WASHINGTON (September 18, 2002) -– In a letter to the Chicago Tribune today, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis, responded to media reports alleging erroneous reasons why some bishops who have been serving on the Ad Hoc Committee for Sexual Abuse of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will not continue to serve on the restructured committee.
Archbishop Flynn chairs this committee.
Previously the Ad Hoc Committee had been made up of the chairmen of several standing committees of the USCCB. It was restructured under the Charter for the Protection Children and Young People, adopted by the bishops at their June meeting. Its membership is now made up of one bishop from each of the 14 regions into which the dioceses and archdioceses of the U.S. are divided.
Archbishop Flynn stated, "Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, though he served only a short time on the Committee, played a crucial role in the drafting of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and a second document entitled `Essential Norms.""
Archbishop Flynn added, "Even though the draft documents had passed in Dallas, I am sure that Archbishop Myers would have been glad to continue serving; but he was also kind enough to indicate that he would be willing to allow an Eastern Catholic archbishop from his region [Region 3]to serve in his stead."
Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Ukrainian represents Region 3 on the re-structured Committee.
With regard to Bishop John McCormack of Manchester, Archbishop Flynn recalled his long service to the Committee during which time he contributed to its efforts in several capacities, eventually as its chairman.
Bishop McCormack was one of two bishops already serving on the Committee from Region 1, Archbishop Flynn said, and Bishop McCormack thought that with his "having served so long, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, a recent appointee, ought to serve as representative of the region."
Even if the Committee had not been re-structured, Auxiliary Bishop A. James Quinn of Cleveland would have been leaving the Committee since his term as chairman of the canonical affairs committee would end this November.
"He indicated that he was glad to be relieved of the committee obligations which take a good deal of time away from a bishop"s primary obligation to his own diocese," Archbishop Flynn said.
In additional remarks, Archbishop Flynn said that, along with the other bishops of the Conference, he greatly valued Bishop McCormack"s longstanding commitment to the Committee and his many contributions to its work; Bishop Quinn"s canonical expertise and pastoral sensitivity; and Archbishop Myers" canonical and pastoral insights into dealing with the issues facing the Committee.
Archbishop Flynn said in his letter, "I would have been very glad to continue to serve with them if that is what they chose to do."
Archbishop Flynn ended the letter saying, "It is a shame that the media ignore the significance of bringing additional bishops from every region of this country into this Committee"s continuing and important work. Instead the public is given reports about its re-structuring which are wrong and harmful to the good name of individual bishops."