Posts Tagged American Catholics

Costs of sex abuse crisis to U.S. church underestimated / National Catholic Reporter

The U.S. Catholic church has incurred nearly $4 billion in costs related to the priest sex abuse crisis during the past 65 years, according to an extensive NCR (National Catholic Reporter) investigation of media reports, databases and church documents.

“In addition, separate research recently published calculates that other scandal-related consequences such as lost membership and diverted giving has cost the church more than $2.3 billion annually for the past 30 years.

“Between 1950 and August of this year, the church has paid out $3,994,797,060.10, NCR found.”

By Jack Ruhl and Diane Ruhl, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story. NCR also has editorialized on this topic, and the editorial, “The deep, lasting financial cost of sex abuse,” can be read by clicking here.

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Clerical Errors / Commonweal

Amid what the media has presented as a general feeling of optimism about the papacy of Francis, there are some matters that remain causes of concern among American Catholics. One of these is the current state of the priesthood, which has seen a dramatic decline in its numbers over the past forty years and a corresponding decline in new ordinations. At the same time, there are questions about the manner and consistency of seminary formation—including formation related to sexuality and sexual abuse—while parish communities express worries about the “ecclesiastical environments” created by priests who seem out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Catholics.”

By the editors at Commonweal magazine — Click here to see the rest of this story and the links to each of the stories in this three-part series.

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Francis Has Changed American Catholics’ Attitudes, But Not Their Behavior, a Poll Finds / The New York Times

One year into the era of Pope Francis, a new poll has found that a broad majority of American Catholics say he represents a major change in direction for the church, and a change for the better. But his popularity has not inspired more Americans to attend Mass, go to confession or identify as Catholic — a finding that suggests that so far, the much-vaunted ‘Francis effect’ is influencing attitudes, but not behavior.”

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Lay Groups Launch Surveys to Answer Vatican Questionnaire / National Catholic Reporter

While U.S. bishops consider how best and how broad to collect information ahead of a 2014 global bishops’ meeting on family issues, several lay Catholic groups took the task into their own hands. In mid-November, a coalition of 15 church reform groups (including Voice of the Faithful) — primarily members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal — created an online survey for U.S. Catholics to offer their thoughts on the preparatory document to the 2014 Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the theme of ‘pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.’” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Read the rest of Roewe’s report by clicking here.

Additional information on gathering input from the faithful in preparation for past synods can be found in NCR’s Joshua McElwee’s article “Experts: Wide-Range Listening for Synods a Massive Undertaking.” Click here to read the article.

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Austrian Reformist Priest Fr. Helmut Schuller Concludes U.S. Tour in Front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

Austrian reformist priest Fr. Helmut Schuller started his 15-city U.S. speaking tour, Catholic Tipping Point: Conversations with Helmut Schuller, in New York City July 16. He concluded his tour there Aug. 8 in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He brought his Roman Catholic Church reform message to more than 5,000 people during his tour and received a good deal of media coverage in the U.S. and Europe. After speaking to supporters in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fr. Schuller delivered thousands of actual and virtual red ribbons symbolizing the Holy Spirit and support for reform goals to the office of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also delivered the following letter to Cardinal Dolan:

August 8, 2013

Dear Cardinal Dolan:

Over the past three weeks, I have met with thousands of Catholics – laity and clergy – in 15 cities across the U.S. to share experiences and to learn from one another. At each place I visited, participants in our conversations wore red ribbons, signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit given to all the faithful. These ribbons as well as nearly 2,000 online signatures have been collected, and we offer them to you as a sign of our commitment to our church, a community where the People of God should be represented at every level of leadership and decision-making.

I learned much during my conversations with American Catholics. I discovered very many who are working hard to meet the challenges facing us all and to give voice to their needs, as is their right and obligation under Canon 212. I also heard from many priests who are concerned about the future of their parishes and their ministries. Sadly, many do not feel free to speak openly about their concerns. This must be a matter of concern to you as president of the USCCB. I do not believe that there is any place for fear or intimidation in our Church, and yet I found it time and again in my talks with fellow priests. I also found this same intimidation in the attempts to prevent Catholics from hearing me in Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit.

My hope is that my visit contributed to an authentic Christian conversation that must take place across our Church in every country. As we all are inspired by the example of Pope Francis, we should engage in an honest dialogue about the challenges we must overcome in making our Church a sign of the Kingdom and a sacrament to the world of the 21st century. As you know, I and my fellow priests have been working in Austria and in other parts of Europe to cultivate this dialogue. We stand ready to assist you here in the U.S. in any way we can to encourage the same honest and fearless exchange of views.

In the peace of Jesus Christ,

Rev. Helmut Schüller

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