Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


February 8, 2019

TOP STORIES

New York Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle
“The long and bitter battle for legislation that would allow New York sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other organizations for monetary damages ended with victory(link is external) Monday (Jan. 28) when the state Senate passed the Child Victims Act. The vote was 63 to nothing, a spokeswoman for one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, said. The new law does away with the statutes of limitations that have prevented some alleged abuse victims from going to court to seek damages. And it includes a one-year ‘look-back window’ that will allow others who weren’t able to sue in the past to file fresh claims.” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC News

Catholic leaders in Texas name 286 accused of abusing children
“Catholic leaders in Texas on Thursday Jan. 31) identified 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children. The number represents one of the largest collections of names to be released since an explosive grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania(link is external). Fourteen dioceses in Texas named those credibly accused of abuse. The only diocese on Thursday not to provide names, Fort Worth, had done so more than a decade ago and then provided an updated accounting in October.” By CBS News

Vatican summit to create task force to aid bishops in safeguarding
“Since the work of child protection must continue after the February meeting at the Vatican on safeguarding, one organizer said they plan on creating a ‘task force’ with teams on every continent. The task force would be just one of a number of ‘concrete measures that we want to offer the bishops of the world(link is external),’ Jesuit Father Hans Zollner told the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano Jan. 24.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Church historian says sex abuse poses biggest threat to church in 500 years
“A month before the start of a global summit in Rome on the sex abuse crisis, a prominent church historian and theologian said last week that the issue poses the biggest challenge to the church in 500 years(link is external). ‘This is not like the Protestant Reformation; it’s not,’ Massimo Faggioli, a Villanova University professor, said in a talk at Immaculate Conception Church in Hampton, Virginia. ‘But in my opinion, it’s the most serious crisis in the Catholic Church since the Protestant Reformation.’” By Robert McCabe, National Catholic Reporter

Francis expresses openness to married priests in places of ‘pastoral necessity’
“Pope Francis closed the door Jan. 27 on his making celibacy optional for all Catholic priests, but also expressed openness to allowing older married men to be ordained to the priesthood(link is external) where there is a ‘pastoral necessity.’ In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a five-day visit to Panama, the pontiff first stated firmly: ‘I am not in agreement with making celibacy optional.’ But the pope then noted that there are areas of the world where Catholics are deprived of the Eucharist.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope acknowledges nuns were sexually abused by priests and bishops
“Pope Francis said on Tuesday (Feb. 5) that the Roman Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops(link is external), the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue. Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. But Francis has never raised the issue until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.” By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

The law that could hold Catholic bishops accountable
“We don’t know the details of the many ways in which church authorities covered up the scandals, often leading pedophiles to be transferred to other parishes where they were free to victimize more children. But here is one example of such efforts, and of a law passed by a young San Antonio legislator in an attempt to pierce the secrecy(link is external).” By Rick Casey, The Rivard Report

UN probes Italy’s role in Church’s child abuse scandals
“A United Nations Committee for the protection of minors questioned the Italian government last week about clerical sexual abuse(link is external) in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges. “We are saddened by the lack of information regarding sexual abuse against minors by Catholic clergy, and we are concerned by the information we have received that points to numerous clerical abuse victims,’ said Spanish Professor Jorge Cardona, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, during a Jan. 22-23 hearing.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Catholic child abuse perpetrators have been convicted and jailed, but not those who protected them
“In 2010 Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, first raised holding the Vatican accountable for the global child sexual abuse scandal(link is external) by viewing it as a human rights abuse issue. In his book, The Case of the Pope, Robertson argued that unless the then Pope Benedict XVI divested the Vatican of its controversial statehood and devotion to canon law, the Catholic Church would remain a serious enemy to the advance of human rights.” By The Newcastle Herald

The Catholic Church faces its past
“In February, Catholic bishops from around the world will attend a summit at the Vatican to discuss how to tackle child abuse within the church(link is external). Last year a series of inquiries shook the church, embroiling Pope Francis in the biggest crisis of his papacy. Investigations found that historical sexual abuse had been covered up for decades, and thousands of victims gave evidence of rape and abuse. In the UK, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse is examining the extent of any institutional failures to protect children by the Catholic church in Birmingham.” By India Rakusen, Harriet Sherwood and Tom Phillips, The Guardian

A reckoning on clergy sex abuse
“The release of a report by a statewide grand jury detailing the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, and an institutional cover-up across six dioceses stretching all the way to the Vatican, has sparked a movement and reckoning across our country(link is external) … But while all of this is happening, one important response has not happened: Our Legislature has not approved reforms recommended by the grand jury to prevent this kind of horrendous, systemic abuse from reoccurring — and to give victims of clergy abuse their day in court.” By Josh Shapiro, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

Summit, lawyers discuss what’s needed to solve church’s abuse problem
“Permanent solutions to the church’s sexual abuse crisis are going to require a greater level of lay participation and more legal muscle. These were conclusions discussed at two events in Washington: a lawyers’ panel at the Catholic Information Center, sponsored by the Thomas More Society Jan. 31, and a media conference Feb. 2 following the Leadership Roundtable’s Catholic Partnership Summit Feb. 1-2.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Madigan, Shapiro discuss abuse ahead of Vatican summit
“The first ever global summit on abuse is scheduled to take place later this month at the Vatican. Pope Francis says it will focus on how church leaders handle allegations. But in Chicago Monday (Feb. 4), two lead investigators say the catholic church can no longer police itself(link is external). This summer first it was the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro who released his shocking grand jury report. Then, Attorney General Lisa Madigan opened an Illinois investigation. Shapiro alongside Madigan at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics — detailed what they uncovered as they examined the Catholic Church records on priest abuse.” By NBC5 Chicago News

Voices against clergy sex abuse plan visit to Vatican
“Two of Pennsylvania’s most prominent voices for victims of child sexual abuse plan to be in Vatican City(link is external) and Rome when presidents of the Catholic bishops’ conferences of the world meet with Pope Francis later this month. Shaun Dougherty, a Westmont resident, and state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, want to use the event as a way to bring attention to the legislator’s proposal to modify commonwealth law by creating a two-year retroactive window for past victims to file claims even if the statute of limitations has already expired.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

Prominent survivor submits recommendations for Vatican abuse summit
“A prominent survivor of clerical sexual abuse has called on the Church to clearly define abuse in canon law and implement a zero-tolerance policy(link is external) at the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on the issue. Irishwoman Marie Collins was appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014, but resigned in 2017, citing Vatican resistance to reform … In explaining her recommendations, Collins said she wanted the officials to ‘move forward efficient and effective means by which minors can be better protected in the Catholic Church globally without further delay.’” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

How the Vatican summit’s moderator approaches the problem of clerical sexual abuse
“The moderator of the Vatican’s February summit on child sexual abuse has written an article outlining his take on the Church’s most effective models of response for addressing its sexual abuse crisis(link is external) … Fr. Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit and former papal spokesman, will be a central actor in the Feb. 21-24 meeting, which will convene the leaders of bishops’ conferences from around the world to discuss the clerical sexual abuse of minors.” By Andrea Galiarducci, Catholic News Agency, on Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis on Venezuela, married priests, and the sex abuse summit
“‘I am frightened of a bloodbath in Venezuela,’ Pope Francis told reporters on the flight from Panama to Rome on Jan. 27. It was the most significant comment he made in a 47 minute press conference in which he answered a wide range of questions(link is external), including his expectations for the Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of children and the eradication of abuse in the church, the possibility of ordaining mature married men (viri probati) as priests, the need for sexual education in school, the issue of migration and an evaluation of his visit to Panama.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

After damaging year, Pope Francis calls for 4-day clerical sex abuse summit
“Investigations into child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests took a highly public turn last year. State prosecutors took the novel step of releasing the names of hundreds of accused priests, as well as those who covered up their crimes(link is external). As NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports, the revelations and the church’s response severely damaged the church’s credibility and Pope Francis’s reputation. In response, he has called for an extraordinary four-day summit on sex abuse next month.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

Pope Francis is in Panama for Catholic Church’s World Youth Day
“Pope Francis is in Central America. He’s in Panama to attend the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day(link is external). While travelling, the pope was asked about the wall that President Trump wants to build on the border with Mexico. And the pope responded by saying, it is fear that makes us crazy.” By Steve Inskeep, Morning Edition, National Public Radio

CARDINALS

Cardinal DiNardo speaks on ‘healing breach of trust’ caused by sex a use crisis
“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), echoed Pope Francis’s call for a ‘new ecclesial season,’ in response to the clergy sex abuse scandals, saying that one positive fruit of the present crisis could be a deeper embrace of the Second Vatican Council. DiNardo’s remarks came during a day-long conference on Wednesday (Feb. 6) sponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology(link is external) at the Catholic University of America on ‘The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis: Theological and Historical Foundations.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Top U.S. cardinal let priest accused of sexual abuse lead Mass
“The cardinal who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops allowed a priest to celebrate Mass the same day his name was among those released on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo told the Rev. John T. Keller on Wednesday (Jan. 30) evening that he would be placed on administrative leave the next day, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Friday (Feb 1). DiNardo allowed Keller to lead the 9 a.m. Thursday Mass at his parish, the statement said, because Keller ‘was already scheduled to celebrate’ it.” By Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press

PRIESTS

New report warns against priests placing themselves above laity
“First comes baptism, then comes holy orders, a Boston College report about forming new priests reminds seminary educators and others in a study released in December 2018. The paper, titled ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry(link is external),’ argues that sacramental doctrine is a starting point in transforming seminary formation. Priests in today’s church need skills in forming communities and working with all the baptized faithful, particularly women, the study proposes.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic abuse scandal galvanizes Mount Angel seminarians’ resolve
“Has the onslaught of church sex abuse and authority exploitation disclosures of recent months given men who are actively discerning priestly vocations pause to step back, hold the church in contempt, even walk away? Apparently not at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, according to students, faculty and staff there. If anything, the crisis seems to have galvanized the resolve of many priesthood-seekers at the West Coast’s largest seminary(link is external) to serve the church rather than stiff-arm it.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

New Boston College report on the priesthood addresses pressing need
“The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry has distinguished itself again at sentire cum ecclesia, thinking with the church, about an issue of enormous ecclesial importance(link is external), issuing a short, 10-page report entitled ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry.’ Like the two-way immersion network for Catholic schools run by Boston College’s School of Education and their groundbreaking research into Hispanic ministry in parish life, this recent study puts the university’s intellectual resources at the service of a pressing need for the church in the United States; in this case: addressing the issue of priestly formation and ministry.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Stuck in the middle: a seminar sponsored by Boston College addresses priestly formation
“Many symbols of Catholicism have changed, receded, or even disappeared, to be replaced by others. But not the Catholic priest. The church’s presence in education, culture, and social work may not be as visible as it once was, but the priest’s role remains conspicuous. When most people think of Catholicism, they still think of a man in a Roman collar(link is external). A seminar sponsored by Boston College that ran from September 2016 until the summer of 2018 has produced an interesting document on priesthood and ministry, with a noteworthy set of proposals on the formation of future priests.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Bishops address abuse scandal with U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day
“As Pope Francis was arriving in Panama Jan. 23, bishops from the United States wasted no time addressing the sex abuse scandal back home(link is external) during a popular event aimed at American and other English-speaking World Youth Day pilgrims. ‘It’s not easy being Christian, it’s not easy being Catholic … especially today when things in the church are difficult,’ said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, addressing the sex abuse scandal in a room of hundreds of U.S. young adults attending the FIAT Festival for U.S. pilgrims at Panama’s Figali Convention Center.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

Young people deserve to hear directly from Pope Francis on synod
Pope Francis should write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation following the close of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people(link is external), the faith and vocational discernment. At the Sept. 18, 2018, press conference announcing the pope’s apostolic constitution Episcopalis Communio on changes to the rules concerning voting members and the preparation for synods, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, suggested that Francis might elect not to write a post-synodal exhortation. He might simply affirm that the final synod document is taught exercising his ordinary magisterium, according to Baldisseri.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican magazine denounces sexual abuse of nuns by priests
“The Vatican’s women’s magazine is denouncing the sexual abuse of nuns by priests(link is external) — and the resulting ‘scandal’ of religious sisters having abortions or giving birth to children who are then not recognized by their fathers. The February issue of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly magazine distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, was published Friday (Feb. 1) … It said nuns have been silenced for years by fear of retaliation against themselves or their orders if they report the priests who molested them.” By Nicole Winfield, Associate Press, on CTVNews.com

LAITY & THE CHURCH

National assembly ‘would give laity a voice’
“An Adelaide parishioner is seeking support to hold a national assembly of the laity(link is external)next year to give lay men and women a more united voice on the future of the Church. The ‘grassroots meeting’ is being proposed by John Sabine, a parishioner from the Dulwich/Burnside community, who described it as a chance for the laity to “get their act together” and determine who would be responsible for actioning change in the Church.” By CathNews.com

VATICAN

Vatican doctrinal official steps down amid investigation of sexual advances
“An Austrian priest under canonical investigation stepped down as an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith(link is external) in an effort ‘to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community,’ the doctrinal office said. The priest, Father Hermann Geissler, ‘affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action,’ the office said in a note released by the Vatican press office Jan. 29.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Pope reaffirms celibacy but makes case for exception
“Pope Francis is ruling out any lifting of the celibacy requirement for priests(link is external) but says there’s reason to consider ordaining older, married men in remote communities where priests are in short supply. Francis said he believes priestly celibacy is a gift for the Catholic Church and opposes a blanket change to make it optional. But he said ‘pastoral necessity’ might justify alternative options in certain parts of the world.” By Associated Press

WOMEN DEACONS

I got a glimpse of women deacons, and it’s troubling
“Last week, two members of the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women spoke publicly for the first time since their appointment … As they offered their reflections during a panel discussion at Fordham University, several questions were answered(link is external): the commission’s report is complete; it is on Pope Francis’ desk; no one knows how, or if, or when the report will influence the pope’s decision on whether the Roman Catholic Church should restore the diaconate for women.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Seeing light through the priest sex abuse storm
“Many have voiced the opinion that giving more laity – and, specifically, women – positions of leadership in the Catholic Church would help avoid sexual abuse scandals like the one now consuming the faith and its faithful(link is external). In the Buffalo diocese, there are a series of positions open to lay people, but ultimate power always remains with clergy. Even so, one empowering model may light the way to the future.” By Marian Hetherly, WFBO-FM Buffalo’s NPR News Station

Live from Australia: How young Catholics are changing the church
“This week, Jesuitical is coming to you live from Australia. We’ve mastered driving on the left side of the road (sort of); we got up close and personal with a kangaroo; and even though Ashley tried to leave me to drown in the Great Barrier Reef, we managed to record this week’s episode … In our interview, we chat with Sebastian Duhau, Australia’s representative at the Synod on Young People. We look at the Synod’s final document and talk about what still needs to be done to have young people lead in the Catholic Church(link is external).” By Zac Davis, America: The Jesuit Review

How World Youth Day is changing the church
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican’ we look at why the Vatican seems to be lowering expectations for its upcoming international summit on sexual abuse. Then, Gerry O’Connell and I talk about World Youth Day, which is being held in Panama this week. Gerry has covered every World Youth Day since the inaugural one in 1985, and he explains how the young people at this event have had a significant impact on their bishops, and even on popes(link is external). We also look at how Pope Francis is empowering young people and local churches by decentralizing the Vatican’s power.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

The church needs Vatican III
“However, the church is faced with a crisis that goes even beyond the sex abuse atrocities(link is external). There is a fracturing within the church of historic dimensions. Pope Francis himself has lost credibility, as members of the hierarchy feel emboldened to criticize him directly. They not only question his actions on the crisis but go after his leadership and commitment to what they see as unchangeable doctrines … I believe that at this point it can only change with a worldwide Third Vatican Council.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Parishes, dioceses feeling the financial pinch: second collections noticeably down as parishioners struggle with lack of trust in national Church
“These days, Father John Hollowell sits at his desk and pores over financial statements, trying to figure out how to cut almost 25 percent of his two Indiana parishes’ operating budgets for next year … In a recent interview with Our Sunday Visitor, Father Hollowell said he noticed ‘a pretty sharp decline’ in parish weekend collections(link is external) last summer, when the national clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded anew with revelations that former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was alleged to have harassed and molested minors and seminarians several decades ago.” By Brian Fraga, OSV Newsweekly

Fraud expert pushes procedures to safeguard parish collections
“Every weekend Catholics hand their money to parish collections with hope that their treasure will not be pilfered(link is external). Changing that hope into reality has been the clarion call for decades of Michael Ryan, 81, who retired from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with expertise in how to combat embezzlement. Many parishes are subject to internal theft, a practice that could be halted via simple procedure changes, said Ryan.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Man arrested for stealing money from Raceland church’s donation box
“The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for stealing money from a donation box at a Raceland church(link is external). On Jan. 24, deputies responded to St. Hilary of Poitiers Catholic Church in reference to a burglary. Deputies learned a man walked into the church, forced open the donation box and took money from inside.” By WWLTV.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Former child abuse victims, advocates push Tennessee to end its expiration date for seeking justice
“The sexual abuse started when Scott Walker was 11 years old(link is external). Walker says a young man who befriended him in the late 1980s in their Murfreesboro neighborhood repeatedly raped him until he was 12. But Walker kept quiet and turned to alcohol. More than a quarter of a century would pass before Walker, then a few years sober, would report the sexual abuse to police. But by then it was too late. The crime was too old to prosecute, the local authorities would tell him.” By Holly Myer, Tennessean

Why this time was different: the church’s objections to the Child Victims Act finally ran out
“It took more than 15 years, but when the Child Victims Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate, it passed unanimously(link is external). This is the harbinger of good things to come in other states. For the very first time, the most powerful bishop in a state — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — publicly withdrew his opposition to the bill. That opened the door for Republicans to vote for the Child Victims Act, but it also changed the discourse about window legislation across the United States and even the world.” By Marci Hamilton, New York Daily News

Berks lawmaker: sex-abuse legislation still a priority
“With a new legislative session now underway in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi said he is ready to continue his fight on behalf of child sexual abuse survivors. The Berks County Democrat, a Catholic clergy abuse victim himself, has been leading efforts to reform the state’s statute of limitations(link is external).” By 69News and Associated Press

Church abuse victims wait to see if legislature will act
“Lawmakers have returned to the Pennsylvania Capitol but have yet to revisit legislation on child sexual abuse scandals since an October fight killed a bill(link is external) that would have allowed long-ago victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions. The Legislature’s new two-year session began in earnest Monday (Jan. 28), with little mention of legislation reflecting the state attorney general’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses.” By Marc Levy, Associated Press

Child Victims Act brings some justice for those who suffered sexual abuse
“The Catholic Church’s bishops in New York State made the right decision to change course and back passage of the Child Victims Act(link is external). The Senate and Assembly are expected to approve the legislation on Monday (Jan. 28) that will expand the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims and open a one-year ‘look-back’ period for victims of any age to bring lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

States move to ease restrictions on child sex-abuse lawsuits
“In many states across the U.S., victims of long-ago child sex-abuse have been lobbying for years, often in vain, to change statute of limitation laws that thwart their quest for justice(link is external). This year seems sure to produce some breakthroughs, due in part to the midterm election results and recent disclosures about abuse by Roman Catholic priests. New York state is Exhibit A. The Democrats’ takeover of the formerly Republican-controlled Senate seems almost certain to produce a more victim-friendly policy in place of one of the nation’s most restrictive laws.” By David Crary, Assoicated Press

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Victims’ stories most important in publicly naming abusers
“The 15 Catholic dioceses of Texas releasing the names of 278 clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse dating back to 1950 acknowledges that the stories of victims are being heard(link is external), said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. ‘That’s one thing they (victims) want. They want their stories heard. That’s really important,’ Cardinal DiNardo told Houston’s KPRC-TV in an interview that was broadcast in several segments Jan. 31 as the list was released.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

‘A reckoning with the past’: Priest responds to child sex abuse accusations within Church
“In Texas, the Catholic Church just released the names of 300 priests accused of child sex abuse, joining a number of other dioceses that have made their records public. The church has made headlines in recent months in other ways, too. Debates over the behavior of a group of Catholic students at the March for Life and the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have drawn a lot of attention. And it’s left the clergy embattled and the faithful asking questions of their church(link is external).” By Lulu Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition Sunday

Church goers come together after clergy sexual abuse allegations
Hundreds flowed into Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church(link is external) Saturday (Feb. 2) evening. It was the first big mass since the news from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released its list of priests accused of sexual abuse. While dozens of priests were on the list, parishioners Saturday were looking to turn the page.” By ABC13 Eyewitness News

CALIFORNIA

Oakland diocese issued news release on alleged priest misconduct with minor. Five hours later it alerted police.
“When Oakland diocese officials issued a news release before dawn Thursday (Jan. 31) announcing that Rev. Alex Castillo, who headed the faith formation and other programs, had been placed on administrative leave for inappropriate contact with a minor(link is external), they had not yet alerted police. It would take another five hours after the 5:14 a.m. press statement for an official from the Oakland diocese to call Oakland police to investigate one of its high-ranking priests, according to a police spokeswoman. Sources say the allegations involve a victim who was a minor in 2016 when the alleged crime occurred.” By Matthew Gafni, Bay Area News Group, in Mercury News

Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse too late for the Wasco brothers
“‘He would take me in the back and do all sorts of things. I was really confused. I didn’t know what I should do,’ George Santillan told me in 2013. Santillan was describing the years of sexual abuse inflicted upon him and his younger brother(link is external), Howard Santillan, by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen of St. John’s Catholic Church in Wasco. According to documents from a Fresno appellate court, the sexual abuse began when George was 10, in 1959, and when Howard was 6, in 1960. Like thousands of other children molested by priests, the brothers never told anyone about the abuse until many years later — only to be met by disbelief. They were called liars.” By Jose Gaspar, Bakersfield Californian

Report names more than 80 former San Bernardino-area clergy accused of sexual abuse
“A report released Thursday (Jan. 31) from a Minnesota-based law firm listed the names of more than 80 former clergy accused of sexual abuse(link is external) in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, an area now covered by Diocese of San Bernardino … At a press conference in Ontario, attorney Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates outlined the report’s findings and introduced two men who recounted being abused in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Shane Newell and Christopher Damien, Palm Springs Desert Sun

CONNECTICUT

Alleged priest abuse victims call on diocese to set up compensation fund
“A group of people who say they were abused by Diocese of Norwich priests but are barred from filing lawsuits due to the statute of limitations are calling on Bishop Michael Cote to meet with them and establish a victims compensation fund(link is external). In an open letter to Cote, John Timothy McGuire of New London said that while Pope Francis recently has instructed bishops to seek out victims, he and the others have not heard from him.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

Connecticut must investigate the crimes committed within the Catholic Church
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford recently released a list of dozens of priests against whom it found ‘credible accusations’ of sexually abusing minors(link is external). The archdiocese should be commended for its efforts to be transparent about a past that for too long was hidden in shadows. The Hartford archdiocese and the Bridgeport diocese have both hired well-respected judges to review how allegations were handled in the past. That too is a positive step. But serious questions remain unanswered, and despite their efforts at transparency, church officials are not law enforcement.” By Harford Courant Editorial Staff

Sex-abuse claims against Fairfield University non-profit settled for $60 million
“Fairfield University and four other religious and charitable organizations have reached a $60 million settlement regarding alleged sexual abuse from a graduate(link is external). In a statement released on Friday, the university announced that it has agreed to a second and concluding legal settlement with a group of individuals who came forward with allegations that they were sexually abused in Haiti in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Douglas Perlitz, a Fairfield University alumnus.” By Zak Falla, Fairfield Daily Voice

IDAHO

Retired Boise priest appeals 25-year sentence for child porn, drug crimes
“The Rev. William Thomas Faucher is appealing the 25-year prison sentence imposed on him by 4th District Judge Jason Scott on Dec. 21. The 73-year-old retired priest was charged with 24 crimes: 21 counts of sexual exploitation of a child(link is external) (possession and distribution of child pornography) and three counts of drug possession (marijuana, LSD, ecstasy). He pleaded guilty to five felonies.” By Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman

KANSAS

KBI launches investigation into clergy abuse at Kansas Catholic dioceses
“The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday (Feb.5) it has initiated an investigation into reports of sexual abuse by clergy at the four Catholic dioceses of Kansas(link is external). The agency is asking victims to step forward with information about abuse inflicted by clergy members, church employees or church volunteers. Last month, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released the names of 22 clergy members who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse involving a minor.” By Ft. Leavenworth Lamp

‘A grave human tragedy’: KCK archbishop names 22 priests credibly accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas on Friday (Jan. 25) released the names of 22 priests in its files who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) made against them in the past 75 years. ‘Each name on this list represents a grave human tragedy,’ said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in a statement published Friday in The Leaven, the archdiocesan newspaper. ‘Each name represents a betrayal of trust and a violation of the innocent.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Sen. Holland introduces bill to make church clergy mandatory reporters of suspected sex crimes
“State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, introduced a bill Wednesday (Jan. 23) to require that church clergy and employees be mandatory reporters of sexual assault(link is external). ‘Clergy leadership are adults that children must be able to trust to keep them safe,’ Holland said during an afternoon news conference at the Capitol in Topeka. ‘(The bill) mandates that they report suspected abuse or neglect to authorities. It is an extra layer of protection for all Kansas children.’” By Dylan Lysen, Lawrence Journal-World

LOUISIANA

Investigation finds 27 local priests accused of sexual abuse
“Twenty-seven priests ordained or serving in the Diocese of Alexandria were found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors(link is external) in an investigation by the diocese. The names of the priests were released Wednesday (Feb 6) in a letter from Bishop David P. Talley. The cases, which were discovered through a review of hundreds of files of priests who have served in the diocese, date back to the 1940s.” By Jeff Matthews, Alexandria Town Talk

Diocese of Lafayette files protective order in request for list of accused priests
“The diocese of Lafayette calls a legal request for its list of accused priests “unnecessary”, ‘grandstanding’ and ‘irrelevant(link is external)’ to the case filed against a St. Landry Parish priest who’s accused of molesting a boy. Abbeville attorney Tony Fontana filed suit on behalf of a St. Landry Parish man who claims he was molested by Father Michael Guidry while he was a minor. Also named as plaintiffs in the case are the man’s parents; his father is a deacon in the diocese, who served alongside Fr. Guidry at St. Peter’s Church in Morrow.” By Jim Hummel, KAT-TV News

Baton Rouge clergy sex abuse: answering key questions before diocese releases list
“The Diocese of Baton Rouge is expected on Thursday (Jan. 31) to release a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Ahead of the release, The Advocate tracked every known allegation of abuse involving a Baton Rouge priest. Here’s what we found. At least 15 priests who have served in the Diocese of Baton Rouge were accused of sexual abuse …” By The Baton Rouge Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Lawsuit alleging abuse by Falmouth priest settled for $400K
“Two Massachusetts men who alleged they were sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) have each received $200,000 settlements. Their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, announced the settlements Tuesday (Jan. 22). The Cape Cod Times reports the lawsuit was filed in June 2015 by two men who had been altar servers at St. Anthony’s Parish in Falmouth from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. Their lawsuit named Daniel Cronin, the retired Archbishop of Hartford and before that the bishop of the Diocese of Fall River.” By Associated Press in Boston Herald

MINNESOTA

Survivors, lay leaders help archdiocese hear victims, assist in healing
“Frank Meuers and Tim O’Malley meet every month or so, often for breakfast, to talk about the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse(link is external). Meuers is the southwest Minnesota chapter director of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and O’Malley directs the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

April 8 deadline set for Diocese of Winona-Rochester child sex abuse filings
“Individuals with a claim of child sexual abuse against the Diocese of Winona-Rochester(link is external) will need to register that claim no later than April 8. According to the diocese’s notice of chapter 11 bankruptcy, creditors — victims of abuse by clergy, staff or volunteers — need to file a proof of claim, a signed statement describing a creditor’s claim. Proofs of claim can be filed electronically on the court’s website at www.mnb.uscourts.gov(link is external). No login or password is required.” By Brian Todd, Post Bulletin

MISSISSIPPI

Biloxi Diocese names three priests ‘credibly accused of sexual misconduct
“Three priests in the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi were removed from ministry, and one was incarcerated, because they ‘were credibly accused of sexual misconduct of minors(link is external),’ the Diocese announced Thursday (Jan. 24). The Diocese identified them as former priests Jose Vazquez Morales, Jerome J. Axton and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. In all three cases, the Diocese notified the District Attorney’s Office, a news release said.” By Jill Toyoshiba, Sun Herald

MISSOURI

More abuse survivors and witnesses step forward in Missouri Catholic clergy probe
“An estimated 70 people have completed an online form saying they were either a victim or a witness to abuse by Catholic priests as part of an investigation(link is external) underway by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. That number is up from the 50 survivors and potential witnesses who contacted the office in the first month of the probe, which was launched in August by Schmitt’s predecessor, Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.” By Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW MEXICO

Credibly accused: The Archdiocese of Santa Fe left names off its list of pedophile priests—and has no plans to add them
“In November, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe filed for bankruptcy protection and reorganization. Its decision to keep the two priests—and potentially scores of others like them—off its public list raises questions(link is external) about Archbishop John C Wester’s stance on making public the painful history of priestly sex abuse as the church faces a legal reckoning with survivors of such crimes.” By Matt Grubs, Santa Fe Reporter

NEW YORK

Buffalo Diocese offers more than $8 million to abuse victims
“The Buffalo Diocese so far has offered more than $8 million to nearly four dozen people sexually abused as children by priests(link is external), according to victims and lawyers who represent them … In interviews with lawyers and victims The News has learned that at least 47 victims have received offers that collectively amount to about $8.1 million. The offers ranged from $10,000 to $650,000.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Retired Munhall Catholic priest arrested, charged with child sex abuse
“Allegheny County police Friday (Jan. 25) arrested a retired Catholic priest for the alleged assault of a 10-year-old boy(link is external) in 2001, authorities said. The Rev. Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall at the time of the alleged assault, said police Inspector Andrew Schurman. Schurman said the alleged victim, who he did not identify but lives in another country, saw the media coverage of the statewide grand jury report alleging decades of abuse and cover-ups within six Catholic diocese, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh.” By Megan Guza, The Tribune-Review

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia priest placed on leave, decades-old abuse alleged
“Father Steven J. Marinucci, 71, is on administrative leave and his priestly duties are restricted after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received an allegation he sexually abused a minor decades ago(link is external). He has denied the allegation, and it is the first of its kind the church has received about him, according to a statement by the archdiocese.” By Matthew Gambino, CatholicPhilly.com

Retired priest arrested for alleged indecent assault of boy following investigation
“Another Catholic priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a young boy(link is external). According to the Allegheny County Police Department, Father Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at Saint Therese in Munhall in June of 2001 when the alleged assault occurred. The victim was 10 years old at the time, and now resides in another country according to police Lang was placed on administrative leave in August when the church became aware of sexual abuse allegations against him.” By WPXI News

SC Catholic Church delays naming priests accused of sexual abuse
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston is delaying its promised release of the names of priests accused of sexually abusing children(link is external). In a statement Monday (Feb. 4), Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the diocese needs more time to review its records and won’t meet a mid-February deadline that it set at the end of 2018.” By Bristow Marchant, The Charlotte Observer

TEXAS

15 Catholic dioceses in Texas to name clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of sexual assault
“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and 14 other Texas Catholic dioceses plan to release a list of names after an investigation dating back to 1950(link is external). Many, including parishioners and abuse survivors, have been waiting for this day since October, when the church announced the list was coming out. On the list will be the names of bishops, priests, deacons and other clergy members the Catholic Church says have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting a minor.” By Taisha Walker, Click2Houston News

Why, despite 100s of letters, Texas AG can’t investigate priest abuse
“Hundreds of Texans reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, asking it to investigate Catholic Diocese in Texas(link is external) after Pennsylvania’s attorney general launched prosecutions into claims that children were sexually abused. Paxton’s office’s response: state law doesn’t allow them to investigate.” By Erin Cargile, Phil Prazan and Jody Barr, KXAN-TV News

Lawsuit alleges Dallas Catholic Diocese mishandled report of priest’s sexual abuse
“The Dallas Catholic Diocese is again under scrutiny over allegations that church officials mishandled their response to a report of sexual abuse by a priest(link is external). The allegations — which involved a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson — were first publicly detailed in a lawsuit filed six months ago in Dallas County district court. But the case got renewed public attention after a WFAA-TV (Channel 8) report on the case this week.” By David Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News

Roundtable discussion: how to handle Catholic Church sex abuse scandal
“A roundtable discussion just started in Montrose about the sexual abuse scandal swirling around the Catholic Church(link is external). The discussion comes exactly one week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. A victims’ advocacy group is hosting the discussion. The leader of the group, Michael Norris, said members question if the archdiocese will be fully transparent. They also want to know what church officials’ definition of credibility is.” By Sophia Beausoliel, Click2Houston.com

WISCONSIN

State should investigate Catholic Church abuse
“‘The Church’s credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes(link is external), but even more by the efforts made to deny or conceal them,’ Pope Francis wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops about abuse over the years. ‘This has led to a growing sense of uncertainty, distrust and vulnerability among the faithful.’ In recent years, more has come to light about abuse from the past with the release of lists of priests who are accused of abusing children.” By The Journal Times Editorial Board

Superior Diocese cooperating with Ericksen probe; to release list of other abusive priests
“The Catholic Diocese of Superior says it is cooperating with officials investigating the case of a priest accused of assaulting minors(link is external) the 1980s. Dan Blank, the diocese’s director of administrative services, told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that the diocese was an intermediary in the reporting of a case filed Jan. 11 accusing former priest Thomas Ericksen of sexual assault of an unconscious victim.” By Laura Schultte, Wausau Daily Herald

EAST TIMOR

U.S. priest laicized for child abuse in East Timor; police investigate
“After accusations of sex abuse, the Vatican has laicized American Richard Daschbach(link is external), a former Divine Word missionary who ran orphanages in East Timor for 27 years. Accusations surfaced early in 2018 that Daschbach, who arrived in the country in 1966, had been sexually abusing young girls who were in his care in the enclave of Oecusse, which sits separate of the rest of East Timor and is surrounded by Indonesian territory.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GERMANY

German Catholic Church ‘needs urgent reform’
“The head of the Catholic Church in Germany on Sunday (Feb. 3) faced fresh calls for ‘courageous reforms’ in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated nearly 1,700 clerics. Eight well-known theologians and Catholics wrote an open letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx urging the Church to ‘free diocesan priests to choose their own way of life,’ in other words, recommending a relaxation of strict celibacy rules.” By Deutsche Welle

GUAM

Clergy sex abuse survivors in Chuuk, Pohnpei sought
“A law firm representing dozens of Guam clergy sex abuse plaintiffs is now also reaching out to child sexual abuse survivors in Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia(link is external), from the 1950s to the present. The law firm of Berman O’Connor & Mann is seeking individuals who may have been victims of sex abuse while a minor and while attending Catholic schools and Catholic parishes in Chuuk and Pohnpei.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Finally, Kerala Catholic priests can be defrocked for sexual abuse of minors
“The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council has published a set of guidelines for protection of minors and ‘vulnerable adults’ from sexual abuse and assault(link is external) in the Church and Church controlled organizations. The document, accessed by TNM, has been drafted as per the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) guidelines on the same issue, which were reportedly formulated in October 2015. Titled KCBC Guidelines for Safe Environment Programme for Church Personnel Connected with Institutions where Minors or Vulnerable Adults are Given Particular Care, the guidelines provide for defrocking of priests (remove a person from priesthood) who are found guilty of sexual abuse, and are found to be a ‘threat to minors.’” By Ragamalika Karthikeyan and Sandeep Vellaram, The News Minute

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