Archive for June, 2017

Pope Francis defrocks Italian priest convicted of child sex abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a “definitive ruling” that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse, three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light.

“Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012 after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014, ordering the priest to stay away from children and retire to ‘a life of prayer and humble discretion.’

“On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a ‘definitive ruling’ that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.

“Bishop Daniele Gianotti of Crema said the Vatican body responsible for church doctrine informed him of the pope’s decision, which Gianotti described as “the worst punishment” to be imposed on a priest.”

By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus


Australian cardinal and aide to Pope is charged with sexual assault
Australia’s senior Roman Catholic prelate, and one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, has been charged with sexual assault(link is external)(link is external), the police in the Australian state of Victoria said on Thursday (June 29). The prelate, Cardinal George Pell, became the highest-ranking Vatican official in recent years to face criminal charges involving accusations of sexual offenses. The case will test the credibility of Francis’ initiatives to foster greater accountability after abuse scandals that have shaken the church around the world.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Vatican sex abuse scandal reveals blind spot for Francis(link is external)(link is external)By Jason Horowitz and Laurie Goodstein
George Pell, Vatican finance chief, charge with sexual abuse(link is external)(link is external)By Robb M. Stewart and Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal
Cardinal Pell, Vatican finance chief, charged over historic allegations of sexual abuse(link is external)(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Defiant and determined, Pell says he now has chance to clear his name(link is external)(link is external)By Austen Ivereigh,
George Pell’s charging and what it means for the Catholic Church in Australia(link is external)(link is external)By Paul Kennedy, ABC News Australia
Top adviser to Pope charged with sexual assault offenses(link is external)(link is external)By Joshua Berlinger and Laure Smith-Spark, CNN
Cardinal Pell: Vatican treasurer denies Australia sex offenses(link is external)(link is external)By BBC News
Top-ranking Vatican cardinal charged with sex offenses in Australia(link is external)(link is external)By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post
Cardinal George Pell takes a leave of absence after sex assault charges(link is external)(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
George Pell profile: the pope’s Australian hard man faces the fight of his life(link is external)(link is external)By David Marr, the Guardian
Pope’s close aide charged, bringing sex abuse scandal to Vatican(link is external)(link is external)By Philip Pullella and Byron Kaye, Reuters
Remarks by Marie Collins(link is external)(link is external)clergy abuse survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, on Cardinal Pell’s charges

Brooklyn diocese seeks to compensate sex abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced a program on Thursday (Jun. 22) that will seek to compensate hundreds of victims who were abused as children(link is external) by its priests and deacons. The program is modeled on one begun last year by the Archdiocese of New York. Like that program, it will be run by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, mediators who administered the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and awarded compensation to victims of abuse by Jerry Sandusky at Pennsylvania State University.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Catholic Church in Brooklyn to compensate sexual abuse victims(link is external)By Jonathan Allen, Reuters
Brooklyn diocese announces abuse compensation program(link is external)By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter
From 9/11 to Orlando, Ken Feinberg’s alter ego in compensating victims(link is external)By Roger Parloff, The New York Times
A gesture of good faith: NYC dioceses abuse-compensation play(link is external)Editorial by New York Daily News

Francis considers mandating consultation of laity in bishop selection
“One of the members of the Council of Cardinals said the group is considering whether to advise Pope Francis to make it mandatory for Vatican ambassadors to consult with laypeople before making recommendations(link is external) for possible new bishops in the Catholic Church. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias suggested the nine-member group might recommend that ambassadors be instructed to consult with members of a diocese’s pastoral or finance councils before passing on names of who to consider for bishop.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic groups launch conversation about female deacons
“Several progressive Catholic groups are launching an initiative aimed at giving lay Catholics and clergy across the U.S. a direct say on whether the church should ordain women deacons(link is external). Their actions follow the appointment of a panel of experts set up by Pope Francis to consider the controversial question. The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful have launched DeaconChat in a bid to promote education and dialogue on the topic.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

Catholic Groups launch conversation about female deacons(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in The Gazette, Colorado Springs
Catholic groups launch conversation about female deacons(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
Topic of female deacons in the Catholic Church is being debated(link is external)By Elisa Meyer, World Religion News

U.S. bishops urged to be vigilant, never complacent, in stopping abuse
“Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, urged the U.S. bishops June 14 during their spring meeting in Indianapolis to continue to keep their commitment to stopping clergy sexual abuse(link is external) and supporting victims of abuse “at the forefront” of their ministry. He said sexual abuse of minors by clergy is ‘not a thing of past’ and stressed the bishops have to always be vigilant and be sure to not ‘let complacency set in’ in their efforts to stop it.” By Catholic News Service on


Papal abuse commission member suggests changes to group expected in fall
“A member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has suggested the composition of the advisory body may change(link is external) at some point this fall, as the original three-year terms granted to individuals in the group expire. Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, who was appointed by Francis with seven others in March 2014 as the initial members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said the group is hosting its last planned plenary session in September.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


To understand Pope Francis, you have to understand the Jesuits
“Discernment is one of the words Pope Francis repeats most, especially when speaking to priests and seminarians. He often expresses his desire for greater formation in discernment(link is external) – a concept that may seem obscure without an understanding its importance to the Pope’s Jesuit formation.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Service

As clock ticks on pope’s ultimatum, Nigeria diocese in is tumult
“Following a dramatic show of papal authority in Nigeria(link is external), with Pope Francis demanding that all the priests of a diocese write him a letter pledging their loyalty and promising to accept the bishop the pope has appointed, the matter seems far from resolved. Some priests seem willing to go along, while others are submitting a half-apology, and others are even calling for the pope’s resignation.” By Ines San Martin,
— Pope’s ultimatum in Nigeria has roots in 2014 letters(link is external), By Ines San Martin,

Nice guy or tough guy? The two faces of Pope Francis
“To the vast majority, Pope Francis is the compassionate face of Catholicism today(link is external). He’s rescued refugees, opened the Vatican’s doors to the homeless and told Catholics there’s no sin God won’t forgive. But there is another streak to the Argentine pontiff that has been on display in recent days: A willingness to flex papal muscle and lay down the law.” By Christopher Lamb, Religion News Service


Dubia cardinals seek papal audience
“After seven months of not receiving a response from Pope Francis to their request that he clarify highly disputed parts in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), four cardinals asked the Holy Father for an audience(link is external) in April but the Pope has yet to respond, it has emerged.” By National Catholic Register

Full text of dubia cardinals’ letter asking Pope Francis for an audience,(link is external) By The Pilot


Gregory: Bishops ‘can never say we are sorry enough’ for tragedy of abuse
“Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said June 14 the U.S. Catholic bishops ‘can never say that we are sorry enough(link is external) for the share that we have had in this tragedy of broken fidelity and trust—the clergy sex abuse crisis. He made the comments in the homily at an evening Mass said to commemorate a ‘Day of Prayer and Penance’ for victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The liturgy was celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis at the end of the first day of the bishops’ spring assembly.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Letter from Rome: Who will be the next bishop of Milan?
“Pope Francis is preparing to change the leadership of several important dioceses(link is external)around the world. The moves, which he’s expected to begin rolling out in the coming days, are likely to give a huge boost to his unrelenting and long-term project to change the mentality and direction of the global Catholic Church.” By Robert Mickens, Commonweal

The ice begins to break in conservative chokehold of USCCB
“As I opined last week, I did not expect much from this week’s (Jun. 14-15) spring meeting of the U.S. bishops’ conference … There are still more bishops in the U.S. who consider this papacy a bit of bad weather they hope will pass than there are bishops who have embraced Francis’ papacy as the breath of fresh air the church needs. What did become obvious in Indianapolis, though, was that the tide is turning and the ice cracking in the conservative chokehold of the conference(link is external).” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Updates from the U.S. bishops’ meeting: Continue to fight Trump-backed immigration proposals
“Live updates as the bishops gather June 14-15(link is external) in Indianapolis for their annual spring meeting.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review


The future of the priesthood looks more hopeful
“My concern about the future of the priesthood in the United States(link is external) has centered around everything I have heard and experienced involving those priests ordained in the last few decades. Now Time magazine presents a thoughtful article on the latest attitudes among seminarians today, and it is encouraging. I should say that if I were writing my vision of the future of the Catholic priesthood, it would certainly include priests being able to marry if they choose to, and a priesthood that includes women in significant numbers. It would also include a clergy even less driven by doctrine than the young seminarians appear to be. Yet, the article does suggest that the youngest crop of seminarians is moving in a positive direction.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

New Catholic bishop reassigning many priests in Memphis
“An unusually high number of parish priests in the Catholic Diocese of Memphis are being reassigned by new Bishop Martin Holley(link is external). All of the reassigned pastors are being given new titles: Parochial Administrator. Holley has not provided a public explanation for the changes, but priests and parishes have been informed.” By David Waters, USA TODAY Network, in The Commercial Appeal

Dozens of priests resign from Indonesian diocese to protest bishop
“Dozens of Indonesian priests have quit their posts(link is external) after accusing a bishop on the Catholic majority island of Flores of embezzling more than $100,000 of church funds for personal use. reported that at least 69 priests from Ruteng Diocese submitted letters of resignation in mid-June, quitting their posts as episcopal vicars and parish priests, and demanded that Bishop Hubertus Leteng heed their calls for a complete overhaul of how the diocese is run.” By Catholic News Service on

Mutinous Indonesian priests quit posts in bishop protest(link is external)By Ryan Dagur, Jakarta, and Ronaldus Tarsan, Ruteng, Indonesia,
Rebel Indonesian priests seek Vatican help over bishop(link is external)By

Pope wants priests to be shepherds who encounter their flocks
“The Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, says Pope Francis’s vision for the priesthood(link is external) offers a template for renewal, as priests join the faithful in carrying out the New Evangelization as missionary disciples in today’s world, helping people encounter, love and follow Jesus.” By Mark Zimmerman,

Catholic priest whose style split N.C. mountain parish is leaving
“The pastor of a Catholic church in the N.C. mountains whose conservative leadership style split the congregation(link is external) and drew national media attention has resigned. In a Facebook post, the Rev. Christopher Riehl of St. John the Evangelist parish in Waynesville wrote that he was ‘worn out or burned out’ and for his own well-being needed to take a sabbatical.” By Tim Funk, The Charlotte Observer


Diocese of Youngstown participates in synod surveys
“Bishop George V. Murry wants high-school youths and young adults in the Diocese of Youngstown to be part of Synod of Bishops surveys on the topic ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment(link is external).’ On Jan. 13, Pope Francis wrote to young people in the Catholic faith that a Synod of Bishops will take place in October 2018 on the topic.” By The Vindicator

Catholics face fewer options in northwest Iowa
“The Diocese of Sioux City is rolling out changes that will close or consolidate many Catholic churches(link is external) in northwest Iowa as part of its Ministry 2025 plan. A shortage of priests and declining participation in weekly Mass fueled the Diocese to find more efficient ways to serve Catholic communities. Father Paul Kelly celebrates Mass in English and Spanish at St. Rose of Lima in Denison, a small western Iowa city that may soon welcome more parishioners from nearby communities.” By Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio

Detroit wraps up synod with plan to ‘unleash the Gospel’
“Nearly seven months after the Detroit Archdiocese’s Synod 16, Archbishop Allen Vigneron released a pastoral letter outlining the synod results, along with launching a new website and coat of arms to ‘Unleash the Gospel.’ The letter was released following the Pentecost vigil Mass on June 3. Vigneron wrote that the letter is meant to ‘serve as the charter for implementing the fruit of Synod 16(link is external).’ In an accompanying video, Vigneron states that the letter and synod ‘is not just the project of a year. This is a project of a generation.’” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

Gary diocese’s first synod hopes to ‘move the mission of the church’
“Mentioning the city of Gary, Indiana tends to evoke an image of dilapidated buildings, unemployment and crime. Following the steady decline of the steel industry in the late 20th century, Gary’s population faced dramatic reductions … Those numbers weighed on Gary Bishop Donald Hying’s mind when initially proposing the synod(link is external). ‘We have significant poverty here in our diocese. … That’s something that’s on everyone’s hearts as well,’ Hying told NCR. ‘[The synod] will benefit not only the church but also the world as we live the mission of Christ.’” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

As Minnesota congregations become more diverse, churches struggle to find Latino clergy
“Twenty-six years ago, when Jacqueline Belzer immigrated to the United States, there were only two churches in the Twin Cities that served Catholics who wanted to worship in Spanish … But there is another issue that has remained a persistent problem for both Catholic and Protestant churches throughout Minnesota: a shortage of Latino clergy to minister to the state’s increasingly diverse faith communities(link is external).” By Ibrahim Hirsi,

Area towns may lose Catholic churches
“Some rural communities in the area might be without a Catholic church(link is external) if preliminary recommendations hold true. The church consolidations are being recommended as part of a long-range plan for the Archdiocese of Omaha. ‘The main reason is just to make sure into the future we have vibrant parishes able to sustain themselves and be mission-oriented,’ said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese.” By Julie Blum, The Columbus Telegram

Archdiocese of Hartford to send delegates to historic Church convocation in Orlando
“Guided by the missionary vision of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Guadium, or Joy of the Gospel, the Archdiocese of Hartford will send delegates to the Convocation of Catholic Leaders(link is external) in Orlando, Fla., in July. The purpose of the national meeting, organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is to discuss the issues facing Catholics in the 21st century. Its ultimate aim is to equip delegates with tools and resources that they can use to evangelize in their respective dioceses.” By Catholic Transcript of the Archdiocese of Hartford


Catholic groups launch conversation about female deacons
“Several progressive Catholic groups are launching an initiative aimed at giving lay Catholics and clergy across the U.S. a direct say on whether the church should ordain women deacons(link is external) … The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful have launched DeaconChat in a bid to promote education and dialogue on the topic.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in The Gazette


Vatican women’s council hopes to be ‘electric shock’ for global Church
“The female advisory board of the Pontifical Council for Culture has big plans: By sending an “electric shock” within the Church(link is external), it hopes to spark thousands of similar councils around the globe in search of solutions that go beyond women priests.” By Claire Giangrave,


New child protection experts graduate from Rome’s Jesuit university
“Before students were presented with their diplomas in safeguarding minors, they each received a logoed mug as a memento of their time in the Center for Child Protection’s intensive program(link is external) at the Pontifical Gregorian University … The graduates — 24 men and women from 18 different countries — would be going back to their dioceses, bishops’ conferences or religious orders to kick-start or strengthen child protection policies and measures.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Catholic

Vatican statistics track church health indicators
“The health of the Catholic Church(link is external) can be measured in many ways, and the Vatican has a special office just for that purpose. The Central Statistics Office, which operates under the Vatican Secretariat of State, conducts a variety of studies for the Roman Curia throughout the year. But one of the office’s biggest projects is compiling the annual, 500-page Statistical Yearbook of the Church.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service


Mysterious exit of Vatican auditor begs question: Is reform even possible
“Almost a week later, it remains mysterious(link is external) why Libero Milone, an Italian businessman and auditing expert hired in 2015 for a five-year term as the Vatican’s first-ever Auditor General, abruptly resigned. Whatever the case, the optics don’t seem encouraging in terms of the current state of Pope Francis’s reform effort.” By John L. Allen, Jr.,

Pope accepts early resignation of Vatican’s first independent auditor(link is external)By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Zimbabwe: Catholic treasurer embezzles $6,000
“A treasurer at St Alois Roman Catholic Church in Chitungwiza appeared in court last Friday (Jun. 16) charged with stealing $6 000(link is external). Kurauone Chokuona (40) appeared before Chitungwiza magistrate Mr Oliver Mudzongachiso facing charges of theft of trust property. He was represented by Sandra Mbetu and Roswitter Madembo and was remanded to June 21 for trial.” By Fungai Lupande,

Vatican bank reports $40 million profit in 2016
“In its annual report the Institute for the Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, made a profit of about $40 million(link is external). The institute held assets worth 5.7 billion euros at year’s end, and all of the profits will be turned over to the Holy See, with none being placed in the institute’s reserve account.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Victims of child abuse get 50-year compensation window after MSPs vote to remove time bar
“The Scottish Parliament has voted to remove the three-year limit on child abuse survivors suing for damages in court(link is external). This will allow victims of abuse dating back to September 26, 1964, to claim compensation for their injuries following the implementation of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.” By

New York Senate won’t take up Child Victims Act
“Though he said discussions continue, state Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan said after leaving the governor’s office on Tuesday (Jun. 19) afternoon that the Senate will not take up the Child Victims Act legislation(link is external). That bill, which would extend the time during which young victims of sexual abuse could bring a case against their abuser, has passed the Assembly and has the support of the governor … ‘It’s under discussion, but the Senate is not going to be taking that bill up,’ he said when asked to clarify that the bill is dead for the year.’” By Matthew Hamilton, Times Union

Republican state senator voices support for Child Victims Act breaking ranks with party(link is external), By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News
Young victims of abuse need chance to fight back(link is external)Editorial by Times Herald-Record


Catholic Church says sexual abuse by clergy still unresolved with 25 new cases
Sexual abuse by clergy continues to be a problem within the Roman Catholic Church(link is external), according to a recent annual report. The Church’s National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People found in May that between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, there were 1,232 abused individuals who brought forth 1,318 allegations of sexual abuse by clergy. ‘These allegations represent reports of abuse between a specific alleged victim and a specific alleged accused, whether the abuse was a single incident or a series of incidents over a period of time,’ noted the annual report.” By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post

In God’s name, how many more did he violate?
“One cold November afternoon in 1969, a 17-year-old schoolgirl called Jean Wehner was driven to a remote rubbish dump on the outskirts of the American city of Baltimore. There, she was led to the rotting corpse of her murdered teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik. ‘This is what happens when you say bad things(link is external),’ the terrified teenager was warned. The chilling scene from the new Netflix series, The Keepers, may seem like the plot of a Scandi-inspired thriller, but the hit show keeping millions of viewers on the edge of their seats is not a voguish noir fiction, but a cold-case documentary.” By Rene Graham for the Daily Mail on Sunday

Who killed Sister Cathy?(link is external) By Peter Jeffery, Commonweal

USCCB president appoints four new members of the National Review Board
“Four new members have been appointed(link is external) to serve on the National Review Board by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The NRB advises the bishops’ committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at the USCCB. The NRB was established by the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which the bishops adopted in 2002.” By USCCB, News Release

Leading group for Church abuse victims faces uncertain future
“Today SNAP boasts 25,000 members, but foes and friends alike are unsure if the organization will be able to survive its latest scandal(link is external) … In January, a former SNAP employee sued the organization. In her lawsuit, Gretchen Rachel Hammond alleges she was fired after she raised questions about whether SNAP was colluding with attorneys in a kickback scheme—referring sexual abuse victims to attorneys in exchange for donations from those same attorneys. The group firmly denies the allegation, but the claim is particularly damaging to an organization whose mission is to defend the vulnerable.” By Lilly Fowler, Religion&

Fifteen Years after Dallas: A Series
“So in honor of the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Dallas Charter, I thought I would take a look at some recent scandals that show us that the problem is far from over and that any glad-handing on behalf of the members of the USCCB this week is just for show. Nothing has changed, except the window dressing.” Introduction(link is external)Part One: The Altoona-Johnstown grand jury report(link is external)Part Two: is there a crook in the diocese of Crookston(link is external)Part Three: a priest admits abusing, Chicago cardinal does nothing(link is external)Part Four: Convicted priest deemed ‘safe’ by Oklahoma City archbishop, Catholics rightfully upset(link is external)Part Five: Naughty Nienstedt and the Vatican shred(link is external)Part Six: A seminarian in Ohio attenpts to buy babies, while bishop pretends nothing happened(link is external)Part Seven: Sister Cathy turns Baltimore into a troll(link is external).; Part Eight: (Dis)Honorable Mention: Guam and the hope and healing hoax(link is external) … By Joelle Casteix,, an award-winning author, and since 2003, the volunteer Western Regional Director of SNAP.

Hawaii’s Catholic Church must confront its past
“There are two Roman Catholic Churches(link is external) when it comes to taking responsibility for child sex abuse cases in Hawaii: the repentant and the defiant. The repentant is occasionally seen in public statements … Under the veneer of the repentant Church is the defiant. Many decades of denials have been discarded for public, but hollow, apologies and solemn, though insincere, promises of atonement and amends.” By James Wright,


Attitudes that keep victims silent
“Susan Manter was watching coverage of the Bill Cosby trial last week when the man once hailed as ‘America’s Dad’ left the courthouse in Norristown, Pa. ‘We love you, Bill!’ someone shouted from the crowd. The Holden woman cringed. Late last month, she settled a civil case against a different kind of father, a Shrewsbury priest convicted in 2012 of beating her and ripping off her clothes(link is external) during horrific counseling sessions that dragged on for three years.” By Dianne Williamson, Worcester Telegram & Gazette


Why did diocese wait three years to make abuse allegations public?
“Three years ago, when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse found credibility to allegations that a Utica priest committed acts of child sexual abuse(link is external), it was not Bishop Robert Cunningham’s policy to make public those matters, said Danielle Cummings, the diocese’s chancellor and director of communications.” By Greg Mason, Utica Observer-Dispatch


Philly diocese fogs up again
Is there a new transparency issue(link is external)? Why isn’t Father Louis Kolenkiewicz listed in the online Archdiocesan clergy directory? He is listed in the clerical appointments that went into effect today. Father Kolenkiewicz is returning from a removal from ministry and his new gig as parochial vicar at the Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul prompted an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Given this, you’d think all the i’s wouldn’t have been dotted and t’s crossed. But as of 3pm today (Jun. 19) – his name [is not on the list].” By Susan Matthews, Catholics4Change


Armidale detectives investigate new allegations of historical abuse
“More than 10 new people have contacted detectives to lodge complaints of historical abuse(link is external) against a former New England priest. Fairfax Media can reveal Armidale detectives are questioning ‘upwards of 10 people’ about historical allegations of abuse by retired priest David Joseph Perrett. Perrett is on bail for nine charges, accused of molesting four young boys between 1970 and 1982 in Armidale and Guyra.” By Breanna Chillingworth, The Armidale Express

Decision on George Pell child sex charges ‘imminent’: police
“A month after getting legal advice on whether to charge Cardinal George Pell over historical child sex allegations(link is external), Victoria’s highest-ranking police officer says a decision is ‘imminent.’” By Australian Associated Press on

Priest: I was with Pell and know he’s innocent
“ABC reporter Louise Milligan has peddled an implausibly lurid claim: that Cardinal George Pell caught two choir boys drinking altar wine after Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral and made them give him oral sex. Melbourne University Press has even published Milligan’s book detailing this allegation, which police have spent more than a year investigating. And now a priest who was always with Pell at Mass at this cathedral says it simply could not have happened(link is external).” By Andrew Bolt, Melbourne Herald Sun

Catholic school St. Stanislaus under fire for staging apology for victims of abuse
“At least 160 students of St Stanislaus College in Bathurst were abused by paedophile priests and staff(link is external) over three decades, between the 1970s and 1990s. The school plans to host an ‘Apology Service of Sorrow and Hope’ on Friday (Jun. 16) night but victims say asking them to attend the school – where the abuse happened – and incorporating the apology into a religious service would trigger painful memories.” By Lorna Knowles and Alison Branley


Montreal Catholic Church will fingerprint all priests working with children
“The Catholic Church of Montreal will expand its pilot project that bars priests and church volunteers from being alone with children(link is external) and requires them to provide digital fingerprints to work with vulnerable populations. Around 10 churches have been taking part in the pilot project, which was launched last fall. All churches will now have to follow these rules by 2020.” By CBC News Montreal


Catholic monk admits ‘alarming failure’ to protect children from abuse
“A senior Catholic monk has admitted there was an ‘alarming failure’ by brothers to protect children(link is external) in care, a public inquiry into child abuse heard. Brother Laurence Hughes, provincial of the De La Salle Brothers, also accepted there was a ‘disturbing lack of awareness’ of abuse in schools run by the order in Scotland.” By Brian Donnelly, The Herald Scotland

Catholic Church engulfed in new abuse scandal after Scots priest admits affair with vulnerable woman
“A Scottish priest has been struck off by the Catholic Church after he admitted having a 16-year affair with a ‘vulnerable’ woman(link is external) who went to him for counseling when he was a parish priest in Australia. A senior bishop has also issued a ‘full and sincere apology’ to the victim after the priest admitted he ‘allowed the situation to develop inappropriately’ when the woman was feeling ‘grief, fear and loss of sense of her worth.’” By Peter Swindon, The Herald Scotland

Scotland: Catholic Church safeguarding review group established
“In December 2016, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Scotland announced that Helen Liddell would Chair the Independent Review Group (IRG) set up as a result of the McLellan Commission Report into the current safeguarding policies, procedures and practices within the Church in Scotland. The IRG is an autonomous body which will function separately from the Church and will review safeguarding standards and carry out independent audits as recommended by the McLellan Commission. The Group met for the first time on 27 May and established working groups to develop and scope the future activities of the IRG.” By Independent Catholic News

Nuns say ‘sorry’ amid hundreds of child abuse allegations
“More than 400 allegations of child abuse have been made against an order of nuns which ran four orphanages in Scotland until the 1980s. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry heard details of 257 civil actions and a further 147 complaints made in connection with children’s homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth, the last of which closed in 1985.” By Chris Marshall, The Scotsman


Guam priest, Fr. Ray Techaira, accused of raping and sexually assaulting boy
“Father Ray Techaira reportedly raped and sexually assaulted a boy from 1984 through 1987, the lawsuit issued in the District Court of Guam says. Techaira, on the other hand, is now dead, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff, who was identified in court documents only as J.A. to keep his identity and image, is now 40 years old and resides in Oregon.” By Kari Megeed,

Chandler man files sex abuse lawsuit against Catholic archbishop of Guam
“Chandler resident Francis Charfauros, 49, wanted to be a priest when he was younger, but he said an encounter with the Rev. Jack Niland when he was 14 and living on the small Pacific island of Guam changed that. Charfauros is now one of many who have brought lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Agana in Guam alleging sexual abuse at a rectory there.” By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, The Republic,

Local judges continue to stay away from clergy sex abuse cases
“Superior Court of Guam judges continue to recuse themselves from hearing Catholic clergy sex abuse cases, even as plaintiffs’ lawyers have started exploring the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. Sixteen clergy sex abuse lawsuits have been filed in local court between March 7 and May 10.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Guam archbishop won’t settle abuse suits while at Vatican trial
“Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s lawyer says her client won’t seek to settle the sex abuse lawsuit against him while his canonical trial is ongoing. ‘I am not considering, my client is not considering settling any cases until such time as a canonical trial is complete,’ Apuron’s attorney Jacqueline Terlaje said after a status conference at the District Court of Guam Tuesday (Jun. 13) morning.” By Haidee Eugenio, USA TODAY


Abuse victims slam Stormont stalemate
“Victims and survivors of institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland care homes have said plans to help them are ‘gathering dust’ on Stormont’s shelves while those affected are ‘still denied justice to their death beds.’” By Allan Preston, Belfast Telegraph

Abuse victims wait 17 months for compensation without Northern Ireland governmentBy Karl McDonald,

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VOTF Public Statement: Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal reaches inside the Vatican

Jun. 29, 2017―The Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal today reached into the heart of the Vatican. Pontifical advisor and prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy Cardinal George Pell of Australia has been granted leave by Pope Francis to return to Australia to answer charges over allegations of historical child sexual abuse.

Allegations of abuse and coverup have dogged Pell for years, at least since 2002, but he was never charged with historical child sex abuse until now. The Australian police have released no additional information about the present charges.

Voice of the Faithful applauds the actions taken thus far: Pell’s return to Australia and leave of absence from his position in Rome. Our regret is that such steps are, like so many responses to charges of clergy sex abuse, long-delayed by past reluctance of both civil and Church authorities to credit the complaints of victims.

Mary Pat Fox, Voice of the Faithful president, said she commends the Australian authorities for making every effort to hold those responsible for the abuse of minors accountable regardless of when the abuse occurred. “The Statute of Limitations in most states within the U.S. has stood in the way of many victims getting justice. We are pleased to see Pope Francis support actions of the civil judicial system. Though a person is innocent until proven guilty, the Church has often acted to stand in the way of the judicial system.”

Voice of the Faithful Statement, Jun. 29, 2017
Contact: Nick Ingala,, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: 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 the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at

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Cardinal Pell of Australia takes leave to fight sexual abuse charges / The New York Times

“The pope has achieved global popularity for his emphasis on inclusiveness and mercy, but he has come under increased criticism for the slow pace and reported internal resistance to efforts to safeguard victims of sexual abuse by priests and protect children in the church.” (The New York Times)

In an extraordinary statement, the Holy See announced on Thursday (Jun. 29) morning that Pope Francis had granted a leave of absence to Cardinal George Pell of Australia, a top Vatican official, adviser to the pontiff and as of this week the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual assault, so that he could return to Australia to defend himself.

“Speaking at the Vatican press office, Cardinal Pell, wearing simple black clerical cloths and a dangling cross, read a statement declaring his innocence against the charges and what he called leaks by the news media and ‘relentless character assassination.’

“‘I am looking forward finally to having my day in court,’ Cardinal Pell said as he sat next to a Vatican spokesman. ‘I am innocent of the charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.’

“The Australian police served the cardinal’s legal representatives hours earlier in Melbourne and have yet to reveal the details of the charges or the ages of the complainants.”

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …


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The silence of children (locked away in secret archives of the Archdiocese of New York City) /

“The problem for the Catholic bishops on SOL reform is that all of the arguments
against SOL reform don’t hold water.” (Marci Hamilton)

New York lawmakers last week closed their 2017 session in “legislative hell,” as one Senator called it, without resolving a number of important issues, including the Child Victims Act, which would reform New York’s antiquated child sex abuse statutes of limitations (SOLs). It would extend the civil and criminal SOLs, revive expired civil SOLs for one year, and eliminate the “notice of claim” requirement that has hobbled public school victims’ access to justice.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo had endorsed the concept earlier in the year, making him the first state governor to step forward before being asked to sign such a bill. While the assembly had passed a version and the senate appeared to have a majority to vote for it, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, on the next to the last day of the session, blocked its progress from committee to the floor …

“The problem for the Catholic bishops on SOL reform is that all of the arguments against SOL reform don’t hold water …

“They say there will be no evidence from cases long ago and, therefore, they will be at a disadvantage. If I hear ‘memories fade and evidence is lost,’ one more time … But in fact, the bishops have done some great recordkeeping on priests’ sexual assaults on children. Their Secret Archives … have held and still hold much of the information that is needed to prove up a case against a priest, bishop, and/or diocese.”

By Marcia A. Hamilton, — Read more …

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More power for Catholic bishops? Not so fast / Huffington Post

Could giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops make things worse for progressive Catholics? 

A lot has been written about Pope Francis’s goal of making the church more democratic, with less control by the Vatican and more power to individual bishops. In an ideal world, not only would the Vatican have less say in choosing bishops, but priests and laity would have a larger role in the selection of their leaders.

“However, unless the institutional church actually reaches that goal, and power truly devolves to the grassroots, giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops might make things worse, not better, at least for progressive Catholics.

“While Pope Francis’s appointments of often have elevated reformers to power, he cannot replace every powerful leader in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“And the bishops now leading U.S. Catholics skew conservative. Indeed, in 2014, one bishop speaking on background confided that only about a third of American bishops were totally on board with Francis’s agenda, about a quarter were definitely against, and the rest were still figuring out where they stood. Not much appears to have changed in the intervening years.”

By Celia Wexler, Contributor, Huffington Post — Read more …

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Papal abuse commission member suggests changes to group expected in fall / National Catholic Reporter

“The mandate is of three years and at the end of this year the mandate finishes.”

A member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has suggested the composition of the advisory body may change at some point this fall, as the original three-year terms granted to individuals in the group expire.

“Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, who was appointed by Francis with seven others in March 2014 as the initial members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said the group is hosting its last planned plenary session in September.

“‘People know that the mandate of this commission comes to a close,’ said Zollner, speaking Thursday at the Pontifical Gregorian University. ‘The mandate is of three years and at the end of this year the mandate finishes.’

“‘We look forward to seeing what will be the follow-up,’ the Jesuit said.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Brooklyn diocese seeks to compensate sex abuse victims / The New York Times

“They are just very, very harmed individuals, and even when it happened such a long time ago, they are still exceedingly emotional about what happened.” (Camille S. Biros, compensation mediator)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced a program on Thursday (Jun. 22) that will seek to compensate hundreds of victims who were abused as children by its priests and deacons.

“The program is modeled on one begun last year by the Archdiocese of New York. Like that program, it will be run by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, mediators who administered the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and awarded compensation to victims of abuse by Jerry Sandusky at Pennsylvania State University.

“‘I am well aware that no amount of money will ever heal the scars of abuse, but this program is a concrete expression of our contrition and our desire to make amends,’ Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a written statement. ‘We hope it will help with the healing process and bring survivors some element of healing …

“Ms. Biros said that the main lesson learned by the mediators in New York so far was how hurt the victims are.

“‘They are just very, very harmed individuals and even when it happened such a long time ago, they are still exceedingly emotional about what happened.'”

By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times — Read more …

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Francis considers mandating consultation of laity in bishop selection / National Catholic Reporter

“While nuncios are currently allowed to consult laypeople when considering bishop candidates, they are not obligated to do so, and frequently put the focus of their consultations on current clergy members.”

One of the members of the Council of Cardinals said the group is considering whether to advise Pope Francis to make it mandatory for Vatican ambassadors to consult with laypeople before making recommendations for possible new bishops in the Catholic Church.

“Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias suggested the nine-member group might recommend that ambassadors be instructed to consult with members of a diocese’s pastoral or finance councils before passing on names of who to consider for bishop.

“‘This is a central matter for the church,’ Gracias said in a June 15 NCR interview. ‘The bishop is a central figure and the choice of a good bishop is very important for every church. If you choose the wrong person, things can be set back by years in the pastoral life of the church.'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Catholic organizations launch new effort, ‘DeaconChat,’ to foster dialogue on women deacons





The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch, and Voice of the Faithful are launching a new initiative to foster education and conversation on women deacons.

DeaconChat, brings Catholics―both lay and ordained―into dialogue.

On May 12, 2016, Pope Francis―responding to a question posed by members of the International Union of Superiors General―said that he would establish a commission to study the question of ordaining women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. That commission was formally announced in August 2016 and began its work in November 2016.

“Already in 2013, AUSCP called for consideration of ordaining women deacons. As the papal commission continues its work, it is important that Catholics―lay and ordained―undergo their own study and discernment of the history and present possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate,” said Fr. Bob Bonnot, Chair of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. “DeaconChat provides that opportunity.”

“This initiative is designed to foster educational efforts to enrich dialogue on women deacons,” said Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director of Voice of the Faithful. “The program has three important components: learning, sharing, and connecting.”

“The initiative includes important educational materials, a link to purchase Phyllis Zagano’s book Women Deacons: Past, Present and Future, and guides for inviting clergy to dialogue,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch. “We hope Catholics in the United States and around the world will be inspired to start a conversation in their parish.”

Go to to download the DeaconChat materials.

Fr. Bob Bonnot, Chair, Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, 330-397-1257,
Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director, FutureChurch, 513.673.1401,
Donna Doucette, Executive Director, Voice of the Faithful, 1-781-559-3360,

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