Activists Urge Ousting of N.H. Bishops

Scandals continue to incite protestors
Sep 24, 2003 07:47 AM EDT

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- More than 100 protesters outside St. Joseph's Cathedral today called on fellow Roman Catholics to oust two New Hampshire bishops for their roles in the priest sex scandal.

Victims of pedophile priests and groups seeking change within the church rallied outside Bishop John McCormack's parish for two hours before and during a morning Mass.

Jim Sacco, 48, of Amherst, who received a cash settlement from the church for his abuse claims against convicted former priest John Geoghan, called clergy sexual abuse "domestic terrorism against children." Geoghan was killed by another inmate in a Massachusetts prison last month.

McCormack has been accused in lawsuits of helping move abusive priests from parish to parish while serving as a top aide to Cardinal Bernard Law in the Archdiocese of Boston. Law stepped down last December amid similar accusations.

Auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian has been accused of lying about previous sexual misconduct by the Rev. Roger Fortier to corrections officials conducting a pre-sentencing investigation after Fortier was convicted.

Although the groups have held protests outside St. Joseph's before, this was the largest to date, drawing victims from as far away as Kentucky and Colorado.

The protesters have said they will continue their efforts until McCormack and Christian resign. Both bishops have said they have no intention of resigning.

McCormack was out of the state today, but a spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester watched the protest from the church garden.