McCormack's Mess: Bishop's Pride Continues to Divide Church

The Union Leader [New Hampshire]
Downloaded April 9, 2003

HOW MANY WITNESSES to Bishop John McCormack's perfidy will have to bring their stories public before the bishop takes responsibility for the pain he is causing and resigns his position? The count grows month by month, and yet the bishop stubbornly clings to his office like a petulant child being pried from a favorite toy.

Yesterday the papers were filled with the story of Sister Catherine Mulkerrin, who was McCormack's assistant from 1992 to 1994. During that time, McCormack served in Boston as Cardinal Bernard Law's delegate on clergy sexual abuse. Sister Mulkerrin said in pre-trial testimony released on Monday that she saw more than 100 accusations of clergy sexual abuse in those two years and repeatedly advised McCormack to warn parishes whenever a priest accused of sexual misconduct was assigned to them. McCormack, she said, never took her advice.

McCormack's only defense of his refusal to warn parishioners of the beasts in their midst has been a very Clintonian one consisting of two parts: 1. Policy stated that the diocese would not inform churches of priests accused of sexual misconduct, which is another way of saying, "I was only following orders"; 2. Mistakes were made.

Neither of these defenses exonerates McCormack, and neither explains why he would find it morally acceptable to knowingly put children into the hands of child molesters. Mulkerrin's statements further clarify that McCormack knew he was putting children in danger - and he did not care. No apology, no admission of past errors, can relieve parishioners of the anxiety that comes from knowing their church is governed by a man who willingly assigned child molesters to parishes filled with children. The pain and torment will linger as long as the man who caused it remains in power.

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