November 15th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Top Catholic bishop denies knowing of abuse

A top contender to head the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected allegations he allowed the ordination of a priest who  went on to abuse children.

The bishops meet Tuesday to elect a new president, and the current  vice-president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, is considered a  likely candidate.

But a group that campaigns against abuse of children by priests said  Sunday he was not fit for the job.

"Kicanas knew about serious accusations of child sexual abuse and  misconduct by a Chicago priest but 'did little or nothing to report these  allegations to police, warn parents about him, or protect children from him,""  the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said.

"At the time, Kicanas headed the seminary where (Daniel) McCormack  attended and could have blocked or delayed the priest's ordination but did not.  That cleric was convicted in 2007 of molesting kids and is now behind bars,"  SNAP said.

Kicanas was rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago area when  McCormack was a student.

He said Friday he had never heard a complaint against McCormack then.

"At no time while McCormack was a seminarian at Mundelein did I receive any allegation of pedophilia or child molestation against him," Kicanas said in  a detailed e-mail interview with the National Catholic Register.

"I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack  during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone,"  he says, rejecting reports by the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, Chicago public  radio station WBEZ and the Catholic-focused Spero News.

"Kicanas' irresponsible actions directly led to children being sexually  assaulted by McCormack. It's wrong for bishops to promote him," said Barbara  Dorris, SNAP's outreach director.

McCormack has been defrocked, SNAP said.

Kicanas is one of 10 candidates for the three-year presidency of the  USCCB. The current president, Cardinal Francis George, is not running for  re-election.

SNAP also criticized another candidate, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New  York.

In August, Dolan "quietly, recklessly and deceptively" let a prominent  priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that at least nine men  have accused the priest of molesting them as boys, SNAP said.

Two years ago, Dolan's predecessor found the allegations credible and  suspended Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, SNAP said, adding that he has not been defrocked.

Dolan's office declined to respond to CNN questions about Harris.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Sex abuse

soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Frogist

    If you want to know what he said and or knew that is on the record:
    There is a link to an interview with him where he details what he knew. It seems to be a bit different from what is being alleged about him.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  2. Gerald

    He denies knowing anything so he is clearly guilty.

    November 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  3. KeninTexas

    Just by reading the comments being posted, it shows anyone can make accusations about anything. If SNAP has any proof, let's see it. So far, they are just accusing but without any evidence at all. It would be difficult for the head of a seminary to know what all of the seminaries are dong. Much less to know if they have the potential of being abusers.
    The seminaries are being very though these days to screen out potential abusers before they make it into the seminary. Unfortunately, they were not screening them so closely when this guy was admitted and while he was going there.

    November 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      Chances are those priests are already in prison. American media doesn't think its "newsworthy" unfortunately

      November 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  4. Mark

    To RJ from Texas:
    To be pedantically correct, the Pope does not receive new revelation. The RC Church believes that all formal revelation stopped with the death of the apostles. Yes, I know about papal infallibility, that is something entirely different.

    I'm do not approve of any of the actions of these priests and especially the bishops that continue to cover it up, I'm just making an ecclesiastical correction.

    November 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  5. LouAz

    To this minute not a single catholic priest, bishop, arch bishop, cardinal, or poop has called a cop and said he is reporting a child possibly being molested or being molested by any catholic clergy any place in the world ! The members of the catholic church (sic) allow it and continue to offer their own children to these sick pedophiles and their sick organization.

    November 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • KeninTexas

      LouAz said "To this minute not a single catholic priest, bishop, arch bishop,,,has called a cop and said he is reporting a child possibly being molested or being molested by any catholic clergy any place in the world !" You claim to know this as a fact that it never ever happened, anywhere is the world? Wow, you sure must keep busy keeping track of this. Or more like it, you are just shooting your mouth off about something you don't know anything about. Yeah, I bet that's probably the case.
      Finally, the church hierarchy has finally come to terms with their failures and are in fact turning in abusive priests when found out. I hope they will weed out the bad ones and someday, it will not happen again. Unfortunately, since we are all humans, we are subject to human failings so we must always be watchful.

      November 15, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      Where's your proof that anyone in the CC is actually calling the police? I have yet to hear of anything like that AT ALL!

      November 16, 2010 at 2:01 am |
    • Ken

      Sum Dude asked "Where's your proof that anyone in the CC is actually calling the police? I have yet to hear of anything like that AT ALL!" ,,,,, Dude, you need to look and listen. It's big news and makes headlines when someone is accused, but you don't see much about it when the church actually steps up and does the right thing. It doesn't quiet gets the haters, like you, fired up as much. But if you're interested, Cardinal DiNardo in Houston in one of his first acts when he was appointed bishop was to investigate and remove a priest who was suspected of abuse.

      November 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm |

    Haven't all popes said they talk directly to God?
    Why didn't God give them the 411 on these perverts in the church?

    November 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Acroyear

      A very logical question...too bad logic and religion have nothing to do with each other.

      November 15, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • Gerald

      No Mr. Dover the Popes don't claim to talk directly to God. Your bigotry is duly noted however.

      November 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm |


         /ˈbɪgətri/ Show Spelled[big-uh-tree]
      –noun, plural -ries.
      stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
      the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.
      Yep I guess I am a Bigot, against adults molesting kids, covering it up
      Why are you not?

      November 17, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  7. PseudoSage

    The Catholic Church: Helping pedophiles get away with their crimes since the 1st Century, AD.

    Oh well, they still have better checks than the BoyScouts and DisneyLand.

    November 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      Pseudo Sage: The biggest ignoramus on CNN

      November 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  8. whynotwrite

    Same canned answer they use all the time. " I didn´t know...." Lately it has been confirmed the church accepted known Mexican Cartel money to build an addition......we´re talking millions of dollars. They knew it was cartel money but really did not care. As of yet no one has been relocated or repremanded by Rome. I know this is old news since the Catholic church is also known to have accepted mafia money.
    In the end they really don´t care about anything but "the old boy´s club" and the bottom line.

    November 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      CLEARLY you are a product of our public school system

      November 15, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  9. YBP

    Bishop denies knowing of abuse.

    Did he also deny knowing that he lives in a secret fraternity of social outcasts and closet cases?

    November 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • YBP

      Oh, yeah. And alcoholics. Forgot about them.

      Been there. Know all about it.

      November 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  10. Jake


    November 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
1 2 3 4
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.