Yesterday, a Jesuit cleric resigned from a college board under pressure because he did little or nothing to stop a prominent Chicago priest from molesting dozens of children.
Today, we call on Loyola University of Chicago to kick that Jesuit off its board.
He is Fr. Bradley M. Schaeffer. Yesterday, he stepped down from the Boston College board of trustees. Yet he remains on several other boards, including Loyola’s.
Earlier this week, the Boston Globe reported on pages and pages of long-secret church records about Donald McGuire’s crimes and Schaeffer’s refusal to take decisive action to stop him.
McGuire is one of the church’s highest profile predators. He’s now in prison, but for decades he travelled the world leading retreats and working as Mother Teresa’s confessor. Catholic Church documents and courtroom testimony show that he’s a very powerful and cunning cleric.
But church documents and courtroom testimony also show that Schaeffer had the knowledge, suspicions, reports and power to stop McGuire and safeguard kids. He acted secretively, slowly, and inadequately. More kids ended up being sexually violated.
Ever wonder why there’s so much abuse and cover up in the Catholic hierarchy? One reason is that clerics like Schaeffer – who obviously cared more about protecting his reputation and his colleagues than about protecting kids and teens – are never disciplined. Even after solid proof of their wrongdoing emerges, complicit or corrupt Catholic officials rarely suffer any negative consequences and usually end up with promotions.
So as long as Catholic institutions essentially reward men who endanger kids, priests will continue to endanger kids. That’s why it’s important that Loyola’s leadership acts responsibly and decisively by ousting Schaeffer.
In Boston, dozens of college faculty pushed for Schaeffer’s removal. The campus newspaper also called on him to step aside. We hope the Loyola community takes a similarly courageous and compassionate stand on behalf of innocent kids and wounded victims.
So again, we urge the leadership of Loyola to put children first and oust Schaeffer.
While every Catholic institution should put kids’ safety first, it’s especially important that Jesuits do because they run many schools across the US.
Keep in mind, two facts are undeniable: McGuire molested kids and Schaeffer could have stopped him. Loyola must choose – to basically ignore and endorse Schaeffer’s misdeeds, or to admit and punish them, thus deterring others from ignoring or concealing child sex crimes in the future. We hope they’ll make the hard, moral, child-centered choice.