Three Accused Clerics, Three Wildly Different Responses

Three clerics were recently accused of child sexual abuse. (No, this isn’t the setup to a joke.)


The first guy’s boss said he “asked” the cleric to “step aside from ministry pending the outcome of an investigation.”

The second guy said he will be “stepping aside temporarily."

The third guy said he will “temporarily reduce” his public presence for the foreseeable future.

(The three are Fr. George Clements of Chicago, Bishop Howard Hubbard of New York and Bishop Robert Guglielmone of South Carolina.)

Over the years, I’ve read – and read about – hundreds of Catholic church abuse policies. Usually, I see phrases like “when an allegation is made, the accused is immediately suspended.” Never have I seen the phrases “the bishop will ASK the accused to step aside,” “the accused will be stepping aside temporarily,” or “the accused will temporarily reduce his public presence.”

What other institution lets accused wrongdoers decide what they will do?

Before 2002, church officials admitted that “Every bishop deals with these cases in his own way.” So there was a ton of inconsistency. But starting in 2002, church officials claimed “Now we’ve got one national policy. We’re all doing this the same way.”

So why is there still a ton of inconsistency?

Blog by David Clohessy

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  • Friend
    commented 2019-09-17 18:11:22 -0500
    Why isn’t anyone asking the obvious question? Why is the mainstream media sweeping this news under the carpet? The NY Times didn’t even report that Bishop Guglielmone is being sued for assaulting a boy for several years when he was a priest in NY! Nor did our local paper even though he is now in our diocese and currently active. Has anyone ever polled investigative reporters to assess how much pushback they have gotten either from the Church or their editors when they try to investigate these abuses. Our local paper wouldn’t even cover the fact that the accused bishop was having town hall meetings prior to the accusations. If anyone in this network has any media clout, ask the media why they are sweeping this information under the carpet. The story isn’t just about the cover-up from the Church hierarchy. The story is how the media is now in bed with the Church.

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