IL--Springfield priest wins big promotion; Victims react
For immediate release: Monday, Nov. 23, 2015
A Springfield IL priest is being promoted to head (“rector”) perhaps the world’s most prominent Catholic seminary. We’re disappointed by this move, especially because he comes from a diocese riddled with many clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
Fr. Peter Harman will soon direct North American College in Rome, the 156 year-old school attended by 250-plus seminarians from nearly 100 dioceses study. “Its alums have formed the modern backbone of American church hierarchical leadership. Two-thirds of the nine US cardinal-electors – including three of the four who lead dioceses – are products of the college along with a heavy plurality of the nation's bishops and a wider network that leaves practically no church entity on these shores untouched, according to noted Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo.
Just this year, we criticized Springfield Catholic officials for
--paying a predator priest’s lawyer (DeGrand)
--refusing to reach out to anyone hurt by two predator priests (Martinez & Firtzgerald)
--criticizing the news media
--mishandling the case of a now-suspended predator priest (DeGrand)
At least 12 child molesting clerics have worked in the Springfield Diocese, where Fr. Harman has spent most of his clerical career. We strongly suspect he’s seen, suspected or known of clear or possible clergy sex crimes and cover ups but stayed silent. We are troubled by his promotion.
Rewarding wrongdoing and silence will only encourage more wrongdoing and silence. We hope that Catholic officials will promote more clerics who come from less troubled dioceses.
We hope anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups – in Springfield or in Rome – will get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2015 - For "The Hill," A New Man – Pastoral Chief Named Rector of NAC
While several Stateside seminaries have reported upticks in enrollment over the last decade, the largest of the bunch remains across the Atlantic... and as the trend has only served to bolster the Pontifical North American College's standing as the lodestar of priestly formation (and a good bit else) back home, this Monday brings the accordingly consequential word of a change at its helm.
At this hour atop the Gianicolo, the 156 year-old seminary is slated to introduce Fr Peter Harman, 42 – a priest of Springfield in Illinois who's served since 2013 as the NAC's top pastoral formator – as its 23rd Rector. The choice formally made by the Congregation for the Clergy, which . . .