PHILADELPHIA — Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for clergy sex abuse victims urged Pope Francis, on the eve of his U.S. visit, to investigate the child protection records of Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former archbishop of Philadelphia, and Cardinal Raymond Burke, who led dioceses in Wisconsin and Missouri.continue at La Crosse Tribune
The group, which calls itself the Catholic Whistleblowers, wants an inquiry of Rigali, who was Philadelphia archbishop from 2003 to 2011 and retired amid an uproar over grand jury allegations that he was keeping about three dozen suspected abusers in ministry. His successor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, has removed several priests from church work since he took over.
The advocates are also calling for an investigation of Burke, who led the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis before leaving for Rome to lead the Vatican's highest court. The advocates have accused him of insensitive treatment of victims and their families.
The Rev. James Connell, a canon lawyer and member of the group, said that in La Crosse, Burke used a very strict definition in canon law to evaluate abuse cases — equivalent to guilty beyond a reasonable doubt — instead of a lesser standard called for in the U.S. bishops' own policies, and therefore left abusers in ministry.
They want to put him on trial, but still it's not clear what he is being charged with. Is there a case to be investigated? The AP picks this up with no charges of substance levied? It looks like mostly National Catholic Reporter folks, Connell probably being the only one with real clout.
The advocates want Francis to investigate the cardinals through a planned tribunal, announced in June, to hear cases of abuse of office by bishops over failures in handling sex abuse cases. But no developments have been announced to indicate the tribunal will be set up anytime soon — such as the publication of statutes outlining the panel's mandate or the appointment of staff.Maybe the thought was Pope Francis might still invite Cardinal Burke to the Synod on the Family and this way he'd have an out to disinvite him. Maybe they are hoping to get media coverage, and now emboldened by Pope Francis' actions against other conservative Catholic leaders like Bishop Finn(again the Fishwrap led the charge on that), they can finally get rid of Burke... well again I guess. Maybe exile to Malta isn't enough. ....
I've said this before, but weaponizing victims and their family for political reasons is despicable. Obviously, even more despicable is abuse coverup by liberal and conservative prelates. One has to wonder though, why are they so scared of Cardinal Burke? Because he successfully rallied the troops so to speak in wake of last years synod?