that I am disappointed with the way a contributor would treat a patron of this website. We all make comments we wish we hadn't from time to time, but to do it repeatedly, in one thread, is way over the top. There's a natural tendency to be more sympathetic with an official who's ideologically aligned with you, and vice versa, so let's be aware that we may be doing it ourselves as we accuse others.

I, for one, would not ordain Carol McKinley. Would anyone here?I'd also suggest ignoring her. Matt Abbott raises an interesting point (and good for not swallowing the LC idolatry on Maciel -- the Legion still needs to make good on apologizing to its critics who were right, methinks, starting with Jason Berry). Bishop Skylstad, the previous president, had close links to a terrible abuse case, and Cdl George had problems more of his own making -- ironically, as he was elected in part because he helped push through the charter in 2002. I think there is a generational problem, in that few bishops will be unconnected, however innocently, to abuse cases. I don't know, maybe in 10 years time, there will be post-Dallas bishops coming of age who can also be conference leaders?

Commonweal commenting ground rules state "Your comment will be more likely to be edited or deleted if it includes ad hominem attacks; is off-topic; contains inappropriate or offensive language, advertising, copyrighted material, or suspicious information."To that I would add, "ignores evidence or rules of logic." If a subscriber refuses to acknowledge known evidence related to a discussion or argues irrationally, that should be good enough to block the account, period.

Jeanne Follman --I hope you're including David Gibson in your comments --"I, for one, would not ordain Carol McKinley. Would anyone here?"I'd also suggest ignoring her".

It's telling that the critics of Kicanas have holed up in their redoubt of orthodoxy, deciding that some of us here and/or Kicanas are dissenters. And that those of us who don't think he should recuse himself are ideological cronies.

Frank, my point was that it would be better for Grant to simply exercise the power he has to block people he feels are ignoring evidence or being irrational than it would be to call them names.

And re the orthodox, I repeat what Ann Olivier has said on another thread: The too-ready acceptance of current authorities by conservatives these days and their claiming to be the truly orthodox Catholics has muddied the theological conversations. The question should be: what is it to be orthodox? Not: who are the orthodox amongst us? Until the first is answered clearly and in some depth, the second is unanswerable.

Jeanne: feel free to ignore Carol's comments. It's a tricky balance. I edited a couple of her lines because they were personal attacks agains Kicanas (speculating about his psyche). In this thread, she has displayed a remarkable refusal to learn about the McCormack case and to present accurate information about it. Then she had the temerity to suggest that those who disagreed with her were the ones contorting facts. I didn't call her stupid. I said she was ignorant about this case, and showed why. I stand by that judgment. I also stand by my judgment that she has been demagoguing this issue from the get-go. Her failure to respond to my many corrections of her distortions was the tell. Incidentally, I know that conservatives here like to play the victim when people like me push back on their arguments forcefully. I'm not going to let this thread descend into victimology.

Jeanne --It seems to me that we need a thread on name-calling. Some people don't seem to understand where the line (theoretically) goes between criticism of the person and criticism of his/her views. The line is sometimes hard to draw in context, but in many cases the difference is blatant.I'm also reluctant to throw people out because of first amendment problems -- if Grant can throw you out, he can throw me out, and then I'd never get to insult the Vaticanistas. (Oops!) Maybe the rule should be against hurling moral accusations at other folks, like "lying" and "cowardice", not just calling them dumb or blind? Of course, sometimes a person's problem is that he/she *is* literally uncomprehending, and so pointing that out might be allowed. It really is a very complex problem -- sometimes.

Well, this is embarrassing. I'm not going to get a nomination for ordination? Here I was practicing up on my Latin. Is Kicanas a homosexual? I missed that. How do you know?Will the surprises never end?'n.b.By all means lying, cowardice, dumb and you blind fools should be redacted from Commonweal and the Bible too. Don't forget pigs and pearls.

Grant and Ann, I agree it's a tricky balance. But I think it's worth considering an update to the posting rules. Blogs are conversations. I think we have to ask the question, "would you continue a conversation if the person you were talking to ignored the evidence or was irrational?" If reality (e.g., reason, evidence) is removed from a conversation, it is pretty much a waste of time. If two people are authentically trying to communicate, they both are looking at a common reality and attempting to communicate about that reality. Reality is the context and common denominator and arbiter of the conversation, so communication demands a mutual, respectful exploration of reality. Josef Pieper said it better than me: To perceive, as much as possible, all things are they really are and to act according to this truth society as such is sustained by the truth publicly proclaimed and upheld The natural habitat of truth is found in interpersonal communication. Truth lives in dialog, in discussion, in conversation; it resides, therefore in language. A language is well ordered when its words express reality with as little distortion and as little omission as possible.While I agree it should be a last resort, I think if it were in the ground rules it might help shape the conversation in a better way. Ignoring irrational commentsis also an alternative but honestly it's not one that we typically exercise! Ignoring might be the initial defense, blocking the final.

The biggest problem for the bishops is that their leadership credibility as a body is quite low. There's enough background noise on this presidency to keep it that way for a bit longer. Thanks to the internet, the Catholic kaffeeklatsch is pretty broad: people can compare notes on their bishops, and people have instant information to give these guys thumbs up or down. And even post countdowns to their retirement submissions. Pre-charter, guys might be given the benefit of the doubt. In fact, there was quite a bit of crowing about JPII bishops. I see none of that today. The late pope may be "great," but his bishops are something else.Bishop Kicanas seems to be about as tainted as Archbishop Ratzinger. If either were crusaders, they might have uncovered a serious problem or two. But, 1. They were doing their job and not micromanaging, and 2. They weren't expecting bad things from good people (as far as they knew).I agree with the need to confine our criticism to statements ("this statement is ignorant" versus "this person is ignorant") rather than the people behind them. Easier said than done. We too often identify ourselves with our ideas. So when the idea is criticized, for example: that some (not all) conservative Catholics misuse the word "orthodox" when they really mean "someone who aligns idelogically with me." Some might my comment as a personal insult; they equate themselves with orthodoxy.I wish we had more bishops who cut their teeth for twenty to thirty years as pastors of parishes. To me, it doesn't matter so much whether a guy is perceived as liberal, orthodox, or conservative. It's possible for a person to have an ideological profile, and be an effective leader with a fruitful ministry, and be the recipient of a healthy regard that stretches across the flock. In other words, I might disagree with a bishop who makes a same-sex marriage video, but if his track record shows him to be an effective pastor, I might shrug, think I'd do it differently, and still offer support.I confess being mystified that our current crop of bishops aren't sufficiently conservative. I remember thirty years ago trepidation in my home diocese that instead of a parish pastor (the 1969-79 bishop championed by Fulton Sheen) we were getting in outsider from Rome's North American College, a man who had never pastored a parish, and a young guy reportedly using us as a way station to a larger and red-hatted see. Man, have perceptions sure shifted on that one.

A priest or bishop does have an 'effective' ministry if they are not leading the people in their care to repentance. In order inspire repentance you have to teach your flock right from wrong and sin from virtue.So in the sense that they are effectively leading people to Heaven, any priest or bishop (or apostolate in Christ's Name) isn't doing so can be very entertaining but they are no more living out their vocation than a mother who puts on cartoons every time their children tell her they're hungry.

ps.Those reading the thread who are interested in evidence should refer to page 96 of the notorious deposition where you will read what Bp. Kicanas knew and when he knew it. You will see that there was a Memoranum describing McCormack's boozing sexcapades that included the abuse of one minor. You will see that witnesses who saw the Memorandum in McCormack's file were quite disturbed by it and it's subsequent disappearance after Bp. Kicanas ordained him in spite of this Memorandum.The USCCB is on a perilous course but we will take advantage of the Election of Bp. Kicanas for the next three years to finish off what Christ refers to as "vultures" (another word you may want to redact from Commonweal and the Holy Bible) who have been pecking at the Body of Christ for the last 40 years. Buckle up kiddies, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Carol,I think you're conflating roles here. People are properly taught right from wrong by their parents. It's a basic thing, and while you or I might believe it's not well done in all quarters, there are other adult examples a child, adolescent, or even an adult encounter before their bishop.What does the Church teach about the proper role of the bishop? Have you read Christus Dominus?That said, the bishop's role, as I would see it, is to be an exemplary guide by gestures of leadership. Making sincere apologies: using active voice, a lot of "I," and never pawning off the blame on others, even when it may well be true in part.And to be clear, I'm not talking about popularity or entertainment. I get the sense that some (but not all) conservatives are looking for both from their bishops. Some want to be entertained by seeing a bishop smack down someone they don't like. Their cadre starts fan clubs, facebook pages, and the like.Given that Bishop Kicanas was, for all intents and purposes, elected three years ago to take over next week, what is your assessment of the several candidates for 2010 Veep?

Repeatedly calling a patron ignorant is not being forceful, it's a sign of weakness, and a form of bullying. Though I did enjoy the exquisite irony of seeing one claim to be a victim of having one's thread descend into victimology.

Todd,Parents teach right from wrong in many ways. Teaching the Divine interpretation of moral theology is the role of the Vicar of Christ, the Bishops who are supposed to be teaching such theology with precision and the priests who then teach it to the parents and children.Parents then help their children practice their faith and use the Sacraments to help them to live a life of teaching them how to remain in a state of grace. It is a symbiotic relationship that has been thwarted by those who see their role in the Church as redacting the instructions, words of Christ and the Church He left to guide us.There is no such thing as 'conservative' and 'liberal' when discussing law. You either obey laws or you violate them. So in the sense that we are discussing which is which, let us get the right adjectives straight. In the Church, there are Bishops and priests who are teaching obedience and their followers are using the counsel and the Sacraments to strive to be obedient and there are priests and Bishops who are teaching violation of Divine Law and their followers are using their counsel to feel good about themselves as they violate it. This is the 'effective' ministry in your description though you are flowering it up.You seem to be of the opinion that the obedient "side" of the Church where the prophets point out false shepherds Christ warned about to the people who are confused by the dog and pony shows are 'smacking down' people they don't personally 'like'.This is actually a false representation of what we are doing and the reasons why we are doing it and furthermore, this is a discussion about a pedophile enabler who had a memorandum in his possession that described McCormack's boozing sexcacpades including the abuse of a minor and said it would have been grossly unfair not to ordain him between people who are outraged by his poor judgment and arrogance and people who are supportive of his judgment.There is a third group of people who are performing circus acts to distract people from discussing the absurdity of the USCCB returning a king of cronyism to the throne.

There is no irony, exquisite or otherwise, Mark, and Carol McKinley is no patron. But thanks for proving my point. I want to warn you, Mark. I'm about to show why Carol McKinley doesn't know what she's talking about in this case. Again. Do follow Carol's advice, and look at pages 95-97 of George's deposition. There you'll find a lawyer questioning George about McCormack's time at Mundelein.

Q. The highlighted portion says audit review --A. Yes.Q. I'll read that and ask a question. Audit review of Father McCormack's seminarian files failed to locate any documentation of allegations of sexual misconduct or allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Father McCormack. However, interview of the former Vice Rector. Who's the former Vice Rector?A. That would have been at that time -- again, before I got here -- but I -- I believe was Father John Canary.Q. Wasn't it Kicanas?A. I had thought that Father Kicanas was the Rector. [George is right and the lawyer is wrong.--GG]Q. Okay. And it goes on to state of the seminary identified that three distinct allegations of sexual misconduct of both adults and of a minor on the part of Father McCormack were brought to the attention of the seminary officials in the spring quarter of 1992. The former Vice Rector recalls [page 96 begins] that these allegations were documented to Father McCormack's file. Have you seen that documentation?A. Only the memo that the Vice Rector wrote at the time. I have not seen the original. And that came to my attention in January of 2006. I remember reading it and being very disturbed by it.Q. And what was it that was in it that disturbed you?A. What you've just read, sir.Q. The memo reflected that there had been multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by McCormack in seminary, correct?A. I believe there were only two when he was a college seminarian and then the immediate incidents of misconduct when he was in Mexico which was the only time there was any indication about a minor. The others were sexual misconduct with his peers in the seminary, I believe.Q. So that would be three involving minors and there's some other adults?A. No. One. I'm sorry, sir. One involving a minor.Q. One involving a minor? [page 97 begins]A. Yes.MR. KLENK: Jeff, we're getting near 12:30 here. Whenever you reach a suitable stopping point.MR. ANDERSON: Okay. I'll -- I'll go through this. I'm almost done.THE WITNESS: Sure.MR. ANDERSON: All right.BY MR. ANDERSON:Q. I'm going to show you what is marked as 206.A. Thank you.MR. KLENK: Thank you.BY MR. ANDERSONQ. And this is a Sun-Times article quoting a number of folks, among them, Bishop Kicanas, K-I-C-A-N-A-S. And it states referring to McCormack and his seminary days, quote, it would have been grossly unfair not to or -- have ordained him meaning Father McCormack. Based on your review of the memo you received and as reflected in the Defenbaugh report, do you agree with Kicanas's assertion?A. No. [page 98 begins]Q. He should never have been ordained, should he, based on that -- based on that memo you reviewed?A. He would not have been ordained now and he should never have been ordained then.Q. The last paragraph of this document states there was a sense -- and this is quoting Kicanas -- there was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he had learned from the experience. Kicanas said, quote, I was more concerned about his drinking. We sent him to counseling for that. It's correct to say that that memo that you reviewed and those documents regarding McCormack's seminary years belie the assertion made by Bishop Kicanas?MR. KLENK: I would object to the extent that this deals with any report from a mental health advocate or he's done an analysis. I don't want him to do that because we are precluded by law, as you know, from getting into that sort of information.MR. ANDERSON: I think you can answer, Cardinal. [page 99 begins]THE WITNESS: This is a memo based upon report and the memo does say that his problem is drinking.BY MR. ANDERSON:Q. It also says that he had sexually abused at least one minor --A. Yes.Q. -- and had engaged in inappropriate sexual conductA. Absolutely.Q. -- with others --A. That's --Q. -- while in seminary?A. But -- and that's why he should have never been ordained. I agree with you, sir.Q. And so he was not only a problem drinker, he was a pedophile?A. I believe you're correct, sir.

This entire exchange is not about Cardinal George's personal knowledge or Bishop Kicanas's. It is about a section from the 2006 audit of the McCormack case, which was commissioned by George and conducted by Defenbaugh Associates. In that report, the vice rector of Mundelein says there were two complaints about McCormack made by fellow seminarians--complaints about sexual advances--and one that Canary says involved a minor. He is the sole source for this information. Whenever you see these complaints referenced in a news account of the McCormack case, its source is the Canary interview in this audit. George his simply verifying (and interpreting a bit as the lawyer poses leading questions) Canary's account in the audit. Here's what it says:

During the audit process, additional allegations have been brought to the attention of the Archdiocesan personnel of sexual misconduct and allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in one incident and two (2) separate incidents involving adult males, by Fr. McCormack during 1988 and 1991 during his time at Niles College. Information regarding these three (3) incidents came to the attention seminary officials of Mundelein in 1992. These allegations have been received by the Archdiocese of Chicago since Fr. McCormacks January 2006 arrest for alleged sexual abuse of a minor was made public. Audit review of Fr. McCormacks seminarian files failed to locate any documentation of allegations of sexual misconduct or an allegation of sexual abuse with a minor on the part of Fr. McCormack; however, interview of the former Vice Rector of the seminary identified that the three (3) distinct allegations of sexual misconduct with both adults and a minor on the part of Fr. McCormack were brought to the attention of the seminary officials of Mundelein in the spring quarter of 1992. The former Vice Rector recalls that these allegations were documented to Fr. McCormacks file. These allegations centered on Fr. McCormacks time in the college seminary, circa 1988 through 1989 where Fr. McCormack attended Niles College of Loyola University which was in operation from 1968 until 1994. In the Fall, 1994, Niles College changed its name to St. Joseph Seminary College. Audit review of Fr. McCormacks seminarian files failed to locate any documentation of the actual accusation of the allegations of sexual misconduct or allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Fr. McCormack. The former Vice Rector recalls that these allegations were documented to Fr. McCormacks file. Accordingly, seminarian officials followed guidelines as set forth at that time. Fr. McCormack was counseled for alcohol abuse as identified by recommendations from other professionals. The former Vice Rector noted that had these allegations been brought to the attention of seminarian officials today, Fr. McCormack would have been removed from the seminary.

Bishop Kicanas has a different recollection of events. One can speculate about what happened to the record of these complaints (I use the word because I'm dubious that McCormack's actions with respect to his peers amounts to criminal abuse), but we do not have any details about them beyond what appears in the audit. Now we have Kicanas's recollection, which is markedly different, and signifcantly more detailed than the account in the audit.The deposition of George that Carol finds dispositive is not about "what Bp. Kicanas knew and when he knew it," as she says. It is about what Canary recalled. She continues, "You will see [in the deposition] that there was a Memoranum describing McCormacks boozing sexcapades that included the abuse of one minor. You will see that witnesses who saw the Memorandum in McCormacks file were quite disturbed by it and its subsequent disappearance after Bp. Kicanas ordained him in spite of this Memorandum."She continues to refer to "witnesses who saw the memorandum." The memorandum is something Canary produced after McCormack was arrested. It was a summary of his recollections. You will not see mention of "witnesses" in the deposition--nor will you find anything about "witnesses" who "were quite disturbed by it and its subsequent disappearance after Bp. Kicanas ordained him in spite of this memorandum."She has the whole thing completely wrong. Kicanas did not allow McCormack to be ordained (I don't believe he ordained him) "in spite of this memorandum." The memo did not exist at the time. Kicanas says he had not heard any allegations of sexual abuse at the time. He learned of inappropriate sexual conduct and, after investigating and speaking with McCormack, determined that he had an alcohol problem for which he was treated. Treatment Kicanas ordered. So, on Kicanas's account, and even if you find Canary's convincing, the seminary knew of three complaints. Do those amount to "boozing sexcapades"?In her most recent comment, she again refers to a quote attributed to Kicanas in an article he has refuted. She claims he "said it would have been grossly unfair not to ordain him [McCormack]." No, he has most recently said that he was misquoted, and that McCormack should not have been ordained. She continues to refer to that debunked story as if it's completely accurate. What do you call that if not willful misrepresentation?Again, I can find no reason to believe McKinley is making sound arguments or putting forward trustworthy analyses of facts. Rather, she shows a rather stunning disregard for them.

While I'm at it, the anonymous blogger Diogenes, who writes with surprising frequency on the issue of homosexuality, thinks he's caught Kicanas in an inconsistency: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otr.cfm?id=5425He has not. Kicanas says he received no allegations of sexual abuse. Diogenes, in what one might call a Jesuitical move, sneakily conflates homosexual sexual activity with sexual abuse. No TKO this time, Di.

I am quite sure Bishop Kicanas has a different recollection of the events.Usually, somebody in the hot seat does.The point is, he admits to knowing about the 'activity'. This much is not in dispute. He admits to the knowledge that he was a boozer whose sexuality went haywire. He acnowledges that he thought the fix was getting him help for the boozing, ignoring the activity as something McCormack would eventually get out of his system.The dispute is between the person in the hot seat, Bp. Kicanas, and the witnesses who were very disturbed by the Memorandum describing the activity including the abuse of a minor.While you continuously try to portray the disputations of Bp. Kicanas of the witnesses, he himself was in the room at the time he confronted McCormack about being in a barroom sexually assaulting somebody by groping them. Bp. Kicanas disputations include his belief that being in a barroom sexually assaulting somebody was evidence that he had worked out his problems with his spiritual advisor.You believe this is sound. You disbelieve that Bp. Kicanas was responsible for reading the memorandum and making the decision to cut him loose. There is a sucker born every minute.

Carol,Thank you for your last response; it was most illuminating. As I read it, I note that you declined my invitation to respond to three specific questions more or less germane to this thread treating Church teaching on the role of a bishop, and including a nudge that perhaps there might be something to say about the handful of nominees for the 2013 presidency. I also note you zeroed in on other facets of my post as you ignored my questions. You could have addressed both my queries and your concerns, but you chose otherwise. You seem less interested in having a conversation than in preaching your own views. Fair enough.Being a prophet is more than annoying people: people in power or people with whom you speak. Being persecuted and insulted isn't exclusively a prophet's badge. Some individuals are provocative, socially clumsy, misanthropic, or have other qualities that attract unwelcome responses. My own sense is BishopKicanas may not be the best candidate, but I'm less willing to take a stand on that issue as I would be standing with people who seem to delight in innuendo, tall tales, as they avoid attempts at honest conversation. Enough said. Next crisis?

A. I had thought that Father Kicanas was the17 Rector.18 o. Okay.19 And it goes on to state of the seminary20 identified that three distinct allegations of21 sexual misconduct of both adults and of a minor on22 the part of Father McCormack were brought to the23 attention of the seminary officials in the spring24 quarter of 1992. The former Vice Rector recalls**CONFIDENTIAL***1 Q. He should never have been ordained, should2 he, based on that -- based on that memo you3 reviewed?4 A. He would not have been ordained now and he5 should never have been ordained then.6 Q. The last paragraph of this document states7 there was a sense -- and this is quoting Kicanas --8 there was a sense that his activity was part of the9 developmental process and that he had learned from10 the experience. Kicanas said, quote, I was more11 concerned about his drinking. We sent him to12 counseling for that.13 It's correct to say that that memo that14 you reviewed and those documents regarding15 McCormack's seminary years belie the assertion made16 by Bishop Kicanas?17 MR. KLENK: I would object to the extent that18 this deals with any report from a mental health19 advocate or he's done an analysis. I donJt want20 him to do that because we are precluded by law, as21 you know, from getting intoJthat sort of22 information.23 MR. ANDERSON: I think you can answer,24 Cardinal.98McCORKLE COURT REPORTERS, INC.CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (312) 263-0052***CONFIDENTIAL***1 THE WITNESS: This is a memo based upon report2 and the memo does say that his problem is drinking.3 BY MR. ANDERSON:4 Q. It also says that he had sexually abused5 at least one minorJust so that we are clear what other people have testified about Bp. Kicanas. As he said he hasn't had the curiosity to read it yet, we ought to get everything in as many places as we can in case he's interested now.I'm sure people here are accustomed to having you do all their thinking for them but just in case they'e like to see it in black and white, I'm putting it out there.Somebody asks above, what the damage is in going forward for all of us to agree that anybody, whether they teach obedience or violating Divine law, should be excluded from the Presidency of the USCCB if they have a history of enabling pedophiles.One wonders doesn't one.But the effect of Commonweal fortifying the advancement of a pedophile enabler because he is seen by them as liberating the chains of sexuality will be that all of the work done to pry out pedophile enablers will be laid to waste. The side of the Church that reserves and conserves their human sexuality for God and Divine Law will use this as their example to advance their pedophile enablers.It is a lose/lose position.But it was never about pedophile enablers was it. It was about hijacking the situation to advance who is liberating sex and use it against those who teach reserving sex.There is no other conclusion to draw.

Todd,Of course there is much more than teaching obedience. But if you cloud people's intellect with innuendo about which is obedience and which is violation of God's law, any singing, dancing and entertainment done in the Name of God as the path to salvation by mortals are matters of ego and violations of the First Commandment.

"Being a prophet is more than annoying people: people in power or people with whom you speak. Being persecuted and insulted isnt exclusively a prophets badge. Some individuals are provocative, socially clumsy, misanthropic, or have other qualities that attract unwelcome responses."Wow. This is really good.If only Christ were around to deliver messages like you He would not have solicited the unwelcome response of the people of executing Him for His unattractive qualities.You have finally arrived.Do tell us how to do it Todd. Give us the reader's digest version and save us all from the 4000 years of martyrdom.

I'm not interested in doing your thinking for you, Carol. (Did you notice that I reproduced more of the deposition than you did, and that you just re-posted parts I already copied?) I just want you to get your facts straight. I can see that you'd rather not. Your choice. But I'm afraid you're no longer welcome to spread more lies on this thread. For the record: Anderson is quoting the Sun-Times article that Kicanas now says misquoted him and distorted his intent. For the record: According to Kicanas, he acted in response to reports of McCormack's sexual misconduct while under the influence of alcohol. This is not an uncommon experience for human beings. And let't not forget: Kicanas sent McCormack into therapy for this problem--both the sexual misconduct and the drinking. So stop floating your paranoid delusions about Kicanas as approving of the seminarian's three reported incidents of sexual misconduct.And now you think you've divined my real reason for pushing back on your distortions of fact: I think Kicanas will advance an agenda of sexual liberation! I'm sorry, but I find that opinion utterly unhinged. You know what's a lose-lose proposition? Trying to engage you in an honest debate.

GrantThanks for the Diogenes link. His writing is unfailingly informing and entertaining. You state that Diogenes sneakily conflates homosexual activity with sexual abuse. Rather than rudely claiming you are ignorant, I will instead say that you have not read Diogenes closely. He is chastising the Bishop, wholly appropriately in my view, for fecklessly hiding behind the skirt of the legalistic:I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone.When, in fact, the larger point, which Ive emphasized, is that the Bishops own words confirm that he had every reason to suspect that McCormack was having troubles with his sexuality yet saw fit to advocate for his ordination to the priesthood.This is how a good shepherd behaves? Then and, even worse, now?

GRANT:"While Im at it, the anonymous blogger Diogenes, who writes with surprising frequency on the issue of homosexuality, thinks hes caught Kicanas in an inconsistency: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otr.cfm?id=5425He has not. Kicanas says he received no allegations of sexual abuse. Diogenes, in what one might call a Jesuitical move, sneakily conflates homosexual sexual activity with sexual abuse. No TKO this time, Di."THE FACTS OF RECORD:McCORKLE COURT REPORTERS, INC.CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (312) 263-0052***CONFIDENTIAL***1 THE WITNESS: This is a memo based upon report2 and the memo does say that his problem is drinking.3 BY MR. ANDERSON:4 Q. It also says that he had sexually abused5 at least one minorLet's not quibble about ordaining people abusing minors. Todd is about to tell us how Christ, the Apostles and 4000 years of Judeo-Christian martyrs could have avoided annoying people.All eyes on deck!

Grant,I'm just keeping people focused on the memo in the seminarians file that said abusing minors while he was drinking was actually part of the 'activity' Bp. Kicanas forgot about, that's all.I have not once brought up homosexuality into this debate. It is continuously being brought up by you and other commenters. In fact, I have not once entered into the discusion about whether Kicinas thought a homosexual boozer into rectories all over town might run into some problems when they fall in love with their roomates would be a wise thing for the salvation of all the souls involved - again, reflecting his poor judgment.Is it unhinged to conclude that pointing out that the people who keep bringing up homosexuality and Kicanas - which are clear you believe is a contemplation in whether to advance them are dots to connect?It's going to be a fun three years isn't it. The USCCB is really going to bring about unity with this one!

hile in seminary?13 A. But -- and that's why he should have neverI~14 been ordained. I agree with you, sir. I~151617Q. And so he was not only a problem drinker,he was a pedophile?A. I believe you're correct, sir.18 MR. ANDERSON: Let's take a break.

I am finding it difficult to sort this all out, but in one explanation of what constituted "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies that would disqualify a man from being eligible for the priesthood, wasn't youthful homosexual behavior while drinking an example of what was not deep-seated tendencies?Also, sex with a "minor" does not make one a pedophile unless the minor is prepubescent. I haven't heard any ages mentioned. The age-of-consent laws in Mexico are very confusing, so it is not easy to say what a minor is if going by Mexican law. If patting posteriors is a sexual offense, football players and other athletes should all be registered sex offenders!I found a quote that I subsequently lost by Kincanas pointing out that the go-ahead for ordination of someone in a seminary is a group decision, and that no one questioned the ordination of Daniel McCormack, although in hindsight it was a very bad decision. I have seen absolutely no details of what McCormack is alleged to have done before he entered the seminary. His homosexual activity with peers seems to be something he reported himself. There seems to be very slim evidence indeed that Kincanas, based on what he knew at the time, acted wrongly in permitting McCormack from being ordained.

David N. --Agreed. (I hope that the conservatives of the blog have noticed that some of us liberals are defending a JPII bishop.)

Interesting back and forth but you all miss the process and the system. Unless you have gone through the seminary, been a formation director, etc. you miss nuance, distinctions, etc. and you all are quoting from a disposition (not from Kicanas or Canary) and a Sun Times article (w/Kicanas rebuttal) that happened years later based on a 2006 audit and subsequent George deposition. All of you are Monday morning quarterbacking but at least Grant is trying to separate, define, and articulate who said and knew what.The system: 1988-1992 - McCormack is at Niles - college seminary on the Loyola campus (now changed in name and direction as of 1994). As with many clerical candidates, McCormack is confronted with behavior (peer reported) that involves alcohol and sexual behavior. At that time, the rector/vice-rector following formation/student director recommendations, sent McCormack to substance abuse treatment. Within that treatment we can probably ascertain that the sexual acting out was addressed. (yes, in retrospect, we can say that the foundational issue was pedophilia; not substance abuse. Unfortunately, that is not the decision or determination that was made - a determination that was reasonable given 1994; given that we had a candidate who was in college and college aged; and formation directors who had been involved with McCormack since he was 14-15. We do not have (and will never get) the actual treatment report; presume that the drinking behaviors were addressed (since he had at least 4-5 more years of seminary before ordination and there are no indications that the record shows any more misuse of substances?). Again, if you are evaluating candidates and you do not see any more questionable behavior from senior year in college until ordination 4-5 years later, then one can expect that the evaluation team -rector, vice-rector, etc. - would recommend for ordination (who does the ordination really is not important in this process since they merely act on the decision/recommendation of the Mundelein faculty).Reality - 1-3 questionable college acting out behaviors would not have been used to suspend or stop a candidate's progress to ordination back in the 1990's. Not sure that it would even stop it today depending upon the seminary and bishop. Carol - is this sequence of events filled with holes and questions? yes Does this mean that Kicanas is a "loose" cannon? No Could he or should he have done better? In retrospect, yes, but he acted as most did in his position and acted reasonably based on the information he had.Sorry, but all of you are focused on the wrong issue. It is the system that is at fault here. And all too often, even today, the system continues to operate this way. The seminary system needs to change - more mixed and external input needs to be a part of any evaluation process; more experts need to be involved (not just local priests assigned to a seminary position); the process needs to be tailored to the individual not just based on annual school steps. The process needs to be extended via years and more internship experience needs to be incorporated into the process.The failure here happened after ordination. As in almost every diocese, the newly ordained goes forth in a "sink or swim" model. Unlike the pre-VII period when newly ordained priests took an oath to abstain from alcohol for five years, there is no process of ongoing support, mentorship, or even continuing professional development. The first 10 years of clerical life are crucial especially the years right before and after the 10th anniversary. By then, a priest has gone through 2-3 assignments; his initial excitement and energy has probably long since been disappated; and he is confronting his own demons, loneliness, lack of intimacy with another human being, career disappointments; learned that the diocesan process is a political game, etc. Thus, there is little to no monitoring (in the best sense) of a cleric; there is little to no accountability. And so we see the likes of McCormack over and over again. Blame Kicanas if you want - sure that he regrets what happened but it does no good to punish him personnally based on hear-say evidence; monday morning quarterbacking, etc.Using that standard - we would have to get rid of 60% of more of all the bishops in the USCCB.

Bill,I think you've been misled into the exaggerations. We are not trying to 'get rid' of Bishop Kicanas. This is about the election of the President of the USCCB. We are trying to set criteria that should have been set years ago. It is amazing how far people are going to minimize Daniel McCormack's behavior and the Bishop who saw that behavior as a learning curve here at Commonweal. Not only has nothing changed in the USCCB, the sexual 'evolution' culture actually goes out of their way to torpedo warning signs of an abuser.This is an injustice to victims of abusers and to God Himself and it is contemptible. You may want to read the new timeline that Boston Catholics have put together:http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/usccb-election-ale... lightening rod should have the decency to recuse himself and anyone on the list of ten names who has a history of minimizing warning signs of abuse ought to follow his lead.

"Also, sex with a minor does not make one a pedophile unless the minor is prepubescent. I havent heard any ages mentioned. The age-of-consent laws in Mexico are very confusing, so it is not easy to say what a minor is if going by Mexican law.If patting posteriors is a sexual offense, football players and other athletes should all be registered sex offenders!"What a slap in the face to victims of the sexual abuse of pedophiles.Let this be a warning to those who are trucking their children to parishes where priests are preaching sexual liberation. This is the mindset of this cabal. Take your children and get out of Dodge.

How does the election of the president of the USCCB work? Is it a secret ballot? Will each bishop's vote be secret from the other bishops as well as from the public? How was the vice-presidential election in which Kicanas was elected vice-president conducted?I'm just wondering if we're going to be listening to denunciations of bishops for their vote for the next three years.This looks like a non-issue. Kicanas' colleagues elected him Vice-President, knowing the precedent that the Vice is usually elected President next time around and knowing everything that has been said about McCormack here. Apparently, they think he'll do a good job. Apparently, they think the nut-case blogger fringe is too small, too ignorant and too repugnant to pose any feasible obstacle. I agree with the bishops.

"Apparently, they think hell do a good job. Apparently, they think the nut-case blogger fringe is too small, too ignorant and too repugnant to pose any feasible obstacle. I agree with the bishops."Yes and that's precisely what they thought when they were coddling pedophiles and their enablers. Some things never change do they. Except when they look out into the pews and they look into the bank accounts and the see what the too small too ignorant and to repugnant did in response to their arrogance. Minimize the warning signs of rape and cover up for them so they can elect this lightening rod and they'll see how it pans out for them in the next three years.

Carol, when you say "We are not trying to get rid of Bishop Kicanas....We are trying to set criteria"'. Who are "we"? Are you speaking for a group or organization? Who are they?I don't know enough about the bar episode, but I imagine the underage person couldn't be all that young, or he/she wouldn't be in a bar, right? (I used to try to get into clubs with fake i.d before I was "legal", it's pretty common.) And the college student would have been about 20? I don't want to excuse what happened without knowing the underaged kid's age, but maybe, on the other hand, you shouldn't condemn it so vehemently without knowing the ages involved. Regarding decreasing donations to archdioceses, are fundamentalist Catholics currently substantial donors to CCHD and similar campaigns?

Carol - pedophile is often used in behavioral health to describe any type of sexual abuse that violates legal standards - thus, in many states from the age of 18 or less. When behavioralists define pedophilia, they make a distinction between abusers who violate victims under the age of 11 (some use 13) and those who abuse older children/teens. This all falls under pedophilia and it is a crime.I am not trying to make excuses for Kicanas. Personally, I have little use for most bishops - they were appointed because they met a litmus test that had little to do with following the gospel message and much to do with clericalism and blind loyalism - not a plus IMO. Bishops fall into my own category of "complicity" - they are complicit in criminal behavior because of behavior that is both "by commission" & " by intention". Unfortunately, the current legal structure in the US protects abusers via SOLs, pattern by district attorneys/law enforcement of giving bishops the benefit of the doubt, and allowing bishops/insurance companies to drag out proceedings for years e.g. even with victorious lawsuits, bishops do not comply with release of records agreements.In many ways, you are trying to close the barn door after the horses have escaped. For me, you can deal with this through legal requirements (dallas chapter) or you can proactively begin to substantially change the system esp. the ministerial candidacy process. If you succeed in derailing Kicanas, not sure that it will effectively make any difference except you will feel better. Fine - set the criteria; I support that. But focus on the criteria. I am NOT minimizing McCormack's behaviors - IMO he needs to spend most of his remaining years in lock up; I also would jail the current cardinal and possibly a few auxiliary bishops while you are at it. My consistent statement since 1983 has been, until a US bishop is jailed, these behaviors will continue to be excused, etc. But, I say this based upon factual information from depositions, allegations that are now confirmed and admitted to, etc. I lived through the Dallas Diocese mess in the early 1990's and watched the local district attorney excuse the obvious "mental reservations" and even more direct "misstatements" of Bishop Grahaman. Again, there are two issues here - abusers and the bishops who excuse and cover up.

Irene,"Fundamentalist" Catholics??Here we go with the innuendos again!Catholics obedient to doctrine. You can say it! Striving to be obedient to Divine Law.You ask a good question. "We" are people who find the minimization of the warning signs that ended up taking 23 victims something we don't want to ever happen again.Bill,I'm sure you don't realize it, but trying to there's a lot innuendo about what the age of the minor was that is really irrelevant. A minor is a minor. McCormack had a direct conversation with Bp. Kicinas about his drunken night in the barroom sexually assaulting and he not only ignored the warning signs, he said ordaining him would have been 'grossly unfair'. There doesn't have to be any conjecture about how ignoring those warning signs led to the rape of 23 people.This is a cover up. If this were a Bishop who taught obedience to doctrines, you would be joining our calls asking him to recuse himself.The culture of protecting sexual abusers and their enablers is documented in this thread and it is shocking.

I detect some here are reaching out in trying to answer Carol McKinley's concerns about clergy abuse and the cover up. as they say in NJ.. forgettaboutit. Her Faithful Voice was launched in NE in 2002 to undermine VOTF and SNAP who led the way on abuse and cover up. .. She abhors Commonweal and all it stands for too. Think Tea Party activist. ..but keep letting her post.. it's can be used as fuel for change.

BTW - nobody working on the campaign cares whether it is successful. We feel better because it is the right thing to do. Something that is foreign to this locus in cyberspace.

Ed,I take exception to your mis-characterization.Faithful Voice was indeed launched to repudiate groups hijacking abuse to bring in their agenda of dissent. That is a whole separate issue.

"BTW nobody working on the campaign cares whether it is successful. We feel better because it is the right thing to do. Something that is foreign to this locus in cyberspace."Carol --Do you realize that you yourself just said in so many words that the reason you are engaging in the fight against Bp. Kicanas is for what *you* get out of it: so you would "feel better" about "doing the right thing". Those are your own words. You make NO mention of doing it for the children. Carol is in this fight for Carol's sake. I don't expect you to understand the point. But it should be noted for the record.

P. S. You even say you don't care if your campaign is successful. So much for your interest in the children.

Anne,Say what? It was mentioned that if we are successful in "derailing" Kicanas we will "feel better".All we are doing is letting the world know that minimizing abuse to coddle pederasts and their enablers is every bit as alive and well as it always has been.We already know the ending Anne. Whatever happens, Christ is victorious in the end. The gates of Hell do not prevail against Christ's Church.Our job is to just speak up, this is the only thing I/we have to answer to when I/we see God. Once people are told, they then get to make their choices and they will answer to God for it. This is how it works.Don't take my word for it, here's an explanation from a Saint of Christ's Church:You spoil the sacraments of the Church, you tear up the articles of the Faith, you destroy the churches, you break and burn the statues which were set up as memorials, you massacre Christians because they preserve the true Faith. What is this fury? Or what rage or madness consumes you? This faith, which God Almighty, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have revealed, established, elevated to power, and glorified a thousand ways through miracles - you persecute this Faith, you wish to overthrow and destroy it. You are blind, but not because you lack eyes or understanding. Do you believe that you will remain unpunished for it? Or are you unaware that God opposes your unlawful efforts and will not permit you to remain in darkness and error? So that the more you indulge yourselves in crime and sacrilege, the more He will prepare great punishments and anguish for you..."Ugh. Sounds awful doesn't it?The warnings are simply an act of charity and servitude to God. This alone is what makes us feel better.Nighty nights.

"Say what?It was mentioned that if we are successful in derailing Kicanas we will feel better.Carol --No, not "it was mentioned . . . " You said, and I'm copying your own words for the second time:"BTW nobody working on the campaign cares whether it is successful. We feel better because it is the right thing to do. Something that is foreign to this locus in cyberspace."YOU said that. Scroll back to 11/13/2010 - 9:50 pm and you'll find your own words. And you wonder why we criticize your arguments?

"Our job is to just speak up, this is the only thing I/we have to answer to when I/we see God."No, Carol, your job is NOT "just to speak up". Your job is to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The truth is awful enough. Nobody has to make up stories and "just speak up".

Christ will bring the success in whatever ways and in whatever time it pleases Him.Success may not mean that Bp. Kicanas recuses himself or doesn't get elected. Success may mean that Bp. Kicanas gets elected and we spend the three years pouring over Bp. Kicanas career and we erode the credibility of the USCCB for three years. We've already started and have some new news for tomorrow. There seems to be a lot of sexcapades under Bp. Kicanas nose and boozing too, threats and other things folks may find of interest so stay tuned. Get it?We only do what we are called to do in prayer. Of course it is for the children but God is served first and foremost.Sweet dreams.

A minor is a minor.Not when you are charging "pedophilia." In Californiathe age of consent is 18. In New York it's 17, and in Colorado it's 15. So in California, a minor is 17 or under. In New York, a minor is 16 or under, and in Colorado a minor is 14 or under. Technically, pedophilia must involve someone 13 or under. It seems to me we know absolutely nothing about the allegations of McCormack and the "minor" in Mexico, and it sounds like Kincanas didn't know anything either. But to make a judgment about the incident, and McCormack's fitness for ordination, one would have to know the age of the alleged victim, McCormack's age at the time, and what is alleged to have happened, and whether or not the allegations were true.It is very easy to judge McCormack on the basis of his later behavior, but Kincanas had to judge him based on his behavior in the seminary and earlier. If we want to assess Kincanas's judgment, we have to know what he knew at the time.

Regarding editing/deleting comments: I wouldn't edit content beyond what you already screen for, but I do think it would be alright to delete some comments when they are saying the same thing over and over and over again. Just keep a couple to capture the commenter's point. When half the thread is one person (not saying anything new each time), it is the equivalent of just shouting someone down to stop a conversation. It's spam really. What do other blogs do about this sort of problem?

Ed Gleason,Thanks for clarifying where Carol is coming from.

CK says: "Except when they look out into the pews and they look into the bank accounts and the see what the too small too ignorant and to repugnant did in response to their arrogance."No, that's what will not happen. Time to give up, McKinley, this horse won't gallop. Even the few other ignorant, repugnant pseudo-Catholic blogs (e.g. what's-his-name, Professor George's guy?) have given up on this one. Kicanas will be President of USCCB. As he should be; there is no valid reason to deny him. You will still be a blogger whom nobody takes seriously.

For those that have been practicing up on their Latin-Oriens est oriens occidensque est favonius et horum numquam invenient

Irene, you raise a good question. At this point, I've given her enough rope, I'm sure. I've pruned a few of her comments (and others').So, Carol, here's the deal. From now on, I'm going to delete any of your comments that repeat the errors I have corrected and those corrected by Kicanas himself. I won't give you and your little campaign of lies any more free airtime. For anyone who's still paying attention: Carol McKinley is ineducable on this matter. She continues to condemn Kicanas with quotes he has repudiated and she continues to make up facts to suit her agenda to delegitimize Kicanas. Her analysis of this situation is not to be trusted. Strange that someone with this kind of sensitivity to the threat posed by abusive priests wasn't able to muster outrage over the election of Cardinal George, whose proximate responsibility in the McCormack case is significantly greater than Kicanas's. That's the tell.

"It is very easy to judge McCormack on the basis of his later behavior, but Kincanas had to judge him based on his behavior in the seminary and earlier. If we want to assess Kincanass judgment, we have to know what he knew at the time."I can agree with that. Although it appears Kincanas may have been a bit too willing to pass the buck to a therapist, it was the silly season then and certainly others in his position did no better (though some did do better, which is worth considering). What troubles me much more is that even today Kincanas seems much more concerned about himself than anyone else. His lawyered-up responses are repugnant. Hasn't Cardinal Law, the bane of the left, shown more remorse, more compassion, more penitence?

The silly season, Mark? You've got your slogans mixed up. It was the late eighties and early nineties. Well after John Paul purified the priesthood, remember?You think you've got a real winner with that "lawyered up" line, don't you? I don't see it. The question is whether Kicanas knew of abuse allegations. He says he didn't. Your presumption of the bishop's self-interest is rather rich. And to answer your question about Law: no. The man called down the wrath of God on the Boston Globe. That was his first response. It took a lot of disturbing stories to convince him that God might not have been on the side of the enablers.

For those of you who see the abuses of people over the age of 18 as consenting a ts between adults, I believe victims groups disagree with you, even when the abuser is a sexual liberation theology lover. The pain is just as deep. How do you characterize this story:http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-02-09/news/0502090246_1_seminari...

Oh, and Ann, just in case you misinterpret -- If the warnings of the faithful to keep pedophile enablers out of the President of the USCCB so that our children will be protected from the abuses of power and the enablers of the abusers of power are dismissed and rebuffed, we will take that as the sign that there is a bigger success yonder on down the road and we shall carry on for three years unearthing the victims of Bp. Kicanas poor judgment. Jesus, we trust in you.

"The question is whether Kicanas knew of abuse allegations."For you, Grant, that may well be the question. I would encourage you to have a somewhat higher expectation of our shepherds. If you read my comment more carefully, you'll see that I did not presume the bishop acted in self-interest. In fact, it was just the opposite as I thought it only charitable to cut him some slack on his original poor judgment. I concluded that the bishop was acting in his own self-interest based on his later actions and statements. You are, of course, free to draw a different conclusion, but your argument would be more compelling if you deal with the opposing view as it's presented.Also, for what it's worth, it never occurred to me that I had a "real winner" line until you brought it up.

You have an interesting idea of charity, Mark: "What troubles me much more is that even today Kincanas seems much more concerned about himself than anyone else. His lawyered-up responses are repugnant." What makes you think you know the bishop is more concerned with himself than anyone else? Mark: thanks for your encouragement, but this thread is about the McCormack case and Kicanas's role in it, not what we expect more generally of our bishops. Nice try though.

Carol,Thank you for the story about Fr Yakaitis. But doesn't it weaken the case against Kincanas? It paints a picture of alcohol being abused by a sexual predator at Niles College, but it also shows someone given alcohol by a predator. We do not know which role McCormack played, though either may have influenced his later sexual activity. If someone at Niles had gotten McCormack drunk in order to have sexual relations with him, would you still say Kincanas should have denied him ordination? Take it to the extreme -- if McCormack was raped in college, should he have been denied ordination?Sexual relations between director and directee generally are harmful, regardless of age. I do not think anyone contests that. But the incidents with McCormack were between peers, so this is not particularly relevant for this situation.The missing piece in all this seems to be Fr Canary, who alleged that a document existed about McCormack at Niles that no one else seems to know about and was not found in the audit. If he thought McCormack should not have been ordained, how did he express that at the time? [I know nothing about Canary, so he may be blameless in all this. I just do not understand where he was in all this.]

"What makes you thinkthe bishop is more concerned with himself than anyone else?"I had thought my reason for thinking this was obvious, since it is rare that lawyered-up responses are motivated by anything other than self-interest. But to elaborate, I believe an official who, even unwittingly or unintentionally, had a hand in enabling a child molester would respond to the questions presented to him with a heartfelt sorrow, an empathy for the victim, a willingness to accept responsibility for his own poor judgments, etc. Instead, we have this:"I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone."Cui bono? How do you think a victim, or a victim's parents, feel when reading such a pathetically callous response? And that's why I believe the bishop is acting in his own self-interest--but you already knew that, didn't you?

I see. You assume Kicanas's explanation is "lawyered up," therefore you deduce that he is more interested in himself than anyone else.

Jim,Grant is not permitting the correct link to be put up with the details of the story so that readers have accurate information to draw a judgment.

That is the correct link. It's broken up into three pages. We don't host large swaths of other publications' copyrighted work.

Ok, I see there's work to be done on the part about dealing with an opposing view as it's presented. Hopefully others got something out of our exchange.

What do you mean, Mark? Your premise is that Kicanas's response is "lawyered up." Then you said that "Kincanas seems much more concerned about himself than anyone else." You arrive at the conclusion because he didn't show sufficient remorse?

One last time.Premise: Someone who had a hand in enabling a child molester would be penitent.Circumstance:Person A responds, repeatedly, with statements that attempt to deflect blame and show no semblance of penitence.Conclusion: Person A is acting in his own-self interest.

No, you said he's more concerned with himself than anyone else. And his position is that the blame was unwarranted and derived largely from false reporting. He does, however, say "Would that he had never been ordained."

This has entered the surreal. Do you not even realize that "his position is that the blame was unwarranted and derived largely from false reporting" is just further evidence that the bishop is being defensive and buck-passing rather than responsible and man-upping?

Man-upping, huh? No, your position rests on the assumption of his guilt.

It is indeed surreal.The story linked above tells of an adult who went to his spiritual advisor at Mundelin and confessed his homosexual attraction causing him temptation in the seminary. The confessor used that information, plied him with alcohol and after the abuse, he coerced and blackmailed.Even though this man was an adult, the situation destroyed him. He was unable to become a celibate priest because of it. I would urge you all to read the story of the culture Bp. Kicanas was fostering.Is this somehow less egregious because this man was over the age of 21? If the man was 30 or 40 is this somehow consensual sex? Minimizing the abuse of a minor because of conjecture about his age, reported to Bp. Kicanas and documented in the seminary file of McCormack is a ruse to give Bp. Kicanas an excuse.

Carol - could relate to you dozens of stories that are exactly the same as you just relayed about Mundelein. One piece of this said history (at least in the US) is that no one has produced a timeline or history of abusers, their seminaries attended, when the abuser started seminary and at what age, and what formation/faculty was part of the theology school evaluations. Yes, there is at bishop.accountability a list of ordinations and % of abusers per year but the issue is the trend, patterns, and that some seminaries did a good job and others (e.g. Mundelein, Boston, St. John's Camarillo - LA have remarkably sad records with significant human tragedies).You also raise an interesting point - we know that some abusers abuse because they were abused. This happens in the seminary process (notorious example is St. Jospeh's in Missouri and Bishop Gaydos' staff) - there are many others you can name. Again, there is no detailed information about this even on a site such as bishops.accountability.Your story above is unable to definitively prove what, when, and how Kicanas would have known about this abuse during the last 4-6 years of McCormack's studies or even how true it is. Tragic, yes; sad, yes but my guess is that research could find at least some other clerics from Mundelein ordained from 1988 on who also abused and were "instructed" by some of this same teaching staff. Should Kicanas have been more thorough? yes should he have known about staff who were "cruising" yesBut, his failure is the failure of many others.

"Carol could relate to you dozens of stories that are exactly the same as you just relayed about Mundelein"I know Bill, I know. Boston Catholics are up to their necks with tips and links to stories about abuse at Mundelin which evidently earned the reputation of "Fundelin".The point here is, it was abuse of power and abuse of trust and abuse of young men who went into the seminary to become priests, including men with homosexual attraction who wanted to remain celibate and devote themselves to God. It is abuse to ply even an adult with liquor, bait them into bed and then afterwards use coercion and blackmail.I don't understand it why anyone would protect this environment - making excuses about the age of the 'minor' who McCormack took advantage of in his drunken caper at the barroom. Making excuses for the Bishop who ignored the Memo in McCormack's seminary file so he could say it would have been grossly unfair not to ordain drunkard who loses his inhibitions sexually and is a sexually active homosexual and send him off into rectories and parishes. Circumventing the testimony in depositions to say people who don't believe the 'response' of Bp. Kicinas are the 'liars'. Bp. Kicanas to this very day has not even bothered to go read the testimony. This is has been a shocking experience.

Sorry - just can't make the same connections you make given the limited amount of known information and data. Also, knowing that much of the most revealing, personal information about any candidate is never put into their file - even their formation file.You presume that his college incidents were part of is theology school/ordination evaluation file. Not necessarily. You presume that Kicanas should have known more about McCormack based on his dealings with him during college. Agree, that given his own experience he should have had a boatload of questions about McCormack. What we do not know is - what did he ask; what was shared with him about McCormack's last 4-5 years. We do know McCormack was sent for treatment - it appears it was successful. Yes, you and I can disagree with the seminary/bishop who made ajudgement call years later to ordain him - it happens every year. It was George's deposition - thus, second hand testimony based on George's memory about an incident/evaluation/event years before in which Kicanas was involved. Very weak link in terms of substantial evidence - not exactly a smoking gun for Kicanas and given George's reliability (or lack thereof) - even weaker.

". . . (notorious example is St. Jospehs in Missouri . . ."------------Where is/was that? (I'm familiar with old St. John's prep. in K.C., Kenrick, Conception, Perryville, but never heard of St. Joseph's.)

Carol,I am unclear about what happened in the incidents involving McCormack before his ordination. Can you explain briefly what they were? Is this known, or is it just known that there were some kind of incidents without knowing what the details were? What did McCormack actually do, and what did Kincanas know about? You have used the words "boozing" and "sexcapades," which are of course quite sensational, but do we know anything at all about what happened? I certainly haven't been able to find any details. As I said in an earlier message, somewhere in the explanation of who may and may not be ordained an example was given of what was not considered deep-seated homosexual tendencies, it it was homosexual encounters under the influence of alcohol. Of course, there is no doubt about what McCormack did later, and it is unfortunate that he was ordained. But there still is a major question about whether there was sufficient evidence prior to his ordination to predict what he would do later.

"...much of the most revealing, personal information about any candidate is never put into their file even their formation file."Bill deH. --Given this fact, then the conclusion is inevitable: there was no *system* of formation. Is there now? Are formation files cumulative now?

"Cui bono? How do you think a victim, or a victims parents, feel when reading such a pathetically callous response?"Mark --Kicanas was answering direct questions from a lawyer in a discovery process. He was under oath and could be held responsible if his answers weren't expressed exactly. A discovery process is not the building of a narrative meant to sway people's emotions. The purpose is to get at facts, not feelings -- as Joe Friday use to say, "The facts, mam', just the facts".

Ann - unfortunately, the current seminary system is totally dependent upon the diocese that owns/controls the seminary, appointment of personnel/faculty, and the skill/experience of appointed formation staff.Any bishop can establish a seminary. Most seminaries have been in existence for more than 50 years and you would find them in most major dioceses e.g. Chicago, LA, Houston, Dallas, NY, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Denver, etc. But the seminary staffs may vary considerably in terms of experience, skills, even academically. Too often, a diocese sends men to study and be ordained in Rome and then they return home to staff the seminary. This does not necessarily equate to skilled seminary staffs. Formation is part science, part experience, and part art. You need mature and skilled priests who are balanced and allow others to participate in and provide input into the evaluation process. Too many seminaries are isolated; focused too much on their own provincial needs; too local; and have inexperienced staffs.Thus, there are no agreed upon USCCB standards in terms of formation beyond broad criteria that are supposedly audited by Rome or USCCB periodically. Formation since the time of McCormack has changed dramatically for some dioceses and religious orders. Minor seminaries are basically non-existent (or should be). Major seminaries are most often houses of studies on large catholic campuses. Theology is the focus and even then some are again houses of study on large campuses - free standing seminaries are fewer and fewer.Rome has supposedly enforced a recent seminary audit - those on seminary staffs (if honest) would tell you that this audit had little impact. Seminaries (for the most part) do now include psychological testing, professional evaluations annually, etc. but there still is wide divergence in terms of skills, experience, and staffs that can face the clerical pressures from bishops, etc. to ordain men (whether really ready or not). Add to that many of the newer types of seminaries that are in place to assist ethnic candidates; recent immigrants; and you see a dramatic downturn in terms of standards that need to be met for ordination.

There was an incident in a barroom where McCormack sexually assaulted an individual. He had a well-known reputation for sexual activity by the time he got to Fondlein...oops, I mean Mundelein. In the conversation with Kicanas, McCormack told him he had an alcohol problem that causes the trouser monster to go haywire.Any way you slice it, this man was not fit for ordination. Period.Even if you want to believe he didn't bother to go check out the Memorandum describing his laundry list of sexual assaults - the same laundry list of sexual assaults the vice-rector saw in his file. Kicanas doesn't score points here with people who don't have an agenda with his lowest common denominator of admitting he knew he knew of one incidence of sexual assault in a night at a barroom and a history of sexual problems when he drank alcohol and an alcohol problem that was out of control.It's a looser.

"much of the most revealing, personal information about any candidate is never put into their file even their formation file.Bill deH. Given this fact, then the conclusion is inevitable: there was no *system* of formation. Is there now? Are formation files cumulative now?"That's a riot. Thanks for the laughs.What difference does it make when there are people who will explain away the Memo that was in the file describing the abuse even when witnesses say it was there and then it disappeared?

Ann--No, these were responses to questions a reporter had recently emailed to him. He was not in any legal jeopardy. He was not responding off the cuff. He had the perfect opportunity to come clean, to seek out the lost sheep, to actually show compassion for the victims. When he saw the wolf, he chose to protect himself, and left the sheep to fend for themselves.

Carol,I have not seen anything that says McCormack was the aggressor in the two incidents at Niles. As far as I can tell, he may have been the victim. Mostly the language is neutral, ie they were consensual actions involving peers under the influence of alcohol. If they were comparable to the other story you posted about Fr Yakaitis, then McCormack, as one impaired by the alcohol, seems more likely to have been victim.(BTW, Kicanas had nothing to do with the Yakaitis story, which happened at Niles College, and not at Mundelein where Kicanas served. or do you know something more?)Fr Canary seems to be the only one who knows anything about a document about McCormack that detailed his activity at Niles. Or have I missed something that makes you so certain Canary is correct?So the story you tell can be "sliced" very differently. There was an incident in a Mexican bar where McCormack assaulted a minor of undetermined age or sex. In the conversation with Kicanas afterwards, McCormack brought up incidents of sexual activity with a peer at Niles. This could have been "Slapping the kid's backside was nothing. Why, when I was at Niles people got me drunk a couple of times and raped me." That is a very different way of slicing the information that we have. It is purely a product of my imagination, but it fits the evidence as well as the story you have crafted. And I am sure there other ways of slicing the information, one of which might actually be correct. I just do not see any evidence in this case that inevitably condemns Kicanas. From what I have been able to learn, his judgment seems reasonable.

wow.That is all. Just WOW.

Carol McKinley is cutting and pasting selective excerpts from this thread into her own personal blog and adding some very uncharitable editorial comments to go along with them. It seems pretty bad form to, on the one hand, suck up all the air here, and then on the other, to go and trash everyone who disagrees with her on her own blogAlso, on her blog, a week or so ago (before and unrelated to this current controversy) she had called for a boycott of the CCHD collection going on this month. So, her threat to withhold funds from the bishops' campaigns is a pretty empty one since she doesn't contribute anyway.And most importantly, she has yet to answer the direct question put to her by others here: if this is a genuine issue for her, why has she not been protesting Cardinal George's prominence in the USCCB? Why this bishop, and not the Cardinal currently holding the job?

Oh, btw, calling for boycott of bishops who support killing children is consistent with calling to boycott bishops who enabled folks who rape them.If yoou are implying that I don't work for or give to the poor, let the record show that is a falsehood.

Every time you engage Carol McKinley, she leaves a comment criticizing Kicanas for things he now says he never said. She also takes the opportunity to distort the known facts of the McCormack case. You're not going to get any satisfactory answers from her.Carol, you are no longer welcome to post on this thread.

"I am unclear about what happened in the incidents involving McCormack before his ordination. Can you explain briefly what they were? Is this known, or is it just known that there were some kind of incidents without knowing what the details were? What did McCormack actually do, and what did Kincanas know about? "In 1992, a fellow seminarian of McCormack reported to seminary officials that McCormack touched someone on the behind in a bar in Mexico. The seminary investigated that charge. During that investigation, McCormack told officials that he had sex with a peer two times as an undergraduate.Our sources for this are two seminary officials, Canary and Kicanis, in both cases recalling it many years after the fact. Canary's recollection comes to us via the report of an independent audit of the archdiocese in 2006, during which the investigators interviewed Canary. His 2006 recollection was that the incidents described above were documented in McCormack's seminary files in 1992. A subsequent investigation of those files found nothing about those incidents. It's possible (as Carol McKinley has insinuated, over and over again) that seminary officials destroyed the records. It's also possible that those records were lost through poor record-keeping. It's also possible that Canary is simply mis-remembering - that McCormack's seminary file was never updated with the allegations. All we know for certain is that his seminary file has no such documentation.Kicanis' recollections consist of a Sun-Times interview from a number of years ago, about which he is now claiming that the reporter took some statements out of context, and a series of questions he recently answered for National Catholic Register, linked above in the original post.As far as I know, no other witness has publicly corroborated (or refuted) what Kicanis and Canary are reporting - neither McCormack, nor his whistle-blowing classmate, nor any of McCormack's undergraduate sex partners, nor the alleged minor in Mexico, nor any other seminary official, has commented on the record. Cardinal George's deposition testimony, of which Carol McKinley has attempted to make much here, simply regurgitates a couple of the very same sources: Canary's audit testimony and Kicanis' Sun-Times interview. Thus far, we have no reason to suppose that George had independent knowledge of any of the incidents.

Let me just mention a couple of other things.There may be readers of this blog who aren't familiar with Grant Gallicho's track record reporting on the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. While I'm surely not the best person here to set the record straight on that score, let me just say that Grant has researched and written extensively on the topic - probably, he is among the Catholic media's foremost experts on the topic. My experience of reading him is that Grant tells it like it is. I trust and believe Grant. Period.Second: for readers here who don't have long experience on dotCommonweal: a search of the archives will illustrate that the sex abuse crises, in all their dimensions, are discussed frequently on this blog. Conversations that ensue from those blog posts typically attract valuable commentary from victims-rights advocates, a number of whom have earned reputations for zealous advocacy (at least with me :-)) on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse. These are not commenters who refrain from criticizing deserving bishops. It's striking that those advocates have remained silent in this topic. Silence, in this case, is eloquent.

Anyone who would claim that "the activity" was part of the developmental process and not part of a disordered developmental process, clearly does not understand the definition of a healthy and Holy relationship. For this reason, we are in serious trouble.

Bishop Kicanas has now been endorsed by Rainbow Sash Movement for head of the USCCB.Alrighty, then.http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/nov/10111502.html

"These are not commenters who refrain from criticizing deserving bishops. Its striking that those advocates have remained silent in this topic. Silence, in this case, is eloquent."Jim--Not sure I understand your point. Are you tacitly criticizing their silence, or are you concluding that since they've been silent there may be no there there?

Mark P - For whatever reason, it seems that Kicanis has not drawn the ire of victim advocates in this forum. I think there is a some value in drawing distinctions - say, between bishops who habitually and systematically transferred offenders (e.g. Law and a host of others from that generation); diocesan officials who failed to enforce the standards they were supposed to uphold (e.g. Chicago, and, perhaps, LaCrosse, WI); and diocesan officials whose sullying, if any, by these scandals is comparatively minor (I would put Kicanis in this category). That a victims-rights advocate, during a lengthy deposition, manages to drag a person's name into the public record, doesn't mean we should automatically assume the very worst about that person. If there is evidence to consider, let's consider it, and come to reasonable conclusions.

"Not sure I understand your point. Are you tacitly criticizing their silence, or are you concluding that since theyve been silent there may be no there there?"Jim can speak for himself, but as a critic of both Bishop Kicanas and Cardinal George, my sense is that some of the Catholic Right can sure use the abuse cover-up scandal to forward their own political ends. There seems little doubt that Cardinal George bumbled the problem with Mr McCormack, stonewalling his own commission and being evasive. So my open question is: do we see hypocrisy from the Right, or are they just laser-focused on their cause-of-the-week four or five times removed from the act of abortion?

... [Trackback] ... [...] There you will find 17581 more Infos: commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=10879 [...] ...

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment