Posts Tagged Catholic Church reform

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

TOP STORIES

Cardinal Pell, top advisor to Pope Francis, found guilty of ‘historical sexual offenses’
“An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of ‘historical child sexual offenses(link is external)’ 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.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope cuts two cardinals from cabinet named in abuse scandal
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(link is external), 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.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Analysis: On sexual abuse, what will U.S. bishops, and the pope, do next?
“Bishop Frank Rodimer and Fr. Peter Osinski were friends. Osinski was a priest in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey. Rodimer was Bishop of Paterson, a nearby diocese, from 1978 until 2004. For years the men rented a beach house together each summer on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, south of Seaside and north of Atlantic City. There, for seven years in the 1980s, Osinski molested a young boy. The first year it happened, the boy was seven … These are unpredictable times in the life of the Church(link is external), shaped by events with little precedent. But four points seem clear about the months to come …” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

Analysis: How sexual misconduct reforms might begin in U.S. dioceses
“Before it began, many U.S. bishops expected their November general assembly in Baltimore to produce something tangible – a new policy, structure, or system – that would help them reassure Catholics that they were responding to months of sexual abuse scandals breaking across the Church … Some U.S. bishops have told CNA they now realize that if they want to initiate new reforms, they’ll have to do so in their own dioceses(link is external), using the ordinary prerogatives of a diocesan bishop.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Service

Bankruptcy filing provides rare window into diocese finances
“New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent months on lawyers to fight claims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) and to prepare for a potentially lengthy battle in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s petition for reorganization provides a rare look into the finances of a religious organization that for decades has been wrestling with the financial and social consequences of a scandal that rocked churches across the country.” By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules priests names to remain secret in grand jury abuse case
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will not make public the blacked-out names of priests implicated in a grand jury report on child sex abuse(link is external), ruling that keeping them secret is the only way to ensure their constitutional due process rights will be upheld. The majority opinion, issued Monday (Dec. 3), involved 11 clerics who challenged the validity of a report that labeled 301 clergymen as ‘predatory priests’ who abused more than 1,000 children in six Catholic dioceses, including Allentown.” By Steve Esack and Peter Hall, The Morning Call

Vatican appears likely to empower archbishops on abuse claims against bishops
“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(link is external) 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.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic dioceses spending millions in legal fees amid sex abuse investigations
“Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses began to ante up legal fees in the wake of a statewide grand jury long before last summer, when the panel released its scathing report detailing allegations of rampant clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups … Margaret Roylance, of Voice of the Faithful, said the group was prompted to begin conducting transparency audits(link is external) of financial reports of the nation’s dioceses in 2017 by concerns about where church funds are going in the wake of sexual abuse scandals and the establishment of settlement funds to compensate victims.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

FBI engaged in wide-ranging probe of clergy sex abuse in Buffalo Diocese
“Mark Lynch says he was molested by a priest when he was 13. The abuse happened 50 years ago, well beyond when a sex crime could be prosecuted. But the FBI wanted to know more(link is external), anyway. Lynch said two federal agents visited him at his Youngstown home about a month ago, armed with questions about the abuse and the Buffalo Diocese’s response to his allegations against the Rev. Joseph Schuster.” By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Australian archbishop cleared of child sex abuse cover-up
“An Australian appeal court on Thursday (Dec. 6) overturned a conviction against the most senior Catholic cleric ever found guilty of covering up child sex abuse(link is external). New South Wales state District Court Judge Roy Ellis upheld former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s appeal against his May conviction in a lower court for concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the 1970s. Ellis found there was reasonable doubt that the 68-year-old cleric had committed the crime, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.” By Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Names of 11 clergy shielded from grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church
“Eleven Roman Catholic clergy won a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision Monday (Dec. 3) to keep their names and other information out of a grand jury report(link is external) issued earlier this year into decades of sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests. The 6-1 court majority said keeping the names and other information secret was, at this point, the only way to protect the priests’ right to reputation under the state constitution.” By Associated Press, on NBC News

Can Baltimore’s archbishop bring accountability to West Virginia’s Catholic Church
“Pope Francis in late August appointed Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori to lead an investigation into the alleged ‘sexual harassment of adults(link is external)’ by former Catholic bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which comprises all of West Virginia. However, Archbishop Lori’s own record and actions seem to demonstrate a church ‘protectionism’ that comes at the expense of transparency and accountability.” By Vincent DeGeorge, The Baltimore Sun

If bishops fail to reform church, someone else will. Houston may be proof
“This week in Houston, state prosecutors investigating a case of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest searched the offices of the local archdiocese. They were seeking employment and disciplinary records for Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who stands accused by two people of fondling them(link is external) two decades ago when they were teenagers. ‘This is not a search warrant against the Catholic Church,’ said Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, who is leading the investigation. The archdiocese says it has been cooperating, and was quick to contend that this was not a raid.” By Cynthia M. Allen, Star-Telegram

Cardinal DiNardo’s office raided by prosecutors in abuse case
Prosecutors investigating a sexual abuse case against a Houston-area priest searched the offices Wednesday (Nov. 28) of the local archdiocese(link is external), which is led by the cardinal who is heading the Roman Catholic Church’s response in the U.S. to sexual misconduct. The intensifying investigation has raised questions about how Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and his staff dealt with complaints against Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who is accused by two people of fondling them two decades ago when they were teenagers.” By Normaan Merchant, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review

Tasmanian government acts to ‘lift veil’ on confesson
“The Tasmanian Liberal Government has introduced a bill to Parliament that will make it mandatory for people in religious ministry to report child abuse or face criminal charges. The bill will also allow for the use of more pre-recorded testimony in court for victims of child sexual abuse, ensure victims will not have to give evidence twice at a trial, when it is possible, and for their evidence to be taken earlier to avoid the risk of retraumatisation.” By CathNews

Pennsylvania Attorney General: Senate Judiciary Committee should investigate clergy abuse
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro lobbied Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), projected by many to be the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to investigate abuse by members of the Catholic Church(link is external). “I hope Chairman @LindseyGrahamSC focuses @senjudiciary on clergy abuse. It is a national issue and deserves attention. I’ll assist in any way the Chairman deems appropriate,’ he tweeted Saturday (Nov. 24).” By Tal Axelrod, The Hill

Greensburg and Erie dioceses release financial statements as a result of grand jury report
“Donna Doucette, Executive Director of Voice of the Faithful joined Robert Mangino to talk about the Greensburg and Erie Dioceses releasing their financial statements as a result of the grand jury report; together they have totaled 5 million dollars in legal fees. Donna Doucette says this is probably just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cost.  The Pittsburgh Diocese has yet to release their financial statements.” By Robert Morlino, KDKA-AM Afternoon News

VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

A reality check on expectations for February child abuse summit
“Under any circumstances, the announcement in September that Pope Francis plans to convene a summit Feb. 21-24 for all the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world, along with the Vatican’s senior leadership, to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Church would have been big news(link is external) … Before expectations spiral completely out of control, however, it’s important to say this out loud: For all kinds of reasons, this is not going to be Yalta on sex abuse, and to hope that it will be is a fool’s errand.” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

Finding hope and healing in the face of the abuse crisis
“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(link is external).” By Louis J. Cameli, America: The Jesuit Review

Will the Vatican’s sexual abuse summit make a difference?
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican,’ Gerry and I take a look at the newly announced committee that will plan the Vatican’s upcoming, high-stakes summit on sexual abuse(link is external). One committee member, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India, told Crux in October that the meeting ‘will be successful, or it will be a disaster for the Church. So, can it succeed in creating lasting change?” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

Rome event challenges key Indian prelate’s record on sex abuse
“One of the organizers appointed by Pope Francis to plan a February 21-24 summit at the Vatican on sexual abuse of vulnerable people(link is external) has been accused of covering up abuse in his own archdiocese in India by one of his former collaborators. ‘My bishop is among the organizers, which left me perplexed,’ said Indian-born Virginia Saldanha, a former director of the women’s commission of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, ‘What is he going to do? Come up with more cover-up ideas?’” By Claire Giangrave and Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Juan Carlos Cruz: the survivor who changed the pope’s mind on sex abuse
“‘The church has to change that paradigm, that way of thinking that survivors are enemies of the church and want to destroy the church,’ said Juan Carlos Cruz. ‘It’s quite the opposite. There’s a lot of people that have been destroyed by the church and others that have been wronged in the worst way(link is external) by the church and yet they still want to move forward and call themselves Catholics.’ Juan Carlos has been advocating for survivors for years, since he publicly disclosed that as a child he was abused by the notorious predator Fernando Karadima, a Chilean Catholic priest.” By Ashley McKinless, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

As investigation hits home diocese, can Cardinal DiNardo continue to lead on the abuse crisis?
“Investigators for the district attorney of Montgomery County in Texas executed a search warrant seeking records pertaining to the handling of instances of alleged clerical abuse(link is external) at the offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Nov. 28. The spectacle of dozens of Texas Rangers and other local law enforcement swarming the Houston chancery offered the latest unprecedented moment as the church in the United States grapples with the ongoing crisis of the clerical abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The archdiocese is headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the person leading the U.S. bishops’ response to the crisis.” By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

Australian archbishop cleared of child sex abuse cover-up
“An Australian appeal court on Thursday (Dec. 6) overturned a conviction against the most senior Catholic cleric ever found guilty of covering up child sex abuse(link is external). New South Wales state District Court Judge Roy Ellis upheld former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s appeal against his May conviction in a lower court for concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the 1970s. Ellis found there was reasonable doubt that the 68-year-old cleric had committed the crime, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Experts question whether bishops really need a new code of conduct
“In the effort to tackle clerical sexual abuse, one step slotted for adoption by the U.S. bishops in their fall meeting was a new code of conduct for bishops, which would specifically address the issue of accountability not just for the crime but the cover-up. Yet some experts dispute the need for a new code(link is external), saying the guidelines written out for all clergy in the 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People are valid for bishops too, if they are applied.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Some Catholics demand bishops resignation, others beg him to stay during emotional listening session
“Voices searing with anger and cracking with grief rang out for nearly two hours Monday (Dec. 3) night as Catholics and others spoke on revelations of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup in the Catholic Church(link is external). More than 200 people gathered at St. Thomas A’Becket Church in Jefferson Hills, where Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik sat in a wooden chair at the front of the modern sanctuary, hands folded, as several speakers called on him to resign and denounced his handling of abuse cases. Others called on him to stay and be part of the healing.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Madison bishop’s passing kicks off lengthy replacement process
“The death of Madison’s bishop means the Catholic Church must soon begin the lengthy process of selecting a new bishop for the diocese(link is external) of around 200,000 parishioners — a process that ultimately ends with the pope. Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, 71, died Saturday after suffering an apparent heart attack during a planned procedure at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison earlier in the week. He was the fourth bishop of Madison. Tim Cavanaugh, a canonist for the Madison Diocese, said Morlino’s death leaves a lot of roles left unfilled.” By Phoebe Petrovic, Wisconsin Public Radio

Memphis under Holley offers object lesson for new bishops everywhere
“Inside the vestibule of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the wall where the traditional portrait of the sitting bishop would be affixed now stands empty. Just over two years ago, Bishop Martin Holley was installed as the new head of the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll, promising priests that he would be ‘a father and a pastor who serves,’ and vowing to ‘learn from and share with these sons of Christ.’ What began as a high note for Memphis’s clergy now has many of them singing the blues(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Bishop: Naming Syracuse priests accused of sexual assault was ‘important’
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has named 57 priests accused of sexual abuse since 1950 who have been either removed from the ministry or have died(link is external). ‘We went through files and looked at them and made a determination that these priests have credible allegations against them,’ said Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. Cunningham says release of these names was voluntary, despite a lawsuit demanding New York dioceses publicize the names.” By Courtney Carter, Spectrum News

PRIESTS

Priests’ group urges reform in open letter to bishops
“The Association of Catholic Priests (APC) has written an open letter to the bishops, urging them to convene a national assembly to address the crisis facing Catholicism in Ireland(link is external) and to consider reforms. Stressing ‘what we can’t afford to do is do nothing,’ the APC, which represents 1,000 priests, says ‘it is clear to everyone, now, that we are at crisis point, entering a post-Catholic Ireland.’” By T.P. O’Mahony, Irish Examiner

Priest’s View: Bishops, chancery officials who failed children can step aside
“There continues to be much anger and outrage and shame and sadness in the Catholic Church over the abuse scandals and especially over the coverups by the bishops. Most agree now that the root cause of our troubles is the failure of the bishops’ leadership(link is external). Bishops and chancery officials who should have stopped the pain and suffering of children decided to protect themselves instead. Some chancery officials even advanced up the ecclesial ladder, even though they were involved in the coverups. When confronted with the crisis, the bishops acted as if they were the victims and not the abused children.” By Fr. William Fider, Duluth News Tribune

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican investigates after nuns report sex abuse by priests
“The Vatican has launched an investigation into a small Chilean religious order of nuns after some sisters denounced sexual abuse at the hands of priests(link is external) and mistreatment by their superiors, a turning point that shows the Holy See is now willing to investigate allegations of sexual violence against nuns. The scandal at the Institute of the Good Samaritan was revealed publicly in an investigative report by Chilean national television earlier this year at the height of outrage over how Chilean Catholic hierarchy covered up decades of sexual abuse of children by priests.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

CHILD PROTECTION

National safeguarding standards set for release
“Catholic Professional Standards Ltd is set to publish the first edition of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards by the end of the year(link is external). CPSL has released its 2017-18 Annual Report, which marks the first full year of operation of the company since the appointment of inaugural chief executive officer, Sheree Limbrick, in July 2017. Speaking shortly after the release of the report, Ms Limbrick said she is committed to doing what she can to ensure the lessons from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse remain a live issue for the leadership of the Church in Australia.” By CathNews.com

CLERICALISM

Clericalism is ugly perversion, pope tells seminarians
“Priests must always keep in mind that their mission is to serve others and not claim superiority over the people entrusted to their care, Pope Francis said. Meeting with seminarians from the Sicilian coastal city of Agrigento Nov. 24, the pope told them that priests must never forget their roots and that God chose them from among their people to serve. ‘Clericalism, my dear ones, is our ugliest perversion(link is external). The Lord wants you to be shepherds; shepherds of the people, not clerics of the state,’ he said.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Connecticut bishop appoints laywoman to lead parish
“Less than two months after serving as delegate in the Bishops Synod on Youth which called women’s leadership within the Church ‘a duty of justice,’ Bishop Frank Caggiano has established a new leadership model in a Connecticut parish, appointing a woman to serve as parish life coordinator. The appointment of Dr. Eleanor W. Sauers, which was announced on Sunday (Dec. 9) in a letter to parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Fairfield, Connecticut, grants Sauers decision-making authority over a team of priests who will be responsible for sacramental ministry(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Brazil cardinal rues lack of priests in Amazon but avoids ‘viri probati’
“One of the most compelling voices for the Catholic Church in Latin America, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, believes a lack of priests and access to the sacraments for Christians in the Amazon often leaves many communities in the mammoth region ‘isolated’ and ‘weakened(link is external).’ That reality, according to the retired Archbishop of São Paulo, can’t help but be a major issue that a special Synod of Bishops for the Amazon called by Pope Francis will have to address in October 2019.” By Filipe Domingues, Cruxnow.com

Three already-merged Philadelphia Catholic churches set to close
“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced three churches that previously merged with other parishes will close after the new year(link is external). The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Archbishop Charles Chaput said Sunday (Dec. 2) Our Lady of the Holy Souls, Saint Stanislaus Kostka and Saint Leo church will no longer serve as worship sites after Jan. 7.” By NBC10-TV News

Why are we at each others’ throats? Healing polarization in our church
“People say our society is getting increasingly polarized, but is it true? We have heard the rhetoric and the vitriol, but is this just what improves ratings? If it bleeds, it leads? Is this so-called ‘culture war’ really just fought among leaders and the media or is polarization a fact that touches the rest of us? Further, is this polarization also happening among American Catholics?(link is external) If so, how can we heal? Lots of questions — let’s look at some answers.” By Maureen K. Day, National Catholic Reporter

America’s epidemic of empty churches
“Many of our nation’s churches can no longer afford to maintain their structures—6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America(link is external)—and that number will likely grow. Though more than 70 percent of our citizens still claim to be Christian, congregational participation is less central to many Americans’ faith than it once was. Most denominations are declining as a share of the overall population, and donations to congregations have been falling for decades. Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated Americans, nicknamed the ‘nones,’ are growing as a share of the U.S. population.” By Jonathan Merritt, The Atlantic

Bridgeport-area Catholics brace for changes to neighborhood parishes, schools as archdiocese reorganizes
“Parishioners from nine Catholic churches and schools in Bridgeport, Canaryville and Chinatown are expected to learn Wednesday (Nov. 28) the fate of their houses of worship(link is external). A meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Barbara Parish, 2859 S. Throop St., where parishioners are expected to hear the details of the reorganization approved by Archdiocese of Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich.” By Elvia Malagon, Chicago Tribune

VOICES

U.S. Catholic Church marred by allegations of abuse, claims of cover-up
“2018 will no doubt be remembered as a dark time for the U.S. Catholic Church. Catholics felt betrayed by church leaders accused of sexual misconduct and cover-up(link is external)revealed this summer and this cloud still hung over the church at the year’s end. In June, allegations were made against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, accused of sexually abusing a minor almost 50 years ago and having sexual contact with seminarians while he was a bishop in New Jersey …” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Commentary: Blame lies, secrecy and unchecked power, not gay priests
“This past summer’s credible allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have fundamentally altered the way Catholics are talking about the abuse crisi(link is external)s. In the wake of the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposé (memorialized in the important and painful film, Spotlight), the conversation revolved around the most shocking tales of abuse – namely, of priests sexually molesting children. And indeed, it’s the allegation that ‘Uncle Ted’ sexually assaulted a minor that finally brought his story into its own recent spotlight.” By Brandon R. Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune

Pedophilia victims deserve justice
“In a quarter-page advertisement in this newspaper on Nov. 29, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence encouraged alleged priest pedophilia victims to come forward. Those ongoing scandals underscore widespread disgust for historically unpunished, unspeakable crimes against children(link is external). Adult survivors of rectory or home seductions — sometimes with parents nearby, unaware of the horrors their children suffered — deserve justice, and courts need laws to dispense it. Warwick Attorney Carl DeLuca estimates about 450 victims sought his help: his office alone settled at least 65 civil cases against the Diocese of Providence.” Commentary by Mary Ann Sorrentino, Providence Journal

Catholic Church has work ahead to rebuild trust
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s decision to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is the latest twist in a long and often sordid story of individual abuse against children(link is external), protected by one of the most powerful institutions in New Mexico. That the bankruptcy announcement came just before Advent, the beginning of the church liturgical year — the countdown to the birth of a savior, the light of the world — brings an ironic touch to the whole proceeding.” By The New Mexican Editorial Board

Why I left the church, and what I’m hearing about it
“After so many years of trying to “stay and fight” for the Catholic Church as it should be, the day finally came when walking away wasn’t so much a decision as an acknowledgement(link is external) of reality: I just couldn’t continue to help prop up an institution that I’ve loved my whole life, but that’s run by men who, after all this time, are dithering still in response to the devastation done by child abusers in collars. Staying ‘because it’s our church, too’ had come to feel like complicity by another name. And even staying for the Eucharist made me wonder at what point I had to stop letting the hierarchy use the real presence to excuse the inexcusable. Does Jesus ever feel he’s being held hostage?” By Melinda Henneberger, National Catholic Reporter

It’s time for Catholics to demand this from the church
“We all regret some decisions in life; for me, it was my choice not to learn Spanish. So, in my search to find the one word that could capture the essence of Pope Francis, it is with much irony that the language of Spain would give me the most appropriate one: Dictablanda! For those like me who ‘no hablo espanol,’ Dictablanda is a Spanish pun for a benevolent dictator. It is also the description that best suits our Holy Father and the Roman Curia(link is external). In this instance, it is not a funny pun.” By Paul Snyder, CNN

Commentary: why the ‘Catholic Church’ is different than the ‘Catholic hierarchy’
“It is time to stop using the term ‘Catholic Church’ as a synonym for ‘Catholic hierarchy(link is external).’ We all do it. ‘The church teaches such and such.’ ‘The church lobbied against gay marriage.’ ‘The church failed to protect children.’ ‘The church is homophobic and sexist.’ ‘The church is authoritarian.’ ‘I hate the church.’ The word ‘church’ has multiple meanings. One theologian counted more than a dozen ways ‘church’ was used in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, referring to everything from a building to the Mystical Body of Christ.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in The Salt Lake Tribune

Weigel sustains intellectual whiplash under Francis’ pontificate
“If irony were gold, Weigel would be a rich man in this pontificate of Francis. But this kind of intellectual—and moral—whiplash is unbecoming and unserious. If he has had a conversion, let him explain his conversion. Otherwise, his writings are mere evidence of hypocrisy. The ever-shrinking, increasingly unhinged crowd at First Things may still look to him for guidance but Weigel is not precisely unhinged. He appears to be flailing about, clearly disconnected, not clear how to reconnect. The ‘evangelical Catholicism’ he said the church needed has arrived with Pope Francis(link is external), and it is about the poor not contraception, about witness not entrenchment, about engaging the culture not denouncing it—in short, not what he was expecting.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic priest Father Joe Walsh charged with stealing $250,000 from Subiaco church
“Father Joe Walsh allegedly stole the funds between 2014 and 2017(link is external) while he was the parish priest at St Joseph’s church in Subiaco. The 66-year-old from Hamilton Hill appeared briefly in Perth Magistrates Court this morning ( Dec. 12) and was not required to plead to six charges of stealing. He was released on bail until his next scheduled court appearance in February.” By James Carmody and Joanna Menagh, Australia Broadcasting Company

Abuse scandal has cost Altoona-Johnstown diocese $21.5 million, bishop says
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has made what could be considered its most in-depth public statement concerning clerical child sexual abuse within its organization(link is external), since the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General issued a grand jury report in 2016 outlining an alleged systemic effort to protect predator priests within its ranks. A Dec. 10 edition of The Catholic Register, the diocese’s official publication, included multiple stories about the subject, a ‘special message’ from Bishop Mark Bartchak and a chart showing that the expense of the scandal cost the diocese $21,491,052 from July 1, 1999, until Dec. 1, 2018.” By Dave Sutor, The Daily Item

Nuns misappropriated $500K in school funds, spending some on gambling and trips, Catholic church says
Two nuns at a Catholic church in Southern California are suspected of embezzling up to $500,000 in school funds(link is external), allegedly using some of the money to go on trips and gamble at casinos, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told ABC News. The nuns, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, had been ‘involved in the personal use of a substantial amount’ of school funds ‘over a period of years,’ Monsignor Michael Meyers, pastor for the St. James Catholic School in Redondo Beach, wrote in a letter to parents on Nov. 28.” By Julia Jacobo, Clayton Sandell and Matthew Fuhrman, ABC News

Bankruptcy filing for Santa Fe archdiocese, led by Utah’s former Catholic leader John Wester, provides peek at church finances
“New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent months on lawyers to fight claims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) and to prepare for a potentially lengthy battle in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s petition for reorganization provides a rare look into the finances of a religious organization that for decades has been wrestling with the financial and social consequences of a scandal that rocked churches across the country.” By Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

Buffalo Diocese has a $48 million surplus as it prepares to pay victims
“Victims of sexual abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo have been coming forward since March, when the diocese announced it would pay voluntary settlements to those who were abused(link is external). While the bishop plans to sell his Oakland Place mansion to help pay those victims, internal church documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show he will need much more money than the sale of the mansion — assessed at nearly $2 million — is likely to bring in. But the church appears to have plenty of money in the bank.” By Charlie Spect, WKBW-TV

‘We don’t want these coverups anymore.’ Parishioners speak out after informant priest reassigned
“A second priest has been identified as an informant against a fellow priest accused of scamming parishioners(link is external). Now, he’s being moved by the Catholic Diocese of Jackson from the Starkville parish he tried to protect. Sunday morning, the Rev. Rusty Vincent announced he was being reassigned from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville. He will be moved to Vicksburg in January. A priest from Madison, the Rev. Jason Johnston, will take over pastoral duties at St. Joe.” By Sarah Fowler, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

‘It happened everywhere’: How Pennsylvania upended deep history of priest abuse across nation
“The investigation by the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury wasn’t the first into the epidemic of child sexual abuse among Catholic priests. It wasn’t even the first to be done in Pennsylvania, following investigations of the Philadelphia archdiocese and the Altoona-Johnstown diocese. But its scope was unprecedented(link is external). ‘We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this,’ the nearly 900-page report begins.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Two Jesuit provinces release 153 names of accused abusers
“Two Roman Catholic Jesuit provinces that cover nearly half the U.S. released the names Friday (Dec. 7) of more than 150 priests and other ministry leaders who were found to have ‘credible allegations’ of sexual abuse(link is external) made against them dating to the 1950s … Jesuits West found credible allegations against 111 priests, brothers or priests in training who were connected to it dating back to 1950. Hours earlier, the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province, which covers 13 states along with Puerto Rico and the Central American country of Belize, released the names of 42 men who had ties to the province going back to 1955.” By Jim Salter, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic Church facing multiple abuse scandals
Where will the abuse scandal turn next?(link is external) Peter Isley from ECAglobal.org, Ending Clergy Abuse, talks to Brent on the Day.” By Deutschel Welle on DW.com

Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse
“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories(link is external)during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence. Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear … American Barbara Dorris … German Doris Wagner ….” By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter

‘Time to put a stop to this’: why a Catholic prosecutor who witnessed abuse took on his own church
“The suspicious looks were one thing, but the whispers are what David Hickton remembers from the Sunday mornings two years ago when he would rise from his pew at SS. Simon & Jude to receive Holy Communion. ‘I could hear the ‘tsk, tsk, tsk’ while I was going up the aisle,’ he says. ‘Others were muttering, ‘Of all the nerve!’’ Hickton – then the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania known for his landmark indictment in 2014 of Chinese military hackers for stealing trade secrets from state institutions such as U.S. Steel – had just revealed his new target: the Catholic Church(link is external).” By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

Hiding behind God
“Tim Bendig was repeatedly abused by Catholic priest Anthony Cipolla(link is external) from 1982 to 1986. That came after the Catholic Church declined to remove Cipolla from the priesthood for the abuse of two brothers in the 1970s. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently followed Mr. Bendig as he returned to the vacant rectory and church, St. Canice, where his life changed forever 36 years ago. ‘That’s the room,’ said a shaken Tim Bendig. He was pointing at the bedroom on the second floor in the former St. Canice Church rectory where he was first sexually abused 36 years ago by a Catholic priest, Anthony Cipolla.” By Sean D. Hamill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

‘It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It just means it hasn’t been discovered’: Reporters spend years chasing down Catholic sex scandals
“When the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, released the names of 71 clergy members accused of sexual abuse, York Daily Record investigative reporter Brandie Kessler immediately thought of Todd Frey. Kessler has stayed in touch with Frey since 2016, when he told her that a priest named Guy Marsico had abused him as a young teenager(link is external) at a church in York. Marsico’s name on the list gave Kessler the chance to ask Frey something she had asked several times before — whether he would be willing to put his story on the record. This time, he said yes.” By Tiffany Stevens, Poynter.com

ALABAMA

DA urges victims of priest abuse to come forward, so she can prosecute
“Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich is urging victims of priest and clergy abuse to come forward so she can prosecute(link is external). The Archdiocese of Mobile Thursday (Dec. 6) released the names of 29 priests and deacons who have been ‘credibly accused’ since 1950 … She’s also asking anyone with evidence to come forward. Rich says there’s no statute of limitations on any sex offense if the victim is under 16, regardless if it involves force or serious injury.” By Chis Best, WKRG-TV5 News

CALIFORNIA

California victim activists release their own list of accused priests as more are identified
Dozens more Catholic priests who served in Southern California have been accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), according to two reports issued Thursday (Nov. 6). Advocates for survivors of child sex abuse compiled a list of 72 priests they say served in the Diocese of Orange and have been accused of abuse. That’s many more than the 14 such clerics listed by the diocese in 2016. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Thursday updated its tally of accused priests for the first time in a decade, adding 54 more for a total of 323 clerics accused in such incidents.” By Associated Press in America: The Jesuit Review

Dozens more California priests accused of child abuse
Dozens more Catholic priests who served in Southern California have been accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), according to two reports issued Thursday (Dec. 6). Advocates for survivors of child sex abuse compiled a list of 72 priests they say served in the Diocese of Orange and have been accused of abuse. That’s many more than the 14 such clerics listed by the diocese in 2016.” By Associated Press in Lompoc Record

Los Angeles diocese adds new names to list of accused priests
“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles Dec. 6 released an updated list of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), with the report showing two cases of alleged abuse of current minors in the archdiocese since 2008. The two cases were made public at the time the allegations were first received. Upon receiving the accusations, the archdiocese removed the two priests, Juan Cano and Jose Luis Cuevas, from ministry and reported them to law enforcement. Following separate investigations by police and by an Archdiocesan oversight board, the men were permanently removed from ministry.” By Pablo Kay, America: The Jesuit Review

Sex abuse cases cost San Francisco Catholic Church $87 million in settlements
“The Catholic diocese in San Francisco has settled roughly $87 million worth of sex abuse cases against priests and others associated with the church(link is external), mostly in the last 15 years, according to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The archbishop divulged the eye-popping figure during a series of town hall meetings held to address the sexual abuse of minors in the local Catholic Church on the heels of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania that found hundreds of priest had molested at least 1,000 children in that region.” By Michael Barba, San Francisco Examiner

COLORADO

‘Forgiveness is a decision’: Abuse survivor shares journey of healing and faith
“Growing up, Pat was a strong Catholic with a deep passion for her faith. ‘I knew all of the responses before Vatican II,’ she said. ‘I knew all of the altar boy responses in Latin. I even knew what they meant.’ That foundation of faith has carried Pat through a remarkable journey of strength and forgiveness(link is external). She’s remained in the Church her entire life — despite the abuse she suffered at the hands of a priest at just five years old.” By Moira Cullings, DenverCatholic.com

CONNECTICUT

Norwich Diocese faces 20 new lawsuits for alleged abuse at Mt. St. John facility for troubled teens
“he Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich is facing 20 lawsuits filed this week (Nov. 28) alleging abuse of teenage students(link is external) at The Academy at Mount Saint John, a Deep River residential treatment center, in the 1990s. The lawsuits were filed by Hartford attorney Patrick Tomasiewicz, alleging students were abuse at the hands of at least four staff members, although the majority of the allegations were against two now-deceased brothers.” By Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant

Norwich diocese sued by 24 men who say they were sexually assaulted
“Twenty-four men, who say they were sexually assaulted as teenage boys(link is external) by the late Brother K. Paul McGlade and others, have filed lawsuits against the Diocese of Norwich and former Bishop Daniel Reilly. Some of the suits, in which the men allege they were fondled, sodomized and raped while attending the diocesan-run Academy at Mount Saint John in Deep River from 1986 to 1996, are slated for trial in 2019. Each of the boys, who ranged in age from 11 to 15, had been placed at the now defunct school by the state Department of Children and Families or the state court system. DCF is not a defendant in the lawsuits.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

ILLINOIS

Diocese discloses names of priests who sexually abused minors
“The Diocese of Springfield (Illinois) on Thursday (Nov. 6) afternoon, in response to a review by the Illinois Attorney General’s office, released the names of 19 priests — including a former bishop — that it confirmed were the subjects of substantiated charges of sexually abusing children(link is external). Though individual priests may have been identified over the years, the Springfield Diocese confirmed that this is the first comprehensive list of abuse cases it has ever released.” By Brenden Moore, The State Journal-Register

10 names added to list of clergy with ‘substantiated’ sex misconduct allegations
“At a closed-door gathering in August with young men studying to be priests at the Catholic church’s seminary in Mundelein, Cardinal Blase Cupich boasted that the Archdiocese of Chicago’s ‘record’ on sex abuse is ‘clean(link is external).’ ‘We are not what happened’ in Pennsylvania, Cupich said, referring to a grand jury report that recently had been released in that state, showing decades of priests raping children and bishops covering up … But Wednesday (Nov. 28) night the archdiocese made public the names of 10 more former priests and deacons — some now dead — against whom ‘substantiated allegations’ had been found they engaged in sexual misconduct with minors.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun Times

LOUISIANA

Jesuit high school president: release of clergy abuse list shows spirit of reconciliation, transparency
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans’ decision Friday (Dec. 2) to release a list of 57 area clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors(link is external) was met with support from the leader of Jesuit High School, who said the release was done in the spirit of reconciliation and transparency. Four people named on the list were at one time employed by the Mid-City high school, including a former president of the school.” By Jonathan Bullington, NOLA.com

Quest for facts in clergy abuse allegation leaves indelible question marks
“As it grapples with clergy abuse, the Church needs to be transparent for the sake of survivors and for justice(link is external). That transparency, however, comes with side effects. It carries with it disenchantment for many Catholics who have trusted priests embroiled in what New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond has called the church’s now-exposed ‘family sin.’” By Kim Chatelain, The Times-Picayne on NOLA.com

MAINE

Trial begins in Maine for ex-priest facing sex abuse charges
“A 74-year-old former Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to raping an altar boy in Massachusetts(link is external) went on trial Monday (Nov. 26) for allegedly assaulting two boys in Maine in the 1980s. Ronald Paquin, who was defrocked in 2004, is charged with assaulting the boys between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport, Maine, when the victims were 14 or younger. Court documents indicate one of them was “substantially impaired” by drugs during the assault.” By Associated Press

MISSOURI

Church, Hawley slow to eject sex abusers
“Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the Jefferson City Diocese and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley are not doing enough to investigate and raise awareness of sex abuse by clergy(link is external). Bishop W. Shawn McKnight released in November a list of 33 names of Jefferson City Diocese clergy that had been ‘credibly accused’ of illicit sexual acts involving minors. The list came during a listening tour regarding the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and on the heels of an announced investigation by Hawley.” By Pat Pratt, Columbia Daily Tribune

Advocates for priest abuse survivors says three priest names are missing
“Thursday (Nov. 29) an advocate group for priest abuse survivors called out priests who were left off a recent Jefferson City Diocese ‘credibly accused list(link is external).’ SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, met outside of the Cathedral of St. Joseph to voice their concerns about the list. ‘We are here today because we are concerned, in particular, about three credibly accused child molesting priests who spent time in Mid-Missouri,’ David Clohessy, SNAP St. Louis volunteer, said.” By Mercedes Mackay, KOMU-TV News

After criticism of priest sex abuse investigation, Attorney General Hawley tweets ‘this is false’
“Angered by a column in a Missouri newspaper that said he wasn’t doing enough to investigate clergy sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church(link is external), Attorney General Josh Hawley on Tuesday (Nov. 27) took to social media. ‘We are seeking court orders to acquire information needed from the dioceses to ensure a full, thorough, and independent investigation,’ Hawley said in a tweet just before noon.” By July L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

NEBRASKA

Omaha archdiocese disclosure reveals clergy sex abuse secrets it hid for decades
“What the Omaha Archdiocese long sought to keep hidden, it is now shouting from the rooftops. When it disclosed last month that 38 clergymen had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse or misconduct, some of the names were familiar — notorious priests who already had been defrocked or jailed. But others — more than half — had been kept secret(link is external) until last week, even though some of the reports of alleged abuse dated back decades.” By Christopher Burbach, Omaha World Herald

Some churches talk about archdiocese sexual misconduct report at Mass
“Some churches in the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha used time before and during Mass on Sunday (Dec. 2) to react to the recent revelation of 38 past clergy members being accused of sexual misdeeds with minors(link is external). The archdiocese announced Friday that ‘substantiated claims of sexual abuse of, or sexual misconduct with, a minor’ had been made against 34 priests and four deacons on a list it provided to Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who had asked for the information.” By Norfolk Daily News

NEW MEXICO

New legal troubles for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe
“Seven years after he murdered a female parishioner in Texas in 1960, Father John Feit found refuge in Jemez Springs, where he was a supervisor at the Servants of the Paraclete center for Catholic priests with psychosexual problems. According to a new lawsuit, Feit documented an agreement with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1967 to supply pedophile priests to New Mexico parishes(link is external) without telling parishioners or other working priests in the archdiocese about the potential danger to local children.” By Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal

Diocese of Las Cruces releases names of credibly accused priests
“Last month, the Diocese of Las Cruces published the names of 28 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors(link is external) and have served within the geographical boundary of the diocese. Among these are several priests who served in churches in Grant County, mostly during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The last priest served in 1990. In addition to the names, the list also includes, if known, the dates of the alleged incidents, the date they were reported to the diocese, the status of the accused and the date and location of their assignments in the diocese.” By Christine Steele, Silver City Daily Press

New Mexico archdiocese to file bankruptcy over sex abuse
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Thursday (Nov. 29) it will soon be filing for bankruptcy protection, as the Catholic church in New Mexico has settled numerous claims of sexual abuse by clergy(link is external) over the years and is close to depleting its reserves. About 20 dioceses and other religious orders around the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of clergy sex abuse claims, according to lawyers representing the archdiocese. Archbishop John Wester said he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point and he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims.” By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

NEW YORK

Geneva priest removed from ministry by bishop
“The Rev. Erick Viloria, parochial vicar in Our Lady of Peace Parish since June, has been removed from public ministry(link is external). Viloria’s removal, and that of the Rev. Thomas Valenti, was announced Sunday (Dec. 9) by Bishop Salvatore Matano, the Diocese of Rochester leader. The decision followed an independent investigation, review and recommendation from the Diocesan Review Board.” By David L. Shaw, Finger Lakes Times

Rochester Catholic Diocese removes two priests from public ministry
“The Rochester Catholic Diocese says that two priests have been removed from public ministry by Bishop Salvatore Matano after allegations of misconduct(link is external). According to a statement posted on the diocese’s website, the actions follow an independent investigation and a recommendation from a review board which includes lay professionals in law, child protection, law enforcement and psychology.” By Randy Gorbman, WXXI-AM News

Former altar girl says she was abused for years at Brooklyn Catholic church
“A former altar girl at a Brooklyn church says she was the victim of sexual abuse for years(link is external), police sources told The Post on Sunday (Dec. 9). The 17-year-old told cops on Saturday that a custodian at Holy Innocents Church in Flatbush groped her while she served as an altar girl between 2013 and 2015. She would have been between 12 and 15 years old when the abuse took place.” By Tina Moore, Sydney Denmark and Tamar Lapin, New York Post

Buffalo diocese offers abuse victims $10,000 to $360,000 to settle claims
“The Buffalo Diocese so far has offered as much as $360,000 and as little as $10,000 to settle molestation claims against some of its priests(link is external). Attorneys who represent victims of childhood sex abuse said they recently received compensation offers for 19 clients, ranging from $10,000 to $360,000. They are the first award offers since the diocese announced the program in March. ‘It’s never enough money to fully acknowledge this level of harm,’ said attorney J. Michael Reck. ‘It certainly isn’t full justice for what happened.’” By Todd Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Syracuse diocese releases list of 57 sexually abusive priests
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse today (Dec. 3) released a list of 57 priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them(link is external). The list includes 38 deceased priests. Nineteen priests are still alive. All of the living priests were previously removed from ministry, the diocese said. No active priests have credible accusations of child sexual abuse against them, according to the diocese and Onondaga County district attorney.” By Julie McMahon, Syracuse.com

Movement to restore trust in Buffalo’s Catholic diocese begins taking action
“The present structure of the Catholic Church took some real hits Wednesday (Nov. 28) night, as the sex abuse crisis was scrutinized before a large crowd(link is external) at Canisius College’s Montante Center and in cyberspace. A group of prominent local Catholics organized the meeting, under the general title of the Movement to Restore Trust. Moderated by Canisius President John Hurley, the panelists were two priests, a nun and a nationally prominent lay Catholic leader.” By Mike Desmond, WBFO-FM, Buffalo’s NPR Station

Buffalo priest allegedly forced teen into sex acts at gunpoint
“A Buffalo priest pointed a gun to a teenage boy’s head to force him into sex acts(link is external)— and the ‘sick behavior’ turned him on, according to the alleged victim’s lawyer. The disturbing allegations were lodged against Rev. Michael Freeman, who died in 2010 at age 63. The alleged victim, now 48, said Freeman would hold a silver .38-caliber revolver to his head to get him to comply in the 1980s.” By Lia Eustachewich, New York Post

OHIO

Former Fisher Catholic nun accused of sexually abusing student
“A nun who once taught at Fisher Catholic High School in Lancaster has been accused of sexually abusing a student 36 years ago(link is external), according to a police report. Sister Lisa Zuccarelli, who belongs to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, was removed from her ministry, restricted from unsupervised contact with former students and minors, and was sent to a psychological center for clergy for assessment after the allegation came to light, the Columbus-based Dominican Sisters of Peace said in a news release. Details about when the abuse occurred weren’t given.” By Danae King, The Columbus Dispatch

Catholic priest sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexual misconduct
“A Catholic priest with the Diocese of Steubenville is headed to prison for 12 years for sexual battery charges involving a teenage member of his parish(link is external). The church is in Athens County, Ohio. Henry Christopher Foxhoven pleaded guilty to the charges in Athens County Court Tuesday (Nov. 27) morning. The sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors who believe justice was served in this case.” By Gil McClanahan and Jeff Morris, FOX11 Eyewitness News

PENNSYLVANIA

For some, Catholic church’s victim program made priest abuse trauma even worse
“Mary Handler remembers some of the details so vividly that it’s like it happened yesterday(link is external) instead of decades ago. She was 5-½ years old, sitting in the backseat of her family’s car. Family cars in the 1950s were big — and felt exceptionally so to a child. Handler remembers it was dark out, her mother was in the front seat holding a baby and her father was driving.” By Brandie Kessler, York Daily Record

Retired state police captain to oversee Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg’s youth protection programs
“A retired Captain who successfully ran the Megan’s Law Section of the Pennsylvania State Police will run the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg’s Safe Environment program(link is external). Retired Capt. Janet A. McNeal, through her firm Law and Grace Consulting, will review the Diocese’s current youth protection programs, develop programs and policies to make any needed improvements and will serve as our Safe Environment Coordinator.” By FOX43 Newsroom

‘Prayer and penance’: More than 78 predator priests in Pennsylvania still paid by Catholic church
“Decades after their crimes were reported and largely ignored, more than 78 priests accused of child sex abuse are still collecting paychecks and pensions from Pennsylvania dioceses(link is external). Each of those priests has been removed from ministry by Pennsylvania bishops, but the pope himself needs to sign off on all clerics being removed from the priesthood and the payroll. That process is formally known as laicization, and it can take years or decades, if it happens at all.” By Candy Woodhall, York Daily Record

Catholic Church of South Carolina to release names of clergy who sexually abused children
“The Diocese of Charleston, the governing body of all of South Carolina’s Catholic churches, will release the names of all priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1950(link is external). On Friday (Dec. 7), Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, head of the Charleston diocese, made the announcement, saying he plans to release the list by mid-February 2019.” By David Travis Bland, The State

SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota priest looks for answers after assistant arrested
“Brian Christensen is on his way to jail again. A clerical collar around his thin neck, rosary dangling from the rearview mirror, the priest sets out on the same trip he has taken almost every day that week. First was Monday (Nov. 26) afternoon, when he followed the detectives down this road, then up to the third floor of the police department, where he waited outside the interrogation room. On Wednesday , he went to the preliminary hearing, where the felony charges were announced: two counts of sexual contact with a 13-year-old(link is external).” By The Washington Post in The Daily Republic

VERMONT

Burlington Roman Catholic Diocese target of lawsuit accusing ex-priest of sexual abuse
“A man who says he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest(link is external) serving at St. Ann Catholic Church in Milton has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington alleging negligence, fraud, and ‘outrageous conduct.’ The man is asking for in excess of $75,000 in damages, in addition to any other damages deemed appropriate by a jury.” By Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Virginia priest accused of ‘inappropriate contact’ with minor, adults
“A Catholic priest in Purcellville, Virginia, is accused of inappropriate contact with a minor and adults(link is external), the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office says. The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has placed Father Ronald S. Escalante on leave pending an investigation by the sheriff’s office. The Saint Francis de Sales Church priest is accused of ‘boundary violations involving a minor and adults’ that go against its clergy code of conduct, according to a press release from the diocese.” By Associated Press on NBC4 Washington

WASHINGTON

Bellarmine releases names of 23 priests and brothers accused of sexual abuse
“Bellarmine Preparatory School released on Friday (Dec. 9) the names of 23 Catholic priests and brothers suspected of sexually abusing a minor or vulnerable adult(link is external). The names come from a master list of 111 suspected offenders released by Jesuits West Province, which includes the Jesuit high school at 2300 S. Washington St. in Tacoma.” By KIRO-TV7

WEST VIRGINIA

Diocese releases names of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of minors
“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has released the names of clergy it said have been ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external).’ A news release from the diocese said the list dates back to about 1950, which is the period for which there are reasonably reliable files. More than 2,000 files were reviewed, containing tens of thousands of documents.” By WTOV-TV9 News

WISCONSIN

Former priest accused of molesting young boys held on $500K bond
“A former Catholic priest accused of molesting at least three northern Wisconsin boys(link is external) is being held on a $500,000 bond. Thomas Ericksen, 71, is being held at the Sawyer County jail in Hayward after being extradited to Wisconsin from Minneapolis late last week, according to online court records. The former priest was accused of assaulting at least three boys between June 1982 and April 1983, during his time at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the Sawyer County village of Winter.” By Laura Schulte, Wausau Daily Herald

WYOMING

Diocese to release list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Diocese of Cheyenne is compiling a list of priests, bishops and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse since 1950(link is external), Bishop Steven Biegler announced this week (Dec. 11), signaling that the Wyoming diocese is joining a wave of public self-examinations by dioceses across the country. ‘The Diocese should have a current master list so it can be confident that it has applied the current standards to all living credibly accused offenders — and especially the standards of zero tolerance — in all situations,’ Biegler wrote in a column in the December issue of the Wyoming Catholic Register.” By Seth Klaman, Casper Star-Tribune, in Gillette News Record, via Wyoming News Exchange

AFRICA

Church sex abuse survivors group launched in South Africa
“A young woman who accused popular Nigerian Pastor Timothy Omotoso of rape – in a case that has captivated South Africa – has launched a foundation aimed at helping women and children who have been victims of sexual assault in ‘sacred spaces’(link is external)like churches. In October, Cheryl Zondi, 22, gave a graphic testimony of the alleged abuse, which she said started when she was 14 years old.” By Pumza Fihlani, BBC New, Johannesburg

Kenya Catholic bishops commit to protect children from abuses
Kenyan bishops committed to safeguard and protect children from abuses(link is external) and said the violence and evil directed at the minors and vulnerable people were signs of a morally sick society. At a Nov. 27 media briefing following their general assembly in Isiolo, the bishops also addressed other issues, including the plight of small-holder farmers, political integrity and ethics, and the fight against corruption.” By Fredrick Nzwili, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Catholic Church reverses approach to redress scheme
“In a major backflip, the Catholic Church has announced its entities will enter the National Redress Scheme individually and not as a single church entity(link is external) as originally planned. The Church says its commitment to the scheme is unwavering. But survivors and their lawyers now fear lengthy delays in getting redress payments from the Church.” By Samantha Donovan, Australia Broadcasting Company

Former Catholic archbishop Philip Wilson wins appeal, has conviction overturned
“Former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson is a free man after winning an appeal against his landmark conviction for failing to report child sex allegations(link is external) about a priest to police. Judge Roy Ellis was asked to consider if prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt that Wilson, 68, failed to disclose allegations about priest Jim Fletcher between 2004 and 2006 after police charged Fletcher with crimes against a Hunter boy in the 1990s.” By The Sydney Morning Herald

CANADA

Victims abused by priests in New Brunswich waiting years for compensation
“Victims of abuse by Catholic priests in New Brunswick have been waiting almost three years for compensation after reaching out-of-court settlements(link is external), and there is no sign the money will arrive anytime soon. CBC News has learned as many as 29 sexual abuse victims have reached tentative settlements in their civil lawsuits against the archdiocese of Moncton, N.B. These are men who did not participate in the conciliation process led by the archdiocese between 2012 and 2014, but rather chose to sue the church on their own.” By Gabrielle Fahmy, CBC.ca

CHILE

Chilean prosecutors probe rural Catholic diocese for evidence in abuse case
“The offices of the Roman Catholic diocese in Chillan, a small agricultural city in southern Chile, recently had some unusual and unexpected visitors: Chilean prosecutor Emiliano Arias and 10 armed police officers(link is external) … After exchanging a few words with nervous church staff and explaining his mission, Arias and police immediately began going over personnel records stored in file cabinets along one wall in the next office.” By Jorge Poblete and Chris Kraul, The San Diego Union-Tribune

GERMANY

German prosecutors launch crackdown on church sex abuse

“German police and prosecutors are launching investigations into clergy sexual abuse following the Sept. 12 leak of a report containing evidence of 3,700 alleged child sex abuse cases(link is external) in the Catholic Church over a 68-year-period. Authorities in Cologne, Passau and Gorlitz have publicly initiated criminal proceedings following the release of the report, according to Welt news. Six law professors filed criminal complaints against all 27 dioceses in October. A further 20 public prosecutors nationwide are currently examining evidence against church officials in Germany’s 27 Catholic dioceses.” By Zita Ballinger Fietcher, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Former Liverpool Catholic priest guilty of abusing young boys decades ago
“A former Liverpool parish priest has been found guilty of a series of sickening sex attacks(link is external) on young boys decades ago. Father Francis William Simpson, now 71, had been parish priest at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Kirkstone Road West, Litherland, before moving to Chorley in 2016. On Friday (Dec. 7) a jury at Bolton Crown Court convicted him of nine counts of indecent assault following a 10 day trial.” By Jonathan Humphries, Liverpool Echo

Former altar boy sues church over rapes by priest
“Jim Lawn told the BBC he was repeatedly raped and beaten over a two-year period(link is external)in the 1970s by Father John Gowans at St Patrick’s RC Church in Dumbarton. Mr Lawn, 54, said that when he initially approached the church about the abuse almost a decade ago it ignored him. The Catholic Church said its response to him had been ‘simply unacceptable.’” By Lucy Adams, BBC News

Re-opened sex abuse case against Catholic church ‘continuation of my fight’: survivor
“When she accepted a civil settlement from the Roman Catholic Church 18 years ago, Irene Deschenes was defeated. ‘We are tired, we want closure and are hesitant to believe we can or will get justice from the court process(link is external),’ she wrote in an email to her lawyer before accepting the terms in 2000. What Deschenes, the Catholic Diocese of London and disgraced ex-priest Charles Sylvestre wouldn’t know is that settlement would send Deschenes on a determined course to expose the abusive Sylvestre and hold the church accountable.” By Jane Sims, The London Free Press

PHILIPPINES

American priest arrested I Philippines for sexual abuse
“An American priest was arrested in the Philippines Wednesday (Dec.5), amid allegations that he sexually assaulted dozens of boys over a period of decades(link is external). The priest, Fr. Kenneth Hendricks, was arrested Dec. 5 inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Naval, Biliran, a province in the eastern part of the Phillippines. Hendricks, 78, has been in ministry in the region for nearly 40 years.” By Catholic News Agency

POLAND

Poland comes to grips with Catholic clergy’s sexual assault
“Staunchly Catholic Poland has been slow to address the problem of sexual assaults on children by clergy(link is external) — and the pressure is now mounting. Bishops plan to present a report in 2019. Monika Sieradzka reports from Warsaw. On a map of Poland, Marek Lisinski marks the places where sexual abuse by priests by Catholic clergy has been reported. In several dozen cases, the perpetrators have been prosecuted. Lisinski has an archive filled with many more statements from victims.” By Deutsche Welle

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From Voice of the Faithful — Here is another idea for responding to the bishop coverup scandals


Expression of Concern

Concerned parishioners from Christ the King Parish in Chicago have written to Cardinal Blase Cupich concerning the crisis in the Church. Voice of the Faithful endorses this letter and urges those who may be interested to read and consider supporting and signing the “Expression of Concern,” which can clicking here.

Cardinal Cupich will be hosting the U.S. bishops for prayer at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago in January 2019 and then meeting with Pope Francis and bishops worldwide in February 2019 in Rome. The “Expression of Concern” letter and list of all signatories will be delivered to Cardinal Cupich in advance of those meetings.

Appointed to the organizing committee for the February meeting of bishops in Rome to discuss clergy sex abuse, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chjicago has assumed new significance in efforts to repair the harm engendered by decades of coverups and denials. Here is an opportunity to bring lay voices to his attention.

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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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Analysis: On sexual abuse, what will U.S. bishops, and the pope, do next? / Catholic News Agency

These are unpredictable times in the life of the Church, shaped by events with little precedent. But four points seem clear about the months to come … (Catholic News Agency)

“Bishop Frank Rodimer and Fr. Peter Osinski were friends. Osinski was a priest in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey. Rodimer was Bishop of Paterson, a nearby diocese, from 1978 until 2004. For years the men rented a beach house together each summer on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, south of Seaside and north of Atlantic City. There, for seven years in the 1980s, Osinski molested a young boy. The first year it happened, the boy was seven …

“After several confusing and turbulent weeks in the Church, it is worth asking where reform efforts stand, and where they will be going.

“These are unpredictable times in the life of the Church, shaped by events with little precedent. But four points seem clear about the months to come …”

By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency — Read more …

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DiNardo, USCCB head, was bishop during years diocese hid priest’s abuse / National Catholic Reporter

The supervisors of (Rev. Jerome) Coyle (who admitted he sexually abused dozens of Iowa boys), now 85 years old, included (Cardinal Daniel) DiNardo, who served as bishop in Sioux City from 1998 to 2004. (National Catholic Reporter)

The Diocese of Sioux City admitted Oct. 31 that it had concealed for decades the identity of a priest who had abused dozens of Iowa boys, as reported by the Associated Press. One of the bishops during that period was Daniel DiNardo, now cardinal archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The Associated Press obtained a Feb. 12 letter written by the diocese vicar general. According to the letter, AP reports that ‘in 1986, (Rev. Jerome) Coyle reported his ‘history of sexual attraction to and contact with boys’ to Sioux City’s bishop, revealing that he had victimized approximately 50 youths over a 20-year period while serving in several Iowa parishes.’

“Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, acknowledged Oct. 31, in answer to an Associated Press inquiry, that ‘police were not contacted when Coyle self-admitted, but policies have changed since 1986.’

“The supervisors of Coyle, now 85 years old, included DiNardo, who served as bishop in Sioux City from 1998 to 2004.”

By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Failure at the top / The Boston Globe

American bishops promised reform after the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in Boston. But they largely ignored the misdeeds of one group: themselves. (The Boston Globe)

Bishop Robert Finn wasn’t going anywhere.

“He never alerted authorities about photos of young girls’ genitals stashed on a pastor’s laptop. He kept parishioners in the dark, letting the priest mingle with children and families. Even after a judge found the bishop guilty of failing to report the priest’s suspected child abuse — and after 200,000 people petitioned for his ouster — he refused to go.

“‘I got this job from John Paul II. There’s his signature right there,’ Finn had told a prospective deacon shortly after the priest’s arrest in 2011, pointing to the late pontiff’s photo. ‘And that’s who I answer to.’

“Sixteen years after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in Boston, the American Catholic Church is again mired in scandal. This time, the controversy is propelled not so much by priests in the rectories as by the leadership, bishops across the country who like Finn have enabled sexual misconduct or in some cases committed it themselves.

“More than 130 US bishops — or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys …”

By By Jenn Abelson, Thomas Farragher of the Globe Staff, Jeremy Roebuck, Julia Terruso and William Bender of the Philadelphia Inquirer Staff — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Feds open clergy abuse probe in Pennsylvania
“The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania(link is external), using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe. The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.” By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker

Facing scandal and division, U.S. Catholic bishops to hold unprecedented retreat
“The Catholic bishops of the U.S. announced Oct. 23 that at the behest of Pope Francis they will meet for a weeklong retreat in Chicago in January. The unprecedented move reflects the depth of the crisis they are facing with the sexual abuse scandal(link is external) and the long-standing divisions within their ranks over the broader direction of American Catholicism. The pope is even sending an elderly and revered Franciscan priest, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the title of Preacher of the Papal Household, to lead the retreat — just as he does each year at Lent for the pontiff and the Roman Curia.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Voice of the Faithful convenes to discuss church reform in abuse, finances
“While held amidst crisis, the date for the Voice of the Faithful conference here (Providence, R.I.) Oct. 6 couldn’t have been better. ‘Who knew how timely this would be?’ Mary Pat Fox, the group’s president, said in welcoming some 300 participants. Voice of the Faithful, founded in 2002 in the wake of the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal disclosures, is dedicated to reforming the church’s response to that issue as well as to finances. ‘We have found ourselves in another Earth-shattering moment(link is external),’ said Fox, noting the onslaught of news about sex abuse and cover-ups revealed this year in Chile, via the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and accusations lodged against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. ‘Our trust is broken. We have been betrayed,’ she said.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church’s biggest crisis since the reformation
“The Catholic Church is facing its most serious crisis in 500 years(link is external). In these last few months, a new wave of clerical sexual abuse revelations left the world in shock. From Australia to Chile to Germany to the United States, horrifying reports revealed thousands of cases of child molestation by members of the clergy. One U.S. grand jury report documented 1,000 children abused by 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania alone over seven decades.” By Massimo Faggioli in Foreign Affairs

Cupich says bishops must cede authority, allow lay oversight of accusations
“Individual Catholic bishops across the United States must renounce some of the supreme authority they have over their dioceses(link is external) to allow for the creation of a new national body to investigate misconduct allegations, Chicago Cardinal Cupich said. When the U.S. bishops meet in November to consider the continuing clergy sexual abuse crisis, Cupich said the prelates ‘have to be very clear about an accountability procedure for accusations about bishops.’” By Joshua J. McElwee and Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid abuse cover-up scandal
“Pope Francis accepted the resignation Friday (Oct. 12) of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl(link is external) after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals and lost the support of many in his flock. But in a letter released by Wuerl’s office, Francis praised his longtime ally and suggested Wuerl had unfairly become a scapegoat, having made some ‘mistakes’ in handling sex abuse cases, but not having covered them up.” By David Crary and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

O’Malley broadens review of sexual misconduct allegations at seminaries; hires outside law firm
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley is expanding a review of sexual misconduct allegations at a Brighton seminary to include two other seminaries(link is external), and he’s bringing in a new team of investigators with no current ties to the Boston Archdiocese, he said Thursday (Oct. 11) … Former US Attorney Donald K. Stern will lead a group of investigators from the firm of Yurko, Salvesen & Remz in a review of the allegations that surfaced over the summer regarding St. John’s Seminary, as well as a probe of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston and Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill.” By Travis Anderson, The Boston Globe

Cardinal O’Malley asks Vatican to review reports on Buffalo sex abuse
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley wants Vatican officials to read a series of investigative reports chronicling alleged mismanagement in the Diocese of Buffalo(link is external), where Bishop Richard Malone, a former auxiliary bishop in Boston, is facing calls to step down over his handling cases of clergy sexual abuse. An investigative reporter for WKBW, Charlie Specht, sent his three-part series about Bishop Malone to Cardinal O’Malley, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Victims of Catholic priest sex abuse file lawsuit again Vatican
Holding the Pope accountable for the actions of his priests(link is external); that is what a new lawsuit intends to do on behalf of two priest abuse survivors. The legal action is aimed at stopping the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests by forcing the Vatican to reveal everything it has on the subject. ‘The real problem is at the top,’ Attorney Jeff Anderson said. ‘It is at the Vatican. It is at the Pope. The present Pope and the past Popes.’” By Haaziq Madyun, KRON-TV News

Bridgeport prelate says accountability key for bishops’ fall summit
“Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has become one of the most closely watched American prelates at a time when the Church in the United States is in full crisis mode(link is external), making it perhaps unsurprising that he was the first bishop to raise the issue of clerical sex abuse during this month’s Vatican summit on young people. His name is now often rumored as a potential replacement for Cardinal Donald Wuerl in Washington, D.C. or for Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia when he reaches retirement age next year.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Chile survivors win lawsuit accusing two cardinals of cover-up
“In a decision being hailed as historic, three Chilean survivors of the country’s most infamous pedophile priest reportedly have won a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santiago. The court found two Catholic cardinals guilty of covering up for Fernando Karadima(link is external). The court’s decision hasn’t yet been made official, but it was published on Sunday (Oct. 21) by local newspaper La Tercera, and the three survivors who were suing the archdiocese quickly released a statement celebrating the decision.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Panel confronts abuse crisis, urging care for victims, higher ed reform
“Calls for radical structural reform, a more pastoral understanding of clerical sex abuse, and an informed-rather-than-emotional approach to the church’s sex abuse(link is external)and authority crises were issued by panelists during an Oct. 9 public discussion at Santa Clara University. Titled ‘The Catholic Church and the Catastrophe of Clergy Sexual Abuse,’ the live-streamed event packed the auditorium of the Jesuit university’s de Saisset Museum with a cross-section of students and community members and drew significant Bay Area media attention. Fr. Brendan McGuire, first of the four panelists to present, recounted his own sexual abuse at the age of 18 nearly 35 years ago by a priest he knew well.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Long relegated to counseling and therapy, the clergy sex abuse crisis is now a matter for federal authorities
“The Catholic Church has historically responded to the crisis of the sexual abuse of children by priests as a pastoral challenge(link is external). Victim after victim has been offered counseling and therapeutic services. Priests too were sent off to counseling and, in time, returned to ministry. To this day, hundreds of victims have letters from bishops expressing regrets over the moral failings of priests. Indeed, few clerics or church officials in the U.S. Catholic Church have met with adjudication or criminal convictions. Much has changed.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Catholic Church must reform canon law in wake of child sex abuse royal commission
“So, has the Australian Catholic Church ‘rejected mandatory reporting,’ as Al Jazeera published? Or did The Hindu get it right with their headline: ‘Australian Catholic leaders vow to end abuse cover-up’? The devil is, as always, in the detail. And there is a lot of detail.(link is external) The joint response from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), which represents nuns, sisters and brothers, monks and friars, says bishops and religious leaders accept most of the recommendations of the royal commission.” By Noel Debien, ABC News Australia

Federal prosecutors could tap several powerful laws to investigate clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania
“Coming one day after the General Assembly failed to advance a statute of limitations reform bill, news that the federal government had launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in Pennsylvania served to advocates a reminder that their fight is not over. ‘I’m not surprised. What was in this latest grand jury report was horrific,’ said Rep. Mark Rozzi, the Berks County Democrat who led the effort to enact a retroactive window into reform legislation.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

The Catholic sex abuse scandal takes down a cardinal
“On Friday (Oct. 12), Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl(link is external), the head of the Archdiocese of Washington. Wuerl submitted his letter of resignation three years ago, when he turned 75, as is customary for bishops. But in September, Wuerl traveled to Rome to urge the pope to finally accept it because of growing accusations over his role in handling sexual-abuse allegations in the Church. It’s the first major American resignation to result from this round of the Church’s sex-abuse crisis.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

Cardinal expands seminary review, brings in outside firm
“Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced in an Oct. 11 statement that he has engaged an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry into conduct and culture at St. John’s Seminary(link is external) as well as expand the scope of the inquiry to include all three seminaries sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston. In August, two former seminarians at St. John’s posted on social media websites, including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page, saying that they had ‘witnessed and experienced activities that are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood.’” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot

McCARRICK CASE

Clerical cronyism and secrecy shielded McCarrick and others
“Two months into the sex abuse scandal that forced Theodore McCarrick to renounce his cardinal’s red hat(link is external) and withdraw to a Capuchin friary in Kansas, Catholics are still asking, ‘How did this happen?’ How does someone like McCarrick advance to the pinnacle of Catholic power and stay there for so long when he carries so much baggage of crime and sin? Was there no vetting? Were there no background checks? Was someone protecting him?” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

The Pope ignores the damage as another prelate falls
“In his letter on Friday accepting the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Catholic archbishop of Washington, Pope Francis praised the departing prelate for his ‘nobility’ in not trying to defend ‘mistakes’ in his handling of sexual-abuse allegations. The pope misses the point.(link is external) The archbishop may not be as culpable as other bishops who more systematically covered up sexual predation, and in at least one case he took action that was initially thwarted by the Vatican. But a devastatingly detailed grand jury report on widespread child sex abuse in Pennsylvania churches showed that Cardinal Wuerl, as bishop of Pittsburgh, was immersed in a clerical culture that hid pedophilic crimes behind euphemisms, conducted unprofessional investigations and evaluations of accused priests, kept acknowledged cases of sex abuse secret from parish communities and avoided reporting the abuse to police.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

Pope expels two Chilean bishops from the priesthood over sex abuse
“In an extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, move, Pope Francis on Saturday (Oct. 13) imposed what’s tantamount to the Church’s version of capital punishment on two retired Chilean bishops accused of sexual abuse of minors, expelling them from the priesthood(link is external). In the case of Archbishop Francisco Cox, it’s a day some of his earliest victims have been awaiting for more than 40 years. The pope also removed from the clerical state the bishop emeritus of Iquique, Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, who retired from his position in 2012 at the age of 47.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Abuse scandal isn’t the only chapter in Donald Wuerl’s story
“Make no mistake: Cardinal Donald Wuerl resigned today (Oct. 12) because of allegations of mishandling cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external), and if he were to die tomorrow, his role in the abuse scandals would be how his obituary opened. However fair that linkage may be, it doesn’t matter. His resignation at this time, and under these circumstances, effectively sets it in cement.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

Irish primate says Vigano ‘hijacked’ World Meeting of Families
“While Ireland has long enjoyed a privileged place on the global Catholic map, the past few months have been particularly demanding for Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh(link is external)-largely due to the fact that the successor of Saint Patrick has been spending a lot of time with the successor of Saint Peter.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

BISHOPS

Response to sexual abuse crisis tops agenda for USCCB fall assembly
“The firestorm surrounding the clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external) and the way some bishops handled allegations of abuse against priests will be an important part of the agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly. The bishops have had to deal with seemingly endless revelations of allegations of abusive clergy since June, most of which referred to long-past incidents. New reports from media outlets also were expected as the Nov. 12-14 assembly in Baltimore approaches.” By Dennis Sadowski, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis removes Bishop Holley as head of Memphis diocese
“Pope Francis Wednesday (Oct. 24) removed Bishop Martin D. Holley from the pastoral government of the Diocese of Memphis(link is external) and appointed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville to oversee the diocese until further notice … The removal follows a Vatican investigation into the Diocese of Memphis in June to address concerns about major changes Bishop Holley, 63, had made. Among these was the reassignment of up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, according to local media reports.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, in The Pilot

Catholic bishops promising to fix sex abuse problem face cover-up accusations
“As Catholic bishops try to reassure the flock that the church is finally confronting the scourge of sexual abuse by priests(link is external), it has fallen to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, the president of the American bishops conference, to lead the effort. ‘I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures,’ said Cardinal DiNardo, in one of the many statements he has issued on sexual abuse in recent weeks. ‘It will take work to rebuild that trust.’” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Catholic clergy should elect its own bishops
“The recent revelations of corruption, abuse and neglect within the Catholic Church hierarchy have been a trial for every American Catholic. Abuse victims and their families have suffered unspeakably(link is external). Next to them, the greatest sufferers have surely been our innocent American clergymen, who bear the brunt of the shame, contempt, and anger directed at the church every day. A great majority of our clergymen share our outrage at clerical abuse. Priests all suffer for the sins of their brothers. Married deacons see their own children and grandchildren in the faces of the victims.” By Daniel E. Burns, The New York Times

Second deacon urges Buffalo bishop to resign over clergy abuse
“A Catholic church deacon who said he was molested by a priest as a teenager(link is external) has become the second cleric to call for Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign over his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations. Paul C. Emerson, a deacon at St. Joseph University Church in Buffalo, said in an interview with The News that Malone is complicit in a cover-up of the abuse and needs to step down for healing in the diocese to begin. ‘I think he should resign,’ said Emerson. ‘The guy has lost the confidence of a great number of people, people that need to trust their bishop.’” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

U.S. bishops must recapture spirit of collegial governance
“The Vatican announced last weekend (Oct. 6) that Pope Francis has ordered an internal investigation of all files related to the case of the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The statement clearly indicated that the pope recognized the need to cross the bridge that was deemed too far in 2002(link is external): Bishops will now be held accountable just as other clergy. For us Americans, weeks are an eternity, and so the recent accusation that the Vatican was ‘stonewalling’ requests by the brave U.S. bishops to get to the bottom of the McCarrick scandal seemed credible. In fact, the Vatican moves at its own pace.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Priest shortage forces parishes to alternate Sunday Mass
“People have worshipped at the site of the Catholic Church in Boho in County Fermanagh for more than 1,500 years. The Church of the Sacred Heart stands on the site of an early Christian monastery or nunnery where St Faber worked in the sixth century. In the graveyard stands a carved tenth century Celtic cross. But the continuous tradition of Christian worship in this parish has now been impacted by the shortage of priests(link is external). For the first time anyone here can remember, two weeks ago there was no Mass on Sunday.” By Julian Fowler, BBC News, Northern Ireland

Want to address priest sexual abuse? The Catholic Church needs to overhaul its seminaries
“Although clergy sexual abuse scandals aren’t new, the ones that have rocked the Catholic Church this summer revolved around a group seldom focused on before: seminarians … Many Catholics share a heightened, even unprecedented, level of concern(link is external) for the well-being of Catholic seminarians. They rightly wonder, as well, whether our seminaries can not only screen out potential sexual predators, but also rise to the challenge of preparing for life and ministry men who are emotionally mature, and psychologically and sexually healthy. This requires training for contemporary American society.” By Rev. Thomas V. Berg, The Washington Post

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

At the synod of bishops, three modes of listening to the young
“One of the buzzwords at the synod of Catholic bishops on young people is ‘listening.’ In the film ‘Casablanca,’ a kiss may be just a kiss, but in the Catholic Church, listening is never just listening. The bishops, who were called to Rome for this month-long meeting to discuss the church’s outreach to the young, have been urged by Pope Francis to listen to one another and especially to young people(link is external) … Not everyone, however, means the same thing when using the word “’listening.’ The word is being used in at least three different ways at the synod.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Catholic teaching on conscience is (again) topic of discussion at Synod
“Cardinals, bishops, priests and laypeople meeting in Rome to discuss how the church relates to young people appear to believe Catholic teaching on conscience deserves more attention(link is external). A round of reports from the synod’s working groups was released on Tuesday (Oct. 16), and some of the English-language groups suggested that young people will benefit from understanding Catholic teaching on conscience, while others seemed to worry that individual believers could be encouraged to rely on their own consciences even if they are at odds with church teaching.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Servant leadership: how the Synod on Young People is changing the hierarchy
“Here at the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, it’s been impossible to ignore the news that continues to rattle the church(link is external) … Still, even as those gathered in Rome absorb these latest developments, the reports from the Synod hall have largely been positive. A Panamanian bishop has described the atmosphere as one of ‘alegría,’ that is, of joy.” By Griffin Oleynick

Anti-abuse pioneer expects Synod of Bishops to take a stand
“As bishops take part in a summit on young people this month at the Vatican, an expert on clerical sexual abuse said Monday (Oct. 15) that he’s confident the question of abuse in the Church will be a part of the document to emerge from the gathering(link is external). ‘I have met a good number of participants at the synod, and I have talked to a good number of participants before it started, and they all told me that they would bring it up and they have brought it up. It has become a very important area of discussion, as I am informed,’ said German Father Hans Zollner, President of The Center for Child Protection (CCP) at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By Claire Giangravé, Cruxnow.com

The highs, the lows and the distractions of the Vatican Synod on Young People
“As the Catholic church’s month-long synod on young people reaches its halfway point here, there has been more excitement outside the synodal hall than inside(link is external). While Catholic bishops from around the world huddle at the Vatican to talk about young people, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un invited the pope for a visit, spurring a debate about how the pope should respond: Can the pope visit a dictator who has no respect for religious freedom? Will he, like President Trump, take the risk of a spur-of-the-moment visit, or will he delay the visit until his diplomats carefully prepare for the meeting?” By Religion News Service

Petition urges women’s votes at synod, but Dutch bishop disagrees”
“Although women’s voices are welcome and included at the ongoing Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome, women should not be allowed to vote during its deliberations, a Dutch bishop said. “This is a bishops’ synod,’ said Dutch Auxiliary Bishop Everard de Jong. ‘We have to listen to women, but there are no women bishops(link is external). We don’t have women cardinals. We have to live with that.’ De Jong, an auxiliary for the diocese of Roermond, Netherlands, spoke at a midday press conference Oct. 12, just hours after 10 organizations launched a petition calling for religious women superiors ‘to work and vote as equals alongside their brothers in Christ at meetings of the Synod of Bishops.’” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

After early votes, it’s clear Pope Francis has ‘his’ Synod of Bishops
“A Synod of Bishops is often described as the ‘Congress of the Catholic Church,’ with the College of Cardinals being the Catholic Senate. Both comparisons are terribly inexact, beginning with the fact that neither Catholic body holds any real power because it’s all in the hands of the pope(link is external). Yet there are certainly parallels, beginning with the fact that a synod, like the House of Representatives, has some procedural quirks that can shape outcomes. One is the sequence in which elections inside the synod are held.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Bishops, sisters discuss declining numbers of U.S. women religious
“The precipitous decline in the number of women in religious life(link is external) and what it means to the church has people thinking about how to prepare for the future. Their actions stem from data gathered by the National Religious Retirement Office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that projects an estimated 300 women’s religious institutes will likely phase out of existence in the next decade. The estimate is fueled by the fact that the overall number of women religious has declined by 75 percent since 1965 with no change in the trend expected.” By Dan Stockman, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

CHILD PROTECTION

Clergy of the Archdiocese of Washington credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors
Listing of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1948(link is external)By Archdiocese of Washington

CLERICALISM

Pope tells Jesuits clericalism a ‘perversion’ in the church
“Speaking to his brother Jesuits in Lithuania last month, Pope Francis solicited their support in moving forward the work of the Second Vatican Council. ‘I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church,’ he told 28 Jesuits during a private meeting during his trip to the Baltics. ‘I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism(link is external)…I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Issue of married Catholic priests gains traction under pope
“As the Vatican copes with the growing clergy sex abuse scandal and declining number of priests worldwide, it is laying the groundwork to open formal debate on an issue that has long been taboo: opening up the priesthood to married men in parts of the world where clergy are scarce(link is external). Pope Francis has convened a meeting of South American bishops next year focusing on the plight of the church in the Amazon, a vast territory served by far too few priests. During that synod, the question of ordaining married men of proven virtue — so-called ‘viri probati’ — is expected to figure on the agenda.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Editorial: ‘Knock, knock. Who’s there? More than half the church!’
“‘Knock, knock. Who’s there? More than half the church!’ There is a sense of inevitability to the point behind the chant that grabbed global attention when it was shouted out during a peaceful protest at the Vatican Oct. 3 as bishops and cardinals made their way to the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on young people. Organized by the Women’s Ordination Conference, the protest highlighted the fact that no women were permitted to vote at the synod sessions(link is external) … It’s a catchy meter. Speaking of women, as it does, it’s true. Visit any church, anywhere, any Sunday. No one needs a scientific survey to accept the claim.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Listening sessions bring out debate on church’s direction
Tense listening sessions in the archdiocese on the clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external)continued, as Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone met with several dozen Catholics at St. Mary’s Cathedral Oct. 17 and St. Stephen Church Oct. 18. The archbishop reviewed the child protection policies in place, along with a 30 year review of recent cases of clergy sex abuse … In total, the archdiocese has spent $87 million to settle 125 cases brought against the archdiocese for sex abuse claims against clergy and lay people … A significant concern for many was how to keep bishops accountable, with one speaker concerned that the hierarchy only seemed responsive when pressed by the government or the media. By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco

VOICES

Why the stay. Why the can’t: New York Catholics wrestle with their faith over abuse allegations
“New York City is a Roman Catholic stronghold. One out of every three residents identifies as a Catholic. And there are more than four million Catholics in the city and seven surrounding counties. So when a series of scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church unfolded in rapid-fire succession this summer, New York gasped … The revelations have forced a painful reckoning that continues to reverberate across the five boroughs(link is external), among the devout and the lapsed, young and old, newcomers and native-born. Their disparate internal struggles offer a window into the rich complexities of Catholicism in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Here are 10 of their stories.” By Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Mariana Alfaro, The New York Times

Open letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops
“Dear United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: The Catholic Church in the USA is at a defining moment(link is external). Ever since revelations of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests and a subsequent cover up by Catholic bishops shook the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, similar sordid tales have surfaced in other Catholic dioceses across the United States with regrettable regularity. Nor is this a uniquely American phenomenon, as patterns of widespread sexual abuse and ecclesiastical malfeasance have emerged in a number of countries, including Chile, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Brazil, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.  While difficult even to contemplate, this global crisis in the Church is likely to be only in the incipient stages …” By Villanova University Task Force on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church

Time doesn’t heal sexual assault if victims are silenced
“Christine Blasey Ford’s recent testimony added fuel to an already heated discussion on how we should respond to abuse allegations. Regardless of politics, pastor and author Ed Stetzer called for caution in how we speak about abuse so that we don’t harm victims(link is external) within our own communities. Research confirms that victims stay silent because of a negative community culture toward abuse and often don’t receive emotional support. According to therapist Connie Baker, herself a sexual abuse survivor, our response as a church community can make tragic situations worse or they can help with the healing process.” By Kimi Harris, Christianity Today

The Catholic Church crisis: a personal memoir
“It’s been around 15 years since my firm was retained by an order of the Catholic Church embroiled in a crisis involving charges of pedophilia and cover-up(link is external). Periodically, when new developments occur, such as the massive Pennsylvania abuse scandal(link is external) that surfaced in August, my thoughts naturally revert to that experience. Each time, I ask myself what if anything has been learned. Each time, I wonder too about the larger socio-cultural impact of this seemingly endless ordeal.” By Richard Levick, Forbes

Catholic Church must clean house on priest sex abuse
“On Oct. 8, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and other senior members of the conference just 48 hours after ordering an investigation into Vatican archives concerning former archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, who resigned in July, CBSNews.com reported … The church, from Pope Francis on down, must clean its house. Let justice be done(link is external).” By Journal Times Editorial Board

Catholic Church must expose all abusive priests
“Catholic Church officials in Texas are finally taking the right approach to the horrendous scandal of priests who sexually abused children. The only way to deal with this outrage is to fully expose it and make every effort to ensure it never happens again(link is external). To do that, however, Catholic officials in the Beaumont diocese and others in Texas need to completely follow through on this pledge so that all Texans can be confident in their findings.” By Beaumont Enterprise Editorial Board

Let U.S. Catholics arise and stand ahead of bishop presidents’ Rome summit
“In the United States, our bishops determined that the faithful should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the eucharistic prayer. Elsewhere in the world, the faithful arise and stand after the memorial acclamation. I was thinking of this when reading in NCR that Pope Francis has summoned all of the presidents of the world’s various conferences of Catholic bishops to Rome for a February meeting on clergy sexual abuse. The theme of the meeting, to be held Feb. 21-24, is the ‘protection of minors.’(link is external) As our own episcopal conference prepares to go to this meeting, I was looking to find some tangible sign of hope that we could prayerfully express as the people of God. I kept thinking of how the rest of the universal church arises after the memorial acclamation and stands in prayer. Should we not rise too?” By James Keenan, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

It’s time for churches to account for their cash says sex abuse royal commissioner
All Australian churches should be made to open their books(link is external) to account more thoroughly for their billions of dollars in assets and revenue, a member of the child abuse royal commission has said. Robert Fitzgerald AM, one of the six commissioners who oversaw the five-year royal commission, will call on Wednesday (Oct. 23) for the scrapping of special exemptions that have until now allowed half of church charities, including much of the Catholic and Anglican church networks, to avoid financial reporting to the charities watchdog, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.” By Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders, The Sydney Morning Herald

Principals stole $800,000 from El Paso Catholic school for travel, casinos
“A former principal and assistant principal of an El Paso Catholic school were arrested for allegedly taking $800,000 to fund a lavish lifestyle(link is external), El Paso police officials said Tuesday (Oct. 16). The charges stem from financial irregularities found in a 2016 Diocese of El Paso audit after the retirement of the two administrators of St. Joseph’s School in 2015.” By Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times

Providence Diocese in top half of dioceses in report on financial transparency
A Roman Catholic group that seeks accountability within the church gathered in Providence Saturday (Oct. 6) and released a score sheet on the financial transparency of every Catholic diocese in the United States(link is external). Voice of the Faithful, a non-clergy organization formed in 2002 after news reports on widespread sex abuse in the Diocese of Boston, released its second annual report on financial transparency at a conference that drew about 150 members. The organization again rated 177 Catholic dioceses based on availability of information ranging from audited financial statements to contact information for each diocesan business office and the posting of parish financial guidelines.” By Mark Reynolds, Oct. 6, 2018, Providence Journal

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

New plan would bar clergy sex abuse victims from suing Catholic Church, critics say
“On the last session day of the year for the Pennsylvania Senate, lawmakers are clashing over revisions to a bill to reform child sex crime laws(link is external) that would protect the Catholic Church from lawsuits. Some advocates have urged lawmakers to approve a window to allow clergy sex abuse victims to file civil suits, even if the abuse occurred decades ago and is beyond the statutes of limitation. But critics say a new proposal would bar victims from using that window to sue institutions, including the Catholic Church.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Scarnati: Most GOP senators see problems with bill to help clergy abuse victims
“The top Republican in the state Senate said Tuesday (Oct. 16) that the majority of GOP senators in the chamber agree with him that a pending bill designed to help older victims of child sexual abuse has serious problems and needs fixing(link is external). But Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, also said he has not formally polled his membership to see where they stand on allowing a temporary suspension in the civil statute of limitations so that victims older than 30 can sue their tormentors for decades-old abuse.” By Liz Navartil, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania attorney general calls for not statute of limitations in wake of clergy abuse report
“After the release of a grand jury report detailing some of the alleged sexual abuse of children by members of Pennsylvania’s Catholic clergy, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined advocates for victims of clergy abuse and other elected officials to call change for an end to the statute of limitations(link is external) for child sex abuse. ‘I want to be clear, we unearthed an organized criminal enterprise here in Pennsylvania, for now, they got away with some of it,’ Shapiro said while calling for Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub joined Shapiro and victim advocates to encourage the state legislature to pass reforms to the period of time allowed to pursue sexual abuse cases.” By NBC10 Staff

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

One bishop could lead the way to another bishop being the first charged for sex abuse
“The call last year from Pope Francis’ representative in Washington took the Rev. Steven Biegler by surprise. A priest in South Dakota, Biegler learned he was the choice to become the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., leading the state’s 55,000 Catholics … But as it turned out, one of his first major decisions upon arriving in Cheyenne involved saying no … Bishop Joseph Hart, 87, stands accused of multiple acts of sexual abuse(link is external) now deemed credible by both the Missouri and Wyoming dioceses that he served.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

New South Wales commits extra $127 million to abuse prevention and support
“The New South Wales Government has committed an extra $127 million to help implement key recommendations from the child sexual abuse royal commission(link is external). The new money, which brings the government’s total contribution to the redress scheme to $570 million, will mostly go towards the prevention of child sexual abuse but will also improve support for children and adult survivors.” By CathNews.com

ALASKA

Reckoning over allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church reaches Alaska
“The Alaska Department of Law will assist in an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct reported to the Archdiocese of Anchorage(link is external), ABC News has learned. On Wednesday (Oct. 24), Archbishop Paul Etienne announced the formation of an independent commission comprised of former law enforcement officials ‘to review all personnel files of clerics and religious men and women’ who have served the archdiocese since its formation in 1966.” By Pete Madden, ABC News

CALIFORNIA

Bay area: 263 Catholic priests on sex abuse accusation list
“As Bay Area Catholic leaders are increasingly under pressure to name priests accused of abusing children, a Minnesota law firm published a report Tuesday (Oct. 23) identifying 212 priests in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco dioceses accused of sexual misconduct involving kids(link is external). The report names 135 accused offenders in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 95 in the Oakland diocese and 33 in the San Jose diocese, though 51 names are duplicates because some of the priests worked in more than one Bay Area diocese. Earlier this month, the San Jose diocese released its own list of credibly accused priests that had only 15 names, which this report calls ‘deficient.’” By Matthias Gafni and Julia Prodis Sulek, The Marin Journal

San Jose bishop names 15 priests accused of child sex abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of San Jose on Thursday (Oct. 18) released the names of 15 clergy members who were known by the church to be child sex abusers(link is external). At least nine priests on the list are dead, and the rest are permanently banned from the ministry. Many of the allegations were already publicly known through lawsuits and news reports.” By Kimberly Veklerov and Ashley McBride

Fresno Catholic diocese ‘pondering’ whether to name local priests accused of sex crimes
“Bishop Armando X. Ochoa is working with a review board to determine what information the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno may release about area priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external), including the possibility of publicly identifying those priests by name. Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said Ochoa in early September raised the issue with the Fresno Diocesan Review Board.” By Yesenia Amaro, The Fresno Bee

FLORIDA

Man sues St. Petersburg Catholic diocese over alleged child sexual abuse by priest
“A former Tampa Bay resident has filed a lawsuit against two Catholic Dioceses alleging that they turned a blind eye against a priest accused of molesting children(link is external). The lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York and the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.” By Mary Stringini, ABC Action News

ILLINOIS

Peoria at center of sex-abuse suit filed against Catholic bishops and dioceses statewide
“Taking particular aim at Peoria, a lawsuit claims Catholic dioceses and bishops statewide conspired to create a decades-long public ‘nuisance’ that endangered children(link is external) by failing to release the names and files of clergy accused of sexual abuse. Filed in Cook County Circuit Court late Thursday (Oct. 19), the suit relies heavily on allegations of pedophilia by two Peoria clergy. One was removed from ministry years ago, while the other never has been publicly associated with such charges.” By Phil Luciano, Peoria Journal Star

Illinois Catholic bishops sued for conspiracy
“Illinois Catholic bishops and a number of dioceses are tied up in a lawsuit linked to sexual harassment and assault cases(link is external). Of those named in the lawsuit, is the diocese in Springfield. Three sexual abuse survivors will be speaking publicly for the first time about sexual abuse and how their reports are being handled in the dioceses of Springfield, Rockford and Peoria.” By Leslie Moreno, Fox News Illinois

List of Louisiana clergy accused of sex abuse remains mystery; financial toll gives clues to why
“Archbishop Gregory Aymond, clad in purple vestments symbolizing atonement, lay prostrate on the altar of St. Joseph Church during a special Mass of healing in August, a demonstration of contrition for the horrific acts of rape and abuse suffered by children at the hands of priests. His homily called for reflection on the sins of the Catholic Church. Standing before the faithful, he said, ‘As leaders of the church, it is time for us to repent.’ So far, that confession has translated into weeks of public apology, but not the release of a full accounting of priests and other church leaders accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) that many victims have demanded.” By Jerry Dicolo, The New Orleans Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest on list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse changed his name
“The pain of the sexual abuse(link is external) that Mark Powell says he suffered while studying at a religious order in Iowa 41 years ago, deepened after learning his abuser later became a Catholic priest. ‘Even when I was being abused I was praying the Hail Mary, I’d be praying the Our Father that it would stop,’ he told the I-Team.” By Cheryl Fiandaca, WBZ-TV News

NEW MEXICO

Federal judge orders accused pedophile priest to remain in jail
“An accused pedophile priest who was on the run(link is external) for nearly three decades has lost his fight to get out of jail. Arthur Perrault, 80, was brought back to the U.S. last month to face rape charges stemming from the 1990s. Prosecutors argued given his history he was a flight risk, and the judge ordered him to stay locked up until his trial.” By KRQE Media

NEW YORK

Fr. Joe Gatto, president of Buffalo Diocese seminary, placed on leave after misconduct allegation
“The Rev. Joseph C. Gatto, who runs the seminary for the Diocese of Buffalo, has been placed on administrative leave by the diocese, as he faces an allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external). On Thursday (Oct. 18) morning, Gatto told I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht that he is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, which prepares men for the priesthood in the Buffalo Diocese.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Malone cannot do the job as Buffalo’s bishop
“It is a sign of the Catholic church’s peril that the question of who leads the Buffalo Diocese is among the least of its worries. Any organization that countenances pedophilia among its leaders is on the road to perdition. For a church to have done it is unimaginable. Nevertheless, local leadership matters and, for the second time, a deacon has called for Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign(link is external) over his handling of credible accusations of sexual abuse by clergy. Malone, who has previously declared his intention to stay on, needs to heed the advice. He is a symbol of the church’s unwillingness to confront its culpability.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Teen sex-abuse victim uses Rockville Centre Diocese, Patchogue church
“The former music director at a Roman Catholic church in Patchogue sexually abused a teen girl repeatedly for more than a year(link is external) as church workers ignored policies put in place to protect children, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. The girl, who was 15 when the alleged abuse started in 2015, was sexually assaulted in a chapel and in a classroom at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, as well as in the music director’s car and at a motel in Patchogue, states the lawsuit, which was filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau County.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Alleged child sex-abuse ‘substantiated’ against second Staten Island pastor
“‘Credible’ child sex-abuse allegations have been made(link is external) against a second monsignor who was a pastor and Irish musician on Staten Island, according to the Archdiocese of New York. Monsignor Charles Coen is one of four monsignors and a priest “who had an allegation of sexual abuse of minors brought against them in the Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program [IRCP],” according to Catholic New York.” By Maura Grunlund, SILive.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Justice department issues subpoena to Altoona-Johnstown diocese in priest child sexual abuse probe
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown became the last of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses to confirm it had been served a subpoena as part of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged child sexual abuse and cover-ups(link is external) carried out by the Catholic Church within the commonwealth. ‘In recent days, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown received inquiries about a federal grand jury subpoena that has been acknowledged by the other dioceses of Pennsylvania,’ according to a statement emailed by Tony DeGol, Altoona-Johnstown’s secretary for communications, on Tuesday (Oct. 23).” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

‘It’s a beginning’: Catholics vent anger over sexual abuse in Greensburg
“More than two months after a landmark state grand jury report told a devastating history of sexual abuse by priests, more than 200 Catholics gathered at Greensburg’s cathedral to report back(link is external). In short, they were angry at the reports of sexual abuse by priests and the cover-ups that followed. At the first of a series of listening sessions being held throughout the Diocese of Greensburg in the coming weeks, Bishop Edward Malesic paced the center aisle of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, listening as the microphone passed from one person to another, each angered over the reports of abuse, but often for different reasons.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburg Post-Gazette

History of priest abuse in Altoona
“To understand how wide this abuse within the Catholic Dioceses spans, you really have to look at where it all began(link is external). The first reports that stemmed a further investigation and pushed for change to the current Statute of Limitations came after allegations against priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese. The first reports of abuse publicly happened back in March of 2016.” By Emma Catalano, WTAJ-TV News

Former Erie diocese priest admits to sexual assault
“A former priest in the Diocese of Erie has admitted to sexually assaulting one boy and attempting to assault another boy(link is external), the state attorney general’s office said Wednesday. David Poulson pleaded guilty to two felony crimes – corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children – in a hearing in Jefferson County Common Court.” By Ron Southwick, PennLive.com

Catholic Church sex abuse survivors speak in Harrisburg
“Just after 10 a.m., a group of people standing in Pennsylvania’s state capitol building was given a cue: begin reading. But the words were difficult to say, especially out loud. Sentences like ‘One of the victims was as young as 13 years old(link is external),’ began spilling from their lips. Their words couldn’t be posted on Facebook or found in an adult bookstore. But they echoed down the hall outside Senate chambers.” By Jaccii Farris, WFMZ-TV News

Priest put on leave after allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, Pittsburgh diocese says
“A Diocese of Pittsburgh priest has been put on leave after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) were presented to Bishop David Zubik, the diocese announced Saturday (Oct. 13). Father Joseph Reschick, 67, who was serving as pastor of St. Rosalia Parish in Greenfield, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Father Reschick denies the allegation, but has been placed on administrative leave.” By Sam Ruland, York Daily Record

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ex-Catholic priest, 75, gets 20 years in South Carolina prison for child sex abuse
“A judge in South Carolina has sentenced a former Catholic priest to 20 years in prison for sexually molesting children(link is external). Wayland Brown, 75, was sentenced to prison Tuesday (Oct. 23) by a circuit judge in Jasper County after pleading guilty to six child sex abuse charges. Brown was originally charged with nine counts of first degree and second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor when state prosecutors indicted him in August 2017.” By Drew Tripp, ABCNews4

TEXAS

Former Catholic priest gets 20 years in child rape case
“A 76-year-old former Catholic priest who already has served jail time for molesting boys in Maryland was sentenced Tuesday (Oct. 23) to 20 years in prison in South Carolina for raping boys from a middle school(link is external) four decades ago. Wayland Yoder Brown wore his priest collar while attacking the boys, then prayed the rosary with them, Solicitor Duffie Stone said.” By Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press on MySanAntonio.com

VIRGINIA

Virginia attorney general investigating the Catholic Church, adding to growing list of state probes
“The attorney general of Virginia said Wednesday (Oct. 24) that he is investigating clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external), adding to a rapidly growing list of state investigations. Attorney General Mark R. Herring said his probe was motivated by the Pennsylvania grand jury report, issued in August, that found more than 300 ‘predator priests’ had abused more than 1,000 children in that state since 1947.” By Daniel Burke, CNN

Survivors group calls for Virginia to conduct Catholic priests’ abuse investigations
“The Archdiocese of Washington released a list Monday (Oct. 15) of 28 former priests ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.’ A group representing survivors of clergy sex abuse quickly responded(link is external) by labeling the list ‘incomplete.’ SNAP called for the attorneys general in Virginia, Maryland and Washington to begin independent investigations when it released its findings. Virginia’s Attorney General is Mark Herring.” By CNN Wire on WTKR-TV

WASHINGTON, D.C.

D.C attorney general opens inquiry into sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Washington
“D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said Tuesday (Oct. 23) that his office has begun an investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Washington(link is external), the latest in a string of state-level law enforcement officials now looking into the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse complaints. The investigation, announced by Racine at a regularly scheduled breakfast among the District’s elected officials, will bring scrutiny to Catholic leaders who have come under intense criticism in recent months.” By Peter Jamison and Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

WEST VIRGINIA

Vest Virginia Catholic Church promises full disclosure on sex scandal
“The Catholic Church sex abuse scandal is one of the great tragedies of our time, with thousands of instances where men in positions of respect and authority abused children(link is external). The scandal was made even worse by church leaders who covered up the abuses. Most recently, a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed how the Catholic Church concealed 70 years of child sexual abuses by priests. The investigation identified more than 1,000 child sex abuse victims in six Pennsylvania dioceses.” By Hoppy Kercheval, MetroNews.com

AUSTRALIA

Former Catholic priest faces fresh allegations of assaulting boy
“A former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting multiple girls and boys(link is external) in Perth has been charged with another offence. Patrick Holmes, 83, originally faced 15 charges of child abuse over a 25 year period, but another charge involving the indecent assault of a young boy now brings his total charges to 16.” By Laura Hedges, Daily Mail Australia

Redress scheme amended after survivor outcry
“Child sexual abuse survivors will no longer be forced to disclose the impact of the abuse(link is external) to the institutions involved in order to join a national redress scheme. The federal government says it will ‘fine tune’ an application form for joining the scheme, so applicants can choose whether or not share an impact statement with the institution in which they were abused.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Oblate religious order covered up decades of sexual abuse of First Nations children, victims allege
“‘He’d let us drive. He knew how to do everything. We were impressed to see a priest act that way,’ recalls Jason Petiquay. Petiquay was 11 when he was sexually abused by Raynald Couture, an Oblate missionary(link is external) who worked in Wemotaci, Que., from 1981 to 1991. The Atikamekw community was one of many remote First Nations communities in Quebec where priests belonging to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate were spiritual leaders and authority figures for generations.” By CBC News on ca.news.yarhoo.com

Calgary priest faces allegations of sexual misconduct; bishop outlines new abuse protocol
“As Calgary’s Catholic bishop outlined steps being taken to prevent sexual abuse Wednesday (Oct. 10), officials said the diocese is facing allegations of sexual misconduct involving a Calgary priest(link is external). According to the diocese, the allegations involving a minor and an adult stem from the priest’s time at a Vancouver parish. The priest has been suspended in Calgary as the investigation in Vancouver takes place. Bishop William McGrattan said the allegations were announced in parishes in Vancouver, Edmonton and three in Calgary over the weekend.” By Yolanda Cole, Calgary Herald

CHILE

Chile abuse survivors say pope’s iron fist offers glimmer of hope
“For survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Chile, much about the Church’s response from Pope Francis and others in the hierarchy strikes them as too slow, too ambiguous, and too little. They say a recent case in which the pontiff acted with more of an iron fist, however, offered a glimmer of hope(link is external). ‘I can say that this is a small door of hope for victims and survivors who still haven’t been able to recognize their pain, who cannot speak or even comprehend the suffering they were put through,’ said Abel Soto, a man who was abused by former Archbishop Francisco Cox of Chile, who was expelled from the priesthood by Francis last week.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Government inquiry documents abuse at Catholic orphanages in Scotland
“A new report published Thursday (Oct. 5) in Scotland shows that children suffered abuse at two children’s care homes run by a Catholic religious order(link is external), both of which have been closed for decades. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) said that the two children’s facilities run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul – Smyllum Park in Lanark and Bellevue House in Rutherglen – were ‘places of fear, coercive control, threat, excessive discipline and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, where they found no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort.’” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

GUAM

Another Catholic priest accused of abuse in Guam
“A lawsuit filed on Guam has accused another Catholic priest of child sex abuse in the 1970s. The 5-million dollar lawsuit alleges that Father George Maddock abused the 9-year-old altar boy while swimming. This is the first lawsuit against Father Maddock, who died recently in New York. But several other priests on Guam – including former Archbishop Anothony Apuron – face nearly 200 lawsuits alleging abuse and a subsequent cover-up.” By Radio New Zealand

INDIA

Telangana priest held in U.S. for sexual abuse of minor
“A Catholic priest from Telangana, preaching in Rapid City diocese in South Dakota state, was arrested in the United States for sexual contact with a minor(link is external). Thirty-eight-year-old John Praveen, also known as John Praveen Kumar Itukulapati, was arrested on Tuesday (Oct. 16) (Wednesday in India). He has been charged with two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16, a class 3 felony which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $30,000 on each count.” By MSN.com

NEW ZEALAND

Police investigating former Catholic priest
“An ex-Catholic priest living in Asia who was nicknamed ‘the Phantom Feeler’ by boys at a leading Wellington Catholic school is being investigated by police(link is external). A witness to the priest allegedly groping boys in the 1970s said the Church and school must do more to uncover the extent of Father AM Donnelly’s alleged crimes. Police recently interviewed two men in their 50s who said they saw the dormitory master groping a boy under the sheets one night in a dorm at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, in 1974.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

POLAND

Poland’s ruling party pressures cinemas to stop showing blockbuster film about Catholic Church abuse
“A new film exposing the ills of the Catholic Church(link is external) has proved a surprise hit in Poland and become a target of the Right-wing government. Kler (‘Clergy’) has drawn 3 million viewers in just two weeks, becoming one of the country’s biggest box office successes. The film has been praised for its handling of clerical child abuse, a major taboo in the deeply Catholic country.” By Dariusz Kalan, The Telegraph

SPAIN

How the Spanish Catholic Church has been hiding abuse cases for decades
“For decades, the Spanish Catholic Church has been keeping quiet on the majority of sexual abuse cases involving minors(link is external) of which it had knowledge or tried in its ecclesiastical courts. The facts of these incidents were not passed on to the public prosecutor, nor were sentences imposed against pedophile priests made public, apart from a handful of exceptions – most of which were forced.” By Jose Manuel Romero and Julio Nunez, El Pais

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