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Bishop Kicanas defends his handling of McCormack case

November 12, 2010

The vice-president of the US bishops’ conference has denied that he ignored evidence of sexual abuse while he served as rector of a Chicago seminary.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tuson, Arizona, told the National Catholic Register that he had never heard reports that Daniel McCormack had been guilty of sexual abuse when he supervised McCormack’s study at Mundelein seminary. After his ordination, McCormack would face charges of molesting more than 20 boys.

Because Bishop Kicanas is a heavy favorite to be elected president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at the upcoming meeting of the episcopal conference, Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register questioned whether the bishop’s support for McCormack’s ordination, in spite of early evidence of sexual misconduct, would cause embarrassment for the US bishops. Responding to queries from Drake, Bishop Kicanas said:

At no time while McCormack was a seminarian at Mundelein did I receive any allegation of pedophilia or child molestation against him.

The bishop did admit that he had received reports of McCormack’s involvement in homosexual activities, but an inquiry concluded with the judgment that these episodes were “experimental and developmental,” and would not affect McCormack’s ability to live a celibate life.

Bishop Kicanas said that his words had been taken out of context in a November 2007 Chicago Sun-Times story about McCormack, in which the bishop had been quoted as saying: “It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him.” He insisted: “I would never defend endorsing McCormack’s ordination if I had had any knowledge or concern that he might be a danger to anyone, and I had no such knowledge or concern.”


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  • Posted by: - Nov. 15, 2010 2:03 PM ET USA

    This will be yet another ongoing embarassment for the bishop-mediocrities who, in bureaucratic fashion, will probably elect Kicanas. Will this be a secret vote or can we learn who supports him?

  • Posted by: rvte619260 - Nov. 14, 2010 1:13 PM ET USA

    Pederasty,i.e., sexual relations between a young male youth and an adult male, is the most universal and enduring form of homosexual behavior. The fact that Kicanas, a protegee of Cardinal Bernardin, does not make the connection between pederasty and homosexuality in clerical ranks bodes ill for any resolution of the crime of sexual abuse of minors and seminarians and vulnerable priests in AmChurch. The USCCB needs to clean house and vote no on Kicanas. Randy Engel, author, Rite of Sodomy.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Nov. 13, 2010 1:04 PM ET USA

    They turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when it comes to homosexuality. Wonder why? Hmmmmm? If you will recall, at the Dallas 2002 meeting, Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln, NE was the only prelate, I believe, who stood up and said that the homosexual issue must be discussed. Also, the dr. director or member of the Catholic Medical Association likewise recommended discussion and scrutiny of homosexuality in the priesthood and that this is a serious problem. No one stood and said anything. Mum...

  • Posted by: Franz10108953 - Nov. 13, 2010 12:47 PM ET USA

    Have others noticed the bishop's reference to homosexual activity as experimental and developmental? There's no reference to sin or repentance, just psychobabble. This says everything about Mr. Kicanas.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 12, 2010 8:30 PM ET USA

    How sad and even terrifying that a leading Bishop could make such a weak conjecture. Our faith will survive but our Bishops will have to give an account to our LORD for such actions. Guy F.

  • Posted by: unum - Nov. 12, 2010 6:04 PM ET USA

    So the criteria at Mundelein seminary was that it was OK to be queer, but they don't ordain known pedophiles or child molesters. So that's what passes for management at our seminaries. Pathetic!

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - Nov. 12, 2010 5:15 PM ET USA

    Did he hear any allegations of homosexuality?

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Nov. 12, 2010 3:32 PM ET USA

    If they elect this guy they will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that they have a collective tin ear. And do immeasurable damage to the Church they serve.

  • Posted by: Hal - Nov. 12, 2010 2:32 PM ET USA

    Bishop Kicanas sounds confused about things! Wonder why? Humbug!