Archive for November, 2018

Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse / National Catholic Reporter

The three harrowing accounts were part of a Nov. 27 testimony-sharing and panel discussion event in Rome, held less than a mile east of the Vatican and meant to raise up women’s voices in the revived discussion of clergy sexual abuse after a spate of revelations globally this year. (Global Sisters Report in National Catholic Reporter)

“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence.

“Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear, once the head of the women’s branch of a burgeoning but now disgraced lay religious movement, recounted being forbidden to speak of her abuse by its male second-in-command, and threatened with publishing of false claims against her own conduct should she disobey.

“American Barbara Dorris, long known as a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP, spoke publicly for the first time about her rape by a priest as a 6-year-old girl, and how it continued for years afterward.

“Saying she did ‘everything in my power’ to hide her pain from her devout parents and family, Dorris only came forward as a parent when she recognized warning signs in the behavior of another priest on a playground with children.

“And German Doris Wagner tells of the calamitous fifth year in her mixed-gender religious order, when a male superior came into her room at night and raped her.

“‘Instantly, I knew … that if I spoke about this, the community would blame me and not him,’ she says. ‘And so I kept silent.'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Investigators raid offices of president of U.S. Catholic Bishops / The New York Times

The scene outside the archdiocesan offices in Houston on Wednesday (Nov. 28) morning was extraordinary, with police cars lined up on the street and about 50 uniformed officers headed inside, some carrying boxes to hold evidence. (The New York Times)

“Dozens of local and federal law enforcement officers conducted a surprise search of the offices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Wednesday (Nov. 28), looking for evidence in a clergy sexual abuse case that has ensnared the local archbishop, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, who also serves as president of the United States Catholic bishops’ conference.

“The raid in Houston is the latest sign of crisis in the church, with prosecutors growing more aggressive in their search for cover-ups of abuse, and the bishops — led by Cardinal DiNardo — hamstrung by the Vatican in their efforts to carry out reforms.

“The church is under a barrage of investigations around the country. Attorneys general in at least a dozen states have opened inquiries, and the Justice Department has told bishops not to destroy any documents that could relate to sex abuse cases. Last month, the attorney general in Michigan executed search warrants on all seven Catholic dioceses in that state.”

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Read more …

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Analysis: On sexual abuse, what will U.S. bishops, and the pope, do next? / Catholic News Agency

These are unpredictable times in the life of the Church, shaped by events with little precedent. But four points seem clear about the months to come … (Catholic News Agency)

“Bishop Frank Rodimer and Fr. Peter Osinski were friends. Osinski was a priest in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey. Rodimer was Bishop of Paterson, a nearby diocese, from 1978 until 2004. For years the men rented a beach house together each summer on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, south of Seaside and north of Atlantic City. There, for seven years in the 1980s, Osinski molested a young boy. The first year it happened, the boy was seven …

“After several confusing and turbulent weeks in the Church, it is worth asking where reform efforts stand, and where they will be going.

“These are unpredictable times in the life of the Church, shaped by events with little precedent. But four points seem clear about the months to come …”

By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency — Read more …

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Survivor warns pope’s abuse summit may be his ‘last chance’ / Cruxnow.com

According to the survivor and activist (Marie Collins), the February gathering must be three-pronged. (Cruxnow.com)

A clerical sexual abuse survivor calls a summit on child protection that will take place at the Vatican Feb. 21-24, involving presidents of all bishops’ conferences around the world as well as the pope’s own top aides, a “last chance” for the Vatican to be taken seriously.

“‘If this 2019 meeting ends with nothing more than enthusiastic words about the discussions which have taken place and promises for the future, it will be the end of the road for many who have waited years for the Church to take concrete action,’ said Marie Collins, Irish clerical sexual abuse survivor, in a Nov. 23 interview with Crux.

“The interview took place via email.

“Collins, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, has been steadfast throughout the years in holding the Church accountable and calling for reform.

“On Nov. 23, the Vatican announced the planning committee for the summit, composed of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago; Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s leading prosecutor on child abuse; German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and head of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University; and Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, who also serves on Francis’s “C-9” council of cardinal advisors.”

By Clare Giangrave, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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U.S. bishops must lead in accountability for clergy abuse / Voice of the Faithful

BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 13, 2018 – Voice of the Faithful believes the U.S. Catholic bishops must take the lead in accountability for clergy abuse regardless of direction coming from the Vatican as the bishops meet in Baltimore this week.

The Vatican has told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not to vote on measures they have proposed recently regarding clergy sexual abuse of children and its coverup. Voice of the Faithful would like bishops to do what is morally right rather than hide behind Vatican directives.

Clergy sexual abuse of minors and its coverup is morally reprehensible, and VOTF and others have repeatedly listed what bishops can do, none of which require Vatican approval and most of which have been done by at least one bishop. For example, bishops can:

  • list publicly all abusers in a diocese and open secret files;
  • report every case of clergy abuse to civil authorities regardless of the diocese’s estimation of credibility;
  • cooperate with civil investigations;
  • resign if guilty of abuse or coverup and hold the guilty within diocesan administration accountable;
  • investigate the extent of abuse and coverup in their dioceses and hold perpetrators and abettors accountable; or
  • remove honorifics awarded previous prelates or diocesan administrators credibly accused of abuse or coverup.

“Bishops also must lead the battle against clericalism, which has led to secrecy and coverup of clergy abuse and resulted in such profound mistrust from the laity,” said Mary Pat Fox, VOTF president. “Regaining the trust of the laity will be difficult at best and will not happen without greater transparency and lay leadership, including involvement in the Pope’s meeting of bishops’ conferences in February. It’s clear from the fact that investigations have been launched by attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia that the Dallas Charter did not go far enough to ensure accountability for the coverup or the protection of children.”

If U.S. bishops implemented practical activities like those mentioned and discussed additional, stronger measures at their meeting, submitting them to the Vatican regardless of its response, their status in the eyes of the faithful would rise measurably. The longer the bishops delay in dealing with the immorality of this crisis, the greater their loss of what little moral credibility they have left.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Nov. 13, 2018
Contact: 
Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org(link sends e-mail), 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 www.votf.org.

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Vatican’s delay of US bishops’ abuse measures leaves even some prelates confused / National Catholic Reporter

The prelates had been set to vote Nov. 14 on two specific proposals: a new code of conduct for bishops and creation of a “special commission” to review complaints made against bishops. (National Catholic Reporter)

A surprise Vatican request that the annual gathering of U.S. Catholic bishops delay planned votes on proposals to address clergy sexual abuse has evoked outcry, even leaving some of the prelates at the meeting confused.

“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the bishops’ conference, announced the request at the opening of the gathering Nov. 12. He told the some 250 prelates taking part that he was ‘disappointed’ but said the Vatican asked for the delay because of Pope Francis’ upcoming February summit on child protection with the heads of all the global conferences.

“The U.S. bishops are facing intense scrutiny over their handling of abuse allegations after revelations this year about the conduct of now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the release of the shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“The prelates had been set to vote Nov. 14 on two specific proposals: a new code of conduct for bishops and creation of a ‘special commission’ to review complaints made against bishops.”

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

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Open Letter to U.S. Catholic Bishops: It’s Over / National Catholic Reporter

As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves. (National Catholic Reporter)

Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,

“We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.

“It’s over.

“All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.

“It’s over.

“Even the feds are now on the trail. They’ve ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you’ve handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren’t alone in this moment, you’ve not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won’t be easy.

“From fable to sacred text, we know how this goes. The point is reached where all realize the king wears no clothes, the righteous accusers read the writing in the sand and fade away, the religious authorities receive the Master’s most stinging rebukes. As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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