Bishop Kicanas is not happy with the article that appeared recently in the National Catholic Register questioning his actions as seminary rector of Mundelein in Chicago where he approved the ordination of future serial sex abuser Daniel McCormack despite knowing he had three homosexual encounters in college including one with a minor. Since the bishop is up for election as head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week, he is obviously in damage control mode which begins with saying he was misquoted in the November 2007 Sun Times article. Here's the quote in question:
It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained [Daniel McCormack]. 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. I don’t think there was anything I could have done differently.The bishop took no action to correct what he now calls, three years later, an inaccurate, out-of-context quote. It's hard to imagine a context that would make the statement more acceptable. Considering that the quote also came up in a deposition with Cardinal George over McCormack's abuse, correcting it would seem to have been imperative. Cardinal George treated the quote as accurate when he responded to questions about it. But Bishop Kicanis now says the newspaper got it all wrong. Here's the spin he puts on it in an interview with the National Catholic Register:
I do take exception to that quote. It does not accurately reflect what I said and was put into a context that is not accurate. [If he didn't say it, how could it be out of context?] For instance, I would never defend endorsing McCormack’s ordination if I had had any knowledge or concern that he might be a danger to anyone, and I had no such knowledge or concern. At no time while McCormack was a seminarian at Mundelein did I receive any allegation of pedophilia or child molestation against him. [What about consensual sex encounters with adults? Kicanas did have details about three sexual incidents that occurred while McCormack was in minor seminary, one involving an underage youth during a trip to Mexico. It concerned a fellow seminarian enough to report it. Why didn't it concern his superiors including Kicanas? Perhaps Mundelein's reputation as a gay friendly seminary explains it]The Register interview is fascinating and the Catholic Culture website pointed out the careful legalism in the bishop's responses:
In comments to the Register, Bishop Kincanas says that he would never have advocated McCormack’s ordination if he knew that the man would be accused of molesting dozens of boys. Well, yes. But did he have any reason—back when he was rector of Mundelein seminary—to suspect that McCormack might have troubles with sexuality?Bishop Rene Gracida, retired bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi has collected a wealth of material on the Kicanas affair. Visit his blog here.
At no time while McCormack was a seminarian at Mundelein did I receive any allegation of pedophilia or child molestation against him. I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone.Right. Understood. At the time, he was not a certified abuser. But was he troubled?
I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone.The Register correspondent, Tim Drake, poses the obvious question in an interesting way:
You said, “I was more concerned about his drinking.” You were more concerned about his drinking than what? Your statement seems to indicate that there were other problems/issues, more than just McCormack’s drinking.No response.
Finally, after roughly 1,000 words, Bishop Kicanas divulges the information that there were concerns about McCormack’s behavior. There were reports of—can you guess?—consensual homosexual activity, which apparently took place only after McCormack had been drinking. Thus the rector was concerned about the young man’s alcohol consumption. But there was never a hint that McCormack would be unfit for the priesthood, because—let’s hear it one more time--
While he was at Mundelein, no allegation or report or concern of sexual abuse of anyone was ever made against McCormack.
A little additional background puts Bishop Kicanis' denial in perspective. Prior to becoming rector at Mundelein he was rector, principal, and dean of formation at Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He became rector at Mundelein in 1984. Allegations about McCormack came out in 1992. In 1995 Kicanis was named an auxiliary bishop for Chicago. According to his bio on the Tucson Diocesan website, Bishop Kicanas has over 25 years experience in seminary education. Remember that this time frame of seminary activity coincides with the massive infiltration of homosexuals into the seminary and the persecution of good men applying to the priesthood. Michael Rose describes it in detail in his book Goodbye! Good Men published in 2002. Rose spoke to a number of men with experience at Mundelein who described the gay subculture including special treatment for gay seminarians, blackballing of orthodox students, and sexual relationships among seminarians and between faculty members and seminarians. Some of these students began their tenure at Mundelein while Kicanis was rector and continued there under Fr. John Canary who succeeded him.
Another sex abuse case that involves Kicanis is that of Fr. Michael Yakaitis who, in 1990-91 abused a seminary student at Niles College, the same minor seminary Daniel McCormack attended prior to entering Mundelein. The abused student, who self-identified as homosexual, applied to Mundelein in 1993 describing the abuse he experienced at Niles, but expressing his desire to continue seminary training. Kicanis recommended he take two years off for therapy to resolve his issues of anger over the betrayal of trust before reapplying. The abusive priest, however, remained in ministry until 2005 and, in fact, was assigned to Calvert House, a student center, in 2001.
Despite Yakaitis' history of abuse being well known to a number of highly placed clerics, it took SNAP exposing it that finally led to the priest's resignation. Kicanis wasn't the only one who knew of the abuse according to SNAP. In their February 8, 2005 letter to Cardinal George, SNAP wrote that the "victim subsequently reported the sexual abuse to at least seven church officials including Fr. John Canary, current rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelien; Fr. Gerald Kicanis, now bishop of Tucson, and Fr. Larry McBrady, a former Vicar for Priests under your administration....Fr. Canary confirmed meetings between the victim and numerous church leaders as well as the victim's account of Fr. Yakaitis' misconduct."
So what happened following revelations of serious misconduct, i.e., faculty abuse of a student? Fr. Yakaitis was moved to a parish for a few years and then assigned to another school, an example of the typical cover-up of sex abuse which helped fuel the sex abuse crisis which came to a head at the bishops' Dallas meeting in 2002.
One conclusion from all this is that Bishop Kicanas is soft on homosexuality, but he's also soft on abortion and pro-abortion politicians, as well as soft on heterodoxy. In fact, writer Tom Bethell reporting on a talk by Fr. Thomas Reese, former editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, who was forced out by the Vatican for his lack of fidelity to Church teachings, called Kicanas "the leading liberal hope" among the bishops and "in the Bernardin mold." Such praise, is well earned. Kicanas is the darling of the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), the mouthpiece of liberal dissent. NCR called the Register article "character assassination," an ironic accusation in view of their regular attacks on the pope and orthodox leaders.
It's not surprising that the pro-abortion Catholics at NCR love Bishop Kicanas. Not only is he silent when pro-abortion politicians use his diocesan churches to proclaim their "pro-choice" positions, he championed Notre Dame's decision to honor the most pro-abortion president in history. Since Fr. Jenkin's disgraceful action, Bishop Kicanas, according to Thomas Peters at the American Papist blog, has "doubled-down in his support of the institution." The fact that over 100 bishops protested Notre Dame's betrayal of the faith underlines Bishop Kicanas' treachery.
As for orthodox Catholics in the pew who are watching the bishops' meeting with concern, a Kicanas' victory will prove that it's business as usual at the USCCB where liberal committees put out questionable documents and money from national collections is diverted to organizations that support abortion and help put pro-abortion politicians in office. No matter what happens at the meeting, however, one thing is certain; the laity are no longer asleep in the pew. And, judging from Bishop Kicanas' response to criticism, it's scaring the liberal bishops to death.