Posts Tagged Catholic Church reform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


February 8, 2019

TOP STORIES

New York Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle
“The long and bitter battle for legislation that would allow New York sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other organizations for monetary damages ended with victory(link is external) Monday (Jan. 28) when the state Senate passed the Child Victims Act. The vote was 63 to nothing, a spokeswoman for one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, said. The new law does away with the statutes of limitations that have prevented some alleged abuse victims from going to court to seek damages. And it includes a one-year ‘look-back window’ that will allow others who weren’t able to sue in the past to file fresh claims.” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC News

Catholic leaders in Texas name 286 accused of abusing children
“Catholic leaders in Texas on Thursday Jan. 31) identified 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children. The number represents one of the largest collections of names to be released since an explosive grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania(link is external). Fourteen dioceses in Texas named those credibly accused of abuse. The only diocese on Thursday not to provide names, Fort Worth, had done so more than a decade ago and then provided an updated accounting in October.” By CBS News

Vatican summit to create task force to aid bishops in safeguarding
“Since the work of child protection must continue after the February meeting at the Vatican on safeguarding, one organizer said they plan on creating a ‘task force’ with teams on every continent. The task force would be just one of a number of ‘concrete measures that we want to offer the bishops of the world(link is external),’ Jesuit Father Hans Zollner told the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano Jan. 24.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Church historian says sex abuse poses biggest threat to church in 500 years
“A month before the start of a global summit in Rome on the sex abuse crisis, a prominent church historian and theologian said last week that the issue poses the biggest challenge to the church in 500 years(link is external). ‘This is not like the Protestant Reformation; it’s not,’ Massimo Faggioli, a Villanova University professor, said in a talk at Immaculate Conception Church in Hampton, Virginia. ‘But in my opinion, it’s the most serious crisis in the Catholic Church since the Protestant Reformation.’” By Robert McCabe, National Catholic Reporter

Francis expresses openness to married priests in places of ‘pastoral necessity’
“Pope Francis closed the door Jan. 27 on his making celibacy optional for all Catholic priests, but also expressed openness to allowing older married men to be ordained to the priesthood(link is external) where there is a ‘pastoral necessity.’ In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a five-day visit to Panama, the pontiff first stated firmly: ‘I am not in agreement with making celibacy optional.’ But the pope then noted that there are areas of the world where Catholics are deprived of the Eucharist.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope acknowledges nuns were sexually abused by priests and bishops
“Pope Francis said on Tuesday (Feb. 5) that the Roman Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops(link is external), the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue. Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. But Francis has never raised the issue until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.” By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

The law that could hold Catholic bishops accountable
“We don’t know the details of the many ways in which church authorities covered up the scandals, often leading pedophiles to be transferred to other parishes where they were free to victimize more children. But here is one example of such efforts, and of a law passed by a young San Antonio legislator in an attempt to pierce the secrecy(link is external).” By Rick Casey, The Rivard Report

UN probes Italy’s role in Church’s child abuse scandals
“A United Nations Committee for the protection of minors questioned the Italian government last week about clerical sexual abuse(link is external) in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges. “We are saddened by the lack of information regarding sexual abuse against minors by Catholic clergy, and we are concerned by the information we have received that points to numerous clerical abuse victims,’ said Spanish Professor Jorge Cardona, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, during a Jan. 22-23 hearing.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Catholic child abuse perpetrators have been convicted and jailed, but not those who protected them
“In 2010 Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, first raised holding the Vatican accountable for the global child sexual abuse scandal(link is external) by viewing it as a human rights abuse issue. In his book, The Case of the Pope, Robertson argued that unless the then Pope Benedict XVI divested the Vatican of its controversial statehood and devotion to canon law, the Catholic Church would remain a serious enemy to the advance of human rights.” By The Newcastle Herald

The Catholic Church faces its past
“In February, Catholic bishops from around the world will attend a summit at the Vatican to discuss how to tackle child abuse within the church(link is external). Last year a series of inquiries shook the church, embroiling Pope Francis in the biggest crisis of his papacy. Investigations found that historical sexual abuse had been covered up for decades, and thousands of victims gave evidence of rape and abuse. In the UK, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse is examining the extent of any institutional failures to protect children by the Catholic church in Birmingham.” By India Rakusen, Harriet Sherwood and Tom Phillips, The Guardian

A reckoning on clergy sex abuse
“The release of a report by a statewide grand jury detailing the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, and an institutional cover-up across six dioceses stretching all the way to the Vatican, has sparked a movement and reckoning across our country(link is external) … But while all of this is happening, one important response has not happened: Our Legislature has not approved reforms recommended by the grand jury to prevent this kind of horrendous, systemic abuse from reoccurring — and to give victims of clergy abuse their day in court.” By Josh Shapiro, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

Summit, lawyers discuss what’s needed to solve church’s abuse problem
“Permanent solutions to the church’s sexual abuse crisis are going to require a greater level of lay participation and more legal muscle. These were conclusions discussed at two events in Washington: a lawyers’ panel at the Catholic Information Center, sponsored by the Thomas More Society Jan. 31, and a media conference Feb. 2 following the Leadership Roundtable’s Catholic Partnership Summit Feb. 1-2.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Madigan, Shapiro discuss abuse ahead of Vatican summit
“The first ever global summit on abuse is scheduled to take place later this month at the Vatican. Pope Francis says it will focus on how church leaders handle allegations. But in Chicago Monday (Feb. 4), two lead investigators say the catholic church can no longer police itself(link is external). This summer first it was the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro who released his shocking grand jury report. Then, Attorney General Lisa Madigan opened an Illinois investigation. Shapiro alongside Madigan at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics — detailed what they uncovered as they examined the Catholic Church records on priest abuse.” By NBC5 Chicago News

Voices against clergy sex abuse plan visit to Vatican
“Two of Pennsylvania’s most prominent voices for victims of child sexual abuse plan to be in Vatican City(link is external) and Rome when presidents of the Catholic bishops’ conferences of the world meet with Pope Francis later this month. Shaun Dougherty, a Westmont resident, and state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, want to use the event as a way to bring attention to the legislator’s proposal to modify commonwealth law by creating a two-year retroactive window for past victims to file claims even if the statute of limitations has already expired.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

Prominent survivor submits recommendations for Vatican abuse summit
“A prominent survivor of clerical sexual abuse has called on the Church to clearly define abuse in canon law and implement a zero-tolerance policy(link is external) at the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on the issue. Irishwoman Marie Collins was appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014, but resigned in 2017, citing Vatican resistance to reform … In explaining her recommendations, Collins said she wanted the officials to ‘move forward efficient and effective means by which minors can be better protected in the Catholic Church globally without further delay.’” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

How the Vatican summit’s moderator approaches the problem of clerical sexual abuse
“The moderator of the Vatican’s February summit on child sexual abuse has written an article outlining his take on the Church’s most effective models of response for addressing its sexual abuse crisis(link is external) … Fr. Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit and former papal spokesman, will be a central actor in the Feb. 21-24 meeting, which will convene the leaders of bishops’ conferences from around the world to discuss the clerical sexual abuse of minors.” By Andrea Galiarducci, Catholic News Agency, on Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis on Venezuela, married priests, and the sex abuse summit
“‘I am frightened of a bloodbath in Venezuela,’ Pope Francis told reporters on the flight from Panama to Rome on Jan. 27. It was the most significant comment he made in a 47 minute press conference in which he answered a wide range of questions(link is external), including his expectations for the Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of children and the eradication of abuse in the church, the possibility of ordaining mature married men (viri probati) as priests, the need for sexual education in school, the issue of migration and an evaluation of his visit to Panama.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

After damaging year, Pope Francis calls for 4-day clerical sex abuse summit
“Investigations into child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests took a highly public turn last year. State prosecutors took the novel step of releasing the names of hundreds of accused priests, as well as those who covered up their crimes(link is external). As NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports, the revelations and the church’s response severely damaged the church’s credibility and Pope Francis’s reputation. In response, he has called for an extraordinary four-day summit on sex abuse next month.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

Pope Francis is in Panama for Catholic Church’s World Youth Day
“Pope Francis is in Central America. He’s in Panama to attend the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day(link is external). While travelling, the pope was asked about the wall that President Trump wants to build on the border with Mexico. And the pope responded by saying, it is fear that makes us crazy.” By Steve Inskeep, Morning Edition, National Public Radio

CARDINALS

Cardinal DiNardo speaks on ‘healing breach of trust’ caused by sex a use crisis
“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), echoed Pope Francis’s call for a ‘new ecclesial season,’ in response to the clergy sex abuse scandals, saying that one positive fruit of the present crisis could be a deeper embrace of the Second Vatican Council. DiNardo’s remarks came during a day-long conference on Wednesday (Feb. 6) sponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology(link is external) at the Catholic University of America on ‘The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis: Theological and Historical Foundations.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Top U.S. cardinal let priest accused of sexual abuse lead Mass
“The cardinal who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops allowed a priest to celebrate Mass the same day his name was among those released on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo told the Rev. John T. Keller on Wednesday (Jan. 30) evening that he would be placed on administrative leave the next day, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Friday (Feb 1). DiNardo allowed Keller to lead the 9 a.m. Thursday Mass at his parish, the statement said, because Keller ‘was already scheduled to celebrate’ it.” By Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press

PRIESTS

New report warns against priests placing themselves above laity
“First comes baptism, then comes holy orders, a Boston College report about forming new priests reminds seminary educators and others in a study released in December 2018. The paper, titled ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry(link is external),’ argues that sacramental doctrine is a starting point in transforming seminary formation. Priests in today’s church need skills in forming communities and working with all the baptized faithful, particularly women, the study proposes.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic abuse scandal galvanizes Mount Angel seminarians’ resolve
“Has the onslaught of church sex abuse and authority exploitation disclosures of recent months given men who are actively discerning priestly vocations pause to step back, hold the church in contempt, even walk away? Apparently not at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, according to students, faculty and staff there. If anything, the crisis seems to have galvanized the resolve of many priesthood-seekers at the West Coast’s largest seminary(link is external) to serve the church rather than stiff-arm it.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

New Boston College report on the priesthood addresses pressing need
“The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry has distinguished itself again at sentire cum ecclesia, thinking with the church, about an issue of enormous ecclesial importance(link is external), issuing a short, 10-page report entitled ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry.’ Like the two-way immersion network for Catholic schools run by Boston College’s School of Education and their groundbreaking research into Hispanic ministry in parish life, this recent study puts the university’s intellectual resources at the service of a pressing need for the church in the United States; in this case: addressing the issue of priestly formation and ministry.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Stuck in the middle: a seminar sponsored by Boston College addresses priestly formation
“Many symbols of Catholicism have changed, receded, or even disappeared, to be replaced by others. But not the Catholic priest. The church’s presence in education, culture, and social work may not be as visible as it once was, but the priest’s role remains conspicuous. When most people think of Catholicism, they still think of a man in a Roman collar(link is external). A seminar sponsored by Boston College that ran from September 2016 until the summer of 2018 has produced an interesting document on priesthood and ministry, with a noteworthy set of proposals on the formation of future priests.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Bishops address abuse scandal with U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day
“As Pope Francis was arriving in Panama Jan. 23, bishops from the United States wasted no time addressing the sex abuse scandal back home(link is external) during a popular event aimed at American and other English-speaking World Youth Day pilgrims. ‘It’s not easy being Christian, it’s not easy being Catholic … especially today when things in the church are difficult,’ said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, addressing the sex abuse scandal in a room of hundreds of U.S. young adults attending the FIAT Festival for U.S. pilgrims at Panama’s Figali Convention Center.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

Young people deserve to hear directly from Pope Francis on synod
Pope Francis should write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation following the close of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people(link is external), the faith and vocational discernment. At the Sept. 18, 2018, press conference announcing the pope’s apostolic constitution Episcopalis Communio on changes to the rules concerning voting members and the preparation for synods, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, suggested that Francis might elect not to write a post-synodal exhortation. He might simply affirm that the final synod document is taught exercising his ordinary magisterium, according to Baldisseri.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican magazine denounces sexual abuse of nuns by priests
“The Vatican’s women’s magazine is denouncing the sexual abuse of nuns by priests(link is external) — and the resulting ‘scandal’ of religious sisters having abortions or giving birth to children who are then not recognized by their fathers. The February issue of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly magazine distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, was published Friday (Feb. 1) … It said nuns have been silenced for years by fear of retaliation against themselves or their orders if they report the priests who molested them.” By Nicole Winfield, Associate Press, on CTVNews.com

LAITY & THE CHURCH

National assembly ‘would give laity a voice’
“An Adelaide parishioner is seeking support to hold a national assembly of the laity(link is external)next year to give lay men and women a more united voice on the future of the Church. The ‘grassroots meeting’ is being proposed by John Sabine, a parishioner from the Dulwich/Burnside community, who described it as a chance for the laity to “get their act together” and determine who would be responsible for actioning change in the Church.” By CathNews.com

VATICAN

Vatican doctrinal official steps down amid investigation of sexual advances
“An Austrian priest under canonical investigation stepped down as an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith(link is external) in an effort ‘to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community,’ the doctrinal office said. The priest, Father Hermann Geissler, ‘affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action,’ the office said in a note released by the Vatican press office Jan. 29.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Pope reaffirms celibacy but makes case for exception
“Pope Francis is ruling out any lifting of the celibacy requirement for priests(link is external) but says there’s reason to consider ordaining older, married men in remote communities where priests are in short supply. Francis said he believes priestly celibacy is a gift for the Catholic Church and opposes a blanket change to make it optional. But he said ‘pastoral necessity’ might justify alternative options in certain parts of the world.” By Associated Press

WOMEN DEACONS

I got a glimpse of women deacons, and it’s troubling
“Last week, two members of the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women spoke publicly for the first time since their appointment … As they offered their reflections during a panel discussion at Fordham University, several questions were answered(link is external): the commission’s report is complete; it is on Pope Francis’ desk; no one knows how, or if, or when the report will influence the pope’s decision on whether the Roman Catholic Church should restore the diaconate for women.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Seeing light through the priest sex abuse storm
“Many have voiced the opinion that giving more laity – and, specifically, women – positions of leadership in the Catholic Church would help avoid sexual abuse scandals like the one now consuming the faith and its faithful(link is external). In the Buffalo diocese, there are a series of positions open to lay people, but ultimate power always remains with clergy. Even so, one empowering model may light the way to the future.” By Marian Hetherly, WFBO-FM Buffalo’s NPR News Station

Live from Australia: How young Catholics are changing the church
“This week, Jesuitical is coming to you live from Australia. We’ve mastered driving on the left side of the road (sort of); we got up close and personal with a kangaroo; and even though Ashley tried to leave me to drown in the Great Barrier Reef, we managed to record this week’s episode … In our interview, we chat with Sebastian Duhau, Australia’s representative at the Synod on Young People. We look at the Synod’s final document and talk about what still needs to be done to have young people lead in the Catholic Church(link is external).” By Zac Davis, America: The Jesuit Review

How World Youth Day is changing the church
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican’ we look at why the Vatican seems to be lowering expectations for its upcoming international summit on sexual abuse. Then, Gerry O’Connell and I talk about World Youth Day, which is being held in Panama this week. Gerry has covered every World Youth Day since the inaugural one in 1985, and he explains how the young people at this event have had a significant impact on their bishops, and even on popes(link is external). We also look at how Pope Francis is empowering young people and local churches by decentralizing the Vatican’s power.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

The church needs Vatican III
“However, the church is faced with a crisis that goes even beyond the sex abuse atrocities(link is external). There is a fracturing within the church of historic dimensions. Pope Francis himself has lost credibility, as members of the hierarchy feel emboldened to criticize him directly. They not only question his actions on the crisis but go after his leadership and commitment to what they see as unchangeable doctrines … I believe that at this point it can only change with a worldwide Third Vatican Council.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Parishes, dioceses feeling the financial pinch: second collections noticeably down as parishioners struggle with lack of trust in national Church
“These days, Father John Hollowell sits at his desk and pores over financial statements, trying to figure out how to cut almost 25 percent of his two Indiana parishes’ operating budgets for next year … In a recent interview with Our Sunday Visitor, Father Hollowell said he noticed ‘a pretty sharp decline’ in parish weekend collections(link is external) last summer, when the national clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded anew with revelations that former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was alleged to have harassed and molested minors and seminarians several decades ago.” By Brian Fraga, OSV Newsweekly

Fraud expert pushes procedures to safeguard parish collections
“Every weekend Catholics hand their money to parish collections with hope that their treasure will not be pilfered(link is external). Changing that hope into reality has been the clarion call for decades of Michael Ryan, 81, who retired from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with expertise in how to combat embezzlement. Many parishes are subject to internal theft, a practice that could be halted via simple procedure changes, said Ryan.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Man arrested for stealing money from Raceland church’s donation box
“The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for stealing money from a donation box at a Raceland church(link is external). On Jan. 24, deputies responded to St. Hilary of Poitiers Catholic Church in reference to a burglary. Deputies learned a man walked into the church, forced open the donation box and took money from inside.” By WWLTV.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Former child abuse victims, advocates push Tennessee to end its expiration date for seeking justice
“The sexual abuse started when Scott Walker was 11 years old(link is external). Walker says a young man who befriended him in the late 1980s in their Murfreesboro neighborhood repeatedly raped him until he was 12. But Walker kept quiet and turned to alcohol. More than a quarter of a century would pass before Walker, then a few years sober, would report the sexual abuse to police. But by then it was too late. The crime was too old to prosecute, the local authorities would tell him.” By Holly Myer, Tennessean

Why this time was different: the church’s objections to the Child Victims Act finally ran out
“It took more than 15 years, but when the Child Victims Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate, it passed unanimously(link is external). This is the harbinger of good things to come in other states. For the very first time, the most powerful bishop in a state — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — publicly withdrew his opposition to the bill. That opened the door for Republicans to vote for the Child Victims Act, but it also changed the discourse about window legislation across the United States and even the world.” By Marci Hamilton, New York Daily News

Berks lawmaker: sex-abuse legislation still a priority
“With a new legislative session now underway in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi said he is ready to continue his fight on behalf of child sexual abuse survivors. The Berks County Democrat, a Catholic clergy abuse victim himself, has been leading efforts to reform the state’s statute of limitations(link is external).” By 69News and Associated Press

Church abuse victims wait to see if legislature will act
“Lawmakers have returned to the Pennsylvania Capitol but have yet to revisit legislation on child sexual abuse scandals since an October fight killed a bill(link is external) that would have allowed long-ago victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions. The Legislature’s new two-year session began in earnest Monday (Jan. 28), with little mention of legislation reflecting the state attorney general’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses.” By Marc Levy, Associated Press

Child Victims Act brings some justice for those who suffered sexual abuse
“The Catholic Church’s bishops in New York State made the right decision to change course and back passage of the Child Victims Act(link is external). The Senate and Assembly are expected to approve the legislation on Monday (Jan. 28) that will expand the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims and open a one-year ‘look-back’ period for victims of any age to bring lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

States move to ease restrictions on child sex-abuse lawsuits
“In many states across the U.S., victims of long-ago child sex-abuse have been lobbying for years, often in vain, to change statute of limitation laws that thwart their quest for justice(link is external). This year seems sure to produce some breakthroughs, due in part to the midterm election results and recent disclosures about abuse by Roman Catholic priests. New York state is Exhibit A. The Democrats’ takeover of the formerly Republican-controlled Senate seems almost certain to produce a more victim-friendly policy in place of one of the nation’s most restrictive laws.” By David Crary, Assoicated Press

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Victims’ stories most important in publicly naming abusers
“The 15 Catholic dioceses of Texas releasing the names of 278 clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse dating back to 1950 acknowledges that the stories of victims are being heard(link is external), said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. ‘That’s one thing they (victims) want. They want their stories heard. That’s really important,’ Cardinal DiNardo told Houston’s KPRC-TV in an interview that was broadcast in several segments Jan. 31 as the list was released.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

‘A reckoning with the past’: Priest responds to child sex abuse accusations within Church
“In Texas, the Catholic Church just released the names of 300 priests accused of child sex abuse, joining a number of other dioceses that have made their records public. The church has made headlines in recent months in other ways, too. Debates over the behavior of a group of Catholic students at the March for Life and the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have drawn a lot of attention. And it’s left the clergy embattled and the faithful asking questions of their church(link is external).” By Lulu Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition Sunday

Church goers come together after clergy sexual abuse allegations
Hundreds flowed into Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church(link is external) Saturday (Feb. 2) evening. It was the first big mass since the news from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released its list of priests accused of sexual abuse. While dozens of priests were on the list, parishioners Saturday were looking to turn the page.” By ABC13 Eyewitness News

CALIFORNIA

Oakland diocese issued news release on alleged priest misconduct with minor. Five hours later it alerted police.
“When Oakland diocese officials issued a news release before dawn Thursday (Jan. 31) announcing that Rev. Alex Castillo, who headed the faith formation and other programs, had been placed on administrative leave for inappropriate contact with a minor(link is external), they had not yet alerted police. It would take another five hours after the 5:14 a.m. press statement for an official from the Oakland diocese to call Oakland police to investigate one of its high-ranking priests, according to a police spokeswoman. Sources say the allegations involve a victim who was a minor in 2016 when the alleged crime occurred.” By Matthew Gafni, Bay Area News Group, in Mercury News

Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse too late for the Wasco brothers
“‘He would take me in the back and do all sorts of things. I was really confused. I didn’t know what I should do,’ George Santillan told me in 2013. Santillan was describing the years of sexual abuse inflicted upon him and his younger brother(link is external), Howard Santillan, by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen of St. John’s Catholic Church in Wasco. According to documents from a Fresno appellate court, the sexual abuse began when George was 10, in 1959, and when Howard was 6, in 1960. Like thousands of other children molested by priests, the brothers never told anyone about the abuse until many years later — only to be met by disbelief. They were called liars.” By Jose Gaspar, Bakersfield Californian

Report names more than 80 former San Bernardino-area clergy accused of sexual abuse
“A report released Thursday (Jan. 31) from a Minnesota-based law firm listed the names of more than 80 former clergy accused of sexual abuse(link is external) in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, an area now covered by Diocese of San Bernardino … At a press conference in Ontario, attorney Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates outlined the report’s findings and introduced two men who recounted being abused in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Shane Newell and Christopher Damien, Palm Springs Desert Sun

CONNECTICUT

Alleged priest abuse victims call on diocese to set up compensation fund
“A group of people who say they were abused by Diocese of Norwich priests but are barred from filing lawsuits due to the statute of limitations are calling on Bishop Michael Cote to meet with them and establish a victims compensation fund(link is external). In an open letter to Cote, John Timothy McGuire of New London said that while Pope Francis recently has instructed bishops to seek out victims, he and the others have not heard from him.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

Connecticut must investigate the crimes committed within the Catholic Church
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford recently released a list of dozens of priests against whom it found ‘credible accusations’ of sexually abusing minors(link is external). The archdiocese should be commended for its efforts to be transparent about a past that for too long was hidden in shadows. The Hartford archdiocese and the Bridgeport diocese have both hired well-respected judges to review how allegations were handled in the past. That too is a positive step. But serious questions remain unanswered, and despite their efforts at transparency, church officials are not law enforcement.” By Harford Courant Editorial Staff

Sex-abuse claims against Fairfield University non-profit settled for $60 million
“Fairfield University and four other religious and charitable organizations have reached a $60 million settlement regarding alleged sexual abuse from a graduate(link is external). In a statement released on Friday, the university announced that it has agreed to a second and concluding legal settlement with a group of individuals who came forward with allegations that they were sexually abused in Haiti in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Douglas Perlitz, a Fairfield University alumnus.” By Zak Falla, Fairfield Daily Voice

IDAHO

Retired Boise priest appeals 25-year sentence for child porn, drug crimes
“The Rev. William Thomas Faucher is appealing the 25-year prison sentence imposed on him by 4th District Judge Jason Scott on Dec. 21. The 73-year-old retired priest was charged with 24 crimes: 21 counts of sexual exploitation of a child(link is external) (possession and distribution of child pornography) and three counts of drug possession (marijuana, LSD, ecstasy). He pleaded guilty to five felonies.” By Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman

KANSAS

KBI launches investigation into clergy abuse at Kansas Catholic dioceses
“The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday (Feb.5) it has initiated an investigation into reports of sexual abuse by clergy at the four Catholic dioceses of Kansas(link is external). The agency is asking victims to step forward with information about abuse inflicted by clergy members, church employees or church volunteers. Last month, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released the names of 22 clergy members who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse involving a minor.” By Ft. Leavenworth Lamp

‘A grave human tragedy’: KCK archbishop names 22 priests credibly accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas on Friday (Jan. 25) released the names of 22 priests in its files who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) made against them in the past 75 years. ‘Each name on this list represents a grave human tragedy,’ said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in a statement published Friday in The Leaven, the archdiocesan newspaper. ‘Each name represents a betrayal of trust and a violation of the innocent.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Sen. Holland introduces bill to make church clergy mandatory reporters of suspected sex crimes
“State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, introduced a bill Wednesday (Jan. 23) to require that church clergy and employees be mandatory reporters of sexual assault(link is external). ‘Clergy leadership are adults that children must be able to trust to keep them safe,’ Holland said during an afternoon news conference at the Capitol in Topeka. ‘(The bill) mandates that they report suspected abuse or neglect to authorities. It is an extra layer of protection for all Kansas children.’” By Dylan Lysen, Lawrence Journal-World

LOUISIANA

Investigation finds 27 local priests accused of sexual abuse
“Twenty-seven priests ordained or serving in the Diocese of Alexandria were found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors(link is external) in an investigation by the diocese. The names of the priests were released Wednesday (Feb 6) in a letter from Bishop David P. Talley. The cases, which were discovered through a review of hundreds of files of priests who have served in the diocese, date back to the 1940s.” By Jeff Matthews, Alexandria Town Talk

Diocese of Lafayette files protective order in request for list of accused priests
“The diocese of Lafayette calls a legal request for its list of accused priests “unnecessary”, ‘grandstanding’ and ‘irrelevant(link is external)’ to the case filed against a St. Landry Parish priest who’s accused of molesting a boy. Abbeville attorney Tony Fontana filed suit on behalf of a St. Landry Parish man who claims he was molested by Father Michael Guidry while he was a minor. Also named as plaintiffs in the case are the man’s parents; his father is a deacon in the diocese, who served alongside Fr. Guidry at St. Peter’s Church in Morrow.” By Jim Hummel, KAT-TV News

Baton Rouge clergy sex abuse: answering key questions before diocese releases list
“The Diocese of Baton Rouge is expected on Thursday (Jan. 31) to release a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Ahead of the release, The Advocate tracked every known allegation of abuse involving a Baton Rouge priest. Here’s what we found. At least 15 priests who have served in the Diocese of Baton Rouge were accused of sexual abuse …” By The Baton Rouge Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Lawsuit alleging abuse by Falmouth priest settled for $400K
“Two Massachusetts men who alleged they were sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) have each received $200,000 settlements. Their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, announced the settlements Tuesday (Jan. 22). The Cape Cod Times reports the lawsuit was filed in June 2015 by two men who had been altar servers at St. Anthony’s Parish in Falmouth from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. Their lawsuit named Daniel Cronin, the retired Archbishop of Hartford and before that the bishop of the Diocese of Fall River.” By Associated Press in Boston Herald

MINNESOTA

Survivors, lay leaders help archdiocese hear victims, assist in healing
“Frank Meuers and Tim O’Malley meet every month or so, often for breakfast, to talk about the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse(link is external). Meuers is the southwest Minnesota chapter director of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and O’Malley directs the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

April 8 deadline set for Diocese of Winona-Rochester child sex abuse filings
“Individuals with a claim of child sexual abuse against the Diocese of Winona-Rochester(link is external) will need to register that claim no later than April 8. According to the diocese’s notice of chapter 11 bankruptcy, creditors — victims of abuse by clergy, staff or volunteers — need to file a proof of claim, a signed statement describing a creditor’s claim. Proofs of claim can be filed electronically on the court’s website at www.mnb.uscourts.gov(link is external). No login or password is required.” By Brian Todd, Post Bulletin

MISSISSIPPI

Biloxi Diocese names three priests ‘credibly accused of sexual misconduct
“Three priests in the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi were removed from ministry, and one was incarcerated, because they ‘were credibly accused of sexual misconduct of minors(link is external),’ the Diocese announced Thursday (Jan. 24). The Diocese identified them as former priests Jose Vazquez Morales, Jerome J. Axton and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. In all three cases, the Diocese notified the District Attorney’s Office, a news release said.” By Jill Toyoshiba, Sun Herald

MISSOURI

More abuse survivors and witnesses step forward in Missouri Catholic clergy probe
“An estimated 70 people have completed an online form saying they were either a victim or a witness to abuse by Catholic priests as part of an investigation(link is external) underway by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. That number is up from the 50 survivors and potential witnesses who contacted the office in the first month of the probe, which was launched in August by Schmitt’s predecessor, Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.” By Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW MEXICO

Credibly accused: The Archdiocese of Santa Fe left names off its list of pedophile priests—and has no plans to add them
“In November, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe filed for bankruptcy protection and reorganization. Its decision to keep the two priests—and potentially scores of others like them—off its public list raises questions(link is external) about Archbishop John C Wester’s stance on making public the painful history of priestly sex abuse as the church faces a legal reckoning with survivors of such crimes.” By Matt Grubs, Santa Fe Reporter

NEW YORK

Buffalo Diocese offers more than $8 million to abuse victims
“The Buffalo Diocese so far has offered more than $8 million to nearly four dozen people sexually abused as children by priests(link is external), according to victims and lawyers who represent them … In interviews with lawyers and victims The News has learned that at least 47 victims have received offers that collectively amount to about $8.1 million. The offers ranged from $10,000 to $650,000.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Retired Munhall Catholic priest arrested, charged with child sex abuse
“Allegheny County police Friday (Jan. 25) arrested a retired Catholic priest for the alleged assault of a 10-year-old boy(link is external) in 2001, authorities said. The Rev. Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall at the time of the alleged assault, said police Inspector Andrew Schurman. Schurman said the alleged victim, who he did not identify but lives in another country, saw the media coverage of the statewide grand jury report alleging decades of abuse and cover-ups within six Catholic diocese, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh.” By Megan Guza, The Tribune-Review

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia priest placed on leave, decades-old abuse alleged
“Father Steven J. Marinucci, 71, is on administrative leave and his priestly duties are restricted after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received an allegation he sexually abused a minor decades ago(link is external). He has denied the allegation, and it is the first of its kind the church has received about him, according to a statement by the archdiocese.” By Matthew Gambino, CatholicPhilly.com

Retired priest arrested for alleged indecent assault of boy following investigation
“Another Catholic priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a young boy(link is external). According to the Allegheny County Police Department, Father Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at Saint Therese in Munhall in June of 2001 when the alleged assault occurred. The victim was 10 years old at the time, and now resides in another country according to police Lang was placed on administrative leave in August when the church became aware of sexual abuse allegations against him.” By WPXI News

SC Catholic Church delays naming priests accused of sexual abuse
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston is delaying its promised release of the names of priests accused of sexually abusing children(link is external). In a statement Monday (Feb. 4), Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the diocese needs more time to review its records and won’t meet a mid-February deadline that it set at the end of 2018.” By Bristow Marchant, The Charlotte Observer

TEXAS

15 Catholic dioceses in Texas to name clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of sexual assault
“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and 14 other Texas Catholic dioceses plan to release a list of names after an investigation dating back to 1950(link is external). Many, including parishioners and abuse survivors, have been waiting for this day since October, when the church announced the list was coming out. On the list will be the names of bishops, priests, deacons and other clergy members the Catholic Church says have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting a minor.” By Taisha Walker, Click2Houston News

Why, despite 100s of letters, Texas AG can’t investigate priest abuse
“Hundreds of Texans reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, asking it to investigate Catholic Diocese in Texas(link is external) after Pennsylvania’s attorney general launched prosecutions into claims that children were sexually abused. Paxton’s office’s response: state law doesn’t allow them to investigate.” By Erin Cargile, Phil Prazan and Jody Barr, KXAN-TV News

Lawsuit alleges Dallas Catholic Diocese mishandled report of priest’s sexual abuse
“The Dallas Catholic Diocese is again under scrutiny over allegations that church officials mishandled their response to a report of sexual abuse by a priest(link is external). The allegations — which involved a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson — were first publicly detailed in a lawsuit filed six months ago in Dallas County district court. But the case got renewed public attention after a WFAA-TV (Channel 8) report on the case this week.” By David Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News

Roundtable discussion: how to handle Catholic Church sex abuse scandal
“A roundtable discussion just started in Montrose about the sexual abuse scandal swirling around the Catholic Church(link is external). The discussion comes exactly one week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. A victims’ advocacy group is hosting the discussion. The leader of the group, Michael Norris, said members question if the archdiocese will be fully transparent. They also want to know what church officials’ definition of credibility is.” By Sophia Beausoliel, Click2Houston.com

WISCONSIN

State should investigate Catholic Church abuse
“‘The Church’s credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes(link is external), but even more by the efforts made to deny or conceal them,’ Pope Francis wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops about abuse over the years. ‘This has led to a growing sense of uncertainty, distrust and vulnerability among the faithful.’ In recent years, more has come to light about abuse from the past with the release of lists of priests who are accused of abusing children.” By The Journal Times Editorial Board

Superior Diocese cooperating with Ericksen probe; to release list of other abusive priests
“The Catholic Diocese of Superior says it is cooperating with officials investigating the case of a priest accused of assaulting minors(link is external) the 1980s. Dan Blank, the diocese’s director of administrative services, told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that the diocese was an intermediary in the reporting of a case filed Jan. 11 accusing former priest Thomas Ericksen of sexual assault of an unconscious victim.” By Laura Schultte, Wausau Daily Herald

EAST TIMOR

U.S. priest laicized for child abuse in East Timor; police investigate
“After accusations of sex abuse, the Vatican has laicized American Richard Daschbach(link is external), a former Divine Word missionary who ran orphanages in East Timor for 27 years. Accusations surfaced early in 2018 that Daschbach, who arrived in the country in 1966, had been sexually abusing young girls who were in his care in the enclave of Oecusse, which sits separate of the rest of East Timor and is surrounded by Indonesian territory.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GERMANY

German Catholic Church ‘needs urgent reform’
“The head of the Catholic Church in Germany on Sunday (Feb. 3) faced fresh calls for ‘courageous reforms’ in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated nearly 1,700 clerics. Eight well-known theologians and Catholics wrote an open letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx urging the Church to ‘free diocesan priests to choose their own way of life,’ in other words, recommending a relaxation of strict celibacy rules.” By Deutsche Welle

GUAM

Clergy sex abuse survivors in Chuuk, Pohnpei sought
“A law firm representing dozens of Guam clergy sex abuse plaintiffs is now also reaching out to child sexual abuse survivors in Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia(link is external), from the 1950s to the present. The law firm of Berman O’Connor & Mann is seeking individuals who may have been victims of sex abuse while a minor and while attending Catholic schools and Catholic parishes in Chuuk and Pohnpei.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Finally, Kerala Catholic priests can be defrocked for sexual abuse of minors
“The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council has published a set of guidelines for protection of minors and ‘vulnerable adults’ from sexual abuse and assault(link is external) in the Church and Church controlled organizations. The document, accessed by TNM, has been drafted as per the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) guidelines on the same issue, which were reportedly formulated in October 2015. Titled KCBC Guidelines for Safe Environment Programme for Church Personnel Connected with Institutions where Minors or Vulnerable Adults are Given Particular Care, the guidelines provide for defrocking of priests (remove a person from priesthood) who are found guilty of sexual abuse, and are found to be a ‘threat to minors.’” By Ragamalika Karthikeyan and Sandeep Vellaram, The News Minute

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Theology, history, canon law may figure in lay role in addressing crisis / Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

Reform is a constant in church history, he (Carlos Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University) added, because “corruption is a constant in human history.” (Catholic News Service on CatholicPhill.com)

 A panel of academics at a Feb. 6 conference on the clergy sex abuse crisis noted that the current crisis is not the first scandal to confront the church, and that the church has had trouble putting those scandals to rest.

“The clergy has had ‘the power to correct themselves,’ said Carlos Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University, ‘but throughout all of this time, that power has been used very unevenly and ineffectively.’ Reform is a constant in church history, he added, because ‘corruption is a constant in human history.’

“Eire was one of three panelists at the second in a series of programs called ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The Feb. 6 program was subtitled ‘The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis: Theological and Historical Foundations.’ It was sponsored by the university’s Institute of Human Ecology.”

By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com — Read more …

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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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