Posts Tagged America magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finding hope and healing in the face of the abuse crisis / America: The Jesuit Review

The abuse crisis exposes an enormously frightening reality: People, even without a direct experience of abuse, may recognize that they have entrusted the care of their souls to unreliable leadership. (America: The Jesuit Review)

In February of next year, Pope Francis will meet with presidents of episcopal conferences throughout the world to talk about the Catholic Church’s response to clerical abuse. The U.S. bishops met in November of this year and discussed the same topic. In many dioceses, parishes have been or will be hosting listening sessions for concerned parishioners. All these meetings are meant in some way to address the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

“The current round of gatherings and news coverage strikes many people as sadly familiar—a replay of what happened in the early 2000s. But this is different. Today’s conversations have shifted. The focus now falls on bishops who were negligent, incompetent or downright devious in dealing with clergy who had perpetrated abuse against minors. This new scrutiny of abuse in the church, one earnestly hopes, will lead to necessary structural realignments. Reforms may include new paths for accountability and transparency, a more rigorous application of existing church law or its amendment if needed, and closer cooperation with civil authorities to deal with criminal activity and any related cover-up.

“Structural reform and renewal are absolutely necessary to reclaim a measure of integrity for the church and—some would even say—for her very survival. These changes, however, are not enough to bring healing. The abuse crisis is about more than just logic and reason. The current crisis has revealed the unreliability of church leaders in protecting the flock entrusted to their care. And that matters very much to everyone with or without a direct experience of abuse. I would argue that any effective healing must take the experience of reliability versus unreliability as a central focus.”

By Louis J. Cameli, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Study: U.S. religious orders overwhelmingly back women deacons / Associated Press in America magazine

Advocates for expanding the ministry to include women say doing so would provide women with greater role in the ministry and governance of the church, while also helping address the effects of the Catholic priest shortage in parts of the world by allowing women to perform some priestly functions. (Associated Press in America: The Jesuit Review)

A new survey has found that the majority of U.S. Catholic religious orders believe women should be allowed to serve as ordained deacons, lending support to an issue currently under study at the Vatican amid pressure for women to be given greater roles in the church.

Seventy-seven percent of both male and female superiors in the U.S. believe such ordination is theoretically possible, and 72 percent think the church should go ahead and authorize it, according to the study released Thursday by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.

Only 45 percent, however, believe the church will actually do it, the study found.

Deacons are ordained ministers, not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.

Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

Deacons are ordained ministers, not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.

Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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What happened when a dad challenged his priest during Mass about the sex abuse crisis / America: The Jesuit Review

“There isn’t a whole lot you can do because lay people are not in positions of power in the church,” he said. “Basically you’re outsiders, and the only way you can influence is as an outsider.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

Susan Reynolds, a Catholic studies professor at Emory University, took to Twitter to describe something she witnessed during Mass on Sunday (Aug. 19) that she said was unlike anything she had ever seen before.

“In a series of tweets, Ms. Reynolds described an encounter between the pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church and a father at Mass with his young son, who is on the verge of making his first Communion.

“The priest, Mark Horak, S.J., had just delivered his homily, which was devoted to the news that 300 priests have been named in a grand jury report chronicling the sexual assault of more than 1,000 victims in Pennsylvania. Father Horak apologized to those feeling angry and let down by church leaders, and he lamented that lay people were not empowered to do more in the church.

In some ways, it was a call to action …

“‘There isn’t a whole lot you can do because lay people are not in positions of power in the church,’ he said. ‘Basically you’re outsiders, and the only way you can influence is as an outsider.'”

By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops / America: The Jesuit Review

As fallout from Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s resignation continues, at least one bishop is saying what Voice of the Faithful has been saying for the past 16 years: give the laity a voice in the governance and guidance of our Church. This is the way Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., put it in America magazine when talking about a “high-level panel” of the USCCB suggested by Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl to “evaluate allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops”: “‘To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised,’ he said … ‘Our laypeople are not only willing to take on this much-needed role, but they are eager to help us make lasting reforms that will restore a level of trust that has been shattered yet again,’ Bishop Scharfenberger said.”

Click here to read the rest of the story by Michael O’Loughlin in America: The Jesuit Review.

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Pennsylvania diocese releases full list of clergy accused of sex abuse, strips names of bishops from buildings / America: The Jesuit Review

In addition, “anyone accused of sexual misconduct will have his name removed from any place of honor,” (Bishop Ronald Gainer) said. (America: The Jesuit Review)

In a gesture meant to acknowledge the mishandling of sexual abuse against minors, buildings and rooms in the Diocese of Harrisburg honoring bishops dating back to 1947 will be stripped of their names, Bishop Ronald Gainer announced during a press conference at the diocese’s headquarters on Wednesday morning.

“‘The decision to remove names of bishops and clerics may prove to be controversial, but as bishops, I strongly believe that leaders of the diocese must hold themselves to a higher standard and must yield honorary symbols in the interest of healing,’ Bishop Gainer said.

“‘The leadership of the church did not in every case take adequate measures while handling matters related to offending clerics,’ he said. Bishop Gainer also released a list of every member of the clergy who has been accused of sexual abuse against children dating back to 1947.

“In addition, ‘anyone accused of sexual misconduct will have his name removed from any place of honor,’ the bishop said.

“Bishop Gainer also announced that he was waiving confidentiality agreements in settlements between the diocese and survivors of child sexual abuse. He said that the agreements had not been enforced “for some time,” but he had heard some people still did not feel free to talk about their experiences.”

By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Vatican Expert: to fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women / America: The Jesuit Review

“We need the voice of women here,” Father Zollner said, because women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today ‘there is much more awareness about the issue,’ the church has to invest more resources and include more women, especially in places where the church is growing fastest.

“‘What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,’ Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday (Jul. 19). He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as ‘one topic among others’ and have not grasped that ‘this has to be a priority for the church.’

“Father Zollner, a psychologist by training, launched the child protection initiative in 2012 in Germany and he moved to Rome in 2015 when Pope Francis requested that the center’s resources be used in the global church. He was then appointed to the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, and he is a consultor for the Vatican office that deals with clergy …

“‘We need the voice of women here,’ Father Zollner said, because women often ‘bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.'”

By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Proud to be Catholic? A groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the Church / America: The Jesuit Review

“It is the most comprehensive survey of American Catholic women ever conducted.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

Catholic women may be part of a Democratic voting wave in 2018. They are ready to welcome women deacons. Many feel their parishes are inclusive of women and welcome divorced and remarried Catholics and non-heterosexual Catholics. But they think the church could do more to welcome unmarried parents, single mothers and people who have lost their spouses. And while Catholic women who are Republicans and Democrats differ slightly on whether or not “protecting life” or “helping the poor” is most important, on most other markers of Catholic identity their differences are statistically insignificant.

These are just a handful of the findings of the America Survey, commissioned by America Media and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in partnership with GfK, a survey firm. It is the most comprehensive survey of American Catholic women ever conducted. The following is an excerpt from the executive summary. The full summary is available online at cara.georgetown.edu.

By Mark Gray and Mary Gautier, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Listen to Families on ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ bishops and theologians say / America: The Jesuit Review

“‘Amoris Laetitia’ calls for church leaders to accompany Catholic families, learning from them along the way.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

While much of the debate over ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ the controversial 2016 document from Pope Francis about pastoral outreach to families, has focused on the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, more than three dozen cardinals, bishops and lay theologians gathered at Boston College this week to explore the broader implications of the letter—and to strategize ways to promote it in the United States.

“‘I would caution us that there are other dimensions of family life that the pope treats in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ that have to do not just with the moral questions but also the social life, the economic constraints and the difficulties that people face in raising families and raising children,’ Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago and a co-host of the conference, said on Oct. 5.

“‘We want to make sure that we keep in mind as pastors and theologians that we’re in touch with that reality as well, in terms of where God is revealing where God is working in the world,’ he continued. ‘What are some of the questions there that need to be looked at?'”

By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read More …

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Vatican diplomat to the U.S. recalled amid child pornography investigation / America: The Jesuit Review

“In declining to identify the priest, the Vatican said the case was subject to ‘investigative confidentiality,’ as ‘applicable to all preliminary inquiries according to the laws of the Vatican City State.'” (America: The Jesuit Review)

A Vatican priest working in the Holy See’s embassy in Washington has been recalled after U.S. officials flagged possible violations of child pornography laws, the Vatican said on Sept. 15.

“In a statement issued to the media, the Vatican press office revealed that the U.S. State Department had notified the Vatican on Aug. 21 ‘of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington.’

“The Italian news agency ANSA has named the Vatican diplomat as Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, 50, who was sent to the nunciature in Washington less than a year ago. A New York Times story confirmed the report.

“The Vatican has not identified the diplomat, but said Friday (Sept. 15 he was currently in Vatican City and that its promoter of justice, an office equivalent to a prosecutor or investigating judge, has opened an investigation into possible violation of U.S. laws relating to child pornography.

“Subsequently, it said, ‘the Promoter of Justice opened an investigation and has already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case.’ In other words, the Vatican and the U.S. authorities are collaborating on this case.”

By Gerard O’Connell, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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