|Cardinal Francis George sits for an October interview at the cardinal's residence. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)|
Cardinal Francis George on Thursday said the public release of the internal files of 36 priests accused of sexually abusing children shows the church’s “commitment to transparency” in one of the most disturbing chapters in the Roman Catholic Church’s history.
In a statement on the church’s website announcing the release of some 15,000 pages of once-secret documents, George said the Archdiocese of Chicago was “concerned first and foremost with bringing healing to abuse victims.”
“We cannot change the past but we hope we can rebuild trust through honest and open dialogue,” George said. “Child abuse is a crime and a sin.”
The release of the priest files is one of George’s last acts as he prepares for retirement in less than two weeks and is part of an effort by the archdiocese to put the long-running scandal behind it.