Archive for November, 2014
On fifth anniversary of publication of Murphy report, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin reflects / The Irish Times
The fifth anniversary of the publication of the Murphy Report on the management, by both Church and State organizations, of allegations of the sexual abuse of children by priests working in the Archdiocese of Dublin, brings back to me the horror of the revelations that the report contains.
“Inevitably, my first reaction is to remember and recognize the horrible abuse that children experienced, which has left them with wounds and hurts in their lives which still remain today. The second reaction is to note how their hurt was in many cases made worse by the inadequacies of the responses of Church leaders and of the HSE and Garda Síochána.
“Looking back over these past five years, and over the years examined by the Murphy Commission, my thoughts have curiously been dominated in these days by one group, rarely mentioned, but who are real heroes of the abuse scandals: the mothers and fathers of children who had been abused who turned to the Church authorities, not with a reaction of hostility but simply with a passionate concern to ensure that no other child would have to endure what their child did.”
Commentary in The Irish Times — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
A prominent American Jesuit recently named by Pope Francis to prosecute priests accused of sexually abusing minors under church law was himself one of several Catholic officials who allowed a notorious abusive priest to remain in ministry for years after learning of his long history of sexual abuses, legal documents show.
“The Rev. Robert J. Geisinger, named in September as the Vatican’s “promoter of justice,’’ was the second-highest-ranking official among the Chicago Jesuits in the 1990s when leaders were facing multiple abuse complaints against the Rev. Donald J. McGuire, a globe-trotting priest with many influential supporters, including Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
“But the Jesuits failed to notify police or take effective steps to prevent McGuire from continuing to molest minors.”
By Michael Rezendes, The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Earlier today we posted Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s reflections on his “60 Minutes” interview that ran this past Sunday. We see that the leaders of the Women’s Ordination Conference have responded today on Cruxnow.com regarding women’s roles in the Roman Catholic Church.
An open letter to Cardinal O’Malley
By Erin Saiz Hanna and Kate McElwee, Co-Directors, Women’s Ordination Conference
In what has already become an infamous “60 Minutes” interview, you stated to Norah O’Donnell: ‘If I were founding a church, I’d love to have women priests. But Christ founded it, and what he has given us is something different.’
As women born well after Vatican II, we are constantly asked: ‘Why would any young, educated woman choose to stay in a Church that purposefully denies her equality?’ We stay because we believe that Jesus did give us ‘something different.’ Jesus gave us the Gospel message of equality and social justice, where all people are made in God’s image and welcomed at the table.”
Reflections on my ’60 Minutes’ interview
By Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, in The Boston Pilot
Last Sunday evening I was privileged to be featured on the CBS television program “60 Minutes,” which is actually three 20 minute segments. I was featured in segment two of the broadcast … From the beginning of the process I was aware that the questions would not be about the weather and the Red Sox. The program’s interviews include difficult questions that are often on many people’s minds.”
The Archbishop of Granada has removed 10 priests from their duties after they were accused of sexually abusing a young man when he was a minor. The case was reported directly to the Vatican by the alleged victim, prompting a personal response from Pope Francis, and is now being investigated by a Granada court.”
By Valme Cortes, El Pais — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest, “Letter to Pope uncovers pedophile network in Spain,” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
In Pope Francis’ most significant move yet to reshape the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, Blase J. Cupich took his seat in Chicago on Tuesday as archbishop of the nation’s third-largest Catholic archdiocese and called on the church not to be afraid of change …
“‘We as a church should not fear leaving the security of familiar shores, the peacefulness of the mountaintop of our self-assuredness, but rather walk into the mess,’ Archbishop Cupich said in an upbeat and plain-spoken homily.
“With Archbishop Cupich now seated, Pope Francis gets a media-savvy American communicator in tune with his message of reinvigorating the church by stressing mercy over judgmentalism, change over stasis, and the imperative for all Catholics to go to the margins of society to serve the poor, migrants and those without hope. It is a message that not every bishop has enthusiastically embraced.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
When Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley told ‘60 Minutes’ that Pope Francis was well aware of the need to hold Missouri Bishop Robert Finn accountable for shielding a suspected child abuser, it sounded like another bell tolling on Finn’s tenure, perhaps the loudest gong yet since Finn was convicted in 2012 …
“But even more important may have been O’Malley’s remarks about the Vatican creating a system for disciplining bishops — establishing a process of accountability that could be used for churchmen beyond low-hanging clerical fruit like Finn.
“’One of the first things that came up is the importance of accountability,’ O’Malley said, referring to his role as leader of the sex abuse commission that Francis set up a year ago. ‘We’re looking at how the church could have protocols of how to respond when a bishop has not been responsible for the protection of the children in his diocese.’”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Catholic Church has long sought to deny victims of clergy sexual abuse one of their only means of seeking justice—civil lawsuits. By fighting reform of state statute of limitations (SOL) laws, the Church helps prevent survivors from bringing suit against perpetrators and those who cover up the abuse.
Rockville Centre, N.Y., Diocese Bishop William Murphy’s comments in a letter to Long Island parishioners earlier this month are only the latest salvo by the Church against SOL reform.
In fact, the Catholic Church, “through its bishops and state Catholic conferences, is the most powerful institution opposing better child protection legislation in the country, bar none,” according to educator and reform advocate Sister Maureen Turlish.
Murphy’s letter, reprinted in many parish bulletins, sought to influence Catholic voters during midterm elections held Nov. 4. SOL reform was not on the New York ballot; nevertheless, Murphy took the opportunity to say The Child Victims Act, SOL reform legislation sponsored by New York State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, “seeks to penalize only the Catholic Church for past crimes of child sex abuse.” He said the bill “must be recognized for what it is. Those who support that should be opposed by those of us who know how effectively and permanently the Church has remedied that horrific scourge of the last decade.”
SOL laws are essentially deadlines beyond which victims cannot bring civil suits and prosecutors cannot bring charges. But such suits usually are not brought for many years. Studies have shown that the memory of abuse can be suppressed even into adulthood, and as the crime is steeped in secrecy and shame, decades could pass before a victim seeks justice.
“A vast body of research indicates that the effects of childhood sexual abuse often span a lifetime. The opportunity to seek justice should last just as long,” attorney and writer Jon Wertheim concluded in a 2011 CNN column during the Penn State and Syracuse sports abuse scandals.
Actually, the Markey bill, like other SOL reform laws, does not single out the Catholic Church. The bill covers all private institutions and includes families, where most child sexual abuse occurs. The Catholic Church, however, has fought SOL reform in nearly every state where such laws have been proposed, including New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, even hiring lobbyists and public relations firms in some states to bolster letters to parishioners and admonitions from the pulpit.
This opposition is especially scandalous considering the Church has shielded pedophile priests from prosecution and refused to discipline bishops involved in covering up crimes.
Murphy, who was accused of shielding pedophile priests while vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston, has been fighting the Markey bill since 2009, and called it an “annual threat” in his letter. As for how “effectively and permanently” the Church has dealt with the “horrific scourge,” Murphy is still a bishop, even though the Massachusetts attorney general reported he “placed a higher priority on preventing scandal and providing support to alleged abusers than on protecting children from sexual abuse.” Revelations of clergy sexual abuse also continue to range from Ireland to Australia, and because of suppressed memory and other factors, we may not know for years whether the Church’s present child protection policies prevent child abuse.
Proponents of such reform, such as Yeshiva University law professor Marci Hamilton, have called SOL reform “the primary front for child sex abuse victims.” She has said that, “if the statute of limitations has expired, there won’t be any justice.”
Always on the moral high ground, the Catholic Church should be first to want justice for clergy sexual abuse survivors. Justice, according to the Church’s catechism is “the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor.” Fr. James Connell, a Wisconsin canon lawyer and a founder of Catholic Whistleblowers, which attempts to expose the cover-up of abuse by Catholic Church leadership, has applied this sentiment to the clergy sexual abuse scandal. He says, “Only by living in the truth, the complete truth, can human action and speech generate justice and healing. Without truth there can be no justice and without justice, no healing.” Connell first made these remarks during the 2012 national conference of the Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful®.
Catholics who thought Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s remarks about Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn’s suitability for office were provocative have another interesting comment to ponder: If he were to start a church, he would ‘love to have women priests.’
“In an interview with ‘60 Minutes’ on CBS that producers said took more than a year for them to persuade him to do, O’Malley seemed troubled by reporter Norah O’Donnell’s question as to whether the exclusion of women from the Church hierarchy was ‘immoral.’
“O’Malley paused, then said, ‘Christ would never ask us to do something immoral. It’s a matter of vocation and what God has given to us.'”
Bay Teresa Hanafin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Cardinal O’Malley: Pope recognizes need to address Bishop Finn situation / National Catholic Reporter
Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley, a key advisor to Pope Francis, has said the pontiff recognizes the need to address the situation in Kansas City, Mo., where Bishop Robert Finn was found guilty in 2012 of a criminal misdemeanor count of shielding a priest who was a threat to children.
“Speaking in a forthcoming interview with the U.S. television program 60 Minutes, O’Malley says the situation surrounding Finn is ‘a question that the Holy See needs to address urgently.’
“‘There’s a recognition of that — from Pope Francis,’ O’Malley continues during the interview, which is to air Sunday evening.
“CBS made a preview of the interview available online Friday (Nov. 14).”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.