Archive for September, 2014
In this column, Global Pulse publisher Robert Mickens, who worked for 11 years for Vatican Radio and another decade as Rome correspondent for London’s The Tablet, wonders whether the Synod of Bishops on the Family (Oct. 5-9, 2014, in Rome) will lead to the episcopal collegiality and attention to the voice of the Catholic faithful that Vatican II promised.
When the Vatican held its first synod on the family in 1980, the Polish-born John Paul II — a man “from a far-away country” — had been pope for only two years. Curiously, next week’s gathering of bishops on the very same theme also comes quite early in a new pontificate. It is less than 19 months from the day a Jesuit from Argentina, “the end of the earth,” was elected bishop of Rome and took the name Francis.
“The nearly 35 years that have passed between these two international meetings of bishops span a bit more than two generations. And while there is a similarity in two non-Italian popes confronting issues related to marriage and the family early in their papal ministry, their approaches could not be more different.”
By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.
A Canadian archbishop visited the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese last week on behalf of the Vatican to investigate the leadership of Bishop Robert Finn, the first Catholic prelate to be found criminally guilty of shielding a priest in the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis.
“Ottawa, Ontario, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast visited the Midwestern diocese for several days last week, interviewing more than a dozen people about Finn’s leadership, several of those interviewed told NCR.
“According to those who spoke with Prendergast, the main he question asked was: ‘Do you think [Finn] is fit to be a leader?’”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest is the recent removal of Paraguayan Bishop Rogelio Ricard Livieres Plano for shielding a priest from accusations of abuse of minors and the arrest of former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic Josef Wesolowski for child abuse. See Sept. 27 issue of Voice of the Faithful’s In the Vineyard newsletter with link to VOTF statement on the latter.
Details of child sexual abuse that led to charges against a Roman Catholic priest on Thursday (Sept. 25) were reported to his Pennsylvania diocese nearly five years ago, court records show, but the church authorities did not remove him as a pastor.
“The priest, the Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr., was charged in federal court in Johnstown, Pa., with possessing child pornography and engaging in illicit sexual conduct on trips he made to a boys’ orphanage in Central America. Father Maurizio visited the orphanage over a decade until 2009, when a Virginia-based charity that runs the home uncovered accusations of abuse by “Father Joe,” and passed them on to the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, according to a criminal complaint and the group.”
By Trip Gabriel, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Pope Francis has removed a bishop from his diocese in eastern Paraguay following an apostolic visitation that found he had shielded a priest from accusations of sexual abuse of minors.
“Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, 69, has been removed from heading the Ciudad del Este diocese, a statement from the Vatican press office said Thursday (Sept. 25).
“‘This was a difficult decision on the part of the Holy See, taken for serious pastoral reasons and for the greater good of the unity of the Church in Ciudad del Este and the episcopal communion in Paraguay,’ the Vatican statement said.”
By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Extraordinary Synod for the Family that will be held in Rome next month has attracted more attention than any synod since their introduction following Vatican II …
“Though celibate males are a statistically insignificant portion of the human race and even of the Church, the synod for the family will consist of post-middle-age celibate males who, in the phrase jokingly used by clerics, ‘have no children to speak of.’ Those men do not live in families, and probably have not done so since adolescence. They do not know of what they will speak nor the implications of what they will decide.
“Even worse, the larger portion of the Church and the group most intimately involved in the life of families — women — will only be present as a few decorative elements.”
By Fr. William Grimm, ucanews.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Voice of the Faithful® National Statement:
The arrest and initiation of criminal proceedings against a former papal nuncio for child sex abuse may signal the Vatican is ready to take substantive action on clergy sex abuse and cover-ups instead of just talking about needed changes.
The arrest Sept. 23 of former bishop and apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic Josef Wesołowski, who is accused of having paid for sex with minors, is just one step. Still needed are penalties for bishops who covered up child sex abuse and shielded priests from criminal prosecution. This problem continues today despite the Church’s constant vows to do better.
If this arrest demonstrates a new resolve by the Church under Francis’ papacy to discipline abusers and abettors of the scandal, Voice of the Faithful® is encouraged the Church may have turned a corner in its handling of clergy sexual abuse, but next steps to discipline other bishops are needed now, not in the distant future.
Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church.
The Vatican put its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic under house arrest Tuesday (Sept. 23) after opening a criminal trial against him, the first time a high-ranking Vatican official has ever faced criminal charges for sexually abusing youngsters.
“Josef Wesolowski had already been defrocked in June after the Vatican’s canon law court found him guilty of abuse and imposed its toughest penalty under church law: laicization, or returning to life as a layman.
“On Tuesday, the Vatican City State’s separate criminal court opened a preliminary hearing into his case and ordered him placed under house arrest.”
By Associated Press on Crux — Click here to read the rest of this story.
He’s the man whose statement to Hunter police about being sexually abused by a Catholic priest launched Strike Force Georgiana in 2007, and ultimately led to a royal commission.
“His name is John Parmeter, and he wants people to know who he is as Strike Force Georgiana enters its eighth year investigating historic child sexual abuse cases.
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold its 17th public hearing (the week of Sept. 22), with more than 16,000 calls about child sexual abuse so far, and another three years to go.
“The priest, Peter Brock, died last week. Today, Mr Parmeter reveals the ugly truth – what he calls the ‘dirty secrets’ – about the Catholic Church’s elevation of Father Brock to a national role in 2010, despite knowing of his ‘sexual misconduct’ with Mr Parmeter and his twin brother from when they were nine years old.”
By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In his first major appointment in the United States, Pope Francis named Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Wash., on Saturday to be the next archbishop of Chicago, replacing a combative conservative with a prelate whose pastoral approach to upholding church doctrine is more in keeping with the pope’s inclusive tone.
Bishop Cupich, 65, will be installed on Nov. 18 as the ninth archbishop of Chicago, succeeding Cardinal Francis George, 77, who is ill with cancer. Two years ago, at 75, Cardinal George offered his resignation, as is the church tradition at that age.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
This Commonweal series from Grant Gallicho is packed with all the elements of scandal portrayed as Greek tragedy in the person of Carlos Urrutigoity. Unfortunately, this tragedy isn’t fiction.
Urrutigoity planned to build a liberal-arts college and a village for traditionalist-minded Catholics. His profligate spending, along with a string of sexual-misconduct allegations stretching from Argentina to Pennsylvania, ensured none of that would ever come to fruition.” By Grant Gallicho, Commonweal (Story contains links to Parts 1, 2 and 3.)
We posted this about Urrutigoity in early June, After U.S. sex abuse scandals, an accused priest arises again in Paraguay. From that post, “He has spent two decades flitting from diocese to diocese, always one step ahead of church and legal authorities, before landing in this lawless, remote corner of South America. Here, in the pirate-laden jungle near the Iguacu falls, he has risen to a position of power.”