Archive for December, 2015
The Catholic church knew it had child abuse ‘time bombs’ ticking away in a number of Australian dioceses, an inquiry has heard.
“A special issues committee meeting at the Australian Catholic Bishops conference in 1992 noted: ‘It was agreed that there are serious time bombs ticking away in a number of dioceses at the present time’ …
“(Bishop Hilton) Deakin (Melbourne vicar general, 1987-1992) said when he was an auxiliary bishop he spoke to the Apostolic Nuncio, the Pope’s representative in Australia, about a priest called Peter Searson.
“‘I was telling him about this priest, who was a most evil person, doing evil things to little children in a school and had been doing it for quite some time,’ he said.
“‘I was hoping and praying that something would be done.’
“He said the Apostolic Nuncio thanked him and walked away.”
By Australian Associated Press in The Gudardian — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In Florence, Italy, last month, Pope Francis addressed the Italian church and gave a bracing, 50-minute exhortation on how integral change is to a healthy life of the church.
“‘Before the problems of the church, it is not useful to search for solutions in conservatism or fundamentalism, in the restoration of obsolete conduct and forms that no longer have the capacity of being significant culturally,’ he told the gathered clerics and laypeople.
“At another point, he said, ‘Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives — but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened. It has a face that is not rigid, it has a body that moves and grows, it has a soft flesh: It is called Jesus Christ.’”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
Panel on ‘Spotlight’ film explores priest sex abuse scandal, institutional cover-up and advocacy for vicitms / Harvard Law Today
The film “Spotlight” focuses on the dogged pursuit by Boston Globe reporters to expose the Catholic Church’s cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by Boston priests. But there is much more to the story, as evidenced by a wide-ranging panel discussion of the movie last week at Harvard Law School that touched on legal issues, secrets and shame, and even a potential lawsuit against the filmmakers.
Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Dean of Students Office, the panel featured Josh Singer ’01, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Tom McCarthy; Mitchell Garabedian, who represented dozens of plaintiffs in suits against the church (and was depicted by Stanley Tucci in a prominent role in the movie); and HLS professors Jeannie Suk ’02 and Lawrence Lessig, with Professor Jonathan Zittrain ’95 moderating. In the audience were Ben Bradlee Jr. and Michael Rezendes, journalists from the Globe who were also depicted in the film, and who participated in the discussion.
By Lewis Rice, Harvard Law Today — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Association of Catholic Priests voices ‘disquiet’ over Vatican’s selection of Irish bishops / National Catholic Reporter
The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland is to write to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops expressing its 1,000 members’ ‘grave disquiet’ over the current selection process for bishops in the Irish church.
“A resolution was carried unanimously at the association’s annual meeting in Athlone Nov. 24 which criticized the ‘lack of any credible process of consultation’ with priests and people in recent years and the Vatican’s ‘preference for candidates drawn from a particular mindset.’
“Over 100 members of the ACP who attended the meeting backed the statement which said the choice of candidates is ‘out of sync with the realities of life in Ireland today’ and with the openness of Pope Francis to change and reform in the church.”
By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
For Catholics, ‘Spotlight’ landed in theaters this holiday season like the proverbial coal in the Christmas stocking. Watching the recounting of The Boston Globe’s clergy pedophile investigation resurrected old feelings in this practicing Catholic. I seethed again at the men who committed these crimes and covered them up. (Full disclosure: In my past life, I was the Globe’s freelance religion columnist, and my wife until recently worked as a reporter for the paper.)
“Yet the film is actually a Christmas gift. We Catholics bear special responsibility for pondering the lessons of the scandal, and special entitlement: Those were Catholic kids molested by priestly perverts. Some Catholics are drawing lessons from the movie that are obvious, even banal — appreciation for our free press and justice system, the need for ‘more, not less, holiness in the priesthood.’ (I’m unaware of anyone calling for less holy priests.) I believe there’s a more fundamental and valuable wisdom to be gleaned from the movie. Catholics, split between theological traditionalists and liberals, must understand that, at least on this one, the liberals were right.”
By Rich Barlow, WBUR-FM — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.