Monday, April 15, 2002

Priests: TV ads pulled

By James Pilcher,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TV ads that extolled the virtues of becoming a Roman Catholic priest disappeared suddenly in Greater Cincinnati amid new revelations in the widening, national church sex scandal.

        Officials with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati acknowledge that the ads, which began running in November, were pulled in March, soon after a Boston priest was convicted of sexually abusing minors. His diocese had known of several cases of abuse but did not remove the priest from active duty.

        “We didn't think it would be a good environment for it,” says Dan Andriacco, archdiocese spokesman.

        The campaign will be resumed in the future, although a date hasn't been set. Mr. Andriacco says it could restart as soon as this fall.

        Local church leaders are pleased with the results of the shortened ad campaign, which featured a 20-something man, inside a church, urging others to consider the priesthood.

        Seventeen men showed up at a recent open house at the Tristate's only Catholic seminary, the Athenaeum of Ohio-Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Mount Washington.

        That's more than in several years, says the Rev. Gerald R. Haemmerle, seminary rector and president. Father Haemmerle says the ad campaign may have influenced the high turnout. Sept. 11 may have brought in some people, too.

        “People are looking to do something different with their lives,” Father Haemmerle says.


Priests: Sex no longer a taboo topic in seminaries
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- Priests: TV ads pulled
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