By: David Bloomberg
Re: Bernardin Reconciliation
From: George Hero
AP 5 Jan 95 6:35 EST V0637
Copyright 1995. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Cardinal Joseph Bernardin gave his forgiveness, along with a
Bible and a promise of prayer, to the man who once accused him of molestation.
Bernardin and Steven Cook met for two hours last week at a seminary in
Philadelphia, where Cook now lives. The cardinal said Cook apologized during
"This has been one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had,"
Bernardin said Wednesday. "It was a wonderful moment of reconciliation between
Steven, myself and the church."
Cook accused Bernardin and another priest of sexually molesting him in the
1970s in Cincinnati while Cook was in a program for high school students
considering the priesthood and Bernardin was archbishop in Cincinnati.
Cook later recanted his accusations against Bernardin and the case against
the cardinal was dropped. The Cincinnati archdiocese reached an out-of-court
settlement with Cook over his allegations involving the other priest.
Cook said Wednesday that he and Bernardin had made peace with each other
during the Dec. 30 meeting, which was arranged by Cook's mother.
"We talked, looked deep into each others' eyes," Cook told WLS-TV of
Chicago. "There was holding, hugging, touching. A deep understanding of each
Bernardin said that although he would not wish the experience on others, he
became a more compassionate person because of it.
"I felt that I was in the presence of God (at this meeting)," he said. "I
could feel God's grace working through him."
Bernardin would not disclose whether Cook, 35, gave a reason for his
accusations. But he said Cook, who has said he has AIDS, was disenchanted both
with God and the Catholic Church at the time.
If he gave a reason? The papers were FULL of the reasons -- Cook admitted that
he could not tell if his memories were real or not, and later became convinced
that they were not!
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