“Burke, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and a justice of the court’s First Judicial District, formerly served as interim chair of the National Review Board for the U.S. bishops’ conference; she last addressed Voice of the Faithful in 2012. At that time, she saw reason for optimism that the bishops were willing to address the sex abuse crisis.
Posts Tagged catholic bishop accountability
“For better or worse, he (Bishop Malone) had become the lightning rod for all that was wrong, and we really weren’t going to make any progress toward healing and reconciliation as long as he remained,” said John J. Hurley, the president of Canisius College. (The New York Times)
First, a whistle-blower revealed that Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo had kept files about abusive priests that he hid from the public. Then leaked recordings showed that he was reluctant to remove a parish priest whom he called a “sick puppy.”
“On Wednesday (Dec. 4), after months of pressure from priests and lay leaders, the Vatican said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Bishop Malone, effective immediately. Since the Vatican did not specify the reasons behind the resignation, it was unclear whether Bishop Malone had been forced to quit.
“Bishop Malone, in a statement, described his resignation as an early retirement that had been accepted by Pope Francis. He said he had made the decision to step down ‘freely and voluntarily’ after being made aware of the conclusions of a recent Vatican investigation into the crisis in his diocese, which has been in turmoil over his handling of clergy abuse cases.
“‘I have concluded, after much prayer and discernment, that the people of Buffalo will be better served by a new bishop who perhaps is better able to bring about the reconciliation, healing and renewal that is so needed,’ he wrote.
By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times — Read more …
Argentine court finds two Catholic priests guilty of sexually assaulting deaf children; first convictions in long-alleged abuse / The Washington Post
The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse between 2004 and 2016. (The Washington Post)
“The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse between 2004 and 2016.”
By Anthony Faiola, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post — Read more …
The AP checked all the roughly 180 dioceses in the U.S. for information, reviewed thousands of pages of church and court records and interviewed more than 75 abuse survivors, board members and others to uncover a tainted process where the church hierarchy holds the reins of power at every stage. (Associated Press)
Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.
“These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.
“But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.
“The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities. In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct. And many abuse survivors told the AP they faced hostility and humiliation from boards.”
By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press — Read more …
Cardinal Pell granted final appeal of conviction on sexual abuse charges / National Catholic Reporter
He (Cardinal George Pell) is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail. (National Catholic Reporter)
Australia’s highest court has granted Cardinal George Pell leave to appeal his landmark conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s, setting the stage for a new round of hearings next year to evaluate the historical conduct of the Vatican’s former No. 3 official.
“The High Court of Australia announced the decision to allow the cardinal a final appeal the morning of Nov. 13 in Canberra. Pell, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March, will remain in jail pending the court’s decision on his appeal, expected to come in 2020.
“Pell was long the highest-ranking Catholic in Australia but was brought to Rome in 2014 by Pope Francis to restructure the Vatican’s finances. He is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail.
“The court of appeal in the Australian state of Victoria had rejected an earlier appeal by the cardinal in a 2-1 verdict in August. The appeal granted by the high court Nov. 13 will be Pell’s last opportunity to contest his conviction.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“The people of this diocese would be very upset and angry to think he (Bishop Bransfield) would be participating in decisions that might well affect them,” Bishop Brennan explained. (Catholic News Service)
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in consultation with the members of the USCCB Administrative Committee, has taken the highly unusual step of disinviting a fellow bishop from the conference’s fall general assembly.
“The decision affects Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, retired bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, who left his position in September 2018 under a cloud of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Pope Francis accepted Bishop Bransfield’s resignation Sept. 13, 2018.
“The USCCB meets Nov. 11-13 in Baltimore.
“The action comes under one section of the recently adopted “Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops.”
“Bishop Mark E. Brennan, who succeeded Bishop Bransfield, said he initiated the process under the protocol soon after he was installed Aug. 22 to head the West Virginia diocese.”
By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service — Read more …
Illinois chief justice distrusts church hierarchy to police itself on abuse / National Catholic Reporter
“Unfortunately, the hope I extended to you in 2012 has been severely eroded,” she (Illinois Chief Justice Anne Burke) said. “I no longer have faith in the hierarchy.” (National Catholic Reporter)
Don’t count on the bishops to clean up sex abuse in the church, Anne Burke told the annual gathering of Voice of the Faithful here Oct. 19.
“‘Unfortunately, the hope I extended to you in 2012 has been severely eroded,’ she said. ‘I no longer have faith in the hierarchy.’
“Voice of the Faithful was founded in 2002 in response to the sex abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese, where this year’s convention was held. The group now boasts affiliates around the country, which monitors progress on transparency by the church hierarchy on sex abuse and finances.
“‘I am disheartened to say we continue to learn of new instances of clerical misconduct and discover anew that some members of the hierarchy have engaged in secrecy and cover-ups,’ Burke said.
“The cover-ups, Burke said, have a long history. In her time at the National Review Board, she encountered stiff resistance among some bishops.”
By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Bridgeport Diocese report on sex abuse among priests blames former Archbishop Edward Egan; nearly 300 individuals allegedly abused by 71 priests since 1953 / Hartford Courant
The report concluded Egan was “profoundly unsympathetic, inadequate and openly inflammatory,” whose primary responsibility was “preserving the assets and reputation of the diocese” rather then the well-being of sexual abuse survivors. (Hartford Courant)
A scathing report released Tuesday (Oct. 1) by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport on the alleged sexual abuse of hundreds of victims by clergy since the early 1950s blames former bishops Edward Egan and Walter Curtis for violating state law, destroying records and either outright ignoring or inadequately responding to “an unfolding crisis.”
“As the number of priest abuse victims piled up, church leaders were more concerned about protecting assets and avoiding “scandalous news articles” than protecting children and removing priests, the report found.
“The report, compiled by former state Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg, was particularly harsh on Egan, who went on to become Archbishop of New York. The report found 281 victims allegedly abused by 71 priests or about 5 percent of the total number of priests that have served in the diocese. More than $56 million was paid to victims in legal settlements.
“‘The priests who committed these ghastly acts engaged in criminal acts,’ Holzberg said at a Bridgeport press conference Tuesday. A total of 10 priests, including Laurence Brett, Raymond Pcolka and Martin Federici, accounted for 61 percent of the abuse cases.
By Dave Altimari and Amanda Blanco, Hartford Courant — Read more …
Perhaps no bishop in the United States “as become as embroiled in scandal over the past year as Bishop Malone of Buffalo, one of the largest dioceses in the Northeast.” (The New York Times)
Bishop Richard J. Malone kept a secret black binder in a closet with a list of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse. He was recorded in a conversation expressing more concern about his own reputation than about removing a priest whom he called dangerous and a “sick puppy.” And some of the bishop’s own clergy are circulating a letter of no-confidence in him.
“Numerous Catholic bishops across the United States have become involved in controversies over their handling of clergy sexual abuse. But perhaps none has become as embroiled in scandal over the past year as Bishop Malone of Buffalo, one of the largest dioceses in the Northeast.
“In an extraordinary turn of events in the hierarchical church, Bishop Malone is approaching persona non grata status in his own diocese. Some organizations are canceling events that he was set to attend, and he is declining other invitations, local Catholics said …
“But despite revelations from whistle-blowers and calls from lay leaders and priests for him to step down, Bishop Malone has declined to do so.”
By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times — Read more …
Vatican authorizes ‘Vos Estis’ investigation into Minnesota bishop Hoeppner / Catholic News Agency in The Pilot
(Bishop Michael) Hoeppner has been accused of pressuring Ron Vasek, a former diaconal candidate in the diocese, to recant the allegation that he was molested in 1971 by a Crookston priest. (Catholic News Agency in The Pilot)
Bishop Michael Hoeppner is the first sitting U.S. bishop to be investigated under new misconduct protocols introduced by Pope Francis earlier this year.
“Hoeppner, Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, will be investigated by Minneapolis’ Archbishop Bernard Hebda, on charges that Hoeppner thwarted a police or canonical investigation of clerical sexual misconduct in his diocese.
“‘I have been authorized by the Congregation for Bishops to commence an investigation into allegations that the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner, the Bishop of Crookston, carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston,’ Hebda told CNA Sept. 10.
“Law enforcement has been notified of the allegations. The allegations were reported to me under the procedures set out in Pope Francis’ recent legislation addressing bishop a’ccountability, the motu proprio ‘Vos estis lux mundi.'”
By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency, in The Pilot — Read more …
This is part one of Crux’s three-part investigative series into Bishop Joseph Hart, who could become the first U.S. bishop to face criminal prosecution for sexual abuse. Part two will run tomorrow. (Cruxnow.com)
As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come.
“Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.
“Prior to being named a bishop, Joseph Hart had served in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the first two decades of his priesthood, following ordination in 1956. Although his ecclesial career has spanned over five decades, serving in two states where he was widely popular, he has been trailed by allegations of serial abuse – which he has consistently denied – dodging both civil and canonical adjudication for more than two decades.
“Now, in the twilight of his life he not only faces criminal charges, where he could become the first U.S. bishop ever to face criminal prosecution for abuse, but also the possibility of being stripped of his title of bishop and removed from the clerical state as a church trial in the Vatican is also underway.”
By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com — Read more …