Media Watch

National List of Accused Priests Completed

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Nov. 1 — A nationwide list of 2,600 Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual misconduct against children will be posted online early next year, according to the Associated Press. The list was compiled by Dallas lawyer Sylvia Demarest, who started work on it in 1993 while representing clients allegedly molested by a Dallas priest.

Demarest said the database of alleged “priest perpetrators” and other Catholic officials who have been accused of sexually abusing children was assembled from public sources, including court filings and media reports. Entries will include the name of the accused; the time, place and nature of the suspected misconduct; and whether there were lawsuits or criminal charges.

Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was quoted in the story as saying, “There is a difference of opinion among the bishops as to whether (a list) should be maintained at the national level. That has not been resolved.”

Trying to Build a Wall Against Wal-Mart

LOS ANGELES TIMES, Oct. 30 — In protesting Wal-Mart's plan to build Los Angeles County's first “Supercenter” in Rosemead, Calif., the pastor of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in neighboring San Gabriel described the giant company as “the greediest corporation on earth.” Father Mike Greely also called Rosemead City Council's approval of the Wal-Mart project “disgusting.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the reaction among parishioners and the community was mixed. “Father Mike did what he did because he was just concerned about his parishioners,” said Bert Ross, 82. Sharon Esquivel, 60, felt differently. Referring to strong language Greely used at a city council meeting, she said, “I thought he should have taken his collar (off) if he was going to say things like that.”

In response to complaints, Los Angeles Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg said, “With issues that affect life and human dignity, it's inescapable that they will have a moral component to them, so the Church has not only the right but the duty to speak out.”

Pastor Commissions Unusual Icon for Parish

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Oct. 31 — Father George Rutler, pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in Manhattan, has placed a 24-foot Byzantine icon behind the altar of the Park Avenue church. The icon, installed 10 feet off the floor, is a vast enlargement of a sixth-century painting thought to be among the oldest icons of Christ, according to a newspaper report. In it, Christ is depicted with a golden halo over his head and is covered by light shining on him from above. He is extending one hand in benediction while holding a jeweled book in the other.

Father Rutler encountered the icon at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and thought it was “a nice, friendly face.” He then commissioned Ken Jan Woo, a muralist whom he had baptized, to make an enlargement. The pastor admitted the enormous icon might not appeal to all parishioners.

“You know how New Yorkers are,” he said. Christ himself could come down, “and they'd say, ‘What time's the next subway?’”