Posts Tagged catholic bishop accountability

Curb the crisis: 10 essential lessons for investigating church leaders / National Catholic Reporter

Based on my many years of supervising and teaching how to do complex investigations, and having closely followed the investigation of (former St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John) Nienstedt and conduct related to it, I have identified 10 of the most important lessons to be learned from the initial success and then ultimate failures surrounding that investigation. (National Catholic Reporter)

“The Catholic Church is in serious and deepening crisis, primarily as a result of grave sins and failed leadership involving clergy sexual misconduct. This tragedy is most recently exemplified by the alleged abusive, long-standing behavior of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In order for the church in the United States to determine and learn from how it failed to address McCarrick’s decades of alleged misconduct, new guidelines and procedures must be established and implemented for investigating him and any high-ranking church leader.

“For the last five years, the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese has grappled with this challenge, having had to investigate its former Archbishop John Nienstedt for alleged personal sexual misconduct and failed leadership involving abuse by other clergy.

“Many painful lessons were learned from that investigation, which was prematurely terminated and never resumed. Egregious clergy abuse by an archdiocesan priest and the failed leadership that permitted that abuse to occur ultimately led to criminal charges being filed against the archdiocese and Nienstedt’s abrupt resignation. Those lessons should be examined and heeded by every American cardinal, archbishop and bishop to avoid their repetition elsewhere …

“Based on my many years of supervising and teaching how to do complex investigations, and having closely followed the investigation of Nienstedt and conduct related to it, I have identified 10 of the most important lessons to be learned from the initial success and then ultimate failures surrounding that investigation.”

By Hank Shea, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Despite denials, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against Theodore McCarrick and reported them to Vatican / The Washington Post

McCarrick’s case is reportedly about to be decided in one of the highest-profile clergy sex abuse trial processes to come before Rome. (The Washington Post)

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and reported them to the Vatican in 2004, church officials confirmed Thursday evening, despite portraying himself since last summer as unaware of any complaints surrounding McCarrick.

“Robert Ciolek, a former priest who reached a settlement with the church in 2005 after accusing clerics including McCarrick, told The Post he recently learned that the Pittsburgh Diocese has a file that shows that Wuerl was aware of his allegations against McCarrick. The file includes documentation that Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh at the time, shared the information with then-Vatican ambassador Gabriel Montalvo.

“The content of the document, which Ciolek told The Post he saw in December, clashes sharply with Wuerl’s public statements about McCarrick since the older cleric was suspended in June due to a complaint that he groped an altar boy decades ago.

“The explosive allegations against McCarrick, which include two other accusations of abusing minors as well as those of harassment of seminarians, tipped off a full-blown crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. All along, Wuerl has largely rejected charges that he played a role in it.”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …

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French sexual abuse trial casts new cloud on Catholic Church / Voice of America News

This is not the French Church’s first sexual abuse scandal, but it is the highest profile one to date. (Voice of America News)

Lyon’s archbishop, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and five other figures are on trial on charges of failing to act against sexual abuse allegations targeting a priest in his diocese. This is the latest pedophilia scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church before a key Vatican conference on sexual abuse.

“The sexual abuse allegations date back to the 1980s and 1990s. They involve Father Bernard Preynat, a priest in France’s Lyon diocese, who has admitted to wrongdoing and is due to go on trial later this year.

“But one of country’s most prominent clerics, Lyon’s archbishop Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, is accused of covering up the abuse. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in jail and a $54,000 fine.

“Barbarin denies the charges. He says he took action as soon as he found out about the sexual abuse allegations — many years later.”

By Lisa Bryant, Voice of America News — Read more …

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Cardinal Pell, top advisor to Pope Francis, found guilty of ‘historical sexual offenses’ / America: The Jesuit review

The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis … (America: The Jesuit Review)

An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

“The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.

“Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to ‘historical child sexual offenses.’

“The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, who placed great trust in him by nominating the Australian prelate to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors (he was the only cardinal from Oceania at that time, and Francis chose one cardinal from each continent) and by appointing him as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy with a sweeping mandate to reform Vatican finances.”

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

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Pope cuts two cardinals from cabinet named in abuse scandal / Associated Press

Their continued presence on the C-9 had been a source of scandal for Francis, given the explosion of the abuse and cover-up crisis this year. (Associated Press)

Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his informal cabinet after they were implicated in the Catholic Church’s sex abuse and cover-up scandal, shedding embarrassing advisers ahead of a high-stakes Vatican summit on abuse early next year.

“The Vatican said Wednesday (Dec. 12) that Francis in October had written to Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz and Australian Cardinal George Pell thanking them for their five years of service on the so-called Group of Nine, or C-9.

“Francis also bid farewell to Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, who hasn’t been implicated in the scandal but at age 79 recently retired as archbishop of Kinshasa.

“Errazuriz, 85, has been accused by Chilean abuse survivors of having covered up for predator priests while he was archbishop of Santiago, a charge he has denied. Pell, 77, took leave from his job as the Vatican’s economy minister to stand trial in his native Australia on historic charges of sex abuse, which he denies.

“Their continued presence on the C-9 had been a source of scandal for Francis, given the explosion of the abuse and cover-up crisis this year.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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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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Vatican appears likely to empower archbishops on abuse claims against bishops / National Catholic Reporter

The possibility of empowering archbishops to investigate allegations made in their provinces was raised at the annual meeting of the bishops’ conference in November, when the prelates were considering a number of proposals to respond to this year’s spate of revelations of clergy sexual abuse. (National Catholic Reporter)

One of the proposals made at last month’s meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops for investigating future allegations of misconduct by prelates appears likely to receive Vatican approval, according to several eminent canon lawyers and theologians.

“The suggestion to empower the nation’s metropolitan archbishops to examine accusations made against bishops in their regions of the country corresponds both with the way the church handled such issues in earlier centuries and the current Code of Canon Law, they say.

“Nicholas Cafardi, a respected civil and canon lawyer, noted that the current version of the code already says the Vatican can give archbishops ‘special functions and power’ in their regions ‘where circumstances demand it.’

“‘This function could be to receive and investigate accusations of sexual impropriety … and then to report to the Holy See on the results,’ said Cafardi, who has advised bishops and dioceses on canonical issues for decades.”

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

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