Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ex-Dallas Catholic bishop retiring early in New Jersey

Bishop Joseph Galante is retiring early as head of the Catholic diocese in Camden, N.J., nine years after leaving Dallas in frustration over clergy sex-abuse scandals.

Galante is several months shy of the church’s mandatory retirement age of 75 and suffering from chronic kidney disease, according to news reports today.

He became Dallas’ coadjutor bishop in 2000. He expected to soon succeed Bishop Charles Grahmann, whose tenure was marked by a series of abuse scandals. But Grahmann refused to step aside.

Grahmann also refused to suspend a prominent priest who’d admitted “inappropriate contact” with an adult worshipper who sought a pain-relief blessing. The worshipper said the priest agreed to perform the blessing, as I reported in 2002, “then pulled down his jogging pants, groped him and propositioned him.”

Galante took the extraordinary step of telling me he disagreed with Grahmann about the case. And a little over a year later, the Vatican sent him to New Jersey.

There, Galante eventually faced accusations that he, too, did too little to clean house. 

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said this week that he had “basically done little or nothing in recent years to distinguish himself from the majority of his peers who continue to act recklessly, secretively and callously in child sex cases.”

Grahmann finally retired in 2006 but has maintained contact with the Dallas diocese. He last appeared in one of our news stories in late 2011, when attending the dedication of a new sanctuary at St. Cecilia Catholic Church.

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