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Milwaukee vice chancellor rips La Crosse diocese’s abuse policy

June 18, 2010

Father James O’Connell, vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and a member of the archdiocesan review board for sexual abuse cases, issued an open letter on June 17 in which he blasted the Diocese of La Crosse’s abuse policy. Father O’Connell asserts that the diocese has an inordinately high burden of proof for removing an accused priest from ministry. He writes:

After more than three months of effort, I must acknowledge that I have been unable to generate a sense of priority and urgency among the local and national Church leaders whom I believe should take the initiative to investigate my concern. In short, these Church leaders neither attempt to prove me wrong nor do they take corrective action. Why is it so difficult for the leaders of the Catholic Church to do the right thing?

Father O’Connell issued his open letter on a day when his bishop-- Archbishop Jerome Listecki, formerly Bishop of La Crosse-- was away in Florida with fellow US bishops on retreat. The Diocese of La Crosse and Archdiocese of Milwaukee issued statements responding to Father O’Connell’s letter.


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  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jun. 19, 2010 12:44 PM ET USA

    Thank you for noting that he released this information when his archbishop was away in Florida. It should also be noted that he did it when La Crosse is bishopless and the newly named Bishop of La Crosse, Bishop Callahan, is also in Florida. Not only is this bad ecclesial form, it also undermines the work of the incoming bishop. The remainder of the story is entirely predictable: Listecki moves him, he blabs to press, takes leave of absence, leaves ministry, becomes Doyle-like thorn in flesh