Wednesday, June 4, 2003

O'Brien won't surrender power

He's delegating, not relinquishing....

On Monday, Romley had said the 14-point agreement effectively removed O'Brien from having anything to do with sexual abuse allegations in the diocese."I have attempted to take the authority over sexual abuse allegations away from Thomas O'Brien," Romley said. "He is out of the picture."

[ed. note: Let that sink in, with all of its unknown consequences...]

Romley vowed to go to court to revoke the immunity agreement if O'Brien ever again became involved in handling sexual misconduct cases.But the bishop insisted Tuesday that no civil authority could strip him of ultimate responsibility for church policies, including the monitoring of sexual misconduct accusations. "I have to know what is going on," O'Brien said. "If a priest abuses a child, I have to know that. You wouldn't want me not to know about that, would you? I would have to know because I would have to take them out of the ministry."O'Brien said he will rely on his new aides to determine the credibility of sexual abuse allegations and will act on their recommendations. That has been his policy for more than a decade, he said, and it will not change.

"That's been the case for the last 14 years," he said. "Other people made judgments about the credibility of allegations. I have not done that. But when they come to me and say, 'Bishop, there's evidence that this man has abused a child,' then I take action."