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.
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.