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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Press Conference on Hanged Priest

Aired May 17, 2002 - 10:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: The priest news conference is beginning right now. We are going to listen to that.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BISHOP WILLIAM LORI, CONNECTICUT ARCHDIOCESE: ... Alfred Bietighofer. What a tragic moment this is for all of us. Again, let me offer my sincere and my loving condolences to his family, to fathers, to sisters and brother, and to his extended family and to his many friends. My heart goes out to my brother priest and deacons. We have lost a brother, a friend and a coworker. I am very grateful to the priest who stayed in close contact with Father Bietighofer throughout this ordeal to help him in the process of healing.

Many parishioners mourn the death of Father Bietighofer. The distressing circumstances surrounding his death do not eradicate all the good he did in the course of his priestly ministry of 37 years. In the same way, we must reach out in loving concern to any victims in our community with the spirit of reconciliation and with the spirit of peace. May God's peace reign in all our hearts.

In the face of such overwhelming sorrow, what can we learn? How can we move forward in hope? We learn once again that every person without exception has dignity and worth in God's eyes, and every person needs and deserves our compassion. We learned that the tragic problem confronting the church during these trying times has multiple victims, and that we all have a responsibility to help one another and to play a constructive role. We learned that it is best for all concerned when issues of abuse are dealt with immediately as they happen, rather than years later. We learn again the importance of compassionate and ongoing care through all of those affected by such inappropriate actions, so that they may find comfort...

KAGAN: We have been listening to comments from church officials. This in the light of the news of the death of Father Alfred Bietighofer, a Catholic priest who apparently hanged himself outside of suburban Washington. He was found in his room on Thursday.

This is a priest who just resigned his parish on April 29 after two men accused him of sexually abusing them back in the '70s and '80s -- this priest apparently taking his own life --more on the story ahead.

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