Friday, April 3, 2009

Cardinal Francis George on Notre Dame as Extreme Embarrassment: Who's the Embarrassment?

Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, characterizes Notre Dame’s invitation of President Obama as its commencement speaker as an “extreme embarrassment” (here):

“[T]he problem is in that you have a Catholic university - the flagship Catholic university - do something that brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic," George told the crowd.

But there is another problem here. As one of those many, many people who are Catholic, I find Cardinal Francis George an extreme embarrassment.

To my knowledge, Cardinal George has never responded to Voice of the Faithful’s 19 August 2008 appeal to him to step down from his position of pastoral leadership in the Chicago archdiocese (here), after a deposition the Cardinal made on 30 January 2008 revealed (here and here) that he had

1. Kept priests with known histories of sexually abusing children in ministry after having been apprised of their history of abuse of children;

2. Circumvented the criminal justice system by sheltering these priests who had abused minors;

3. Falsified his archdiocesan audit of the archdiocese’s handling of abuse cases by omitting damning information about the failure of the archdiocese to abide by covenants of his own USCCB regarding handling of priests known to be abusing minors;

4. Ignored the advice of his own archdiocesan review board to remove abusive priests from ministry;

5. Empowered a vicar for priests who is known to have coached clergy about denying allegations of sexual abuse;

6. Engaged in cover-up and deceit regarding his circumvention of criminal laws governing the handling of adults abusing minors, and of church documents governing the proper handling of abusive priests;

7. And violated the USCCB Charter to Protect Young Children, which he himself helped write.

Embarrassment, Cardinal George? Notre Dame?

I don’t think so. It’s you who are the extreme embarrassment to me, and, I daresay, many other Catholics.