Father Groeschel Under Fire

DALLAS MORNING NEWS, March 2 — Franciscan of the Renewal Father Benedict Groeschel, a well-known apologist and psychologist, has come under attack by the Dallas Morning News for his response to the recent abuse crisis in the Church.

Father Groeschel in 2002 published a book on clerical abuse and its media coverage, From Scandal to Hope. In it, he criticizes reporters who exaggerated the extent and seriousness of the scandal motivated, he suggested, by hatred of the Church's moral teachings.

The newspaper noted Father Groeschel runs Trinity Retreat, a center for clergy, which has treated hundreds of priests under fire for sexual misconduct, returning some 85, by his own report, to the active ministry.

The Morning News claimed leaders in the Diocese of Paterson, N.J., blamed three “unfortunate” reassignments on Father Groeschel's advice. Two of those priests were accused of subsequent misconduct.

In a response to the article, published on fran ciscanfriars.com, Father Groeschel said that the 85 priests were on leaves of absence, “not priests who had been accused of any misbehavior at all.”

Father Groeschel said that the paper “significantly misrepresented.” his role in the Paterson cases. And he said he never treated a priest of the Archdiocese of New York the article said he treated.

More Hispanics, but Fewer Are Catholic

TUCSON CITIZEN, Feb. 25 — Reporting on a recent study called the American Religious Identification Survey, the Tuscon Citizen wrote that “as the Hispanic population grows in the United States, so does the percentage of those who do not identify themselves as Catholics or followers of any other religion.”

The paper noted those Hispanic Catholics who drift away generally retain certain cultural and external practices associated with the Church, such as making the Sign of the Cross when passing churches, keeping rosaries in their cars and displaying images of the Virgin Mary.

As recently as the early 1990s, the paper reported, more than 65% of Hispanics in America identified with the Church. The new report puts that figure now at only 57%, even as the percentage of all Americans who claim no religious affiliation rose from 8% to 14%. Some 60% of Latinos between ages 18 and 25 claim no religion.

The survey was based on answers from 50,281 American adults, 3,000 of whom identified themselves as Hispanic.

New Hampshire Bishop Refuses to Step Down

THE WASHINGTON POST, Feb. 26 — Besieged New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack again announced he would refuse calls for him to step down in the face of the release by the state of thousands of files accumulated over decades, covering hundreds of accusations of clerical abuse.

The Washington Post reported the bishop promised the Diocese of Manchester would issue a companion report, offering the Church's “own honest analysis” of past policies toward abusive clergy.

He promised that anyone in ministry who has been credibly accused of abuse has now been removed from service.

------- EXCERPT: