Archive for June, 2021

The abuse crisis and the elusive horizon of a repenting church / National Catholic Reporter

“For the Catholic Church in the 21stcentury, the present is unmanageable, the future continues to slip away, and the hope of a fresh start has become elusive.”

National Catholic Reporter

“The Catholic Church enjoyed a bit of a renewed honeymoon with the global media after the May 21st announcement of the ‘synodal process 2021–2023.’ But the love fest lasted only about a week.

“It was brought to an abrupt and ugly end when law enforcement officials in Canada discovered 215 unmarked graves of indigenous children at a former Catholic-run residential school in British Columbia.

“International organizations quickly demanded that the Church in Canada and the Holy See admit responsibility for the tragedy.

“Pope Francis expressed his ‘closeness with Canadians traumatized by the shocking news,’ as he addressed pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square at last Sunday’s Angelus. But he stopped short of issuing a direct apology …

“These last two weeks demonstrate the predicament of the Catholic Church today. Every time the ecclesiastical hierarchy has tried to turn a new page, the past has come back to bite them.”

By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee says it won’t participate in AG investigation of clergy sex abuse / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Survivors of abuse and their advocates have long called for Wisconsin officials to take action, contending any review should be conducted by independent authorities and not the same institutions accused of perpetuating and covering up misconduct.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is pushing back against a recently announced attorney general investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, calling it a display of ‘anti-Catholic bigotry’ and a violation of the First Amendment. 

“In a letter from the archdiocese’s attorney, Frank LoCoco of the Milwaukee firm Husch Blackwell, contends Attorney General Josh Kaul doesn’t have the authority to investigate the Catholic dioceses of the state and that doing so would go against the U.S. Constitution and state laws. 

“In the letter, LoCoco suggests that the investigation may be motivated by anti-religious sentiments, and that the probe is looking back too far in time. 

“The first-term, Democratic attorney general announced the investigation in April. 

“Led by Kaul’s Department of Justice, the probe focuses on abuse allegations against clergy and other faith leaders, many of which date back decades and involve religious officials who are now dead.

“An investigation will be difficult to get underway with the archdiocese declining to produce documents, though.

“In a Tuesday (Jun. 1) email to congregants, Archbishop Jerome Listecki did vow to cooperate with any investigation into living members of the clergy brought forward during this inquiry. He wrote that instead of focusing on past abuse, Kaul should be investigating new claims. 

“In an email Thursday afternoon, Kaul said the investigation was launched in pursuit of accountability, healing and to prevent future abuse.”

By Laura Schulte and Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal SentinelRead more … 

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New Vatican law criminalizes abuse of adults, even by laity / National Catholic Reporter

‘It’s the first time church law has officially recognized as criminal the method used by sexual predators to build relationships with their victims to then sexually exploit them. The law also removes much of the discretion that had long allowed bishops and religious superiors to ignore or cover up abuse, making clear they can be held responsible for omissions and negligence in failing to properly investigate and sanction errant priests.”

National Catholic Reporter

“Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests who abuse their authority, and to say that laypeople who hold church office can be sanctioned for similar sex crimes.

“The new provisions, released Tuesday (Jun. 1) after 14 years of study, were contained in the revised criminal law section of the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law, the in-house legal system that covers the 1.3 billion-strong Catholic Church.

“The most significant changes are contained in two articles, 1395 and 1398, which aim to address major shortcomings in the church’s handling of sexual abuse. The law recognizes that adults, too, can be victimized by priests who abuse their authority over them, and said that laypeople in church offices, such as school principals or parish economists, can be punished for abusing minors as well as adults.

“The Vatican also criminalized the “grooming” of minors or vulnerable adults by priests to compel them to engage in pornography. It’s the first time church law has officially recognized as criminal the method used by sexual predators to build relationships with their victims to then sexually exploit them. 

“The law also removes much of the discretion that had long allowed bishops and religious superiors to ignore or cover up abuse, making clear they can be held responsible for omissions and negligence in failing to properly investigate and sanction errant priests.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more … 

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