Archive for January, 2013

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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German Catholic Church Calls Off What Promised to Be an Extensive Examination of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Catholic Church in Germany Drops Sex Abuse Inquiry Read the rest of this entry »

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California: Archdiocese Loses Ruling on Releasing Records of Clergy Sexual Abuse Allegations

California: Archdiocese Loses Ruling on Records

A Los Angeles judge ruled Monday that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles must release the names of high-ranking church officials included in some 30,000 pages of confidential records about priests accused of sexually abusing children. The decision reverses a ruling by a judge who said he worried that including the names could further embarrass the church. But in her ruling Monday, Judge Emilie H. Elias said the public’s right to know how the nation’s largest archdiocese handled molesting charges outweighed other concerns. The records include reports of abuse, letters to the Vatican and psychiatric reports and are likely to be released in the next several weeks, lawyers said. The Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press had filed an objection to the previous ruling that all names of church employees, including Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, would be blacked out.”

National News Briefing by Jennifer Medina, The New York Times

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Romanizers vis-à-vis Judaizers: Is Overstressing Law as ‘Stupid’ Now as When Paul Applied it to the Galatians?

Stupid Catholics? Does Paul’s Adjective for the Galatian Church Apply Today?

Lately the term stupid has been used quite frequently. On the left, Chris Matthews of MSNBC called himself ‘not just stupid, but wrong’ for making remarks about Hurricane Sandy’s potential impact on politics. On the right, after the election, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said that Republicans should ‘stop being the stupid party.’ Beyond politics and after Sandy, Bloomberg Businessweek had a cover feature that pictured a flooded city street in virtual darkness with the words: ‘It’s Global Warming, Stupid … ‘

“Stupid has a religious meaning too. This insight came to me on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Oct. 11, 2012. I live in a Capuchin Franciscan community, where we share faith around each day’s Scriptures. The readings for Oct. 11 came from Galatians 3:1-5 and Luke 11:5-13. Both involve the Spirit’s power in the community of believers. In this context, to undermine the power of the Spirit by an overstress on the law, Paul said, would be ‘stupid …’

“From the above texts [and others the author cites] it seems that anontos [the greek translation for ‘stupid’ in Paul’s text ] refers to believers who have reverted to some ‘other gospel’ or teaching that is undermining the integrity of the Spirit-grounded Gospel they once embraced. This certainly represents the case in Galatians. Unnamed ‘Judaizers’ (Galatians 2:14) had effectively undermined Paul’s Gospel about the death, resurrection and embodiment of the Spirit of the Risen One in the community by an overstress on the law. Today we might call them the ‘Romanizers … ‘”

By Michael Crosby, a Capuchin Franciscan priest who lives in Milwaukee, in National Catholic Reporter

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Second in a Series — Bishops Investigating US Nuns Have Poor Records on Sex Abuse Cases

This is the second in a series of articles, being jointly reported by NCR and, that examines the background and the principal players in the Vatican’s investigations of U.S. women religious.

Bishops Investigating US Nuns Have Poor Records on Sex Abuse Cases

From its palace in Vatican City, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith monitors compliance with Roman Catholic moral teaching and matters of dogma for the oldest church in Christendom. These issues have little bearing on most of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Faith, for them, rests in parish life and the quality of their pastors. In the 1980s, for example, when the congregation punished theologians who dissented from the papal ban on artificial birth control, the majority of Catholics who believe contraception is morally acceptable did not change their opinion … ” By Jason Berry in National Catholic Reporter

Click here to read the first article in this series, which appeared in

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