RED ALERT: Take Action Today on USCCB Election

As we wrote yesterday, in just 4 days  our U.S. bishops meet in Baltimore to elect a new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Unfortunately, the lead candidate for the new national leader–namely the current Vice President of the USCCB, Bishop Gerald Kicanas–is known to have enabled a priest convicted of child sexual abuse who is now defrocked and jailed.

We think this election is important enough for the future and credibility of the Catholic Church that we are asking everyone reading to go on “Red Alert.” That means, you should click the graphic to the right and sign a short letter that is being emailed to about 30 of the leading provincial bishops in the U.S. along with the U.S. Papal Nuncio, Bishop Kicanas, and outgoing USCCB President.

In short, the lead candidate, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tuscon, was rector of a seminary in the 1990′s where he approved ordaining a seminarian even after receiving 3 allegations of sexual improprieties, including abuse of a minor.  After that ordained priest went on to abuse as many as 23 boys and was jailed and defrocked, in 2007 Bishop Kicanas looked back in hindsight and was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times as saying “It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him…There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process…I was more concerned about his drinking.”

Here is the letter we have posted at the new website www.usccbelection.com.

Your Excellency,

I am writing to respectfully ask that you vote for a candidate other than Bishop Gerald Kicanas for the new president of the USCCB.

Many bishops may not be aware that Bishop Kicanas was rector of Mundelein Seminary in 1992 when he approved ordaining a seminarian, Daniel McCormack, despite knowing about three cases of homosexual “sexual improprieties” including one with a minor. Fr. McCormack went on to abuse 23 children and was defrocked and jailed.

After McCormack’s history of child sexual abuse was known, in 2007 Bishop Kicanas was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times saying, “It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him. There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he had learned from the experience. I was more concerned about his drinking. We sent him to counseling for that.”

In view of this information, I feel his comments and actions represent a moral, spiritual and pastoral disaster for souls under his care, people affected by sexual abuse, and the whole Catholic Church. Beyond that grave scandal, electing Bishop Kicanas as USCCB president would also seriously harm the credibility and fund-raising ability of the U.S. bishops and Catholic Church.

I respectfully request that you vote for as president a candidate who will be first and foremost a shepherd of souls in imitation of Christ, and that Bishop Kicanas also voluntarily withdraw his name from consideration.

Yours in Christ

To sign the letter, just click on the graphic to the right, fill in the blanks with your name and contact information, click “send the letter,” confirm your information is correct, and click submit.  It will take less than one minute.  For more information, see our post from yesterday.

Please forward this to friends and relatives, and please also contact your local bishop and leave a message saying you want them to NOT vote for Bishop Kicanas. If  you do not know how to reach your local diocese, click here for a map and contact info.

ps. Much appreciation to one of the other Boston Catholic blogs and to Simon R. for the invaluable help and quick turn-around with campaign technical infrastructure.

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12 Responses to RED ALERT: Take Action Today on USCCB Election

  1. Mary Anne Letourneau says:

    Are there any other versions of the letter to sign? I can’t sign a letter that states that Bishop Kicanas should not be elected because such an action would hurt credibility and fund-raising efforts!!! A focus on credibility and fund-raising efforts is part of the quagmire that we’re in.

    Bishop Kicanas, if what has been said is true, should not be elected because his actions have already been a moral, spiritual and pastoral disaster for souls under his care and, along with the actions of priest violators and some other bishops, a moral, spiritual and pastoral disaster for many of the souls of those violated and their families, Catholics on the sidelines and the whole Church. I think that, if all this is true and if the Bishop has not recanted, a campaign for Bishop Kicanas’ removal as a Bishop is more appropriate. But our main campaign at this critical moment ought to be a call for a president who could initiate a return to the propagation of real, not fake, Catholicism. Also, we need a president who will address head-on the issue of the millions of souls in danger due to the fact that they have been spiritually neglected in the wake of the “clergy sex abuse scandal” as well as by the catechetical nightmare that for decades and probably longer has co-existed with the diabolical attempt to destroy the priesthood.

    And I’m not sure that we need the USCCB in its present form anyway. But let’s get a president who will be primarily a shepherd of souls in imitation of Christ.

  2. Angry Parish Council Member says:

    There is more that is troubling about Kicanas than what you have written.

    See this article from Lifesite News, “The Kicanas Conundrum: Catholics Concerned about Likely New U.S. Bishops Head
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/nov/10111204.html

    They talk about how Kicanas parted ways with 120 of his fellow U.S. bishops when they condemned Notre Dame’s honoring of President Obama with the speaking slot at graduation.

    Here’s one about his relationship with pro-abortion politicians:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jun/06061406.html

    I think the guy would be a mega-disaster for the Catholic Church in the U.S.

  3. Kathy says:

    Thank You for making this RED ALERT available & so simple to send.

    God Bless & Protect You All!

  4. Anna says:

    I would like to sign but I am not American and live in Australia. What do you think? Should I? Would it be relevant?

  5. Mary Anne Letourneau says:

    Both red alert buttons above, as well as the usccbelection.com website take the reader to the original letter that mentions the credibility and fund-raising issues as the main reason for opposing Bishop Kicanas. Your revised letter only shows up in your post for Nov. 12.

    • Sorry about that. Shortly after we updated the letter on both the blog post and the usccbelection.com website, the server got overloaded and went down. The fast-thinking technical person helping us switched servers, but the recovery was from the previous version of the letter. We’re trying to reach him to get it fixed now. Will post back when it’s live. Thanks for your patience.

  6. Jack O'Malley says:

    I would like to sign this but I am of the opinion that the corruption is just too widespread. If the bishops have to be instructed by the laity, then the USCCB and most of its members has outlived its usefulness. Whether it was ever useful for anything besides lining its own pockets is a moot question.

    Best to let this mafia (in Frank Keating’s apposite terminology) dispatch itself hoist to its own petard.

  7. Mary Anne Letourneau says:

    What are we to make of Bishop Kicanis’ rebuttal to the information cited here and in other places about his involvement in Fr. McCormack’s case? The Bishop claims that the information disseminated is based on inaccuracies and out-of-context placement of quotes. Also, he says that he contacted reporters in the past to tell them of their inaccuracies but the reporters made no corrections.

  8. Jack B says:

    In Bishop Kicanas’s response (Nov 12, National Catholic Register), he says he complained 3 years ago to the Tucson media about the Chicago Sun-Times story. (?) He says he made the decision not to address the defects he disliked in the October 22, 2010 WBEZ story.
    Finally waking up to put the truth out this week seems a bit odd after the years and opportunities he has had.

  9. Kathy says:

    Thank you for making me aware of this. Things are worst than I thought! Please keep up what you are doing.

  10. [...] of USCCB, defeating expected winner, Bishop Gerald Kicanas. The vote followed an aggressive “Red Alert” campaign by BCI and others that got people from across the country faxing and emailing bishops prior [...]

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