Pope Francis says study commission case for ordained women deacons inconclusive / Voice of the Faithful

BOSTON, Mass., May 8, 2019 – Pope Francis said yesterday (May 7) that, after two-years of work, members of his study commission on women deacons do not agree whether women were ordained deacons in the early Church in the same way as men.

The Pope established the Vatican commission to study the possibility of an ordained women’s diaconate following a question at a meeting of superiors of women’s religious orders from around the world in 2016. He meets again next week with religious superiors and speculation was that he would announce what he intends to do regarding women deacons at that meeting.

Voice of the Faithful joins other Catholics in advocating for women to be ordained deacons no matter what historical hairs the commission and the Pope continue to split. This is a matter of justice. A just Church treats everyone equally, according to their particular charisms and callings.

Rather than relying on what women deacons did historically, the Church needs to assess what an ordained women’s diaconate could do today. If the focus is on what was done in the “early” Church, the evidence of women ministering in the first-century Church is overwhelming. The Church cannot afford today to continue to be wedded to traditions that limit the people of God.

Voice of the Faithful will continue to advocate for women to be ordained deacons and asks that U.S. bishops urge Pope Francis to institute an ordained women’s diaconate. Additionally, VOTF agrees with Villanova theologian and Church historian Massimo Faggioli, who tweeted: “About this, the Church historian in me looks very much forward to 1.) reading the reports of some individuals (on the commission) (like Karl Rahner did after the commission on women priesthood in 1976); 2.) knowing if there is a majority vs. minority report; and 3.) (knowing) if the reports will be published.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, May 8, 2019
Contact: 
Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org(link sends e-mail), 781-559-3360
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 the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Francis: Women deacon’s commission gave split report on their role in early church / National Catholic Reporter

Francis said May 7 that the main unresolved question was whether the ordination women deacons received was “sacramental” or not. He said historical documents evaluated by the commission giving the formulas for ordination of women deacons showed they “are not the same as for men’s diaconal ordination.” (National Catholic Reporter)

The Vatican commission studying the history of women serving as deacons in the Catholic Church has been unable to find consensus on their role in the early centuries of Christianity and is yet to give a ‘definitive response,’ Pope Francis said May 7.

“In a press conference aboard the flight back to Rome after his three-day visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the pope said the primary question is whether women who served as deacons were ordained in a manner similar to male deacons.

“Each of the 12 members of the commission, said Francis, ‘thought differently.’

“‘They worked together,’ the pope explained. “And they found agreement up to a certain point. But each one of them has their own vision, which doesn’t accord with that of the others.’

“‘They stopped there as a commission, and each one is studying and going ahead,’ he said.”

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

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What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for? / America”: The Jesuit Review

Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing. (America: The Jesuit Review)

In the final episode of Deliver Us, we ask: What’s mine to do and not somebody else’s? What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for?

“To grapple with these questions, we spoke to people who have responded to the sex abuse crisis in different ways. Geoff Boisi and Kerry Robinson talk about why they formed Leadership Roundtable, an organization which brings best business practices to church leaders and which has convened experts to discuss the church’s future. Leadership Roundtable has made it a priority to address the “twin crises” of the abuse crisis—one being the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and the other being the leadership failures in the church that have led to distrust.

“Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing, and Monica LaBelle offers her experience of setting up listening sessions in her parish.

“We also hear from you, our listeners, in this final episode. You tell us what you’ve been doing to help the church move forward.”

By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review — Listen to the podcast …

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Catholic University sex abuse series wraps with starkly different viewpoints / National Catholic Reporter

The day-long conference at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., was the fourth and final installment of the university’s “Healing the Breach of Trust” series.

Two well-known lay Catholic leaders in the United States presented strikingly different opinions on the cause of the clergy sex abuse crisis, the role of the laity and the centrality of victim-survivors at an April 25 conference at Catholic University of America, titled ‘The Way Forward: Principles for Effective Lay Action.’

”The day-long conference, the fourth and final installment of the ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ series, was marked by the divergent 25-minute presentations of George Weigel and John Carr, who spoke at different points in the day.

“Weigel, a biographer of Pope John Paul II and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., discussed the negative influence of Satan, the sexual revolution and mass media on the current crisis.

“Carr, the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and former director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development at the U.S. bishops’ conference, presented 10 lessons on dealing with clergy abuse he gained from personal experience as both a victim-survivor and in working with the bishops.”

By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


April 26, 2019

TOP STORIES

With letter on sex abuse, Pope Benedict returns to the public eye
“In his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI is apparently tired of hiding. The former pontiff, who declared he would ‘remain hidden to the world’ when he became the first pope in six centuries to abdicate in 2013, has released a 6,000-word letter that puts the blame for the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church(link is external) on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the disappearance of God from public discourse in the West and what he considers dangerously liberal theological ideas that eroded morality after the church reforms of the Second Vatican Council.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Inside the fight for compensation for clergy sex abuse survivors
“For attorney Ken Feinberg and his longtime associate Camille Biros, their work overseeing compensation funds for survivors of clergy sex abuse(link is external) is familiar: They represented the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Deepwater Horizon spill. In order to determine what type of compensation is appropriate, Biros says they look at written documentation of the abuse, such as journal entries, or sometimes the survivor will tell their story in person.” By Robin Young, National Public Radio

Catholic diocese, Movement to Restore Trust launch new methods for abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is taking a new approach to handling alleged sex abuse cases(link is external). The diocese now is working with the Movement to Restore Trust, an independent group of Catholics. The group first met with officials from the diocese last Thursday Apr. 11). They discussed new ways to improve the church’s response to accusations of abuse made against members of the clergy. One idea would be for Bishop Richard Malone to reserve time in his schedule regularly for one-on-one meetings with victims. Additionally, there would be diocese-wide listening sessions over the next few months to hear directly from Catholics about the scandal and other matters of importance to churchgoers.” By Spectrum News Staff

We’re waiting on decision about women deacons
“Will he or won’t he? That’s the question being asked in some circles as the date approaches for the pope’s appearance at this year’s May 6-10 meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious. Every three years the group meets in Rome, and during the last gathering, in answer to a question from the group, Pope Francis agreed that it would be good to appoint a commission to study the history of women deacons(link is external). The commission was formed within three months, in August 2016, and last summer, having completed its work, the commission sent a paper to the pope. So the big question this year is: What’s Francis going to say about women deacons?” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

How can we shift power in the Church – Talking about clericalism
“In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside. She wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help(link is external)? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.” By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review

As Child Victims Act takes effect, some seek to void settlements
“Beginning in August, people with decades-old claims of childhood sex abuse will have the rare chance to sue their alleged abusers(link is external) and the institutions who they say ignored the crime. The Child Victims Act, which passed the Legislature in January, lifts the statute of limitations for reporting childhood abuse and also creates a one-year ‘look back’ window for past claims to be brought. But hundreds who say they were abused by Catholic priests may be ineligible to pursue damages in court due to releases they signed as part of New York Archdiocese’ victims compensation program, relinquishing their rights to sue the church.” By Rachel Silberstein, Times Union

Latin American and Caribbean religious conference formalizes protocols for protection of minors
“When the Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious (CLAR) decided to form a commission geared toward the protection of minors(link is external), Sr. Nancy Negrón Ortiz was the logical choice to help lead that effort. Ortiz, a Missionary Sister of the Good Shepherd (Hermanas Misioneras del Buen Pastor), is a psychologist experienced in working with abused children and is also a member of the CLAR presidency. The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which first met in November in Bogotá, Colombia, established protocols for responding to victims who come forward that each member country’s religious conference can adapt to their own local civil laws.” By Soli Salgado, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

One pope is quite enough
“We are living in a unique moment in church history with an ex-pope, properly credited for having the courage to resign when the problems he faced became overwhelming, living within the Vatican walls. The resignation is best interpreted as Benedict XVI’s act of generosity toward the church. The graciousness Francis has displayed toward his predecessor is equally an act of generosity. Increasingly, however, Francis must also be calling on the virtue of patience(link is external) to deal with the interference of a predecessor whose retirement has gone from a promised ‘life dedicated to prayer’ to a life of backseat pontificating.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

BISHOPS

German theologians blast Benedict’s letter as ‘failed and improper’ account of abuse crisis
“A group of prominent German-speaking theologians has sharply criticized retired Pope Benedict(link is external) XVI’s recent letter on clergy sexual abuse, saying it ‘instrumentalized’ the Catholic church’s continuing crisis to rehash stale, decades-long theological disputes. In a blunt two-page letter released April 15, the theologians said the former pontiff ignored scientific research on the causes of abuse, neglected evidence of the centuries-long history of the problem, and did not speak from the perspective of victim-survivors.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

World’s largest Catholic country debates the right number of priests
“A declining proportion of Catholics and accelerated growth of Evangelical denominations in Brazil since the 1970s have frequently caused anxiety for the Catholic Church, which fears a vocations crisis from which it might not easily recover(link is external). Although the country continues to have the biggest Catholic population in the world with 123 million adherents, a supposed lack of priests could speed up a downfall. But the insufficiency of the clergy in Brazil may not be so obvious.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Look up at the altar, where are the women?
“If you had the chance to attend Holy Week services in person or via television — and I hope you did — you probably noticed the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a men’s church. The clerics — all vested — are in the sanctuary or at least up front. The rest of us are far away. Keeping the faithful at a distance was a hallmark of medieval Catholicism, so much so that St. Francis of Assisi tried to do something about it. Unable to bring the people closer to the celebration, he gave them the Gospel. His attitude, still flowering in the world, helps faithful folks assimilate the uncomfortable truth: they cannot be near the sacred. Especially women(link is external).” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Gonzaga University forming panel to address clergy sex abuse

“Four months after Gonzaga University was criticized for allowing sexually abusive priests to live on campus, GU President Thayne McCulloh announced Monday (Apr. 15) he is assembling a commission to address the abuse crisis that continues to grip the Catholic Church(link is external). In an email to faculty and staff, McCulloh said the commission will ‘identify, discuss and make recommendations’ about how the university should respond to abuse by clergy.” By Chad Sokol, The Spokane Spokesman-Review

VATICAN

New Vatican document to put evangelization ahead of doctrine
“A new ‘super dicastery’ on evangelization might be one of the most significant reforms of the governing structures of the Vatican(link is external), according to a new report. Spanish journalist Dario Menor Torres, writing for the weekly Vida Nueva, reveals several elements of the new Vatican constitution that has been in development for years. The biggest novelty in the document, called Praedicate Evangelium (‘Preach the Gospel’), will be the creation of the ‘super dicastery’ for evangelization, which will potentially be more important than the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), often called ‘The Supreme Congregation.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Vatican imposes 10-year suspension on Legionaries priest for abuse
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has banned a Legionaries of Christ priest from publicly exercising his priestly ministry for 10 years after he was convicted in Chile of sexually abusing a young girl(link is external). Irish-born Legionaries Father John O’Reilly was convicted in Chile in 2014 and sentenced to four years of ‘supervised liberty.’ When the four years was up in December, he was told to leave the country or face deportation. He moved to Rome, where he still lives, according to the Legionaries.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Two groundbreaking dialogues at the Vatican this week
This week on ‘Inside the Vatican(link is external),’ Gerard O’Connell and I update you on Cardinal Sarah’s recent comments on migrants, which strike a different tone from what we’ve come to expect from Pope Francis. We also discuss why Francis prefers to have advisors who disagree with him on some issues. Then, Gerry and I will tell you about an international human rights delegation that visited the Vatican asking for support for the decriminalization of homosexuality … Plus, we’ll take a look at what it means for the Vatican to begin a dialogue with this delegation. Our final story is about an ecumenical retreat—possibly the first of its kind—being held at the Vatican this week for the opposing political and ecclesial leaders of South Sudan.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

The Catholic Church faces a youth retention problem following sex abuse scandals
“When USC students discuss Catholicism with one another, all too often the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the sexual abuse scandal in the church(link is external). That’s what David de la Cruz has experienced during his time on the Caruso Catholic Center Student Advisory Board. ‘I think there is a lot of misunderstanding because I know that sometimes when I say that I am Catholic, the punchline eventually gets to, ‘Oh, how many pedophile priests do you know?’ said de la Cruz, a sophomore majoring in classics and informatics. ‘That is very reductionist, and a hurtful sentiment to hold.’” By Mia Speier, USC Annenberg Media

CHURCH REFORM

Three criteria to evaluate Francis’ reform of Vatican curia
“The cardinals who voted in conclave to elect Pope Francis did so hoping he would reform the scandal-plagued Vatican Curia(link is external) and make it more responsive to the concerns of the universal church. Six years later, his reform proposals are reportedly to be promulgated at the end of June, although they will probably be leaked earlier. Will they satisfy the critics of the Curia? Reforming the Vatican Curia has been a constant topic since the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965. The Curia has been accused of being inefficient, Byzantine, dictatorial, and out of touch with the needs of ordinary Catholics. On top of that, it has been plagued by financial and sexual scandals.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

New Vatican constitution will resist centralization in Rome, drafter says
“It took 29 meetings, but the pope’s ‘C-9’ council of cardinal advisers, which is now functionally more akin to a ‘C-6,’ has a new constitution for the Vatican in the form of a draft presentable to all the bishops’ conferences(link is external) around the world, the heads of the various departments of the Holy See, theologians and canonists. According to a principal drafter of that document, one core aim, reflecting the electoral mandate given Pope Francis six years ago, is to combat centralization of power in Rome.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

More Americans than ever are leaving the Catholic Church after the sex abuse scandal. Here’s why.
“On Palm Sunday, Barbara Hoover exited Brougher Chapel with a palm frond in her left hand. The 76-year-old retiree sized up the church in front of her and sighed, visibly upset. ‘I don’t know why I’m still here(link is external),’ she said, throwing her hands up. ‘I don’t know why I still go. I guess the ritual.’ In Portland, Oregon, Norma Rodriguez, 51, hustled up the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, eager to get a good seat before the service started …” By Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY

VOICES

Those abused by priests need justice, more protection from the Catholic Church, advocates say
“Recently, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill that would give survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey more opportunity to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. This is an important step in addressing the decades of clergy abuse, but for countless survivors in New Jersey, it is too little, too late(link is external).” By Justin Hoffmann and Michelle Simpson Tuegel

The Guardian view on the Catholic Church: trouble ahead
“Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before his death as if he were the messiah, pushing through adoring crowds who sang and waved palm fronds – at least that’s what the story says. By this criterion at least, Pope Francis is further from Jesus than most popes(link is external)have been. He entered Holy Week this year battered by assaults from the right wing of the American church, the Italian government, and even his immediate predecessor, the former pope Benedict XVI …” By The Guardian Editorial Board

The wrong way to ask Catholics for money amid the sex abuse crisis
“It is that time of year when a portion of Mass is dedicated to the Annual Appeal(link is external). The collection used to be called the Cardinal’s Appeal, but this is the Archdiocese of Washington, and we’ve been having some problems with our cardinals lately. Given the ongoing scandals surrounding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and outgoing Cardinal Donald Wuerl, asking Washington parishioners for money is more awkward and delicate than usual.” By Melissa Cedillo, America: The Jesuit Review

CHURCH FINANCES

Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church investigating $160K theft, pastor says
“After the recent appointment of a new pastor, a Murfreesboro Catholic church learned two former employees may have stolen nearly $160,000 from the parish(link is external). Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church alerted the congregation in April of the theft, according to a letter from Father John Sims Baker and Larry Farmer, chair of the parish finance council, obtained by The Daily News Journal.” By Brinley Hineman, Murfreesboro Daily News Journal

Priest arrested after $14,000 goes missing at his Kansas parish
“Authorities in Reno County, Kansas, say a Roman Catholic priest has been arrested after an investigation into money missing from his church(link is external). The sheriff’s office said in a news release that 51-year-old Juan Gregorio Garza-Gonzalez, of Wichita, was arrested Thursday (Apr. 9) … The release said detectives determined nearly $14,000 was missing from several locations at the church.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

General Assembly committee deals a blow to many priest abuse victims
“A General Assembly committee has modified a proposed bill so alleged victims of Catholic clergy abuse will not have a 27-month window to sue the church(link is external)regardless of their age. During an April 1 public hearing before the Judiciary Committee, people older than 48 who say they were sexually assaulted by priests urged the committee to support a provision in Senate Bill 3 that would have allowed them to sue the church after that age, which is the current law.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

Governor signs law expanding stature of limitations for sexual assault prosecutions
“The statute of limitations on rape was limiting justice for rape survivors. That’s now changed, but it’s taken five years of painful work. As Governor Inslee singed the new law today, Dinah Griffey stood with her husband Dan. He’s one of the lead sponsors. Later she said it sends a powerful message of support to survivors, that they are believed(link is external) … And it eliminates the statute of limitations for child rape.” By Essex Porter, KIRO-TV7 News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Archdiocese shares expertise on healing from clergy abuse
“Groups discussing best practices for legal and pastoral approaches to the national clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external) are reaching out to officials with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Organizations seeking their faith-filled expertise, perspective and experience recently included an April 9 panel discussion at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on the role of civil law and the action of lawyers in hiding and uncovering the abuse crisis.” By The Catholic Spirit of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

How Catholic Church used treatment centers to protect priests accused of child abuse
“In 1995, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned an internal church study on child abuse(link is external). The two-volume study surveyed bishops in more than 100 dioceses nationwide about their use of treatment centers to assess and care for priests believed to be sexually abusing children. The result: 87% of bishops (127 out of 145 dioceses surveyed) reported using treatment centers for clergy accused of child abuse.” By Ian Nawalinski, WHYY, Philadelphia National Public Radio

ARIZONA

Phoenix Diocese still trying to right the wrongs of decades of coverup
“With the #MeToo movement sparking a social awakening, empowering more victims to seek help and justice the Phoenix Catholic Diocese is still trying to right the wrongs of decades of secrecy and cover-up(link is external) as they investigate new allegations. Mary O’Day sent a letter to the Pope in October 2017 detailing claims of being sexually abused in her parish as a child, saying nuns were involved.” By Nicole Crites, 3TV Phoenix on AZFamily.com

CALIFORNIA

Diocese says it will add names to accused list if contacted by victims, survivors
“The Diocese of Stockton said Friday (Apr. 19) that it will not add any new names to its list of ‘credibly accused’ unless(link is external) it is contacted by victims and survivors. The diocese’s statement comes after the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests came to Stockton on Tuesday (Apr. 16) to urge the organization to add an additional seven names of clergymen who spent parts of their careers in the area and have been publicly accused of abuse in other regions to its list of ‘credible accused.’” By Wes Bowers, Stockton Record

Teen molested by Catholic school teacher gets record $8 million from L.A. archdiocese
“For more than a year, some at San Gabriel Mission High School had expressed concerns about Juan Ivan Barajas. Officials received reports about suspicious behavior between the athletic director and students at the all-girls campus … Still, Barajas continued to oversee the office he used repeatedly to molest a 15-year-old(link is external). The Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently agreed to pay a record $8-million settlement to the victim, now 18. It is the largest individual settlement by the local church in a sex abuse case.” By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Livermore priest accused of sexual assault held prior accusations
“A Catholic priest accused of sexual assault(link is external) in the East Bay also has some serious allegations from his past. A young former seminarian who does not want to be identified says he was sexually assaulted by a priest he considered a mentor, Father Michael Van Dinh. He says it happened inside the rectory of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Livermore where he says Van Dinh lured him with the promise of helping him find a job.” By WPIX-TV5 News

LOUISIANA

Accused priest’s records show effort by church to conceal scandal
“When the Diocese of Lafayette released its list of accused priests last week, 11 of the 37 members of clergy had never been publicly accused(link is external). Among them is the Rev. John de Leeuw, who made arrangements to defend himself in death. Shortly after publishing the church’s list, KATC was contacted by a friend of de Leeuw, who shared with us more than 100 pages of documents the late priest kept about his case.” By Jim Hummel, KATC-TV3 News

33 priests, four deacons accused of sex abuse in Catholic Diocese of Lafayette
“The Roman Catholic diocese in Louisiana where the first widely reported case of U.S. clergy sex abuse became public in the 1980s has released a list of 33 priests and four deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external) or vulnerable adult. Lafayette Bishop Douglas Deshotels’ list identifies three priests who were convicted or pleaded guilty but does not indicate where any of the 37 was accused, let alone give details of the accusations.” By Associated Press on NOLA.com

Louisiana bishop celebrates special Way of the Cross to ‘heal this wound’ of abuse
“Where there is darkness, light shines; where there is despair, hope. Bishop Michael G. Duca celebrated a special Way of the Cross for reparation for the sin of sexual abuse within the church(link is external) April 5 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, offering grace to survivors and asking the church to accompany them on their journey of healing. ‘(Praying the Way of the Cross) was important because we need to heal this wound in the church in many different ways.’ The bishop said.” By Catholic News Service in The Catholic Sun

Diocese of Lake Charles releases list of credibly accused clergy
“The Diocese of Lake Charles has released a list of clergy against whom they have found credible accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor(link is external). The list contains the names of a dozen people, eleven of whom were priests. One was a religious called a brother. Of the priests, eight are dead. The others include Mark Broussard who is in prison serving two life sentences plus fifty years for sexually abusing children.” By Hannah Daigle and Theresa Schmidt, KPLC-TV7 News

MARYLAND

Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore has added the names of 23 deceased priests and religious brothers to its online database of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse(link is external), signaling a revision in policy on dealing with cases that come to the diocese’s attention only after an accused individual has died. The change is part of an ongoing effort by the diocese to enhance openness when it comes to the issue of child sexual abuse in the church, said Archbishop William E. Lori, leader of the area’s half-million Catholics.” By Jonathan M. Pitts, The Baltimore Sun

MISSOURI

Judge denies lower bond for ex-priest accused of abuse
“A St. Louis County judge on Monday (Apr. 22) refused to lower bail for a former Catholic priest who was previously imprisoned and labeled sexually violent(link is external). Fred Lenczycki, 74, of suburban Chicago, was charged in February with two counts of sodomy for allegedly abusing two boys in the early 1990s at a north St. Louis County parish. He is jailed on $500,000 cash-only bond but was seeking an unspecified reduction.” By Jim Salter, Associated Press, on FoxNews.com

NEVADA

Diocese IDs clerics, volunteer accused of sexual misconduct
“The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list Friday of 27 priests and six others who served in the Las Vegas Valley and had been ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct with a minor(link is external). The announcement came a week after the Catholic Diocese of Reno named 12 ‘credibly accused’ priests, eight of whom at some point had served in the Las Vegas area. All of those priests also were included in the Las Vegas list.” By Rachel Crosby, Las Vegas Review-Journal

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey sting: Cop, minister among 16 charged with trying to lure children for sex
“Police in a three-state sting operation said they caught 16 people, including a cop and a minister, using chat apps to lure children for sex(link is external). In a news conference Wednesday (Apr. 24) morning, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that ‘Operation Home Alone’ had nabbed the alleged child predators from across the region. Half of the men accused are from New Jersey, seven are from New York and one is from Pennsylvania.” By Anthony Zurita, North Jersey Record

Vatican formally removes former Diocese of Metuchen priest from priesthood
“Mark Dolak, identified on the list of names of credibly accused clergy released by the Diocese of Metuchen, has now been permanently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican(link is external). The announcement was made in a news release posted Friday (Apr. 19) to the diocese’s website. Dolak, 66, had his priestly duties removed by the diocese more than two decades ago after he had multiple accusations of child sexual abuse made against him.” By Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News

New Jersey clergy sexual abuse victims say church compensation program isn’t enough
“Nearly 50 years after the first attack occurred, Todd Kostrub finds it easier to talk about the sexual abuse he said he endured at the hands of a Franciscan clergyman, but the pain never goes away. Yet, when Kostrub heard New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses created an independent victim compensation program for victims of child sexual abuse, he was initially optimistic — until he learned(link is external) that he was excluded from making a claim because the man was a brother of a religious order, not a diocesan priest.” By Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News

NEW MEXICO

Priest abuse survivors, advocates laud Perrault conviction
“The verdict issued Wednesday (Apr. 10) against former Roman Catholic priest Arthur Perrault marked the first time a jury in New Mexico has found a member of the clergy guilty of sex crimes against children(link is external). Legal experts and victims’ advocates say Perrault’s conviction could mark a new era in how prosecutors try such cases. While hundreds of civil cases alleging child sexual abuse have been brought against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe over the past several decades, those lawsuits largely have been settled out of court for undisclosed sums, and rarely have priests faced criminal investigations.” By Rebecca Moss, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Diocese of Buffalo puts three priests on temporary leave of absence
“The Diocese of Buffalo has placed three priests on temporary leave of absence(link is external)following an incident at Saints Peter & Paul Parish Rectory in Hamburg. According to the diocese, ‘unsuitable, inappropriate and insensitive conversations’ took place during a social gathering of seminarians and priests on April 11 that some seminarians found to be offensive.” By WKBW-TV7 News

Buffalo priest who advised U.S. presidents about youth was alleged child molester
“Monsignor Joseph E. Schieder advised Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy on youth issues. In the 1950s and ’60s, he was arguably Buffalo’s most renowned Catholic priest, writing books on youth and their concerns and regularly traveling the country and abroad to speak at youth conferences … But behind his accomplishments, Schieder hid a dark secret(link is external). The secret wasn’t revealed until 2018 – more than two decades after Schieder’s death at age 87 – when his name was included on a Buffalo Diocese list of priests with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against them.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Catholic diocese agrees to changes in handling of sex abuse cases
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Movement to Restore Trust have formed a Joint Implementation Team, facilitated by Leadership Roundtable, to address the clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external). Among the first orders of business was to agree to changes in how the diocese handles abuse cases. Bishop Richard Malone said the team held its first meeting on April 11 and quickly reached agreement on the following initiatives …” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM, Buffalo National Public Radio

Priest in Manorhaven steps aside after abuse allegation
“A parish priest in Manorhaven has stepped down while law enforcement authorities investigate an allegation that he sexually abused a minor(link is external) more than 40 years ago when he served in Suffolk County, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and officials said Monday (Apr. 16). The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, 71, has been serving as pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in the village of Manorhaven. Diocese officials announced the move Sunday during Masses at the church, parishioners said.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Leaked diocese document reveals names of more accused priests
“The names of an additional 27 Catholic priests accused of misconduct emerged this week in leaked Buffalo Diocese(link is external) documents showing that a review board examined allegations against the priests. A copy of the June 27 meeting agenda of the Diocesan Review Board included the names of nearly 100 priests. Bishop Richard J. Malone in 2018 publicly identified most of the priests as having been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. But Malone has remained silent on 27 of those priests, including a former superintendent of Catholic schools, Monsignor Ted Berg, and a former high-ranking diocesan administrator, Monsignor Albert Rung.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

‘It’s their word against his’: Priest accused of sexually abusing boys goes to court
“Their stories are strikingly similar, recorded three months apart by a Dauphin County detective. They have names, but they’re known now as Victim 1 and Victim 2. Both men say John G. Allen sexually abused them(link is external) from 1997 to 2002 while they were altar boys at St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg. Allen, a 75-year-old defrocked priest who lives in York County, molested them in the rectory and the area where altar boys and priests put on their robes for mass, according to Detective John O’Connor.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

Allentown Diocese opens its new compensation fund to victims of priest sex abuse
“The Allentown Diocese on Tuesday (Apr. 23) announced the opening of a five-month window for people who suffered abuse by clergy to file claims for compensation(link is external). In addition to packets of information being sent by overnight courier to more than 100 people who have already reported their abuse to the diocese, a Washington, D.C., law firm specializing in administering victim compensation funds has a call center and website ready for those who may have waited to come forward.” By Peter Hall, The Morning Call

Pennsylvania House committees advance more grand jury recommendations on Catholic clergy abuse
“House committees advanced legislation Monday (Apr. 16) that addresses recommendations from last year’s grand jury report on hundreds of ‘predator’ Catholic priests(link is external), less than a week after the full chamber gave the OK to a civil window for older sex abuse victims. Without any dissenting votes, the House Children & Youth Committee advanced a bill to increase penalties for failing to report child abuse, while the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that affirms the right of child abuse victims to break non-disclosure agreements to cooperate with law enforcement.” By Stephen Caruso, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

TEXAS

Accused bishops must be held accountable
“It is important to publicize names of credibly accused priests(link is external) who were in San Antonio, even if their alleged abuses took place in other regions. Although no claims of abuse were made locally, it is naïve to conclude there were no incidents. Statistics show that 1 in 10 victims of sexual abuse will report their abuse, and studies confirm that most sex offenders have more than one victim.” By Patti Koo, for the San Antonio Express News

WEST VIRGINIA

Ceremony, panel discussion aims to address child sex abuse
“While some conversations are uncomfortable, many find that discussing sexual abuse, especially of a child, is among the hardest topics to handle(link is external). But for Tom Stollings, one of the father’s involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit against a local Mormon church, bringing this commonly regarded ‘dark’ topic into the light has become his life’s passion.” By Breanna Francis, The Journal

Transparency on sex abuse requires more than just clerics
“While Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori and the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (DWC) invoke ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ regularly regarding clerical sex abuse, they struggle to put these concepts into action(link is external). Disconnects between Lori and DWC higher-ups versus our secular authorities and West Virginia Catholics seem almost insurmountable, as Catholic leaders continue evading actual transparency, accountability and too many significant questions.” By Vincent DeGeorge, Charleston Gazette-Mail

AUSTRALIA

Catholic priest charged over alleged child sex abuse at NSW school
“A Catholic priest has been charged in Sydney for alleged sex abuse against multiple children(link is external) at a Southern Highlands boarding school during the 1980s. Police say that Father Anthony Caruana, 77, indecently assaulted five children aged 12 to 15 when he was a dormitory manager, rugby coach and band teacher at Chevalier College.” By Megan Gorrey and Sally Rawsthorne, Sydney Morning Herald

Principal knew about alledged sex abuse 35 years before teacher was convicted, letter reveals
“Senior staff at a Catholic school in Tasmania, including the then principal and his boss, were aware of allegations a teacher was sexually abusing multiple children(link is external) as far back as 1971, and sought to move the teacher to a different parish, a letter obtained by the ABC reveals. The teacher, Greg Ferguson, was convicted of historical child sex offences against two students in 2007 relating to his time at Burnie’s Marist College in the early 1970s.” By Henry Zwartz, ABC News Australia

BRAZIL

Brazil bishops issue handbook on dealing with clergy sex abuse
“After securing approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Brazilian Conference of National Bishops (BCNB), responsible for the single largest Catholic country in the world, has adopted a new handbook containing measures dioceses must take to deal with sex abuse cases(link is external). Published in March, the document is part of a broad effort by the Brazilian Church to deal with the growing social concerns over the sexual abuse of minors.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, Cruxnow.com

FRANCE

French Catholics raise voices, demand measures to prevent further clergy sex abuse
“How could this happen? This question is the most common reaction in France after a well-documented public television program showed that many nuns had been sexually abused by priests(link is external) for more than 20 years in France. Not only did the nuns not talk about it for years, but people who knew did nothing to denounce the predators.” By Elisabeth Auvillain, Globe Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

GUAM

People of faith reflect on the Catholic Church at a crossroads
“Johnny S. Villagomez said he’s lost trust in the Catholic priests who have been named in clergy sex abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana. But he hasn’t lost faith in God and the Catholic Church(link is external). ‘Who else is going to take care of the church if not us, the believers?’ Villagomez said, after he and his wife, Linda, attended Palm Sunday Mass. On Guam and across the nation, the Catholic Church is at a crossroads.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Church wants 80-plus clergy sex abuse cases moved from local to federal court
“The Archdiocese of Agana seeks the transfer of more than 80 clergy sex abuse cases from local court to federal court(link is external) which it says has jurisdiction over the archdiocese’s reorganization bankruptcy filing. Attorneys for the archdiocese filed notices of removal over the last few days, citing a provision in the U.S. Code that authorizes the removal of claims or causes of action in a civil action that are ‘related to’ bankruptcy cases.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Despite scandal, St. Thomas Christians in Kerala are staying with church
“On a hot Sunday morning as high Mass let out at St. Thomas Kottakavu Church, Niya Francis, 24, found her shoes among a sea of sandals left outside the church doorway and joined her fellow catechism teachers as they headed to class in a small building next door. Teaching her faith has been something Francis has wanted to do as soon as she was old enough to command a classroom … While Syro-Malabar Catholics number just 5.1 million out of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide, in Kerala, Syro-Malabar Catholics make up the majority of Christians(link is external). In a country that’s predominantly Hindu, Kochi stands out with a near 40 percent Christian population.” By Denise Chen, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter

India Cardinal mounts strong defense of ‘zero tolerance’ on abuse
“Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, a member of Pope Francis’s council of cardinals which advises him on Vatican reform and one of four figures tapped to organize a recent summit on the fight against clerical sexual abuse, says Catholic parents have the right to know the Church is genuinely committed to ‘zero tolerance(link is external).’ By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Northern Ireland abuse survivors lose compensation case
“Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley’s ongoing failure to compensate victims of historical abuse(link is external) in the absence of a Stormont executive is not unlawful, a High Court judge in Belfast has ruled. An abuse survivor failed in his bid to compel Mrs Bradley to implement stalled redress mechanisms for victims and call an Assembly election. But Judge Bernard McCloskey opened the door for a further potential challenge if Mrs Bradley does not act on draft legislation on the compensation scheme that has been developed by Stormont civil servants.” By The Irish Times

PHILIPPINES

Ending impunity for child abuse
“Help a child being abused and report the crime to civil authorities. In an article published in the January 2019 issue of the ‘World Mission’ magazine, Fr. Shay Cullen of the Preda Foundation wrote that, ‘Every one of us has a solemn duty and responsibility to stop (child abuse)(link is external).’ Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban co-founded the People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (Preda) Foundation, an Olongapo City organization promoting and protecting the rights of women and children.” By Cebu Sun Star Editorial Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Apr. 12, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

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

VATICAN’S BISHOPS’ CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

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

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

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

VATICAN

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

MASS TRANSLATIONS

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

COLORADO

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

CONNECTICUT

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

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

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

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

IOWA

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

KANSAS

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

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

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

LOUISIANA

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

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

MINNESOTA

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

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

MISSISSIPPI

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

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

MISSOURI

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

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

MONTANA

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

NEVADA

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

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

NEW MEXICO

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

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

NEW YORK

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

SOUTH CAROLINA

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

TENNESSEE

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

TEXAS

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

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

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

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

UTAH

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

VIRGINIA

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

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

AFRICA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

BRAZIL

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

CANADA

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

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

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

CHILE

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

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

GUAM

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

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

INDIA

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

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

JAPAN

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

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