Detroit Cardinal: Keep Zero Tolerance of Sex Abuse

The Associated Press, carried in [Detroit MI]
June 18, 2003

DETROIT (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Church in the United States should stick to its policy of zero tolerance of child sexual abuse by priests, Cardinal Adam Maida said.

Meeting in Dallas last year, U.S. bishops made a strict public promise to banish errant priests from the ministry. Such priests have been removed from church work, but how the bishops' pledge plays out in practice is still evolving.

"Bishops may have different understandings of what we have agreed to do," Maida told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. "But our policy -- and anyone can read it -- is zero tolerance."

Priests who sexually abuse children will not necessarily be laicized, a formal process defrocking a priest, said Maida, head of the 1.4 million member Archdiocese of Detroit.

"I don't see a lot of priests being laicized," he said, adding that permanently barring these men from the ministry and from representing themselves as priests may be sufficient punishment.

The bishops are going to talk behind closed doors this time, away from the worldwide press coverage that besieged them a year ago in Dallas.

The archdiocese has removed 18 priests from their jobs since March 2002, about 6 percent of its active priests. Maida said he will ask the Vatican to review these cases and, in some instances, will push for laicization.

On the Net: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit,


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.