This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 17, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Remember back in June when Catholic bishops came out with this plan to stop abusive priests? Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating does. He's chairman of the bishop-appointed National Review Board. And he says a lot of bishops simply are not complying. But they better, and soon. With us now, Governor Keating.
Governor, good to have you.
GOV. FRANK KEATING (R), OKLAHOMA: Hi, Neil, nice to be on.
CAVUTO: So let me understand what has gone on. You say that there are a number of diocese in this country that are not living up to the word of this agreement to go after these abusive priests, right?
KEATING: Well, the good news first, we are implementing the bishops' policy and the cardinals who want a zero tolerance policy, Neil, prospectively and retrospectively, a transparency policy, a criminal referral policy. So probably 90 percent or more of the dioceses have, in fact, established the kind of policy procedures and protocols that are necessary to carry out mandate. But there are some that haven't. And we've gone back to the source, if you will, to make sure that that's a misunderstanding, to make sure that really that wasn't an accurate answer. I think the news will be good news, but to those dioceses, those bishops who basically doesn't think it is our business as lay people to make sure our children are safe, I think those individuals are going to be identified and embarrassed. And hopefully.
CAVUTO: All right. Now where are the dioceses that you think, Governor, are having the most problem in this regard?
KEATING: Well, I'm not going to say the usual suspects, Neil. That's not fair. But there are a number that perhaps didn't understand the questionnaire.
CAVUTO: Let me understand, let give you one, Boston.
KEATING: Well, no, I can't say Boston is in there or not.
CAVUTO: Well, they don't like you in Boston. The newspaper in Boston, the Catholic newspaper in Boston said it wasn't very nice of you to recommend laity in that diocese to not go to churches in that diocese if you don't think that that diocese is answering these charges.
KEATING: Well, remember, Neil, those of us who are Catholics can't appoint or un-appoint bishops or priests. What we can do is vote with our wallets and our pocketbooks, go some place else to Mass, go someplace else with our dollars to help Catholic charities. But for me, for example, if I were living in the archdiocese of Milwaukee, and if I discovered that the archbishop there had a boyfriend and was paying off, allegedly according to the newspaper, with diocese funds that individual, why would I want to write a check to him? So I think that Catholic lay people like me, outraged at this misbehavior, that is really, isolated and remote, I think that most bishops, most priests are wonderful, hard-working, dedicated human beings.
CAVUTO: I definitely think you're right.
KEATING: But those few that aren't we're identifying those and we'll be on them.
CAVUTO: I understand you, sir. Let's talk a little bit about what these bishops agreed to because I think for a lot of people it is not clear. What they wanted them to do was go ahead and if you have abusers in the church, make sure that they do not serve with the laity in any direct relationship in the future, right? I mean, there's a difference between not reinstating them and not serving with the laity at all. In some cases, though, they are still serving with the laity, right?
KEATING: Right. I have a law degree. I'll always be a lawyer. But I can be disbarred and no longer be a practicing lawyer. What the bishops and the cardinals did is establish a policy that any time money is used for psychological counseling or a settlement involving an individual who is alleged to have been abused, that will be made public to the Catholic people. Any time there is an allegation of abuse, that will be promptly referred to the criminal justice authorities. And any priest who in the future or in the past has an allegation of abuse that is confirmed, that individual will be removed, not from the priesthood, because like a lawyer you can't take your degree away, but from ministry. He will no longer be able to practice in a public setting as a Catholic priest. I think those are really tough standards, tough mandates to us as a board to implement.
CAVUTO: Let me get a handle on this, 346,000 clergy have either resigned or been taken off duty because of these abuse claims. Do you think that's kind of the ceiling or is there going to be more?
KEATING: Well, there have been, I think, 340 priests that since this controversy began at the first of this year who have resigned or left the priesthood. The vast majority, we're talking about 1400 out of 40,000, 60,000 - I don't know what the figure is.
KEATING: Have been identified as misbehavers and have been prosecuted or resigned. But all of those are way too many. We need to make sure that kids that go to Catholic schools are safe.
CAVUTO: All right.
KEATING: And they are in most circumstances.
CAVUTO: Governor Keating, thank you very much, appreciate it.
KEATING: Thank you, Neil, appreciate it.
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