Bishop Daniel R. Jenky: A Leader with Backbone
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I attended Bishop Daniel R. Jenky’s ordination. He was a very personable and friendly bishop, whom I met with personally on two occasions. I spoke with him in casual conversation and joked with him. I admired him and could relate to him in many ways — he grew up in a Catholic Polish neighborhood on the south side of Chicago — not all that far from where I was raised–and he seemed to be a man of strong faith and courage in his convictions — a leader with backbone.
My impressions of him have proven correct.
This past weekend, he spoke out strongly against anti-Catholicism — especially that shown by the mainstream media and the anti-Catholic courts.
Background: A court recently reinstated lawsuits that were previously dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed. Article on the reinstatement is found here. Executive summary: Illinois law required lawsuits to be filed by the time the (alleged) minor victim was 30 years old, with the statute of limitations expiring afterwards. The reinstatement has revolved around the rediscovery of repressed memories. (Via Fr. Z.)
In a letter issued this weekend to the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Peoria, Bishop Daniel Jenky defended his handling of abuse cases and criticized victims’ groups and the media. Bishop Jenky wrote:
In these perilous economic times, I will work to be a prudent steward of the money you offer for the work of Christ. Attorneys representing some claimants and some “victims groups” obviously have a significant financial stake in trying to overturn our Diocesan policies. Recent decisions in the Illinois courts may make our legal situation even more difficult in the future. It should be noted that the sexual abuse of minors cuts across all socio-economic lines, ethnicities, ministries, and religions. It is important to remember that the State basically exempts its own institutions from civil litigation. Amid all the tensions of our nation’s culture wars and in the face of the media’s intense hatred for our Catholic Faith, I am increasingly concerned that our Church in effect no longer enjoys equal justice under the law. I will not be intimidated by choreographed demonstrations or the abuse that is sometimes personally directed against me. I remain immensely proud of the zealous and holy priesthood of our Diocese. May God guide and protect his Holy Church and bless us all in his service.
As a former member of the Diocese of Peoria for 13 years, I can attest to the fact that there are many dedicated and holy priests there. I am especially proud of Bishop Jenky for standing up for them and for telling it like it is with the mainstream media and our court system today.