More than 500 priests accused of sexual abuse not yet publicly identified by Catholic Church, Illinois attorney general finds

More than 500 priests accused of sexual abuse not yet publicly identified by Catholic Church, Illinois attorney general finds

Elvia Malagon Chicago Tribune 20 Dec 2018

A scathing report from Attorney General Lisa Madigan finds the number of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse against children in Illinois is much higher than previously acknowledged.

The report said accusations have been leveled against 690 priests, while Catholic officials have publicly identified only 185 clergy with credible allegations against them. . . .

. . . “Clergy sexual abuse of minors in Illinois is significantly more extensive than the Illinois Dioceses previously reported,” it does not estimate how many of the allegations against the 690 clergy should have been deemed credible. . . .

. . . . In a prepared statement, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich acknowledged that victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests continue to live with the pain. . .


This time for sure we are again told.

William Kunkel, the general counsel for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said he doesn’t anticipate the public list of Chicago-area priests with credible allegations of abuse to grow.

From just two days ago we see this . . .

And last month this . . . .

And this is just concerning “minors”.

We ALSO need to be concerned for adults who are
victimized by the homosexuals who have been brought into the priesthood (or hetrosexuals).
Especially our vulnerable seminarians (as we saw with the ex-Cardinal McCarrick homosexual attacks upon our seminarians).


Are we now asking for all names, not just those who had credible allegations, but any priest who had an allegation made against him? Substantiated or not?

185 were named. There could be more, but is it right or just to publish names of men who have only been accused, but their accusations deemed not credible?

Where do we draw the line?

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CilladeRoma . . .

Where do we draw the line?

I think a good start would be if you tell the people you have exposed and reported to them ALL credible allegations, and then having it keep coming out that the Bishops have NOT done that, I think a good start would be being honest with the people in the first place.

And when Bishops have NOT been honest, admit it and BE honest.

Some of these diocesan reports clearly have been less than honest.

We need to strive for the transparency that Pope Francis has at least called for.

Regarding allegations that may not be credible, the Bishops will need to handle them on a case by case basis.

But the Bishops themselves, need cleaning up as we’ve seen with the Bishop McCarrick scandal. So part of the dilemma clearly lies at the feet of the Bishops who have been involved with these cover-ups.

Back after the crisis in 2002 the Bishops were asked WHY no accountabilty for them too. After all, if you are going to require fingerprinting of the lunch ladies, WHY NOT implement some accountibility for the bishops themselves.

Bishop Wilton Gregory’s response?

The people and the media will hold us accountable.

Likewise Pope Francis himself told the media to do your job. It will do you good.

Well now that the people and the media are holding them accountable (or trying to), it is inappropriate to demonize the people and the media.

After all. They are merely fulfilling the mandate that was asked of them by the hierarchy.

So I really don’t know the answer to your question. But I DO KNOW this call for more information now is not the fault of the innocent laity who have been victimized by half-truths and sometimes have had family members victimized by clergy themselves.


I would say it is drawn with the Catholic Church. Anyone who is a priest is subject to being named for any allegation; substantial, credible, or frivolous. But I will wait and see what happens when someone outside of some state politician weighs in.

Evil tried to destroy the church. It failed. We are still here.

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You are very right to pose this excellent query; it should be self-evident to all that one does not need to be a lawyer to appreciate the distinction between because accused and being convicted. In fact, if a priest’s superior has determined an allegation to be not credible, then nothing else should happen. Everything else would be dealt with internally. Even if a priest is credibly accused, he still has the right to his good name. While there is a real crisis in the Church and no one should deny this fact, this does not provide an excuse to ignore canon 1717 §2.


It is not for a Priest’s superior to decide if nothing happened, it is for a court of law

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Quote from Roseeurekacross: It is not for a Priest’s superior to decide if nothing happened, it is for a court of law

You misread my post. I’m speaking of canonical procedure, not of the State’s civil laws, which may vary from country to country, or even within a country.

Can. 1717 §1. Whenever an ordinary has knowledge, which at least seems true, of a delict, he is carefully to inquire personally or through another suitable person about the facts, circumstances, and imputability, unless such an inquiry seems entirely superfluous.

The words “which at least seems true” tell us that once the superior has been informed, he must conduct a private and preliminary investigation to see whether the accusations are even credible or not. For example, if a man accuses Father X of abusing him in Diocese Y, but Father X has never even served in Diocese Y, then the superior would conclude that the accusations are not sustainable. It’s similar to nullity cases in marriage; first, a preliminary investigation is done to determine whether the Petitioner even has a case, before the case is actually heard by the Tribunal.

In the Church, we have the principle of subsidiarity; issues are resolved at the lowest level possible, unless it is necessary to appeal to a higher authority, the highest of all being the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff. This promotes efficiency in Church governance, hence the existence of hierarchical organization, each with his own jurisdiction. If all potential sexual abuses cases were brought before an ecclesiastical tribunal, time will be wasted on cases which were obviously not credible to begin with.

As for the State’s court of law, that is another issue; within the ecclesiastical domain, however, this is how the procedure would work, canonically speaking.


No, I did not misread your words.

The Canons on this issue are to be changed. Simply because they are wrong. If a person has an accusation against another, it is a criminal matter. No other body gets the right to dismiss the accusation. Holy Father Pope Francis issued a statement on the issue of abuse in the past 24 hrs.

You stated a Priests superior can decide if an allegation is credible. He can’t. It’s a criminal matter.
And quite fra the church needs to step back and allow justice to take its course. Then the Church steps in and sacks or reinstates as required

The change to these Canons was announced some time ago.

Even in the civil law of many countries, accusations which are blatantly false can be dismissed by a lower authority before being brought to court.

Are you denying the fact that canon law grants these superiors jurisdiction over their priests, and that this is why they are called “superiors” in the first place? Jurisdiction comes with the right to make judgments. Are you denying the authority of the Catholic hierarchy, which, along with its jurisdiction, was established by divine institution?

I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, “Roseeurekacross” is not the supreme legislator of the canon law of the Catholic Church. There is nothing wrong with the canon; yes, abuses of the justice system can occur, but these abuses should be ascribed to man’s fallen nature, not to the canon itself.

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The problem is that there is a double standard. The bishop in the diocese operates in accord to canon law and in accord with civil law. If he fails to report something that he is required to report by civil law, then he is criminally liable. The double standard is that district attorneys and AG’s will go after bishops, but not after other parties with more direct knowledge that could stop predators. How often did the bishop become directly aware by his own discover of sexual abuse, as opposed to some parent or other adult reporting it (to the Church and failing to report to the police)? Parents are not prosecuted for failure to report. For that matter, a blind eye is also turned to the victims, even the adults, who do not report for decades, allowing predatory behavior to continue. The best way to stop sexual abuse of children is to hold all accountable who fail to report (to the police, not the Church) sexual abuse.


pnewton . . .

hold all accountable who fail to report (to the police, not the Church) sexual abuse.

Great point here pnewton!

see what I am talking about here.

Make the perpetrators responsible so the survivors don’t have to suffer absolute denial or accusations they are fabricating the whole thing.

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The laws in your country also need to change, in this respect.
But as I keep saying, it shows an endemic sickness and depravity in society that only now, after decades of this , NO means NO. Lets look at every sector of society and purify it. How can we do that though.
Australia led the way a bit with the Royal Commission and in Criminally punishing these people regardless of rank, station, position.
Australia does hold all accountable. And yes, accountable to Police, not the church. I so agree.

If there is nothing wrong with Canon law in this regard, why is the Pope changing it? You may believe there is nothing wrong, however the Magisterium and many legal eagles do.

In this , our opinion does not count. And its so overdue to change laws that allowed this to happen, canonically.

Step into a Diocese that has dealt with this for a while now, get updated on whats actually going on and being done about this.


NO means NO

True enough Roseeurekacross.

I would add even “yes” means “no” even by secular standards, if it involves minors, people under your power (i.e. seminarians, etc.), people you give formal counsel to (Confessors and penitents, counselors and clients, psychiatrists and psychologists and their patients, a drunken victim, etc.), etc. etc.


First of all, canon law is not magisterial teaching. You are setting up a strawman in attempting to present my “opinion” (which is, incidentally, not an opinion) as being in opposition to doctrinal teaching.

Furthermore, you never answered any of my questions regarding how you view the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, so if there’s anyone here who’s denying the authority of the magisterium, it’s not me. Qui tacet consetire…

And besides, many canon lawyers have already expressed the view that we do not need more laws and guidelines; people just need to actually start applying the current laws properly. Again, abuses of the system does not mean the system is in itself bad, but only that man’s fallen nature allows him to improperly make use of the system.

Funny how you’re the only one who voiced an “opinion”. And unless you can prove that canon 1717 has already been changed, the current law remains in effect. I don’t see anything about it in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis…

Pivoting the point. Practice proceeds from principle, not the other way around, so if the average diocese is not applying the law correctly (which in part lead to today’s crisis), it says nothing about the legitimacy of the canon you’re attempting to challenge. And besides, I really don’t think the average diocese is writing public reports about all the allegations in their diocese, even if the allegations are absolutely not credible.

What you seem to be proposing would lead to defaming the good names of many priests, as well as violating the legal principle that an accused person remains innocent until proved guilty.

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Yes and no. It is the responsibility of the superior to investigate allegations against souls under their care.

It is also proper to follow mandated reporter laws and guidelines. In the USA this means reporting a suspicion, and allowing the investigative persons to substantiate or not. For children, this usually a child, youth, and family division of human services. These people are trained to interview potential victims. They generally work together with law enforcement detectives who have specialized training to investigate sexual abuse.

The court does not get involved until the end of the investigations.

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You know this because you have already instructed the ecclesiastical authorities and informed them it must be done?

Not always.

The code calls for the allegation to be investigated exactly so that such accusations will not be “dismissed”.

The two are not contradictory. A superior can still report an allegation to law enforcement, even if they do not believe it is credible.

By you? Or do you have another source?

How so?

You seem to think these two are mutually exclusive, but they are not.

And law enforcement acts to implement the civil standards, which is accountability to the people of society at large. There are two societies overlapping here. Those in the Church subject to canon law are also members of the wider society, and subject to civil law.

I will wait to hear from you about the changes with a credible link/source.

I hope what will happen is a mandated reporting expectation being added. That does not mean anything will be subtracted.

Except yours?

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