Archive for February, 2017
Pope Francis offers mercy to child abusers
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Clergy Sexual Abuse, Pope Francis, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on February 27, 2017
Opinions differ over how Pope Francis is handling the Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal. But setting aside questions of mercy vs. justice as debated in a recent Associated Press story, we think that some of the most problematic comments come in the story’s last paragraph:
“Francis scrapped the commission’s (Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) proposed tribunal for bishops who botch abuse cases following legal objections from the congregation (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). The commission’s other major initiative — a guideline template to help dioceses develop policies to fight abuse and safeguard children — is gathering dust. The Vatican never sent the template to bishops’ conferences, as the commission had sought, or even linked it to its main abuse-resource website.”
You can click here to read the rest of the Associated Press’ story.
‘Criminally negligent’: Catholic archbishops criticize church’s handling of abuse scandal / The Guardian
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on February 23, 2017
Australia’s most senior Catholic leaders have conceded that the church’s handling of the child sexual abuse crisis was ‘hopelessly inadequate,’ had catastrophic consequences, and amounted to ‘criminal negligence.’
“Five of Australia’s metropolitan archbishops appeared before the child abuse royal commission on Thursday (Feb. 23), asked to explain how the church had allowed the abuse of at least 4,444 children between between 1980 and 2015.
“Perth archbishop, Timothy Costelloe, said a major cause of the abuse complaints and the abysmal response to complaints was the leadership’s belief in the ‘untouchability of the church,’ which filtered down to bishops and priests.
“‘The church in a sense saw itself as a law unto itself; that it was somehow or other so special and so unique, and in a sense so important, that it stood aside from the normal things that would be a part of any other body,’ Costelloe said.”
By Christopher Knaus, the Guardian — Read more …
An opportunity for deep reform in the church / La Croix International
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, church reform, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Future of the Church, Pope Francis, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on February 22, 2017
‘Sad to admit, the evidence is clear that the church in Australia is sick to its institutional core. It has a nasty, though treatable cancer that is being fed by a pervasive clericalism.’
Australia is often used as a controlled market to test new technology products. With an educated, tech-savvy, multicultural society, it has representative features that appeal as a laboratory for commercial researchers.
“But now Australia might also become a test bed for what needs repair and how it can be done in the Catholic Church. The facts are friendly. Those reported in La Croix International by Frank Brennan on Feb 14 are staggering statistics. Some of them are new and some are have been in the public domain for some years.
“Widely and well known or not, the statistics shine a light on a deeper and systemic illness that needs root and branch reform. Without such reform, the church will continue to be fertile ground for the abuse of power – of which sexual abuse is a catastrophic symptom.”
By Peter Day, La Croix International — Read more …
Healing wounds from clergy sexual abuse
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Broken Vessels, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on February 21, 2017
Over the past two years, Voice of the Faithful® has facilitated nine Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles around the United States. Participants have included victims/survivors and others harmed in some other serious way by abusive clergy and/or by hierarchical leaders who enabled abuse. In addition to enhancing the arduous work of personal healing, these participants have contributed to the healing of many other individuals who have been deeply wounded as well.
Those of us who have facilitated these circles remain deeply moved by and grateful for each participant’s willingness to pursue a path of healing through this experience. We welcome feedback from any participants who feel they have something to offer about the Healing Circle experience from their present personal perspective.
We deeply desire to offer Healing Circles to anyone who could benefit from them. We ask you, our readers, to reach out to those whom you think would benefit to let them know that a viable step along a path toward healing exists for them in the Broken Vessels™ program. Click here for additional information or contact Bill Casey at email@example.com. We assure complete confidentiality.
In addition, if any of you find yourselves in a place where you can provide any level of financial support for the costs of the Healing Circles, please make a donation to VOTF restricted to Healing Circles by clicking here or mailing your check, with “For Healing Circles” written on the memo line, to VOTF, P.O. Box 423, Newton, MA 02464.
New Catholic standards body to crack down on clergy / The Age
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on February 21, 2017
A newly established national oversight body for the Catholic church will have the power to publicly name dioceses or religious orders which fail to meet its robust standards, a royal commission has heard.
“The inquiry was told the new body, Catholic Professional Standards (CPS) Ltd, will also give bishops the authority to penalise priests who do not to comply with the new benchmarks.
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that the body, formed late last year, would set, enforce and audit new standards on the protection of children and vulnerable people.”
By Rachel Browne, The Age — Read more …
Ex-altar boy refuses to testify at Vatican Guam abuse trial / Associated Press
A former altar boy who accused Guam’s longtime archbishop of sexually abusing him refused Thursday (Feb. 16) to testify before a Vatican court headed by American Cardinal Raymond Burke on the grounds that he couldn’t have his lawyer present … (David) Lujan (abuse victim Ronald Sondia’s lawyer) said the proceedings were ‘worse’ than he had expected because he wasn’t allowed to be present to advise his client, who was to have been ‘questioned by the prosecutor, who is a priest, and Archbishop Apuron’s lawyer, who is a priest, and a presider who is Cardinal Burke, and a notary who is also a priest.’” (emphasis added)
By Nicole Winfield and Garces Bordallo, Associated Press on Yahoo.com — Read more …
Cardinal Burke presides over trial investigating Guam archbishop / Catholic News Service
Cardinal Raymond Burke, a church law expert and former head of the Vatican’s highest court, arrived in Guam Feb. 15 as the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana.
“The Vatican press office confirmed a ‘tribunal of the first instance’ was constituted by the Vatican Oct. 5 and its presiding judge is Cardinal Burke. Four other judges, all of whom are bishops, also were appointed, the press office said.”
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic New Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Catholic Church paid A$276 million to abuse victims in Australia / BBC News
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on February 16, 2017
The Australian Catholic Church has paid A$276m (£171m; $213m) to victims of sexual abuse since 1980, an inquiry has heard.
The money was divided between thousands of victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was told.
“The data, released on Thursday (Feb. 16), showed the average payment was A$91,000.
“The landmark royal commission was set up in 2013 and is also investigating abuse at non-religious organisations.
“The Catholic Church made the payments in response to 3,066 of 4,445 child sexual abuse claims between 1980 and 2015, the inquiry heard. More than 40% of claims were received by a handful of male orders.
“They included compensation, treatment, legal and other costs, said Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission in Sydney.”
By BBC News — Read more …
Vatican canon law official explains provisions of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ / Catholic News Service
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Amoris Laetitia, Voice of the Faithful on February 15, 2017
The provisions of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ allow people in irregular marriage situations access to the sacraments only if they recognize their situation is sinful and desire to change it, according to the cardinal who heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
“The fact that such a couple also believes changing the situation immediately by splitting up would cause more harm and forgoing sexual relations would threaten their current relationship does not rule out the possibility of receiving sacramental absolution and Communion, said Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the pontifical council that is charged with interpreting canon law.”
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service — Read more …
Australia’s grim toll in the church’s sex abuse scandal / The New York Times
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on February 13, 2017
The global scale of the Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse scandal becomes harder for the Vatican to deny with each shocking national inquiry. The latest, from Australian government investigators, found that from 1980 to 2015 there were 4,444 victims of abuse and at least 1,880 suspected to be abusers, most of them priests and religious brothers.
“Through this period, the haunting subtext is the culpability of bishops who did nothing about the crimes. The abused children were ignored or punished while priests who raped children were protected by supervisors.” (emphasis added)
By The New York Times Editorial Board — Read more …