Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RtP in the church
Posted at: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 02:10:28 PM
Author: Kevin Clarke

I spoke of the responsibility to protect at the international level in the preceding post. The sorry tale of Father Donald Maguire, S.J., recounted in today's NY Times, depicts a profound failure of RtP at a smaller scale (albeit one no less devastating to the victims described here). What else can be said about such things that haven't already be said? To read this tale as a parent and try to imagine the thinking of the administrators of this dangerous man who persisted in discounting the damage he was capable of inflicting and in ignoring decades of warning signs and malevolent behavior . . . it is beyond mind-boggling. Discouraging vocations among gay men has become the preferred focus for "fixing" this problem of abuse, but chasing gay men away from or out of the priesthood won't do anything to correct the institutional failures and almost pathological nonchalance and indifference described here in the handling of a monster like Maguire and too many like him (oh, and good luck managing the church without its many gay priests).

From the NY Times:

Jesuit leaders in Chicago largely ignored or kept secret numerous reports, spanning four decades, that a prominent priest was sexually abusing teenage boys, lawyers for victims charged on Monday in a motion for punitive damages in a Chicago court.

Included in the motion were more than 65 recently obtained church documents and depositions that, the lawyers said, demonstrated “a reckless disregard for the safety of others in the face of repeated reports of sexual misconduct” on the part of Chicago Jesuit leaders.

The former priest, Donald J. McGuire, now 80, was convicted on several counts of sex abuse in state and federal courts in 2006 and 2008, and is serving a 25-year federal sentence.

The newly public documents date from the early 1960s, when a concerned Austrian priest, in imperfect English, first observed in a letter to Chicago Jesuits that Father McGuire, newly ordained and studying in Europe, had “much relations with several boys.” The reports extend into the last decade, when Father McGuire reportedly ignored admonitions to stop traveling with young assistants, molesting one as late as 2003, as law enforcement was closing in. The legal motion argues that Father McGuire’s superiors in Chicago turned “a blind eye to his criminal actions.”

You can read the rest here, if you have the stomach for it, but you can probably guess the rest at this point.

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