Diocese Issues Video on Abuse
Church Officials Call for Healing in Wake of Sexual-Abuse Scandal

By Felisa Cardona
San Bernardino Sun [San Bernardino CA]
Downloaded January 24, 2003

The Diocese of San Bernardino on Thursday took on the paralyzing sexual-abuse scandal that has plagued the Roman Catholic Church for a year by issuing a special edition of its Diocesan Bulletin and a video calling for healing.

Four months in preparation, the 15-minute video will be shown during Masses celebrated Saturday and Sunday in churches throughout the two-county diocese. Copies of the eight-page Bulletin will be distributed to churchgoers.

Headlined and titled "Healing the Body of Christ,' the twin missives seek to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and show victims where they can get help.

"Through all of the pain that the church has gone through, something redemptive has to come of it,' said the Rev. Paul Granillo, administrative assistant to Bishop Gerald R. Barnes.

In the bulletin, printed in both English and Spanish, a 40-year-old San Bernardino County man discusses how a priest from another diocese in Southern California molested him as a child and later committed suicide.

In the video, Barnes urges sexual-abuse victims who have stayed silent to come forward and call the church's hot line at (888) 206-9090 for help.

The tape also includes messages from Sister Rosaline O'Connor, the diocese's victim-assistance coordinator; Granillo, who also serves as the Catholic communications director; and Deacon Mike Jelley, coordinator of diocesan charter initiatives.

Jelley discusses the 10-point plan the diocese has in place to prevent sexual abuse of children by clergy and what efforts are being made to reach out to victims.

The reference to "healing' in the title of the program is inspired by a biblical passage from St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians which says that "all parts of the body, though many, are one body, so ... if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.'

"Our hope is that we better help people understand the issue of child sexual abuse and put an end to it,' Granillo said. "It also happens in families, it happens in schools.'

During Lent from Ash Wednesday until Easter Catholics in the diocese are encouraged to form groups at parishioners' homes to discuss how the scandal has tested their faith.

"People can share and talk about these issues and strengthen and restore their faith,' Granillo said. "Mostly these discussions will be done in people's homes or at the church, but in small groups.'

The Diocese of San Bernardino was touched by scandal in 2002 when it was learned that the Rev. Paul Shanley, a key figure in the Boston Archdiocese's sexual-abuse scandal, had retired to San Bernardino and was working as a supply priest in 1990.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law, then head of the Boston Archdiocese, approved Shanley's move to San Bernardino even though complaints of pedophilia had been lodged against him. Law failed to inform San Bernardino church officials of the accusations against Shanley.

Shanley, who has publicly advocated sex between men and boys, is facing child rape charges in Boston. He has pleaded not guilty and is free after posting $300,000 bail.

A diocesan investigation found no minors were molested by Shanley while he worked at St. Anne Catholic Church in San Bernardino, but 30-year-old Big Bear Lake resident Kevin English later came forward and said Shanley had molested him when he was only 17.

English has sued the Shanley, Law, the San Bernardino Diocese and others in San Bernardino Superior Court.

In response to the national scandal, the diocese decided to review personnel files in March to see if any accusations of sexual abuse against clergy were there.

Since 1952, and including a period of 26 years when San Bernardino and Riverside counties were part of the Diocese of San Diego, 32 priests have been accused.

In April, the diocese handed over the names of at least 20 priests some of them already deceased to the San Bernardino Police Department.

Four of the priests were still working in the diocese at the time


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