Voice of the Faithful

Voice of the Faithful is a worldwide movement of mainstream Roman Catholics working 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. VOTF has three goals: to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and shape structural change within the Church.

Homepage: https://voicefaithful.wordpress.com

Look up at the altar, where are the women? / National Catholic Reporter

My parish is different, you say? Good. Let its light shine downtown. Let it leap over the torchbearers and across the clerical divide to the bishop. Tell him what it all looks like. Tell him how the picture does not match the story. (National Catholic Reporter)

If you had the chance to attend Holy Week services in person or via television — and I hope you did — you probably noticed the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a men’s church.

“The clerics — all vested — are in the sanctuary or at least up front. The rest of us are far away.

“Keeping the faithful at a distance was a hallmark of medieval Catholicism, so much so that St. Francis of Assisi tried to do something about it. Unable to bring the people closer to the celebration, he gave them the Gospel. His attitude, still flowering in the world, helps faithful folks assimilate the uncomfortable truth: they cannot be near the sacred. Especially women.

“Liturgy demonstrates the collision between the real and the unreal, between the truth and way the church treats women.”

By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Apr. 12, 2019

TOP STORIES

Pope issues law, with penalties, for Vatican City to address sexual abuse
“Pope Francis has issued a highly anticipated law for Vatican City officials and diplomats overseas to tackle sexual abuse(link is external), setting up what is intended to be a model for the Roman Catholic Church worldwide by requiring, for the first time, that accusations be immediately reported to Vatican prosecutors. The Vatican characterized the law — and accompanying pastoral guidelines — as a reflection of the most advanced thinking on preventing and addressing sexual abuse in the church.” By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

Francis says he may reconsider convicted cardinal’s resignation after appeal
“Pope Francis has indicated he will reconsider his decision not to accept the resignation of a French cardinal convicted of covering up sexual abuse(link is external) after the prelate’s appeal is heard. In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Morocco, the pontiff also admitted that Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin may be guilty, but asked for the continued observation of presumption of innocence during the appeal.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope challenges U.S. bishops on clerical sex abuse
“Pope Francis has challenged the United States bishops conference on their strategy for dealing with clerical sexual abuse(link is external). The Pope suggested the US bishops had adopted a mentality of a self-governing congregationalist church detached from Rome. ‘The Church is not congregationalist, it is the Catholic Church where the bishop must take control of this as the pastor,’ the Pope told journalists on board the papal plane from Morocco.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: Transparency
Catholic theology affirms that confession is good for the soul, so it’s a bit of paradox that the last thing the American Roman Catholic bishops or the Vatican want to do is publicly confess everything they know about clergy sex abuse(link is external). The bishops now understand the need to protect children by removing abusive priests from ministry. Most even grasp the need to hold bishops accountable for allowing bad priests to continue in ministry. But as a body they really do not want to expose their dirty laundry to public view. Public confession, they fear, will scandalize the faithful and bring the church into further disrepute. It’s this that led many bishops in the past to attempt to cover up.” By Thomas Reese, S.J. Religion News Service

Rejecting appeal, Vatican hands down final ruling against Guam bishop
“The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has rejected an appeal by the now-former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron(link is external) of Agana, Guam, upholding its judgment of finding him guilty of abuse against minors. The doctrinal tribunal’s decision is final and no further appeals are possible, it said in a communique published April 4.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Catholic leaders in Japan to conduct survey on sexual abuse
“Catholic bishops in Japan plan to conduct a nationwide survey on sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy(link is external), church officials said Monday (Apr. 8). Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, the leader of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, shared the plan on Sunday during a gathering in Tokyo where a man spoke of being abused as a young boy at the hands of a German priest.” By Makiko Inoue and Mike Ives, The New York Times

What do the Church’s victims deserve?
“Like many Catholics, I wonder whether this story will ever be over and whether things will ever be set right. Often called a crisis, the problem is more enduring and more comprehensive than that(link is external). Social scientists report that the gravest period of priestly sexual abuse was the sixties and seventies, and the problem has been in public view for the past three and a half decades. For most American Catholics, then, the fact of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup by bishops has long been an everyday reality.” By Paul Elie, The New Yorker

In new letter, Benedict blames clergy abuse on sexual revolution, Vatican II theology
“Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution(link is external), developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God. The letter, one of a handful the ex-pontiff has shared publicly since his resignation in 2013, immediately drew criticism from theologians and Vatican watchers. They noted it does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Leader of U.S. bishops set for Rome trip to talk bishops’ accountability
“Archbishop José Gómez, the de facto head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as the body’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, faces health issues, will travel to Rome the week after Easter to meet Vatican officials to discuss new measures for U.S. bishop accountability(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

What does justice look like for survivors?
“Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end? That’s a question everyone has been asking since the latest wave of news in 2018(link is external). In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside. She wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.” By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic governance – a challenge for improvement
“A monarchical organization, powered by ideology, with promotion by patronage results in bad governance. The Catholic Church has a governance problem(link is external). Wilton Gregory has been appointed Archbishop of Washington, DC replacing Cardinal Donald Wuerl. While there will be some disappointed faces amongst younger bishops in the USA, most Catholic commentators are positive about the appointment.” By Eric Hodgens, La Croix International

Holy Cross leaders, Catholic community members consider effectiveness of lay review boards in combating sexual assault
“In January of 2002, when the Boston Globe Spotlight team released an article exposing the sexual abuse crisis in Boston parishes, the Catholic Church entered a state of deadlock. In response to the mass allegations, Church leaders met in Dallas that June and created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The charter established several stipulations, including a key way for lay communities to check their clergies’ power: the creation of review boards(link is external).” By Claire Rafford, The Observer

Lawmakers must stop cooperating in the bishops’ dirty tricks
“Just when everyone wants to believe that the Catholic bishops have turned the corner on child sex abuse, they pull another stunt to set back the progress for all child sex abuse victims(link is external). This time their chosen state was Maryland. They will continue to endanger children. It’s time for lawmakers to reject the bishops’ advice on any issue involving child sex abuse. The bishops have been lobbying against child sex abuse victims on two fronts for years …” By Marci Hamilton and Kathryn Robb, Verdict.Justia.com

Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: holding bishops accountable
“When people were first confronted with the extent of Catholic priests’ sexual abuse of children, they were angry. But when, in the early 2000s, they learned that their bishops knew about the abuse and did little to stop it, Catholics and even the wider public were outraged(link is external). As the crisis has rolled on, the demand that the bishops be held accountable for not reporting the abuse to the police, for keeping these priests in ministry and for not protecting children has become the focus of state and church inquiries, from the Vatican to attorney general offices across the U.S.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

Lori: Church has many reasons to get right response to child sex abuse
“A week into National Child Abuse Protection Month, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori visited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chapel April 8 to celebrate midday Mass for conference employees and reflect on the church’s work to develop policies and procedures to prevent child abuse by those within the church(link is external). He recognized that those who work at U.S. bishops’ conference headquarters have a keen desire ‘to do everything possible to address on an ongoing basis the sexual abuse crisis that has roiled the Catholic Church for such a very long time.’” By Christopher Gunty, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN’S BISHOPS’ CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT

Organizer of pope’s anti-abuse summit terms it ‘partly a success’
“A member of the organizing committee for February’s Vatican sex abuse summit has dubbed the meeting ‘partly a success(link is external),’ saying it achieved his main goal of bringing about ‘unity for the whole church leadership that was present.’ Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of Rome’s Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, said that 2018 was a ‘year of change’ in the Church’s understanding of the global sex abuse crisis and that ‘we are at another level of awareness.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope’s team may need to explain new reluctance on ‘zero tolerance’
“Tuesday (Apr. 2) made official a transition that’s been quietly underway for a while in terms of the Vatican’s response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals: Pope Francis and his aides are rethinking, if not the substance of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy(link is external), at least the rhetoric of it, becoming increasingly unwilling to use that phrase. Confirmation came with release of a document from the pontiff drawing conclusions from last fall’s Synod of Bishops on young people, where tensions over ‘zero tolerance’ formed one of the major pieces of drama.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis: new rules for religious life
“Pope Francis has made several changes to ecclesial canons concerning the dismissal of consecrated persons from the religious institutes(link is external) to which they belong. According to the revised canons, religious who have been “illegitimately absent” from their religious house for a full twelve months are dismissed ipso facto from their Institutes. The new canons also stipulate that the superior of the institute must gather evidence of facts and issue a declaration, which must be confirmed, for the dismissal to be legally recognized.” By Christopher Wells, Vatican News

BISHOPS

In D.C. Archdiocese, the truth is a good starting place
“‘I will always tell you the truth,’ said Wilton Gregory during his introductory news conference(link is external) as newly appointed archbishop of Washington, D.C. ‘I believe the only way I can serve the local archdiocese is by telling you the truth(link is external).’ The repetition of that promise, twice more in the form of an instruction to himself, is a telling indication of the state of things in the U.S. Catholic church today. ‘I always have to tell you the truth,’ he said. ‘I have to tell you the truth. And I will.’” Editorial by National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Pope names Wilton Gregory as new archbishop of Washington
“Pope Francis has named Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta as the new Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington(link is external), hoping to end a tumultuous period for a pivotal diocese whose recent leaders have been at the center of the church’s sexual abuse crisis in the United States. Archbishop Gregory, 71, becomes the first African-American bishop to lead the archdiocese, a position that puts him to in line to become the country’s first African-American cardinal. He has led the archdiocese of Atlanta since 2005.” By Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

Archbishop Wilton Gregory asked to lead Washington archdiocese
“Pope Francis is expected to appoint Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta to serve as the next Archbishop of Washington(link is external), multiple sources have independently reported to CNA. Gregory would become the seventh Archbishop of Washington, succeeding Cardinal Donald Wuerl. A formal announcement could come as early as next week, sources say, though it has not yet been confirmed that the archbishop has accepted the appointment. Sources in Rome and the United States told CNA that Gregory was informed of the appointment earlier this week.” By Ed Condon and J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

PRIESTS

Why the Catholic Church needs two different kinds of priesthood
“Readers of the Dec. 27, 2018 issue of Origins will encounter a document that is both theologically rich and pastorally inspiring. ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry’ is an important new statement on priesthood(link is external), the result of a two-year seminar whose participants were faculty members and others affiliated with Boston College.” By Stephen Bevans and Robin Ryan

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Pope calls abuse crisis a ‘scourge’ in youth doc, omits ‘zero tolerance’
“In a major new document on young people, Pope Francis acknowledges the clerical sexual abuse crisis as a major challenge to the Catholic Church’s credibility, but, following the lead of a summit of bishops last fall upon which it’s based, notably omits any reference to a ‘zero tolerance’ policy(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Francis’ youth exhortation says Catholic Church must change but offers few proposals
“The global Catholic Church must listen more to the critiques of its younger members(link is external) and acknowledge that ‘some things concretely need to change,’ Pope Francis says in a new teaching document. But in a dense, nearly 33,000-word apostolic exhortation published April 2, the pontiff offers few insights for what exactly must change or how the church can go about responding to young people who find its teachings or structures outdated.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

UISG, LCWR leaders discuss clergy sex abuse, and the credibility of religious life
Global Sisters Report recently held a discussion(link is external) with Sr. Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General and superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Africa; Sr. Pat Murray, executive director of UISG and member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Sr. Sharlet Wagner, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and a Sister of the Holy Cross; and Sr. Carol Zinn, executive director of LCWR and a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia. This is an edited transcript of that discussion.” By Global Sisters Report Staff, National Catholic Reporter

Q&A with Sr. Véronique Margron, leader of religious addressing abuse in the church
“Sr. Véronique Margron is a Dominican sister from and provincial prior of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A theologian and specialist in moral theology, she is the former dean of the Catholic University of the West in Angers(link is external), France, and now is president of CORREF (Conférence des Religieux et Religieuses de France). CORREF aims to further ties between communities, hoping to reach a deeper communion between different institutions; encourage members to listen and pay attention to challenges and questions of the 21st century; and bring support between generations of religious men and women.” By Elizabeth Auvillain, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Nuns in Africa create social enterprise startups to help communities
“Sister Christine Imbali of the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret, in western Kenya, has been working to help low-income women and families(link is external) end their reliance on her small community of Catholic religious women and other charitable groups. Instead of a charity, she wants to give families in the country’s fifth-largest city the option to be self-sustaining and to contribute an important aspect of a healthy city — nutrition. Her idea: chickens.” By Heather Adams, Religion News Service

LAITY & THE CHURCH

First lay advisory board meeting opens new dialogue for archdiocese
“Mary Brady hopes a new Lay Advisory Board to assist Archbishop Bernard Hebda will usher in a new era of listening in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis(link is external). ‘I was really active in several archdiocesan commissions when I was in my 20s. They’re no longer around,’ said Brady, 71, citing as one example a former urban Catholic coalition that promoted inner city parishes. ‘I’m hoping that it’s a sign … that the diocese is being more open to a variety of input from people around the entire diocese,’ said Brady.” By Matthew Davis, The Catholic Spirit

Seminary professor: clergy governance in church serves lay vocation
“While the abuse crisis has shaken trust in the church, Dominican Father Pius Pietrzyk, an assistant professor of pastoral studies and chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, told Catholic San Francisco that the church’s governance structure is fundamentally sound(link is external). ‘Canon law reserves governance in the church to clergy, while permitting laity to cooperate in that governance,’ said Father Pietrzyk, who is also a canon and civil lawyer.” By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco

VATICAN

Vatican working on guidelines to report bishops in abuse cases
“The Vatican is working on a papal document that would establish procedures for Catholics to report bishops suspected of sexual abuse or negligence in sexual abuse cases, according to Vatican sources. The document, still in its early stages, would be the second official pronouncement by Pope Francis on the global sexual abuse crisis(link is external)since he presided at a summit of senior bishops at the Vatican in February.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Papal commission for protection of minors meets in Rome
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors how much Pope Francis appreciated their efforts, particularly their proposal for a summit of leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences and for the recently released safeguarding guidelines for Vatican City and the Roman Curia. The commission met in Rome April 4-7 for its 10th plenary assembly(link is external), which was opened by its president, Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

MASS TRANSLATIONS

G.B. Harrison on the new English translation of the liturgy
“Few in the Council (Vatican II) had realized that, when you open the gates to a large and impatient crowd, they rush in and are no longer controllable. Once the vernacular was admitted, the demand for its full use was general and quite irresistible(link is external). Both the Council and the new Pope desired that when a common language is spoken by several countries, commissions should be established to make one text for all. As a result, the English- speaking bishops appointed the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, hereafter referred to as ICEL.” By G.B. Harrison, America: The Jesuit Review

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

‘Is God really only calling single, celibate men to the priesthood? Why two men left
“Just a year after becoming a Catholic priest, Doug Langner said the loneliness started to creep in(link is external). ‘You would go through times of (thinking), wouldn’t it be nice to just share your day with someone else?’ said Langner, who was ordained in 2008 after graduating from Mundelein Seminary, and started to work in a Kansas City, Mo.-area parish. Soon he was the only priest assigned to his church, living alone in the rectory, which isn’t uncommon as the Catholic Church faces a priest shortage that has forced many churches to shut down or merge.” By Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Next task for pope’s cardinal advisors: women’s leadership in the Vatican
“As Pope Francis’ council of cardinals wraps up the drafting of a new apostolic constitution, they have decided to take up the topic of management roles for women working in the Vatican(link is external). Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told journalists April 10 that among proposed agenda items for subsequent meetings of the pope’s now-six member advisory group will be management positions for women in offices of the Holy See.” By Catholic News Agency in The Pilot

Q&A with Sr. Ruth Schonenberger: ‘It is time to act’ for women’s equality in the church
“Sr. Ruth Schönenberger has been prioress of the monastery of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, a community of 70 nuns in the German province of Bavaria, since 2015. Schönenberger is also responsible for Benedictine communities in Bernried, also in Bavaria, and Dresden, in Saxony … GSR: Sister Ruth, in a recent interview, you called for real gender equality in the Catholic Church. Has this anything to do with the recent publication of many cases of abused women, including religious women? Have we reached a turning point?”(link is external) By Elizabeth Auvillain, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Pope says women have ‘legitimate claims’ for equality in Catholic Church. Does that mean leadership?
“Pope Francis said in a document released Tuesday (Apr. 2) that women have ‘legitimate claims’ to seek more equality in the Catholic Church(link is external), but he stopped short of endorsing recent calls from his own bishops to give women leadership roles. In the text, Francis also told young adults they should try to help priests at risk for sexually abusing minors in what a Vatican official said was a great act of trust the pope has for today’s youth to help ‘priests in difficulty.’” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Chicago Tribune

The quick and wondrous radicalization of Lucetta Scarafia
“I’ve never actually met Lucetta Scaraffia, but last October I was in a room where she was giving a speech. It was an experience I won’t soon forget. I was in Rome covering a ‘Catholic Women Speak’ event held just days before the start of the bishops 2018 synod on youth. Scaraffia was the editor of Women Church World, a monthly insert in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. She had recently received high praise from circles of feminists and women religious for her bold March 2018 exposé on the servitude of nuns(link is external) who cook and clean for bishops.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

Are women’s voices being silenced at the Vatican?
“The entire staff of Women Church World, the women’s magazine that comes out once a month alongside L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, resigned on March 26(link is external) … Ms. (Lucetta) Scaraffia (former editor) Ms. Scaraffia described this new willingness among women to speak out about their abuse—not only in Women Church World and the secular press but in YouTube videos that are “like a message in a bottle” on “the sea of the internet”—as a result of the quiet freedom women in the Vatican have found precisely because they are overlooked.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Cardinal John Dew calls for overhaul of Catholic Church in Wellington archdiocese
“Soaring insurance costs and a dwindling number of priests have led one of the country’s most senior clergyman to call for an overhaul into the way Catholic churches are run in the Wellington region(link is external). Archbishop of Wellington Cardinal John Dew sent two memos in February to parishioners and staff throughout the Wellington Archdiocese – which covers the lower North Island and Upper South Island – addressing the state of the church’s buildings and the future of their congregations.” By Tommy Livingston, Stuff.co.nz

The reform seminaries need
“As former seminary professors, we have looked upon the last several months of revelations about clergy sex abuse, cover-ups, and institutional infighting with the same disgust and sadness as our sisters and brothers—but we are not surprised … It is essential to understand how priests and thus, ultimately, bishops are formed(link is external), especially the way they are enculturated into clericalism from their first days in seminary. It is the air they breathe there. Clericalism in seminary formation is explicitly singled out as a problem in the Synod on Youth’s final document, approved in late October 2018, and it affects everyone in the church—it is a systemic and widespread problem.” By C. Colt Anderson and Christopher M. Bellito

Trust in Catholic Church at new low in France
Most French people now have a bad image of the Catholic Church(link is external), according to a poll published by the French newspaper Christian Witness. In addition, they believe Pope Francis has handled the sex abuse crisis badly. A survey of 1000 people in France shows mistrust of the Church in France has increased by 24 per cent in under a decade.” By Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet

Plenary Council listening to 222,000 voices
“Plenary Council 2020 president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says he and his fellow bishops have been ‘amazed’ by the engagement of Australians in the Council’s opening stage(link is external). The Plenary Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase ended earlier this month, concluding a period of almost 10 months for people to share their stories and consider the question ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?’” By CathNews

VOICES

Benedict XVI addresses sex abuse scandal
“In an essay published Thursday at CNA, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI offered his thoughts about the sex abuse crisis facing the Church(link is external). Benedict reviewed the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and examined its effects on priestly formation and life, before suggesting the Church’s proper response. ‘Today, the accusation against God is, above all, about characterizing His Church as entirely bad, and thus dissuading us from it. The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God, through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped,’ Benedict wrote in ‘The Church and the Scandal of sexual abuse,’ published April 11.” By Catholic News Agency Staff in The Pilot

Facing the crisis: what needs to be done to address the crisis underlying the crisis of sex abuse
“As time has passed, it has become increasingly clear that the crisis, although obviously involving the abuse scandal and the bishops’ response, is a far larger matter that raises profound issues of authority, accountability, and participatory decision-making(link is external). When the U.S. bishops gather in plenary assembly in Baltimore two months from now, their immediate task will be putting in place a new system of episcopal accountability in dealing with sex abuse. Its elements will likely include a code of conduct for themselves, a hotline for receiving complaints, and a framework for judging bishops who commit abuse or cover it up when committed by others.” By Russell Shaw, The Pilot

Remembering Gary Hayes, a Catholic priest who held his church to account on abuse
“In 1993, with the help of attorney Steve Rubino, (Rev.) Gary (Hayes) filed the first-ever lawsuit charging Catholic officials with racketeering(link is external). The Rev. Joseph McGarvey and the Rev. William O’Connell repeatedly molested Gary and two other boys, “conspiring to create a sex ring of children that could be sexually abused by the two priests and other priests,” often taking the kids across state lines “for the express purpose of having forcible sexual contact” with them, the suit said.” By David Clohessy, Religion News Service

How are grassroots Catholics responding to the sex abuse crisis?
“Betrayal. Disgust. Outrage. Disbelief. These are among the words we are hearing over and over as we facilitate ‘four courageous conversations’ with parishioners, priests, diocesan leaders and parish staff on their reactions to the recent revelations in the Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external). When the Pennsylvania grand-jury report was published, we knew we had to fashion a way for Catholics to speak their truth aloud and to one another, in the context of reflection, community and prayer. Further, we knew we needed to find a way for these voices to reach the ears of church leaders.” By Sean Reynolds and Dobie Moser, America: The Jesuit Review

The abuse crisis as prophecy & Pascha
“When Pope Francis wrote to the American bishops concerning the abuse crisis, he observed that ‘many actions can be helpful, good and necessary, and may even seem correct, but not all of them have the ‘flavor’ of the Gospel.(link is external)’ By recommending a return to the Gospel as an essential reference point, Francis is on to something … We do not taste the Gospel here. Yet we long for it, even when that longing goes unnamed.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Analysis: Gregory, Apuron, ‘zero tolerance,’ and pontifical secrets
“Thursday (Apr. 4) morning, the Vatican announced the fates of two American archbishops(link is external): one has become the next Archbishop of Washington, and the other has been declared guilty of child sexual abuse; his final appeal had been exhausted. The next moves of Archbishop Wilton Gregory, soon to be installed as Washington’s archbishop, will be carefully scrutinized … But equally important is the story of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who had until today been Archbishop of Agaña, Guam.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

The problematic rise of armchair theologians
“In an essay published in the 2012 collection When the Magisterium Intervenes: The Magisterium and Theologians in Today’s Church, Villanova University theologian Anthony Godzieba raises some key questions about church teaching that surface in an age of ‘digital immediacy(link is external).’ He asks: ‘does this digital immediacy’ influence the reception of these statements which in turn shapes the statements’ truth-value and their influence on the development of the Roman Catholic tradition, the reality of communion, and the very character of ‘teaching authority?’” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

Vocation conference offers space for ‘one foot in, one foot out’ Catholics
“A weekend conference examining Catholic vocation(link is external) was held March 29-30 at Union Theological Seminary, a bastion of liberal Protestantism in upper Manhattan. The location was significant: This particular conference on ‘(Re)Imagining Catholic Vocation’ could not be held at most Catholic venues. Sponsored by Call to Action, the event, according to organizer Abby Rampone, was directed at those Catholic ministers who feel they have ‘one foot in and one foot out’ of the church, as well as those with ‘both feet in and both feet out.’” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Selling people the Vatican ‘gets it’ on abuse a challenge right now
“Having just returned from an 18-day swing through the U.S. that took us to Boston, Denver, South Bend, Anaheim, Simi Valley, Whittier and Detroit, here’s probably the most common question I got along the way from American Catholics vis-à-vis the home office in Rome: ‘Do those guys over there get it(link is external)?’ The ‘it’ refers to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and, more specifically, the gravity and depth of the situation as experienced by American Catholics over the last several months, and thus the perceived need for urgent and dramatic action.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Your thoughts on parish collections, priestly class, racism pastoral and more
NCR readers are welcome to join the conversation(link is external) and send us a letter to the editor. Below is a sampling of letters received in the month of February 2019. If you want to respond to an article published in NCR, follow the steps listed at the end of this post … ‘While I have no doubt the U.S. bishops heartily welcome any narrative that downplays the seriousness of their dereliction (nationwide guidelines for dioceses for parish collections), those of us who continue to financially support our parishes need to know that a clear majority of the collections within the parishes remain highly vulnerable to weekly theft.’ Michael W. Ryan, Milton, Massachusetts” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Shrouded in sanctity: sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
“On February 21, 2019, the Vatican began its summit on the sexual abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church and its followers around the globe, an act the Church believes will lead to ‘concrete and effective measures’ to handle its extensive abuse allegations. While it is fair to keep in mind that such abuses are not confined to the Catholic Church, the crimes remain a disgrace to a supposedly moral and righteous institution(link is external). As recognized by McGill professor (and former Canadian ambassador to the Vatican) Anne Leahy, who I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview for this article, the scandals call into question the entirety of the Church, not just its moral credibility.” By Cesar Ramirez, The McGill International Review

Inside Lucetta Scaraffia’s resignation and Pope Francis’ election
“On the last episode of ‘Inside the Vatican,’ Gerry O’Connell and I brought you an interview with Lucetta Scaraffia, the editor of Women Church World, a monthly magazine that comes out with the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. On Tuesday, March 26, she and the entire staff of Women Church World resigned in protest(link is external) of what they saw as attempts by the new editor of the Osservatore Romano to undermine their publication. So this week, Gerry and I take a look at why Ms. Scaraffia resigned, and what she accomplished as editor.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America; The Jesuit Review

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Draft of new constitution for Curia reform ready for consultation
“A draft of the proposed apostolic constitution for reforming and governing the Roman Curia(link is external) will soon be sent out to leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences, religious orders and some pontifical universities for their observations and suggestions. The draft, which has been approved by Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, will be subjected to this ‘consultative step’ before it is once more amended and then given to the pope for his consideration, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters April 10.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on TheDialogue.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau releases sexual abuse financial report
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cape Girardeau and Springfield has announced in a letter that details the financial expenditures of the diocese in connection to sexual abuse over its 64 year history(link is external). The Church has spent a total of $700,000 over the last 30 years in connection to sex abuse claims. Of that, $70,000 has gone to victim support, $450,000 to settlement, and $189,000 to legal fees. None of the money spent came from local churches.” By KTTS.com

Chicago Archdiocese is quietly using cemetery cash to pay priest sex abuse costs
“For years, the Catholic Church in Chicago has said it enlists two revenue sources to pay for settlements and other costs related to priest sex abuse cases(link is external): loans and the sale of property. But a Chicago Sun-Times examination found the church has been using money from its cemetery system to help pay down nagging debt related to sex misconduct — which at last count was more than $200 million — without telling the public.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun-Times

Catholic school principal, deacon stole $150,000 in church funds
“The principal of a Berks County Catholic school, who also serves as a deacon at the church, is accused of misappropriating roughly $150,000(link is external) of funds from the Diocese of Allentown. According to the Berks County District Attorney’s Office, Thomas J. Murphy, 65, along with his wife, Ann M. Murphy, 61, of Macungie, have been charged in connection with the case dating back to 2010.” By Steve Marroni, PennLive.com

STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS

Fate of two child sex crime bills tied to each other
“The future of the reform of child sex crime laws(link is external) in Pennsylvania hinges on two companion bills now intricately tied to each other under an amendment approved by the House on Tuesday *Apr. 9). The state House of Representatives cleared the way for the two pieces of legislation to go for a full chamber vote, but linked the future of the bill seeking to eliminate criminal statutes for child sex crimes to the bill that would revive expired statutes of limitations.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

‘I am not alone’: House member’s wife seeks more time for sexual abuse victims to sue offenders
“As Becky Leach took her seat Monday (Apr. 8) afternoon, preparing to testify for the first time before a committee at the Texas Capitol, her husband watched as he sat behind his name plate with the word ‘Chair’ engraved underneath. ‘I am a victim — and I am not alone(link is external),’ Becky Leach announced to the room as she began her remarks. ‘From 12 to 18, I was repeatedly and systematically molested. And I refused to acknowledge it.’” By Cassandra Pollok, The Texas Tribune

Pennsylvania House to again consider clergy child sex abuse bills
“Two bills that could make it easier for victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits(link is external), an issue that roiled the General Assembly last year, are expected to get votes next week in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. House Judiciary Chairman Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, said Thursday (Apr. 4) he supports the pair of proposals scheduled for committee votes Monday (Apr. 8).” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, in The Morning Call

Advocates push Connecticut legislators to eliminate statute of limitations for certain sexual assault cases
“Victims of pedophile priests and others urged lawmakers Monday (Apr.1) to pass a sweeping overhaul of Connecticut’s laws on sexual assault and harassment(link is external) that would eliminate the statute of limitations for major sex crimes in the future. Marci A. Hamilton, founder and chief executive officer of Child USA and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, said adults who come forward about sexual assaults decades later are virtually always telling the truth.” By Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Italian victim feels ‘defeated’ after Vatican’s secretive trial of alleged abuser
“Only two months ago Arturo Borelli, a clerical sex abuse victim from Italy, was beaming while walking down the avenue that leads to St. Peter’s Square … Today, Borelli says he feels ‘defeated(link is external)’ in a phone conversation with Crux April 2. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican department that handles matters of clerical sexual abuse, won’t answer his calls. His alleged abuser has been found innocent, but he was not informed of the sentence nor will he ever be able to know the details of the ecclesiastical trial.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Priest sees progress on abuse, but also resistance in some ‘quarters’
“The clergy abuse crisis will not be over in our lifetime(link is external), particularly in countries where it is just being acknowledged, according to Jesuit Father Hans Zollner. However, a growing understanding of the issue among church leadership and commitment to concrete measures that include lay participation will help dispel anger and eventually restore trust, he said.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

CALIFORNIA

Proposed California bill mandates priests report sexual abuse heard in confession
“California lawmakers are hoping to reverse hundreds of years of tradition in the Catholic church and mandate that priests who hear of child sexual abuses in confession report it to law enforcement(link is external). ‘The victims are told to be quiet, abusers are let go, free. Nothing happens to them and the cycle repeats and repeats,’ said Kameron Torres.” By FOX40-TV News

Diocese of San Jose adds Paul Duggan, former priest, to list of clergy accused of sexual abuse
“Paul Emmet Duggan, a former Catholic priest with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has been added to a list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) for allegedly abusing a child at St. Patrick Parochial School in San Jose during the 1950s. The Diocese of San Jose, which encompasses Santa Clara County, added Duggan to its public list Tuesday (Apr. 2).” By Thy Vo, The Mercury News

Fremont Catholic priest arrested on 30 counts of child sexual abuse
“In the East Bay, a Catholic priest has been arrested at his Fremont church and is being held in jail tonight, facing 30 counts of child sexual abuse(link is external). Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela was booked into the Dublin’s Santa Rita Jail on 30 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15.” By Maureen Kelly, KRON-TV 4 News

COLORADO

13 Denver-based Catholic friars with credible sexual-abuse allegations identified
“A Catholic order of Franciscans based in Denver on Thursday (Mar. 28) released the names of 13 friars or former friars who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) or a vulnerable adult. The Capuchin Franciscans — Province of St. Conrad said two of the 13 friars are dead and five have left the order. Nine men on the list spent time serving in Colorado, according to an audit report on the Province of St. Conrad’s website.” By Noelle Phillips, The Denver Post

CONNECTICUT

Bridgeport Diocese abuse victims seek to heal themselves, church
“Joseph Cann Sr. soon will be ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church — a special office that gives him limited priestly duties while allowing him to remain a married father of two. When Cann stands to deliver his first homily in June, it will fall two days before the 2016 date that his 28-year-old son, Joseph Jr., died of an overdose, after telling the family he had been sexually abused by their parish priest.” By Rob Ryser, News Times

Providing a list of accused priests was not sufficient
“It has been nearly two months since the Catholic Diocese of Norwich released its list of priests that it said had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. If the purpose of releasing the list was intended to provide transparency and start to move past the scandal that has long dogged the church, it was an abject failure(link is external). The problem is that Bishop Michael Cote wants to define the parameters of transparency, unadvised and unquestioned by any independent entity. He has lifted the veil, but only so far.” By The Day Editorial Board

ILLINOIS

Five more Catholic priests with ties to Springfield diocese named by SNAP
“The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) on Sunday (Apr. 7) disclosed the names of five more publicly accused abusive priests(link is external) who spent time in the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese but are not on the official diocesan ‘accused’ list. Members of SNAP protested outside of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception urging Bishop Thomas Paprocki to add the names.” By Steven Spearie, The State Journal-Register

Rockford panel addresses sex abuse in the Catholic Church
“Involve lay people in the selection of priests and in the power structure of the Catholic Church, hold priests accountable for their behavior as well as for their ministry, and make celibacy an optional requirement for priesthood. Those were some of the suggestions offered Tuesday (Apr. 2) night during a panel discussion titled, ‘Engaging Lent 2019: Ending the Sex Abuse Crisis.’ About 80 people, mostly seniors, attended the event held at Rockford University’s(link is external) Fisher Memorial Chapel and moderated by Register Star Metro Editor Kevin Haas.” By Chris Green, Rockford Register Star

Bishop Paprocki responds to sexual abuse allegations
“The bishop of the Diocese of Springfield is now speaking out for the first time after a report accused 23 clergymen of sexual abuse(link is external). The report was released last week and included the names and histories of hundreds of clergy accused of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. ‘We’ve chosen to reveal this information because the Catholic bishops and the religious orders who are in charge and have this information and hold it secret have chosen to conceal it,’ Author Jeff Anderson said.” By Niki McGee, FOX55-TV News

Heart of Illinois ABC questions Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky on priest sex abuse allegations
“The Catholic bishops held a press conference about the issue, which marks the first media event Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky was present since new allegations of priest sex abuse(link is external) came to light in the Peoria Diocese. After numerous requests for interviews via phone, e-mail, and in person about sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Church, this is the first time there has been a press event where Bishop Daniel Jenky was present, and available for questioning.” By HeartofIllinoisABC-TV News

IOWA

Diocese of Iowa to name nine credibly accused priests
“All but two of the names have previously been shared publicly, the letter said. The abuse by the nine priests(link is external) occurred between the 1950s and the 1990s, Pates wrote. ‘I share the anger and frustration of recent reports of clerical abuse of minors and young people,’ Pates wrote in the letter dated April 3. ‘It is my sincere hope the release of this list facilitates healing, encourages additional victims who have faced abuse to come forward and begins to restore trust.’” By Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register

KANSAS

Report on Catholic priests sad, disappointing for the faithful
“Most of the incidents of sexual abuse happened years ago, and most of the priests who committed the abuse are dead now. Those who aren’t are no longer members of the clergy. But the Salina Catholic Diocese’s report last week naming 14 priests who, according to substantiated reports, abused children while serving in positions of power in churches(link is external) and schools, is still tragic and deeply disturbing.” By The Manhattan Mercury

Criminal trial of KCK priest accused of abusing a minor is delayed
“Sexual abuse victims and their advocates making plans to attend a rare criminal trial this month of a priest charged with molesting a child(link is external) will now have to wait until at least this summer. The trial of the Rev. Scott Kallal, which was set to begin April 15 in Wyandotte County District Court, has been continued. At a hearing last week, the court — over the prosecution’s objection — granted Kallal’s request for more time. A status conference on the case is set for June 7, and a new trial date has not yet been scheduled.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Salina Diocese releases names of clergy in sex abuse investigation
“The Catholic Diocese of Salina says an investigation has found 14 clergy members with ‘substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external).’ Last September, Bishop Gerald Vincke hired the independent outside counsel of Cottonwood Law LLC. of Hillsboro to conduct a thorough review of clergy personnel files and identify any potential cases of clergy misconduct with minors.” By KWCH12-TV News

LOUISIANA

Lafayette diocese ‘getting close’ to naming priests accused of sexual abuse
“The list of priests accused of sexual abuse(link is external) while serving in the Lafayette diocese is expected to be released soon, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette said Friday. The diocese received a report from the committee in charge of assembling the list last week, said spokeswoman Blue Rolfes. ‘Getting close to releasing it,’ Rolfes said in a brief phone interview last week, although she offered no specific timeline.” By Andrew J. Yawn, Lafayette Daily Advertiser

At St. Dominic in Lakeview, Archbishop Aymond moves to boot priest suspected of child abuse
“Catholic Church officials asked the Dominican order Thursday (Mar. 28) to move an elderly priest out of his living quarters at St. Dominic’s Priory in Lakeview, a day after a victim-advocacy group exposed his presence on a list of Dominican religious order members who have been credibly accused of child molestation(link is external).” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate

Diocese adds more names to list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has updated a list of clergy members it says were credibly accused of sexually abusing children(link is external) or vulnerable adults. News outlets report the most recent update names former Deacon James Lockwood, who the list says was identified as credibly accused by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It says he wasn’t credibly accused in relation to his five-month service with the Baton Rouge diocese.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

MASSACHUSETTS

Archdiocese removes pastor from ministry
“The Archdiocese of Boston announced April 9 that Father Peter Gori, OS, has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately, as a result of receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) alleged to have taken place 28 years ago in the early 1990’s. Father Gori is Pastor of St. Augustine’s, Andover, MA. He previously served in the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston as a canon lawyer.” By The Pilot

MICHIGAN

Whitmer requests $2 million for Catholic clergy abuse investigations
“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is requesting $2 million in her budget for state investigations into abuse by Catholic clergy in Michigan(link is external) as an advocacy group calls upon Catholic officials in Detroit to include more priests on the list of clergy accused of sexual abuse. The money Whitmer is asking for would be used by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office for an investigation launched last year into abuse by Catholic clergy in Michigan.” By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Prosecutors welcome ‘no contest’ plea from Saginaw Catholic priest
“Saginaw county prosecutors say the prospect of audio recordings of himself being played in open court prompted a Catholic priest to plead no contest in a sexual assault case(link is external). Last week, a jury acquitted Rev. Robert Deland Jr. on charges he sexually assaulted two teens. But before a second trial on additional charges could begin this week, Deland pleaded no contest to a sexual assault charge and two other charges.” By Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio, a National Public Radio News Station

MINNESOTA

St. Cloud Diocese, priest sued over sex allegations
“A woman is suing the Diocese of St. Cloud in a lawsuit accusing a Catholic priest of sexual misconduct. The woman was a pastoral associate employed by the diocese. She names the diocese as one of defendants in the lawsuit she filed last month. The woman contends she was subjected to ‘unwelcome, offensive and ongoing verbal and physical sexual harassment(link is external)’ by her supervisor, the Rev. Joseph Backowski.” By Associated Press on KDLT-TV News

Minnesota priests gather to listen, reflect on church’s sex abuse crisis
“Fr. Kevin Finnegan said he didn’t know what to expect when he arrived at St. Peter in Mendota. The pastor of Our Lady of Grace in Edina was responding to an invitation Archbishop Bernard Hebda had extended to priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: to join him for an evening to reflect on the clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external). But Finnegan was grateful he went.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

MISSISSIPPI

A Mississippi man shares his story of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest
“Mark Belenchia of Jackson is 63-years-old. He says he was abused by a Catholic priest from the time he was 12-years-old to 15(link is external). ‘I was an altar boy server and the next thing you know a group of us would be invited over to the rectory and overnight stays,’ said Belenchia. ‘And this was a process over months. And then the next thing you know we’re in the bed and he started touching me. And then the next thing you know there was a lot of other activity going on.’” By Jasmine Ellis, Mississippi Public Radio

Battling Catholic Corruption
“Accusations of sexual abuse have rocked the Catholic church since 2002. In August 2018, the scandal intensified following an investigation in Pennsylvania that found more than 300 priests accused of child sexual abuse — leaving at least 1,000 survivors. This report led to further investigations in Illinois, West Virginia, Texas and Mississippi. On March 19, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson released a list of 37 Mississippi clergy members accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). Bernard Haddican, one of the 17 priests accused, was a pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, which neighbors the University of Mississippi campus.” By Makayla Steede, The Daily Mississippian

MISSOURI

Missouri Catholic diocese reports $700,000 paid out in clergy abuse settlements
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau says it has spent more than $700,000 settling claims of clergy abuse(link is external) over the last 32 years. In a letter with the report, Bishop Edward Rice apologized and said he directed the independent review ‘in the spirit of accuracy, transparency, and truthfulness.’ The bishop said the review that took more than six months to complete covers all clergy files over the 63-yeare history of the southern Missouri diocese.” By Alisa Nelson, OzarksFirst.com

Diocese releases names of additional priests accused of abusing minors
“The names of additional priests accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external) while assigned to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau were released by the diocese today (Apr. 1). The latest list brings to 23 the total number of priests named in allegations that occurred in the diocese since it was founded in 1956. There are 11 other priests who were assigned to the diocese at some point, and who were accused of abuse while assigned elsewhere.” By Andy Ostmeyer, Joplin Globe

MONTANA

Former Catholic priest to plead guilty in child porn case
“A former Roman Catholic priest in northern Montana accused of possessing child pornography plans to plead guilt(link is external)y. The Great Falls Tribune reports that a motion filed in federal court last month says 80-year-old Lothar Konrad Krauth will plead guilty to receipt of child pornography at a hearing on Monday.” By Associated Press in Flathead Beacon

NEVADA

Reno diocese identifies 12 ‘credibly accuses’ former Priests
“The Catholic Diocese of Reno has released the names of 12 former priests it has determined have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of minors(link is external). The diocese on Friday (Apr. 5) released a statement listing 11 individuals who are now dead and one still living former priest who was removed from the ministry 45 years ago for abusing minors.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

NEW JERSEY

Priest admits sexually abusing girl, first conviction for N.J. clergy abuse task force
“A massive investigation by New Jersey authorities into the sexual abuse of young boys by Roman Catholic priests has produced its first conviction(link is external) — by a priest who admitted abusing a young girl. Fr. Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg admitted abusing the girl from 1990 through 1994, — from when she was 14 until she was 17 — while he was a priest at St. Cecelia Church in the Iselin section of Woodbridge.” By Jerry DeMarco, Hackensack Daily Voice

Man who told Catholic church about past sexual abuse says he was brushed aside
“When Johnrocco Sibilia finally broke a 29-year silence about the priest who sexually abused him when he was a teenager(link is external), he said he hoped to ease his pain and extinguish the demons that tortured him for years. Instead, he said he was thrown into a labyrinth of frustration that left him wondering if opening up about his past was a mistake.” By Deena Yellin, North Jersey Record

Diocese of Trenton removes Holmdel priest after ‘credible’ sexual abuse allegation
“A recent and ‘credible’ allegation of sexual abuse of a child(link is external) from decades ago has been made against the Rev. Gregory D. Vaughan, who has served as pastor of the Church of St. Catharine in Holmdel since 2013, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton announced Saturday (Mar. 30) night. ‘The alleged abuse dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when Monsignor Vaughan was a parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish, Keansburg,’ the prepared statement from the Trenton diocese read.” By Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press

NEW MEXICO

Trial begins for former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children
“A trial for a former Catholic priest who is accused of sexually assaulting children(link is external)began Monday (Apr. 1). The federal case is hinged on one alleged victim. However, many other men will testify that Arthur Perrault sexually molested them as children as well.” By Chris Remirez, KOB4-TV News

Religious orders targeted in New Mexico clergy abuse case
“Religious orders once associated with a now-shuttered Catholic boarding school for Native Americans are being accused of failing to protect students from sexual abuse by clergy and faculty(link is external). An Ohio-based order of Franciscan Friars and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, headquartered in Pennsylvania, are named as defendants in a lawsuit filed this week in a New Mexico court by a team of lawyers that has represented dozens of abuse survivors over the years.” By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press, in U.S. News & World Report

NEW YORK

Catholic religious orders brace for new wave of New York lawsuits
“An attorney who targets accused pedophile priests says lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act could ravage the finances of some Catholic religious orders(link is external). According to Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based lawyer who has represented scores of clergy abuse survivors, there are more than 170 religious orders operating in New York. Many have their national or regional headquarters in the state.” By Chris Glorioso and Evan Stulberger, NBC-TV News

The allegations against Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone: despite scandal, no Vatican response
“The allegations of sexual abuse cover-up against Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone(link is external) span two states and even have connections to the Vatican and Pope Francis. They have outraged Catholics in the Diocese of Buffalo and have led to regular protests, shrinking Mass attendance, dwindling donations and state and federal law enforcement investigations of the diocese. But Pope Francis has been slow to act and has taken no action against the embattled bishop.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

NORTH CAROLINA

Group gathers uptown, calls for release of credibly accused priests’ names
“Tuesday (Apr. 2), people took to the streets of uptown Charlotte to call out abuse in the Catholic church(link is external). Members of a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held signs at a sidewalk news conference, calling for Charlotte Catholic officials to reveal the names of credibly accused priests. The group is upset that predator priests who are or were in the Charlotte area have not been outed, calling for Charlotte Catholic officials to make the names of these priests public like other dioceses have recently done.” By WCNC-TV News

A top diocese of Charlotte official resigns after ‘credible’ sexual misconduct claim
“The second in command of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has stepped down after a ‘credible allegation’ of sexual misconduct(link is external) involving a former adult student of Belmont Abbey College, the diocese’s newspaper reported Thursday (Mar. 28). Monsignor Mauricio West, the diocese’s vicar general and its chancellor for nearly 25 years, has denied the allegation, the Catholic News Herald reported. Following a period of counseling and assessment, the diocese’s bishop said in a statement, West will be on a leave of absence from his ministerial duties.” By Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer

NORTH DAKOTA

Fargo police looking into allegations against Catholic priest that involved a child
“A Catholic priest in south-central North Dakota is under investigation for alleged conduct involving a child(link is external) while the clergyman was stationed in Fargo. The Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga has been placed on administrative leave as the Fargo Police Department looks into allegations that are connected to his time at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo, according to a news release from the Diocese of Fargo.” By InForum.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie Catholic diocese will open files to priest sex abuse victims
“The Catholic Diocese of Erie, which recently settled a $2 million clergy sexual abuse complaint, is making ‘relevant’ internal files available to abuse survivors(link is external) for the asking, church officials said. The policy has been in effect since the diocese launched its compensation fund for abuse survivors in February, said Pittsburgh attorney Mark Rush of K&L Gates, legal counsel to the Erie diocese.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Lawmaker calls for Constitutional amendment to help victims of clerical abuse
“A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would give voters the chance to change the state Constitution and allow victims of expired child sex abuse cases to sue their abusers(link is external) and institutions that may have covered up the crimes even if the statute of limitations has expired. Blair County freshman State Rep. Jim Gregory’s legislation, if passed, would put a Constitutional amendment ballot question before voters as soon as 2021.” By John Finnerty, New Castle News

SOUTH CAROLINA

Catholic Church in South Carolina accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic diocese in South Carolina on Friday (Mar. 29) released a list of 42 priests with ties to the state who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children(link is external). All but 11 of the priests on the list released by the Charleston Diocese have died. The list doesn’t specify the parishes or institutions where the priests served. The list was broken into four parts. Twenty-one priests served in South Carolina. Others were named in a class-action settlement over abuse, had abuse claims from a diocese outside South Carolina or were a visiting priest to the state.” By Associated Press on WFAE-FM Charlotte’s National Public Radio

TENNESSEE

Why this woman is going public for the first time about how a Nashville priest abused her 60 years ago
“Kathleen Lisle cannot forget the summer day a priest at Christ the King Catholic Church called her childhood home, asking her to help fold bulletins for Mass. She hesitated to go(link is external). Lisle was 12. She did not want to be alone with the Rev. James Arthur Rudisill, but, in the 1950s, explaining that to her mother seemed impossible. A frequent guest at the Nashville home where she grew up with 10 brothers and five sisters, Rudisill sometimes sat next to Lisle, rubbing her leg while playing chess.” By Holly Meyer and Anita Wadhwani, Nashville Tennessean

TEXAS

Child abuse victim sues former priest, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
“A man has accused former Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez(link is external) of exposing himself during confessional at the Montgomery County parish, according to a lawsuit filed Friday (Apr. 5) against the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The man, identified by his initials in the lawsuit is suing LaRosa-Lopez and Sacred Heart Catholic Church for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and agency.” By Massarah Midati, MySanAntonio.com

Another former Conroe church priest removed over misconduct
“A Houston priest who formerly served a Conroe Catholic church, where another clergy member was accused of sexual misconduct with minors(link is external), has been removed from active ministry. According to a Facebook post to followers by Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Father Jesus Suarez was removed due to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors while serving in Colombia. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston elaborated in a statement that one of the minors may have given birth.” By KTRK-TV

Catholic priest arrested, accused of sexually assaulting women during last rites
“Catholic priest in Austin, Texas, was arrested after police say he assaulted a woman in hospice care(link is external). 75-year-old Rev. Gerold Langsch has been charged with assault by contact, class a misdemeanor. The incident allegedly happened in October 2018 when a woman was put on hospice care after suffering from several medical conditions.” By ABC-TV 4 News

Former deacon’s $1 million lawsuit challenges Teas diocese’s sex abuse claim
“A former Catholic deacon has charged that the Diocese of Lubbock wrongly named him on its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) and has filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million. Lubbock resident Jesus Guerrero has filed a lawsuit that rejected claims he had ever been accused of sex abuse or misconduct. The lawsuit described him as ‘a faithful servant of God in the Catholic Church his entire life,’ the news site EverythingLubbock.com reports.” By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency

UTAH

Is the Utah attorney general’s office investigating clergy sex abuse? Maybe.
“At least 15 state attorneys general have publicized investigations into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in the Catholic Church. Utah’s attorney general won’t comment on whether his office is or isn’t investigating clergy abuse, but the investigation’s chief Monday (Apr. 1) said stopping child abuse in Utah is a top priority for the office.” By Andrew Reeser, ABC-TV 4 News

VIRGINIA

Governor signs bill requiring clergy to report child abuse
“ In response in part to the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, Virginia will have a new law on July 1 requiring priests, ministers, rabbis and other clergy members to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect(link is external). Gov. Ralph Northam has signed into law two bills —HB 1659, sponsored by Del. Karrie Delaney, D-Fairfax, and SB 1257, introduced by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier. The measures mandate that religious officials must report any suspected abuse to local law enforcement. The bills passed unanimously in the House and Senate last month.” By Corrine Fizer, Capital News Service, on NBC12.com

WEST VIRGINIA

Lawsuit claims Bransfield is a ‘sexual predator’
“A Pocahontas County resident has alleged the former bishop of the Roman Catholic Wheeling-Charleston Diocese is ‘a sexual predator(link is external)’ prone to binge drinking and then molesting young men in a new lawsuit filed Friday (Mar. 22) in Ohio County Circuit Court. The plaintiff is identified only as J.E. of Pocahontas County, who lived in St. Clairsville, Ohio, when the incidents were alleged to occur between 2008 and 2014.” By Joselyn King, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

‘The classic grooming situation’: plaintiff’s attorney speaks out about Bransfield lawsuit
“Attorney Robert Warner calls this a ‘classic grooming situation(link is external).’ He claims Bishop Bransfield abused his power to get close to his client, who is referred to as J.E. in the lawsuit. Warner also told us his client had planned to have a career within the church but left the faith after his experiences. ‘It’s a classic case of someone of power that’s just using that position inappropriately in a sexual nature towards the young men that they’re around,’ he said.” By Kathryn Ghion, WTRF.com

AFRICA

We must speak out against abuse in the church
“With every incident in which a minor church member is sexually abused(link is external) by the pastor, his wife, church members and the victim’s family, who are aware or suspicious, are equally guilty. In other words, they and the pastors are all perpetrators who have to be brought to justice.” By Sarah Setlaelo, City Press

AUSTRALIA

Memorial unveiled for Hunter survivors and victims
“A memorial to the survivors and victims of sexual abuse(link is external) was unveiled on Wednesday at the former Marist Brothers High School in Hamilton in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese. Acting Principal of St. Francis Xavier’s College Julia Lederwasch welcomed more than 200 people to the gathering at the college, a co-educational school located at the site of the former Marist Brothers High School.” By CathNews.com

Child protection system has ‘failed’ indigenous families
“The St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra-Goulburn has joined calls for the ACT Government to improve child protection services for Indigenous children(link is external). The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service Winnunga Nimmityja has called on the territory government to greater priority to implementing the interim recommendations of the Our Booris Our Way steering committee on improving the ACT child protection system.” By CathNews.com

New ACT laws make child safety everyone’s business
“Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse has endorsed new ACT legislation requiring all adults to report child sexual abuse(link is external), but will not direct priests to break the seal of confession. The Crimes Act (ACT) will now require any person over 18 who identifies or believes that a child is being abused to report the matter to police. Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay has made it clear that the new legislation applies to all adults without exception.” By CathNews.com

BRAZIL

Brazil begins pilot advisory project for the protection of minors
“Brazil bishops are officially assuming a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on sexual abuse(link is external). The church here has instituted an abuse policy that has been finalized and approved by the Vatican, and Brazil is one of three nations hosting a new pilot project for the protection of minors. Brazil’s project includes the creation of local survivor advisory panels, as recommended by the Vatican commission working on guidelines for the prevention of child sexual abuse. The goal is to assist bishops and develop church policy and best practices from the perspective of victims.” By Filipe Domingues, America: The Jesuit Review

CANADA

Man abused by priest launches class action suit against Montreal Catholic archdiocese
“One of the victims of Brian Boucher, the Montreal priest sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this month for sexual interference and sexual assault(link is external), has filed a request to launch a class action lawsuit against the Montreal Catholic archdiocese. The suit is seeking compensation for anyone who may have been sexually assaulted by a Montreal Catholic priest or a church staff member since 1940.” By Steve Rukavina, CBC News

Questions raised about possible ‘secret archive’ of historical sex abuse records in lawsuit against B.C. ‘playboy’ priest
“One evening in March 1977, Adam Exner, then bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese in Kamloops, B.C., sought to put a lid on what he saw as a brewing scandal involving allegations that a ‘playboy’ priest was having ‘inappropriate relationships’ with women(link is external). Appearing before parishioners assembled at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, Exner kept things vague, according to his speaking notes from the time.” By Douglas Quan, National Post

Five Quebec dioceses to allow external audit of sex abuse cases
“Five dioceses from the province of Quebec will allow an external audit of their files regarding sex abuse cases(link is external), the Archdiocese of Montreal announced March 27. In September, retired Quebec Superior Court Judge Anne-Marie Trahan will be able to consult the regular and secret files of five Catholic dioceses in the greater Montreal area, confirmed Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

CHILE

After scandal, replacing the Catholic hierarchy in Chile
“To grasp the depth of Chile’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, imagine if around 68 of the United States’ 255 active Catholic bishops had been subpoenaed by civil prosecutors on suspicions of either committing the abuse of a minor, covering it up, or both. That’s the situation in Chile, where nine of 34 bishops (27 percent) have been subpoenaed(link is external), including Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz and Ricardo Ezzati, both former and current archbishops of Santiago, respectively. Errazuriz is also a former member of the council of cardinals that has been advising Pope Francis on Vatican reform.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com, in Angelus

Chile court orders Catholic Church to compensate victims in sex abuse case
“A Chilean appeals court ruled on Wednesday (Mar. 27) that the Catholic Church should pay compensation to three victims in a sex abuse case(link is external) involving former Santiago parish priest Fernando Karadima, a decision that could open the floodgates to similar lawsuits. The unanimous decision requires the Church pay 100 million pesos ($146,000) each for “moral damages” to Juan Carlos Cruz, Jose Andres Murillo and James Hamilton. The men accuse Karadima of having sexually abused them decades ago, and the Church of having covered up that abuse.” By Reuters on Nasdaq.com

GUAM

Guam property should not be sold to pay abuse claims
“The Catholic Church in Guam says parishes and schools should not be sold to settle more than 200 clergy sexual abuse claims(link is external). The Pacific Daily News reported Tuesday (Apr. 9) that the statement by the Archdiocese of Agana Tuesday was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors. The lawsuit includes a list of Catholic schools, parishes, vehicles and other assets the creditors believe should be considered archdiocese property and liable for sale.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Vatican upholds sex abuse conviction against Guam archbishop
“The Vatican has upheld its conviction of Guam’s ousted archbishop for sexually abusing minors and has added a further penalty(link is external) on appeal that effectively prevents him from presenting himself as a bishop. The Vatican announced the definitive decision against Archbishop Anthony Apuron on Thursday (Apr. 4). Apuron had strongly denied the charges, saying he was a victim of slander and declaring the decision to exile him from Guam ‘analogous to a death sentence.’” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

INDIA

Indian Catholic priest sentenced to six years in prison
“An Indian former Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl(link is external) in the US, according to a media report. John Praveen, 38, pleaded guilty in February to sexually touching a 13-year-old girl in the Rapid City church, South Dakota over her clothes last year, Rapid City Journal newspaper reported.” By The Hindu Business Line

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Woman’s petition to stop child abuse records being sealed for 75 years
“A petition to stop child abuse records being sealed for 75 years(link is external) has been started by a woman whose three relatives spent years in the Magdalene Laundries with devastating consequences. Laura Angela Collins, from London, has been compelled to try to stop the Retention of Records Bill – approved by Cabinet but which has yet to pass through the Dáil – as her mother Mary Teresa Collins spent years in a Magdalene Laundry in Cork.” By Anne Sheridan, Extra.ie

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin reveal pedophile priests cannot identify new victims because they abused so many
“The Archbishop of Dublin has told of his shock at finding serial pedophile priests are unable to conclusively identify new cases – because they had so many victims(link is external). Dr. Diarmuid Martin said some serial offenders could not recall the names of all their victims which in some instances numbered more than 100. He makes the disturbing revelation in an RTE documentary detailing how the Vatican came to exert control over almost every aspect of Irish life since the foundation of the state.” By Lynne Kelleher, Irish Mirror

Catholic priest who admitted to abusing a boy in Ireland won’t be prosecuted
“Catholic priest Reverend Paul Madden won’t be prosecuted after he admitted to abusing a teenage boy in 1973 while on a mission trip in Ireland(link is external). The Clarion Ledger reports that Rev. Madden is amongst a group of clergymen named by the Jackson Diocese in Mississippi as having been ‘credibly accused of abuse.’ Rev. Madden has admitted to abusing a 13-year-old boy while the two were on a mission trip in Ireland in 1973. A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office told The Clarion Ledger that Rev. Madden could not be prosecuted in the US as the abuse happened overseas and was out of Mississippi’s jurisdiction.” By Irish Central

JAPAN

Japan Catholic Church plans abuse inquiry
“The Catholic Church in Japan said Tuesday (Apr. 9) it will launch an internal probe into claims of sexual abuse against children(link is external) by its clergy, after a wave of pedophilia revelations worldwide. The standing committee of the bishops’ conference last week decided to investigate all 16 dioceses in Japan, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan told AFP. Japan is home to a small community of Roman Catholics, believed to number around 450,000.” By Agence France-Presse-Jiji in The Japan News

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In new letter, Benedict blames clergy abuse on sexual revolution, Vatican II theology / National Catholic Reporter

A number of noted theologians took to Twitter overnight to criticize Benedict’s take on the root causes of clergy sexual abuse. (National Catholic Reporter)

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution, developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God.

“The letter, one of a handful the ex-pontiff has shared publicly since his resignation in 2013, immediately drew criticism from theologians and Vatican watchers. They noted it does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.

“The former pope instead points the finger at a range of esoteric issues, from a supposed societal “mental collapse” brought on by the protests of 1968, to a claim that the sexual revolution declared pedophilia to be “allowed and appropriate,” and to “vehement backlashes” by theologians against a 1993 encyclical by Pope John Paul II.

“‘Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was … all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms,’ Benedict says at the beginning of his text.”

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

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What do the Church’s victims deserve? / The New Yorker

The Catholic Church is turning to outside arbiters to reckon with its history of sexual abuse. But skeptics argue that its legacy of evasion continues. (the New Yorker)

Like many Catholics, I wonder whether this story will ever be over and whether things will ever be set right.

“Often called a crisis, the problem is more enduring and more comprehensive than that. Social scientists report that the gravest period of priestly sexual abuse was the sixties and seventies, and the problem has been in public view for the past three and a half decades. For most American Catholics, then, the fact of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup by bishops has long been an everyday reality.

“Priestly sexual abuse has directly harmed thousands of Catholics, spoiling their sense of sexuality, of intimacy, of trust, of faith. Indirectly, the pattern of abuse and coverup has made Catholics leery of priests and disdainful of the idea that the bishops are our ‘shepherds.’ It has muddled questions about Church doctrine concerning sexual orientation, the nature of the priesthood, and the role of women; it has hastened the decline of Catholic schooling and the shuttering of churches.

“Attorneys general in more than a dozen states are investigating the Church and its handling of sexual-abuse allegations. In February, New York State loosened its statute of limitations for sex crimes, long the Church’s bulwark against abuse claims. And that is just in the United States. Priestly sexual abuse has had grave effects around the world, including in Rome, where the three most recent Popes have been implicated in the institutional habits of concealment or inaction, and where Pope Francis has yet to find his voice on the problem …

“In all of this, a distinctly American solution to the problem has emerged—the commissioning of an independent, secular authority to arrange settlements between the Church and survivors of abuse. This strategy has been taken up by an unlikely advocate: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and a traditionalist who generally relishes defending the Church against its adversaries.”

By Paul Elie, The New Yorker — Read more …

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The abuse crisis as prophecy & Pascha / Commonweal

The good news is this: if the dignity of all the baptized is genuinely and deeply respected, this rules out every one of the predatory behaviors we have seen in the abuse crisis. (Rita Ferrone in Commonweal)

When Pope Francis wrote to the American bishops concerning the abuse crisis, he observed that ‘many actions can be helpful, good and necessary, and may even seem correct, but not all of them have the ‘flavor’ of the Gospel.’

“By recommending a return to the Gospel as an essential reference point, Francis is on to something. The horror of the abuse cases, the sheer numbers of victims, the longevity of the crisis, its scope, and the fact that it has proved so hard to change the institutional patterns and habits that abet it—all this has been, for many of the faithful, a profoundly shocking and disorienting experience. It has eroded the trust we used to give to our church leaders and structures. It has shamed us in the eyes of the world. We do not taste the Gospel here. Yet we long for it, even when that longing goes unnamed.

“Metaphors of taste and smell have a long history in Christian discourse. The psalmist enjoins the faithful to ‘taste and see the goodness of the Lord.’ The gift of God’s law is perfect and refreshing, ‘sweeter than syrup, or honey from the comb.’ Evil, in contrast, is something that sets one’s teeth on edge. Sour and bitter fruit come forth from wickedness.

“In the New Testament, followers of Jesus are urged to be “salt for the earth” and not to lose their savor. Because the sense of taste is allied with smell, we also find olfactory images in the Scripture. Paul refers to Christians as those who bear “the aroma of Christ.” In the ancient church, catechumens were given salt on the tongue as part of their admission to the catechumenate. Ritual expresses in the body what is believed in faith: Christian life is not bland or flavorless. It tastes like something.

“What does the Gospel taste like? Francis doesn’t say. Perhaps this is because he thinks the bishops already know …”

By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


Mar. 29, 2019

TOP STORIES

Bishops must look within their own culture
“It took a long time — decades, in fact — for understanding of the clergy sex abuse crisis to evolve to a point where it is now widely recognized that the scandal metastasized systemically, the abuse itself a twin evil with a cover-up(link is external) that was repeated from country to country, continent to continent, in shockingly similar ways by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Clergy culture or clerical culture are quickly becoming well-worn descriptions of an entity that previously went by the more reverential term ‘priesthood.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis refuses resignation of French cardinal convicted of cover-up
“French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon said Pope Francis would not accept his resignation following his conviction for covering up clerical sexual abuse(link is external), so he has decided to step aside temporarily for the good of the archdiocese. The cardinal had met Pope Francis March 18 to hand in his resignation after a French court gave him a six-month suspended sentence in the cover-up case.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

Pennsylvania native and West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield knowingly employed pedophiles
“West Virginia authorities on Tuesday (Mar. 19) accused Michael J. Bransfield, a Philadelphia native and former Roman Catholic bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va., and his predecessors of ‘knowingly employing pedophiles’ — including some priests cited in last year’s Pennsylvania grand jury report examining decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up(link is external). In a civil suit, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey alleged that West Virginia’s prelates had endangered children for decades by failing to conduct adequate background checks or disclose abuse accusations against clerics and diocesan employees to parents in the parishes where those people were assigned.” By Jeremy Roebuck and William Bender, The Philadelphia Inquirer, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pope accepts resignation of embattled Chilean cardinal
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean cardinal who has faced widespread criticism for his handling of cases of clerical sexual abuse in the country(link is external). The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the Vatican announced March 23; the Vatican did not give a reason for the cardinal stepping down. All bishops are required to offer their resignations when they turn 75; Cardinal Ezzati is 77.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Ireland considers plans for seminarians to spend more time in parishes
“Under new plans being considered, Irish seminarians would spend most of their time working in parishes(link is external) rather than in the traditional seminary environment. The plans would allow for more time involved in active pastoral work alongside priests and lay pastoral workers and would, according to one bishop, give them a more realistic insight into priesthood in contemporary Ireland.” By TheCatholicUniverse.com

Bishop Eamonn Casey accused of sexually abusing three women as children
Three women made allegations that they were sexually abused as children by former Bishop of Galway the late Eamonn Casey(link is external) and two have received compensation as a result. In one of the cases, Bishop Casey, who died in March 2017 aged 89, admitted the abuse when he was serving as a priest up to 2005 in the south England diocese of Arundel and Brighton.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Founder, board of Vatican women’s magazine quit
“ The founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican’s women’s magazine have quit after what they say was a Vatican campaign to discredit them(link is external) and put them ‘under the direct control of men,’ that only increased after they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy. The editorial committee of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly glossy published alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement in the planned April 1 editorial and in an open letter to Pope Francis that was provided Tuesday (Mar. 26) to The Associated Press.” By The Associated Press

ACCOUNTABILITY

Latin American prelate casts doubt on U.S. accountability plan for abuse crisis
“A Latin American bishop with personal experience of the clerical sexual abuse crisis has doubts about a proposal reportedly gaining ground among U.S. bishops(link is external) to impose accountability for the cover-up of abuse by enhancing the authority of metropolitan archbishops, saying that it amounts to prelates policing other prelates. Instead, he proposed the creation of independent bodies to provide accountability, featuring lay leadership and especially a greater role for women.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Why is the Vatican’s process for holding bishops accountable still so opaque?
“Since the summer of 2018, the church has seen three cardinals face specific consequences in connection with sexual abuse. Understanding these already complex cases has been made more difficult by unclear canonical procedures(link is external), by decisions reserved to Pope Francis himself and—most vexing—by limited communication from the Vatican about what process is being followed on what timeline. Taken together, these cases illustrate why accountability for bishops has become a focus of the sexual abuse crisis in the church. Both process and communication need to be improved in order to rebuild trust among the people of God that the church is committed to healing and reform.” By Editors at America: The Jesuit Review

Peru bishop wants excommunication for abuse scandals, not just defrocking
“Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri, Peru believes current punishments for both the crime of clerical sexual abuse (usually expulsion from the clerical state) and the cover-up are ineffective, and suggested harsher penalties including excommunication(link is external). As a former member of a group whose founder has been charged with abuses of conscience, power and sexuality, Schmalhausen told Crux that some key questions need to be asked.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

West Virginia AG sues Wheeling-Charleston Diocese, bishop
“West Virginia’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese after allegations it and a former bishop knowingly employed pedophiles and did not conduct background checks(link is external). The civil complaint, which was filed Tuesday in Wood County Circuit Court, alleges the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of not disclosing the danger to parents who bought its services for their children. Morrisey’s complaint alleges those actions lacked transparency in sharp contrast to the diocese’s advertised mission of providing a safe learning environment.” By Anna Moore, FOX11-TV News

Cardinal Marx: church needs to seriously discuss celibacy, role of women and sexual morality
“The Catholic Church in Germany is at a point where serious debate — including on priestly celibacy and the role of women — and openness to doing things in a new way must encouraged(link is external), said the president of the German bishops’ conference. “Shakeups demand special proceedings,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, conference president, said March 14 at the end of the bishops’ spring meeting in Lingen. The sexual abuse scandal and demands for reform have changed the German church, the cardinal said.” By Zita Fletcher, Catholic News Service, America: The Jesuit Review

Church must follow, accept local laws on abuse, Vatican abuse expert says
“The Catholic Church must respect the law and accept court decisions regarding clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up(link is external), said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading expert in child protection. Interviewed by Vatican News March 15, Zollner noted that in 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear to bishops’ conferences around the world that the Church must obey civil laws regarding cases of abuse.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

How are bishops being held accountable for abuse and cover up?
This week on ‘Inside the Vatican(link is external),’ Gerry and I update you on Australian Cardinal George Pell and several other high-profile cases of abuse. We’ll also talk about Pope Francis’ sixth anniversary as pope … We’ll also look at several new cases that might show us how authorities inside and outside of the church are holding bishops accountable for sexual abuse and its cover-up.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

Civil courts step in to solve what the Catholic Church won’t
“This week (Mar. 13) marked a major turning point in the Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse crisis(link is external). An Australian court sentenced Cardinal George Pell to six years in prison for sexually abusing minors, a decision that not only makes him the highest-ranking Church official to face civil justice, but also underscores a central animating tension in the issue: the one between civil and Church authorities. After years in which victims saw Church officials as lax and unresponsive, more protective of the abusers than of the abused, civil justice has moved in and filled the gap.” By Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic

VATICAN’S BISHOPS’ CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT

Vatican summit prompts cardinals to recommit to caring for abuse victims
“The Archdiocese of Boston is implementing a reporting system to handle confidential and anonymous reporting of misconduct by high-ranking church officials(link is external), including cardinals and bishops. Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley announced in a Lenten message March 8 following the Vatican’s February summit to protect children and minors that the third-party EthicsPoint reporting system would begin “soon” to accept reports of misconduct related to the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Abuse summit achieved something, but not what pope or bishops expected
“The so-called ‘summit’ on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure(link is external). The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen. The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.” By Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter

Your thoughts on Vatican abuse summit
“NCR readers had a myriad of reactions to the Feb. 21-24 summit of bishops at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sex abuse crisis. A sampling of letters(link is external) from NCR readers reacting to the summit are below. They have been edited for length and clarity.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Fr. Zollner: Do justice for victims of clerical sexual abuse
“The Bishops who participated in the Meeting on the ‘Protection of Minors in the Church’ at the end of February have ‘taken some initiatives(link is external),’ says Fr Hans Zollner, SJ, President of the Centre for Child Protection in an interview with Vatican News’ Gudrun Sailer. Some Bishops, he says, have revised their guidelines to find and implement ways of ‘cooperating with Civil Authorities.’ Fr Zollner explains that Presidents of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences are seeking the help of the Centre for Child Protection in the formation of Church personnel on the ground, after many of them were reduced to tears in hearing testimonies of survivors of child sexual abuse.” By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News

CARDINALS

The Catholic Church is investigating George Pell’s case. What does that mean?
“Cardinal George Pell was this week sentenced (Mar. 13) by a Victorian court to six years’ jail for sexually abusing two choirboys, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. Although Pell was found guilty of the charges against him in December, he has remained a Cardinal in the Catholic Church(link is external). The Church previously said it would await the outcome of an appeal before taking action, but it has since confirmed that an investigation of Pell’s case will be conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” By TheConversation.com

CARDINAL PELL

How Cardinal George Pell became the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted of child abuse
“After years of accusations involving Pell’s complicity and direct abuse — and several trials later—Cardinal Pell has been convicted of child abuse on five counts and sentenced to six years in jail(link is external). News of the court proceedings was suppressed until only recently, as his case was protected by a strict media gag order common in high-profile criminal cases in Australia. The verdict was announced formally only days after Pope Francis’s Vatican summit to address child abuse within the Catholic Church, an institution that’s still grappling with its horrifying history of child abuse around the world.” By Nicholas Lord, Rolling Stone

BISHOPS

Bishop says recovery from abuse scandals a ‘generational’ task
“In his debut at America’s largest annual Catholic gathering, one of the rising stars of the U.S. hierarchy warned that full recovery from the clerical abuse scandals, including a new style of leadership in the Church, will be a ‘generational’ ta(link is external)sk. ‘We’ll be at this for a while,’ said Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who made a splash at last fall’s Synod of Bishops in Rome with his blunt, forceful language on the abuse crisis.” By Elise Harris and John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Bishop’s phone porn didn’t involve minors, but questions remain on move to Vatican
“When Pope Francis decided in 2017 to bring an Argentine bishop to Rome and give him a job in the Vatican, the prelate had been accused of ‘strange behavior’ but not of criminal sexual conduct, Crux has learned. The first formal allegations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, formerly of the northern Argentine diocese of Oran, came in 2015 when a diocesan secretary found pornographic pictures on the prelate’s phone(link is external).” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Irish bishops conclude general meeting
“The Bishops of Ireland concluded their Spring 2019 General Meeting Wednesday (Mar. 13) issuing a statement on the topics discussed. During the gathering in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Bishops reflected on the recent meeting on ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church(link is external)’ which took place from 21-24 February in the Vatican. Also present was the chair and CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland who updated the bishops on the standards and guidance for safeguarding children which exist throughout the Church in the country.” By Vatican News

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Conference says after youth synod, ‘people must listen to young people’
“‘I always disliked this Synod on young people,’ admitted Andrea Monda, Editor and Chief of the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano. Bishops from all over the world convened in Rome for a summit last October to discuss ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment’ and produced a document containing over 160 points(link is external). Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation to young people – ‘Christ lives’ – was signed at the Marian shrine of Loreto on Monday (Mar. 25) and will be made available to the public April 2. As a religion teacher and university professor in close contact with youth, Monda struggled to understand how young people could be a topic for a summit of bishops.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

After years of abuse by priests, #NunsToo are speaking out
“In February, Pope Francis acknowledged a longstanding dirty secret in the Roman Catholic Church — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests(link is external). It’s an issue that had long been kept under wraps, but in the #MeToo era, a #NunsToo movement has emerged, and now sexual abuse is more widely discussed. The Vatican’s wall of silence was first broken in Women Church World, a supplement of the official Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

CLERICALISM

Theologians examine role of power, clericalism in the sex abuse crisis
“Two systematic theologians examined how power and clericalism among Catholic clergy played a role in creating the sexual abuse crisis(link is external) that has rocked the church anew since June during a daylong Catholic University of America conference. While offering differing perspectives, Richard Gaillardetz of Boston College and Chad Pecknold of The Catholic University of America agreed March 26 that clericalism needed to be addressed if the church is to begin recovering from the scandal.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

America’s most prominent nun says women should ‘seize the moment’
“Sister Norma Pimentel, arguably the most prominent Catholic woman in America today, has said she believes it is time for women to step up, take the initiative and be proactive in the Church(link is external), rather than waiting for someone to create space for them. In comments to Crux, Pimentel said her hope is for a woman ‘conscious of her presence in society, in the family, in our country, in the world. A woman who does not step back and let others [act], but who actually takes the initiative to voice what she sees and acts on it.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxow.com

How things are changing for women in the Vatican
“Gerard O’Connell is out this week, so instead of following our usual format for the ‘Inside the Vatican’ podcast, we’re breaking out of the weekly news cycle to bring you an interview about a slow change that’s beginning for some really important people in the Vatican: Women(link is external). Lucetta Scaraffia is the editor of Women Church World, the monthly magazine that comes as an insert in the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

Women’s authority can help heal our church’s broken governance
“I suppose Women’s History Month is a good time to weigh in on current discussions and disagreements about women deacons and women priests(link is external) in the Catholic Church. In some ways, it seems a fluffy conversation in light of recent revelations about our grievously wounded clerical system. But perhaps that is exactly why we need to have this discussion.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Women in theology share trials and triumphs at panel event
“Seven years ago, Sr. Annmarie Sanders interviewed theologian Sr. Sandra Schneiders, one of the first women to earn a doctorate of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Schneiders, now a professor emeritus at the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, told Sanders, the director of communications for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and an IHM sister, that she was the only woman taking examinations in classes with 200 men. The men, Schneiders said, simply assumed the woman would not pass the exams(link is external).” By Chris Herlinger, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Australian church completes first phase of historic plenary council
“The Australian Catholic Church has completed the first phase of its 2020 Plenary Council, in which laypeople will be allowed to vote and decisions could be binding on the nation’s Catholics, once ratified by the Vatican. The meeting’s organizers have received more than 20,000 submissions from more than 75,000 Catholics around the country in a 10-month ‘listening and dialogue’ process that finished March 13. The landmark meeting that will take place in two Australian cities during 2020 and 2021 is already bringing to the surface debate about the role of the laity in the church(link is external) and other reforms that are becoming more urgent in the wake of the ever-growing global sexual abuse scandal.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Future of Youngstown Catholic Diocese brings fewer priests, smaller congregation
“The future of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese will likely mean fewer Masses and, possibly, fewer churches because there are fewer Catholics(link is external) and an even smaller number who regularly attend. Numbers released on Friday (Mar. 22) show Catholic participation in the diocese is way down — in some cases, nearly 70 percent.” By Sarah Mercer and Stan Boney, WKBN-TV News

Number of U.S. Catholics considering leaving he church has gone up after recent sex abuse crisis
“The percentage of US Catholics who say the clergy sex abuse crisis has them questioning whether to leave the faith(link is external) has jumped 15 points since the last major crisis in the early 2000s, a poll released Wednesday (Mar. 13) finds. Thirty-seven percent of Catholics told Gallup that ‘recent news about sexual abuse of young people by priests’ has them personally questioning whether to remain Catholic, compared with 62 percent who said it had not.” By Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, in The Boston Globe

VOICES

The Church under pressure: reform or counter-reform?
“Bishop Charles Morerod, who is recognized as one the leading intellectuals among the Catholic hierarchy of Europe, recently told La Croix ‘the Church reforms itself under the influence of seemingly adverse forces.’ The 57-year-old Swiss Dominican, head of the Diocese of Lausanne-Genève-Fribourg since 2011, was referring to the sexual abuse crisis and how it is putting pressure for change on the Catholic Church(link is external). Mounting pressure is a key factor to consider in the debates within the Church about the institutional reforms that are needed to address how bishops have failed in handling sex abuse cases. But this pressure on the institutional Church is undeniably different today from that of the past.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International

The end of an era? The abuse crisis redefines church sovereignty
“The relationship between papal power in the church and the political power of the state has been defined for centuries by diplomacy, foreign policy, revolutions, and parliaments. Now, because of the sexual-abuse crisis, it is being redefined by the criminal-justice system of the secular state(link is external). The convictions of Cardinal George Pell by an Australian tribunal for crimes of sexual abuse against minors, and of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin by a French tribunal for failing to report an abusive priest, together mark a new chapter in the relations between church and state.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: protecting children
“Last month’s summit in Rome on child sex abuse did not break new ground for those, like myself, who have been following this crisis for more than 30 years, but it did make clear — again — that the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has been devastating for the victims of abuse and for the church as a whole(link is external). There are three parts to the crisis, which I plan to deal with in three successive columns. First, there is the failure to protect children; second, the failure to hold bishops accountable; and third, the lack of transparency in dealing with the crisis. Protecting children is a fundamental obligation of any adult, even of those who are not parents …” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church continues to fail on the issue of sexual misconduct
“Why do we keep hearing this story? That is the question that so many of us have been trying to answer in light of more recent revelations about the Catholic Church’s widespread cover-up of child sexual abuse by the clergy(link is external). This far-reaching scandal has even reached LMU with recent reports of sexual harassment by a former LMU Jesuit, Bishop Gordon Bennett. Though we still do not know the precise nature of the allegations, they were deemed credible enough to bar Bennett from performing any priestly or episcopal ministry.” By Abby Pollack, The Los Angeles Loyolan

CHURCH FINANCES

Parishioners at Claremont church claim money is being mismanaged
“A group of concerned parishioners are asking their church where there money has gone(link is external). About 15 members of Saint Augustine – Our Lady of Victory claim money at the Claremont congregation has been mismanaged for years under the leadership of Father George Stewart. Among the allegations are nearly $20,000 in renovations that never came, hundreds of thousands in rent income that is seemingly unaccounted for and never seeing funding and stipend money owed to the church’s food pantry and its volunteers.” By News12 The Bronx

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

New Jersey sexual-assault victims will soon have more time to sue abusers under bull that just passed
“Despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, state legislators passed a bill today giving victims of sexual assault in New Jersey significantly more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bill, which had been stalled in the state Legislature for more than two decades. The state Assembly voted 71-0 with five abstentions Monday (Mar. 25) to approve the measure (S477), which would vastly expand the current two-year statute of limitations for such civil suits to seven years in most cases.” By S.P. Sullivan, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Maryland House of Delegates OKs bill lifting age limits on filing child sexual abuse lawsuits
“The Maryland House of Delegates on Monday (Mar. 18) approved a bill removing the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits arising from child sexual abuse(link is external). The House passed the bill by a bipartisan vote of 136-2 without debate, sending it to the state Senate for consideration. The bill would allow victims of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit anytime. And victims who previously were barred from filing a lawsuit because of the prior limits would have a two-year window to file a lawsuit.” By Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Speakers at Georgetown dialogue on child sex abuse look at ‘path forward’
“Some 60 years later, sexual abuse by a trusted priest is still vivid(link is external) for Michael Nugent. His 2002 accusation against Father Marion Snieg, who abused him at the parish school of St. Jane de Chantal in Chicago in 1959, when he was in the eighth grade, was part of an $8 million settlement in 2003 by the Archdiocese of Chicago involving 12 priests and 15 victims.” By Kurt Jensen, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Broken Faith: inside the Catholic Church’s plan to quietly pay survivors of sexual abuse
“For survivors, many of whom have spent decades coping with trauma, the (compensation) programs are a way to finally be acknowledged by the Church that wronged them … But the programs amount to a kind of private justice: At a time when states are considering rewriting statute of limitations laws, sexual assault survivors must sign away their right to ever sue the Church. There is generally no requirement that the Church admit guilt and there’s no guarantee that evidence of sexual abuse will ever be made public(link is external), or that anyone in the Church will be held accountable after the settlements.” By Carter Sherman and Joe Hill, Vice News

Survivor Stories: Marie Collins
“Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end? That’s a question everyone has been asking since the latest wave of news in 2018. In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside(link is external). She wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.” By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review

Faced with ongoing sexual-abuse crisis, what are Catholic parents to do?
“As it has been for decades, the Catholic Church is in the midst of a crisis, one whose long reach has traumatized thousands and left one of the world’s oldest institutions struggling to find a way forward … What is an institutional crisis for the Church is a personal crisis for the faithful. Lay Catholics are left to grapple with what this crisis means for them, their families, and their faith. Parents in particular often feel acutely conflicted(link is external).” By Julie Beck and Ashley Fetters

Movement leader says Christ is key to recovery from abuse scandals
“Catholicism’s ongoing clerical abuse scandals have provoked wide reactions, not the least of which has been a push both within the Church and from outside it for tough norms and policies to provide accountability for both the crime and the cover-up. However, according to a leading member of a high-profile Catholic movement, the more essential change the scandals should provoke is a renewed internal commitment to Christ(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

CALIFORNIA

Sex abuse must be reported by clergy, senate bill contends
“California Sen. Jerry Hill, (D-San Mateo), has introduced legislation to require clergy of all faiths to report suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement without regard to the circumstances(link is external). Although current law includes clergy members in the list of 46 professionals with social workers and teachers as mandated reporters, the law also exempts clergy from such reporting if they gain their knowledge or suspicion of the crimes during ‘a penitential communication.’ By Sue Wood, Patch.com

COLORADO

Review of Catholic Church in Colorado is miserably weak
“The Colorado attorney general and Catholic Church last month announced an agreement that established an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy(link is external). This is Colorado’s contribution to a broader search for truth that’s occurring in states across the country. In some states, law enforcement officials are aggressively pursuing relevant information, but that’s not happening in Colorado. In fact, the terms of the agreement are so favorable to the church and so incommensurate to the gravity of crimes uncovered in numerous other dioceses that it’s doubtful to result in an honest account of abuses that took place in Colorado.” By Daily Camera Editorial Board

CONNECTICUT

10 Priests added to Bridgeport Diocese abuse allegation list
“The Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has added 10 priests to its list of those credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external). The list includes eight deceased priests, one retired diocesan priest who is on permanent administrative leave and one Venezuelan priest who was present in the diocese for one summer.” By Rich Scinto, Patch.com

FLORIDA

Allegations of sexual abuse made against priest who served at Jacksonville Catholic church in 1980s
“The Diocese of St. Augustine said Thursday (Mar. 21) night that ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse’ have been made against a priest who served at a Jacksonville parish(link is external) in the 1980s and 1990s. In a statement, the diocese said the allegations were made against Father William Malone, who served in the diocese from January 1982 to March 1992. The abuses happened in the early 1980s at Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville.” By Action News Jax

Catholic priest charged with drugging, raping woman
“A Roman Catholic priest in Florida is facing charges that he drugged a female parishioner and raped her(link is external). The Rev. Jean Claude Jean-Philippe was in a Miami-Dade County jail late Saturday (Mar. 16) charged with sexual battery on an incapacitated victim. The Miami Herald reports that in October the 64-year-old priest invited the victim to his home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead. The woman said she drank tea he gave her and passed out. She told investigators she woke up two hours later naked in Jean-Philippe’s bed, believing she was raped.” By Associated Press on ABC News

HAWAII

State representative urges the Catholic Church to establish procedures to stop sexual abuse
“Rida Cabanilla Arakawa, the State Representative for Ewa Beach, called out the Catholic Church(link is external) Friday (Mar. 15). In a news conference at the State Capitol, she urged the pope and church bishops to establish procedures stopping further sexual abuse by clergy and instead help victims heal and keep their faith. Cabanilla Arakawa introduced a House Resolution recently, a reaction to many allegations worldwide leading to clergy either being convicted or resigning.” By KITV4 News

ILLINOIS

New report to detail Catholic priest sex abuse cases
“A new report out today (Mar. 19) lists hundreds of names, work histories and background information of Catholic priests in Illinois accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The survivors behind the 185-page report—the most comprehensive to date–hope it pushes bishops to reveal the identities of hundreds of more clergy involved in the cases. The report was assembled by law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which gathered information from survivors, lists of credible allegations and other outlets.” By Vi Nguyen, CBS-TV News Chicago

KANSAS

Victims’ group wants to see upcoming criminal trial of accused KCK priest play out
“Less than three weeks before the criminal trial of a priest charged with sexually abusing a child(link is external) is set to begin in Wyandotte County, victims’ advocates on Thursday (Mar. 21) said they hoped the complete story comes out in court. David Clohessy, former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the group wants prosecutors to reject any plea deal for the Rev. Scott Kallal and instead push for a jury trial at which those ‘who may have concealed or ignored’ alleged child sex crimes against Kallal ‘might also be publicly exposed.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Mother of Catholic church abuse victim in Kansas laments ‘third-degree burns to the soul’
“Janet Patterson ripped the blinders off when her adult son killed himself shortly after revealing a priest sexually abused him as a child(link is external). For three decades, Catholic church leaders in Wichita, Newton and Conway Springs ignored reports of children suffering at the hands of Robert Larson. At least five victims committed suicide. ‘Suicide is a very real thing,’ Patterson said. ‘Not only suicide but dying slowly on the vine, so to speak, when you have third-degree burns to the soul. Nobody can see those burns, but they hurt, and they hurt so badly that they influence everything in your life.’” By Sherman Smith, Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas bill requiring clergy to report suspected sexual abuse receives broad support
“A bill that would require clergy to be mandatory reporters of suspected sexual assault(link is external) received broad support during its first hearing in the Kansas Legislature. Several people who identified themselves as victims or related to victims of sexual violence spoke Wednesday in support of Senate Bill 218 before the Kansas Senate’s state and federal affairs committee. Baldwin City Democrat Sen. Tom Holland introduced the bill in January.” By Dylan Lysen, Lawrence Journal-World

MASSACHUSETTS

Case of ex-priest convicted of altar boy abuse back in court
“The case of a former Massachusetts priest who was convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy(link is external) in Maine years ago is due to return to court later this week. Ronald Paquin was found guilty of 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct in November and has been awaiting sentencing. The case is expected in York County Superior Court in Alfred on Friday (Mar. 29). Paquin’s sentencing was delayed when his attorney filed a motion requesting a mental health evaluation. A judge granted the request.” By NBC10-TV News

Springfield Diocese sets services to show ‘solidarity’ with clergy abuse victims
“A Prayer Service for Healing to show ‘solidarity’ with victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) will be held Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m at St. Michael’s Cathedral, 254 State St. The service is part of Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski’s efforts announced in February to hold dialogue and prayer sessions as a ‘sign of our collective commitment to victims that we are truly sorry for our church’s past failure and remain steadfast in our ongoing efforts to prevent any future abuse.’” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Teens testify Catholic priest sexually assaulted them
“With a jury looking on Wednesday (Mar. 21), two teens testified that a Roman Catholic priest had sexually assaulted them(link is external). Testimony in the first of three trials for Robert J. “Father Bob” DeLand began the afternoon of Wednesday, March 20, before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson. DeLand, 72, is a longtime priest who worked in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.” By Cole Waterman, MLive.com

John Nienstedt, Detroit’s poster boy for the Catholic Church abuse scandal, is back – and the archdiocese is keeping it quiet
“It didn’t look like anyone was living at the home north of Port Huron — no cars in the driveway, no tire tracks in what was left of the snow and ice. Looking through a screen, I saw two pairs of boots on the floor, the corner of a treadmill, and a chair and table. Just as I was going to leave, he got up from the table, clutching a copy of Inside the Vatican magazine. Suddenly I was face to face with Archbishop John Nienstedt(link is external).” By Michael Betzold, Detroit Metro Times

Former Catholic priest’s sex abuse trial to begin Tuesday
“Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday (Mar. 19) morning in the sex abuse case involving a former Catholic priest(link is external). Robert DeLand is known by many as ‘Father Bob.’ He’s accused of sexual misconduct against three young men dating back to 2017. Two of the young men were 17-years-old when the alleged incidents took place, the third man was 21-years-old.” By Rebecca Tryich, ABC12-TV News

Survivors want Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo to name priests accused of abuse
“A support group for men and women abused by members of the Roman Catholic Church has called on the Diocese of Kalamazoo to publicly list the former Kalamazoo-area priests who have credible allegations against them(link is external). The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Thursday, March 14, called for Diocese of Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley to post the names of all church staff accused of molesting children on the websites of Kalamazoo churches. The post should include photos and work histories, SNAP said.” By Emily Monacelli, MLive.com

Archdiocese of Detroit will re-examine list of accused clergy
“The Archdiocese of Detroit said Wednesday (Mar. 13) that it will re-examine its list of religious order priests accused of abuse that some victims allege is incomplete(link is external). The announcement came after members of a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) claimed city’s Catholic officials are being ‘reckless and secretive’ by withholding details of all accused priests.” By Sarah Rahal, The Detroit News

MISSISSIPPI

Bishop in Mississippi: ‘deeply sorry’ for clergy sex abue
“A Catholic diocese in Mississippi is releasing names of clergy members it says have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Joseph Kopacz said the Diocese of Jackson is publishing the list Tuesday (Mar. 19) on its website. It’s part of the international reckoning of clergy abuse allegations that have shaken the Catholic church. The Jackson bishop said in a letter released Monday (Mar. 18) that he is ‘truly, deeply sorry’ for pain that be caused by the list.” By Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press

MISSOURI

Survivors accuse Missouri bishop of withholding details of abuse
“With Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the background, two members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests accused Bishop Shawn McKnight and the diocese of Jefferson City of continuing to withhold information about abusive priests(link is external). ‘We’re here to essentially protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded,’ said David Clohessy, SNAP’s president based in St. Louis. Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr., a priest at Immaculate Conception Church and School in Jefferson City, has been placed on administrative leave while being investigated for allegations of ‘boundary violations’ with minors.” By Roger McKinney, Columbia Daily Tribune

MONTANA

Accusation against York Catholic Priest not credible
“The child sexual abuse allegation against a former York Catholic teacher and York County priest was deemed not credible(link is external), according to a Montana diocesan official. The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings Chancellor Darren Eultgen told The York Dispatch in February that there was an independent investigation into the allegations against Rev. William Cawley.” By Christopher Dornblaser, York Dispatch

NEBRASKA

Andrew Rannells says a Catholic priest sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager
“In his new memoir, ‘Too Much Is Not Enough,’ Andrew Rannells says a Catholic priest in his 60s sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager(link is external). The former ‘Girls’ star, now 40, describes his Catholic upbringing in Omaha, Nebraska, in an excerpt from the memoir. Rannells went to Catholic school, and also served as an altar boy. According to the excerpt, Rannells, who is now openly gay, says that later during his time at a Jesuit high school, he was struggling with his sexuality. At a low point, he says he decided to open up to a priest whom he calls Father Dominic during the rite of confession.” By Antoinette Bueno, Entertainment Tonight

NEW JERSEY

Former TCNJ chaplain from Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal exposed
“As the Catholic Church grapples with widespread sex abuse scandals, new details have emerged about a child-molesting ex-priest who targeted students(link is external) at the local campus known today as The College of New Jersey. The Rev. Vincent J. Inghilterra, better known as Father Vince, has debauched the morals of ‘multiple victims’ and has since been removed from ministry, the Diocese of Trenton confirmed in a public tell-all outing the identities of 30 clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor.” By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, The Trentonian

NEW MEXICO

Ex-priest charged with raping New Mexico girl in 1990s
“Former Roman Catholic priest Sabine Griego was arrested Tuesday (Mar. 12) at his home in Las Vegas, N.M., accused of raping an 8-year-old Albuquerque girl(link is external) nearly three decades ago. Griego, 81, has been charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with one count of sexual penetration of a minor and coercion resulting in great bodily harm and mental anguish. He is being held without bond at the San Miguel County Detention Center in Las Vegas.” By Rebecca Moss, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Diocese obscured depth of crisis by scrubbing dead priests’ bios, victims say
“Monsignor J. Grant Higgins was a Catholic priest for 60 years, but when he died in 2016 at age 90, the Buffalo Diocese tried to make it seem as if he wasn’t a priest(link is external). A paid death notice for Higgins omitted the honorific title of ‘Reverend’ that is standard in priest death notices and obituaries. The Mass of Christian Burial for Higgins was held at a church in North Buffalo, more than 25 miles away from his last parish assignment in the Village of Angola, where he was well-known and had served for 14 years. The diocese did not publish an obituary on Higgins in its own Western New York Catholic, a monthly newspaper that assiduously chronicles the deaths of area priests, deacons and nuns.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Diocese says child sex abuse claim against Ellicottville priest is credible
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has substantiated an allegation of child sexual abuse against a suspended Ellicottville priest(link is external). The diocese announced Thursday (Mar. 21) the Rev. Ronald Mierzwa, pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville, will remain on leave while the results of its investigation are reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in Rome, which will make the final determination.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Priests, other clergy would be mandatory child abuse reporters under proposed New York law
“In light of horrific sex abuse scandals in the Diocese of Buffalo and across the country, a Cheektowaga lawmaker has proposed a new law that would require Catholic priests and other clergy members to report child abuse in New York State(link is external). Despite some resistance by the Diocese of Buffalo, it appears to have widespread support from lawmakers in Western New York.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Buffalo Diocese in urgent need of major reform, lay Catholics say
“Bold reforms are needed to help the Diocese of Buffalo recover from one of the nation’s worst sex abuse scandals and to restore trust in its leadership(link is external), lay Catholics say. The Movement to Restore Trust, a group of lay (or non-ordained) Catholics organized by Canisius College President John J. Hurley last year, has released its report after three months of discussion and debate.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

NORTH DAKOTA

Critics say North Dakota dioceses too slow naming problem priests
“North Dakota’s Roman Catholic dioceses are mulling whether and when to release information about priests accused of sexual abuse, even as critics say they are moving too slowly following explosive revelations in Pennsylvania last year(link is external). The Bismarck Diocese, the state’s second-largest, says it plans to release the names of priests with ‘substantiated claims’ against them of sexual misconduct with minors after it finishes reviewing its files. But the Fargo Diocese hasn’t yet decided whether to release names.” By Dave Kolpack, Insurance Journal

OHIO

Survivors say Columbus Diocese’s list of accused priests is incomplete
“The Catholic Diocese of Columbus released its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) earlier this month, but a survivors’ advocacy group said the list is incomplete. The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said there are at least seven clergy members who should be on the list. The names have been made public before and include two that have been the subject of news coverage in the last few years.” By ABC6-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Victim of clergy abuse in Pennsylvania receives $2 million settlement
“A man who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania received $2 million in a settlement(link is external) with the Erie diocese that the priest was a member of, the victim’s lawyer said on Tuesday (Mar. 26). The priest, David L. Poulson, pleaded guilty in October to two felony charges for sexually assaulting one boy and trying to assault another. In January, he was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.” By Jacey Fortin, The New York Times

Vatican defrocks Poulson as priest in Erie diocese
“The Vatican has removed from the priesthood(link is external) David L. Poulson, 65, the former pastor in the Catholic Diocese of Erie who was sentenced to two and a half to 14 years in state prison in January for molesting two boys. Poulson, 65, applied to be defrocked, or laicized, as a condition of his guilty plea and sentence, which was imposed in Jefferson County. He is at the state prison at Camp Hill, near Harrisburg.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

Msgr. Mazur relieved of priestly duties
“A priest at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament has been put on leave, a move the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese indicated is because of an investigation into allegations involving a minor(link is external). ‘This comes as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct involving a minor, which occurred years ago,’ diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said in a statement about Monsignor Robert C. Mazur that was sent out to news media late Wednesday (Mar. 13) afternoon.” By Altoona Mirror

Former Susquehanna Valley Catholic priest accused of assaulting altar boys
“A man who served as a Catholic priest in the Susquehanna Valley is facing new allegations that he assaulted two boys(link is external). In court documents, police say John Allen, 75, of York, indecently touched two altar boys while serving as a priest at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Harrisburg from 1997 to 2002.” By WGAL-TV News

SOUTH DAKOTA

Watchdog group lists 24 Sioux Fall Catholic clergy accused of abuse
“A day following the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese release of a list of names of 11 priests who abused children, KELOLAND Investigates is looking back at the history of the priest sex abuse problem in Sioux Falls(link is external). Our requests for an interview with current Bishop Paul Swain on the release of this list of priest was denied.” By Angela Kennecke, Kelo Media Group on keloland.com

TEXAS

Catholic priest accused of groping woman during anointing
“A Catholic priest has been arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of groping a woman in home hospice care(link is external) while giving her the anointing of the sick. Father Gerold Langsch, of Austin, was arrested Thursday (Mar. 21) and charged with assault by contact stemming from the Oct. 5 encounter. The 75-year-old priest is free on $15,000 bond. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $4,000.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

14 abusive priests found in Georgetown’s past, present
“Since 1937, Georgetown University students have learned from, lived with and sought the guidance of religious leaders on campus. Of those leaders, 14 have been credibly or plausibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external), according to an investigation by The Hoya … The credibility of accusations against each priest is based on settled lawsuits, the review of Catholic Church authorities or admissions of guilt. Each priest’s affiliation with Georgetown was verified through media reporting, public church statements or university archival material.” By Adam Shaham, Will Simon and Will Cassou, The Hoya

WISCONSIN

Milwaukee Archdiocese stresses importance of transparency in clergy sex abuse scandal
“Over the state line, nearly 400 Catholic clergy members in Illinois have been accused of sexual misconduct. A report released on Wednesday, March 20, revealed background information and work history of priests and lay persons accused of abuse … On the Milwaukee Archdiocese website is a list of its own, including detailed information on priests with a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external), including assignments, timeline, and related documents.” By Aaron Maybain, FOX6-TV News

CANADA

Catholic Church to investigate 60 years of child sex abuse allegations in Montreal
“The Diocese of Montreal has assigned an independent committee to examine more than six decades of files related to allegations of sexual abuse committed on children by the clergy(link is external) or church personnel in Montreal-area parishes. Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine has asked retired Superior Court justice Anne-Marie Trahan to oversee the investigation, which will also examine files of the dioceses of St-Jérôme, Valleyfield, St-Jean-Longueuil and Joliette.” By Presse Canadienne in Montreal Gazette

Montreal priest who sexually abused boys gets eight years in prison
“A Montreal priest who sexually abused two former parishioners when they were boys(link is external) has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Quebec court Judge Patricia Compagnone handed down the sentence to Brian Boucher Monday (Mar.25), based on a joint recommendation from the Crown and the defence. Boucher was handcuffed in the courtroom and led away by a constable.” By Steve Rukavina, CBC News

Survivors of pedophile priest who served in Sudbury subject of documentary
“Over the course of 38 years, William ‘Hod’ Hodgson Marshall — who served as a Basilian priest and Catholic teacher in Sudbury, Toronto and Windsor — sexually abused at least 17 minors(link is external). ‘I grew up Catholic in Windsor. I was an altar boy at a church in the east end,’ recalls filmmaker Matt Gallagher. ‘I was a grown man when these things about certain priests started coming out … I haven’t considered myself a Catholic since I was 18 years old. But this film was still very difficult to do.’” By Dalson Chen, Windsor Star

CHILE

Fresh allegations cloud pope’s appointment of Chilean church leader
“Pope Francis’s pick to replace Chile’s top cardinal – who has been dismissed over allegations of covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external) – was on Monday (Mar. 25) forced to deny that he himself had covered up the crimes of predator priests. In a case that appears to cast doubt on Francis’ judgement in appointing him to replace Chile’s top prelate Ricardo Ezzati, Spanish bishop Celestino Aos was forced to deny allegations from two sex abuse victims that he covered up for their abuser.” By Buenos Aires Times

Chilean bishops called in to testify about cover-up allegations
“Chilean bishops began testifying at the local prosecutor’s office this week on charges that they covered up cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external). Their questioning comes less than a year after every bishop in the country presented their resignation to Pope Francis, who said that many of them were guilty of cover-up and destroying evidence implicating abusive priests. In all, eight Chilean bishops have been called to testify – some of them on charges that they themselves sexually abused either minors or seminarians.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FRANCE

Convicted French cardinal says pope has refused his resignation
“Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic cardinal convicted this month of failing to report sexual abuse allegations, said on Tuesday (Mar. 19) that Pope Francis had turned down his offer to resign(link is external). ‘On Monday morning, I put forward my resignation to the hands of the Holy Father. Invoking the presumption of innocence, he declined to accept this resignation,’ said Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, in a statement.” By The Guardian

France demands Vatican lift envoy’s immunity over abuse probe
“French prosecutors said Friday (Mar. 15) they had asked the Vatican to lift the diplomatic immunity of its envoy to France who is under investigation for alleged sexual assault(link is external). Luigi Ventura, 74, is facing four complaints of sexual abuse — including an allegation he molested a junior official at Paris town hall. Investigators have already spoken to three of the complainants, a source close to the case told AFP, saying in three cases they had accused him of groping their backsides.” By Agence France-Presse on France24.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest jailed for sexually abusing six children
“A Catholic priest has been jailed for nine years and 11 months after abusing six children in the 1970s, leaving one of his victims ‘in fractured pieces(link is external).’ Francis McDermott, 75, abused six victims, some as young as 10, in London, Norwich, and High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, between 1971 and 1978, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.” By Press Association in Daily Mail

POLAND

Catholic Church in Poland releases study on sexual abuse by priests
“The Roman Catholic Church in Poland released long-awaited statistics on Thursday (Mar. 14) that shed light on the sexual abuse of children by priests(link is external) over the past 28 years. The study, commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and pulling together data from over 10,000 local parishes, found that from 1990 to mid-2018, church officials received abuse reports concerning 382 priests.” By Joanna Berendt, The New York Times

Polish Church says 382 minors abused by clergy from 1990-2018
“As many as 382 children were sexually abused by clergy in Poland(link is external) between 1990 and 2018, according to findings presented on Thursday (Mar. 15) by the Polish Catholic Church in one of the most devout countries in Europe. The report follows investigations into widespread abuse of minors by clergy in other countries – notably in Chile, the United States, Australia and Ireland – that have shaken the Roman Catholic Church to its foundations.” By Marcin Goclowski, Reuters

TAHITI

Tahiti Catholic priest charged with sexual assault
“Earlier this month, a 40-year-old man was detained and questioned for two days about the alleged sexual abuse of minors(link is external). He was set free and declared an ‘assisted witness’ in the ongoing investigation. The prosecution, however, objected to this and Tahiti Nui TV said he has now been charged. The suspect remains free but is not allowed to visit his parish or leave the territory.” By Radio New Zealand

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Pope issues law, with penalties, for Vatican City to address sexual abuse / The New York Times

The law, dated March 26, calls on church authorities to listen immediately to people who say they are victims and to report any credible allegations to prosecutors. (The New York Times)

 Pope Francis has issued a highly anticipated law for Vatican City officials and diplomats overseas to tackle sexual abuse, setting up what is intended to be a model for the Roman Catholic Church worldwide by requiring, for the first time, that accusations be immediately reported to Vatican prosecutors.

“The Vatican characterized the law — and accompanying pastoral guidelines — as a reflection of the most advanced thinking on preventing and addressing sexual abuse in the church. The law, dated March 26, calls on church authorities to listen immediately to people who say they are victims and to report any credible allegations to prosecutors.

“Those who fail to report could be subjected to financial penalties and jail time.

“‘Protection of minors and vulnerable people is an essential part of the evangelical message that the church and all of its members are called to spread across the world,’ the pope wrote in a personal edict enacting the law. Francis said he wanted to ‘strengthen the institutional and regulatory framework to prevent and tackle abuses against minors and vulnerable people.'”

By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times — Read more …

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