Homosexuality and the Clergy
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Under Fire

Atila Sinke Guimar√£es
Bird's Eye View of the News,  October 15, 2000

Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, the recently named most important Prelate of the Catholic Church in England, is under fire for a pedophile case. The Prelate was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in 1983 when he removed Fr. Michael Hill from his parish after the priest was accused of sexual abuse. After undergoing therapy, Hill was assigned by his Bishop in 1985 to be a chaplain at Gatwick Airport.

According to The Times of London, Msgr. Murphy-O'Connor received documents from two priests and a doctor from the therapeutic center in Gloucestershire where Hill was treated which recommended that he not return to ministry. Nonetheless, the Prelate favored him with a new pastoral assignment. Hill was later accused of abusing a boy with learning difficulties whom he met at the airport chapel after the boy missed a flight. In 1997, he was sentenced to five years in prison for 10 sexual assaults on altar boys and other children.

Murphy-O'Connor stated on July 19 that he had acted correctly on the information available to him. According to The Times, the Catholic Church has compensated two of Hill's victims, and legal proceedings are continuing in a third case (National Catholic Reporter, July 28, p. 12). Following the steps of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, the new Primate of England has shown an attitude of public complacency toward homosexuality in the clergy.

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