Posts Tagged catholic bishops

What do the Church’s victims deserve? / The New Yorker

The Catholic Church is turning to outside arbiters to reckon with its history of sexual abuse. But skeptics argue that its legacy of evasion continues. (the New Yorker)

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. 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.

“Priestly sexual abuse has directly harmed thousands of Catholics, spoiling their sense of sexuality, of intimacy, of trust, of faith. Indirectly, the pattern of abuse and coverup has made Catholics leery of priests and disdainful of the idea that the bishops are our ‘shepherds.’ It has muddled questions about Church doctrine concerning sexual orientation, the nature of the priesthood, and the role of women; it has hastened the decline of Catholic schooling and the shuttering of churches.

“Attorneys general in more than a dozen states are investigating the Church and its handling of sexual-abuse allegations. In February, New York State loosened its statute of limitations for sex crimes, long the Church’s bulwark against abuse claims. And that is just in the United States. Priestly sexual abuse has had grave effects around the world, including in Rome, where the three most recent Popes have been implicated in the institutional habits of concealment or inaction, and where Pope Francis has yet to find his voice on the problem …

“In all of this, a distinctly American solution to the problem has emerged—the commissioning of an independent, secular authority to arrange settlements between the Church and survivors of abuse. This strategy has been taken up by an unlikely advocate: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and a traditionalist who generally relishes defending the Church against its adversaries.”

By Paul Elie, The New Yorker — Read more …

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Peru bishop wants excommunication for abuse scandals, not just defrocking / Cruxnow.com

When it comes to cover-up, including the transfer of abusers from one parish to another, Schmalhausen said it has become obvious that civil justice is more proactive than the Church, which has sheltered abusers and allowed them to have access to other potential victims. (Cruxnow.com)

Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri, Peru believes current punishments for both the crime of clerical sexual abuse (usually expulsion from the clerical state) and the cover-up are ineffective, and suggested harsher penalties including excommunication.

“As a former member of a group whose founder has been charged with abuses of conscience, power and sexuality, Schmalhausen told Crux that some key questions need to be asked.

“‘What has been done so far with the perpetrators of such crimes? How is the damage to the victims, along with the scandal caused to the faithful of the Church and in the eyes of the world, being repaired? Is there even a minimum of proportionality and justice in the measures implemented so far?’ he asked.

“‘Clearly the answer today seems to be no …'”

By Elise Harris and John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Abuse summit achieved something, but not what pope or bishops expected / National Catholic Reporter

“The clergy abuse phenomenon is the worst crisis the church has experienced in more than a thousand years. The Protestant Reformation and its follow-on, the Council of Trent, were about doctrine, church structures and inept clergy. This is about something far worse, the pandemic of sexual violation and rape of countless vulnerable people, especially children, and the systemic enabling of the same by the popes and the hierarchy.” (Tom Doyle in National Catholic Reporter)

The so-called ‘summit’ on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure. The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen. The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.

“I have been directly involved in this nightmare since 1984, when the reality of sexual violation of the innocent by clerics, and the systemic lying and cover-up by the hierarchy (from the papacy on down) emerged from layers of ecclesiastical secrecy into the open. By 1985, Pope John Paul II and several high-ranking Vatican clerics possessed detailed information about what was quickly turning into the church’s worst crisis since the Dark Ages …

“.. The clergy abuse phenomenon is the worst crisis the church has experienced in more than a thousand years. The Protestant Reformation and its follow-on, the Council of Trent, were about doctrine, church structures and inept clergy. This is about something far worse, the pandemic of sexual violation and rape of countless vulnerable people, especially children, and the systemic enabling of the same by the popes and the hierarchy.

“When will it be over and what is needed to fix it? The answers are obvious, but they invoke such fear in the clerical elite that they aren’t even able to discuss them. This nightmare will continue as long as the hierarchical system that created and sustained it exists in its present state. The reasons for this phenomenon are deeply rooted in the church’s institutional structures and the theological excuses that support them.

“It will take a radical, fundamental process of change before the entire church truly reflects what it is supposed to be, the people of God.”

By Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Cardinal George Pell of Australia sentenced to sex years in prison / The New York Times

“I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave,” the chief judge in the case, Peter Kidd, said during the sentencing. Speaking directly to Cardinal Pell, he added: “Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.” (The New York Times)

George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday (Mar. 13), for molesting two boys after Sunday Mass in 1996.

“The cardinal was convicted on five counts in December, making him the most senior Catholic official — and the first bishop — to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“Cardinal Pell, who stood stone-faced with lips pursed when his sentence was read aloud, will not be eligible for parole for three years and eight months.

“‘I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave,’ the chief judge in the case, Peter Kidd, said during the sentencing. Speaking directly to Cardinal Pell, he added: ‘Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.'”

By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave, The New York Times — Read more …

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Cardinal Pell convicted of sexual abuse, will appeal verdict / Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Before the appeal, Pell is expected to be sentenced to serve jail time for the five count. (Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter)

An Australian court found Cardinal George Pell guilty on five charges related to the sexual abuse of two 13-year-old boys; sentencing is expected in early March, but the cardinal’s lawyer already has announced plans to appeal the conviction.

“While the appeal is in process, Pope Francis has confirmed the ‘precautionary measures’ prohibiting Pell from publicly exercising his ministry as a priest and from having contact with minors, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters Feb. 26.

“The jury’s verdict that Pell, shortly after being named archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, sexually assaulted the two boys was handed down in December, but the court demanded the verdict and details about it not be reported until after a second trial on allegations that he abused several boys in the 1970s.

“The judge lifted the reporting ban Feb. 25 after prosecutors announced they would not proceed with the second trial against the 77-year-old cardinal.”

By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Pope vows to end cover-ups, fight sex abuse with ‘wrath of God’ / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

But he (Pope Francis) said the sexual abuse of children becomes even more scandalous when it occurs in the Catholic Church, ‘‘for it is utterly incompatible with her moral authority and ethical credibility.’’ (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)

Pope Francis closed out his summit on preventing clergy sex abuse by vowing Sunday to confront abusers with ‘the wrath of God,’ end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this ‘brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.’

“Francis delivered his remarks at the end of Mass before 190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors who were summoned to Rome after more abuse scandals sparked a credibility crisis in the Catholic hierarchy and in Francis’ own leadership.

“The Jesuit pope noted that the vast majority of sexual abuse happens in the family. And he offered a global review of the broader societal problem of sexual tourism and online pornography, in a bid to contextualize what he said was once a taboo subject.

“But he said the sexual abuse of children becomes even more scandalous when it occurs in the Catholic Church, ‘for it is utterly incompatible with her moral authority and ethical credibility.'”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …

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Pope offers 21 proposals to fight abuse at start of summit / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

Francis offered a path of reform going forward, handing out a 21-point set of proposals for the church to consider including some that would require changes to canon law. (Assoicated Press in The Boston Globe)

Pope Francis opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit Thursday (Feb. 21) by offering senior Catholic leaders 21 proposals to punish predators and keep children safe, warning that the faithful are demanding concrete action and not just words.

“The tone for the high stakes, four-day summit was set at the start, with victims from five continents — Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and North America — telling the bishops of the trauma of their abuse and the additional pain the church’s indifference caused them.

“‘Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice,’ Francis told the gathering of 190 leaders of bishops conferences and religious orders.

‘The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established.’

“More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …

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