February 5, 2006
Dear members of the Holy Ghost Parish family,
I stand before you today with great sadness because I have painful news to share.
Your pastor, Fr. Joseph Bennett has been temporarily withdrawn as pastor of Holy Ghost Parish, pending further inquiry into allegations received by officials of the Archdiocese of Chicago that he engaged in sexual misconduct with minors. The sexual misconduct is alleged to have occurred more than 35 years ago while Fr. Bennett served as assistant pastor at St. John de la Salle Parish in Chicago. This allegation has been reported to the Cook County State’s Attorney.
The independent Review Board of the Archdiocese is continuing its review of the allegations. Pending the outcome of this review, Fr. Bennett is cooperating with archdiocesan officials and is residing in a monitored private setting.
If anyone has additional information or a concern to raise regarding Fr. Bennett, please contact our Archdiocesan Professional Responsibility Administrator directly at 1-800-994-6200. You may also contact the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney at 312-603-5440.
This is very difficult news to share and even more difficult, I know, to hear. If there is more information about the situation to share, it will be shared.
For the immediate future, I will serve as administrator of Holy Ghost Parish. I have assured the rest of your pastoral staff that they shall have additional assistance they need going forward.
May I ask you to join me in praying for all people in need of the Lord’s peace and healing: for the adults who brought this concern to the Archdiocese, for Fr. Bennett, and for all those affected by the horror of sexual abuse. At this sad time, now, I want to assure you of my prayers - and of Cardinal George’s - for all of you. When I have any more information about this situation, or about the future of pastoral leadership at Holy Ghost, I will share it with you promptly.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry
Episcopal Vicar of Vicariate VI