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Despite tradition, bishop must go

Publisher - Manchester NH, UNION-LEADER
July 30, 2003

THE REV. Edward J. Arsenault of the Manchester Diocese says the growing calls
for the resignation of Bishop John McCormack cannot be heeded because resignation "is just not a tradition of the church."

He should look around. Resignations of church officials involved in the sex-abuse and coverup scandal in the church may not be a tradition, but they are becoming a welcomed trend. McCormack's own boss in Boston, Cardinal Law, finally did the right thing when even rank-and-file priests, who feel the pain of this problem more than anyone, demanded he leave.

"Ministry is not a career,"Arsenault said last week. "It's a response to a vocation. Accountability is expressed in fidelity."

That is all very noble-sounding. But it rings hollow when stacked against the exhaustive and depressing report of Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, whose office catalogued years of abuse and the covering up of same within the Boston Archdiocese.

Reilly's view of accountability is more plainly expressed and is certainly shared by millions of Catholics:

I believe every person in a position of authority and responsibility that was any part of the secrecy and in what has occurred in the Archdiocese of Boston should not be in a position of authority in the Church."

John McCormack was in just such a position and was a key part of that secrecy.

Last weekend, Bishop McCormack made use of New Hampshire parish bulletins to
distribute his written response to the Reilly report. How ironic, considering that among his many failings the report noted that McCormack wouldn't heed a nun's repeated calls to use parish bulletins to alert parishioners that a current or former priest had abused a child.

© Copyright 2003, Union-Leader

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