Top FBI woman to battle Church abuse
The highest ranking woman at the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation is quitting the agency to take a new role combating child abuse in the Catholic Church.
The US Bishops have appointed Kathleen McChesney to head up their new Office of Child and Youth Protection. They created the office in June as part of a new policy aimed at removing paedophiles from the clergy.
In the last year at least 300 American priests have been removed amid allegations of child sex abuse.
"Even one case of child abuse is intolerable. Our churches need to be safe havens for everyone," said Ms McChesney as her appointment was announced.
Ms McChesney said the National Review Board, which will monitor her office as well as work with her to monitor the bishops' performance, and her own office, are both unique. She said that they indicated a firm commitment from the Catholic Church to eradicate abuse.
They "express that the bishops want to fix this problem. It's not going to be me that fixes it. It's going to be a lot of people," she said.
"The goal? No more cases," Ms McChesney added.
Monsignor William P Fay, general secretary to the bishop's conference, said that spending on the review board, protection office and new abuse policy would exceed $1m next year.
Ms McChesney's role will not be restricted to monitoring, but will include crime prevention, the bishop's conference said.
A life-long lay Catholic, Ms McChesney is the third most senior official in the FBI and the highest ranking woman.
Leading FBI Official to Head Bishops" Office For Child Protection (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Bishops' new child protection officer sees listening as first task (Catholic News Service)
Sex-abuse monitor favors police tipoffs
Abuse Crisis Expected To Dominate US Catholic Bishops Meeting (AP)
Poll: Catholic church is losing support (New York Times)
Bishops Pick Clergy Abuse Monitor (AP)
Revisions leave unanswered questions (John L. Allen, National Catholic Reporter)
Making the Policy Clear (New York Times)
APPLYING SEX ABUSE NORMS TO RELIGIOUS PRIESTS RAISES QUESTIONS
In the revised clergy sexual abuse norms to be debated and voted on by the U.S. bishops this November, a new clause applying the norms to religious priests and deacons is raising questions.
"It was a surprise to us," said Marist Fr Ted Keating, executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. "We're having it looked over by canonists and specialists."
The CMSM is the national organisation of more than 250 provincial or national leaders of male religious orders.
"I think the explicit inclusion of religious changes the Dallas action (the version of the norms approved by the bishops at their June meeting in Dallas)," said Mercy Sister Sharon Euart, a canon lawyer and former associate general secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Just what it means practically is not yet clear."
The revised norms were worked out by a Vatican-US mixed commission of bishops at the end of last month and released last Monday. The bishops were to vote on them when they meet in Washington beginning today.
Catholic News Service
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
POLL SAYS ABUSE SCANDAL IS DETERRING CATHOLIC DONORS IN US
Two out of three American Catholics who attend Mass regularly say the nation's bishops have done a "bad job" facing the crisis of sexual misconduct by priests, and a more sweeping majority says each bishop should make a full disclosure of the scandal's financial costs, according to a new survey.
A Gallup poll that is the most detailed study of how the United States' most committed Catholics view the sexual abuse crisis suggests that parishioners across the nation worry that their donations to the church are being used for legal fees in abuse lawsuits or to pay hush money to victims. One in every five Catholics surveyed said the scandal had prompted them to stop donating to the local diocese.
"The bishops are heading for trouble if they think they can continue to run things like so many multimillionaire barons," said Francis J. Butler, president of Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, the association of Catholic philanthropists that commissioned the survey. "Parishioners won't tolerate that anymore."
Mr Butler's group gave a copy of the poll to The New York Times on Friday and planned to deliver the results of the survey to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Saturday.
New York Times
Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities
11 Nov 2002