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Archbishop Myers, in letter to priests, denounces media coverage of abuse settlement

Catholic World News - August 20, 2013

In a letter to priests, Archbishop John Myers of Newark strongly denounced recent media coverage of a settlement in which the plaintiff charged that the prelate allowed a priest to remain in ministry despite evidence of prior sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Peoria, which Archbishop Myers led from 1990 to 2001, was party to the $1.35-million settlement.

“This past week local media, once again, provided deceitful and misleading information about situations in the Diocese of Peoria and in this Archdiocese,” Archbishop Myers said in his letter, as quoted on the blog of Father Jim Chern, the archdiocese’s vocations director.

The prelate added:

One might ask why the representatives of the media do not explore the records of those who are raising false and misleading statements, perhaps for their own benefit, and the records and personal lifestyles of either disgruntled former, or marginalized and retired clergy of either the Archdiocese of Newark or the Diocese of Peoria. One might also ask what are the true motivations of all who have become a part of these 'traveling bandwagons' -- including our local media representatives and politicians? What is their own historical and present relationship or animus against our Roman Catholic Faith and its Teachings, the Teachings of which I have always been a staunch and outspoken supporter, despite their 'unpopularity' in the secular and 'politically correct' society that has developed around us?

For those who are truly with us -- the Church -- in the protection of children, they have my respect, gratitude, and embrace. For any who set out to claim that I or the Church have had no effective part in the love and protection of children, is simply evil, wrong, immoral, and seemingly focused on their own self-aggrandizement. God only knows their personal reasons and agenda. We are still called to love them. And God will surely address them in due time.

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  • Posted by: bnewman - Aug. 23, 2013 11:16 PM ET USA

    Frodo1945. Apologies accepted. In fact it seems unlikely that any such letter was ever written: the lawyer Anderson has unfortunately not been able to provide any evidence. . I wonder why a reporter would smear a Bishop so strongly about some alleged letter of many years ago, without any confirming facts to back it up.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Aug. 22, 2013 11:45 PM ET USA

    bnewman. My apologies. It wasn't the media, it was is filing system! "Archbishop John J. Myers said a complaint from a woman who said she was abused never came across his desk, and he blamed a “slipshod filing system” and a high-level official who apparently handled the matter on his own." Is that what you call taking responsibility? He was in charge in Peoria when this case happened. The buck stops here.

  • Posted by: bnewman - Aug. 22, 2013 11:08 AM ET USA

    Frodo1945. It seems to me that the reason the Diocese settled is a question for the Diocese, not Bishop Myers: he had left the Diocese years before the case was even brought. Surely it would not be manly to “own up,” under pressure from the press, to something not your responsibility: rather it would be spineless.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Aug. 21, 2013 8:50 PM ET USA

    An anti-Catholic witch hunt? Then explain why Peoria diocese paid $1.35 million. If there was no basis, then giving away $1.35M of parishioners $$ is just as bad as the alleged offense. What ever happened to the manly virtue of taking responsibility?

  • Posted by: bnewman - Aug. 21, 2013 1:15 PM ET USA

    Should Bishop Myers fire a priest who is accused of something if there is no evidence to support it, and even if an independent Law Enforcement investigation finds there is no basis? Can any employer do that? This particular case does sound like more like an anti-Catholic witch hunt to me.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Aug. 20, 2013 10:33 PM ET USA

    Some in the media don't like the Church. So what. That's a different question from whether what they're charging in terms of episcopal negligence is correct.

  • Posted by: filioque - Aug. 20, 2013 9:58 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Myers's letter deserves to be read in full at the link provided. He cites specific facts to refute the allegations and insinuations he is protesting.

  • Posted by: opraem - Aug. 20, 2013 7:57 PM ET USA

    myers got caught and can't take the exposure in the media. but he'll not be punished for his errors/sins, the us bishops reappointed him as chair of the nac for another three years.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Aug. 20, 2013 7:34 PM ET USA

    @Frodo1945: There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone defending himself against media coverage that is demonstrably false and malicious, as is the case with Abp. Myers and the story involving a now-dead priest years ago in Peoria ... http://www.themediareport.com/2013/08/20/nj-archbishop-meyers-tom-moran-star-ledger/ ... Sometimes it is indeed the media's fault!! The guy can only "take responsibility" for something he actually did wrong. And he didn't in this case!

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Aug. 20, 2013 3:17 PM ET USA

    Three reactions: (1) I concur with and subscribe to Frodo1945's comment. (2) His Excellency should remember never to get into an argument with a man who buys ink by the barrel. (usually attr. to Mark Twain but that's doubtful. The advice is not doubtful.) (3) It is a trifle unseemly for a prelate to consign even an enemy to Hell, as he implicitly does in the last sentence.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Aug. 20, 2013 10:08 AM ET USA

    Another one who still doesn't get it. Just like Chicken Little - "It's the media's fault" "It's the media's fault" "It's the media's fault" I guess this generation will have to die off before anyone takes responsibility like a man.

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