Archive for March, 2016
The Vatican has launched an official investigation into the funding of the restoration of the apartment of the former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
“The investigation involves two executives from Rome’s Bambini Gesu Children’s Hospital — former chairman Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina – who are being investigated for allegedly misappropriating hospital funds to pay for the restoration.
“Greg Burke, deputy director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the probe Thursday. He said Bertone was not under investigation.”
By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Victims of some of the worst sexual abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church are being denied access to a vast archive of clergy crime, as the church continues to ensure the offending is kept secret, despite the files being handed over to the royal commission.
“The nearly 2000 files – which include evidence about at least 63 offenders – have been amassed by the church’s insurers, but the church appears intent on paying millions of dollars in victims compensation settlements to ensure the documents are not made public.
“Angry victims and their lawyers have called on Catholic Church Insurance Ltd to make the archive public to enable investigation of potential criminal cover-ups and to assist victims in dealing with their abuse and to seek compensation.”
By The Newcastle Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to settlements involving cash and counseling with seven people who say they were sexually abused by priests, including one case that stretches back to the 1930s, according to the attorney for the alleged victims.
“Two other settlements with religious orders have been reached in cases involving priests who allegedly abused victims while they worked in the archdiocese, according to the attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.
“Another, separate settlement with the Carmelite Order involved a brother who had been accused of abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles before being assigned to a chapel at the Northshore Mall in Peabody.”
By Brian MacQuarrie, The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story
By Mary Freeman, Voice of the Faithful Trustee and Rhode Island member
Disbelief and anger were the reactions of Catholics and non Catholics alike when in 2002 The Boston Globe Spotlight team broke its story of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church. Almost immediately hundreds of the faithful gathered in Wellesley to try to understand this and to discern what could be done to keep this from happening again.
Thus began the work of Voice of the Faithful.
How long would it take? God must have smiled at the hope and optimism of some who thought that our proposals to solve the systemic problems that caused this scandal would be listened to, negotiated, and enacted.
I think that I held hope for that too, but after 14 years of being in working groups and serving as an officer and board member, I know that we still have our work cut out for us. So we continue to work as if everything depends on us, knowing that God’s grace is working in all of us.
Patience, persistence, and prayer are needed. We cannot ease up. We must continue to make our presence known. I offer the following prayer by Pierre Teihard de Chardin, S.J., to remind us that we are in this together, all of us: God, VOTF, and the faithful.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient
in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability
and that it will take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
what time will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955), was a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest, who was trained as a paleontologist and geologist. Many of his writings were censored by the Catholic Church during his lifetime because of his views on original sin. However, Pope Benedict XVI praised him, and Pope Franics noted his contributions to theology in his 2015 encyclical Laudato si.
Click to read: ‘I only answer to God. Bishops don’t bother me,’ by Maria Panaritis, Philly.com, March 22, 2016
“It was like the roots of a tree spreading out,” Foster said. ‘I realized, if I’m just a lay person and just asking a few questions, I’m getting all this information, how widespread and deep is this?””
“Rarely have so few words cut so deeply into the hearts of so many.”
A miracle did not occur in Lourdes last week.
“Instead, on March 15, the French media descended on the pilgrimage site in southwestern France, which is hosting a conference of the country’s bishops. The journalists came to grill Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who, as bearer of the ancient title ‘primat des Gaules,’ is France’s most prominent Catholic cleric. As the cardinal of Lyon, France’s second largest city, he runs a diocese rocked by a series of sexual abuse scandals. (The diocese of Lyons is also the oldest Catholic institution in France, stretching back to the Gallo-Roman period.) With the cicada-like clatter of clicking cameras, Barbarin declared he had ‘never, never, never’ hid any act of pedophilia committed by his priests. Staring hard through his severe wire-rimmed glasses, Barbarin observed that none of these acts had happened under his watch. Besides, he noted, these crimes had passed the statute of limitations, so they could not be prosecuted.
‘Dieu merci,’ he added with a sigh.
Rarely have so few words cut so deeply into the hearts of so many. With what seemed greater concern over legal liabilities for the church than the emotional scars of the victims, Barbarin compounded his clergy’s sins of commission with a stunning sin of omission. The whole episode, since baptized the French ‘Spotlight,’ may well have consequences as seismic for the French church as the Boston case had for its American counterpart.
By Robert Zaretsky, The Week — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“But lame apologies for criminal actions, euphemistically described as mistakes, and impotent prayer services will not get the job done.”
“Spotlight” was awarded an Oscar for the best motion picture of 2016 and it more than deserves such recognition. It brings a whole new level of attention to this outstanding film and the problems it addresses especially the abuse of authority in the Roman Catholic Church.
“It is a wake-up call for people in the United States and in countries around the world to recognize the egregious damage done to children and deal with the epidemic, the pandemic really, that childhood sexual abuse is …
“Revelations following the Boston Archdiocese’s implosion were catastrophic.
“The abuse of power by men in a rigidly structured patriarchal society, the narcissism and the sociopathic behavior of sexual offenders cry out for accountability, transparency, and ultimately, for justice. But lame apologies for criminal actions, euphemistically described as mistakes, and impotent prayer services will not get the job done.”
By Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, Delaware County Pennsylvania Daily Times — Click here to read the rest of this column.
Victims tell their stories to Australia’s royal commission on child sexual abuse / National Catholic Reporter
“In some respects, the story of the Australian government inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is a story that can be told in numbers.
“Since its first hearing three years ago, the inquiry — the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — has received 29,223 telephone calls from victims and other interested parties, as well as 16,171 letters and emails. It has conducted 4,874 sessions in private (to provide, where requested, a safe and confidential environment for those testifying) and made 961 referrals to authorities, including police, many of which have resulted in arrests and charges …
“Numbers, of course, rarely tell the whole story. To the extent that the commission has been a cathartic experience both for individuals and more broadly, its impact is impossible to quantify.”
By Chris McGillion, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Thirteen years ago, as a national scandal raged over the rape and molestation of school children by hundreds of Catholic priests, a panel of leading laity appointed by the national hierarchy to look into church responsibility candidly warned “there must be consequences” for the bishops who led years of cover-up. The bishops’ marked failure to follow through since by investigating fellow superiors was brought home this month in a scathing grand jury report in Pennsylvania. It found at least 50 priests and other church employees sexually molested hundreds of children in central Pennsylvania parishes for over four decades while church officials and some civil authorities knew but worked to conceal the crimes.
“The report used the term “soul murder” to describe a conspiracy of silence that allowed the statute of limitations to run out and perpetrators to die while victims waited for justice.”
By Francis X. Cline, The New Times — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
“… Pope Francis established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, because, he said, ‘Many painful actions have caused a profound examination of conscience for the entire Church, leading us to request forgiveness from the victims and from our society for the harm that has been caused. This response to these actions is the firm beginning for initiatives of many different types, which are intended to repair the damage, to attain justice, and to prevent, by all means possible, the recurrence of similar incidents in the future …’
“Marie Collins is reported to have said recently that the current funding arrangements were inadequate. It has also been reported that the commission has even been told to consider raising their own funds to complete the work. As she stated, ‘If the Church is saying that this is its highest priority, then they must be able to fund it and fund it properly,’ she said. ‘If you’re not properly funded, if you’re not properly resourced, then you can’t do the work that you need to do.’
“Proper funding is the key to the ability of an organization such as the commission to function. Many good initiatives have failed because they have been starved of the necessary funding.”
By Nuala O’Loan, The Irish Catholic — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.