Archive for August, 2012
“A prominent Roman Catholic spiritual leader who has spent decades counseling wayward priests for the archdiocese provoked shock and outrage on Thursday as word spread of a recent interview he did with a Catholic newspaper during which he said that “youngsters” were often to blame when priests sexually abused them and that priests should not be jailed for such abuse on their first offense.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times
“A New York priest has apologized after coming under criticism from church officials and advocates of sex abuse victims for saying that priests accused of child sex abuse are often seduced by their accusers and that a first-time offender should not go to jail.” By Associated Press in The Washington Post
“He was the ”right-hand man” of a bishop, and a one-time acting bishop himself, but priest Tom Brennan has become the first Australian Catholic priest charged with concealing the alleged child sex crimes of another.” By Joanne McCarthy, the Sydney Morning Herald
Illinois Supreme Court justice and child protection advocate Anne Burke will be the featured speaker during the first session of Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful’s 10th Year Conference, which takes place in Boston, Sept. 14-15, at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel.
The subject of her talk will be “Voice of the Faithful: Next Steps,” and her question for conference attendees will be, “How do we inform the laity that it is their responsibility to become leaders and equal partners in the administration of Christ’s Church?” She is scheduled to speak at about 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14.
For more than two years, serving as interim chair, Justice Burke directed the efforts of the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops investigating the causes and effects of the clergy abuse scandal and helping to establish guidelines and policies for effectively responding to this scandal.
Justice Burke began her judicial career as the first woman appointed to the Illinois Court of Claims. During this time, she also led the reshaping and improvement of the Illinois juvenile justice system. She then served on the Illinois Appellate Court and was appointed, then elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Before her appointment to the judiciary, she was a leading advocate for Chicago’s most vulnerable young people. As a Chicago Park District physical education teacher, she worked with children with disabilities and went on to found the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968. She later served as a director of that organization as it grew to become the International Special Olympics represented in more than 160 countries.
Justice Burke has served on several boards and foundations impacting the civic, cultural and educational life of Chicago. She also ran a neighborhood law practice that included representing the interests of children and families involved in neglect, abuse, delinquency and parental custody. In addition, she developed a very diverse practice that included criminal trial work and defense advocacy.
Justice Burke will join other conference speakers who have in-depth knowledge and keen awareness not only of the Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal and its effects, but also of the clericalism in the Church’s hierarchy, theological and doctrinal underpinnings of Church teaching, the effects the reform movement has had on Catholics and the Church and what the future may hold for these issues. Speakers include:
- John Morgan, chairman, National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland;
- Rev. Donald Cozzens, author, international commentator and lecturer on religious and cultural issues, especially on the Church’s sexual and financial crises, and writer in residence, John Carroll University;
- Prof. Thomas Groome, theologian, author and Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry chairman, Boston College;
- Rev. James Connell, canon lawyer, pastor in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and advocate for clergy sexual abuse survivors;
- Jamie Manson, lay minister and award-winning columnist for National Catholic Reporter; and
- David Clohessy, executive director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Conference information is available at www.votf.org.
“Of all the organizations that serve America’s poor, few do more good work than the Catholic church: its schools and hospitals provide a lifeline for millions. Yet even taking these virtues into account, the finances of the Catholic church in America are an unholy mess. The sins involved in its book-keeping are not as vivid or grotesque as those on display in the various sexual-abuse cases that have cost the American church more than $3 billion so far; but the financial mismanagement and questionable business practices would have seen widespread resignations at the top of any other public institution.” From “The Catholic Church in America: Earthly Concerns” in The Economist, Aug. 18, 2012
National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen has some interesting statistics regarding the Church’s finances. Do you think they tell the whole story or provide a true picture of how money and power work in the Church?
“Following denial Tuesday (Aug. 14, 2012) of an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will have to decide whether to comply with a local (Kansas City, Missouri) judge’s order to grant access to more than 23 years of internal documents to attorneys representing accused priests.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Voice of the Faithful was among victims’ advocacy and church reform groups and former and current local, state and federal prosecutors that filed amicus briefs with the court supporting SNAP.
“In its response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith doctrinal assessment to their organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious Aug. 10 issued a statement reflective of its belief that life is a journey, and that if one responds affirmatively to risk-taking in a loving and generous way, albeit within the context of Great Mystery, then one is properly answering a call to participate in God’s plan for humanity and the wider creation process.” By Timothy C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter