- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s new archbishop apologized to parishioners at a West Side church where children were sexually abused by a priest, saying his heart breaks for those injured by the “horrible things” that happened.

“I’m sorry. That’s not the way we should treat each other. That’s not the way a leader should act,” Archbishop Blase Cupich said of former priest Daniel McCormack during his homily at the predominantly black St. Agatha Catholic Church on Sunday, five days after he replaced ailing Cardinal Francis George.

McCormack was removed from the priesthood and pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children at St. Agatha. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and remains at a state mental health facility. He was charged earlier this year in a 2005 case involving a 10-year-old victim at St. Agatha.

George previously apologized for acting too slowly to remove McCormack, saying he should have pushed harder for details about the allegations.

St. Agatha was the first of three ethnic parishes that Cupich will visit during his first three Sundays as archbishop. Parishioners gave him a standing ovation at the end of his homily, the Chicago Sun-Times reported (https://bit.ly/1AHONb7 ).



Cupich told reporters after Mass that the church “can always do more” to help abuse victims, “so I welcome the opportunity to offer an apology.”

Victims and their attorneys have called on the archdiocese to release files on how it handled allegations against McCormack, as it has for 66 other priests who were deemed credibly accused of abuse.

Those files - 30 were released in January under an agreement with victims and the others this month by George - showed how top leaders at the archdiocese helped shield abusive priests for decades, including by moving them between parishes. But McCormack’s files were not among those released because of pending civil litigation, archdiocese officials have said.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, https://www.suntimes.com/index

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