VOTF to Skylstad & George: move aside

The Chicago Tribune reports that Voice of the Faithful has urged Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago to step down temporarily from their positions as president and vice president, respectively, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a woman accused Skylstad of abusing her more than forty years ago, when she was under eighteen and he was in his late twenties (he's seventy-two now). George has been strongly criticized for the last several weeks, since it was revealed that the archdiocese failed to act fast enough to remove a priest who had been accused of sexual abuse (the priest is now charged with abuse that allegedly occurred between 2000 and 2005, against children who are now eleven and thirteen years old).

The press release from VOTF argues that because Skylstad and George stand "accused of personally having failed to comply with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults," which "represents the official policy of America's Catholic bishops," they should immediately step aside and have the positions filled by interim leaders.

If the situation is as serious as the press release says, why stop at asking them to resign their positions with the bishops' conference? Yes, Skylstad and George are number one and two at the USCCB, but their situations in this matter are vastly different, which is what makes so unfortunate VOTF's use of the term "the accused bishops" to refer to them. Is this the best response to the situation?

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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