Archive for December, 2022

Vatican’s handling of Jesuit priest shows new dimensions of never-ending abuse crisis

I think the Rupnik case actually recapitulates and casts a light on new dimensions that have emerged in the abuse scandal in recent years.

Massimo Faggioli, National Catholic Reporter

“On Dec. 2, the global Jesuit order confirmed reports made in several conservative Italian Catholic blogs that Slovenian Jesuit Fr. Marko Rupnik, a famous Rome-based artist, had been quietly disciplined for allegedly abusing adult women, and had been barred from hearing confessions or offering spiritual direction.

“On Dec. 14, Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit superior general, revealed more information. Rupnik, known in places across the world for his iconography and for mosaics in several renowned churches and cathedrals, had earlier been convicted by the Vatican’s doctrinal office of having used the confessional to absolve a woman of having engaged in sexual activity with him.

“That is one of the most serious crimes in canon law, and incurs an automatic excommunication. Sosa said Rupnik repented, and indicated that the excommunication had thus been lifted.

“Recapping the details of the case, some may feel the usual ‘here we go again’ with regard to sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Catholic Church. But I think the Rupnik case actually recapitulates and casts a light on new dimensions that have emerged in the abuse scandal in recent years. I want to briefly highlight 10 dimensions that I see.”

By Massimo Faggioli, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

December 16, 2022


Evidence suggests Pope John Paul II knew about abuse of minors decades before becoming pope
“A Dutch journalist based in Poland revealed evidence on Friday (Dec. 2) that Pope John Paul II was involved in covering up the abuse of minors while he was the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Krakow. The journalist, Ekke Overbeek, spent the last two years combing through archives in Poland, where he resides, and found several cases where the prominent Catholic Church figure knew about priests who abused children and helped them evade punishment, including transferring them to other parishes.” By NL Times

Vatican vendettas: Alleged witness manipulation jolts trial
“The text message to the Vatican monsignor offered forgiveness along with a threat: ‘I know everything about you … and I keep it all in my archives,’ it read. ‘I pardon you, Perlasca, but remember, you owe me a favor.’ The message was one of more than 100 newly revealed WhatsApp texts and other correspondence entered into evidence at the Vatican courthouse last week that have jolted a financial crimes trial involving the Holy See’s money-losing investment in a London property.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on

Head of Cologne abuse investigation commission resigns
“The state-appointed chairman of the commission to investigate abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne has quit, saying he doubted the independence of the commission and wondered whether its main aim was to protect Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. The German Catholic news agency KNA reported Stephan Rixen has stepped down as head of the Independent Commission for the Investigation of Abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne and has withdrawn from the body. Rixen told KNA Dec. 5 that his initial doubts about the independence and effectiveness of the committee had been confirmed.” By Catholic News Service on

Study of moral injury measures ‘added weight’ of clergy sexual abuse and its concealment
“A research team from Xavier University in Cincinnati has created a tool that measures the ‘moral injury’ caused by clergy sexual abuse and its concealment by officials in the Catholic Church. In a report on the pilot study, released Dec. 12, moral injury is described as persistent psychological and emotional distress, spiritual anguish, moral confusion, social isolation, and distrust for institutions. It results from a betrayal of trust or violation of deeply held moral values.” By Katie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter

‘We have not hidden anything’: Jesuit superior general interviewed n abuse allegations against Marko Rupnik
“Any case like this is very painful, [but]…. we have not hidden anything,’ says Arturo Sosa, S.J., the superior general of the Society of Jesus, in a short interview … This represents the first public comments of the superior general regarding the allegations against the Slovenian artist Marko Rupnik, S.J. Father Rupnik, whose mosaics decorate chapels in the Vatican, all over Europe, in the United States and Australia, has been barred from hearing confessions or offering spiritual direction after what the Jesuits described as complaints about his ministry. The Society of Jesus released a statement on Dec. 2 responding to the allegations of abuse against Father Rupnik and describing the restrictions on his ministry.” By Antonio Marujo, America: The Jesuit Review


As Dallas Charter turns 20, abuse has become issue for much of society
“Twenty years ago, in 2002, the revelations of clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston were the metaphorical bombshell that fell on the Catholic Church in the United States. The U.S. bishops, when they met that June in Dallas, approved the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,’ a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Its one-strike-and-you’re-out policy did just that — permanently removing from public ministry those priests against whom abuse allegations were substantiated.” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service


Global church is seeing how pope’s vision of synodality involves everyone
“Canadian and U.S. Catholics will convene in a series of online meetings from mid-December through the end of January as part of the Pope Francis’ ongoing call to synodality in the church. The gatherings are part of the continental phase of the synodal process in advance of the first session of the Synod of Bishops on synodality scheduled next year for Oct. 4-29 at the Vatican. Pope Francis in October of this year announced a second session for October 2024, saying he did not want to rush the process of discerning how the Holy Spirit is calling the church to grow in synodality.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, in Chicago Catholic

Synod on Synodality opportunity to ‘journey together in truth’: Catholic bishops in Chad
“The ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality offer an opportunity for the Catholic Church in Chad to ‘journey together in truth,’ Catholic Bishops in the North-Central African nation have said. In their Christmas 2022 Message shared with ACI Africa Monday, December 12, members of the Episcopal Conference of Chad (CET) say reflections on the theme, ‘For a synodal Church: communion, participation, mission,’ has been at the center of many meetings in ‘all the Dioceses of our Church Family of God which is in Chad during the pastoral year 2021-2022.’” By Jude Atemanke,

Settle pastor sees connections between synodality, Vatican II
“At a recent Vatican press conference, Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich used the words of a U.S. priest to capture the essence of Pope Francis’ ongoing synod consultation with Catholics around the world: Reading over the reports and reflecting on them, I found myself thinking how blessed I am to be pastor of a parish that is full of people who love the Church so much that they embrace it, affirm it, celebrate it, and thank God for it, but at the same time are not at all afraid to criticize it, challenge it, question it, and express anger, disappointment, and frustration with it. … I think our parish can never be quite the same as a result, and I’m willing to bet that the same is true for the entire Church.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Arkansas diocese presses ahead in effort to make church life more ‘synodal’
“While the U.S. Bishops as a whole gear up for the continental phase of the Synod on Synodality, the lone bishop of Arkansas is maintaining a diocesan focus as well, recently announcing his plan to continue the process at the local level. Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock on Dec. 1 published a ‘Post-Synod Response’ to the faithful, providing questions for synod discussions to continue while diocesan leaders meet to discuss how to implement recommendations from the local phase.” By John Lavenburg,

Cardinal leading Catholic’s worldwide consultation wrestles with tradition and change
“Every summit of bishops called by Pope Francis has been ripe with expectations about the possible reforms — and novelties — that it might introduce in the over 2,000-year-old institution. The pope’s latest effort, the Synod on Synodality, now underway and continuing through the end of 2024, has already fomented ardent debate on some of the most controversial topics within the church, from female ordination to LGBTQ inclusion.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

U.S. Catholics need to manage expectations about the synod
“The universal church is now shifting to the “continental phase” of the synodal process to which the Holy Father has called us, as ecclesial gatherings on every continent will reflect on the working document ‘Enlarge the Space of Your Tent,’ drafted in Frascati, Italy, and released on Oct. 27. The reactions to the report indicate that the leaders of the synodal process need to start thinking about how to manage expectations. The synodal process invites people to speak freely. In fact, no synodal process can really work without candor.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter


Pope tightens oversight of Vatican-linked foundations
“Pope Francis on Tuesday (Dec. 7) tightened control and oversight over Vatican-based foundations and associations in his latest effort to impose international standards of accounting and governance on Vatican offices and affiliated entities. A new law aims to bring the Holy See into further compliance with recommendations from the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee, which in April 2021 flagged as problematic the lack of an overarching law governing the creation and administration of foundations registered in Vatican City.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press


Pope’s cardinal advisers discuss Church’s efforts to prevent abuse
“At Pope Francis’ meeting with his cardinal advisers this week, Cardinal Sean O’Malley reported on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, now within the Roman Curia. The Holy See press office said on Dec. 7 that the pope met with his council of advisers for a two-day meeting at the current papal residence, the Casa Santa Marta. The members of the Council of Cardinals discussed the continental phase of the Synod on Synodality and the work of the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference before listening to O’Malley’s briefing on the protection of minors.” By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

Top Vatican cardinal sues woman who accused him of sexual assault
“Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s powerful Dicastery for Bishops, has filed a countersuit against a woman who accused him of sexual assault more than a decade ago, and has promised to donate any damages won to ‘the fight against sexual abuse of indigenous peoples in Canada.’ Ouellet is seeking $100,000 in damages for ‘injury to his reputation, honor and dignity,’ according to a copy of the lawsuit, which filed on Tuesday, Dec. 13, in Montréal Superior Court. The claim stems from the period from 2002 to 2010 when he served as the Archbishop of Quebec.” By John Lavenburg,

Pope, Council of Cardinals meet, discuss synod, safeguarding and COP27
“Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals met in-person at the Vatican Dec. 5-6, discussing the continental phase of the synod process, safeguarding and the U.N. climate change summit, the Vatican press office said. Also, ‘the meeting was an opportunity for a mutual exchange of updates on some current affairs in different key geographical areas and for an overall assessment of the council’s progress in recent years,’ the Vatican said in a written communique Dec. 7.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


French bishops set up national church court, recommended by abuse report
“France’s Catholic bishops have set up what they believe to be the world’s first major national church court, replacing a previous network of local tribunals, although sexual abuse cases involving children will still be referred to the Vatican. ‘As a community of believers, the church has developed a comprehensive legal system, which includes the right to sanction behavior by members’ who undermine ‘the church’s spiritual and human values,’ the bishops’ conference said in a statement.” By Catholic News Service in Detroit Catholic


Are we protagonists yet?
“Whenever I read a Vatican statement on the role of women, I conduct a thought experiment. I imagine that I know nothing whatsoever about the Roman Catholic Church or its faithful. If this document were my only source of information, I ask from behind my ecclesial veil of ignorance, what basic conclusions might I draw about women in the Church? I’ve done this mental exercise with dozens of texts over the years, and one conclusion surfaces over and over: women are all exactly the same. It’s a rather astounding conclusion to draw about a tradition populated all the way down by women who lived and died in wild and unique ways … Yet there is little in Church teaching on women that does not appear to proceed from a fundamental illusion that women—the billions of us—constitute some sort of monolithic, quasi-theoretical body with an articulable essence, singular vocation, and narrow set of essentialized gifts.”. By Susan Bigelow Reynolds, Commonweal


Crisis of confidence over cardinal shakes Cologne Catholics
“An unprecedented crisis of confidence is shaking a historic center of Catholicism in Germany — the Archdiocese of Cologne. Catholic believers have protested their deeply divisive archbishop, and are leaving in droves over allegations that he may have covered up clergy sexual abuse reports. While Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s personal fate is in the hands of Pope Francis, the drama has reverberations nationwide, given that the Cologne archdiocese has more Catholics than any other in Germany — about 1.8 million. Its double-domed cathedral is an iconic tourist attraction and one of the oldest, most important pilgrimage sites of Northern Europe.” By Associated Press on


Paglia used charity funds to renovate apartment
“Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia diverted hundreds of thousands of euros allocated to support missionary and charitable works while he served as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Paglia used much of the money to finance building projects in Rome, including the renovation of his personal apartment, The Pillar has learned. According to multiple independent sources with knowledge of the events, Archbishop Paglia confirmed in a 2015 memo to Holy See financial officials that hundreds of thousands of euros had been paid to an Italian construction contractor instead of going to missionary and charitable projects to support poor families and orphans.” By The Pillar

For second consecutive year, Diocese of Scranton receives top score in independent financial transparency review
“For the second consecutive year, a lay organization of faithful Catholics has named the Diocese of Scranton as being one of the most financially transparent dioceses in the United States. For six years, Voice of the Faithful has reviewed all U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency. The group’s 2022 report identifies the Diocese of Scranton as one of only five dioceses to receive an overall score of 100% in regards to transparency. This year’s other top-scoring dioceses include Charleston, Lexington, Orlando and Rochester. The Diocese of Scranton also received an overall score of 100% for financial transparency in 2021.” By Diocese of Scranton

Rockville Centre Diocese one of the least transparent: Report
“A Catholic advocacy group’s rankings place the Rockville Centre Diocese among the least transparent in the nation. According to the 2022 report by Voice of the Faithful, the Rockville Centre Diocese is tied for 166th among the 177 in the country for transparency with regard to financial issues, Newsday reports. ‘They’re doing very poorly. And even more concerning to me is they’re going down,’ Margaret Roylance, VP of Massachusetts-based Voice of the Faithful, told Newsday.’ By Jerry Barmash, Rockville Centre Patch

Which Catholic diocese has best financial transparency in Southern California
“The true wealth of the Roman Catholic Church is impossible to calculate, many have said. Vast land holdings, exquisite art collections, more than a billion members and … the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Here on the home front, though, things can be broken down into simpler pieces. There are 177 dioceses in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including 12 in California, and — in the wake of the priest sex abuse scandal — a mighty push to lay their finances bare. California’s dozen dioceses span the gamut from among the very best in the nation when it comes to financial transparency to among the worst, according to a new report by Voice of the Faithful, a national coalition of everyday Catholics seeking structural change in the Church.” By Teri Sforza, Los Angeles Daily News

After six years, Voice of the Faithful review shows come bishops clearly committed to financial transparency
“Voice of the Faithful diocesan financial transparency report for 2022 is the organization’s sixth such annual review, and the report shows some bishops are clearly committed to financial transparency. Others, not so much. This year, the overall average U.S. diocesan transparency score increased from 69% in 2021 to 70% in 2022. The number of dioceses posting current audited financial reports increased from 113 last year to 115 this year. The number posting a current list of Diocesan Finance Council members increased significantly from 84 to 95. All five top-scoring dioceses this year received a score of 100%.” By Voice of the Faithful in Digital Journal

California diocese to join growing list of U.S. Catholic bankruptcies
“Soon into the new year, the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, will join a growing list of U.S. Catholic dioceses to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it faces a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits. Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa announced in a Dec. 2 statement that the diocese’s attorneys will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime between Dec. 31 and March 1, 2023, saying the decision was ‘the inevitable result of an insurmountable number of claims.’ The diocese is facing more than 130 claims dating from 1962, when the diocese was established, through the present day, with the majority of the cases being from the 1970’s and 1980’s, Vasa said.” By John Lavenburg,

Michigan priest charged with stealing $830,000 from retired clergy
“A Catholic priest is accused of stealing more than $800,000 from three retired priests in the Lansing, Michigan, diocese. Father David Rosenberg was arraigned Thursday (Dec. 1) on embezzlement charges and other crimes in Clinton County, north of Lansing, the attorney general’s office said. Rosenberg, 70, was director of the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt for six years until he retired from active ministry in 2021.” By Associated Press on


From lived history to living legacy: Vatican II at sixty
“On the sixtieth anniversary of Vatican II, we stand at an inflection point in the history of the council’s reception. Francis, the first pope since the council who was not himself a participant in it, has shown us what it means to treasure Vatican II not as lived history but as a living legacy, and this has become our challenge. Can we do this too? What O’Malley observed—the role of Pope Francis in changing the narrative about Vatican II—comes at a moment in history when the last of the fathers of Vatican II are passing away. To put it bluntly, the gifts of the council will either flourish in new hands or pass away along with them.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

‘Cords of human kindness’: an introduction to small Christian Communitie
“This past June, Today’s American Catholic convened a listening session in response to the ‘Synod on Synodality.’ A key point of our discernment was that people are longing for a deeper sense of community in their experience of faith. We discussed small Christian communities (SCCs) as a promising way to foster relationships and help participants be more proactive in learning about and living the gospel.” By Today’s American Catholic


Kansas lawmaker plans to reintroduce bill removing childhood sexual abuse lawsuit limits
“Lawmakers may expand the rights of child sex abuse victims in the upcoming legislative session, renewing efforts to pass legislation that would require clergy reporting and remove time limits for lawsuit cases involving child abuse. Current state law sets a statute of limitations on filing for damages from childhood sexual abuses. Lawsuits have to be filed within three years of the survivor turning 18 or within three years of discovering an injury or illness caused by the abuse. Many have condemned the rule as unfair and fundamentally misguided.” By Rachel Mipro, Kansas Reflector


Catholic collective narcissism linked to acceptance of myths about child sexual abuse
“A new study has uncovered a link between high levels of Catholic collective narcissism and acceptance of myths about child sexual abuse. The findings, which were published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, could help inform efforts to combat prejudice against underaged victims of sexual abuse. ‘Even though sexual relations between priests and minors have taken place inside the Catholic Church for centuries, the Catholic hierarchy was not always prone to fight against pedophilia in an official way,’ said study author Marta Marchlewska, an associate professor and the head of the Political Cognition Lab at the Polish Academy of Sciences.” By Eric W. Dolan,

Prominent Jesuit priest and artist disciplined after abuse allegations
“The Roman Catholic Jesuit order said it disciplined a prominent priest and artist who reportedly sexually and psychologically abused nuns in his native Slovenia three decades ago. The Jesuits issued a statement about Father Marko Ivan Rupnik following Italian media reports last week that several nuns had accused him of abuse in the early 1990s when he was their spiritual director at a convent in Slovenia.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Baltimore judge seals case as court weighs release of Catholic church sex abuse report
“Legal arguments will continue behind closed doors about whether a Baltimore judge should release a 456-page investigation into child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Baltimore Circuit Judge Anthony Vittoria ordered the case sealed on Friday (Dec.2). His order means all hearings will be closed to the public and all legal motions will be confidential.” By Tim Prudente, The Baltimore Banner

New map illustrates Catholic sexual abuse in Indian country
“Nearly half of all Jesuit priests and brothers credibly accused of sexual abuse against children or vulnerable adults in a ten-state region in the western United States over the past 70 years worked in Indian Country. That’s what’s depicted by Desolate Country: Mapping Catholic Sex Abuse in Native America, an interactive map that plots the years and locations of 99 priests and 13 brothers of the Jesuits West Province. Of them, 47 of the men with credible allegations of abuse against them spent time working at Native missions.” By Jenna Kunze,


New allegations of sexual abuse against a Servite High School priest surface in court
“Three former Servite High School students allege they were repeatedly sexually assaulted by a priest, according to three new lawsuits filed in court, the latest in a series of allegations against a pastor who also acted as a teacher and swim coach at the prestigious school. A total of eight former students have filed lawsuits against the private school in Anaheim and Father Kevin Fitzpatrick, who, according to the attorney for several of the plaintiffs, worked to gain the trust of young boys at the school and “commanded” a room that was being used to isolate and sexually abuse them.” By The Bharat Express News

Was a beloved Bay Area priest also a pedophile? Survivor hopes lawsuit will spark change
“On a chilly November morning, Derek Lewis sat on a bench in front of a haunted little white building, remembering. The 34-year-old Hayward man’s psychologist says it’s good to come to this quiet spot in Contra Costa County to confront the past. The structure used to house the office and living area of the head priest at the church that was once next door. Inside the building, as well as inside the church, Lewis said, the priest sexually abused him repeatedly over two years starting when Lewis was about 8 years old, inflicting trauma that set his young life on a tortuous path.” By Joshua Sharpe, San Francisco Chronicle

Bishop of Santa Rosa Diocese says ‘perfect justice’ not possible in clergy abuse cases, urges harmony, forgiveness
“‘Perfect justice’ is not possible ‘in this world,’ Bishop Robert F. Vasa told parishioners Sunday (Dec. 4), in the wake of the Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese’s announcement last week that it will seek bankruptcy protection in anticipation of hundreds of new and potential clergy abuse lawsuits. ‘We recognize in this penitential season that perfect justice is still elusive — that we are not capable of achieving it in this lifetime,’ he said during a sermon at the Cathedral of St. Eugene in Santa Rosa.” By Madison Smalstig, The Press Democrat

14 Northern California clergy, religious linked for first time to Catholic sex abuse scandal
“As a deadline nears for new lawsuits in sexual abuse cases, 66 Catholic clergy and religious accused of sexual abuse have been identified in 116 lawsuits filed in Northern California. Of those, 14 have been publicly identified for the first time. These new accusations have come to light under under a 2019 California law that extended the statute of limitations for abuse cases. Assembly Bill 218 provided for a three-year window that began on Jan. 1 in 2020. The deadline to file new lawsuits is Dec. 31.” By Alejandra Molina, Religion News Service


Chicago priest Michael Pfleger reinstated following latest accusation of sexual abuse against him
“Father Michael Pfleger, the senior pastor of the St. Sabina Parish in Chicago, has been reinstated after an independent review board found ‘no reason’ to keep him away following the latest accusation of sexual abuse against him. Pfleger posted a picture of the letter from the archbishop of Chicago to the community on Facebook on Saturday (Dec. 10), with the caption, ‘Like MJ said. ‘I’M BACK.’’ Pfleger was previously asked to step aside in October after another allegation of sex abuse against him surfaced. His latest accuser was a man in his late 40s who filed a claim with the Archdiocese of Chicago, Eugene K. Hollander, an attorney for the accuser, told CNN affiliate WLS.” By Michelle Watson, CNN


Op/Ed: Priest convicted of pedophilia avoids prison. Will there be clerical consequences?
“U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has apparently prioritized their anti-LGBT stance rather than addressing their pedophile priest scandal. Here’s a recent example of how this plays out: Father David Marcotte was suspended from his ministry as an Archdiocese of Indianapolis Catholic priest in February 2019, due to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in 2016. In October 2019, Marcotte was arrested and charged with three felony counts: child solicitation (Level 5 felony), vicarious sexual gratification (Level 5 felony), and dissemination of matter harmful to minors (Level 6 felony).” By Lynn Starkey,


Suspended New Orleans deacon pleads guilty to molesting preteen boy
“The clerical molestation scandal that for decades has engulfed the Roman Catholic church in New Orleans took another turn on Tuesday (Dec. 6), when a suspended deacon pleaded guilty to charges that he sexually abused a preteen boy two decades earlier, before the defendant’s ordination as a clergy member. Virgil Maxey “VM” Wheeler III, 64, pleaded guilty to four charges of indecent behavior with a juvenile filed against him in state court in Jefferson parish, which neighbors New Orleans.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian

Ex-seminarian accuses new Orleans archbishop of harassment in decades-long dispute
“A former student at a New Orleans college that trains Catholic priests has claimed he was racially and sexually harassed there – including by the city’s current archbishop – as he parries counter-allegations that he is merely trying to extort money and a green card from church officials. Over two decades, the dispute has drawn attention from Catholic officials at the highest levels in the US and worldwide. But it was not publicly known until it surfaced as part of a chapter 11 bankruptcy case the New Orleans archdiocese opened amid a wave of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by clerics across generations.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, New Orleans, in The Guardian


Lawsuits mounting against the Catholic Diocese of Portland
“Cases are mounting against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which oversaw priests who are accused of sexually abusing children decades ago. Lawsuits filed by a former parishioner at St. Joseph Church in Portland, and two brothers who served as altar boys at St. Hyacinth Church in Westbrook, allege the Diocese failed to keep children safe from clergy members who were known abusers.” By Viven Leigh, News Center Maine

Maine woman alleges she was abused by a Roman Catholic priest nearly 60 years ago
“A Cumberland County woman has filed a civil complaint against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, alleging she was sexually abused by a priest that the Diocese knew was a predator, and who was reassigned to another parish. At a Portland news conference Thursday (Dec. 1), Ann Allen told reporters that she was 7 years old in 1964, when Father Lawrence Sabatino abused her in the basement of St. Peter’s Church.” By Carol Bousquet, Main Public Radio


Sexual abuse survivors demand courts release Catholic church investigation
“Survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are demanding the courts release a 456-page report detailing the history of allegations against priests and resulting coverup in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the fruits of a nearly four-year state investigation. The survivors and their attorneys announced at a news conference Wednesday they filed a request with the Baltimore Circuit Court in an attempt to bring the confidential report to the public. ‘Only when this is out and in the open can healing really begin,’ their attorney Robert Jenner said.” By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun, on National Public Radio

‘Keepers’ survivors expand arguments on why Maryland AG report into Catholic clergy sexual abuse should be public
“Women featured in ‘The Keepers,’ a 2017 Netflix documentary series about clergy sexual abuse at a Baltimore-area Catholic girls school in the 1960s and ‘70s, expanded on their request Friday (Dec. 2) for the full public release of a report examining sexual misconduct by clergy throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Teresa Lancaster and Jean Wehner, who were victimized during their time at Archbishop Keough High School, filed their initial motion Wednesday after learning from a Baltimore Sun story that Baltimore’s Roman Catholic archdiocese is helping pay legal fees for a group of people named in the report who are asking a judge to make secret the court proceedings around its release.” By Union-Bulletin


Bishop McManus: Sex abuse allegations against priest are credible
“The Rev. Alan J. Martineau, most recently of parishes in Warren, will remain on administrative leave after an investigation sought by the Diocese of Worcester deemed an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to be credible. Martineau has been on leave since January; the diocese announced the results of its investigation Monday (Dec. 12), with Bishop Robert J. McManus ruling on the case.” By Mike Elfland, Telegram & Gazette


Camden Diocese, clergy sex abuse survivors nearing settlement
“South Jersey’s Catholic diocese is one step closer to compensating survivors who were sexually abused by some of the diocese’s priests. In April, the Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Officials from the diocese appeared before Judge Jerrold N. Poslusny, Jr. in New Jersey District Bankruptcy Court for 14 days of testimony to approve the settlement.” By Antoinette Lee, KYW-AM/103.9-FM Radio News


Will AG’s settlement change how Buffalo Diocese handles allegations? Some are skeptical.
“A negotiated settlement to end the state attorney general’s 2020 lawsuit against the Buffalo Diocese yielded a 30-page court order and additional embarrassing news coverage of the diocese’s handling of child sex abuse allegations. What the settlement didn’t do, according to some advocates for child sex abuse victims and child abuse prevention experts, was require the diocese to substantially change the way it operates.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


Former Catholic Priest extradited to Virginia on child sex abuse charges
“A former priest at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Va., was convicted today (Dec. 12) in Loudoun County Circuit Court for sexually abusing a minor during the summer of 1985 when the former priest was 29 years old, according to a release from the Office of Attorney General Jason Miyares, Scott Asalone.”” By WUSA-TV9 News on YouTube


Group calls on Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to escalate clergy sex abuse investigation
“A Madison-based secular group is calling on Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to escalate a statewide review of clergy sex abuse that launched last year. The request follows the release of names of nearly two dozen clergy by the Catholic Diocese of Superior, which it says have had credible claims of sexually abusing minors made against them. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which advocates for separation of church and state, sent a Dec. 1 letter to Kaul asking him to increase resources for the investigation after the release of names.” By Daniells Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio

Abusive priest list published, four in area named as ‘credibly accused’
“Last week the Diocese of Superior released a list of 23 priests who have been ‘credibly accused’ of raping or sexually abusing children. Four priests in the Pierce and St. Croix county area were included on the list. The four priests are Ryan Erickson of Hudson, Joseph Higgins of River Falls, Donald Dummer of River Falls and James Kraker of Hammond. All have been removed from ministry. Three have died.” By Sam Fristed, River Falls Journal


New national safeguarding standards include adults at risk
“Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd has today (Dec. 7) launched the second edition of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, covering adults at risk as well as children. ACSL has worked with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia and the Association of Ministerial Public Juridic Persons to develop the NCSS Edition 2. The release of NCSS Edition 2 comes just one week before the five-year anniversary of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report.” By


New Priest named in latest clerical abuse report
“The Archdiocese of Vancouver has issued its semi-annual update on clerical sexual abuse, releasing the name of a priest who was the subject of sexual abuse allegation received in 2008. The latest report of the Implementation Working Group, the archdiocesan committee responsible for implementing the approved recommendations received from the 2019 Case Review Committee, was released Tuesday (Dec. 13) and said an accusation of sexual abuse had been received in April 2008 against Father Georges Chevrier, OMI, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Coquitlam from 1971 to 1977.” By The B.C. Catholic

B.C. woman settles lawsuit over alleged childhood sexual abuse by Catholic priest during confession
“A Vancouver Island woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by a former Nazi turned Catholic priest has settled her lawsuit against the church. Father Gerhard Hartmann repeatedly sexually assaulted and fondled the victim over a period of three years at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Nanaimo, B.C., beginning in 1976, when she was just 10 years old, according to the notice of claim.” By Bethany Lindsay, CBC News

Officials at Archdiocese of Montreal meddled in abuse investigations, ombudsman says
“The lawyer appointed to help make the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal more transparent in the way it handles allegations of abuse against clergy says her job is being undermined by those inside the church. In a report made public Monday and obtained in advance by CBC News, Marie Christine Kirouack, the church ombudsman, said she discovered a high-ranking clergy member was leaking information about abuse complaints, and in some cases, actively discouraging complainants from contacting her.” By Leah Hendry, CBC News

Two Quebec bishops named in abuse lawsuit
“Two Quebec bishops, one deceased and one living, have been named in a sexual abuse class action against the Archdiocese of Quebec. Bishops Clement Fecteau (1933-2017) and Jean-Pierre Blais, who is Bishop of Baie-Comeau, are among the accused whose names were released by the law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats. Fecteau is accused of abusing a 13-year-old victim in 1987 at the Séminaire de Quebec. He was appointed auxiliary bishop for the Quebec archdiocese in 1989 and would in 1996 be appointed Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere.” By Catholic Register


German bishop must face Vatican investigation, abuse council demands
“An advisory body of sexual abuse survivors on Monday (Dec. 12) called for canonical procedures against the vice president of the German Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Franz-Josef Bode should be charged under canon law for his handling of abuse cases, the advisory council said in a statement sent to media Dec. 12, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. The advisory body represents those affected by sexual abuse for the metropolitan archdiocese of Hamburg and the dioceses of Hildesheim and Osnabrück.” By A.C. Wimmer, Catholic News Agency

Cologne clerical abuse case opens door to compensation landslide
“Germany’s Catholic church may face a wave of clerical abuse compensation claims after the Cologne archdiocese dropped its statute of limitations defense in a closely-watched court case. On Tuesday Cologne district court began hearing the case of a man who has sued the archdiocese for €805,000 in damages. Mr Georg Menne says he was sexually abused at least 320 times during the 1970s by a Catholic priest, Erich Jansen. Until his death in 2020 the priest remained active in parish work despite being reported to archdiocese authorities at least twice – in 1980 and 2010.” By Derek Scally, The Irish Times


Abused siblings told they can sue Sisters of Nazareth Catholic order
“Two siblings who were abused at a children’s home have been told they can now sue a Catholic order. The pair – known as ‘B and W’ – raised historic abuse claims against the Sisters of Nazareth over incidents in Lasswade, Midlothian, in the 1970s. Both legal bids were originally thrown out in January after Sisters of Nazareth claimed it could not get a fair trial due to the passage of time. But three appeal judges on Friday (Dec. 2) ruled the cases should not have been dismissed and granted the siblings permission to continue with their claim for six-figure compensation.” By Kevin Scott,


Over 300 abuse allegations to day against Spiritan priests
“More than 300 people have made abuse allegations against at least 78 Spiritan priests, a spokesman for the religious congregation has said. He also said the latter figure may increase slightly when all recent contacts have been fully processed. Some people making allegations have done so directly to the Spiritans, while others may have gone to the gardaí, “and we know that a number have gone initially to the independent expert on Restorative Justice, Mr Tim Chapman”, the spokesman said.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Jesuits unlikely to be prosecuted over sexual abuse of Limerick students
“Gardi are unlikely to prosecute any members of the Jesuits over the religious order’s handling of historic allegations of child sexual abuse by one of its priests Fr Joseph Marmion. Garda sources said that enquires into allegations against Marmion of abusing pupils at Belvedere College, Clongowes Wood College and the former Crescent College in Limerick City have also run cold because Marmion died in 2000 at the age of 75. In 1977 a number of pupils at Belvedere, where Marmion taught from 1969 to1978, made disclosures to senior Jesuits of sexual abuse by Marmion.” By David Raleigh, Limerick Post

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Jesuit case underscores secrecy, leniency for abuse of women

(Rev. Marko Ivan) Rupnik is unknown to most Catholics but is a giant within the Jesuit order and the Catholic hierarchy because he is one of the church’s most sought after artists … When the 2021 case (unspecified problems in the exercise of his ministry) became this month, fellow Jesuits called for the Vatican to shed more light on why Rupnik wasn’t sanctioned by the Holy See after he was accused.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

“Revelations that the Vatican let a famous priest off the hook twice for abusing his authority over adult women has exposed two main weaknesses in the Holy See’s abuse policies: sexual and spiritual misconduct against adult women is rarely if ever punished, and secrecy still reigns supreme, especially when powerful priests are involved.

“The Jesuit order, to which Pope Francis belongs, was forced to admit Wednesday (Dec. 14) that its initial statements about the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik, an internationally recognized religious artist, were less than complete. The order had said Rupnik was accused in 2021 of unspecified problems ‘in the way he exercised his ministry’ but that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith determined the allegations were too old to prosecute.

“But under questioning by journalists, the Jesuit superior general, the Rev. Arturo Sosa, acknowledged the Congregation had prosecuted Rupnik for a separate, prior case from 2019 that ended with his conviction and temporary excommunication for one of the gravest crimes in the church’s in-house canon law: that he used the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he previously had sexual relations.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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Study of moral injury measures ‘added weight’ of clergy sexual abuse and its concealment / National Catholic Reporter

The Xavier team’s instrument is the first to measure moral injury in survivors of clergy sexual abuse and, according to (principal investigator Marcus) Mescher, is more comprehensive than previous methods used to assess moral injury in civilians.

Katie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter

“A research team from Xavier University in Cincinnati has created a tool that measures the ‘moral injury’ caused by clergy sexual abuse and its concealment by officials in the Catholic Church.

“In a report on the pilot study, released Dec. 12, moral injury is described as persistent psychological and emotional distress, spiritual anguish, moral confusion, social isolation, and distrust for institutions. It results from a betrayal of trust or violation of deeply held moral values.

“‘When the perpetrator of sexual abuse is a priest — someone ordained in persona Christi — and represents the holy, the sacred or the entire church or even God, the trauma of abuse takes on an added weight,’ said Marcus Mescher, a principal investigator for the study and professor of Christian ethics at Jesuit-run Xavier. ‘I thought the concept of moral injury would be a helpful hermeneutical lens for understanding the many ripple effects of harm caused by clergy sexual abuse.’

“Moral injury is a concept primarily applied to veterans traumatized by combat, though recently it’s been explored in high-stress professions such as law enforcement, health care, child protective services and education, according to the report.”

By Katie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, Dec. 2, 2022

Dec. 2, 2022


Exclusive: Pope Francis denounces polarization, talks women’s ordination, the U.S. bishops and more
“On Nov. 22, 2022, five representatives of America Media interviewed Pope Francis at his residence at Santa Marta at the Vatican. Matt Malone, S.J., the departing editor in chief of America, was joined by Sam Sawyer, S.J., the incoming editor in chief; executive editor Kerry Weber; Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent; and Gloria Purvis, host of ‘The Gloria Purvis Podcast.’ They discussed a wide range of topics with the pope, including polarization in the U.S. church, racism, the war in Ukraine, the Vatican’s relations with China and church teaching on the ordination of women.” By the Editors at America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis wants to consider ordaining married men as priests
“Pope Francis has stirred Catholics around the world with his relatively open comments on homosexuality, abortions and climate change, but his latest statement hints he may be looking at moving the Church toward loosening one of its most stringent rules. The Pope said in an interview Thursday (Nov. 17) that he might consider ordaining married men who could work in rural areas where there are few priests, according to the Associated Press. His remarks came in an interview with the Germany newspaper Die Zeit.” By Abigail Abrams, Time

Maryland finds that for hundreds of clergy abuse victims, ‘No parish was safe’
“The attorney general of Maryland has identified more than 600 young victims of clergy sexual abuse over the course of 80 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, according to a court document filed Thursday (Nov. 17). The filing, which broadly outlines the attorney general’s findings, requests that a judge allow the release of the full report: a 456-page document detailing decades of clergy sex abuse in Maryland. The new report marks a symbolic milestone in the long-running international abuse scandal that has shaken faith in the Catholic Church and led to some reforms and billions of dollars in settlements.” By Ruth Graham, The New York Times

Italian bishops take cautious step toward transparency on abuse
“On Thursday (Nov. 17) the Italian bishops released their first-ever report on national safeguarding efforts, revealing nearly 100 new and old cases documented in the past two years, but sharing few details about these incidents. The report spanned just two years, from 2020-2021, and found that 89 complaints had been made against 68 alleged abusers, which many observers consider a significantly high number, given that these complaints were made through diocesan-run listening centers established in dioceses throughout Italy for the specific purpose of receiving abuse reports.” By Elise Ann Allen,


Stika, Knoxville diocese to face apostolic visitation
“A Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation will be conducted in the Diocese of Knoxville next week, several sources close to the diocese. Sources told The Pillar Friday (Nov. 25) that Bishops Barry Knestout of Richmond and Michael Burbidge of Arlington have been directed to visit with priests, diocesan officials, and lay Catholics over several days, amid ongoing concern over the leadership of Bishop Rick Stika. The decision to commission an on-site assessment of the diocese comes more than 18 months after priests in the diocese reported to the Vatican concerns about Stika’s handling of reports against a former diocesan seminarian, who was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting other seminarians and a parish organist.” By The Pillar

Seattle Archdiocese criticized for buying $2.4 million home for archbishop
“Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne will be moving from a parish rectory into a newly purchased $2.4 million home in an upscale waterfront neighborhood. Archdiocesan officials say the relocation is necessary to better accommodate guests but the decision has also garnered criticism. ‘The move is breaking a promise that the archbishop made to us in a pretty major way,’ said Tim Law, a Seattle Catholic and attorney who is a member of Heal Our Church, a Washington-based alliance calling for a lay-led review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse.” By Katie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter

Bills to mandate clergy report abuses will return to the Utah state legislature
Bills that remove priest-penitent privilege when it comes to disclosures of child abuse will be run in the upcoming legislative session. Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, told FOX 13 News on Monday (Nov. 21) she has drafted and numbered a bill that would require clergy to report any disclosure of abuse by a perpetrator to law enforcement to investigate. Failure to report abuse would be a misdemeanor crime under the legislation, on par with other professions that are required to report disclosures.” By Ben Winslow, FOX-TV13 News


Synod process has faced ‘temptations’ along the way
“While some want Church ‘reform’ and others want ‘to put the brakes on the Synod process,’ those involved in preparing the next phase of the Synod on Synodality want to ‘mend’ the Church, said a top cardinal. As final plans are made for the continental phase leading to the Synod of Bishops 2023-24, the bishops and coordinators responsible for the regional meetings met at the Vatican on Monday (Nov. 28) and Tuesday. Meeting Pope Francis on Monday, the Synod’s relator general, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, said the process has faced ‘temptations’ along the way. Particularly in the media, he said, there is a temptation to politicize the Church, looking at it ‘with the logic of politics.’” By


Pope Francis removes Caritas Internationalis leaders, appoints temporary administrator
“Pope Francis on Tuesday (Nov. 22) removed the entire leadership of an international confederation of charities and appointed a temporary administrator to improve the organization’s management. Pope Francis issued a decree Nov. 22 appointing Pier Francesco Pinelli, an Italian management consultant, as temporary administrator of Caritas Internationalis (CI). With the same ordinance, the pope said the positions of the Catholic confederation’s leadership are to cease immediately. This decision includes Caritas Internationalis president Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and secretary general Aloysius John. The positions of the vice presidents, treasurer, ecclesiastical assistant, executive council, and representative council also end.” By ACI Prensa Staff in The Pilot


Hierarchicalism is the root of U.S. bishops’ culture war mentality
“NCR’s former executive editor, Tom Roberts, referred to (James) Keenan’s writing on hierarchicalism after the June 2021 bishops’ meeting, when he opined about the conference’s proposal to deny Communion to pro-choice politicians: The move to produce a document designed to render a severe and public judgment of President Joe Biden was engineered by men who, ensconced in a culture capable of stunning depravity and cover-up, have been searching for any means to reestablish their authority. I believe that this problem of hierarchicalism is one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed at the universal synod scheduled for 2023 and 2024.” By Jim Purcell, National Catholic Reporter

Interview: Bishop Stowe wants the USCCB to take Pope Francis’ priorities seriously
“Just a few hours after its bishop-members voted down the candidacy of Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark for the number-three spot at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Nov. 16, Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M. Conv. of Lexington, Ky., was smiling through evident frustration. In a few hours he would—again—implore his fellow bishops to consider a complete rewrite of its quadrennial Faithful Citizenship statement, with the aim of reflecting the ecological and economic issues prioritized over the last decade by Pope Francis.” By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

Archbishop Broglio, questioned on abuse, homosexuality and whether he’s a ‘Pope Francis’ bishop in first press conference as USCCB head
“If his first press conference is any indication of what is in store for him over the next three years, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the president-elect of the USCCB, may be in for a bit of a bumpy ride—and with him the church in the United States. In just a few short minutes after being introduced to the press for the first time as president-elect of the conference on Nov. 15, the archbishop was asked about his past relationship with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whether or not he still believed that homosexuality in the priesthood was among the primary drivers of the church’s clerical abuse crisis and, finally, whether his election to the U.S.C.C.B presidency signified a continued estrangement among bishops in the United States from the aims and hopes of Pope Francis for the global church.” By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

10 key things the U.S. bishops did at their fall meeting in Baltimore
“The U.S. Catholic bishops are headed back to their dioceses after gathering in Baltimore this week for their annual fall meeting. Here’s a summary of key actions taken at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) fall plenary assembly …” By Zelda Caldwell, Catholic News Agency, in The Catholic World Report

German bishops assure Vatican but vow to proceed with reform
“Germany’s Catholic bishops insisted Saturday (Nov. 19) that their reform process won’t lead to a schism and vowed to see it through, after tense meetings with Vatican officials who want a moratorium on proposals to ordain women, bless same-sex unions and rethink church teaching on sexuality … The periodic once-every-five-year visit took on far greater import this time given the demands for change and reform among Germany’s rank-and-file Catholics following the German church’s reckoning with decades of clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Bishops mark charter’s 20th year, pledge continued outreach to survivors
“Twenty years ago, the big news from the bishops’ general assembly in Dallas was the adoption of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,’ a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. This year, at their assembly in Baltimore Nov. 14-17, they acknowledged the charter’s anniversary and said that they have made steps in addressing clergy sexual abuse and would continue to listen, care for and walk with survivors.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, on

Accused Albany bishop asks to be removed from the priesthood
“The retired bishop of Albany, New York, who has admitted to covering up for predator priests and has himself been accused of sexual abuse, has asked Pope Francis to remove him from the priesthood. Emeritus Bishop Howard Hubbard, 84, announced the decision in a statement Friday (Nov. 18), the day the United Nations designated as the World Day for the Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press


Q&A with Sr. Anne Munley, discerning the future of religious life for LCWR
“The 2021 assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious introduced Sr. Anne Munley as the associate director for LCWR’s Emerging Future Initiative. At the 2022 assembly in August, Munley presented an update on the process, specifically the five Collaborative Leadership Hubs held across the United States between April and June in which leaders contemplated, discussed and discerned the emerging future of religious life.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter


Vatican appoints first lay finance chief after prefect resigns
“Pope Francis has appointed the first non-cleric to manage the Vatican’s finances after the current prefect, a Jesuit priest, resigned due to health reasons. Maximiliano Caballero Ledo, 62, a Spanish financier who has worked for the United States multinational Baxter Healthcare, becomes the Prefect for the Secretariat for the Economy, an office with authority over all economic affairs of the Holy See.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet


Diocese recognized for financial transparency
“The Diocese of Allentown has been recognized for its financial transparency in a nationwide report. The findings were contained in a report by Voice of the Faithful, a group of lay Catholics focused on Church governance that conducts an annual survey of diocesan financial transparency each summer. The group produces a scorecard that rates dioceses against each other, and against the national average performance, in an effort to spur improvement. The 2022 report listed the Diocese of Allentown among the five most-improved dioceses in the nation in financial transparency.” By Diocese of Allentown

Vatican officials seek to hamstring former auditor’s $9.6 million lawsuit
“Just a week after the Vatican’s first auditor general and his deputy filed a $9.6 million lawsuit for wrongful dismissal, the Vatican’s legal system has seemingly sought to hamstring the claim by refusing to certify the plaintiffs’ chosen lawyer. Speaking to journalists Nov. 17, Libero Milone, the Vatican’s first auditor general, who appointed in 2015 and fired in 2017 along with his deputy Ferruccio Panicco, said that a week after filing their suit, their lawyer had been rejected by officials in charge of certifying attorneys to appear before Vatican courts.” By Elise Ann Allen,

Cardinal Becciu and the twists and turns of the Vatican finance trial
“As the Vatican trial against Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine others rounds the corner in its 16th month, recent court hearings have introduced a few revelations about the case as well as possible new accusations against the Secretariat of State’s former No. 2. Here are some of the latest twists and turns in the trial to prosecute people in and around the Vatican for financial crimes.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency


U.S. bishops’ decline into irrelevance will continue
“I suppose it was fitting, in a depressing kind of way, that the U.S. bishops’ conference plenary coincided with former President Donald Trump’s announcement he is seeking the presidency in 2024. In both church and state, the future will be dominated by divisiveness and a culture war ethic for the next few years, a result that contradicts the founding mission of both. The future is grim. The church understands its most essential mission to be proclaiming Christ as ‘Lumen gentium,’ the ‘Light of nations’ in the words of the Second Vatican Council … Alas, the ‘unity of the whole human race’ is not likely going to be part of the U.S. bishops’ agenda during the tenure of Archbishop Timothy Broglio as president of the conference.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Geographic

Dear bishops: We know the church is struggling. Let the rest of us help you.
“Recently, the Archdiocese of St. Louis announced a proposal that would close more than half of its 178 parishes. The issues that the archdiocese has cited are all too familiar in the United States: decreasing attendance and an aging clergy. The fact is, in the United States, young Catholics are not coming to church … I am hardly in a position to understand what it’s like to be a bishop facing what seems like our own Catholic version of oncoming climate change disaster. But if I had one wish for the U.S. bishops right now, it is that those who are concerned or uncertain about our future would share that experience with the rest of us. As paradoxical as it may seem, I think doing so could be a tremendous source of not only hope but enthusiasm in these trying times.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review


Adult survivors of past sexual abuse now have a year to sue the alleged abuser
“There is a statute of limitations for reporting adult sexual abuse. That statute is being waived for one year, which began Thanksgiving day, due to the Adult Survivors Act. The act is modelled on the Child Victims Act, which was approved in 2019. It allows people who were over 18 years of age when they experienced sexual abuse to have a one year window of opportunity to file a claim against their alleged abuser in civil court. They can bring legal action even if the statute of limitations for the crime has expired.” By Karen DeWitt, WAER-FM

CA ‘look-back’ window closing for adult victims of childhood sex abuse
“Southern California resident Patricia Egan, 65, is breathing easier, she said, after having her day in court. In November, Egan, now 65, won an $18 million lawsuit against her former brother-in-law, the man she says sexually abused her during the ’60s and ’70s, starting when she was 11 years old. Now, however, the three-year legal window that enables older adult victims such as Egan to sue for damages against their childhood sexual abusers is about to close in California.” By Ashley Ludwig,


Catholic Church sexual abuse victims in Baltimore speak out in favor of AG report release
“Individuals abused by Catholic priests in Maryland gathered in front of the Baltimore Archdiocese office on Friday (Nov. 18) to speak out in favor of public release of the grand jury investigation into religious leaders accused of abuse. After four years of investigation, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office has gathered a 456-page report that identifies 158 priests who are accused of abusing more than 600 children over an 80 year period. Attorney General Brian Frosh is seeking a court order, as required by state law, to release the grand jury documents to the public.” By Scott Maucione, WYPR-FM National Public Radio Baltimore


These 10 Bay Area clergy are now linked for the first time to Catholic Church sex abuse scandal
“As a deadline looms for new lawsuits to root out decades-old abuse, 14 Northern California priests — including 10 in the Bay Area — have been accused for the first time of sexually abusing children, adding to the list of dozens of disgraced clergy already exposed in recent years in a scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic church for a generation. The 14 accused priests came to light in a torrent of litigation unleashed by Assembly Bill 218, which opened a three-year window from 2020-2022 during which adults who say they were abused long ago as children are allowed to sue.” By John Woolfolk, Daily News

New lawsuits filed against Hanna Boys Cener as CA clergy abuse law deadline approaches
“More than a dozen new lawsuits have been filed against Hanna Boys Center of Sonoma by men who say they were abused by Catholic priests and staff there when they were children. We’ve been speaking to survivors, former staff, and officials now running the residential treatment center. A state law that allows survivors of clergy sexual abuse to file lawsuits — no matter how long ago it happened — expires at the end of next month. As a result, there has been a rush of new complaints. No question, Hanna Boys Center has done some good over the years, helping kids struggling with school or family life.” By Dan Noyes, ABC-TV7 News


Catholic Diocese of Evansville clears priest of sexual misconduct allegation
“The Rev. Bernie Etienne, a priest who had been accused of sexual misconduct, has been returned to active ministry, the Catholic Diocese of Evansville said Friday (Nov. 25). The move comes ‘following completion of a thorough investigation,’ according to a statement released Friday morning by the Diocese. Etienne’s return is effective immediately. At the time he was placed on administrative leave in March, Etienne was serving as pastor at Evansville’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 1301 S. Green River Road.” By Thomas B. Langhorne, Evansville Courier & Press


Baltimore archdiocese is funding attorneys seeking to seal abuse proceedings
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore confirmed Tuesday (Nov. 22) that it is helping pay the legal expenses of an anonymous group of people seeking to seal the proceedings around a report by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office on clergy sexual abuse of minors. Christian Kendzierski, an archdiocese spokesman, reiterated that the church is not seeking to suppress a 456-page report by the office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. But, Kendzierski said, the church has unspecified obligations to a group of individuals who are named in the attorney general’s report but are not accused of sexual abuse and who have argued that their side should be heard before the report is made public.” By Fredrick Kunkle and Michelle Boorstein, The Washinton Post

Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese will not oppose public release of AG report detailing sexual abuse
“After days of mixed signals, the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore announced Tuesday (Nov. 22) that it would not oppose the public release of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s report showing the extent of sexual abuses committed by clergy over the past eight decades. The announcement comes after Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office revealed in a court filing that it had completed a 456-page report detailing how 158 priests and other church officials had sexually abused more than 600 people — some of them as young as preschool age. What’s more, the report reveals how the church often ignored abuse reports, and often helped cover the abuses up.” By Lainey Steadman, Baltimore News Source

Maryland probe finds 158 abusive priests, over 600 victims
“An investigation by Maryland’s attorney general identified 158 Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who have been accused of sexually and physically abusing more than 600 victims over the past 80 years, according to court records filed Thursday. Attorney General Brian Frosh announced that his office has completed a 463-page report on the investigation, which began in 2019. He filed a motion in Baltimore Circuit Court to make the report public. Court permission is required because the report contains information from grand jury subpoenas. It’s unclear when the court will make a decision.” By Brian Witte, Religion News Service


Judge orders NY Archdiocese to turn over its investigative records on Hubbard
“A state Supreme Court justice has ordered the Archdiocese of New York to turn over roughly 1,400 pages of internal records related to its investigations of Howard J. Hubbard, rejecting the organization’s arguments that the documents regarding the former Albany bishop are constitutionally protected under the religious clauses of the First Amendment.” By Brendan J. Lyons, Buffalo Times Union

Insurers in Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy put on notice by Rochester abuse settlement plan
“The Rochester Diocese’s novel strategy to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy by paying childhood sex abuse survivors $55 million and allowing them to sue the diocese’s insurers for additional damages may provide a template for other bankrupt dioceses in New York, including Buffalo, according to legal experts. Across the United States, insurance contributions have been a backbone of most diocese bankruptcy settlement plans over the past decade, with insurance companies paying hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid litigation in sex abuse cases.” By Jay Tokasz, Buffalo News


Harrisburg Diocese settlement calls for payment of $18 million to about 60 clergy abuse survivors
“After more than two-and-a-half years of negotiation, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and a committee representing survivors of sexual abuse by its clergy have announced agreement on an $18.25 million settlement fund designed to resolve all remaining abuse claims. The settlement agreement – part of an overall reorganization plan to resolve the diocese’s bankruptcy case – was filed in federal court Friday (Nov. 18), and still needs approval from the various classes of creditors and the judge overseeing the diocese’s bankruptcy case.” By Charles Thompson, Patriot News, on


Why do sexual abuse scandals keep happening in Rhode Island?

This year, the state has been rocked by a series of child sexual abuse scandals in the schools and Catholic Church … In February, the Diocese of Providence removed two priests from ministry. Pastor Francis C. Santilli of St. Philip Parish in Greenville was placed on administrative leave after multiple allegations of sexual abuse. The diocese also removed Father Eric Silva from church assignments in Barrington and, later, in Narragansett after parents in Cranston and Barrington alleged that he asked their children questions about their sexual orientation and activity during confession, reportedly accusing them of lying if they denied being gay or sexually active.” By Ellen Liberman, Rhode Island Monthly


Chattanooga Catholics call for removal of Knowville bishop, allege mishandling of sexual abuse claims, finances
“In late October, two Chattanooga-area Catholics, Theresa Critchfield and Kristy Higgins, drove with their children to a protest outside the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville. The protest was held by SNAP of Tennessee, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Its principal organizer, Susan Vance, has for two decades agitated, often alone, for more transparency from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville. In February, after an anonymous plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the diocese claiming Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika had impeded an investigation into a sexual assault allegedly committed by a then-diocese employee, Vance called for the bishop to resign.” By Andrew Schwartz, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Widow says she was groped by Catholic priest during grief counseling session
“A Honduran asylum-seeker living in Tennessee alleges in a federal lawsuit that the Diocese of Knoxville tried to sabotage a police investigation after she accused a priest of groping her during a grief counseling session following her husband’s death. Identified in court papers as Jane Doe, the mother of three alleges in the lawsuit filed on Nov. 10 that the diocese ‘obstructed law enforcement’ and tried to intimidate her into ‘abandoning her cooperation with the criminal prosecution’ of the Rev. Antony Devassey Punnackal.” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC-TV News


Superior Diocese releases list of 23 credibly accused priests, including one man removed this year
“The Diocese of Superior has named 23 priests that it believes have been credibly accused of sexual abuse over the course of its history, including one priest removed from the ministry in September over accusations from the 1990s. According to the records, James Bartelme was placed on administrative leave on September 8, relating to a single allegation of abuse that occurred in 1990 and 1991 in Superior. According to a 2021 guest column in the Catholic Herald, Bartelme, 71, is a retired priest.” By Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Law against secrecy of confession takes effect
“The law applies to Western Australia, the largest of the Australian states. Entering into force on November 1, 2022, it obliges ministers of religion to report all cases of child abuse, including those for which the information obtained would have been within the framework of the Sacrament of Penance. These changes are part of new laws introduced by the government of Mark McGowan, currently Premier of Western Australia. However, this law was passed in October of 2021.” By


As church sales continue, lawyers bicker over how millions for abuse victims should be paid
“While a Catholic archdiocese in Newfoundland and Labrador continues to sell off its properties, lawyers are squabbling over how millions in proceeds from those sales should be paid out to abuse victims. The two sides are miles apart, but only one side is talking. ‘We believe there are better ways of approaching it,’ said St. John’s lawyer Geoff Budden, who represents dozens of abuse victims, on Monday (Nov. 21).” By Terry Roberts, CBC News


Another retired French bishop admits to hiding past sexual abuse
“Another retired French archbishop has admitted to past sexual abuse and a parish priest was sidelined after his abuse case came to light. The fallout from recent revelations of past sexual abuse by a cardinal and a bishop continues to torment the French Catholic Church. Former Strasbourg Archbishop Jean-Pierre Grallet, 81, admitted making ‘inappropriate gestures’ to an adult woman in the past and now faces civil and canonical inquiries. The woman, prompted by calls for victims to come forward, informed French police during the summer.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet

French Roman Catholic Church wants to regain faith of population
“Several cases of sexual abuse have undermined the trust in the Roman Catholic Church in France. Therefore, the French Conference of Bishops has decided to take measures to regain the population’s confidence … Marie-Jo Thiel, theologian, doctor and professor of ethics, argues for a strategy to denounce all the culprits. Furthermore, she pleads for better training for new bishops. Now, they only have to follow a 48-hour training course in Rome that should equip them for their entire episcopate.” By


Priest arrested under POSCO, remanded to one-day police custody
“Pune city Police on Saturday (Nov. 26) arrested Father Vincent Pereira, a priest, under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). He was remanded to one-day police custody by a city court. Pereira was arrested in connection to a case of sexual abuse registered with Bundgarden police on Friday, said Assistant Police Inspector Shilpa Lambe. ‘There are other sexual abuse cases pending against him in various police stations,’ she told The Indian Express.” By The Indian Express


Blackrock and Spiritan pupils look back: ‘I was never sexually abused at school, but …’
“This week, The Irish Times invited people who had attended Spiritan and other schools to share their experiences in the wake of revelations of widespread abuse at the order’s schools. They include Willow Park, Blackrock, St Mary’s and St Michaels colleges in Dublin, Rockwell College in Co Tipperary, and others in Ireland and overseas. We sought responses from people who had experienced abuse themselves, had witnessed it, or had learned only recently that it occurred in their school.” By Carl O’Brien, The Irish Times

Priest sexually assaulted boys while telling parishioners he was disgusted by church abuse
“A former priest who will be sentenced in December for a horrific series of rapes and sex attacks on a schoolboy was a serial predator who abused a number of boys while telling parishioners he was sickened by the extent of abuse within the Catholic Church. The now defrocked Denis Nolan (70) formerly of The Presbytery, Rathnew, Co Wicklow pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to three counts of anal rape, one of oral rape and five of sexual assault of the schoolboy on dates between January 2001 and December 2005.” By Alan Sherry, Sunday World


Italy church says 600 sex abuse cases sent to Vatican
“Italy’s Catholic bishops provided their first accounting of clergy sexual abuse and revealed Thursday (Nov. 17) that more than 600 cases from Italy were on file at the Vatican since 2000. The report of the Italian bishops’ conference, which only covered complaints that local Italian church authorities had received over the last two years, did not mention the hundreds of cases. It identified 89 presumed victims and some 68 people accused.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on Religion News Service


Jesuit ministry leader accused of sexual abuse in Poland
“The Jesuits in Poland are going through a seismic upheaval after the abuse of a minor and a vulnerable adult by a charismatic youth and retreat minister was revealed by Więź magazine in mid-November. In a statement released on Nov. 22, the Southern Poland Province of the Jesuits said that Father Maciej Sz. [his full name cannot be used under Polish law] was removed from all ministry and moved to an undisclosed secluded non-Jesuit location where he is forbidden to say Mass or wear clerical garb.” By Paulina Guzik,

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