Archive for category Voice of the Faithful

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

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

For Immediate Release, Aug. 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

N.B. “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism” can be read and downloaded at http://www.votf.org/AUSCP-Projects/Systemic%20Dysfunction%20Clericalism.pdf. Strategies for addressing clericalism in local faith communities can be found in “The BridgeDialogues: Laity & Clergy Reimaging the Church” at http://www.votf.org/content/priest-and-lay-reform-organizations-take-clerical-culture, which is a collaborative effort of AUSCP, FutureChurch and VOTF.


Contact: Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director, dbdoucette@votf.org

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in reforming administrative structures that have failed. VOTF’s mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. More information is at votf.org.

Contact: Kevin Clinton, kevin@kevindome.com, Paul Leingang, prleingang@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An old, sad story on finances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 31, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VOICES

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

COLORADO

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

KANSAS

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

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

KENTUCKY

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

LOUISIANA

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

TENNESSEE

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

TEXAS

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

VIRGINIA

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

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

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

WASHINGTON

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

WISCONSIN

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

AUSTRALIA

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

CHILE

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

GUAM

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

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

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

INDIA

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

MEXICO

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

POLAND

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

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Unmarked buildings, quiet help for accused priests / Associated Press

And while powerful clerics have publicly pledged to hold the church accountable for the crimes of its clergy and help survivors heal, some of them arranged meetings, offered blessings or quietly sent checks to this organization that provided support to alleged abusers, The Associated Press has found. Though Catholic leaders deny the church has any official relationship with the group, Opus Bono successfully forged networks reaching all the way to the Vatican. (Associated Press)

Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in this tiny Midwestern town as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. Neighbors had no idea some of the dressed-down clergymen dining at local restaurants might have been accused sexual predators.

“They had been brought to town by a small, nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii. For nearly two decades, the group has operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country.

“Again and again, Opus Bono has served as a rapid-response team for the accused.

“When a serial pedophile was sent to jail for abusing dozens of minors, Opus Bono was there for him, with regular visits and commissary cash.

“When a priest admitted sexually assaulting boys under 14, Opus Bono raised funds for his defense.

“When another priest was criminally charged with abusing a teen, Opus Bono later made him a legal adviser.”

By Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Garance Burke, Associated Press — Read more …

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Reform or dismantle? Why we need to keep the institutions that keep us / Commonweal

The division of Catholicism into various brands—liberal, progressive, conservative, traditionalist—fosters a spirit of zero-sum competition rather than communion. (Commonweal)

One of the effects of the sex-abuse crisis is the current moment of institutional iconoclasm—the temptation to get rid of the institutional element of the Catholic Church. The failures of the church’s institutions are now on full display, even more so than after the revelations of the Spotlight investigation. It is hypocritical, however, to interpret the abuse crisis as a clerical abuse crisis rather than a Catholic abuse crisis. Obviously, the clergy had a unique role in the crisis, but the moral and legal responsibilities do not belong exclusively to those wearing a Roman collar. We are still reluctant to acknowledge the systemic nature of this crisis as something that affected the entire Catholic world and not just its ordained ministers. We would like to contain it neatly within the hierarchy so as to exempt ourselves from the burden of critical self-reflection.

“American Catholicism has not yet found its way out of the blame game for the abuse crisis. One sees this on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Recent attempts to use the crisis as a pretext for abolishing the priesthood are just a liberal version of conservative attempts to blame sexual abuse on gays or the sixties. All such strategies spare lay Catholics the bother of having to ask ‘What did do wrong?’ The abuse itself damaged the lives of the victims and their families, friends, and communities. Now, the shortcomings of our response to the abuse crisis—our failure to deal with its root causes—is causing another kind of damage. When prominent scholars of Catholicism publicly display their ‘disgust’ for Catholicism, it is clear that the abuse crisis has blurred the line between an ecclesially engaged Catholic theology and the more dispassionate, agnostic religious studies of Catholicism. The abuse crisis has produced two kinds of counter-evangelization:

  • first, the counter-evangelization of the hierarchical church, whose example scandalizes the faithful and repels outsiders;
  • second, the counter-evangelization of those who have used this crisis to self-righteously declare their liberation from what they describe as a morally corrupt institution.

There is a prefabricated quality to at least some of these declarations. They seem less like honest reckonings with new information than shrewdly timed expressions of old resentments. There will always be an appreciative audience for “Why I Left” pieces.”

By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

Why the ‘Metropolitan Plan’ doesn’t work
“The now-glaring weakness of the USCCB’s 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was that it made no provision for dealing with bishops who engage in sexual misconduct. In the wake of the scandal surrounding Theodore McCarrick, who had escaped the consequences of his abuses for decades, the American bishops realized this gap had to be closed … As if by an act of divine providence, however, the first trial run of a metropolitan-centered strategy to contain abusive bishops has provided a spectacular public demonstration of how this plan can fail(link is external).” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

‘Maverick’ Catholic nun banned from speaking to Australian church over progressive views
“Sister Joan Chittester, a powerful voice for female empowerment within the Catholic church, claimed her invitation to speak at a conference in Melbourne next year has been withdrawn(link is external). Sister Joan Chittester has advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and the renewal of the Catholic Church for over 40 years. Chittester was set to visit Australia to speak at The National Catholic Education Conference next year, but claims she was recently told the invite had been rescinded.” By Simone Amelia Jordan, 10daily.com

Before I take on clericalism, I will say: ‘I love being a priest’
“James Carroll argues in a recent issue of The Atlantic that the priesthood needs to be abolished before the church can be reformed. Garry Wills, in his 2013 book Why Priests?, says that priests are a self-perpetuating clique and a medieval power grab, contrary to the equality of all believers … I wouldn’t go that far. But after nearly four decades as first a seminarian and then a priest, I do think the priesthood needs reform — fundamental reform(link is external). We don’t need window dressing. We don’t need just some changes in policy and procedure. We need to change the whole culture of the priesthood and episcopacy. If we don’t, we will continue to decline and ultimately collapse in our own irrelevance and scandal.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Purging silence: Vatican expands abuse prevention to lay movements
“Millions of Catholics live their faith through their association with lay movements and Catholic groups, but some also have lost their faith when they were sexually abused in those groups and felt they had nowhere to turn(link is external). While much of the Church’s recent focus has been on clerical sexual abuse and the accountability of diocesan bishops, the Vatican is making child protection a priority for new movements and lay associations, too.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Altoona-Johnstown Diocese appeals court ruling
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown has challenged the ruling in a case that – if upheld – could significantly expand the ability of alleged childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse to file civil claims against the church(link is external). In December 2017, Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva dismissed a case brought by Renée Rice against the diocese, then-retired (now deceased) Bishop Joseph Adamec, the estate of deceased Bishop James Hogan and the Rev. Charles Bodziak because the abuse she alleged Bodziak committed, from 1975 or 1976 through 1981 when they were both at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, was past the commonwealth’s statute of limitations.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

New York Archdiocese sues 32 insurance companies for breach of contract in sex abuse cases
“The New York Archdiocese has filed a lawsuit against 32 of its insurers for not paying claims of abuse victims(link is external). The archdiocese—which covers New York, Bronx, and Richmond counties along Westchester, Rockland and other Hudson Valley counties—filed suit in New York Supreme Court on behalf of other religious organizations, schools, hospitals and other institutions which might be impacted by the case.” By Frank Esposito, Rockland/Winchester Journal News

Can laypeople lead a parish? Look to Louisville for a thriving example
“In his recent book Worship as Community Drama, sociologist Pierre Hegy described an unusual Catholic parish(link is external) whose identity he hid under the name Church of the Resurrection. When the book was published earlier this year and we read the chapter titled ‘A Lay-Run Parish: Consensus Without a Central Authority,’ we could tell that it was about us. I asked Hegy about possibly revealing the facts behind the chapter. He replied that sociological protocols had to be followed in the book, but these would not apply to an article in a newspaper. OK, here goes.” By Joseph Martos, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican waives immunity for France envoy accused of sexual assault
“The Vatican has waived immunity for its envoy to France(link is external), who is under investigation for sexual assault, according to the Bishops’ Conference of France. Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 74, is alleged to have inappropriately touched a junior male official working at the Paris city hall, deputy mayor Patrick Klugman told CNN earlier this year.” By Barbara Wojazer and Valentina DiDonato, CNN

Significant progress in ensuring bishop accountability
“From June 10-14, during the 2019 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Spring General Assembly, my brother bishops and I gathered with a singular focus: governance(link is external). With recent crises and failures involving then-Cardinal McCarrick and the poor handling by some bishops of credible allegations of sexual abuse, our obligation to develop a better system to initiate investigations against bishops was clear. Therefore, the majority of the week was devoted to this issue and much was achieved.” By Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in The Arlington Catholic Herald

Call 911, not the church
“Catholic bishops came out last week (Jun. 21) with their plan to deal with bishops who commit or cover up sexual abuse. Their idea is that they will watch each other, and it is wholly insufficient(link is external). It’s startling that this needs to be said, but allegations of criminal sexual abuse should be referred directly to the police — investigators who are trained to get to the bottom of such issues. It doesn’t matter if the allegations are against priests, bishops, ministers, teachers, Scout leaders or Uncle Pete: Go to the police. That the bishops either don’t get that or don’t want it can only promote the kind of arrogant insularity that led to this crisis in the first place.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Report of sexual abuse by late bishop filed with Hampden County DA
“Christopher J. Weldon, a longtime Catholic bishop for the Springfield Diocese, now stands formally accused of sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external). Three weeks after denying that it had received a credible accusation against Weldon of molestation, the diocese Thursday (Jun. 20) filed an initial report of a claim of such abuse with the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.” By Larry Parnass, The Bershire Eagle

By holding themselves accountable, bishops close the gap
“The U.S. bishops’ newly approved plan establishing procedures to report complaints of clergy sexual abuse and to hold its leaders accountable(link is external) is an important step in the ongoing struggle to move beyond the crisis. We pray that it works as hoped, and that the Church will in time fully recover the dedication and trust of the faithful.” Editorial by Catholic New York

BISHOPS

Auxiliary bishop latest to be hit with sex abuse allegation in archdiocese
“The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has temporarily stepped aside from public priestly duties after being hit with what the archdiocese has termed a ‘false allegation’ of sexual abuse from 1971(link is external). Several chancery departments and at least one pastor received letters addressed to Bishop George Sheltz, containing an accusation of molestation, archdiocesan officials said in a statement dated Friday (Jun.21).” By Samantha Ketterer and Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle

Australians begin ‘ad limina’ visits acknowledging impact of crisis
“The president of the Australian bishops’ conference told his fellow bishops that it is ‘a time of humiliation’ for Catholic Church leaders, but he is convinced that God is still at work(link is external). As church leaders continue to face the reality of the clerical sexual abuse crisis and attempts to cover it up, ‘we as bishops have to discover anew how small we are and yet how grand is the design into which we have been drawn by the call of God and his commissioning beyond our betrayals,’ said Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, conference president.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

In interview, Archbishop Gregory reflects on recent actions taken by U.S. bishops to address the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
“In a June 21 interview with the Catholic Standard newspaper, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory offered insights on the actions taken by the U.S. bishops at their June 11-13 meeting in Baltimore(link is external) to address the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. In 2002, the nation’s bishops at their meeting in Dallas adopted the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ when then-Bishop Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, was serving at the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The following is the text of Archbishop Gregory’s interview with Mark Zimmermann, the Catholic Standard’s editor.” By Mark Zimmerman, Catholic Standard

PRIESTS

What would married priests in the Amazon mean for the church, etc.?
This week on Inside the Vatican(link is external), Gerry and I talk about the U.S. bishops’ new resolutions on sexual abuse. How does the U.S.C.C.B. compare to other bishops’ conferences around the world? Then, we take a look at a new document prepared for the synod on the Amazon region, which officially introduces the possibility of ordaining married men. What are its implications for the rest of the church? And what other topics addressed in the document should we be paying attention to?” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Being church: We can do this
“As Jamie Manson wrote in 2012, women religious ‘have created among themselves a form of church that so many restless Catholics long for(link is external): small, supportive, non-hierarchical, intimate communities that are deeply rooted in tradition, devoted to sacramental life, and grounded in outreach to the poor and marginalized.’” By Betsy D. Thompson, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

Debate on female deacons not just about history; it’s about art
“A small group of activists and academics embarked on a mission this week to dig deep into early Christian art, in search of answers on the original role of women in the Catholic Church(link is external), only two months after Pope Francis called for further study and historical data concerning the ordination of female deacons. ‘Ancient Christian art proves that women took on a much greater role in the ministries and the liturgy than originally thought,’ said Ally Kateusz, Research Associate at the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, during her presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome July 2.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

UISG president says group is considering publishing women deacons report
“Pope Francis in May formally handed over the secret report of his commission to study the history of women deacons in the Catholic Church to the global umbrella group of the world’s women religious, which had originally requested the commission’s creation in 2016. Now, the new leader of that umbrella group, which represents some 450,000 sisters and nuns around the world, says it will be considering soon whether to make the report public(link is external).” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Pope names women as full members of congregation for religious
“Pope Francis named six superiors of women’s religious orders, a consecrated laywoman and the superior of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to be full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life(link is external). Previously, the members had all been men: cardinals, a few bishops and several priests who were superiors of large religious orders of men.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Local Catholics feel they have the power to act within the church
“The Tennessean recently featured the voices of Catholics, both from around the country and particularly in Middle Tennessee(link is external), expressing their disappointment and disillusionment with their church (‘Please give me a reason to be Catholic’). At the same time, we were posing the question ‘Can the Church Survive?’ to some 25 members of Christ the King parish’s adult education community here. We asked three specific questions …” By Bob O’Gorman and Paul Dokecki, Tennessean

VATICAN

New Vatican doc displays simplified, decentralized curia
“A preliminary outline of Pope Francis’s coming apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia reveals the merger of several more departments and an increased emphasis on the presence of laity(link is external) as part of a reform hinged on decentralization and synodality and fueled by evangelization. Tentatively titled Praedicate Evangelium, a draft of the constitution has been sent to the heads of all Vatican departments, bishops’ conferences, nuncios and certain law institutes, whose comments are being studied before the document’s publication.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Vatican abuse investigator: ‘You never get used to it, you feel your heart and soul hurting’
“In a remarkably frank and detailed speech, the Vatican official heading the department charged with reviewing clergy sexual abuse allegations(link is external) told an assembly of Catholic journalists that his investigators and the press ‘share the same goal, which is the protection of minors, and we have the same wish to leave the world a little better than how we found it.’” By Greg Erlandson, Catholic News Service

Vatican sex abuse office looking for more canonists
“The Vatican office that handles clergy sex abuse is looking for help to process what a top official says is a steady stream of cases that arrive every day from around the world(link is external). Monsignor John Kennedy, head of the discipline section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told a conference of Catholic journalists this week that while his staff has more than tripled to 17 full-time experts in the past 15 years, he still borrows four others occasionally and is looking for more.” By Associated Press

CLERICALISM

The problem of clericalism makes transparency impossible
“I think we owe a debt of gratitude to former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield, pilloried by The Washington Post for his reportedly lavish and lascivious ways. The Post wrote from an unredacted report written by lay investigators. Bransfield’s creative accounting let us see exactly who benefited from his largess. His history of unchecked behavior demonstrates who knew what and when. Most importantly, his objectively sad story sheds light on ingrained episcopal practices around the world(link is external). Plus, it saves us the trouble of reading medieval history.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

U.S. bishops at odds over Amazon synod’s married priest proposal
“While the upcoming Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon is focused on pastoral needs for that particular region, two U.S. bishops have weighed in on one of its central proposals – offering starkly different takes(link is external). Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee have taken to Twitter in recent days to comment on the Pan-Amazonian Synod’s working document, which raises the option of ordaining married men in order to provide greater access to the sacraments, particularly in the remote areas of the region.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Some Oswego Catholics upset with church selected for merger
“Starting July 1, Catholics in Oswego will merge their four churches into one because of the dwindling number of worshipers and limited resources in the community(link is external). Although many parishioners understand the need for the consolidation, several are unhappy with where the new faith community will celebrate mass. The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has decided to move forward with St. Paul’s Church as the home of the newly named Christ the Good Shepherd Parish.” By Payne Horning, WRVO-FM National Public Radio

New generation emerges at CTSA convention, as theologians play long game
“It’s rare that a paper at an academic conference is received like a hit song at a rock concert. But such was the case at the Friday (Jun. 7) morning plenary session at the Catholic Theological Society of America’s annual convention, held June 6-9 in Pittsburgh. In a paper titled ‘Another Pro-Life Movement is Possible: Untangling Patriarchy and the Pro-Life Movement,’ accompanied by a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation, theologian Emily Reimer-Barry argued that the pro-life movement the millennial generation has inherited is ‘deeply flawed, and Catholics need to rethink our support for it(link is external).’ Reimer-Barry is an associate professor from the University of San Diego.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Another voice: Laity can play key role in repairing Catholic Church
“Catholics are members of a global church with more than a billion adherents, of whom nearly 70% live in South America, Africa and Asia. Though members of a large global church, it is in local parishes that church members worship, learn, grow, form relationships and act out their faith. This is clearly a situation where we need to ‘Think globally, act locally(link is external).’ The clerical abuse crisis has dramatically impacted the Catholic Church at all levels. And it is not yet resolved. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 81% of U.S. Catholics indicated they believe that this is an ongoing problem.” By Robert Poczik, The Buffalo News

Priests and bishops need more range
“Earlier this year the journalist David Epstein published his second book, titled Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. The book is an engaging response to earlier bestsellers that have emphasized specialization, concentration and repetition as the universal path to success … As true as this is elsewhere in society, it is also true in the field of ministry(link is external). In light of Epstein’s book and as a professor who teaches religious order and lay graduate students for ministry in the Catholic Church, I found myself thinking about what lessons might be gleaned from the argument presented in Range for the church today.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

Why Catholic bishops need a year of abstinence on preaching about sexuality
“ If Catholic bishops hope to reclaim their moral credibility after revelations about covering up clergy sexual abuse(link is external), the hierarchy might start by sending a simple but potent message: Church leaders should take a year of abstinence from preaching about sex and gender. It might seem obvious that a church facing a crisis of legitimacy caused by clergy raping children would show more humility when claiming to hold ultimate truths about human sexuality …There is an unmistakable hubris displayed when some in the church are determined to make sexuality the lynchpin of Catholic identity at a time when bishops have failed to convince their flock that they are prepared to police predators in their own parishes.” By John Gehring, Religion News Service

Our opinion: For future’s sake, Church must confront past
“The acknowledgment by the Springfield Diocese that former Catholic Bishop Christopher J. Weldon has been credibly accused of sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external) is welcome, yet overdue. As is too often the case with dioceses across the nation, Springfield had to be pushed into doing what it should have done at the first opportunity.” By The Bershire Eagle Editorial Board

CHURCH FINANCES

Allentown Diocese cuts office staff by nearly 25% to pay for sex abuse victims
“The Allentown Diocese has cut its office staff by nearly a quarter and enacted a pay freeze to help compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse(link is external), officials announced Monday (Jul. 8). The cuts, effective last Friday (Jul. 5), were centered in the diocesan’s administrative office, where 96 people worked prior to the reductions, according to a news release from diocese spokesman Matt Kerr. Most of the cuts were made through attrition, and a voluntary retirement program was offered, according to the diocese.” By Emiy Opilo, The Morning Call

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The biggest deterrent to reporting child sexual abuse
“In the United States, about one-third of child-sexual-abuse victims come forward with their allegations before adulthood. Another third disclose far later in life—the median age is 52—and the rest never reveal their past trauma at all. In recent years, many children’s advocates have looked to shift these low reporting numbers (and correspondingly low rates of prosecution) by addressing a legal hurdle that lies in the way of many victims seeking court-based justice: the statute of limitations(link is external).” By Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic

Sex abuse lawsuit deadlines extended by North Carolina House”
“North Carolina House members have backed overwhelmingly a longer period of time for victims of child sexual abuse to sue perpetrators for damages as adults(link is external). The measure now heading to the Senate following Wednesday’s (Jun. 19) vote of 104-10 extends the statute of limitations for a victim from 21 years of age to 38. The bill also would give older adults outside the proposed age cap a two-year window to file lawsuits.” By WSOC-TV9 News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

U.K. church officials ‘deliberately misled’ U.S. archdiocese
“An English church official ‘deliberately misled’ a U.S. archdiocese into harboring a pedophile priest and helping him to escape justice for a quarter of a century(link is external), said a report from a child abuse inquiry. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles was persuaded to shelter Fr. James Robinson, who during the 1970s and 1980s had raped several boys, after officials gave false information about his sexual history. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse concluded in a report published June 21 that the deception meant that Robinson ‘was able to remain in America and avoid prosecution for nearly 25 years.’” By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

ARIZONA

Group releases names of 109 clerics accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix
“The names of more than 100 clerics accused of abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix(link is external)were released Wednesday (Jun. 26). A group of lawyers, victims, and advocates held a joint press conference in downtown Phoenix to share the report in hopes of ‘bringing out of the dark’ information that they claim has not been thoroughly provided by the Catholic diocese.” By Karla Navarrete, Associated Press, on ABC-TV15 News

ARKANSAS

Five priest abuse victims settle with Catholic Diocese for $790,000
“KARK/FOX 16 broke the news last night (Jun. 27) of a $790,000 settlement by the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock with five victims of priest abuse(link is external) in the 1970s. The men, some of whom were quoted in KARK’s report, said they’d been abused by Father John McDaniel, who died in 1974, at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock.” By Max Brantley, Arkansas Times

CALIFORNIA

Sex offender, former Catholic priest reportedly presided over Masses in Fillmore
“A former Catholic priest removed from ministry and convicted of molestation was reportedly presiding at home Masses(link is external) in Fillmore, according to a May 30 alert from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The notice from the archdiocese’s Vicar for Clergy Office to priests, deacons and parish life directors warns that Carlos Rene Rodriguez has no permission to act as a Roman Catholic priest.” By Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star

CONNECTICUT

‘The priest wielded God as a tool to do what he did to me’
“The anger has hardly subsided. Nearly 10 years ago, a wooden board ticked off John ‘Timothy’ McGuire – an object entirely too big to take the brunt of his resentment. He tried to throw it, and broke his back. ‘The anger that we harbor(link is external),’ said McGuire, looking out through his front window at St. Mary of the Sea Church in New London. ‘The level of anger …we get angry at things that aren’t big enough to get angry about.’” By Anna Maria Della Costa, Norwich Bulletin

FLORIDA

Florida Catholic church sex abuse investigation shrouded in secrecy
“Roman Catholic Bishops were in Baltimore on Tuesday (Jun. 18) to confront the reignited sex abuse crisis. They’re looking at increasing their accountability when it comes to sex abuse cases(link is external). Several Attorneys General, including Florida’s, launched state investigations after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse. More than half of all the dioceses around the country have released lists with the names of Catholic clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.” By NBC-TV2 News

ILLINOIS

Archdiocese releases review of abuse-prevention policies
“A review of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s policies and procedures on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), the way the archdiocese reports and investigates allegations and how it supports victims showed many strengths, as well some areas that could be improved. Monica Applewhite, an internationally recognized expert on sexual abuse and the development of policies and procedures to deal with it, was hired last year to evaluate what the archdiocese has done and could do better.” By Michelle Martin, Chicago Catholic

KENTUCKY

Priest resigns from Louisville church after being accused of ‘inappropriate’ photos
“A priest at a Catholic church in the Highlands resigned after he was accused of taking ‘inappropriate’ photos of students(link is external) during a field day at the end of the school year. The Rev. Jeff Gatlin, pastor at St. Francis of Assisi, 1960 Bardstown Road, was accused of ‘inappropriate picture taking’ of students during a May 13 field day celebrating the end of the parish school year, according to emails sent by church and Archdiocese of Louisville officials that were obtained by the Courier Journal.” By Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal

LOUISIANA

Baton Rouge Diocese adds two more names to list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Diocese of Baton Rouge on Sunday Jul. 7) released two more additions to its list of Catholic clerics who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external), bringing the total now to 43. Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca released the initial list in January, which included 37 names but has since been supplemented multiple times. Duca said from the beginning that it would evolve as other diocese release their own lists amid a nationwide push for transparency from church leaders.” By Lea Skene, The Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Bishop Christopher Weldon’s legacy under cloud as district attorney receives sexual abuse claim from Springfield Diocese
“The 27-year legacy of Bishop Christopher J. Weldon is a visible one and continues to impact many in Western Massachusetts … A possible darker side to his legacy(link is external)emerged with greater visibility Thursday (Jun. 20) after Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski met with an alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse, heard his accusations against Weldon and two priests decades ago, and filed an initial report with Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Archdiocese removes prominent Detroit priest from pulpit
“A conservative Detroit priest renowned for his orchestral Masses and traditional Latin services has been removed from public ministry after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit reviewed what it described as a ‘credible allegation’ that he had abused a child(link is external) decades ago. The announcement, made during services Sunday at the Rev. Eduard Perrone’s church, shocked parishioners and came a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone groped him.” By Mike Householder and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press

Metro Detroit priest being investigated for sexual abuse of minor
“A metro Detroit priest is being investigated for sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) and has been restricted from all public ministry pending the outcome of the canonical process. The Archdiocese of Detroit said they recently received an allegation against Father Joseph (Jack) Baker, 57, involving sexual abuse of a minor. The allegation dates back to the early years of his ministry. He is currently a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford.” By WXYZ-TV7 News

MINNESOTA

Diocese of New Elm reaches $34 million settlement over clergy abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and area parishes have reached a tentative $34 million settlement with 93 people who said they were sexually abused as children by clergy(link is external) and others in the diocese. ‘We won,’ said Bob Schwiderski, a survivor of clergy abuse who filed a civil suit against the New Ulm diocese in 1992 that eventually unleashed hundreds of similar claims throughout Minnesota.” By Mary Lynn Smith and Paul Walsh, Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Nearly 400 claims of clergy sex abuse filed against Archdiocese of Santa FE
“It was announced Friday, June 21, that almost 400 people have filed claims of clergy sexual abuse against New Mexico’s largest Roman Catholic diocese(link is external). In coming months, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will negotiate reparations. The actual number of people harmed by priest abuse in New Mexico is likely much bigger than 400, Albuquerque attorney Levi Monagle said. His firm, Hall & Monagle, represents about one-third of those claimants.” By Hannah Colton, KUNM-FM National Public Radio

NEW YORK

Cardinal Dolan refuses to remove priest accused of sexually abusing eight children
“For the second time in six month’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, refuses to remove a priest accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The latest incident involves Monsignor John Paddack, stationed at Church of Notre Dame on W. 114th St. in Manhattan. The priest has been accused of sexual abuse by eight different individuals and the Archdiocese, and specifically Cardinal Dolan, has known about the allegations since 2012 but has stubbornly refused to take action.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

Parents outraged after Buffalo Diocese assigns two ‘improper’ priests to parishes with schools
“Parents are outraged that two priests who had ‘improper’ sexual contact with parishioners(link is external) will soon be sent by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to parishes with elementary schools. The Revs. Joseph C. Gatto and Samuel T. Giangreco Jr. were suspended last year after adult parishioners came forward to allege unwanted sexual advances by the priests.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Embattled Bishop Malone to hold ‘listening session’ Saturday in Olean
“Following months of criticism, Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone will be in Olean this weekend (Jun. 29) to listen to parishioners’ concerns about the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external) … It will be the fourth of seven listening sessions held throughout Western New York over the next two months. The events are a byproduct of Malone’s discussions with The Movement to Restore Trust, an initiative of lay people led by Canisius College President John J. Hurley.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Priest accused yet again—two men say he raped them in Brooklyn grade school
“Two men have accused a priest, who is now dead, of raping them in the rectory at their Brooklyn parish in the 1980s(link is external), the Daily News has learned. The allegations were laid out Friday (Jun. 21) in an order to show cause filed by their lawyer, Keith Sullivan, in Brooklyn State Supreme Court, which names the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Church of St. Patrick. They have accused the Rev. John Abrams of raping them when they were students and altar boys at St. Patrick Catholic elementary school in Bay Ridge.” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo abuse victim alleges cover-up
“James Bottlinger said he was prepared to take his secret to the grave. But watching others speak out about the Catholic Church’s handling of its child sexual abuse scandal gave him his ‘voice(link is external).’ Bottlinger rejected what is reportedly the largest compensation settlement ever offered by the Diocese of Buffalo, $650,000, because he says he wants answers instead regarding why church leaders repeatedly exposed children to a priest that they knew was a pedophile.” By Rick Pfeiffer, Niagara Gazette

NORTH DAKOTA

‘It was her fault’ attorneys claim Fargo Diocese blamed alleged sexual assault survivor
“Attorneys for an alleged sexual assault survivor say the Fargo Diocese told them ‘it was her fault’ after coming forward(link is external). The law firms of Bradshaw and Bryant and O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss will hold a press conference Thursday, July 11 in Fargo. They claim Father Michael Wright abused someone at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, North Dakota.” By Austin Erickson, KVRR-TV News

Fargo woman details abuse claim against retired priest under investigation
“A woman who claims that she was sexually abused by a Fargo Catholic priest(link is external)decades ago says she hopes her story will encourage other victims to step forward. The woman, who wants to be called ‘Jane,’ was a teenager in the 1970’s when she says the abuse happened in the rectory at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. In an interview with KFGO News, ‘Jane’ says over the course of about three months, she was inappropriately touched by Fr. Jack Herron.” By KFGO-FM News

OHIO

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland adds 22 names to list of clergy accused of sexual abuse
“The Dioceses of Cleveland released an updated list Friday (Jun. 21) afternoon comprised of individuals against whom there are substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a child(link is external). According to Cleveland church officials, the named persons on the list have been placed there based on available evidence ‘that the allegations were more likely than not to be true.’” By Drew Scofield, ABC-TV5 News

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma priest suspended following sexual misconduct claim
“The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma has announced that a Roman Catholic priest was placed on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor(link is external). The diocese said in a statement Friday (Jul. 5) that the Rev. Joe Townsend is cooperating with a diocesan investigation and denies any misconduct.” By Associated Press on KOCO-TV5 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese places deacon on leave over allegation
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has confirmed it placed a deacon on leave pending an investigation into ‘an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor(link is external).’ The deacon, John C. Miller, of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Ross, was placed on leave in 2018, according to the Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, diocesan spokesman. Deacon Miller was accused of an unwanted kiss to a minor girl, the ‘first such allegation ever made against him.’” By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling may help other older clergy abuse lawsuits proceed
“A recent decision by the Pennsylvania State Superior Court may soon open the door for previously time-barred Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse lawsuits to proceed(link is external). On June 11, 2019, a three-judge panel agreed to reinstate a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who claims she was sexually abused by clergy in the 1970s and 1980s. She filed the lawsuit in 2016, but it was dismissed by the trial court because the statute of limitations had expired.” By Eric T. Chaffin, The Legal Examiner

TEXAS

Former El Paso Catholic priest’s sexual assault trial begins
“Former El Paso priest Miguel Luna, who is accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl(link is external) decades ago, was in court Tuesday morning for the start of his trial. ‘A wolf in sheep clothing’ is how prosecutors described the former El Paso priest Miguel Luna. The state went on to say that he used his position of trust to sexually assault the victim back in the 1990s.” By Justin Kree, CBS-TV4 News

Five Franciscans who once served at San Xavier Mission ‘credibly accused’ of child sex abuse
“Five Franciscan friars who once staffed churches on the Tohono O’odham reservation near Tucson have been named to a new list of Roman Catholic clergy ‘credibly accused’ of child molestation during their careers(link is external). The five, all now deceased, were members of the California-based Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara. Four of the five were assigned at various times to the historic San Xavier Mission, the religious order recently disclosed on its website.” By carol Ann Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star

Third priest accused of sexual abuse files lawsuit against Diocese of Corpus Christi
“A third priest who was named in a list of clergy members who were ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct(link is external) is suing Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Msgr. Jesús García Hernando is the latest to claim the diocese and bishop made a ‘false’ statement in claiming he was ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting a minor.” By Eleanor Dearman, Corpus Christi Caller Times

VIRGINIA

Richmond Catholic Diocese adds six clergy members to sexual abuse list
“Six names have been added by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond to a list of clergy who have credible and substantiated accusations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) against them. The six names added by the Diocese are Stanley F. Banaszek, Anthony M. Canu, Patrick J. Cassidy, Leonardo G. Mantei, Thomas D. Sykes and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. The only one not known to be dead already is Vincent The Quang Nguyen.” By Nick Boykin, WTKR-TV3 News

WASHINGTON

Diocese releases several names of priests accused of sex abuse from Tri-Cities
“The names of dozens priests and deacons in Central Washington with substantial sexual abuse allegations were released on Wednesday(link is external) (Jul. 10). Bishop Joseph Tyson, after thorough consultation and upon the recommendation of the Yakima Diocese Lay Advisory Board, has established a website listing the names of priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during their time of ministry within the Diocese of Yakima.” By Thomas Yazwinski, KEPR-TV News

WEST VIRGINIA

‘He hurt people’: West Virginia’s long-faithful Catholics grapple with news of bishop’s misconduct
“Nancy Ostrowski knows this state. And she thought she knew her bishop(link is external). Her family has been attending St. Joseph Catholic Church since the Romanesque Revival building was dedicated in 1860, just before West Virginia broke away from Virginia to support the Union. Her ancestors saw the heady years of Martinsburg’s heyday, when the mills running day and night here supplied clothing to the world, and the heavy decades of struggle when those mills closed down.” By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post

AFRICA

Focus on Africa: Sex abuse scandal rocks Liberia’s Catholic Church
Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in Liberia’s Catholic Church continue to traumatize the lives of spiritual workers(link is external), after two top clerics were named in a major sex and office abuse scandal. The most damaging scandal to hit the faith in decades broke out in August last year when estranged Reverend Father Gabriel Sawyer sent an email message to the Pope. He accuses the Archbishop of Monrovia and another top prelate of persecuting him and other subordinates who refused to have sex with him.” By William Niba, en.rfi.fr/africa

AUSTRALIA

Five per cent of applicants processed through National Redress Scheme amid ‘wave of reforms’
“The Commonwealth’s Department of Social Services says just 5 per cent of applications to the National Redress Scheme have been processed(link is external) as the compensation program marks its first anniversary. The national scheme was established 12 months ago to provide compensation for institutional child sexual abuse survivors and was intended to be an alternative to civil litigation, requiring victims to provide less supporting information than to a court.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia

The Marist Brothers and a secret list of 154 accused child sex offenders
“One hundred and fifty-four brothers have been accused of sexually assaulting students at Marist schools(link is external), but their identity and whether they are still teaching remains a secret. In their own words, the Marist Brothers are ‘dedicated to making Jesus known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected.’ It’s an admirable mission statement, but one that is hard to reconcile with the evidence delivered to the 2016 royal commission into child sexual abuse …” By Suzanne Smith and Georgia Wilkins, Crikey Magazine

Tasmanian priest reveals own sexual abuse at hands of Catholic church
“A parish priest in Tasmania has revealed for the first time he himself was abused by a priest as a schoolboy(link is external) at Burnie’s Marist Regional College, and says he wants to encourage others to come forward. Father John Girdauskas told the ABC he was first sexually abused by Father Laurie Gallagher in the 1970s, when he was 14.” By Henry Zwartz, ABC News Australia

CANADA

Former Catholic priest Barry McGrory found guilty of historic sex assaults
“Defrocked Catholic priest Barry McGrory has been found guilty of sexually abusing two teenage boys in a church rectory(link is external) during the early years of his long and sordid clerical career. McGrory, 85, showed no emotion as Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin delivered her verdict Monday (Jun.24). ‘I find that Mr. McGrory preyed on the vulnerability of these complainants,’ O’Bonsawin said in finding McGrory guilty on two counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

CHILE

Presence of disgraced cardinals at ordination of new bishop causes uproar in Chile
“After Pope Francis accepted the resignation of one of the two newly appointed auxiliary bishops of Santiago, Chile before his episcopal ordination, the second auxiliary’s ordination, in Rome, was tainted by the presence of two disgraced former archbishops(link is external) of the Chilean capital. Cardinals Ricardo Ezzati and Francisco Errázuriz, both emeritus archbishops of Santiago who have been subpoenaed by local prosecutors for covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse, attended the episcopal ordination of Alberto Lorenzelli.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

INDIA

Child rights body files case against Kerals priest who was held for abusing minors
“The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) on Tuesday (Jul. 9) has filed a case against the Kerala Catholic priest who was recently arrested by the police for sexually abusing minor boys(link is external). The director of the boys’ home in Kochi, Father George TJ alias Jerry, was arrested by the Kerala police on Sunday. The arrest was made following a complaint by the parents of the victims, who alleged that their boys were being abused for over six months now.” By Times Now News

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