Bishop Accused of Hit and Run Resigns
By Dale Hurd
Christian Broadcasting Network
June 18, 2003
Bishop Thomas O'Brien, spiritual leader of 430,000 Arizona Catholics, has been accused in the hit and run death of a father of four.
CBN.com - The Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Thomas O'Brien of Phoenix. O'Brien was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident Saturday.
It is just the latest piece of bad news for the Catholic Church in the U.S. Ealier this week, the head of a watchdog group resigned, comparing uncooperative bishops to the Mafia.
Bishop Thomas O'Brien, spiritual leader of 430,000 Arizona Catholics, has been accused in the hit and run death of a father of four. O'Brien had already been forced to give up some of his authority this month after admitting he allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working with children. O'Brien told police that he thought he hit an animal or someone threw a rock at the car. He could get anywhere from probation to less than four years in prison if convicted.
So when they gather in St. Louis Thursday, America's bishops will have to deal with yet another blow to the confidence of Catholic laypeople, who earnestly hope for reform.
But it did not help when former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating resigned from the chairmanship of the National Review Board created last year to monitor the church's implementation of sex abuse reforms. A devout catholic as well as a former FBI agent, he accused the church of behaving "Like La Cosa Nostra."
He said, "To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church."
A spokesman for Mr. Keating, said he had grown frustrated by a church leadership that portrayed themselves as open and transparent while still refusing to disclose information.
The group that supports victims of church priest sex abuse, Survivors First, said the campaign to restore credibility to the church is failing. It is going to set up its own monitoring system of priests.
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