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Chicago Catholics taunt Archbishop with collection boycott

A group of Chicago Catholics is encouraging parishioners to boycott the parish collection plate until they've seen Francis Cardinal George get tough with sexual abusers in the priesthood and open up archdiocesan files for a full accounting of four decades of clergy abuse.

Members of the Ad Hoc Committee for Prevention of Sex Abuse by Clergy insist that the cardinal allow an independent examination of all reports of priest sex abuse in Chicago over the last 40 years, and turn all cases over to the police. Among other demands, the committee also insists that the archdiocese release all victims of abuse by the Chicago clergy from confidentiality agreements signed as part of settlement agreements.

"Once you get these files open to the public, what's happened across the country will happen in Chicago," says Michael Tario, a banker and committee member. "We're absolutely certain there are pedophile priests in key positions here in Chicago. We won't find out until these files are opened up."

In a Chicago press conference on Monday, committee members said if Cardinal George doesn't move quickly on their demands, they will encourage individual Catholics to withhold money from collections at their local parishes, and instead give the money to worthwhile organizations outside archdiocesan purview.

"There are all sorts of organisations you can give to," says Tario. "There's Mother Teresa's nuns, there's SNAP [Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests] if you want to help those who have been abused, and there's Roman Catholic Faithful if you're interested in ferreting out the problem."

Cardinal faces 'zero-tolerance' demand (Chicago Tribune)
Archdiocese of Chicago
When priests and bishops sin... (Cardinal Francis George)

National Review

2 May 2002