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Chicago archdiocese releases abuse documents

January 21, 2014

The Chicago archdiocese, acting on a court order, has released thousands of internal documents involving the handling of sex-abuse complaints against priests.

The documents illustrate a now-familiar pattern in which prelates covered up evidence of sexual abuse, giving accused priests new parish assignments to remove them from the sources of complaints.

Although most media reports have concentrated on a few notorious cases that have arisen in recent years, during the tenure of Cardinal Francis George, 95% of the cases unearthed in the Chicago archives date from before 1988. The documents provide a detailed account of the handling of cases in the past, under Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin.


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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 21, 2014 4:02 PM ET USA

    It is natural that the spotlight should be on the George era; he is the only one of the 3 cardinals still alive. Beyond that, it is curious to note how Cody handled matters in contrast to the other two prelates. Most would say he was exemplary of the 'good old times' in the Church, ordained under Pius XI, made bishop under Pius XII, and a staunch conservative. Yet it was precisely on his watch that most of these abuses took place. And some still pretend that "Vatican II was where it all began."