Archive for August, 2019

Wyoming bishop’s decades of abuse destroyed lives, traumatized families /

This is part one of Crux’s three-part investigative series into Bishop Joseph Hart, who could become the first U.S. bishop to face criminal prosecution for sexual abuse. Part two will run tomorrow. (

As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come.

“Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.

“Prior to being named a bishop, Joseph Hart had served in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the first two decades of his priesthood, following ordination in 1956. Although his ecclesial career has spanned over five decades, serving in two states where he was widely popular, he has been trailed by allegations of serial abuse – which he has consistently denied – dodging both civil and canonical adjudication for more than two decades.

“Now, in the twilight of his life he not only faces criminal charges, where he could become the first U.S. bishop ever to face criminal prosecution for abuse, but also the possibility of being stripped of his title of bishop and removed from the clerical state as a church trial in the Vatican is also underway.”

By Christopher White, — Read more …

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In Mississippi Delta, Catholic abuse cases settled on the cheap / Associated Press

The abuse they say they endured at the hands of two Franciscans, Brother Paul West and Brother Donald Lucas, included beatings, rape, and other sexual violations beginning when they were nine and 10 years old. (associated Press)

As La Jarvis skimmed the four-page agreement, his thoughts flickered back more than two decades to the physical and sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a Franciscan Friar at a Catholic grade school in Greenwood. He told Gannon he wasn’t sure $15,000 was enough.

“‘He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer,’ La Jarvis recently told The Associated Press. ‘Well, we don’t have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.’

“La Jarvis considered his mounting bills, his young family and, with his wife’s consent, signed the agreement, dating it Jan. 11, 2019.

“Then Gannon announced it was time to eat.

“‘He was all smiles then,’ La Jarvis said.

“At the time, La Jarvis didn’t understand that the agreement he signed is unusual in several respects. It includes a confidentiality requirement, even though American Catholic leaders have barred the use of non-disclosure agreements in sex abuse settlements.”

By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press — Read more …

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Australian court upholds Cardinal Pell’s conviction on abuse charges / National Catholic Reporter

(Cardinal George Pell) is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail. He is now also the first to lose on appeal. (National Catholic Reporter)

A panel of three Australian judges has upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s in a 2-1 decision, ordering the Vatican’s former number-three official to continue serving a six-year prison term.

“The decision, announced by the Court of Appeal in the southeastern state of Victoria early Aug. 21 in Australia, marks another historic moment in an historic case.

“Pell, who was long the highest-ranking Catholic in Australia but was brought to Rome in 2014 by Pope Francis to restructure the Vatican’s finances, is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail. He is now also the first to lose on appeal.

“The decision of the three-judges — Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, Justice Chris Maxwell, and Justice Mark Weinberg — also sets the stage for Pell’s defense lawyers to make one final appeal to Australia’s highest court.”

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

August 17, 2019


Flurry of suits emerge as New York opens door to old abuse claims
“It was the early 1950s and Peter Vajda was a little boy attending a Catholic boarding school in the Bronx when he says a religious brother molested him. The brother is likely long dead, but the church survives. Just after midnight Wednesday (Aug. 14) morning, Vajda, now 75, filed a civil lawsuit naming the Archdiocese of New York as a defendant. Justice, he says, may have been delayed but he won’t let it be denied(link is external). ‘Now it’s their turn. Now it’s their time,’ he told The Associated Press Monday (Aug. 12). ‘And I want them to get everything they deserve in the way of punishment.’” By David Klepper, Associated Press

Unmarked buildings, quiet help for accused priests
“Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in this tiny Midwestern town as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. Neighbors had no idea some of the dressed-down clergymen dining at local restaurants might have been accused sexual predators. They had been brought to town by a small, nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii. For nearly two decades, the group has operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country(link is external).” By Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Garance Burke, Associated Press

Clergy abused an entire generation in this village. With new traumas, justice remains elusive.
“The two brothers sat a few houses apart, each tending to his own anger. Justice is slow in Alaska villages, they have learned. Sometimes it never arrives. Chuck Lockwood, 69, grew up in this Yup’ik Eskimo village of 400 along the Norton Sound coast but left as a child for boarding school. His rage is fresh … He was among an entire generation of children, now mostly in their 50s and 60s, who survived years of sexual abuse by Jesuit priests(link is external) and Catholic church personnel shipped to the village of St. Michael. His wife was abused too.” By Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News

Catholic charities tested by abuse scandal, border crisis
“For U.S. charities affiliated with the Catholic Church, the past year has tested the resilience of their fundraisers and the loyalty of their donors in unprecedented fashion. Even as many donors reacted in dismay to the Church’s extensive sex-abuse scandals(link is external), the charities faced new challenges trying to address the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. For the agencies with the most donors, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, it’s too early to gauge the overall financial impact of sex-abuse developments last year.” By David Crary, Associated Press, on

Chicago Tribune investigation reveals financial burdens of Chicago Catholic churches
“Dozens of Catholic churches and schools in Chicago have closed. NPR’s Noel King talks to David Heinzmann of the Chicago Tribune about his story examining the archdiocese’s accounting practices(link is external).” By Morning Edition on National Public Radio

Guam’s Catholics reckon with decades of ‘horrific’ abuse
“For decades, (Archbishop Anthony) Apuron oversaw a culture of impunity where abusers went unpunished(link is external). Long after it erupted into scandal on the mainland, clergy sexual abuse remained a secret on Guam. On this island where four out of five people are Catholic, the abusers held the power. Now, thousands of pages of court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, along with extensive interviews, tell a story of systemic abuse dating from the 1950s to as recently as 2013. They show a pattern of repeated collusion by predator priests, with abuse that spanned generations and reached all the way to the very top of the church hierarchy.” By Michael Biesecker, Associated Press, on

How D.C. Catholics are leading the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal
“This week (Aug. 14) marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed the alleged crimes of hundreds of priests over seven decades and brought the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church back into the national spotlight … In the wake of last summer’s news, my parish, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., embarked on a ‘Season of Discernment.’(link is external) We asked: How could a local parish help heal serious wounds—especially wounds of trust born of the scandal—for survivors and their families as well as the broader community of lay faithful? How might we avoid getting stuck in the status quo and move forward to enact meaningful change?” By Kathleen Coogan, Pastoral Council, Holy Trinity Parish, Washington, D.C. She will be part of a panel discussion local responses to clergy abuse during Voice of the Faithful’s 2019 Conference in Boston Oct. 10. Click here for information and registration.


Catholic dioceses launch independent system to report misconduct by bishops
“The Dioceses of the Boston Province have launched a third party, independent system to report abuse by Catholic bishops(link is external), according to a statement released Wednesday ( Aug. 14) … With the understanding that the implementation of the national system is months away, the bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent website. The Province includes the Archdiocese of Boston, Diocese of Fall River, Diocese of Worcester, Diocese of Springfield, Diocese of Burlington (Vt.), Diocese of Manchester (N.H.) and the Diocese of Portland (Maine).” By South Coast Today

They normalized a culture of child rape and then asked us to sigh away our rights
“If the Catholic Church had offered me any amount of money in 2007 when I reported the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I would not be writing this. I was a 36-year-old active alcoholic struggling to make ends meet and ruining relationships with the people I loved. My abuse came from a pedophile priest named Thomas Smith(link is external) who cast 13-year olds in a Passion Play he directed every year at my grade school. It was his way of satisfying his “depraved and sadistic” sexual desires, as documented in the 423-page Grand Jury Report from 2005 covering abuses in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I played Jesus.” By Jay Sefton,

Justice late, not denied: New York to allow old abuse suits
“Hundreds, possibly thousands of people who say they were molested as children in New York state are expected to go to court this week(link is external) (Aug. 11) to sue their alleged abusers and the institutions they say failed them, including the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, public schools and hospitals. It’s all because of a landmark state law passed this year that creates a one-year window allowing people to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state’s statute of limitations, one of the nation’s most restrictive, that had prevented many victims from seeking justice for decades-old abuse.” By David Klepper, Associated Press

Secrets, abuse can thrive under cover of non-disclosure agreements
“Numerous lawyers argue that nondisclosure agreements do not belong in government, raising concerns about perpetuating inappropriate conduct and a lack of transparency. ‘Nondisclosure agreements help sexual abuse to continue(link is external),’ said Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented victims in clergy sexual abuse cases. ‘The abuser can continue to abuse, and the public is not made aware of an existing safety concern. It is shocking to think the government would favor secrecy over transparency in such situations.’ By Mary Markos, Boston Herald


Ex-cardinal letters show signs of grooming victims for abuse
“At first glance, the handwritten postcards and letters look innocuous, even warm, sometimes signed off by ‘Uncle T.’ or ‘Your uncle, Father Ted.’ But taken in context, the correspondence penned by disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to the young men he is accused of sexually abusing or harassing is a window into the way a predator grooms his prey(link is external), according to two abuse prevention experts who reviewed it for The Associated Press. Full of flattery, familiarity and boasts about his own power, the letters provide visceral evidence of how a globe-trotting bishop made young, vulnerable men feel special – and then allegedly took advantage of them.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on


In letter, Pope Francis encourages priests dejected by abuse crisis
“Pope Francis acknowledged the shame and frustration felt by priests who are discouraged by the actions of fellow clergy members who betrayed the trust of their flock through sexual abuse and abuse of conscience and power(link is external). In a letter addressed to priests around the world Aug. 4, the pope said that many priests have spoken or written to him expressing ‘their outrage at what happened’ and the doubts and fears the sexual abuse crisis has caused.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis names vice director of Holy See press office
“Pope Francis Thursday (Jul. 25) appointed Cristiane Murray as vice director of the Holy See Press Office(link is external). Murray, 57, has worked for Vatican Radio for more than 25 years, where she provided live commentary on papal events and international trips.” By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency

On prevention of child abuse, Pope Francis points to St. John Bosco’s example
“In an unscripted video message that appears to have been recorded on a cell phone, Pope Francis spoke of the need for an ‘apostolate of prevention’ to protect minors from abuse(link is external). ‘Prevention. Prevention. Because you never know where a child will be abused, where the child will be misled, where someone will teach him to smoke drugs, a form of corruption. Let us not think that only sexual abuse is the only type of abuse. Any type of corruption is an abuse of a child,’ Pope Francis said in Spanish in a YouTube video published on July 18 by the Pontifical University of Mexico.” By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency


Argentine bishop tapped by pope for Vatican job faces abuse trial
“Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a prelate from Pope Francis’s native country whom the pontiff brought to Rome and gave a Vatican job in 2017 and who’s now facing charges of sexually abusing seminarians, is expected to appear in court in the diocese he once led on Thursday (Aug. 8). Zanchetta has been formally accused of ‘aggravated continuous sexual abuse’ of two young men(link is external), and a judge previously ordered him to remain in Argentina and stay away from the alleged victims and their families. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.” By Inés San Martin,

Auxiliary bishop did not disclose Cincinnati priest accusations
“An auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and member of the USCCB committee on child protection, is facing accusations that he failed to report(link is external) to Cincinnati’s archbishop a series of allegations that a priest had engaged in inappropriate behavior with teenage boys. After CNA presented its investigation to the archdiocese, a spokesperson said that Bishop Joseph R. Binzer would be removed from his position as head of priest personnel, effective immediately, while the archdiocese begins its own internal investigation.” By Ed Condon, Catholic New Agency


Tackle clericalism first when attempting priesthood reform
“If the priesthood is to be reformed, we must tackle the disease of clericalism(link is external). It won’t be easy. Clericalism is so deeply ingrained in our structures and way of thinking that we almost can’t imagine how things could be otherwise. In his 2018 ‘Letter to the People of God,’ Pope Francis condemned the sins of sexual abuse and the abuse of power in the church. He linked those sins to clericalism. ‘To say no to abuse is to say an emphatic no to all forms of clericalism.’ What is clericalism? The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests put out a white paper on clericalism in June 2019. It defines clericalism is ‘an expectation, leading to abuses of power, that ordained ministers are better than and should be over everyone else among the People of God.’” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Francis urges priests to be faithful in time of ‘ecclesial purification
“Pope Francis published a letter Sunday (Aug. 4) to encourage all priests to remain steadfast and prayerful during this time of purification after revelations of abuse by some priests(link is external), so that there may be a renewal of holiness in the priesthood. ‘I am convinced that, to the extent that we remain faithful to God’s will, these present times of ecclesial purification will make us more joyful and humble, and prove, in the not distant future, very fruitful,’ the pope wrote in a letter published Aug. 4.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency


Assembling the people of God like LCWR
Imagine an annual gathering called an ‘assembly.’ Not a ‘meeting’ or a ‘convention’(link is external): Those words at root mean no more than ‘to come into the same place.’ Instead, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious gathers each August for an ‘assembly.’ Think of assembling the pieces of a puzzle, connecting pieces into a whole that gives greater meaning to every part and creates new beauty in the world … Ever since I became aware of LCWR assemblies in 2012, I’ve been fascinated and frankly awed at what I witness in my reading and following online and watching videos.” By Betty D. Thompson, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LCWR to examine: What does it mean to be a leader at this moment in time
“Leadership in a global community requires seeing the connections between what might otherwise seem like disparate subjects, such as racism and climate change. Likewise, it would be easy to look at the schedule for LCWR’s upcoming assembly and see it as a collection of random parts … ‘We’re trying to be faithful to the question of what does God need from religious life(link is external) at this moment in time,’ (St. Joseph Sister Carol) Zinn said.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter


Look for lay involvement that transcends the ideological divide
“Are you a lay Catholic? It’s time we talked. Good news. There’s agreement now conceded across the church: We have a right and an obligation to be involved in matters of church governance. No one, at least publicly, relegates us to pay, pray and obey. We are supposed to step up. But what should that lay involvement be(link is external)?” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter


U.S. priest to receive reports of abuse, cover-up at Vatican City State
“Vatican City State will have its own reporting system in place before the end of the year for flagging suspected cases of the abuse of minors and vulnerable people and instances of cover-up or negligence(link is external) in handling such cases, the Vatican said. In the meantime, U.S. Msgr. Robert Oliver was appointed to be the contact person for people with information or concerns about potential cases of abuse and cover-up within the Vicariate of Vatican City State, the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported July 30.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on


Clergy and laypeople collaborate to confront clericalism
“Pope Francis condemns clericalism, repeatedly. Catholic commentators decry it. Theologians and church historians examine its roots. Now, in a significant collaboration, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful have examined the ways clericalism emerges from the clerical culture, generating complex problems facing the Roman Catholic Church today, and they suggest ways to combat it.” By Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful


At Benincasa community, a new model for a religious life unfolds
“Much has been written about the Nuns and Nones project in the past year, both in our own pages and in the national media. The movement has the very good intention of connecting millennials with limited or no ties to religion with women religious to share their mutual passions for social justice and community life. But not all Catholic millennials are ‘nones,’ and, contrary to prevailing opinions, not all faithful Catholic millennials are conservative(link is external).” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Burke is a living symbol of a failed version of church
“Catholics, especially those of a traditional bent, love and understand symbols. Someone as traditionalist and as media-savvy as Timothy Busch has to understand that whatever else was said during his Napa Institute’s sprawling conference at the end of July, the most visible symbol was Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken critics of Pope Francis(link is external). The five-day conference in Napa, California, at the posh Meritage Resort and Spa, one of Busch’s holdings, was transparently partisan and tilted, episcopally and theologically, to the far right.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Large number of Dutch churches to close in near future
“If some fifty years ago you happened to find yourself in one of the small villages in the Dutch countryside, you could hardly get lost. The only thing you needed to do was look up, find the church tower and you would always find your way back. Because the church – literally – was at the heart of the village … But if you speak to the villagers, you quickly notice that many of their communities have changed rapidly over the past decade. No longer is the church the central meeting place of the community(link is external).” By Michiel van de Kamp, Katholiek Nieuwsblad, on


Editorial: Movement to Restore Trust delivers a worthy action plan for diocese
“The New York State Child Victims Act goes into effect this month, opening the door for victims of child sex abuse to file lawsuits against those responsible for their pain. The Catholic Church, including the Buffalo Diocese, will be one of the prominent institutions forced to reckon with crimes committed in its past. At a time of such vulnerability, the diocese is fortunate to have the counsel and support of the Movement to Restore Trust(link is external), the group of local Catholic laity that recently issued its report proposing reforms for the diocese.” By Buffalo News Editorial Board


Pope approves new statutes for Vatican Bank
“Pope Francis approved new statutes for the Institute for the Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, that include structural changes and a mandatory external audit(link is external). The renewed statutes, which were approved by the pope ‘ad experimentum’ (on a trial basis) for two years, were published by the Vatican press office Aug. 10. In a document signed by the pope Aug. 8, the pope emphasized the changes were to reinforce the Vatican bank’s intended mission to manage assets for ‘the works of religion or charity.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on

Giving by Catholics suffering from abuse scandal
“An article in USA Today says that the unwillingness of the Roman Catholic Church to address its sex abuse scandals head-on has led those charitable nonprofits affiliated with them to struggle with impatient, even disgusted donors(link is external). For instance, Catholic Charities of Buffalo only made 85 percent of its $11 million goal. Parishioners withheld donations after Bishop Richard J. Malone let priests accused of inappropriate conduct remain active in the church. Even though donors had the option of directing the whole of their donations to the charity, instead of the usual 50/50 split with the parish, there was a shortfall.” By Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly

Catholic Church should make finances public
“People who could have done something about it were aware of the ‘excessive spending’ engaged in by former bishop Michael Bransfield, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. They did not. So, while church officials have pledged to keep a close eye on spending in the diocese, rank-and-file Catholics can be pardoned for asking why, if problems occurred before, they cannot again(link is external).” By The Martinsburg Journal in The Beckley, West Virginia, Resister-Herald


Retroactive clause for clergy abuse claims cited for lack of movement
“A recommendation made in the grand jury report, which was released one year ago on Aug. 14, 2018, following an investigation into child sexual abuse and cover-up in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, has become one of the most contested and legally challenging issues in the state capital over the past year(link is external). The panel called for lawmakers to create a retroactive window during which alleged victims of abuse can file civil claims even if the statute of limitations, which is currently age 30, has already expired.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat


Nun sexually abused me at Catholic orphanage, woman says
“Susanne Robertson has devoted much of her life to sounding the alarm over the horrific abuse she says she suffered at a New York orphanage more than 50 years ago(link is external). A maintenance man sexually assaulting her in a boiler room. A nun violating her with a Lysol-soaked rag. For nearly 25 years, her efforts to force a reckoning on the St. Colman’s Home near Albany have gone nowhere. But now, the opportunity Robertson has been waiting for has finally arrived.” By Aliza Nadi, Emily Siegel, Anne Thompson and Rich Schapiro

He says a priest abused him. 50 years later, he can now sue.
“Major institutions across New York State, from the Catholic Church to the Boy Scouts of America to elite private schools, are bracing for a deluge of lawsuits now that adults who said they were sexually abused as children will be entitled to pursue formal legal action(link is external). New York joined more than a dozen states this year in significantly extending statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits over sexual abuse. Previously, the state had required that such suits be filed before a victim’s 23rd birthday.” By Rick Rojas, The New York Times

Activist Italian priest arrested on charges of abusing young men
“An Italian priest known for involvement in his community was placed under house arrest by local authorities on Wednesday (Jul. 31), on charges of allegedly drugging and sexually abusing adult members of his parish(link is external). ‘The news of the arrest of Father Stefano Segalini and the precautionary measures applied by the judiciary pain us deeply,’ said Father Luigi Chiesa, Vicar General of the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio in northern Italy where the events allegedly took place, in an August 1 statement.” By Claire Giangravè,

Woman who kept her abuse by a priest secret for 66 years gets six-figure settlement
“For 66 years, she kept a dark secret about how her parish priest in Pennsylvania sexually abused her when she was just 6 years old(link is external). It took a brush with mortality to convince the now 85-year-old woman to “put all of her ducks in a row” and file a report against the Rev. Martin J. Fleming, her lawyer revealed Wednesday (Jul. 31).” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC-TV News

Abuse accuser wants Steubenville university to be accountable
“An alumna of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio has written an open letter saying she was sexually abused while a student there and that the school administration ignored her complaints(link is external). In a letter published July 8 on Patheos, an online site, Karen, who chooses to not share her last name, states that she was sexually abused by a friar while attending Franciscan University from 1987 until she graduated in 1991 … She wrote the open letter, she told NCR, because ‘it was important for me to use my voice, and to share that my story is not over.’” By Jenn Morson, National Catholic Reporter


For first time, thousands of San Diego Catholic diocese members gather to discuss abuse within the Church
“Thousands of San Diego clergy members met Tuesday (Aug. 13) for a first-of-its-kind gathering to address sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church(link is external). Bishop Robert W. McElroy called for more than 2,500 San Diego area priests, teachers and administrators to attend a mandatory meeting with District Attorney Summer Stephan at the University of San Diego. It is the first time in its history the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has called every member of its church to order.” By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan, NBC-TV7 News

Charged dropped against long-time Dinuba Catholic priest Raul Diaz
“More than two months after he was placed on administrative leave, Father Raul Diaz appears poised to return to the pulpit. Charges of inappropriate conduct with minors were recently dropped against the long-time Dinuba catholic priest(link is external). Parishioners were informed during a recent Sunday service. ‘Everybody heard it, and they were applauding from the get-go I was saying there’s nothing there,’ said Pablo Contreras of Dinuba.” By ABC-TV30 News


Colorado Catholic Church investigated for child sex abuse by priests
“In February, the three Catholic dioceses of Colorado announced they would open their records and provide information about allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests(link is external) that go back decades. Led by former U.S Attorney Robert Troyer, the investigation and review is examining alleged abuse of minors by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in Colorado since 1950. The initiative also includes a reparation fund for victims to be paid for by the church, and will incorporate a full review of church policies and procedures for responding to and preventing abuse.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner


Priest, under investigation in Wilmington, stripped of clergy status after New Castle child sex abuse claims
“A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has been removed from ministry and had his faculties to exercise priestly ministries suspended following allegations he sexually abused a teen(link is external) 38 years ago. The victim made claims against Rev. William J. Porter, 71, while at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in New Castle. Delaware State Police began their investigation in March, but informed the diocese on July 19, 2019, that it had completed the investigation and the conduct had occurred outside the statute of limitations.” By D.J. McAneny, WDEL-FM News


Rev. Clements accusation is in realm of unthinkable
“Is nothing sacred in my Church? That was my question as I read the headline: ‘Retired Celebrity Priest George Clements Accused of Sex Abuse in 1970s.’ It invades the realm of the unthinkable. The Rev. George Clements, 87, has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974 while serving as pastor of Holy Angels Church on Chicago’s South Side.” By Laura Washington, Chicago Sun Times

Belleville priest who said he ‘never hurt a child’ accused for second time of sexually abusing a boy
“Catholic church leaders in the Belleville Diocese promoted a priest they knew as a danger to children(link is external) until he was in charge of their largest parish and its grade school, where he is accused of sexually abusing students, according to a civil suit filed earlier this month. Joseph Schwaegel, who was first accused of child sexual abuse in a 1999 lawsuit, has been named in a new complaint filed against the diocese July 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.” By Belleville News-Democrat


Abuse finding didn’t end ex-deacon’s work with children
“A former Roman Catholic deacon barred from the ministry in New Orleans because of sexual abuse allegations maintained access to schoolchildren(link is external) and held leadership roles as recently as last year in the Knights of Columbus, despite promising three decades ago to avoid young boys “for the good of the Church,” according to records obtained by The Associated Press.” By Jim Mustian and Kevin McGill, Associated Press

Lawyers in clergy abuse lawsuit seek documents from Saints executives
“The lawyers for a man who alleges he was sexually abused by former Catholic deacon George Brignac decades ago have sent a subpoena to the New Orleans Saints for copies of any communications between club officials and the local archdiocese(link is external). According to attorneys Richard Trahant and John Denenea, the move came after the discovery process turned up documents and emails which, they contend, showed at least one member of the Saints’ administration — longtime public relations chief Greg Bensel — was advising the archdiocese on how to publicly address local claims pertaining to the Catholic Church’s ongoing clergy abuse crisis.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, (The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate)


Mitchell Garabedian nails another pedophile priest
“The statement below was issued today by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian. Mr. Garabedian is best known for his representation of victims in the Archdiocese of Boston child molestation scandal. ‘I represent a female clergy sexual abuse victim(link is external) who received a low six figure award from ISCP (compensation program) on July 10, 2019. The sexually abusive priest, Fr. Martin J. Fleming, was ordained in 1898. The courageous victim, now 85 years old, was sexually abused in 1941 when she was 6 years old.” By Cape Cod Today Staff

Veteran lawyer for victims of clergy sexual abuse ‘absolutely not surprised’ by Bishop Weldon allegations
“Attorney John J. Stobierski was not surprised when he read news reports this spring that a man had come forward with accusations he had been sexually molested by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon(link is external) during the 1950s. ‘During the years I represented survivors of abuse, I heard a number of references to Weldon,’ said Stobierski who litigated and negotiated more than five dozen clergy sexual abuse cases with settlements totaling more than $10 million. ‘I am absolutely not surprised.’ By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican


Sterling Heights woman says priest abused her in 1977 at Detroit church
“A Sterling Heights woman said Tuesday (Jul. 30) she was victimized by a Catholic priest while working in a Detroit rectory as a teenager(link is external) 42 years ago. Jeanne Hunton said the sexual abuse happened during the summer of 1977, when she took a job as a housekeeper at age 14 in the rectory at Assumption Grotto Church on Detroit’s east side.” By George Hunter, The Detroit News

Former Saginaw Diocese bishop discusses eight more clergy accused of sexual misconduct
“Officials with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw recently added the names of eight religious-order clergy to a list of those who, according to the church, have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). There are now 30 names on that list. Diocese officials announced the update, as well as changes to diocesan policy intended to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse, in two news releases on July 20.” By Heather Jordan,

Priests accused of sex abuse turned to under-the-radar group
“The visiting priests arrived discreetly, day and night. Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in this tiny Midwestern town as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. Neighbors had no idea some of the dressed-down clergymen dining at local restaurants might have been accused sexual predators(link is external). For nearly two decades, a small nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii has operated out of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.” By Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Garance Burke, The Republic


Duluth-area priest accused of sexual abuse dating to 1970s
“In a letter read to parishioners on Sunday (Aug. 4), the Diocese of Duluth disclosed new allegations of sexual abuse against a priest in the diocese(link is external). In the letter dated July 30, Bishop Paul Sirba said the diocese had been notified of a sexual abuse accusation against the Rev. David Tushar. Tushar, 70, is priest at St. Francis Catholic Church in Carlton, Minn., and Sts. Joseph and Mary Catholic Church in Sawyer, Minn.” By Adelie Bergstrom, Twin Cities Forum News Service


Retired, 90-year-old Mississippi Catholic priest removed after 1950s child sex allegation surfaces
“A 90-year-old, retired Catholic priest who served nearly half a century in Mississippi was removed from public ministry this week after an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct(link is external) that occurred in the 1950s. Bishop Joseph Kopacz removed the Rev. Edward Balser after what the church described as a credible allegation of abuse was discovered when the church was preparing files for the release of a list of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors.” By Magnolia State Live


Conception Abbey releases past allegations list
“Concern for transparency and accountability has prompted many dioceses and religious orders to publish information about members within their groups who have had allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against them(link is external). With that goal, Conception Abbey provided the names of eight abbey priests or brothers against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made in the past 70 years. None of these priests continues in ministry.” By Nodaway News

K.C.-area priest admits guilt in child pornography case
“A Catholic priest at a church in Baldwin City, Kansas, pleaded guilty Friday (Jul. 26) to federal child pornography charges(link is external). Christopher Rossman, 46, a former priest at Annunciation Catholic Church, faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 after investigators found child pornography on his tablet computer in September 2016.” By KSHB-TV41 News

St. Louis Archdiocese names 64 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children or possessing child porn
“The Archdiocese of St. Louis on Friday (Jul. 26) released the names of 61 clergy members with substantiated abuse allegations against them(link is external), as well as three priests who were found to have possessed child pornography, following a months-long internal review of diocesan records going back 70 years.” By Nassim Benchaabane and Jess Bogan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Clergy abuse advocates speak out about predator priests in Columbia
“Two clergy abuse advocates from mid-Missouri spoke out Wednesday (Jul. 24) at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on the need for people to know the truth about predator priests who might still be hiding and living in the community(link is external). David Clohessy, SNAP’s former executive director and a survivor of clergy abuse, held a news conference in front of the church. He held up cardboard signs bearing the names of alleged predator priests who have lived in Columbia. He was joined by Bob Heinz, a member of a similar organization, Voice of the Faithful, who held up pictures of clergy abuse victims.” By Chloe Khaw, Columbia Missourian


New Hampshire Catholic Church website lists names of predator priests
“Catholic Church leaders in New Hampshire have added a page to their website that lists dozens of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse going back to 1950(link is external). Announced Wednesday (Jul. 31) by the Diocese of Manchester, the ‘Restoring Trust’ website provides the year each priest was ordained, his parish assignments and his status, which ranges from criminal conviction to being defrocked to “assigned to a life of prayer and penance.” By Mark Hayward, New Hampshire Union Leader


Attorney identifies 12 more Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children in New Jersey
“An attorney for childhood victims alleging sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy says he has turned up the names of 12 New Jersey priests who were not previously disclosed on lists(link is external) the church released. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian represents 22 men and 8 women who say they were abused as children by New Jersey priests. Garabedian says the names of 12 of the accused aren’t on lists of more than 180 priests the church released earlier this year.” By CBS-TV3 Philadelphia

Catholic fund begins offering cash to settle N.J. priest abuse claims. Here’s how many applied.
“A new compensation fund backed by New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses(link is external) is paying its first financial settlements to people who say they were sexually abused by priests and other clergy members. The fund — called the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program — was unveiled earlier this year by the state’s Catholic dioceses as a way for victims to settle their cases with the church privately, without going to court.” By Kelly Heyboer, New Jersey Advance Media for


Child Victims Act lawsuits to peel open decades of secrecy in clergy sex abuse
“The tight lid that the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo kept for decades on clergy sex abuse cases will be peeled open Wednesday (Aug. 14) with a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court(link is external). Lawyers predicted the diocese would face more than 200 lawsuits by the end of the one-year ‘look-back’ window that will open at 12:01 a.m. The names of at least a dozen Catholic priests who hadn’t before been publicly accused of child sex abuse will emerge in the filings, according to lawyers filing the lawsuits.” By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Diocese of Rochester to face at least 75 new lawsuits over child abuse
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester will face a potentially massive flood of lawsuits next month when New York’s child sexual abuse reporting reforms go into effect(link is external), as the local fallout continues from decades of abuse and cover-ups by priests and others in the Catholic community nationwide. According to Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, dozens of victims claiming abuse by clergy members in the Diocese of Rochester have come to him over the last several months to inquire about filing lawsuits.” By Matt Butler,

Advocates and lawmakers want New York child sexual abuse survivors to know one-year window to seek civil action is about to open
Survivors of child sex abuse will soon have a new opportunity to seek justice(link is external). The recently enacted Child Victims Act dramatically changed the legal landscape in New York State, empowering those who were subjected to sexual abuse at a young age and offering them new ways make things right … In civil cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 55. The law also opens up a one-year window that begins Aug. 14 allowing victims older than 23 to sue their abuser or any institution that helped to cover up the offense — regardless of how long ago the act occurred.” By Denis Slattery, New York Daily News

Buffalo bishop returned priest accused of abuse to ministry after ‘thorough’ investigation. Others call it a ‘sham.’
“Bishop Richard Malone says his congregation’s darkest days are in the past. The embattled spiritual leader has faced calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against clergy members in the Diocese of Buffalo, where a public reckoning that started as a local scandal became a national headline … But multiple people familiar with that investigation expressed serious concerns with the findings(link is external) of what they view as a deeply flawed report, raising questions about the process by which the Diocese of Buffalo evaluates allegations against its clergy members. By David Wright, Pete Madden, Cho Park and Shannon K. Crawford, ABC-TV News

New York child sex-abuse victims demand release of ‘secret files’ on pedophile priests
“Child sex-abuse victims are calling on the New York Attorney General’s office to release the Catholic Church’s ‘secret files’ on predatory priests(link is external), The Post has learned. On the heels of a bombshell Pennsylvania report on child-sex abuse by Catholic clergy, former New York AG Barbara Underwood launched a sweeping probe in September 2018.” By Susan Edelman, New York Post

Group presses for more Buffalo Diocese reforms in abuse cases
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo should hire additional sex abuse investigators, make its review board more independent and disclose more information about a sex abuse scandal that has roiled Western New York Catholics for the past 17 months, a Catholic reform group said. The Movement to Restore Trust, an ongoing effort of a group of lay Catholics urging improvements to the diocese’s handling of clergy sex abuse claims(link is external), recommended those key changes and others in a series of new reports slated for release today.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


Independent firm reviewing Charlotte Diocese’s priest files
“An independent investigative firm is reviewing the Diocese of Charlotte’s priest personnel files as part of the diocese’s effort to release the names of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse(link is external), the diocese announced Aug. 12. U.S. Investigative Security Services Agency of Charlotte is conducting a comprehensive review of all priest files since the diocese was established in 1972, searching for any indication of sexual abuse of a minor. Their task involves reviewing tens of thousands of pages in more than 1,000 files.” By Patricia L. Guilfoyle, SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Charlotte Catholic Diocese says list of credibly accused is still forthcoming
“Earlier this year the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte announced it would release a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual assault. They didn’t release the list Monday (Aug. 12), but did share more about the list.(link is external) The list will run approximately 20 names long and include ordered and parish priests. The list will include credibly accused clergy whether they are alive or have passed away.” By Sarah Delia, WFAE-FM National Public Radio

New sexual misconduct allegation surfaces at Charlotte Catholic church
“Channel 9 has learned of a new allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external) in a Charlotte Catholic church. Monsignor Mauricio West was the chancellor of the Diocese of Charlotte until he resigned in March after allegations that he made unwanted advances toward a student at Belmont Abbey College in the 1980s. A second man told anchor Allison Latos it happened to him on campus, too.” By Allison Latos, WSOC-TV9 News


Justice still to come for victims of Crookston Diocese abuse after settlement
“The Diocese of Crookston reached a $5 million settlement this month with victims of clergy sexual abuse, but one victim said the real victory is still to come(link is external). ‘I was never concerned about monetary gain in this lawsuit. My pursuit was for truth. I wanted the people to find out how many priests the public did not have information on who were credibly accused,’ said Ronald Vasek, who filed a lawsuit against the diocese and Bishop Michael Hoeppner in 2017. ‘And that list is going to greatly increase now, through the efforts of these lawsuits.’” By Tess Williams, Forum News Service, in Bismark Tribune


Plenty of shock, ‘very little details’ at meeting about St. Ignatius priest’s sudden suspension
“There is no evidence the Rev. Geoff Drew is guilty of criminal wrongdoing, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. But some parishioners who attended a crowded Monday (Jul. 29) night meeting meant to address the St. Ignatius priest’s suspension left uneasy … That explanation matched the archdiocese’s official statement to press earlier in the day: That Drew had been accused of behavior ‘contrary to the (archdiocese) ‘Decree On Child Protection(link is external).’” By WCPO-TV9 News


Clergy abuse survivor family looks back one year after grand jury report
“Today marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report into the sexual abuse and coverup within the catholic church(link is external). Three hundred and sixty-five days since the victim’s stories were told by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and detailed in the grand jury report. A central Pennsylvania family of sisters sat on stage with the Attorney General as he spoke about the findings, at one point telling their story.” By Amanda Hoskins, CBS-TV21 News

Grand jury report echoes a year later
“The fallout from the crimes, cover-ups and profound human toll exposed a year ago by a statewide investigative grand jury continue to ripple through the Catholic Diocese of Erie and others in Pennsylvania. As Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico said earlier this month, coming to terms with the monstrous legacy of predator priests and the hierarchy that harbored and enabled them will continue to roil the church(link is external) and the faithful in the years ahead. Persico, 68, told reporter Ed Palattella that he expects the sexual abuse crisis to remain at the forefront for the rest of his tenure.” By Editorial Board

Bishop Zubik reflects on clergy sex abuse one year after grand jury report
“Bishop David Zubik outlined a renewed commitment to healing victims, financial transparency and continued listening one year after the release of the state’s grand jury report on child sex abuse by Catholic clergy(link is external). ‘The church is profoundly indebted to those courageous victims/survivors who have helped us grow in understanding the damage caused by sexual abuse and of how the church community can offer them understanding and support,’ Zubik, the head of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in a statement released today (Aug. 14).” By Tawnya Panizzi,

Lawsuits filed against Jesuits, Pennsylvania Catholic bishops, for supervisors accused of ignoring sexual abuse
“Lawsuits have been filed against the Jesuits of New York and a current and two former Catholic bishops in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese for conspiracy and fraud, stating they had transferred a seminarian they knew molested children in Rochester, New York, to a parish in State College(link is external).” By Steve Marroni,

A year later, Catholic Church and Pennsylvania politicians ignore abuse survivors
“As hundreds of victims of sex crimes anxiously awaited the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse last summer, the Catholic Church successfully blocked its release for weeks through appeals to the state’s supreme court … When the now-infamous report was at last made public on August 14 of last year, its reverberations were felt nationally … In Pennsylvania alone, nearly 2,000 calls have flooded Pennsylvania’s Clergy Abuse Hotline, set up by the attorney general’s office last year in the wake of the report’s release. Because of Pennsylvania’s archaic statute of limitations, the vast majority of the living victims of priests named in the report, and thousands more, cannot seek justice(link is external). Their abusers remain free under Pennsylvania law and cannot be prosecuted.” By Jimmy Hutton, Religion News Service

What the Allentown Diocese has done in the year since clergy sex abuse allegations surfaced
“Last August, the public finally got to see the chilling findings of a grand jury investigation into decades of sexual abuse within six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, including the Diocese of Allentown … In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the report’s release, the Allentown Diocese issued a statement about programs it has implemented to prevent abuse and keep children safe(link is external).” By Julia Owens, Lehigh Valley Live

Nearly 1,900 calls into Pennsylvania’s clergy abuse hotline in 1st year
“Investigations remain underway after 1,862 calls were made to a clergy abuse hotline in the 12 months since a landmark grand jury report(link is external) exposed decades of child abuse within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, the state attorney general said Tuesday (Aug. 6). About 90 percent of those calls concerned allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. The rest were about institutions or people outside the Catholic church.” By Mark Scolforo, NBC-TV10 News Philadelphia

Conference at Carlisle church to examine abuse crisis in Catholic Church
“Nearly a year after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a comprehensive report on clergy child sexual abuse, an organization dedicated to education will hold a conference looking at the crisis. Hosted by the St. Gabriel ministry of Saint Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Carlisle, the conference will examine the causes of the crisis and learn what is being done to promote healing and justice for the victims(link is external).” By Tammie Gitt, The Sentinel

Some clergy sex abuse survivors choosing to decline compensation from Diocese of Harrisburg
“The deadline to accept or decline offers from the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Survivor Compensation Program has arrived. The program was set up in February as an attempt to make financial amends to victims after a Grand Jury report on child sex abuse within six Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania. However, for one of those survivors, who anonymously told FOX43 his story of abuse by a former Diocese of Harrisburg priest, the settlement money simply isn’t enough(link is external).” By Jossie Carbonare, FOX-TV43 News


Goodwill allowed ‘credibly accused’ priest to visit schools in R.I.
“A man on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s list of clergy who’d been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing a minor visited schools and worked in the presence of children(link is external) after he got a new job at Goodwill, according to social media postings and school officials. Kevin R. Fisette, 64, was removed from ministry and resigned from his post as pastor of St. Leo the Great Church in Pawtucket in 2009 after a sexual-abuse allegation from the early 1980s … By October 2010, he had a new job at Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island. From 2014 to 2018, social media posts showed him visiting Goodwill’s donation bins at Rhode Island schools.” By Brian Amaral, Providence Journal

Full accounting provides hope for path forward
“Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released a list of priests and clergy members found to have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children since 1950. It represented an important step forward for survivors of abuse, as well as for the broader community. As Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said, acknowledging these cases through the recent disclosure represented a ‘difficult but necessary moment in the life of our diocesan church.’ In terms of both transparency and accountability, however, much more work remains to be done(link is external). Now, it is poised to proceed.” By Cranston Herald Editorial Board

Rhode Island attorney general gains access to seven decades of clergy sexual abuse records
“Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office is investigating nearly seven decades of sexual abuse to children(link is external) by Roman Catholic priests in the diocese of Providence. On Tuesday (Jul. 23), the two offices signed a memorandum of understanding, giving Neronha’s office and Rhode Island State Police access to records of allegations dating back to 1950.” By Rachel Nunes,


Priest exchanged inappropriate pictures with juvenile, police report says
“St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church placed a parochial vicar on administrative leave July 20 following a report of the priest allegedly exchanging inappropriate photos with a male juvenile(link is external). Father Raymond Flores, 33, of Aiken, was placed on leave without the ability to perform priestly duties, according to a Tuesday (Jul. 30) news release by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.” By Matthew Enfinger, Aiken Standard


Tennessee man sues Diocese of Knoxville for ‘horrific acts of childhood sexual abuse’
“A Tennessee man is suing the Diocese of Knoxville, alleging he was exposed to ‘horrific acts of childhood sexual abuse’ by a priest and others(link is external). Filed in the Sixth Circuit Court of Knox County in Knoxville, Blount County resident Michael Boyd’s lawsuit claims Catholic Priest Father Xavier Mankel and other sexually abused Boyd and their alleged actions were covered up by the diocese.” By Adrian Mojica, FOX-TC17 Nashville


Survivors group demands list of accused Vermont clergy. ‘Children are at risk.’
“Nearly a year after Vermont law enforcement and Catholic leaders announced separate investigations into clergy misconduct, the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is questioning why neither review has led to the public release of information(link is external). ‘Every single day a predator’s name is hidden, children are at risk,’ David Clohessy, the longtime former leader of the group, called SNAP, said Monday (Aug.5) during a visit to the state. ‘They should have put out a list years ago — it’s incredibly irresponsible to wait,’ he added. ‘Although none of these guys may be in parishes anymore, one of them could be a coach at a soccer camp or tutoring at the library or providing piano lessons in his apartment.’” By Kevin O’Connor,


Priests accused of sexual assault served at churches in Dan River region
“At least four Catholic clergymen accused of sexual assault against minors once served at churches in Danville and Pittsylvania County(link is external). All of the clergymen — including three priests and a monsignor — are dead, according to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s website that includes a list of the accused clergy. Those listed on the website who served at churches in the Dan River Region are monsignor Carroll T. Dozier, Father Austin Ryder, Father Thomas D. Sykes and Father Philip J. Higgins.” By John R. Crance,


Trial starts for DC priest accused of sexually abusing girls
“A trial is underway for a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children in his Washington, D.C., parish(link is external). News outlets report 47-year-old Urbano Vazquez appeared in court Tuesday for the first day of his trial on child sexual abuse charges. He’s accused of groping a 9-year-old girl and 13-year-old girl in 2016, two years after he was ordained as a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan religious order.” By Associated Press in The News Tribune


Lawsuit accuses bishop of Catholic Diocese of Charleston of sexually abusing minor
“The Catholic Diocese of Charleston says a lawsuit filed in New York names Bishop Robert Guglielmone and accuses him of sexually abusing a mino(link is external)r. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Nassau County, New York, according to diocese spokesperson Maria Aselage. In the suit, an alleged victim accused Guglielmone of sexually abusing him during 1978 and 1979 while Guglielmone served as a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, New York.” By Live5News


Clerics should face charges related to sex abuse case
“The Cheyenne Police Department has recommended sexual abuse charges against a member of the Roman Catholic clergy(link is external) and another man who was seeking to join the clergy related to incidents from the 1970s and ’80s. In a news release, CPD said it has sent a recommendation for charges to the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office after a year-and-a-half-long investigation into allegations that juvenile males were the victims of sex abuse.” By Ramsey Scott and Isabella Alves, Wyoming Tribune Eagle


Argentina’s most pious spot also in epicenter of clerical abuse crisis
“Argentina’s northern province of Salta, known for colorful mountains, valleys, and small, picturesque towns that intertwine with exquisite wineries, is also known as the most piously Catholic province of the 23 that make up the nation … It also happens to be at the epicenter of the country’s clerical sexual abuse earthquake(link is external), because Salta is the metropolitan see of the Diocese of Oran. Gustavo Zanchetta, the former bishop, abruptly resigned his position in 2017 after being appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.” By Inés San Martin,


Catholic Church continues to play hard-ball with clergy sex abuse victim
“The Catholic Church continues to challenge a clergy sex abuse victim of notorious priest Gerald Ridsdale(link is external). After last month arguing to delay the civil compensation trial by at least 120 days, it has now demanded the victim, who was raped as a nine-year-old in a confessional box, provide a copy of the church’s own rules in Latin. The victim’s lawyers have been asking the church to hand over archive documents.” By Andrew Thomson, The Courier

Former Victorian Catholic priest Paul Ryan jailed for historical child sex offenses
“Paul David Ryan, now a 70-year-old pensioner, was charged after a 2016 police investigation sparked by the sex abuse royal commission(link is external). The charges relate to three boys, who were aged 14, 15 and 17 at the time of the assaults. The first boy was training to be an altar boy and the other two were students at the Warrnambool Christian Brothers’ College, where Ryan worked as a school chaplain and provided sex education classes.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia


New revelations on sex abuse hit Chilean church
“Just when you thought the situation in the Catholic Church couldn’t get worse, new allegations of clerical abuse and its cover-up have hit the press(link is external). It has also become clear that the crimes committed by one of Chile’s once most-beloved priests exceeded what was originally thought.” By Inés San Martin,

Jesuits publish inquiry results, confirm abuses by famed priest
“While deceased Jesuit Fr. Renato Poblete Barth was known publicly as a champion of the poor in Chile, an internal investigation funded by the Jesuits revealed that the famed clergyman abused more than a dozen women(link is external) over a span of nearly 50 years.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Catholic priest, 76, is jailed for 18 years for ‘horrifically’ sexually abusing two teenage boys
“A Catholic priest who sexually abused two teenage boys at a seminary(link is external) where he taught has been jailed for 18 years. Michael Higginbottom, 76, was found guilty by a jury of five counts of serious sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault following a re-trial. The boys were abused as they boarded at St Joseph’s College, a Catholic seminary in Upholland, Lancashire, which has now closed, in the 1970s and 80s. During a two-week trial, jurors heard he ‘regularly, systematically and horrifically’ abused the boys.” By Paul Britton, Manchester Evening News

Archbishop tried to discredit BBC film on church links to abuse
“The most senior Catholic leader in England and Wales went to extraordinary lengths to try to discredit a BBC documentary on child sexual abuse and its cover-up by the church(link is external), the Guardian can disclose. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, publicly accused the BBC of bias and malice before the documentary was aired in 2003. Documents seen by the Guardian show he also lobbied the BBC’s director of news, wrote to all priests in his archdiocese urging them not to speak to BBC journalists, and lodged a formal complaint against the program’s makers.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

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Clergy & laypeople collaborate to confront clericalism / Association of U.S. Catholic Priests & Voice of the Faithful

Joint News Release from Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful

For Immediate Release, Aug. 15, 2019

Pope Francis condemns clericalism, repeatedly. Catholic commentators decry it. Theologians and church historians examine its roots. Now, in a significant collaboration, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful have examined the ways clericalism emerges from the clerical culture, generating complex problems facing the Roman Catholic Church today, and they suggest ways to combat it.

Their document, “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism,” was approved at the AUSCP June 2019 Assembly, where guest speaker Dr. Richard Gaillardetz called it “very informative, even visionary.” Keynote speaker Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, noting the real-life examples reported, said it was “nothing less than a catalogue of horrors chronicling imperial pronouncements, put-downs, claims of privileges, entitlements and exemptions from accountability, but also a culture so pervasive that, sadly, many of the laity have come to accept it as normal and yes, even have cooperated in maintaining it.”

Real-life examples are central to the report and a significant contribution to the study of clericalism today. As the writers note, “We typically encounter clericalism as an experience. Using only scholarly definitions and explanations when discussing clericalism cannot communicate this lived experience of clericalism in the Church. To fully understand clericalism, we also must hear the voices of those who experience abuse of power.”

One experience  describes a confrontation between a laywoman and a visiting priest in Boston during a 2003 meeting. “We must fix this [sex abuse] because we are the Church,” the laywoman said. The visiting priest replied, “YOU are not the Church,” and pointing to his Roman collar, declared, “WE are the Church.”

In another example, a new pastor announced that he would personally choose pastoral council members and no one would be allowed to disagree with him. In yet another, a seminarian criticized the pastor for his monthly blessing service because it differed from what the seminary practiced.

If these examples seem to focus blame on the clergy or an insulated hierarchy or any group or faction within the universal church, the document will not allow such a conclusion. Clericalism is not simply a problem of clerics, and the authors cite experiences where lay people enable such behavior.

Clericalism is toxic to all the baptized, they note. When lay people encounter clericalism: “They find another parish; they leave the Church; they never speak up again in meetings with priests; they abdicate all decision-making to the priest; they become audiences rather that participants in the parish’s life and sideline observers within the Church. Or all of the above. They abdicate their baptismal responsibilities.”

Priests may suffer, too, from unrealistic expectations stifling their human development. It is manifested in “overwork, isolation, loneliness, unrelieved stress, the expectation that he and he alone will handle all the parish business and be responsible for all the parish problems.”

The document delves into the culture of the diocesan priesthood and characteristics that help incubate clericalism: the hierarchical and patriarchal structure of the church, its requirements for celibacy, an ordination that is said to confer an ontological change, an education separated from the daily lives of laypeople, distinctive clothing and liturgical dress. Clerics also receive privileges of lifestyle and compensation not available to the people to whom they minister. The final section of the paper describes options for confronting clericalism.

“Our aim,” the AUSCP and VOTF writers say, “has been to raise the consciousness
of readers to the expressions of clericalism and its problems. Clericalism betrays the teachings of the scriptures and ignores the best practices of the first three centuries of Christian faith and life. Both clerics and lay persons can be afflicted with the disease. Both are often unaware that their mode and manner, their self-understanding, and their sense of ministry have wandered far from the example of Jesus … [We]” hope that our words help us all rise to the challenge of today in confronting and ultimately removing as many vestiges as possible of the clericalism that harms us all.”

Cardinal Cupich emphasized a similar conclusion: “Clericalism can only be confronted by reclaiming the authenticity of the conversion we are called to in Baptism.”

The team preparing the report worked with input from clergy and laypeople across the United States, modeling the synodality Pope Francis urges as one way to address clericalism’s damage. Following its completion, the white paper also was endorsed by FutureChurch, another organization that includes both priests and lay people.

Lead writers for “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism” were Rev. Kevin Clinton, AUSCP Past Chair of the Leadership Team, retired pastor, Archdiocese of St. Paul–Minneapolis; and Ms. Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director, Voice of the Faithful, member of Paulist Center Community, Archdiocese of Boston.

Contributors on the Working Group under the auspices of AUSCP were Rev. Gerry Bechard, AUSCP, pastor of Sts. Simon and Jude Parish, Archdiocese of Detroit; Ms. Alvera Bell, parishioner of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Diocese of Youngstown; Mr. David Bell, parishioner of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Diocese of Youngstown; Rev. Bernard R. Bonnot, AUSCP Executive Director, retired pastor in the Diocese of Youngstown; and Rev. Tom Ogg, AUSCP, retired pastor, Diocese of Cheyenne, Worldwide Marriage Encounter―U.S. Ecclesial Priest.

N.B. “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism” can be read and downloaded at Strategies for addressing clericalism in local faith communities can be found in “The BridgeDialogues: Laity & Clergy Reimaging the Church” at, which is a collaborative effort of AUSCP, FutureChurch and VOTF.

Contact: Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director,

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 reforming administrative structures that have failed. VOTF’s mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. More information is at

Contact: Kevin Clinton,, Paul Leingang,

Association of U.S. Catholic Priests: AUSCP serves the People of God in parishes and other ministries. We seek to add a priest’s voice to the public conversation within our pilgrim church, among bishops and lay persons, vowed religious, ordained deacons and others. Our concerns are your concerns: good liturgy, social justice, the role of women in our church, immigration policies that reflect Gospel values, the dignity of all human lives, and a Church that welcomes all the People of God. Our mission is to be an association of U.S. Catholic priests offering mutual support and a collegial voice through dialogue, contemplation and prophetic action on issues affecting Church and society. Our vision is to be a Priest’s Voice of Hope and Joy within our Pilgrim Church. More information is at

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How D.C. Catholics are leading the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal / America: The Jesuit Review

The failure of church leadership to stop clerical sexual abuse hit Catholics in Washington, D.C. hard. (America: The Jesuit Review)

This week marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed the alleged crimes of hundreds of priests over seven decades and brought the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church back into the national spotlight.

“The failure of church leadership to stop clerical sexual abuse hit Catholics in Washington, D.C., hard. Two months before the grand jury report, claims of abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then archbishop emeritus of Washington, became public. In October, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, then the archbishop of Washington, who had been criticized for his handling of abusive priests during his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh. A few months later, McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis.

“In the wake of last summer’s news, my parish, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., embarked on a “Season of Discernment.” We asked: How could a local parish help heal serious wounds—especially wounds of trust born of the scandal—for survivors and their families as well as the broader community of lay faithful? How might we avoid getting stuck in the status quo and move forward to enact meaningful change?”

By Kathleen Coogan, Pastoral Council, Holy Trinity Parish, Washington, D.C., in America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

Kathleen Coogan will be part of a panel discussion on local responses to clergy abuse during Voice of the Faithful’s 2019 Conference in Boston Oct. 10. Click here for information and registration.

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An old, sad story on finances

By Margaret Roylance, Voice of the Faithful Finance Working Group Chair

For those of us who have seen the church we love struggle with ongoing scandal over the last decade and a half, the news that emerged from the Diocese of Santa Rosa on July 22 is yet another chapter in a long sad story of trusted clerics—and lay people too—betraying the trust the faithful.

Santa Rosa is not the worst example of alleged financial malfeasance uncovered in the last few weeks. That prize goes to the outrageous robbery of resources from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, by its Bishop Michael Bransfield. Yet the theft of parish collections on the other side of the country, by Pastor Oscar Diaz of Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa, illustrates yet again the need for lay vigilance.

We read these stories of financial wrongdoing regularly now, and this may cause some to think we are losing ground in the battle for accountability within the church. But learning the truth is never the problem. Silence is the enemy of reform, not bad news. Silence perpetuated both the sexual and financial the wrongdoing that has plagued the church and all of human society for millennia. We are learning about these crimes now because the leadership of the church has lost the will and the ability to cover them up. That is good news.

The Santa Rosa theft, while similar to so many we have heard in the past, has one promising constituent that we hope can be repeated when thefts surface elsewhere.

In this case, despite clear specifications from the diocese about the proper way to handle weekly collections, when Fr. Diaz was injured in an accident the police reportedly found in his car six tamper-evident security bags filled with cash donated by the parishioners of Resurrection Parish. Diaz told police the money was his salary. Indications are that it was not.

So often under circumstances like these diocesan leaders close ranks and refuse to acknowledge the wrongdoing. They keep parishioners in the dark as long as possible. They do their best to avoid any press coverage of the incident. Some bishops have even invoked their authority under the so-called Corporation Sole, a common form of diocesan governance in the U.S., to keep law enforcement out of the picture. Because the bishop essentially owns all the resources of the diocese under this form of governance, if he chooses after the fact to allow the pastor to keep bags of parish money in his car or a $10,000 stack of cash in his room at the rectory, no theft has occurred.

But the actions taken by Bishop Robert Vasa when he learned about the accident may be a new twist on the old story. He has dealt with the injured priest and his parishioners in an open and straightforward way. Of course, the story is still unfolding, but it is unfolding in the open. Time will tell if Bishop Vasa has really chosen a different path, but there are some indications that he is open to greater transparency and accountability with regard to diocesan finances.

When Voice of the Faithful carried out its 2018 Diocesan Online Financial Transparency Review, Santa Rosa was the only diocese to publish highlights of the meetings of its Diocesan Finance Council (DFC). The DFC is the only part of diocesan governance where lay members are authorized by Canon Law to exercise authority (Canon 493, Canon 1277). The deliberations of the DFC are treated as secret by most U.S. bishops, but Santa Rosa shares some information about DFC activities on its diocesan website.

Santa Rosa also posts guidelines on its website concerning handling and counting of collections. The collections are to be kept in tamper-evident security bags and the bags are to be in the stewardship of two unrelated persons when not in a locked safe. It is clear that these guidelines were not followed at Resurrection Parish. Were parish staff and members of the count teams not aware of the requirements? Were they reluctant to challenge a popular pastor when he ignored those requirements?

The situation at Resurrection Parish shines a spotlight on the difference between transparency and accountability. The diocese has made the requirements clear, which is the key element of transparency. Accountability is a separate matter and means that those who ignore requirements must be held to account. Fr. Diaz is living proof that a parish priest can ignore diocesan requirements as long as he keeps a low enough profile.

So, how can a pastor like Fr. Diaz be held to account? Lay members of the parish must speak up when they see violations of accepted procedures for safe handling of money. And not just for financial matters but also if they see that criminal record checks on parish volunteers are omitted, that guidelines to ensure children are not put in dangerous situations are ignored, and so on.

Parishioners must speak to the pastor about such lapses, and to the bishop if the pastor does not make necessary changes. The bishop must ensure that posted requirements are followed. Real positive change in the church will require genuine accountability and all the faithful, you and me, have a role to play in making that happen.

Could what happened in Santa Rosa happen in your own parish? Do parishioners know what your diocese requires for safe handling of collections? Do those requirements follow guidelines set for responsible financial collection practices? You may want to take the Parish Financial Integrity Quotient test found on the Voice of the Faithful website at Parish F-IQ to learn more about protecting the financial resources of your parish.

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

July 31, 2019


Brazilian bishop accused of cover-up as police investigate new abuse allegations
“Police in Brazil are investigating three Catholic priests accused of abusing several altar boys and seminarians. The former bishop of their diocese, who resigned in May, is also under investigation(link is external) for having allegedly extorted money from them in exchange for his silence. The lawyer of a group of victims said last week he intends to file lawsuits against the Catholic Church, seeking $530,000 in damages for each person.” By Eduardo Campos Lima,

After pressure from lay group, West Virginia diocese agrees to audit
“A lay group that urged West Virginia Catholics to withhold support for their diocese(link is external)claimed victory after Archbishop William Lori announced July 17 that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will undergo an independent financial audit. ‘I clearly understand that the Church has a long way to go to regain your confidence and trust,’ Lori, archbishop of Baltimore who is also serving as administrator for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, wrote to West Virginia’s Catholics. Lori disclosed that the diocese would engage the services of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP for a full audit of its finances.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Bransfield disciplined by Pope Francis
Pope Francis has handed down discipline against former Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Church Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). In a brief communication released Friday (Jul 19), the Pope said Bransfield cannot live in the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese. He’s also prohibited from taking part in any Catholic Church services in West Virginia and must make personal amends for people he has harmed.” By Jeff Jenkins, Metro News

In 44 states, clergy don’t have to tell police when someone confesses to child sex abuse
“Under current Utah law, members of the clergy are not required to report confessions of child sex abuse. Utah State Rep. Angela Romero wants to change that. Romero is drafting a bill that would require any religious leader in a position of authority to become a mandatory reporter—an individual required by law to notify authorities of any admissions of abuse(link is external). Teachers, coaches, doctors and others who work with children are often mandatory reporters. Failure to report can be considered a criminal offense. In a statement on Facebook, Romero said the bill was not targeting any particular religious group, but was rather intended to protect children from harm.” By Jacob Wallace, Newsweek

Report claims church leaders long knew about Bransfield accusations
“A recent newspaper report details claims that senior church leaders in the United States knew as far back as 2012 about complaints against a West Virginia bishop whose spending habits and recent accusations of sexual misconduct(link is external) have dogged the body of U.S. bishops at a time when they’re seeking a path toward greater accountability for themselves. A July 3 story in The Washington Post said U.S. and Vatican officials had for years received correspondence from parishioners and others concerned with excessive spending by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, the former head of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the country.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Catholic group’s response: not a dime to the diocese
“Following an open letter to Archbishop William Lori and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, a group of Catholics have declared their intent to withhold funds to the diocese after failing to receive a measured response(link is external). Last month (June), Lay Catholic Voices for Change, an organization comprised of Catholics from north-central West Virginia, sent an open letter to Lori addressing what they saw as numerous issues with the structure of the church, as well as their proposed solutions and a call for increased parishioner participation in clerical matters. The letter requested a response by June 28, which did not come.” By The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

Catholic Church offers cash to settle abuse claims
“Amid the latest wave of sexual-abuse investigations and allegations against the Catholic Church, victims whose criminal cases are too old to bring to court are considering suing the church. To stem the tide of potential settlement costs, some dioceses, like the one in Scranton, Pennsylvania, are creating compensation programs for victims. There’s one catch: Taking the settlement means shielding the church from having to make certain documents public and victims are then barred from further lawsuits(link is external).” By Greater Baton Rouge Daily Business Report Staff


Sex abuse survivors’ advocacy group wants two bishops blocked from ministry
“Advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse have urged the local bishop to bar from church functions two prelates with ties to Kansas City, Missouri(link is external), who’ve been central figures in the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sent a letter July 5 to Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop James Johnston requesting he use a new protocol created by U.S. bishops to block resigned Bishop Robert Finn and retired Bishop Joseph Hart from ministry and all church meetings and activities.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Putting Church above children
“One way Pope Francis could move ahead with his aim of curbing clergy sex abuse in the worldwide Catholic Church would be to insist that the Holy See comply with the international human-rights treaty(link is external) it signed to protect the rights of the child. Since nearly every country in the world (other than the United States) has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1989 treaty sets a clear international standard for Catholic bishops everywhere.” By Paul Moses, Commonweal

Morrisey calls Pope Francis’ punishment of Bransfield ‘only one step’ in effort for transparency
“West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey believes former Bishop Michael Bransfield punishment by the Catholic pope is one step toward full transparency(link is external). ‘The allegations against former Bishop Bransfield have caught the attention of nearly everyone in the Catholic faith, including the Pope himself, who has now given disciplinary measures for Bransfield,’ Morrisey said. ‘Pope Francis’ call for Bransfield to ‘make personal amends for some of the harm he caused,’ is a first step, but it is just that—only one step—since the public cannot know the full extent of harm caused by Bransfield’s actions until the Diocese fully complies with our subpoena and releases the full Bransfield report.’” By Kyla Asbury, West Virginia Record

Catholic group launches diocese donation boycott
“A message is being sent to the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Members of a group calling for accountability from the Diocese in the wake of an independent report detailing alleged financial and sexual misconduct on the part of former Bishop Michael Bransfield are now encouraging the withholding of contributions to the Diocese itself(link is external).” By MetroNews Staff


No answers from Washington archdiocese about McCarrick’s money
“More than one year after the announcement of allegations of sexual abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Archdiocese of Washington has continued to refuse questions about McCarrick’s use of a personal charitable fund(link is external). McCarrick funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through what was known as the Archbishop’s Fund, and reportedly made gifts to senior Vatican officials, even while the fund remained under the charitable auspices of the archdiocese.” By Ed Condon, Catholic New Agency


Pope: Church needs apostolate of prevention to protect minors from abuse
“Prevention is key in protecting minors from abuse, Pope Francis said. The protection of minors is a serious concern and what is needed is ‘an apostolate of prevention(link is external),’ he said in a video message to Catholic leaders taking part in a safeguarding course at the Pontifical University of Mexico. The month-long course, ending July 27, was sponsored by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Formation for the Protection of Minors, which collaborates with the Center for Child Protection of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

With upcoming retirements, Francis could ‘reorient’ U.S. bishops’ conference
“Pope Francis will have a rare opportunity to revamp the leadership of a large segment of the U.S. Catholic Church(link is external) in the coming year, as a high number of bishops in dioceses across the country are reaching the traditional retirement age of 75. In fact, nine residential American bishops are already 75 or older. Five more will turn that age by the end of June 2020. Although prelates can serve past retirement age at the pope’s pleasure, it is expected that many of the 14 will be replaced.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


When picking new U.S. bishops, Francis shouldn’t hesitate to ruffle feathers
“My colleague Joshua McElwee has an article today listing the U.S. dioceses that are vacant, those with a bishop who is already past the mandatory retirement age of 75, and those soon to turn 75, 22 ordinaries in all. As he notes, these appointments could potentially shift the U.S. bishops’ conference in a new direction(link is external). Let’s look at which appointments are the most important and why, and discuss generally the kinds of choices the pope faces. First, a little background. For most of the history of the Catholic Church, bishops were nominated by the local civil authority, and it was left to Rome to confirm the nomination.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

The USCCB and the sex abuse crisis
“Perhaps some of you are getting tired of hearing about the sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Church, but my sense is that most of you want to be kept informed about how the leadership of the Church is addressing this current scandalous situation. As a follow-up to my last column, I want to explain to you the actions taken by the United States bishops at our June meeting(link is external) … What the U.S. bishops did was take our Holy Father’s direction and apply it here in the United States. We essentially adapted the actions we were prepared to take at our last November meeting in light of the Pope’s letter, applying the new universal law of the Holy Father to the situation in our own country.” By Most Rev. Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland, Catholic Sentinel

The Vatican’s next Synod of Bishops should focus on women
“That so many are left guessing as to the interior life of one person (Pope Francis) — a man — should indicate that an additional approach is necessary. Namely, the next general assembly of the Synod of Bishops (which will likely occur in the early years of the coming decade) should be dedicated to the role of women in the life of the church(link is external). The importance of this issue — one the church really can’t afford to punt on any longer — tracks with the increased importance Francis has placed on the Synod of Bishops during his pontificate.” By Don Clemmer, National Catholic Reporter


Catholic priests in India protest cardinals return
“India’s Catholic Church, already rocked by allegations that a bishop raped a nun, is facing an uprising by hundreds of priests against one of the country’s four cardinals following his reinstatement by Pope Francis(link is external). Francis last year effectively suspended Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the eastern rite Syro-Malabar church in the southern Indian state of Kerala, amid a controversy over disputed land sales. Francis named a temporary administrator to run Alencherry’s Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, resolve its financial problems and try to heal the divisions the dispute had caused among the priests.” By Emily Schmall and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on WRAL-TV News


Pope Francis gets it right on Curia reform and women
“In appointing seven women to the Vatican congregation that oversees religious orders July 9, Pope Francis achieved a double win. In one stroke, he has advanced both the role of women in the church and the reform of the Vatican Curia(link is external). This is significant because his efforts so far in these areas have been mediocre. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), colloquially known as the Congregation for Religious, is responsible for setting policy for Catholic nuns, brothers and consecrated lay people.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Nuns & Nones helps millennials find surprise soulmates in Catholic sisters
“The Dominican sisters sat in silence, eyes closed, palms upturned, couches and chairs pushed together into a circle in the room at the Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their reading that evening came not from Scripture, but from poet Mary Oliver: ‘Though I play at the edges of knowing, / truly I know / our part is not knowing, / but looking, and touching, and loving.’ And the candle flickering in their midst didn’t invoke a saint, but author and activist James Baldwin. Joining the Catholic women religious in contemplation was a group of young women who aren’t sure they’d describe themselves as religious in any sense(link is external).” By Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service


As recruiting era slows, women religious reflect, then choose new course
“The questions for women in religious communities facing decline are ceaseless(link is external). How do we provide for our elderly members? How do we shut down a mission central to our identity as a congregation — or pass it on to laypeople? How do we grieve the deaths of friends, which often seem to come in waves, and keep hope alive? Remarkably, leaders and observers say, while there had been times of sadness as colleagues died and ministries were reconfigured or surrendered, women religious have not been overwhelmed. Instead they have brought skill, resilience and profound faith to the task of planning for their individual and corporate futures.” By Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Register


I’m a Catholic woman who was allowed to preach at Mass—until it was banned
“In our parish in Northern California, lay women began to preach the good news during the Sunday liturgy in 1996(link is external). The practice emerged from within the faith community. Several women had approached our pastor and spoke of the devastating lack of women’s spiritual wisdom and leadership in the church for 2,000 years. We asked: Couldn’t women, who feel called and are prepared, give a homily—a teaching that expands on the message of the Scripture readings and invites listeners to a change of mind and heart? By Jean Molesky-Poz, Amercia: The Jesuit Review

How can the church honor women? Elevate Mary Magdalene’s feast to a solemnity
“According to the Gospel, the first person to encounter the risen Christ is the female disciple Mary of Magdala, also known as Mary Magdalene.(link is external) John recounts the amazing story in the Gospel passage proclaimed at Easter Sunday Mass: ‘On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb’ (Jn 20:1). Nothing in the Gospel occurs by mere chance. It is highly significant that in a society where men wielded power in almost every aspect of life, Christ chose a woman to be the first to see him after his resurrection and to announce the news to his apostles.” By Alvan I. Amadi, America: The Jesuit Review


Lay role matters in renewing church wounded by abuse, speaker says
“The laity can lead the way in renewing a church wounded by the decades-long sexual abuse scandal(link is external), according to Meghan Cokeley, director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for the New Evangelization. Prayer, redemptive suffering, forgiveness and a deeper understanding of the laity’s calling can radically revive the church, said Cokeley, who has been touring Philadelphia-area parishes to deliver a talk titled ‘What Can We Do? The Role of Laity in a Time of Crisis.’” By Gina Christian, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot


Curia reform: changing attitudes, not just structures
“Pope Francis’ plan for the reform of the Roman Curia will change the names of several offices and merge a few of them, but the biggest change it hopes to spark is one of attitude(link is external). The last major reorganization of the Curia came with St. John Paul II’s apostolic constitution, ‘Pastor Bonus’ (The Good Shepherd) in 1988, which — in its very first sentence — spoke of Jesus entrusting the apostles with ‘the mission of making disciples in all nations and of preaching the Gospel to every creature.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Pope Francis appoints new Vatican press office director
“ Pope Francis appointed Matteo Bruni to serve as director of the Vatican press office(link is external), replacing Alessandro Gisotti, who had been serving as interim director since Dec. 31. The Vatican announced the appointment July 18. Bruni, 42, previously served as assistant to the director since 2013, helping organize and coordinate media presence and pools on papal trips. Born in Winchester, Great Britain, Bruni began working at the Vatican press office in 2009, coordinating accreditation for journalists.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service


The priesthood is being crucified on the cross of celibacy
“We cannot bring about real reform of the Roman Catholic priesthood unless we do away with mandatory celibacy(link is external) for diocesan priests in the Latin rite. Why would that improve the priesthood? It would make priests more honest about ourselves and sexuality. With real parents in the priesthood, it would make us more aware of the vulnerability of children and more outraged at their abuse. (Does anybody really think that if bishops were also real fathers that they would have covered up so much child abuse?)” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter


Lay Advisory Board’s second meeting highlights synod efforts at healing
“Dale Lieb stepped away July 17 from his second Lay Advisory Board meeting with Archbishop Bernard Hebda determined to help spread the word about prayer and listening events set to begin this fall in preparation for the 2021 archdiocesan synod(link is external). ‘We’re inviting everyone to attend these events,’ Lieb said. ‘This whole thing is being guided by the Holy Spirit.’ Archbishoip Hebda announced the synod last month and planning is well underway as the archbishop prepares over the next two years to hear suggestions from people about the pastoral needs of the local Church.” By Joe Ruff, The Catholic Spirit


The structural violence of the Catholic Church
“I used to love hearing St. Peter’s church bells from my house. Now I have a visceral reaction to them. I’m reminded of hypocrisy, loss and destruction(link is external). From the beginning of the effort to save the chancery, we said this was about much more than saving buildings. The physical destruction of the chancery is itself a violent act; but I want to talk about another type of violence. ‘Structural violence refers to any scenario in which a social structure perpetuates inequity, thus causing preventable suffering.’ ( The role of structural violence in the Catholic Church is rarely discussed.” By Stacey Morrissey,

Reform or dismantle? Why we need to keep the institutions that keep us
“One of the effects of the sex-abuse crisis is the current moment of institutional iconoclasm—the temptation to get rid of the institutional element of the Catholic Church(link is external). The failures of the church’s institutions are now on full display, even more so than after the revelations of the Spotlight investigation. It is hypocritical, however, to interpret the abuse crisis as a clerical abuse crisis rather than a Catholic abuse crisis.” By Massimo Faggioli


Priest with money bags hurt in crash, allegedly pilfered $95K from Santa Rosa church
“Bishop Robert F. Vasa knew something was amiss as the bags of cash started piling up(link is external). First, it was the six security bags — used for collecting parish donations — found in a Santa Rosa priest’s car after the pastor was injured in an accident. Then it was the dozen sacks — both sealed and unsealed — in the same priest’s office, as well as a $10,000 stack of cash found in his desk drawer.” By Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle

Financial records paint troubling picture of Catholic Charities of San Antonio
“Financial records leaked to the KSAT 12 Defenders paint a disturbing picture about how money is being handled by Catholic Charities of San Antonio(link is external), the charitable arm of the Archdiocese, which claims to serve hundreds of thousands of people a year across 19 South Texas counties. An audit done by an outside accounting firm looked at the charity’s records for its financial year ending June 30, 2018 … found a long list of accounting problems, some of them serious and referred to as ‘material weaknesses.’” By Dillon Collier, KSAT-TV12 News

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston hires independent auditor, will publish audit results
“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which has come under fire from the West Virginia attorney general for what he claims was an attempt to ‘sidestep transparency,’ has appointed a new independent auditor that will conduct an audit of all diocese accounts(link is external). Archbishop William Lori said in in a news release Wednesday that CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) LLP – a national auditing firm that serves more than 30 dioceses across the country – has been hired to be the auditing firm for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.” By FOX-TV11 News


Survivor asks Pope to back bill ending statute of limitations for abuse
“An abuse survivor in the pontiff’s native Argentina has called on Pope Francis to back a push in the country’s senate to eliminate a statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children(link is external) in Argentine law. The bill was introduced just days after Chile’s congress voted July 6 to remove the statute of limitations on child abuse from its own criminal code. An earlier effort in Argentina to lift the statute of limitations in 2011, known as the ‘Piazza law’ for fashion designer Roberto Piazza who was sexually abused by an older brother, was subject to diverse legal interpretations and, observers say, has not been widely implemented.” By Inès San Martin,


The hope of justice heals old, still raw wounds
“Last year, we used this page to call for passage of the Child Victims Act, and we were glad when this year — with two Democratic houses — the legislature finally passed the act. … But even we weren’t prepared for the emotions unleashed(link is external) when we published a front-page story last week on a priest who had served in our community — in Altamont and in the Hilltowns — being accused of raping boys in his care.” By The Altamont Enterprise Editorial Staff

‘The 50 Year Secret’ – Q&A and Reporter’s Notebook
“This Q&A time line begins February 13, 2019, when the Diocese of Arlington and Diocese of Richmond (Virginia) released their lists of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse … You’ll find the more questions asked the more revealing answers we got(link is external) … Question: Were there any priests moved around from one diocese to another …” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Tom Doyle – The Truth Seeker
“If you ask Tom Doyle to describe himself he would say a former priest and Catholic Church attorney who now helps priest sex abuse survivors by testifying in court cases as an expert on the policies and practices of the Church. Doyle also consults for states and nations investigation child sex abuse. In a sense, Doyle is a whistle blower for how the Catholic Church used to, and presently, operates(link is external). He says leadership within the Catholic Church is doing much better in terms of preventing pedophile priests from abusing and helping abuse survivors get help. But he says the lies continue and for that reason shared his thoughts with ABC7 News for The 50 Year Secret.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Becky Ianni – The Survivor
“Becky Ianni, a spokesperson for SNAP in the D.C. region and a child sex abuse survivor, gave ABC7 News access to the recording she made of her Diocese of Arlington Review Board Hearing in 2007. This recording is equal parts revelatory and heartbreaking(link is external). The Diocese of Arlington eventually ruled that Ianni’s abuse allegations against Monsignor William Reinecke were credible. Ianni is permitting us to air parts of her testimony to help survivors find the strength to come forward and for institutions, like the Catholic Church, to understand more completely the horrors unleashed by abusive members of the clergy on generations of children.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Kelley Arnold – The Witness
“Kelley Arnold grew up in Old Town Alexandria. Arnold says a significant part of his childhood revolved around the church he and his family attended: St. Mary Catholic Church, now the Basilica of St. Mary. Father William Reinecke began working at St. Mary when Arnold was a young teenager. Arnold says Father Reinecke was beloved and respected by parishioners. So, when Reinecke invited minor boys on overnight, out of town trips, Arnold insists no one, initially, suspected Reinecke was a serial pedophile(link is external). Arnold, in chilly detail, now tells the never heard before stories of Father Reinecke’s grooming and eventual sexual assault of boys. Arnold’s heartfelt story of regret reveals the method of a deranged yet trusted religious leader. He hopes by coming forward others will get the help they need.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Why is priest sex abuse often unreported?
“Survivors and experts who work in the field of child sex abuse will tell you there are many reasons why it’s difficult for some to report priest sex abuse(link is external). Denial, fear and shame are just a few of the reasons. So, we asked survivors and experts on this subject why sex abuse is so often unreported or reported decades after occurring. ‘I always blamed myself,’ Becky Ianni says. ‘I was taught that he was sent by God so therefore God is punishing me. I must be a bad little girl … That somehow, even though I did not remember my abuse until I was 48, that feeling of inadequacy was with me my entire life.’” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Former altar boy comes forward with stunning revelations about former local priest
“Earlier this year, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington released its list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse. Father William Reinecke, one of the highest-ranking members of the clergy in our region in the last half century, was among those listed. After speaking with one of Reinecke’s survivors, we realized that a much larger, never-before-told story of widespread, serial pedophilia involving Reinecke may exist(link is external). So, we decided to dig deeper.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News


Former Buffalo priest accused of abuse in California lawsuit
“An Episcopal priest in California who formerly served as a Catholic priest in the Buffalo Diocese was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a woman in the Town of Tonawanda decades ago(link is external). The abuse is alleged to have happened when the Rev. Paul J. Kowalewski was preparing to be a Catholic priest in Buffalo in the 1970s. Kowalewski, 71, currently is listed as part of the assisting clergy in the Church of St. Paul in the Desert, a parish in Palm Springs in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. He has been an Episcopal priest since 1990.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


Op-Ed: Validity of Catholic Church and Colorado sex abuse report doubtful
“For thirty years, the Catholic Church has been rocked by a steady roar of sexual abuse revelations. Some of its priests have been serially sexually abusing its children. Many of its bishops have been “covering up” these crimes. The massiveness of these crimes — they occurred in significant numbers in every corner of the Catholic world — has dulled our senses to the personal pain of each story. This is a universal story that continues in many forms. A few weeks ago, Colorado announced a new chapter(link is external).” By Terry Kelly,


Catholic Diocese of Crookston settles clergy sex abuse lawsuit for $5 million
“The diocese of Crookston, Minnesota has settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of child sex abuse survivors(link is external). The agreement is for $5-million. A Twin Cities law firm says the agreement will result in payments to 15 abuse victims and keep the diocese from filing for bankruptcy. The names of priests will also be disclosed.” By KFGO-FM

Chicago Archdiocese removes priest from duties after allegations of sexual abuse that took place two decades ago
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has removed a priest from pastoral duties in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) that took place two decades ago. In a Saturday (Jul. 13) letter to members of two South Side parishes, Cardinal Blase Cupich says the Rev. William McFarlane was asked to step aside from ministry after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office revealed the allegation.” By Associated Press in Chicago Tribune


Kansas Bureau of Investigation receives 119 reports of a use in Catholic clergy investigation
“The Kansas Bureau of Investigation releases new details on their task force investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy members in Kansa(link is external)s. You’ll remember, the KBI launched that investigation back in February, at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Kansans were asked to report any victimization by members of the clergy, church employees, volunteers or others in positions of authority within the church. Since that time, the KBI has received 119 reports from victims who’ve contacted them related to past sexual abuse. Those reports prompted 74 investigations in 33 Kansas counties.” By KWCH-TV12 News

Kansas City Kansas Archdiocese priest charged with possessing child pornography
“A priest who served at several locations under the Kansas City, Kansas, Archdiocese has been charged in federal court with possessing child pornography(link is external). Christopher Rossman allegedly possessed visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct in September 2016, according to charging documents.” By Katie Moore, The Kansas City Star


St. Xavier High School releases list of brothers the school says were ‘credibly accused’ of abusing children
“St. X has released a list of brothers the school says were ‘credibly accused’ of abusing kids(link is external). The list was created with the help of a retired FBI agent, who reviewed records going back decades. Fourteen brothers once assigned to St. X were named, dating from the 1930s until the 80s. Of those, only the allegations against three happened during their time at the school.” By WDRB-TV News


Lake Charles Diocese knew of abusers years before listed dates; helped priests continue careers
“The Diocese of Lake Charles joined its six Louisiana counterparts three months ago in releasing a list of clergymen from its jurisdiction who have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors. The lists were intended to answer nationwide public demands for accountability and transparency. But although the Lake Charles list named predatory priests, it did so in a way that was less than transparent(link is external).” By Ben Myers, The Acadiana Advocate


Retired judge will investigate sexual abuse allegations against late bishop
“A retired judge will review a Chicopee man’s allegation that former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon subjected him to sexual abuse in the 1960s(link is external). The man and his allies are taking a wait-and-see approach to the news. The Springfield diocese announced Monday (Jul. 22) that Peter A. Velis, a retired Superior Court judge, will begin work immediately to investigate reports from a former altar boy that Weldon not only assaulted him, but facilitated his abuse and that of other children by local clergy.” By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

Xaverian Brothers release names of members of credibly accused of abuse
“The Xaverian Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious order that operates five high schools in Massachusetts, has identified 34 men found to be credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external) dating back to the early 20th century. At least a dozen of those named were associated with St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers and at least five men worked at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood. Others taught at Malden Catholic High School and St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, according to the list.” By Danny McDonald and Alison Kuznitz, The Boston Globe


Catholic Diocese of Saginaw adds eight religious order clergy to list of those accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has added the names of eight religious-order clergy to its website naming those who, according to the church, have at least one credible allegation of child sexual abuse against them(link is external). Church officials could not be reached immediately for comment. But the Saginaw Diocese website now includes the names of several members of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and one member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Six of the eight people named are deceased.” By Zahra Ahmad,

Priest roundup shows Michigan attorney general isn’t letting justice evade victims
“Bringing cases against priests based on decades-old incidents shows how determined Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is to use her resources in the now years-long Catholic Church abuse scandal(link is external). It must have been a shock to the six men arrested around the world May 24; most had been living quietly in other states for decades. But Nessel knew what they most likely didn’t: The clock on Michigan’s statute of limitations law stops running when the accused perpetrator leaves Michigan. The arrests sent a clear signal to church leaders and to victims: she’s leaving no stone unturned.” By Michael Betzold,


Face to face with Brad Hall: fighting for victims of clergy sex abuse
“Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall has represented more than 200 victims of priest sex abuse(link is external) in New Mexico. As his years-long legal battle nears its conclusion in federal bankruptcy proceedings, Hall talked about the legal and emotional journey that began with an unlikely visit.” By Kent Walz, Albuquerque Journal


Bronx sisters reach settlement with New York Archdiocese over sexual assaults in their home b parish priest
“Two Bronx sisters sexually abused by a trusted parish priest(link is external) inside their home during the 1970s reached a settlement with the Archdiocese of New York over the childhood assaults. ‘In bringing this into the light, the evil cannot hide and we can begin the healing process,’ said Imelda Maldonado Davis, 54, at a Tuesday (Jul. 23) news conference outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ‘And we can protect all of our children.’ By Mikey Light and Larry McShane

Bishop Malone says Olean listening session was ‘most powerful’ yet
“Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone called his listening session last month in Olean ‘the most powerful’ one yet, according to meeting notes from a group of lay people working with the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo(link is external). The embattled Malone spoke to and listened to local parishioners for two hours June 29 at Archbishop Walsh Academy as part of his listening sessions about the diocese’s clergy sexual abuse crisis. While media was not permitted in the session, the Movement to Restore Trust, an initiative of lay people that is hosting the listening sessions, posted its own notes from the session on its website.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Holy Trinity forged to fight sexual abuse crisis in Catholic Diocese
The Child Victims Act fully becomes New York law on Aug. 14. It is expected to bring a new wave of sexual abuse cases into the light(link is external), as the law allows more survivors their day in court. It also adds more urgency to the work currently underway to transform the Buffalo Catholic Diocese into a place of healing for those who have lost faith in the church. Canisius College President John Hurley and other lay Catholic leaders organized the Movement to Restore Trust in the fall of last year to ensure the sexual abuse crisis in the church never happens again … One of the nine points was to bring in an independent collaboration of prominent laity, religious and clergy called Leadership Roundtable to facilitate the work. ” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM, Buffalo’s National Public Radio Station


Observer, other media seek to unseal records from lawsuits against Catholic diocese
“News outlets including The Charlotte Observer have filed joint court motions that seek to unseal documents in two lawsuits that claimed sexual abuse(link is external) by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. Both lawsuits were resolved in favor of the 46-county diocese. The media group argues that documents the diocese had asked to be sealed, as part of motions for summary judgment in the cases, are of significant public interest. Television stations WBTV, WCNC and WSOC are also part of the group.” By Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer

Abuse survivor calls for transparency within Charlotte Catholic Diocese
“The Catholic church abuse scandal erupted years ago, but there are still demands for accountability. Names of church leaders accused of abuse have been released city by city, but not in Charlotte(link is external). A survivor told Channel 9 his calls for action have been ignored. ‘I want them to know that I have not disappeared,’ he said.” By WSOC-TV9 News


Belcourt woman publicly accuses priest of sexual assault during confession, sues Fargo Diocese
“Kateri Marion said she felt abandoned by Catholic leaders when she reported that a priest at her church in Belcourt, N.D., sexually abused her(link is external) three years ago. ‘I can’t tell you how scared I was when I came forward,’ she said Thursday, July 11, during a news conference held at the law offices of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo. ‘When I came forward, they left me in despair to pick up the pieces myself.’” By April Baumgarten,


Alleged victim of clergy sex abuse sues Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop
“A man who claims he was sexually abused by two priests in the Diocese of Harrisburg(link is external) in the 1960s is now filing a lawsuit against the Diocese, a former Bishop, and the current Bishop. This is after he turned down a victim compensation fund offer. From 1960-1965, Donald Asbee says two priests repeatedly raped and sexually abused him while he served as an altar boy. He’s now suing the Diocese, one former Bishop, and the current Bishop, for punitive damages. Asbee claims he was sexually assaulted first by Father Raymond Daugherty when he became an altar boy at age 9.” By

Catholic clergy sex abuse lawsuit loophole announcement
“The first of its kind lawsuit is being announced at the PA State Capitol Tuesday (Jul. 23) morning on behalf of a Catholic Clergy child sexual abuse survivor. At 10:30 Tuesday morning a man who said he’s a survivor of child sex abuse from two priests(link is external) is speaking out. The plaintiff lives in Missouri, but as a child he lived in Milton, Penn., an hour north of Harrisburg. While serving as an altar boy he says he was repeatedly raped by two Harrisburg Diocese priests at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church. Up to this point, the statute of limitations prohibited many child sex abuse survivors from filing. But according to a new ruling, there’s a lawsuit loophole.” By Christine McLarty, ABC-TV27 News


AG’s review goes beyond church’s list of ‘credible’ accusations
“Rhode Island’s attorney general said Friday (Jul. 12) that it will be several more months before he is finished reviewing allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy(link is external) in the state. Democrat Peter Neronha said he continues to review allegations of clergy sexual abuse to figure out what happened, what the response was and whether anyone can be held responsible.” By Jennifer McDermott, Associated Press in The Sun


Former altar boy was abused by a Knoxville priest and ex-bishop, lawsuit alleges
“An East Tennessee man says he was repeatedly sexually abused by a longtime priest and the first bishop of the Knoxville diocese(link is external), and was offered up to visiting priests for ‘inappropriate sexual conduct’ in a church sacristy. Attorneys for Blount County resident Michael Boyd are suing the Diocese of Knoxville in a Knox County Circuit Court lawsuit filed July 18. Boyd’s lawyer said he is OK with his name being used in news reports.” By Amy McRary, Knoxville News Sentinel


Jury finds former El Paso priest guilty in sexual assault trial
“A jury has found former El Paso priest Miguel Luna guilty on all 12 counts of sexual assault of a minor(link is external). Closing arguments took place and a third victim testified on Monday (Jul. 14), saying Luna raped her. In closing arguments, the state told jurors Luna used his position to sexually assault and that religion had nothing to do with the incident and told them that God was used to groom and rape the victim.” By Justin Kree and Marisa Saenz, CBS-TV4 News


Priest list includes affiliation and status
“The Diocese of Richmond added six priests to its list of clergy with credible and substantiated claims of child sexual abuse(link is external), Thursday, June 27. In a statement released simultaneously with the six names, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said, ‘As we continue to engage with survivors of abuse and learn more about the history of our diocese, we continue our commitment to transparency. It is my sincere hope that the additions of these individual will help provide healing for anyone who suffered at their hands.” By The Catholic Virginian

Norfolk Catholic priest suspended after new complaint over conduct
“The Richmond Diocese suspended a Norfolk priest Friday (Jul. 12) after a complaint about a violation of the church’s code of conduct with minors(link is external), according to a news release from the church. Bishop Barry C. Knestout suspended the priestly faculties of Father Joseph H. Metzger III, former pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church on Newport Avenue near Colonial Avenue and the Talbot Park neighborhood.” By Saleen Martin, The Virginia Pilot

Faith leaders now mandatory reporters of abuse under new law
“Faith leaders in Virginia are now required to report suspected child abuse(link is external). Legislation that went into effect July 1 adds ministers, priests, rabbis, and imams to the list of mandated reporters. But victim advocates say they want the law to go further. Becky Ianni with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said she hopes the law will increase reporting of child abuse, but is concerned about what she identifies as a loophole.” By WCEV-FM National Public Radio


These priests are accused of sexual abuse in the Tri-Cities area, shows Catholic Church list
“A list of Catholic Church priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) in Benton County has been made public on a new website. The list posted by the Yakima Diocese Lay Advisory Board at names 21 men who served the church in areas of central and eastern Washington under the Yakima Diocese. Franklin County is in the Spokane Diocese and not covered by the list.” By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald


St. Norbert Abbey releases list of 22 Norbertine priests known to have abused minors
“St. Norbert Abbey has identified 22 Norbertine priests who sexually assaulted minors over six decades(link is external). The abbey on Friday (Jul. 19) released the list of names after an investigation into abuse allegations conducted by an outside organization. Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, abbot of St. Norbert, said in a letter that he chose to publish the findings ‘in the spirit of accountability.’” By Haley BeMiller, Green Bay Press-Gazette


New guidelines inform Church’s response to abuse
“The Catholic Church is developing new national policy guidelines to strengthen and standardize Church authorities’ responses to historical and contemporary concerns and allegations of abuse of children and vulnerable adults(link is external). Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the development of the guidelines is a critical step forward in the Church’s ongoing response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.” By Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference


Chile ends statute of limitations for sex crimes with underage victims
“Chile has removed the statute of limitation on sex crimes against children and adolescents(link is external), though the new law is not retroactive. The move comes in the wake of major controversies about abusive Catholic clergy and attempts at reform in the Catholic Church in Chile.” By Catholic News Agency


Priest ‘systematically’ abused boys at St. Joseph’s College, court told
“A Catholic priest sexually abused two boys ‘regularly, systematically and horrifically(link is external),’ a jury was told. Michael Higginbottom, 76, is accused of targeting pupils while he was a teacher in the 1970s and 1980s at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, Lancashire. Two complainants said they were abused in his living quarters at the boarding school, Burnley Crown Court heard.” By BBC News


Preist sexally abused Dededo boy at Talofofo Falls camping
“A lawsuit filed on Wednesday (Jul. 24) alleges that Father Louis Brouillard sexually abused a Dededo boy(link is external) during a weekend camping trip at Talofofo Falls around the late 1960s. The plaintiff, identified in federal court documents only by the initials B.A. to protect his privacy, was a member of the Boy Scouts of America from around 1969 to 1971.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News

Catholic priest, Father Andrew Manetta, accused in new molestation case
“A man who took confirmation classes at the Chalan Pago church in the mid-1980s, when he was a teenager, has accused Father Andrew Manetta, who was parish priest at the time, of sexually assaulting him during a sleepover(link is external). The man, identified in Superior Court of Guam documents by the initials L.L.L., has asked for at least $5 million in damages from the Capuchin Franciscans, Manetta’s religious order.” By Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News

Father Adrian Cristobal, accused of sex abuse in Guam, is missing after leaving Phoenix
“Father Adrian Cristobal, who was on sabbatical in Phoenix until recently and is accused of sexually abusing two boys(link is external) more than 20 years ago in Guam, has not returned to the island as ordered by the church. Two men filed separate civil suits in federal court in Guam in April and May accusing Cristobal of sexual abuse. Cristobal had arrived in Phoenix in December 2017 for sabbatical with a letter of good standing, the Phoenix Diocese said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic.” By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Arizona Republic


India toughens law to protect children from sexual abuse
“The Indian government has toughened a law against child sexual abuse and child pornography(link is external). The law amended this week has increased the maximum penalty for child sex abuse to capital punishment from 20 years in prison. The government also defined child pornography for the first time and made the penalties more stringent, with a maximum punishment up to three years in prison.” By Associated Press


Mexico conference aims to help Latin America fight abuse in the church
“Pope Francis wants an ‘apostleship of prevention’ when it comes to abuse, he said in a new video. ‘Any person, a lay man or woman, a religious man or woman, a priest, a bishop, who prevents children from reaching Jesus must be stopped while we’re still in time, or punished if they’ve committed a crime,’ Francis said in a video he sent last week to the 170 participants of a five-week program on abuse prevention at the Pontifical University of Mexico(link is external).” By Inès San Martin,, on


Polish abuse scandal: victims take on the Catholic Church
“Marek Mielewczyk was a 13-year-old altar boy when a priest asked him to come to his presbytery. ‘This is where I was abused for the first time(link is external),’ he says. He is one of several victims, now adults, featured in a documentary about Polish priests who sexually abused children. Tomasz and Marek Sekielski’s film, Don’t Tell Anyone, was watched 20 million times in the first week of its digital release – and prompted an unprecedented challenge to Poland’s Roman Catholic Church.” By Adam Easton, BBC News, Warsaw

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