Archive for January, 2013

Guilty Verdicts Returned in Philadelphia Abuse Trial

Catholic Priest, Teacher Guilty of Abusing Altar Boy

A Philadelphia jury returned guilty verdicts (Jan. 30) on child-sex charges against a Roman Catholic priest and former Catholic school teacher. The verdict supports accounts by a 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt between 1998 to 1999 and sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero in 2000.” By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press on

Prosecutors: Priest Trial Verdict a Victory

In a case that has already put a former official of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia in prison for covering up child sexual abuse, a city jury Wednesday (Jan. 30) returned guilty verdicts against a priest and former parochial schoolteacher for the sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northeast altar boy.” By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer

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Australian Catholic Church Could Lose Shield Against Legal Action

Church May Lose ‘Shield’

Victoria’s clergy sex abuse inquiry is likely to recommend at least six state laws be reformed to hold the Catholic Church to account, including removal of the legal ”shield” it has used to avoid being sued by victims. By Barney Zwartz, The Age

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Watered Silk May Substitute for Real Ministry

When removing gloves, keeping a skullcap in place or adjusting a pallium appear more important than the elevation of the chalice, according to Thomas F. O’Meara in National Catholic Reporter, the watered silk and other elaborate dress may become a substitute for real ministry.

What’s the message on the runway for Baroque fashion? is O’Meara’s lengthy exploration of the historical, theological and liturgical significance of the ostentatious ceremonial costumes making a comeback among conservative clerics today.

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“The breadth of Cardinal Mahony’s cover-up became shockingly clear”

The Cardinal and the Truth

No member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy fought longer and more energetically than Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to conceal the decades-long scandal involving the rape and intimidation of children by rogue priests. For years, the cardinal withheld seamy church records from parents, victims and the public, brandishing endless litigation and fatuous claims of confidentiality …” Editorial in The New York Times

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Statute of Limitations May Thwart Prosecutions in L.A.

Church Sex Abuse Files Unlikely to Lead to Charges, Experts Say

Statute of limitations is the main stumbling block to prosecuting Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and aides in the sex abuse files from the 1980s released this week, experts say … A nearly insurmountable barrier is the statute of limitations. A quarter-century has passed since Mahony and his chief aide for sex abuse cases, Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, wrote memos outlining strategies to prevent police investigations of three priests who had admitted abusing boys. The 1986 and 1987 letters fall decades beyond the three-year statute of limitations for felonies such as child endangerment, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit those offenses.” By Harriet Ryan, Ashley Powers and Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Cardinal Hid Abuse, Files Show / The New York Times

The retired archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, and other high-ranking clergymen in the archdiocese worked quietly to keep evidence of child molesting away from law enforcement officials and shield abusive priests from criminal prosecution more than a decade before the scandal became public, according to confidential church records.” By Ian Lovett, The New York Times

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Hot Line Records Show Long History of Abuse by Priests in Germany

German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years

A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week (Jan. 18), showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.” By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times

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Court-Ordered Release of Confidential Church Documents in L.A. Reveals Priests Confession, Leads to Man’s Relief

A Priest’s Confession, a Man’s Relief

For years, Damian Eckert had been part of an effort to pry confidential files from clergy members at the now-closed St. Anthony’s Seminary in Santa Barbara who’d been accused of molesting children. The battle over releasing thousands of once-secret pages went all the way to the California Supreme Court.” By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times

These secret documents were made public this past May, but were redacted to remove the names of Church hierarchy, like Cardinal Roger Mahony, so that the Church would not be further embarrassed. A recent court order has made the non-redacted documents public.

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Swiss Abbot Says Greater Local Input in Bishop Selection Can Help Solve Church Problems

Bishop Sash & crossSwiss Abbot Urges Change in How Bishops Are Selected

A leading Swiss abbot is calling for a change in how bishops are selected, saying that the nomination process should include greater local input, and he wants bishops and theologians to join him in pressing for the change. ‘We are faced with serious systemic problems in our church. For me, as a canon lawyer, solving these systemic problems has absolute priority, as our other problems can only be solved if the structures are consistent and the procedures transparent,’ Benedictine Abbot Peter von Sury of Mariastein said in an interview with the Swiss Catholic press agency Kipa/Apic last month.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Austrian correspondent for London-based weekly Catholic magazine The Tablet, in National Catholic Reporter

The present Vatican process for selecting bishops also recently was challenged by priests and laity in Nigeria where they rejected the pope’s recent bishop appointment. Among reports of this protest was the Jan. 13, 2013, article, Ahiara Catholic Faithful Protest, in the Nigerian newspaper Daily Independent.

Voice of the Faithful® has long been an advocate of greater local lay input in bishop selection. VOTF promulgated the Primer: Organizing Lay Input in Bishop Selection during its 10th Year Conference this past September in Boston, Massachusetts, and maintains a Lay Input In the Bishop Selection Process page on its website.

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Trial of Altar Boy Abusers Begins in Philadelphia

Trial Begins for Priest & Teacher Accused of Abusing Altar Boy

A Roman Catholic priest and a schoolteacher sexually abused a 10-year-old altar boy at different times more than a decade ago, assaulting him in a church sacristy in Northeast Philadelphia and in the back of a car, a prosecutor alleged on Monday (Jan. 13, 2013).” By Jon Hurdle

Lawyer Attacks Accuser in Philly Priest Sex Abuse Trial

Priests have been marked with a “bull’s eye” by manipulative accusers who plan to sue the church, a defense lawyer said as Philadelphia’s latest priest-abuse trial opened Monday (Jan. 13, 2013).” By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, in Daily Times

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