Burke’s mission to make bishops go where they won’t

Burke’s mission to make bishops go where they won’t

Recall the USCCB’s National Review Board, a blue-ribbon commission of prominent Catholic laity selected by the bishops conference to advise them after the Scandal broke wide open in 2002. An interview in The Wanderer gives us an inside look from the perspective of the second chair of the board, Justice Anne Burke.

Burke succeeded Gov. Frank Keating, who resigned after comparing Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to La Cosa Nostra, and she immediately caused a stir in conservative circles because she is a well-known liberal Democrat (two other well-known Dems served on the original board as well: Leon Panetta and Bob Bennett.) Apparently, according to the article, she was chosen precisely because certain USCCBers thought that a squishy liberal Dem would go easy on them.

Anne Burke was stunned to discover that the pompously-named “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” initiated by the p.r. firm in the bishops’ names did not mandate any final report. It was meant to be a puff piece, a white paper designed to get favorable press. She decided there would be a report-a thoroughly documented one. From that day on, there was war between certain bishops who wanted to sweep the scandals under the rug and Burke who wanted to (a) investigate the charges, (b) recommend a tough course of action and (c) install a watchdog to guard against future priest predators of children-a watchdog with teeth.

“I knew when Keating left and the job fell to me that the prevailing attitude of most of the bishops would be to turn out a p. r. document and go home,” she told this Wanderer reporter. It was a second lengthy meeting which was cut short because she had to dash out to noon Mass for the Feast of the Assumption. “But I was not going to repeat Keating’s mistake and try to run the thing alone,” she said. “It would have to be done collegially.”

Episcopal sovereignty

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1 comment
  • Hi Dom,

    I mention that the author of this interview was none other than Tom Roeser, the Chicago Newspaper and PR Great, and the leader of Catholic Citizens of Illinois, an orthodox Roman Catholic group.