Archive for category Clergy Sexual Abuse
West Virginia bishop gave powerful cardinal and other priests $350,000 in cash gifts before his ouster, church records show / The Washington Post
The gifts — one as large as $15,000 — were detailed in a draft of a confidential report to the Vatican about the alleged misconduct that led to Bransfield’s resignation in September. (The Washington Post)
In the years before he was ousted for alleged sexual harassment and financial abuses, the leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia gave cash gifts totaling $350,000 to fellow clergymen, including young priests he is accused of mistreating and more than a dozen cardinals in the United States and at the Vatican, according to church records obtained by The Washington Post.
“Bishop Michael J. Bransfield wrote the checks from his personal account over more than a decade, and the West Virginia diocese reimbursed him by boosting his compensation to cover the value of the gifts, the records show. As a tax-exempt nonprofit, the diocese must use its money only for charitable purposes.
“The gifts — one as large as $15,000 — were detailed in a draft of a confidential report to the Vatican about the alleged misconduct that led to Bransfield’s resignation in September. The names of 11 powerful clerics who received checks were edited out of the final report at the request of the archbishop overseeing the investigation, William Lori of Baltimore.”
By Michelle Boorstein, Shawn Boberg and Robert O’Harrow, Jr. — Read more …
The findings were evidence of “complacency and lack of diligence on the part of some dioceses,” said a letter included in the report from Francesco Cesareo, who chairs a review board created by the bishops in 2002 to monitor sex abuse prevention efforts. (Associated Press)
Quantifying its vast sex-abuse crisis, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church said Friday (May 31) that allegations of child sex abuse by clerics more than doubled in its latest 12-month reporting period, and that its spending on victim compensation and child protection surged above $300 million.
“During the period from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations of abuse, according to the annual report of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. That was up from 693 allegations in the previous year. The report attributed much of the increase to a victim compensation program implemented in five dioceses in New York state.
“According to the report, Catholic dioceses and religious orders spent $301.6 million during the reporting period on payments to victims, legal fees and child-protection efforts. That was up 14% from the previous year and double the amount spent in the 2014 fiscal year.”
By David Crary, Associated Press — Read more …
Francis mandates clergy abuse reporting worldwide, empowers archbishops to do investigations / National Catholic Reporter
Under the scope of the new laws, such disclosure (of abuse or coverup) could be rather wide-ranging, even retroactively. Article six of the apostolic letter makes clear that anyone who is serving or has served as a bishop can be investigated for acts committed during the time of their ministry. (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope Francis issued sweeping new laws for the Catholic Church on the investigation of clergy sexual abuse May 9, mandating for the first time that all priests and members of religious orders worldwide are obligated to report any suspicions of abuse or its cover-up.
“The pontiff has also established a new global system for the evaluation of reports of abuse or cover-up by bishops, which foresees the empowering of archbishops to conduct investigations of prelates in their local regions with the help of Vatican authorities.
“The new norms, contained in a brief apostolic letter titled Vos estis lux mundi (‘You are the light of the world’), are exhaustive in scope, applying in some way to every ordained or vowed member of the 1.3 billion-person church. They also encourage lay people to make reports of abuse, and provide for involvement of lay experts in investigations.
“In his introduction to the document, which goes into effect June 1, Francis says he has created the new laws so the church will ‘continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future.'”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing. (America: The Jesuit Review)
In the final episode of Deliver Us, we ask: What’s mine to do and not somebody else’s? What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for?
“To grapple with these questions, we spoke to people who have responded to the sex abuse crisis in different ways. Geoff Boisi and Kerry Robinson talk about why they formed Leadership Roundtable, an organization which brings best business practices to church leaders and which has convened experts to discuss the church’s future. Leadership Roundtable has made it a priority to address the “twin crises” of the abuse crisis—one being the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and the other being the leadership failures in the church that have led to distrust.
“Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing, and Monica LaBelle offers her experience of setting up listening sessions in her parish.
“We also hear from you, our listeners, in this final episode. You tell us what you’ve been doing to help the church move forward.”
By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review — Listen to the podcast …
Catholic University sex abuse series wraps with starkly different viewpoints / National Catholic Reporter
The day-long conference at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., was the fourth and final installment of the university’s “Healing the Breach of Trust” series.
Two well-known lay Catholic leaders in the United States presented strikingly different opinions on the cause of the clergy sex abuse crisis, the role of the laity and the centrality of victim-survivors at an April 25 conference at Catholic University of America, titled ‘The Way Forward: Principles for Effective Lay Action.’
”The day-long conference, the fourth and final installment of the ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ series, was marked by the divergent 25-minute presentations of George Weigel and John Carr, who spoke at different points in the day.
“Weigel, a biographer of Pope John Paul II and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., discussed the negative influence of Satan, the sexual revolution and mass media on the current crisis.
“Carr, the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and former director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development at the U.S. bishops’ conference, presented 10 lessons on dealing with clergy abuse he gained from personal experience as both a victim-survivor and in working with the bishops.”
By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
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 …
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 …