Archive for April, 2014
Click here to hear coverage of the Clericalism Workshop at the Voice of the Faithful® 2014 Assembly in Hartford, Connecticut, Apr. 5, 2014, by Maria Johnson, producer of Reasonably Catholic, WESU-FM, Middletown, Connecticut.
The following story is disturbing because of the connections alleged between the coverup of clergy sexual abuse and Pope Francis; however, continued refusal to dismiss bishops that evidence shows are guilty of covering up abuse corrodes every aspect of attempted reform. Of course, some bishops accused of coverups are actually blameless. But if no bishop anywhere, for any transgression, is removed, we the faithful are left questioning whether any are interested in justice.
Home today is an apartment in Society Hill, Philadelphia, but when Juan Carlos Cruz was growing up in Chile in the 1980s, his family lived close to El Bosque, ‘the forest’ — a tree-draped park avenue and a prime neighborhood in Santiago, the capital city. It was also home to a charismatic pastor, Fr. Fernando Karadima, surrounded by well-dressed boys from top schools, and later unmasked as a sexual predator …
“Last year, Francis named Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Karadima’s most powerful defender, as one of eight cardinals on the commission advising him on Vatican reforms. Errázuriz refused to act on a victim’s allegations in 2003, telling the priest not to worry, according to news accounts and legal testimony …
“‘The impact of Karadima was similar to what we have seen in Ireland, Spain, Italy and America. Every place you find the church in sexual or financial scandals, it has the same effect. In many ways, people stopped looking at the church as a moral beacon. That was not true of the most culturally conservative Catholics, but it is certainly true in terms of the church in social leadership (said Alexander Wilde, a senior scholar for the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.).’”
By Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In Rome the pendulum is swinging from public theater to behind-the-scenes substance this week, as two closed-door meetings tackle two of the most serious challenges facing Pope Francis: Vatican reform and the child sexual abuse scandals.
“Following Sunday’s (Apr. 27) massive canonization ceremony for Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, the pope’s “G8” council of cardinal advisors from around the world is meeting April 28-30 to ponder a reorganization of the Roman Curia, the Vatican’s central administrative bureaucracy.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl Is a Power Player under Pope Francis
“With his unassuming and reserved style, (Washington Archbishop Donald) Wuerl is not a well-known figure to the region’s growing number of Catholics, many of whom probably don’t realize that their leader is one of the world’s most influential bishops … Pope Francis in December further solidified Wuerl’s stature by picking him as the only new American on the powerful, 30-member Vatican body that selects bishops.”
By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Canonization of Popes Focuses Attention on Decades of Change, Conflict, Record on Abuse / National Catholic Reporter
Wrapping Up Two Decades of Change, Conflict, Francis Saints Two Popes
“And just like that, 56 years of church history — from the unexpected calling of the Second Vatican Council through the sometimes tumultuous and radical response to its modernizing moves for Catholics around the world — were wrapped up in about six minutes.
“That’s how long it took Sunday (Apr. 27) for Pope Francis to formally declare his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints of the Catholic church, from the first prayers of the formal canonization rite to the formal decree.”
By Joshua McElwee, posted Apr. 27, 2014, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Records Show That John Paul II Could Have Intervened in Abuse Crisis – But Didn’t
“Sitting on a bookshelf in my office is a red leather-bound copy of the Code of Canon Law. This isn’t just any copy of the church’s rulebook. It was signed by Pope John Paul II for me at the request of my former boss, the late Cardinal Pio Laghi. It is dated 6-6-1983 in the late pope’s own hand. I was definitely a fan in those days.
“On Sunday (Apr. 27) after John Paul is promoted to sainthood, it will become a second-class relic. I will not venerate it, nor will I join the cheering crowds.
“The past 30 years have led me to the opinion that his sainthood is a profound insult to the countless victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy the world over. It is an insult to the decent, well-intentioned men and women who were persecuted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during his reign, and it is an insult to the memory of Pope John XXIII, who has the misfortune being a canonization classmate.”
By Thomas P. Doyle, posted Apr. 25, 2014, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.
Twin Cities Archbishop’s Deposition Reveals Flaws, Oversights in Abuse Policies / National Catholic Reporter
Shortly after becoming coadjutor archbishop of the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese in 2007, John Nienstedt held a meeting with core staff officials to discuss the state of safe environments in the archdiocese.
“During that two-hour meeting, ‘it didn’t occur to me,’ the now-archbishop said in a deposition released Tuesday (Apr. 22), to ask for a copy of the John Jay list — those priests the archdiocese listed as credibly accused in the 2004 John Jay College of Criminal Justice study on clergy sex abuse.
“Nor did it occur to Nienstedt to document the names of priests currently enrolled in a monitoring program or to record any of the discussion among his delegate for safe environment, Fr. Kevin McDonough; his chancellors for civil and canonical affairs; and him.
“‘It was verbal,’ the archbishop said.
“Non-documentation would become an occasional norm for him and McDonough when discussing sensitive matters, Nienstedt said.”
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
St. Paul Archbishop Says During ‘Extraordinary Deposition’ He Was Unaware of Most Child Sex Abuse Issues / Star Tribune
Archbishop John Nienstedt said he was not aware that known child sex abusers were working at the archdiocese during his tenure, nor did he track exactly which priests were being monitored, according to testimony released Tuesday (Apr. 22).
“Nienstedt’s extraordinary deposition, ordered by a judge and the first of its kind by a serving archbishop in Minnesota, was taken April 2 as part of a clergy sex abuse lawsuit. The claim is one of dozens brought against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis since a change in state law last year opened a wider window for pursuing child sex abuse claims.”
By Jean Hopfensperger and Chao Xiong, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest — Click here to read “Archbishop Nienstedt’s Deposition Draws Mixed Reviews.”
On April 2, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis was deposed by attorney Jeff Anderson as part of a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was molested by a priest in the 1970s. The plaintiff alleges that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with the Diocese of Winona, created a public nuisance by failing to disclose information about clerics accused of sexual abuse. At a press conference this afternoon (Apr. 22), Anderson released as lightly redacted transcript of the deposition. The archdiocese posted the transcript and full video to its website, noting that Anderson did not ask any questions about the abuse allegations that occasioned the deposition.” By Grant Gallicho, Commonweal — Click here to read the rest of this story and listen to Nienstedt’s deposition.
Bishops Need to Be Couragious, Listen to the People — Discussing a Roman Catholic, Married Priesthood / National Catholic Reporter
Many Catholics will find hope in the conversation between Brazilian Bishop Erwin Kräutler and Pope Francis in which they discussed the ordination of married men as a serious and positive possibility.
“For the first time in a very long time, the idea of a Roman Catholic married priesthood is a topic that can be discussed and is being discussed inside the Francis administration. Pietro Parolin, recently made a cardinal, was clear about this in media interviews shortly after the pope named him secretary of state last summer. Celibacy ‘is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition,’ Parolin said. Even as archbishop in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was open to the idea, saying celibacy for priests ‘is a matter of discipline, not of faith. It can change.'”
Click here to read the rest of this editorial by National Catholic Reporter.
Click here to see the Voice of the Faithful® webpage “Crisis in the Priesthood: Conversations about Celibacy,” which contains links to the history of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church, VOTF position papers on celibacy and its effects, and action steps toward optional celibacy for Catholic priests.
Twin Cities Task Force into Prevention of Clergy Child Sexual Abuse Reports ‘Serious Shortcomings’ in Archdiocesan Policies / National Catholic Reporter
Too much power in too few hands. Inadequate oversight. Broken communication channels and compartmentalized information. An outdated record-keeping system, and no meaningful program to audit and monitor compliance.
“Those ‘serious shortcomings’ emerged from a lay task force’s six-month independent review of the policies and organizational structures within the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese related to the prevention of clergy sexual abuse of minors.
“‘The work of the Task Force revealed that, despite Archdiocesan policies and procedures designed to protect against clergy sexual abuse of minors, a flawed organizational structure with little oversight and accountability created opportunities for some priests to harm children, the seven-member Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force said in its 53-page report, released Monday.” (boldface added)
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Rep0rter — Click here to read the rest of this story.