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Matano oversaw dark days at diocese - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Matano oversaw dark days at diocese

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Pomp and circumstance welcomed Bishop Salvatore Matano to Vermont in 2005 when the Vatican tapped him to lead the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.  

"Bishop Matano is very capable person and certainly it is not unexpected that he might be tapped and chosen to go elsewhere," said Professor Edward Mahoney, a Religious Studies Professor at St. Michaels College.

Mahoney says Matano has been a strong leader. "I think his strengths are pastoral and also in management in terms of getting a diocese organized and functioning properly," he said.

But others have been less than impressed with 67-year-old's time as Bishop. "He came in well after the sexual abuse had come to an end, however he wasn't willing to take the steps that we really believed were needed going forward," said Jerry O'Neill, a lawyer who was involved in settling roughly 50 priest sex abuse cases involving the diocese. Those cases forced the church to sell much of its property and fork over millions to victims.

O'Neill says Matano could have done more to protect children."What he refused to do is put the names of the credibly accused -- investigated priests who had molested children -- up on the diocese website, because when you do that you provide the opportunity for someone who hears the name to check it on the Internet and see the person and determine this is a child molester, I should keep my child away from this person," O'Neill said.

Matano addressed the dark chapter in the Diocese's history when he announced his move to New York.  "I take this opportunity again to apologize to the victims of sexual abuse for what they endured at the hands of those whom they have trusted," he said.

Matano will continue to oversee the Diocese of Burlington until he takes on his new post. An administrator will then oversee the diocese until the Pope appoints a successor. Professor Mahoney says that could take between six months and a year, possibly longer.

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