BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: The U.S. Catholic Bishops gather this coming week for their regular fall meeting -- still grappling with the many consequences of their church's sex abuse scandal -- moral, financial, legal, and pastoral. We wondered what it's like these days to be one of the country's 275 active Catholic bishops. Judy Valente has a profile of Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.
JUDY VALENTE: His day begins shortly after dawn with a two-mile jog. Then he returns to his residence for a half hour of prayer and reflection.
Bishop GERALD KICANAS (Tucson Diocese): A bishop really does need to be a man of prayer. I try each day to have some time with the Lord, in silence.
VALENTE: When he became Tucson's bishop last March, Kicanas inherited a diocese in crisis.
STEPHANIE INNES (Religion Reporter, ARIZONA DAILY STAR): We had at the time 10 pending lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by four members of the local clergy, so he had that he was facing. And no one really knew what was going to happen.
VALENTE: Sixty-two-year-old Kicanas had been an auxiliary bishop in Chicago, but had never run a major diocese. He impressed the people of Tucson almost immediately.
Ms. INNES: He delivered a homily and unexpectedly to many people here, he said, "I want to apologize for past mistakes made in the diocese." It was amazing to a lot of people here because they really hadn't heard that from the hierarchy.
Bishop KICANAS: To be with victims of abuse, to offer apologies, is probably one of the most humbling experiences I've ever experienced -- to meet with someone whose life has been shattered and to say to them, "I'm sorry."
VALENTE: Bishop Kicanas says many Catholics are disheartened and discouraged, and that he and the other bishops face a daunting task. In his words, they have to heal the hurt and restore the love and trust of the Church those Catholics have lost.
It will not be easy. Terry McGuirk is a lifelong Catholic, active in Church affairs.
TERRY MCGUIRK (Parishioner): I know in my own case, my contemporaries hardly have anything to do anymore with the Catholic Church. They are completely turned off.
Bishop KICANAS: When trust is broken, it's extremely hard to restore it. And I think the only way you can restore it is by persistent doing of what is right.
VALENTE: Kicanas moved swiftly to settle several of the lawsuits involving multiple victims and their families. The cost to the diocese was estimated to be between $14 and $16 million. Kicanas then released the names of 25 priests against whom "credible" allegations were found. He termed it, "cleaning up the past."
Monsignor ROBERT FULLER (St. Francis Cabrini Parish): Some of the priests were upset, you know. If somebody had an offense 35 years ago and there's nothing since then and they had a good record in the diocese, some thought maybe this was a little too severe. But his point is this: if you stop focusing on the welfare of the priest and start focusing on the victim, it looks very different.
Bishop KICANAS (Greeting Priests at Ordination): I spend a great deal of time trying to nurture the spiritual lives of our priests, so we have a monthly day of prayer for our priests now. It's a full day of silence and reflection with the Lord because they're struggling, too.
VALENTE: Contrary to complaints many Catholics have voiced, Kicanas says American bishops do understand the extent of the anger against them.
Bishop KICANAS: Bishops know very well the mistakes that were made. I sense among our bishops a very strong, clear determination that they will not let this happen again.
VALENTE (to Bishop Kicanas): Do you think the bishops' moral authority has been eroded?
Bishop KICANAS: Some will question the moral integrity of the Church. And the Church has to look at itself and seek conversion itself. But it also has to speak up and act for what is right.