Posts Tagged catholic

Vatican says bishops should report sex abuse to police

While the manual doesn’t have the force of a new law, it goes beyond the current Vatican policy about cooperating with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and police. (Associated Press)

“The Vatican told bishops around the world on Thursday (Jul. 16) they should report cases of clergy sex crimes to police even when not legally bound to do so, in its latest effort to compel church leaders to protect minors from predator priests.

“The Vatican issued a long-awaited manual for bishops and religious superiors on conducting in-house investigations into allegations of priests who rape and molest minors and vulnerable adults. While the Vatican has had detailed canonical norms in place for two decades, the laws continue to be ignored by some bishops who dismiss allegations by victims in favor of protecting their priests.

“While the manual doesn’t have the force of a new law, it goes beyond the current Vatican policy about cooperating with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and police. That policy requires bishops and religious superiors to report allegations of sex crimes with minors only where local laws require it.

“The manual says: ‘Even in cases where there is no explicit legal obligation to do so, the ecclesiastical authorities should make a report to the competent civil authorities if this is considered necessary to protect the person involved or other minors from the danger of further criminal acts.’

“And it says church leaders must comply with ‘legitimate’ subpoena requests.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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Abuse allegations against former Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon ‘unequivocally credible,’ investigation finds / The Springfield Republican

The allegations that were investigated and examined are not dubious, vague or ambiguous in any essentials nor are they the product of any chimerical conception, fabrication or schematic design. The unsavory and heinous nature of the offensive behavior attributed to the late bishop is clearly shocking. (The Springfield Republican)

A retired superior court judge’s review of sexual abuse allegations against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for more than 25 years, found the accusations to be ‘unequivocally credible.’

“Meanwhile, mandatory reporters in the diocese who first heard the alleged victim’s account failed to report the matter to law enforcement officials, according to the executive summary for a 350-plus page report released Wednesday by the diocese. The report is the product of an investigation by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis, who was hired a year ago to investigate the matter.

“Velis’ report concluded ‘the allegations of the Complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bishop Christopher J Weldon, both as a principal, and as a ‘coventurer’ that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible. The allegations that were investigated and examined are not dubious,  vague or ambiguous in any essentials nor are they the product of any chimerical conception, fabrication or schematic design. The unsavory and heinous nature of the offensive behavior attributed to the late bishop is clearly shocking.'”

By Anne-Gerard Flynn, The Springfield Republican — Read more …

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Report on sexual abuse allegations against late Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon could prove pivotal / Springfield Republican

There have been reports that those in the diocesan hierarchy with ties to (Bishop Christopher J.) Weldon — and had sexual abuse allegations made against them — destroyed files related to pedophile priests over the years. (Springfield Republican)

A soon-to-be-released report nearly a year in the making could shed light on decades of sexual abuse by clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and forever change how one of its most influential bishops is viewed.

“Last July, retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis was asked by Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct made against the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon dating back to the early 1960s. The report is expected to be released before Rozanski is installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on Aug. 25.

“The findings will impact not only the alleged victim — who reiterated to Rozanski a year ago his claim that he was sexually abused as a boy by Weldon and two diocesan priests — but also questions that continue to linger around how early in time the diocesan hierarchy may have participated in, covered up and enabled clergy sexual abuse of minors. It could either encourage or discourage other alleged survivors of clergy sex abuse to continue to come forward.”

By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican on MassLive.com — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


May 22, 2020

TOP STORIES

Cincinnati bishop resigns after failing to report local priest later accused of rape
“A Cincinnati bishop has resigned for his role in handling alleged inappropriate conduct by a priesthttps://local12.com/news/local/cincinnati-bishop-resigns-after-failing-to-report-local-priest-charged-with-rape(link is external). Bishop Joseph Binzer offered his resignation from his office as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in late April. Pope Francis accepted the resignation, which is effective Thursday (May 7). Binzer was previously removed as the Director of Priests’ Personnel after he failed to bring past concerns about Father Geoffrey Drew’s conduct to the attention of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the Priests’ Personnel Board.” By WKRC-tV12 News

Will the Royal Commission’s investigation bring any consequences for Cardinal Pell?
“On this week’s episode of the ‘Inside the Vatican’ podcast, Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and I discuss the Australian Royal Commission’s findings that Cardinal George Pell knew about priests abusing children(link is external) in the Ballarat diocese as early as 1973, a year after he began working in that diocese, and that Cardinal Pell was involved in transferring pedophile priests between parishes.” By Colleen Dulle and Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

NY judge upholds Child Victims Act after challenge by Rockville Centre diocese
“A judge ruled Wednesday (May 13) that New York’s Child Victims Act is constitutional, rejecting a suit filed by the Diocese of Rockville Centre(link is external) that claimed the law is barred by the due process clause in the state constitution. ‘The court finds the Child Victims Act is a reasonable response to remedy the injustice of past child sexual abuse,’ Justice Steven Jaeger of the New York Supreme Court in Nassau County wrote in his May 13 decision. ‘Accordingly, it does not violate defendant diocese’s right to due process under the New York State Constitution.’” By Catholic News Agency

How central is Catholic church in New Orleans? Many federal judges recuse themselves from abuse cases
“One served as the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ in-house attorney. Another was on the board of the archdiocese’s seminary and earned an award for organizing monthly Masses for special-needs parishioners. A third is married to an attorney who is representing the archdiocese as it seeks bankruptcy protection. Yet another serves on an archdiocesan charity’s board. Respectively, U.S. District Judges Wendy Vitter, Jay Zainey, Sarah Vance and Ivan Lemelle are four members of the federal bench in New Orleans who have recused themselves from clergy abuse lawsuits(link is external) that were transferred to their courthouse after the church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 1.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

Victims of clerical sex abuse suffer from P.T.S.D. They deserve better treatment.
“Oceans of ink have been spilled about the church’s sexual abuse crisis, mostly focusing on the perpetrators and cover-ups. The magnitude of the crimes deserves attention and condemnation, but the victims should not be ignored(link is external). Their pain and long-term psychological damage cannot be undone by simply identifying and punishing the offenders, many of whom are already dead. Prayer, fasting, penance, forgiveness—some of the tools in the Catholic arsenal—are not enough to heal the wounded.” By Edwin T. Collins, America: The Jesuit Review

New Australian report may help church find its way out of abuse crisis
“There are signs that the Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis is now getting at deeper, institutional questions(link is external). In particular, how local churches — parishes and dioceses — are governed. In the last few years, a unique example that could bring encouraging news has come from the Australian church. Since 2017-18, the abuse crisis has taken on a new dimension, thanks to the unveiling of cases (such as disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick) and of extensive cover-ups identified and published in the reports of nationwide and regional investigations (such as in Australia, Chile and Pennsylvania).” By Massimo Fggioli, National Catholic Reporter

ACOUNTABILITY

Assessment of Vos Estis Lux Mundi on Its First Anniversary
“Last Thursday, on May 7, one year to the day since Vos Estis Lux Mundi was promulgated, we learned of what appears to be its first removal of a complicit bishop(link is external). A two-line announcement in the Vatican’s daily bulletin noted that the Pope had accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph R. Binzer from the office of the auxiliary of the Cincinnati archdiocese. Lay Catholic media are reporting that Bishop Binzer was found guilty under Vos Estis, meaning that he was found guilty of intentionally interfering with or avoiding an investigation of an abusive cleric. We don’t know this for sure, however; neither the Pope nor his proxies have made any comment. Some might point to Binzer’s resignation as a sign that Vos Estis is working. Seen differently, it reveals serious flaws in the Pope’s plan.” By Anne Barrett Doyle, BishopAccountability.org

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal Pell ‘knew of’ clergy abuse, says Australian Royal Commission
“Cardinal George Pell knew of child sexual abuse by priests in Australia as early as the 1970s but failed to take action(link is external), a landmark inquiry found. The findings on Cardinal Pell – an ex-Vatican treasurer – come from Australia’s royal commission into child sexual abuse, which ended in 2017. Details were only revealed on Thursday. A court had previously redacted the report because the cleric was facing child abuse charges at the time. The cardinal has denied the findings.” By BBC News

Clergy abuse survivor draws support for petition to defrock Pell
“A petition started by a clergy abuse survivor has received more than 30,000 signatures supporting his call for Cardinal George Pell to be defrocked. Paul Levey, who was abused by convicted pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, began the Change.org petition on Friday and said he was surprised by the response.” By Matt Neal, ABC South West Victoria

BISHOPS

Coleridge re-elected as head of Australian Bishops’ Conference
“On Friday (May 8), the Bishops of Australia re-elected Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane as President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference(link is external). Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher, OP, also won re-election as Vice-President of the Conference. Both will be serving a second two-year term. The elections were held at the beginning of the Conference’s biannual plenary meeting, which runs from 7-14 May. The meeting is being held using videoconferencing on account of the coronavirus pandemic.” By Vatican News

Pope accepts resignation of Cincinnati auxiliary bishop accused of negligence in priest’s case
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of 65-year-old Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer of Cincinnati, less than nine months after it was revealed he had failed to inform the archbishop and priest personnel board of a priest’s inappropriate conduct with minors(link is external). Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr removed Binzer as director of priest personnel for the archdiocese in August after his failure to report the incidents became known; Binzer also resigned from the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Priest who had controversial blog has been suspended
“A Catholic priest in Virginia has been suspended of all priestly duties(link is external) from the two parishes he leads in southwestern Virginia. The suspension is the latest development in the ongoing dispute between Father Mark White and the Bishop of Richmond. White had maintained a well-known blog that was critical of the church’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

New Jersey parishioners protest priests’ ouster
“About 150 parishioners from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Elizabeth, N.J., traveled by caravan Jan. 6 to Sacred Heart Cathedral here in an effort to reverse an order by Archbishop John Myers that the four priests living in their parish rectory vacate this month(link is external). The archbishop’s order — which parishioners view as an eviction notice and a summary dismissal of hard-working clergy without recognition of their longtime contribution to the church and the people of Elizabeth — was delivered to three of the priests by telephone the week before Christmas.” By Patricia LeFevere, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Female theologians back Ouellet: Seminaries need women involved in formation
“Several women theologians who teach in Catholic seminaries have applauded Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who argued in a recent interview that to foster a healthy relationship between the sexes, more women should be involved in priestly formation(link is external). “When women are not present in influential roles within all areas of seminarians’ formation … seminarians are at risk of gaining a distorted view of women,” author and speaker Dawn Eden Goldstein told Crux.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

LAITY& THE CHURCH

The role of laity in covering up abuse
“If we are going to do real soul-searching about clergy sexual abuse, it’s time we turned the spotlight on to the laity and their role in enabling abusers(link is external). This is a difficult conversation to begin. We are used to seeing ourselves as the good guys, and the solution, not the problem: that if we had lay-led parishes or diocesan offices, this would rid us of clergy abuse for good. Unfortunately, history is not on our side. Cases of clergy sexual abuse in the English-speaking world reveal any number of compromised lay people who have helped with covering up and explaining away, either directly or indirectly.” By Dr. Phillippa Martyr, Catholic Weekly

CHURCH FINANCES

Podcast: The Vatican’s $200 million London real estate scandal, explained
“Last week, an Italian newspaper reported that Pope Francis had fired five employees who were under investigation(link is external) for their involvement in the $200 million purchase of minority stake in a luxury apartment development in London’s upscale Chelsea neighborhood … The Vatican’s judicial system is now investigating staffers who were involved in the deal for possible financial improprieties. Last year, Vatican police raided several offices in the Secretariat of State and the Vatican’s financial watchdog office and suspended the staff members.” By Coleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

With COVID-19 Hurting Church Finances, Catholic Parishes In Boston May Consider Merging
“As many as two-thirds of the 280 Catholic parishes in Boston are working with the archdiocese to find a solution for their financial difficulties(link is external), according to church officials. Houses of worship across the commonwealth have been closed for close to two months since Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory and closed non-essential businesses in mid-March. The lack of weekly collections has made it difficult for some parishes to cover their expenses.” By Marilyn Schairer, WGBH News

CHILD PROTECTION

Child protection policies in Twin Cities ‘good in comparison to other archdioceses’
“Nearly five years after the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis entered settlement with civil authorities over its mishandling of child sex abuse cases, an independent review of its protection policies finds the archdiocese new policies ‘are good in comparison to other archdioceses in the U.S.(link is external)’ The final report was released on May 15 and conducted by CHILD USA, a research-based think tank that promotes child protection policy improvements, and compared the archdiocese’s policies to that of the other 31 archdiocesan policies around the country.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Plenary Council assemblies set for 2021 and 2022
“The two assemblies for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia will now take place in October 2021 and April 2022, following the disruption of the original schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference last week decided to postpone the opening assembly by 12 months(link is external), with it now to be held in October 2021. Adelaide remains the venue for the first assembly. The second assembly will be in Sydney in April 2022.” By CathNews.com

How will the Catholic Church change after the coronavirus pandemic?
“A 25-minute conversation between President Trump and hundreds of bishops and other Catholic leaders sparked an intense debate about the right way for Catholic leaders to engage in politics. While the conference call got a lot of attention, it is just one story among many affecting the church in the United States(link is external), and as the national correspondent for Crux, Chris White has to try to cover them all.” By Jesuitical Podcast, America: The Jesuit Review

Sex, women, power – the three challenges Germany is issuing to the church
“The coronavirus pandemic has made the ‘synodal path’ of the Church of Germany disappear from the news. But meanwhile it continues forward. And on it not only the German Church, but the universal Catholic Church is staking its future: The synod held its first session in Frankfurt from January 30 to February 1. And the inaugural Mass, officiated by Munich cardinal Reinhard Marx, provided the portrait of it, with bishops, priests, and lay people, men and women, mixed together in the nave and arranged in alphabetical order, exactly as in the synodal assembly where each of the 230 delegates votes on an equal footing with the rest and the bishops are in the minority(link is external).” By Settimo Cielo, di Magister Blog

VOICES

Pell findings show extent of Catholic Church’s cover-up
“The cases of child abuse by Catholic clergy that have come to light over the past few decades have been damaging to the church, not just because of the horror of the individual crimes but because of what they said about the church’s higher echelons. Senior clergy were prepared to turn a blind eye to the crimes and even protect the perpetrators(link is external) in the interests of avoiding scandal and sometimes even saving cash by avoiding paying compensation to victims.” By The Sydney Morning Herald Editorial Board

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

New York extends civil ‘look back’ for child sexual assault victims
“New Yorkers who were sexually assaulted as children will have a little more time to take legal action against their alleged abusershttps://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-cuomo-extending-child-victims-act-20200508-jbpl4tbbc5cg7bx6w7g3ckq3he-story.html(link is external). Gov. Cuomo on Friday extended a “look back window” created as part of the Child Victims Act last year that allows survivors abused as kids, to file civil suits beyond the normal statute of limitations.” By Denis Slattery, New York Daily News

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

Abuse survivor’s spiritual growth shows the church can heal, too
“This past February I sent a ‘welcome back to Philadelphia’ letter addressed to Archbishop Nelson Perez. This was written in the capacity of a survivor of clergy sex abuse at the hands of two parish priests(link is external) dating back to 1981 and as the SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) leader for Philadelphia. So imagine my surprise when I was asked to have a Zoom call with the Victim Assistance Coordinator assigned along with the Director for Children and Youth Protection. It was during our conversation that I was informed that the archbishop had received my letter and would welcome a meeting. What do I want to share with him? What will he share with me?” By Michael McDonnell, CatholicPhilly.com

‘Why didn’t he help these little boys?’: how George Pell failed the children of Ballarat
“‘Why isn’t all of Australia talking about what happened here in Ballarat?” That’s the question Clare Linane remembers asking her husband, Peter Blenkiron, 12 years ago as they were sitting in the kitchen talking about his abuse. Linane’s husband, brother and cousin had all been abused when they were children between 1973 and 1974 by Christian Brother and now convicted pedophile(link is external) Edward ‘Ted’ Dowlan. They knew they were among thousands of people living in and around Ballarat – Victoria’s largest inland city – who had been affected by child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

When should clergy report child abuse?
“Even though some mandatory social distancing measures are being lifted, the vast majority of young children will not be going back to school or participating in sports until fall. However, as soon as restrictions are lifted, many of these children and their families will attend religious observances where they will be seen by and talk to clergy members. Some of those returning have committed acts of child abuse and may confess these acts to members of the clergy(link is external). This raises the question: can a clergy member testify in court that an abuser confessed? It depends on whether the clergy-penitent privilege applies.” By Blake R. Hills, Real Clear Religion

Minors accounting for unprecedented amount of calls to National Sexual Assault Hotline
“For the first time, minors are making up half of the victims receiving help(link is external) from the National Sexual Assault Hotline. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), this is directly related to COVID-19. The Sexual Assault Center in Nashville said it expects Middle Tennessee to see a similar trend. Right now, SAC said kids make up 35 percent of the population it serves.” By Rachael Tiede, FOX17 News

KANSAS

KBI is investigating priests in Kansas town that draws parishioners from across U.S.
“For four decades, the Society of St. Pius X has made its home in this northeast Kansas town, its followers coming from across the country to raise their children according to traditional Catholic values. Now, with attendance at Latin Mass topping 4,000, plans are underway for the breakaway Catholic society to build a $30 million church high on its campus overlooking St. Marys. The Immaculata, the SSPX says, will become the biggest traditional Catholic church in the world. But something else is underway that threatens to overshadow the jubilation over a new house of worship with enough room to accommodate the ever-expanding flock: A criminal investigation by the state’s top law enforcement agency into allegations of priest sexual abuse(link is external).” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

LOUISIANA

Retired New Orleans priest invokes rights against self-incrimination in molestation lawsuit
“In a clear sign of concern about potential criminal charges, a retired New Orleans priest who is accused in a lawsuit of sexually molesting ‘countless’ children(link is external) invoked his constitutional rights against self-incrimination shortly before his deposition. Lawrence Hecker, through his attorney, served notice March 13 that he would essentially exercise his right to remain silent ‘from this point forward’ in a lawsuit filed against him and the Archdiocese of New Orleans in April 2019, according to court records.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

Leader of New Orleans archdiocese ministry’s board resigns after filing clergy sex abuse lawsuit
“The leader of the board of directors for one of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ various ministries resigned his post recently after claiming in a lawsuit against the church that he was molested by one of its priests decades ago(link is external). The plaintiff spoke out about his case after an April 30 letter from the ministry to his fellow board members said he had agreed to resign to avoid ‘at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.’” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

A New Orleans priest was accused of molestation; he still collected $2,500 monthly in retirement
“Accused of sexually molesting a boy he taught before he become a priest, Paul Calamari walked into New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes’ office on Feb. 5, 2004, to discuss what might be ahead. The Catholic church had only recently been rocked by the sexual-abuse scandal in Boston. Bishops across the U.S. were dealing with allegations in their dioceses, and New Orleans was no different. Calamari ultimately chose to retire, and he began receiving a monthly pension of $1,566 from the archdiocese — which later rose to more than $2,500 a month(link is external), according to court records.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield agrees to report all clergy sexual abuse allegations to law enforcement
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield says from now on it will notify area law enforcement once it learns of any allegations of clergy sexually assaulting minors(link is external) or any other “vulnerable persons” at Western Massachusetts parishes. In a statement issued Wednesday (May 6) by the diocese’s Office of Public Affairs and Communications, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski has entered into what is called “Memo of Understanding” with the district attorneys for Hampden, Hampden and Franklin, and Berkshire counties.” By Patrick Johnson, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Employee sues Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, claiming retaliation for reporting sex-abuse complaint
“A man who says his job with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was impacted after he reported a sex-abuse complaint against a priest has filed a lawsuit against the diocese. In the suit, Gabriel Villarreal alleges he was retaliated against by the diocese(link is external) and its agents for reporting a relative had been assaulted by the Rev. Robert J. DeLand. A jury acquitted DeLand of charges related to the relative, but DeLand was convicted of sexual assaulting a different person in a separate case.” By Cole Waterman, Saginaw and Bay City News

MISSOURI

Chaminade clergy abuse case challenges First Amendment protection for church officials accused of negligence
“The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday (May 13) heard arguments in a sex abuse case that asks the court to break with a previous ruling protecting church officials from negligent supervision claims(link is external) because courts deciding such claims could violate separation of church and state. The lawsuit before the state’s top court claims now-deceased Marianist Brother John Woulfe sexually abused a Chaminade College Preparatory School student in 1971 while working as a guidance counselor at the school.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW MEXICO

St. Jude’s, Immaculate Conception named in lawsuit for 1970s child sexual abuse
“A lawsuit centered on child molestation by Fr. David Holley named two Alamogordo Catholic parishes and several dioceses as defendants. The suit, filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County, alleged the Servants of Paraclete, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Diocese of Worcester, Diocese of Las Cruces, the Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Jude Parish allowed Holley to prey on boys within the Alamogordo parishes(link is external) during his time in New Mexico in the 1970s.” By Nicole Maxwell, Alamogordo Daily News

NEW YORK

Court denies Diocese of Rockville Centre’s attempt to dismiss 44 lawsuits filed by sexual abuse survivors under New York’s Child Victim’s Act
“A Nassau County Court has denied the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s callous attempt to throw out 44 lawsuits filed by sexual abuse survivors(link is external) under New York’s Child Victims Act. Yesterday (May 12), Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Steven M. Jaeger issued an order denying the dozens of motions to dismiss filed by the diocese. Judge Jaeger rejected the diocese’s argument that the Child Victims Act was unconstitutional and violated its right to due process.” By Jeff Anderson & Associates Staff Writer

Child sexual abuse deadline extended – but not for claims against Rochester priests”
“The one-year window for filing lawsuits over past acts of child sexual abuse has been extended by five months — except for claims against the Rochester diocese for misconduct by its priests(link is external). New York’s Child Victims Act, approved by the state Legislature in early 2019, carved out a one-year period for reviving old child sexual abuse claims that had been barred the statute of limitations. That one-year window was to close Aug. 13.” By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Buffalo Diocese facing backlash for seeking federal funds, relief in CVA cases
“Advocates for survivors of sexual abuse are denouncing the Buffalo Diocese this week after the institution, temporarily headed by Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, moved forward with two legal filings that activists say diminish victims’ experiences and could allow the diocese to dodge consequences for decades of alleged abuse and cover-up(link is external).” By Cayla Harris, Albany Times Union

OHIO

Diocese of Youngstown removes clergy member from abuse list
“The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announced today that William Smaltz’s name has been removed from the list of clergy in the diocese against whom credible, substantiated allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) of a minor have been made. After further inquiry and consideration of additional and new information, the allegations are not deemed credible and substantiated, the diocese said in a news release.” By Mahoning Matters Staff

PENNSYLVANIA

Lawsuit: Man alleges Allentown Diocese priests sexually abused, tortured him in church basement in the 1970s
“A Texas man is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown and one of its churches, St. Catharine of Siena in Reading, claiming he was sexually abused and tortured by several priests in a church basement(link is external) in the 1970s. Timothy Paul McGettigan’s attorneys say their client learned that he was not alone in being abused by Allentown Diocese priests from the scathing 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report on unchecked sexual abuse by clergy across the state, and decided to come forward. He is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.” By Laurie Mason Schroeder, Morning Call

Judge Sets Deadline for Abuse Claims Vs. Harrisburg Diocese
“A federal judge is giving most claimants until Nov. 13 to seek compensation over child sexual abuse from the Harrisburg Roman Catholic Diocese(link is external), which sought bankruptcy protection earlier this year. The order signed last week by Chief Bankruptcy Judge Henry Van Eck also gave governmental entities until Dec. 11 to file proofs of claims for debts.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

TEXAS

San Antonio Archdiocese removes Helotes priest following 2 sexual misconduct allegations
“The San Antonio Archdiocese has removed the pastor of a Catholic church in Helotes after two people accused him of sexual misconduct(link is external). According to a letter dated April 30 from the archdiocese that was sent to parishioners, Monsignor Carlos Davalos sent two sexually inappropriate text messages to an adult parishioner earlier this year.” By KSAT-TV12 News

AUSTRALIA

Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale sentenced to 10 years’ jail for sexual abuse of boys in 1970s
“Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale will spend at least another three years in jail after pleading guilty to 14 new offenses(link is external) committed against young boys under his care. Some of the offenses happened during Confession while reading the Bible. ‘Your sexual abuse, at times when the child was seeking comfort, reveals your utter hypocrisy,’ the sentencing Judge Gerard Mullaly said.” By Iskhandar Razak, ABC News

Broome Bishop bows out of national conference as police and Vatican investigations continue
“The Catholic Church is maintaining its silence on the status of its ongoing investigation into the leadership and financial practices(link is external) in its Broome diocese in West Australia’s Kimberley region. Catholic Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders voluntarily stood aside in March after the Vatican took the unusual step of ordering an investigation into the running of the remote northern diocese … The Vatican inquiry came in the wake of a series of complaints to catholic authorities and the public revelation of a WA Police investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.” By Erin Parke, ABC Kimberley

National protocols to replace Melbourne Response
“The Melbourne Response scheme set up in 1996 to compensate victims of clergy abuse in Melbourne is set to be replaced as Australia’s bishops develop new national protocols for survivors(link is external). Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli is keen to retain some of the more-positive elements of the scheme – such as ongoing care for victims – but is working towards a state-wide approach, based on nationally consistent guidelines, rather than having the Melbourne archdiocese ‘go it alone’ with its own separate process.” By CathNews.com

POLAND

Polish archbishop refers sex abuse case to Vatican
“The head of Poland’s Roman Catholic Church has said he is asking the Vatican to investigate the cover-up of child sexual abuse by priests(link is external). Archbishop Wojciech Polak called on the Church hierarchy to ‘launch proceedings’ following the release of a documentary on the subject on Saturday (May 17). The film tells the story of two brothers who seek to confront a priest who allegedly abused them as children. The Vatican is expected to assign an investigator to the case.” By BBC News

SPAIN

Cartagena Diocese to investigate child abuse from 1950
“The Diocese of Cartagena intends to investigate the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people that has been committed within the Catholic Church(link is external) between 1950 and 2010. To do this, a special episcopal delegation has been created, detail of which were announced on Thursday by the bishop of Cartagena, José Manuel Lorca Planes, and his episcopal delegate, Gil José Sáez Martínez.” By The Leader

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Pell knew of abuse by Australian pedophile priest / Cruxnow.com

The inquiry rejected Pell’s evidence given by video link from Rome in 2016 that he was deceived and lied to by Catholic Church officials about Australia’s worst pedophile priest … (Cruxnow.com)

Australian Cardinal George Pell knew a notorious pedophile priest had been moved decades ago because he had sexually abused children, and should have removed an unstable priest in another parish who was also a suspected pedophile, a government inquiry concluded.

“A report from the inquiry on child sexual abuse had been released in 2017, but findings concerning Pope Francis’ former finance minister had been redacted until Thursday to avoid prejudicing juries in any future prosecutions.

“The government decided to release the full report after the High Court last month overturned convictions against Pell on charges he molested two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral in the late 1990s when he was an archbishop.”

By Rod McGuirk, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Cardinal Pell’s acquittal was as opaque as his sexual abuse trial / The New York Times

“At every stage, critics argue, Australia’s courts exhibited a penchant for secrecy and insular decision-making that resembled the Catholic Church’s flawed and damaging response to sexual abuse within its ranks.” (The New York Times)

Cardinal George Pell walked out of prison on Tuesday after Australia’s highest court reversed his 2018 conviction for molesting two choirboys decades earlier — liberating the most senior Roman Catholic cleric to ever face trial over child sexual abuse.

The world may never be able to assess whether the court’s reasoning was sound.

The panel of seven judges ruled that the jury lacked sufficient doubt about the accusations against Cardinal Pell, the former archbishop of Melbourne and treasurer for the Vatican. Jurors, the court argued, ignored “compounding improbabilities” caused by conflicting accounts from the cardinal’s main accuser and other witnesses.

But no one outside the court case can test that comparison. The central evidence — the testimony of the main accuser, on which the case “was wholly dependent,” the judges wrote — has never been released, not in video, audio nor even redacted transcripts.

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

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Argentine court finds two Catholic priests guilty of sexually assaulting deaf children; first convictions in long-alleged abuse / The Washington Post

The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse between 2004 and 2016. (The Washington Post)

An Argentine court on Monday (Nov. 25) found two priests and a lay worker guilty of the sexual abuse and rape of 10 former students of a Catholic institute for the deaf, the first legal victory for a string of hearing-impaired victims stretching from Italy to the Andes whose denunciations against one of the clerics to church officials including Pope Francis went unheeded for years.

“The landmark verdict related to the Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the western Argentine city of Luján de Cuyo is the latest stain on the church’s handling of sex abuse cases in Francis’s native Argentina. Argentine prosecutors last week requested an international arrest warrant for Catholic Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta — a longtime associate of the pope accused of sexually abusing two seminarians.

“A Washington Post investigation this year found years of inaction by the church in the case of at least one of the accused priests. The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

“The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse between 2004 and 2016.”

By Anthony Faiola, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post — Read more …

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Church sex abuse boards often undermine victims, help clergy / Associated Press

The AP checked all the roughly 180 dioceses in the U.S. for information, reviewed thousands of pages of church and court records and interviewed more than 75 abuse survivors, board members and others to uncover a tainted process where the church hierarchy holds the reins of power at every stage. (Associated Press)

Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.

“These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.

“But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.

“The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities. In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct. And many abuse survivors told the AP they faced hostility and humiliation from boards.”

By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Nov. 8, 2019

TOP STORIES

USCCB president disinvites Bishop Bransfield from fall assembly
“Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in consultation with the members of the USCCB Administrative Committee, has taken the highly unusual step of disinviting a fellow bishop from the conference’s fall general assembly(link is external). The decision affects Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, retired bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, who left his position in September 2018 under a cloud of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

Catholic bishops back ordination of married men as priests in Amazon region, a milestone
“ A summit of Roman Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican recommended on Saturday (Oct. 26) that Pope Francis allow the ordination of married men as priests in the Amazon region(link is external), which would lift a roughly 1,000-year-old restriction and potentially revolutionize the priesthood. It is the first time a grouping of bishops convened by a pope has endorsed such a historic change to the tradition of a celibate priesthood. The proposal is limited to remote areas of South America where there is a scarcity of priests but could set a precedent for easing the restriction on married priests throughout the world.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Synod calls for more church roles for women but stops short of diaconate
“Members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon asked that women be given leadership roles in the Catholic Church, although they stopped short of calling for women deacons(link is external). In the Amazon, like in the rest of the world, the essential roles women play within the family, the community and the church should be valued and recognized officially, members of the synod said in their final document.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Illinois chief justice distrusts church hierarchy to police itself on abuse
Don’t count on the bishops to clean up sex abuse in the church(link is external), Anne Burke told the annual gathering of Voice of the Faithful here Oct. 19. Burke, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and a justice of the court’s First Judicial District, formerly served as interim chair of the National Review Board for the U.S. bishops’ conference; she last addressed Voice of the Faithful in 2012. At that time, she saw reason for optimism that the bishops were willing to address the sex abuse crisis.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Voice of the Faithful surveys U.S. dioceses’ financial transparency
“Catholics in the icy north of Anchorage, Alaska, know the warmth of financial transparency in their local church, while Catholics in tropical St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, are getting the cold shoulder. Those two dioceses represent the polar opposites of this year’s financial transparency survey of American dioceses compiled by Voice of the Faithful(link is external). The Anchorage Archdiocese rated a perfect 100 score, while the St. Thomas Diocese rated the lowest, at 14 points. A total of 177 dioceses were rated. This is the third year of studies on financial transparency compiled by Voice of the Faithful …” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

A New York diocese filed for bankruptcy, Will others follow?
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection under the weight of new sexual misconduct lawsuits, but lawyers and church leaders say it may not be the last(link is external). All eight of the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses face financial pressures as a result of the state’s new Child Victims Act, which temporarily set aside the usual statute of limitations for lawsuits to give victims of childhood sexual abuse a year to pursue even decades-old claims. More than 400 cases have been brought against the dioceses since Aug. 14, when the law’s one-year “look back” period for such suits began.” By Carolyn Thompson, The Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Church admits liability in child abuse case
“The Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a child(link is external) by pedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case that could open the floodgates for survivors seeking compensation. After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending before the nine-year-old boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake, in western Victoria in 1982, lawyers for the Church on Friday (Nov. 1) accepted an amended statement of claim from the survivor in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.” By CathNews.com

Pope accepts resignation of New York City bishop accused of abuse
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York City bishop after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy(link is external) in the 1980s. Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik is the latest head to roll in the ongoing abuse scandal. The Vatican announced his resignation had been accepted Thursday (Oct. 10). For decades the Vatican turned a blind eye to bishops and cardinals who abused minors and adults or covered up the crimes.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

For the editor behind The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation, Colorado’s clergy abuse report is ‘eerily similar’
“It’s a group no one wants to be a part of: communities scarred by abuse in Catholic Churches(link is external). With the Attorney General’s office’s report, Colorado now has at least a partial accounting of child sexual abuse in the state’s three dioceses. The independent inquiry revealed that priests abused, at minimum, 166 children in Colorado over 70 years. The Centennial State is far from the first community that has already been down this path. A prominent one is Boston, where in 2002, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation revealed widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston and an ensuing cover-up by church leaders.” By Avery Lill, Colorado Public Radio

Catholic group calls on more diocese restructure following latest Bransfield report
“West Virginia Catholics are once again stunned by news about former Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). The Washington Post recently reported that Bransfield took millions of dollars from church-owned Wheeling Hospital for the bishop’s fund. Mark Switzer, part of the Lay Catholics for Change said on Wednesday’s (Oct. 30) MetroNews ‘Talkline’ the reaction of church members has been much of the same with the most recent report.” By WVMetroNews.com

French bishops plan to open plenary meetings to lay participation
“France’s Catholic bishops plan to open their plenary assembly for the first time to lay participation(link is external) following the passage of a controversial bioethics law despite mass church-backed opposition. Constance Pluviaud, media relations officer of the French Catholic bishops’ conference, said Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, conference president, ‘wants to change how our plenaries function and highlight themes common to both church and society.’ By Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Bransfield extreme, but most U.S. bishops have no meaningful spending controls
“Michael Bransfield is the poster child for runaway clericalism. The former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, represents the worst in the corrupted tradition of the priesthood over the centuries. He saw the church and its resources as his personal plaything(link is external). He saw the people of the church, both clergy and laity, as his servants. He sees himself as a feudal lord. Unlike Jesus, he did not see himself as a servant, especially to the poor … Why were there no controls? Most U.S. bishops have no meaningful controls on their spending.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican cardinal stirs controversy by saying it’s time to ‘exit’ abuse scandals
“If (Cardinal Peter) Turkson wants an exit strategy, (Marie) Collins wrote, ‘He should recommend the Church institute a transparent process of accountability(link is external) for negligent/corrupt bishops, deal with the huge backlog of abuse cases lingering in the CDF, put in place universal mandatory reporting to civil authorities…stop fighting the extension of statutes of limitations, put in place strong normative child safeguarding policies in every country, stop the use of pontifical secret in abuse trials and implement REAL zero tolerance in all cases of a guilty perpetrator.’ And this, she said, is ‘just for a start.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope’s words ‘difficult to reconcile’ with Vatican’s lack of cooperation with abuse inquiry
“It was “very disappointing” the Vatican failed to give testimony during an investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales(link is external), according to the lead counsel to the inquiry. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the bishops’ conference’s response to the sex abuse crisis is taking place Oct. 28 – Nov. 8, and there has been frustration with the lack response from the Holy See to requests for information.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis criticized by child sex abuse inquiry after Vatican refuses to send crucial evidence
“The Pope has been criticized by the government-ordered child sex abuse inquiry after the Vatican refused to provide crucial evidence(link is external). The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has repeatedly asked the Holy See about whether officials in Rome assisted convicted pedophile Laurence Soper while he was fugitive monk wanted in Britain for child abuse offences.” By Gabriella Swerling, The Telegraph

CARDINALS

English cardinal admits ‘extent of failures’ on abuse ahead of inquiry
“Cardinal Vincent Nichols has issued a statement admitting to ‘failures’ on handling abuse by church officials(link is external) ahead of a government-established inquiry into sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established by the British Home Office – which oversees similar areas as the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security – in 2014. It is independent and does not answer to the government.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal’s legal team objects to prosecutor’s response
“Cardinal George Pell’s legal team has accused the state’s top prosecutor of failing to properly respond to his High Court appeal bid(link is external). Cardinal Pell is fighting to overturn his convictions for the abuse of two choirboys and has lodged an application with the High Court seeking special leave to appeal. He has argued the Victorian Court of Appeal was wrong to dismiss his appeal in a 2-1 majority decision.” By CathNews.com

Australian prosecutors argue no grounds for ex-Vatican treasurer’s final sex crimes appeal
“Prosecutors have urged Australia’s High Court to refuse to hear a final appeal by former Vatican treasurer George Pell(link is external) against his convictions for sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in the late 1990s. In opposing arguments put by Pell’s lawyers to Australia’s highest court, prosecutors said there was no error in the approach taken by the Victorian state Court of Appeal.” By Reuters

BISHOPS

What the U.S. bishops can learn from the Amazon synod
“As the U.S. bishops gather for their annual meeting in Baltimore next week (Nov. 11), they might take a page from the Vatican’s recently ended synod on the Amazon region(link is external). There are six major differences between the synod, which met in Rome Oct. 6-27, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ three-day meeting, which starts Nov. 11.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Financial records reveal questionable decisions about bishops fund within Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
“Michael Bransfield’s salary as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston spiked sharply in 2016 — just more than a year after he created his own nonprofit Bishops Fund Inc. to channel money to various West Virginia projects(link is external). Bransfield’s pay increased nearly 60 percent to $215,571 after the Bishops Fund completed its first full year. At the end of 2016, the fund held more than $7.5 million in assets, according to IRS records that were filed by the organization.” By Mike Jones, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

U.S. bishops set to begin their ‘ad limina’ visits to Rome
“The bishops of every diocese in the United States have prepared detailed reports on the life of the Catholic Church in their dioceses(link is external) and have made or are making reservations to fly to Rome. The U.S. bishops’ visits ad limina apostolorum – to the threshold of the apostles – begin Nov. 4 with a group from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Upcoming bishops’ meeting reflects current state of U.S. church
“Two weeks from today, the U.S. bishops will gather in Baltimore for their annual plenary meeting and, in a sense, the gathering is a metaphor for the situation of the Catholic Church in our nation at this moment in time(link is external). The meeting, like the church, is traditional, but no one knows what to expect, it will largely be ignored by mainstream society, and it is difficult to feel much confidence in the current leadership. The biggest challenge is to get back to a sense of normalcy without downplaying the still potentially explosive issue of clergy sex abuse.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican still investigating claims against former bishop
“The Vatican’s ‘administrative penal process’ into former Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart — which could see the cleric removed from the priesthood — has yet to resolve(link is external), the church said Tuesday (Oct. 22), and investigations in Kansas City are on hold until the process in Rome finishes. Current Wyoming Bishop Steven Biegler announced in June that Hart, who has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 10 men, would face adjudication by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The body was first formed to safeguard church doctrine and to investigate heretics nearly 500 years ago.” By Seth Klamann, Caspar Star-Telegram

Tainted Kerala bishop faces fresh harassment charges
“A nun, who had filed a rape case against Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is out on bail, approached the national and state Women’s Commissions and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), alleging that the priest and his supporters harassed her through various online platforms(link is external). ‘Attempts to intimidate and defame me and my colleagues through the social media were made by the bishop and his followers. False statements, imputations and fabricated stories tarnishing our reputation and character are being systematically spread through the YouTube channel, Christian Times, run by Bishop Franco and his aides,’ the complaint said.” By A.M. Abdussalam and Ashraf Padanna, Gulf Today

Synod appears to be moving toward ordination for married men in Amazon
“The synod of bishops meeting in Rome appears to be moving toward recommending the ordination of married men in the Amazon region(link is external). While no one can predict what the bishops will do, one Brazilian bishop recently estimated that two-thirds of the bishops at the synod will support ordaining ‘viri probati’ — a church phrase meaning ‘married men of proven virtue.’ Another participant told Religion News Service that only a couple of the 185 bishops spoke against the idea during the first week of the synod.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

PRIESTS

Nouwen a witness to committed priestly ministry
“Today’s priesthood stands on shaky ground. Just who and what is a Catholic priest?(link is external) Since the Second Vatican Council, priests have struggled to come to terms with the implications of the council’s focus on baptism as the central, core and foundational sacrament of the Christian life. The ordained priest, like all the faithful, is called by his baptismal incorporation in the Christian family to discipleship and witness to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. And he meets this call not as one set apart, but as a servant leader embedded in the very heart of the Christian community.” By Donald Cozzens, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Indian nun appeals to Vatican after dismissed following protests of bishop accused or rape
“A religious dismissed from her congregation after she took part in protests against a bishop accused of raping a different nun(link is external) has appealed the decision to the Vatican’s highest court of appeal. Sister Lucy Kalapura has asked the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura to allow her to present her case in person; she has also requested a personal audience with Pope Francis.” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

Women religious should have vote at synod, theologian says
“While the Catholic Church has made strides to include the voice of women, especially in the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, women should be included among synod voting members and in church leadership positions, a German theologian said(link is external). Medical Mission Sister Birgit Weiler, a member of the Peruvian bishops’ pastoral ministry for the care of creation, told journalists at a Vatican news briefing Oct. 11 that such changes would allow the Church to become ‘a community of sisters and brothers, sharing faith, discerning together.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

WOMEN DEACONS

On Catholic women deacons, San Diego’s McElroy is ‘in favor of it’
“San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said he supports allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic Church(link is external), in what appears as the first such public disclosure of a U.S. prelate since Pope Francis reopened consideration of the history of women’s diaconal ordination in 2016. In an NCR interview Oct. 27, McElroy said he hoped the pope’s surprise decision at the end of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon to reconvene the Vatican’s study commission on women deacons would lead to ‘a conclusion that it is not prohibited to ordain women to the diaconate.’” By Joshua J. McElroy, National Catholic Reporter

Fordham symposium discusses possibilities of women deacons
“As the synod for the Amazon was entering its final week in Rome, scholars Phyllis Zagano, Meghan Clark and George Demacopoulos discussed the importance and need for women deacons(link is external), especially in the Amazon, at an Oct. 22 symposium at Fordham University here. Zagano, a member of the papal Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate(link is external), said that the issue had also been discussed in previous synods. She recalled meeting women religious from around the world who were performing baptisms due to lack of priests. They didn’t want to be ordained for power, rather to prevent people from going ‘next door to the Pentecostals.’” By Sarah Salvadore, National Catholic Reporter

Support for women deacons ‘substantial’ at synod, says Brazilian bishop
“A sizeable group among the 185 Catholic prelates at the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops for the Amazon approve of ordaining women as deacons in order to address a lack of ministers across the nine-nation region(link is external), said one of the participating bishops. ‘There’s a lot of support for it,’ Bishop Derek Byrne told NCR in an Oct. 17 interview. “’Especially from bishops who are in this situation and who find that they just can’t serve their people.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Catholic bishops agree: anything but a woman
“The modern Catholic Church is beset with serious problems. Among them is that not enough men want to be priests(link is external). Over the past three weeks, 184 bishops gathered at a Vatican summit to seek solutions for the Amazon region in particular, singled out because of myriad crises it is facing, including environmental devastation, violence and a shortage of priests to serve the needs of the faithful there. The bishops’ solution: Do anything other than ordaining women as priests.” By Sara McDougall, The New York Times

Women of the Church takes stock of Catholic chaos, urges women’s leadership
“Catholic women in the United States gathered to urge greater leadership roles for women in the church(link is external), even as bishops were discussing the possibility of women deacons at a synod in Rome. Organizers of the second Women of the Church conference could not have known that the diaconate for women, as well as the possibility of ordaining some married men, would be making headlines from the Synod on the Amazon at the same time they were meeting, Oct. 18-20, at St. Mary’s College here.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Conference hears how women’s voices can help strengthen Catholic Church
“The Church needs the voices of women wherever important decisions are made – and it needs their voices now more than ever(link is external), speakers said during the three-day Women of the Church Conference. The national conference, held Oct. 18 to 20 at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, drew 150 women of all ages – from college students to elderly religious – and a handful of supportive men.” By Marnie McAllister, Cruxnow.com

Amazon synod: bishops vote on women deacons
“A proposal to ordain women deacons has made it into the final document of the Amazon synod(link is external) which bishops will vote on at the end of this week, The Tablet has learnt. Church sources say the possibility of a female diaconate will be among the final proposals in the text, making it the first time that such a move has made it into a synod final document.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Bishop highlights need for lay ministries in Amazon
Lay men and women involved in ministry have been fundamental(link is external) in spreading the Gospel and furthering the Catholic Church’s mission in the Amazon, a Brazilian bishop said. Bishop Wilmar Santin of Itaituba, told journalists at a Vatican press briefing Oct. 10 that the formation of ‘ministers of the word’ among the Munduruku indigenous community in his prelature helped advance the church’s mission and presence.” By Junno arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Vatican’s investigation of Buffalo Diocese finishes first week with 30 interviews
“The Diocese of Brooklyn has issued a statement, saying Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio visited Buffalo earlier this week (Oct. 11) and interviewed 30 people as part of his Apostolic Visitation. Bishop DiMarzio is investigating the Buffalo Catholic Diocese’s handling of sexual abuse cases(link is external). Movement to Restore Trust leader John Hurley said he was surprised the bishop had not contacted anyone from MRT, making him wonder about the nature of the investigation.” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM Buffalo’s NPR News Station

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican cash crisis: Sex abuse scandals are ‘driving away donations and have lost the Holy See €44m in a year’
“The Vatican is rapidly losing money with donations plummeting as sex abuse scandals damage the Catholic Church’s reputation(link is external), according to a new book. Gianluigi Nuzzi writes that the Vatican lost nearly €44million (£38million) last year while its property empire made a loss for the first time. The Italian journalist, whom the Vatican attempted to put on trial for publishing leaked secrets in 2016, said attempted reforms by Pope Francis were being ‘anaesthetised, blocked and sabotaged’ by Vatican insiders.” By Tim Stickings for MailOnline.com

Leaked documents detail $200 million Vatican deal for swanky London property
“Against the backdrop of a Synod of Bishops on the Amazon dedicated to the defense of some of the world’s most impoverished people, the Vatican finds itself rocked by yet another financial scandal(link is external) after publication Sunday (Oct. 20) of seamy details about a $200 million purchase of a swanky 183,000-square-foot apartment building in the Chelsea district of London. ‘Hundreds of millions of Euro destined for the least and the poor are still administered opaquely and with no transparency, as if the Vatican were a merchant bank in an offshore country,’ the report claims.” By John L. Allen, The Tablet

CHILD PROTECTION

Church continues to strengthen child safety practices
“The Church has made significant progress in responding to the royal commission into child sexual abuse(link is external), Archbishop Mark Coleridge said today (Oct. 22) on the anniversary of the National Apology to survivors and victims. On October 22 last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and then-opposition leader Bill Shorten delivered apologies on behalf of the Australian people to those who were sexually abused as children. They followed the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, published in December 2017.” By CathNews.com

CLERICALISM

Reflections on the dangers of clericalism in the Church
“What is clericalism and how is it such a danger in our Church? There are many definitions of clericalism and yet they all come back to a basic reality. Clericalism is a culture and expectation that ordained ministers are better than and should rule over everyone else among the People of God. As Pope Francis said, this diminishes and undervalues the baptismal grace of our people. In doing so, it also downplays the equal dignity of every human being made in the image and likeness of God. Clericalism leads to many dangers in the Church and in the lives of all people, clergy and laity(link is external).” By Louis Arceneaux, CM, Famvin.org

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Dissenting note struck on married priests as solution for the Amazon
“For the first time in one of the Vatican’s daily news briefings during the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, a dissenting voice was struck Wednesday (Oct. 16) about the idea of ordaining married men to solve priest shortages in the region.(link is external) ‘I don’t see celibacy as the main problem’ in attracting young men to the priesthood, said Bishop Wellington Tadeu de Queiroz Vieira of Cristalândia in Brazil, emphasizing that nobody had appointed him a spokesman for the synod but nevertheless saying, ‘I think there are many who share my views.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope’s path to allow married priests for Amazon straightforward, say canon lawyers
“If the prelates attending the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops for the Amazon ask that Pope Francis allow the ordination of married men(link is external) to address a lack of Catholic ministers across the nine-nation region, the path for implementing such a proposal is fairly straightforward, say four eminent canon lawyers. Although the canonists have slightly different ideas about the concrete method the pope could use to allow for married priests on a regional basis, they agree that the way forward is relatively easy, as celibacy is only a practice of the church and not a revealed dogma.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

As U.S. ‘nones’ increase, we must start asking different questions
“Nearly nine years ago, I covered a full day symposium at Fordham University called ‘Lost? Twenty-somethings and the Church,’ sponsored by the university’s Center on Religion and Culture. The event was primarily concerned with three questions: Have young adult Catholics lost their way? Has the church lost twenty-somethings? And, if so, how do we get them back?(link is external) Those inquiries were apparently so urgent that the center had to open up a second auditorium and livestream the program to accommodate the overwhelming number of registrants.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

As lay ministers flourish, overworked ministers struggle with burnout
“Sue Antoinette, a retired youth minister in Cincinnati, spent her career being attentive to others’ needs. But she didn’t always receive the same in return. Because Antoinette worked with kids, she found that people tended to take her work less seriously. She even remembers a time when a priest patted her on the head. In 2005 lay ministers working in parish settings outnumbered diocesan priests for the first time in the United States(link is external), according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.” By Teresa Coda, U.S. Catholic

VOICES

West Virginia Catholics confronting Bransfield scandal
“Most Christians know well a verse in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that comes to mind when the collection plate is passed: ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ But many congregants of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston find themselves somewhat reluctant tithers these days because of the scandal surrounding former Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external).” By Hoppy Kercheval, WVMetroNews.com

Married priests and women deacons: It’s about law, not doctrine
“The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region discussed two new-old ideas during its October Rome meeting: married priests and women deacons(link is external). News flash: It’s about law, not doctrine. The custom of ordaining only celibate men as priests and the refusal to restore women to the ordained diaconate are practices rooted in legal, not doctrinal determinations. Each is what canon lawyers call a ‘merely ecclesiastical law.’” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Money shapes the U.S. Catholic narrative
The Catholic Church in the United States is for sale(link is external). In quiet investments over a period of decades, wealthy entrepreneurs and flush nonprofits have supplanted elements of church life that once were the province of official church organizations. Church leaders have watched as individuals and groups with substantial resources became the voice of the church in the public square, fashioning a Catholic narrative for the wider culture.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

A tale of two synods: putting the people of God first, 14 years later
What a difference prioritizing the people of God makes!(link is external) At this writing, a majority of the small group reports from the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon are discussing ordaining married men and women deacons. Ten of 12 small groups discussed married priests while seven of 12 reference female deacons with four recommending ordination and three others suggesting the need for further study. According to Bishop Derek Byrne of the Diocese of Primavera do Leste-Paranatinga, Brazil, among the synod’s 185 prelates there is ‘substantial support’ for ordaining women deacons.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Justice shouldn’t have an expiration date
“Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may soon win the right to prosecute their cases in court no matter how long ago their trauma occurred(link is external). Pennsylvania’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a forum on Oct. 2 to debate whether or not to eliminate the state’s statute of limitations — a law set that restricts how long an alleged victim has to bring a case to court — for sexual abuse civil cases.” By Grace McGuinness, The Pitt News

CHURCH FINANCES

Johnson County Catholic priest pleads no contest to stealing over $42,000 from church
“A Johnson County Catholic priest accused of stealing more than $42,000 from his Gardner parish pleaded no contest to felony theft(link is external) Friday (Oct. 25). The Rev. Joseph Cramer’s trial was set to start on Monday (Oct. 28) before he pleaded. He was originally charged with one count of theft and two counts of computer crime. The computer crime charges were dropped Friday. Cramer, 68, was charged in May 2018 after he was placed on leave from Divine Mercy Parish months earlier for ‘financial irregularities.’” By Katie Bernard, The Kansas City Star

Contributions to Catholic Church plunge amid sex abuse crisis as Vatican ‘faces default’ over financial failings
“Worldwide donations to the Catholic Church have plunged in the wake of sex abuse scandals that have eroded faith in the Vatican(link is external), a new book claims. The Church’s finances are in such a dire state – a result of a toxic mix of incompetence, internal wrangling and corruption – that the Vatican risks a default by 2023, according to the expose.” By Nick Squires, The Telegraph

Can the Vatican Bank be reformed? After the latest raid, doubters multiply
“Earlier this month, gendarmes raided the offices of the offices providing oversight to the Vatican Bank in search of ‘documents and electronic devices,’ a move casting doubt on the six-year reform process for what must be the world’s most mysterious and high-profile small bank(link is external). Information about the raids trickles out daily. The latest investigation was triggered by a series of wire transfers connected to paying off the mortgage on a building in London’s tony Sloane Square neighborhood. That the London building was partially owned by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State raised the suspicions of investigators.” By Eric J. Lyman, Fortune

Cardinal Becciu at center of Vatican financial investigation
“The recent raid of Vatican offices is connected to an investigation into charges that Vatican money financed the development of luxury properties in London(link is external), and led to a windfall for the Vatican’s investment managers, according to an October 14 report from Financial Times. According to Financial Times, Vatican police and prosecutors are investigating the possibility of improprieties in a 2014 $200 million investment made through Athena Capital, a Luxembourg investment fund, which financed a stake in the development of a luxury apartment project in London.” By Ed Condon and J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency, in Catholic Herald

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

California governor signs legislation giving huge victory to childhood sex abuse survivors
“California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that will provide a 3-year window for old sexual abuse cases(link is external) previously barred by the current statute of limitations. This means that previously barred survivors can bring abuse lawsuits against the institutions that aided and abetted the perpetrators. In anticipation of the Governor’s signing six of the 12 California Catholic dioceses have introduced a compensation program hoped to stem the tide of future lawsuits.” By Joseph H. Saunder, The Legal Examiner

Advocates rally for change to statute of limitations laws for victims of sexual abuse, investigation into abuse by Catholic priests
“A group that provides resources to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is demanding the Louisiana Attorney General’s office launch an official investigation(link is external). The group is called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  “I was abused at Jesuit High School in New Orleans as well by a priest and a janitor,” said Richard Windmann. Windmann is vocal as to what he allegedly happened to him on the Jesuit High School campus in the 70′s.” By Kiran Chawla, WAFB-TV9 News

‘I am not going to take their hush money’: clergy sexual abuse victim calls for statute of limitations reform
“A victim of the first priest sentenced to prison time as a result of the state Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse says statute of limitations reform is necessary. Disgraced retired priest, Fr. John Sweeney, of the Diocese of Greensburg, was sentenced nearly a year ago to 11½ months to five years in prison. Now, one of his victims, who Sweeney admitted to abusing, is calling for changes to the statute of limitations process(link is external).” By KDKA-TV2 News

Survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic priests call for Colorado statute of limitations reform
“Survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic priests are calling for reforms to Colorado’s statute of limitations(link is external) for such crimes in the wake of a damning report detailing decades of sexual abuse and cover-up in the church. Such reforms could allow survivors to use lawsuits to expose more child sex abuse than was included in the 263-page report.” By Forest Wilson, The Colorado Independent

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Church urged to boost response to needs of clergy sexual abuse survivors
“A Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse pleaded for Catholic Church leaders to follow the example of a Wyoming bishop who continues to seek justice and answers for other survivors(link is external). Juan Carlos Cruz expressed support for the work of Bishop Steven R. Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, during a panel discussion at Georgetown University Nov. 4, saying the prelate’s efforts to resolve questions surrounding a retired predecessor’s alleged abuse demonstrates that someone within the church cares enough to raise up the needs of survivors.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

‘By the Grace of God’ explores the church’s unimaginable betrayal of child victims of sexual abuse
For a member of the clergy to sexually violate a child is one of the most stark and cruel betrayals imaginable(link is external). That an institution would prevaricate and dissemble about these betrayals rather than take immediate, decisive action to pursue justice and provide restitution creates a greater betrayal. After years of such actions, betrayal reaches a near-unimaginable level. And yet, we don’t have to imagine. In the Roman Catholic Church, these violations have been rife, and the stories behind them are appalling.” By Glenn Kenn, The New York Times, in Minneapolis Star Tribune

Accused of sexual abuse, a priest left Colorado for a safe haven: San Diego
“In 1953, the Rev. Walter Buetzler was accused of molesting a fifth-grade boy after hearing the child’s confession(link is external) at St. Joseph Parish in Monte Vista, Colo. After the boy’s father complained to the parish council and later to the Diocese of Pueblo’s bishop, Buetzler left the state. He quickly secured a new job: professor of classical languages at the San Diego College for Men, then part of the University of San Diego.” By Peter Rowe, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Irish ex-priest who raped a abused at least 25 kids in California is arrested in Portugal for child pornography
“A pedophile Irish ex-priest who raped and abused at least 25 children(link is external) in California, has reportedly been arrested on the Algarve. Portuguese police sources confirmed on Thursday (Oct. 24) Oliver O’Grady, 74, the subject of a 2006 documentary film called Deliver Us from Evil, was the man they had arrested.” By Gerard Couzens, Daily Mail

What is owed to victims of abuse in the Catholic Church? That’s up to Kenneth Feinberg to decide.
“It’s a difficult job, but one attorney Kenneth Feinberg has taken on — again and again. After 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Aurora Theater shooting, Feinberg has been responsible for deciding how much money is owed to victims(link is external) of those tragedies and others. By his own admission they aren’t easy decisions. ‘This is a judgment that one has to make based on the credibility of the claim, the nature and scope of the abuse and the damage suffered by the victim,’ Feinberg said.” By Anthony Cotton, Andrea Dukakis, and Alex Scoville

Insurance firm sues Buffalo Diocese to avoid paying for sex abuse claims
“A Chicago-based insurance company has launched an opening salvo in what are expected to be bruising legal battles between the Buffalo Diocese and its insurers over payouts on clergy sex abuse claims under the Child Victims Act and the legal costs of defending the diocese against the claims. Continental Insurance Company is arguing in court papers that insurance policies it may have issued to the diocese more than 40 years ago don’t apply to childhood sex abuse(link is external) lawsuits being filed now against the diocese.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Orsolits abused kids after Buffalo Diocese’s cover-up of assault, lawsuits say
“The Buffalo Diocese removed the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits from a South Buffalo Catholic parish in 1968, shortly after parents complained that Orsolits had molested a 14-year-old boy in the back seat of his car at a drive-in theater. But Orsolits quickly wound up in another Buffalo parish(link is external). And he went on to molest other boys across Western New York, according to several lawsuits filed over the past two months.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

ARIZONA

Tucson bishop responds to Oklahoma City Archdiocese abuse report
“Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Tucson Diocese has responded to a recent report involving clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City(link is external). Weisenburger served as Vicar General in Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2012, and helped investigate claims of misconduct. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City received a letter from a former resident of Oklahoma regarding abuse by a priest in August of 2018, according to our Oklahoma City sister station, KFOR-TV. The church announced they would review and report all similar allegations.” By KVOA-TV4 News

ARKANSAS

New sexual abuse survivors group forms in Arkansas
“A new support group for survivors of abuse will soon be available to people of any faith through the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock(link is external). The Maria Goretti Network will hold the first meeting of its Arkansas chapter at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway in November. Miguel Prats, a sexual abuse survivor, co-founded the Texas-based nonprofit with the Rev. Gavin Vavarek in 2004.” By Francisca Jones, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

CALIFORNIA

Sacramenyto Catholic Diocese helped accused priest obtain clergy position in Mexico, lawsuit claims
“A new lawsuit filed on Tuesday (Oct. 15) claims the Catholic Church’s Sacramento diocese assisted one of its priests in obtaining a new position with a parish in Mexico after sexual abuse accusations in Northern California(link is external) in the 1980s. The lawsuit includes a letter allegedly written by Diocese of Sacramento attorney Louis N. Desmond and indicates that former Bishop Francis A. Quinn approved a request by Priest Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos to begin working in Mexico.” By Bob Moffitt, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, Calif.

COLORADO

Colorado releases new report on Catholic sex abuse in state
“Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has unveiled a new independent report detailing allegations of sex abuse(link is external) against at least 166 children by 43 Roman Catholic priests over the course of 70 years. Weiser announced the more than 250-page report during a news conference on Wednesday (Oct. 23), describing the documented abuse of children by Catholic priests going back decades as ‘unimaginable.’” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

CONNECTICUT

Demonstrators demand accountability for Catholic clergy sex crimes
“A small group of demonstrators stood outside the Cathedral of Saint Patrick(link is external) on Sunday (Nov. 3) to mark All Survivors’ Day, which recognizes survivors of sexual abuse. As men and women in military dress exited the Cathedral following the 28th annual Red, White & Blue Mass’s reception, they strode past the group of demonstrators, which fluctuated between four and eight survivors and their supporters.” By Sten Spinella, The Day

FLORIDA

Diocese of Venice faces second suit alleging priest sexually assaulted female parishioners
“The Diocese of Venice is facing its second $15 million suit this month(link is external), alleging that the Rev. Nicholas McLoughlin, 77, formerly of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park, sexually assaulted a female parishioner. Both suits were filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Adam Horowitz.” By Earle Kimel, Herald-Tribune

IDAHO

Catholic church updates list of credibly accused priests
“Catholic church leaders in Idaho have updated their list of priests the church says were credibly accused of child sex abuse since the 1950s(link is external) to include more details about where the clergy served when the incidents occurred. The known allegations of child sex abuse involve 15 priests and one deacon, and they span the state geographically, including parishes in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Caldwell, McCall, Moscow, Soda Springs, Kamiah, Aberdeen, DeSmet, Wallace, St. Maries and Kellogg.” By Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

Credible allegations of child sexual abuse against six former priests, one deacon in Boise Diocese
“Since the 1950s, there have been six priests and one deacon that have credible allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) while assigned or associated with the Diocese of Boise, according to a list released by the Diocese. Incidents date back to 1950, with some as recent as 2018. The Diocese said the incidents are dated to the approximate time that they happened. The list also includes the years that the abuse was reported to the church.” By KTVB-TV7 News

Catholic Church strips Boise priest of title, cuts ties with sex offender
“The Vatican has formally cut ties with W. Thomas Faucher, a former Boise priest who pleaded guilty last year to some of the most violent, depraved child pornography seen in recent Ada County history(link is external). Faucher, 74, pleaded guilty to five felonies and was sentenced in December to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.” By Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesmen

ILLINOIS

Joliet Diocese is sued over Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a man who has a disability at residential center in Kankakee
“The Diocese of Joliet is facing a lawsuit in connection to a priest who is accused of sexually assaulting a man who has a disability(link is external) while visiting a Kankakee development center to minister to residents there. Richard Jacklin, 67, was criminally charged in 2017 after a nurse reported walking in on Jacklin performing a sex act on a 39-year-old man who was living at the Shapiro Developmental Center, prosecutors said. The center provides housing and care for people with intellectual disabilities. The man is paralyzed and has an intellectual disability.” By Madeline Buckley, Chicago Tribune

INDIANA

Suspended Indianapolis priest charged with sex crimes
“A suspended Catholic priest in Indiana is facing charges alleging he sexually abused a child in 2016(link is external). The Rev. David Marcotte of Indianapolis is charged in suburban Hamilton County with child solicitation, vicarious sexual gratification and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. The Indianapolis Archdiocese suspended the 32-year-old Marcotte from public ministry in February after its victim assistance coordinator learned of the abuse allegations.” By Associated Press

IOWA

Ex-N’West Iowa priest accused of sex abuse
“A Catholic priest with N’West Iowa ties who died in May has been accused of sexual abuse(link is external). In a 13-page civil complaint filed on Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Woodbury County District Court in Sioux City against the Diocese of Sioux City, 60-year-old Samuel Heinrichs accused the Rev. Dale Koster of physically and sexually abusing him when he was about 10 years old.” By Mark Mahoney, NWestIowa.com

KENTUCKY

Allegations against Catholic priest lead to his resignation
“A Catholic priest in Kentucky has resigned as pastor of a church following allegations of inappropriate contact made by two men(link is external). The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that in a letter Tuesday (Oct. 15), Bishop John Stowe accepted the resignation of the Rev. Alan Carter as pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Danville. Catholic Diocese of Lexington communications director Don Clemmer says Carter was removed as vocations director of the diocese last month following the first allegation, which Clemmer says dates back to when Carter was ordained seven years ago.” By Associated Press on WKYT-TV News

MASSACHUSETTS

Two Fall River Diocese priests placed on leave over alleged misconduct
“Two Massachusetts priests have been placed on administrative leave(link is external), according to a statement from Fall River’s Catholic Diocese. Father Richard E. Degagne, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Easton, and Father Daniel W. Lacroix, co-pastor of St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes in New Bedford, have been placed on leave because of alleged misconduct that is said to have occurred decades ago.” By Mike Manzoni, NBC-TV10 News

Msgr Francis Strahan placed on leave after allegation of abuse
“The Archdiocese of Boston announced Oct. 25 that it has placed Msgr. Francis V. Strahan, the pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Framingham, on administrative leave after receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). Msgr. Strahan has served as pastor of St. Bridget’s since 1983 and was named a monsignor by Pope John Paull II in 1998. Earlier this year, he celebrated his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination.” By Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Springfield diocese looking to hire clergy sexual abuse investigator
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is seeking to hire a new investigator to look into reports of clergy sexual abuse of minors for the Diocesan Review Board(link is external). Jeffrey L. Trant, who was recently appointed to lead the diocese’s newly designated Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance that oversees such allegations, said the person hired will succeed the first person to hold the position, retired State Policer Officer Kevin Murphy. An active search for his successor is underway.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican

MICHIGAN

Diocese of Lansing releases report on priest accused of sexual misconduct
“The Diocese of Lansing admits it did not properly handle allegations of sexual misconduct made against a priest in 1990(link is external). The Diocese released the results of an external review into two allegations against Fr. Pat Egan. Egan was banned from the Diocese in March following an internal investigation. Egan is a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster in England. He’d been serving as an extern priest for the Lansing Diocese since 1983, living off-and-on in Ann Arbor.” By WILX-TV10 News

MINNESOTA

Judge approves $40 million settlement with Duluth Diocese
“A judge’s approval of a nearly $40 million settlement with the Diocese of Duluth(link is external) was welcome news to the tearful survivors of clergy sexual abuse who crammed into a federal courtroom here Monday (Oct. 21). It meant their suffering was recognized. It meant the church was being held accountable. ‘It means that perhaps they’re going to start keeping an eye on these people,’ said Eugene Saumer, 80, who described struggling throughout his life with the memories of being abused while he temporarily lived in a Catholic orphanage at age 9.” By Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune

NEW YORK

Suit claims retired Albany bishop told sex abuse victim to ‘forget about it’
“A newly filed lawsuit claims retired Bishop Howard Hubbard told a teenage boy more than 60 years ago that he should ‘forget about’ alleged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of another priest(link is external) who had what Hubbard allegedly described as ‘a moment of weakness.’ The suit, filed Monday (Nov. 4) in state Supreme Court in Albany, claims Father Edward Leroux groomed and abused a 16-year-old boy in the summer of 1956 while the teenager was working weekends at the Jesuit Retreat House in Glenmont.” By Cayla Harris, Albany Times Union

Buffalo diocese investigation ends, DiMarzio will send report to Vatican
“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has completed his Apostolic Visitation of the Diocese of Buffalo. A statement released by DiMarzio’s own Diocese of Brooklyn on Thursday (Oct. 31) confirmed that the visitation had concluded(link is external) and he will submit a report to the Holy See. The bishop offered no comment on his findings in the scandal-hit Buffalo diocese. The visitation, a canonical inspection and fact-finding mission, was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet of the Congregation of Bishops in Rome, the Vatican department responsible for overseeing the personal and administrative conduct of bishops.” By Catholic News Agency

Plantiffs claiming sexual abuse from the 1960s file civil suits against Diocese of Rockville Centre
“A total of five lawsuits were filed Tuesday (Oct.22) against the Diocese of Rockville Centre alleging priest sex abuse(link is external) from decades ago. Sheryn Silvestre and Joanne Jack made the allegations in February that they were abused by staff at St. Agnes Parish in the 1960s. Joanne’s brother, Alexander, has now joined the case, alleging that he too was sexually abused.” By News12 Long Island

In bad faith: child sex abuse and the Catholic Church
“They say that Father John Paddack – who was ordained in 1984 and had been ministering in New York until he was suspended in July – molested them during confession and counselling sessions(link is external) in different Catholic schools across the city. The men allege years of abuse by Paddack, sparking the latest revelations in a decades-old scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church to its foundation.” By Faultlines on Aljazeera.com

Man relives past abuse by Plattsburg priest
“The day M.G. turned 23, he lost the chance to sue his childhood abuser. Now, nearly three decades later, the Child Victims Act has returned his voice(link is external). Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation earlier this year, loosening up some state regulations surrounding child sexual abuse claims. A key piece of the act was its one-year revival period, which beginning mid-August temporarily lifted New York’s statute of limitations on such cases, allowing victims of any age to step forward.” By Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Former pastor in area accused of child sex abuse
A longtime area Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of child abuse(link is external) from years ago. Monsignor Edward Weber, the director of Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, is one of four priests in the Archdiocese of New York to be placed on leave following new allegations, said an article in the Catholic New York, the archdiocese’s newspaper.” By Kathy Reakes, White Plains Daily Voice

Four archdiocese priests on leave amid new church sex abuse accusations
“As the sun shines down on Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, N.Y., a cloud of suspicion hovers over its parish priest and three other priests in the New York archdiocese(link is external) now facing allegations of abusing children several decades ago. The four clergy of the Archdiocese of New York have been accused of abuse with minors, cases not included in the special investigation released two weeks ago.” By CBS-TV News New York

Diocese’s insurer: If you conceal abuse, we don’t have to pay
“The Diocese of Buffalo’s insurance company is arguing in court that it is not liable for sex abuse judgments because the diocese concealed the abuse for decades(link is external). In documents recently filed in state court, Continental Insurance Company — whose predecessor insured the diocese for much of the 1970s — says that its policy only covers ‘accidents’ which are reported in a timely manner to the insurer.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

NORTH CAROLINA

List of Catholic priests in western North Carolina accused of sexual abuse to come in December
“The Catholic Church in western North Carolina is conducting a review of personnel documents going back to the creation of the diocese in 1972 to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The plan is to release the list by December. On Wednesday (Oct. 23), the Rev. Patrick Winslow, the vicar general and chancellor for the Diocese of Charlotte, came to St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory to discuss the review process.” By Megan Suggs, Record & Landmark

Former mountain priest pleads guilty to child sex charges, survivor forgives
“A former mountain priest is sentenced to a dozen years in prison(link is external). 78-year-old Howard White pleaded guilty to multiple child sex abuse charges during his tenure at Waynesville’s Grace Church in the Mountains. White was rector at the church from 1984 until 2006.” By WLOS-TV13 News

Five clergy who worked in Charlotte Diocese on list of allegation of abuse
“Five clergy who worked in the Charlotte Diocese were named on a list of credible allegations of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult(link is external). The list was put together by Glenmary, which is a Catholic religious institute of priests and brothers. It put together the list of 11 names where it found credibleallegations of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.” By Allison Latos, WSOC-TV9 News

OHIO

1,300 people sign petition for Pope to intervene in Father Drew scandal
“A Cincinnati organization recently began a petition asking for the Pope to intervene in the scandal surrounding a former Cincinnati pastor. Father Geoffrey Drew(link is external), 57, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape. He is held in lieu of $5 million bond at the Hamilton County jail. Monday (Oct. 28), the organization Concerned Catholics announced a petition with nearly 1,300 signatures that made its way to Vatican City asking Pope Francis to investigate ‘Archdiocesan commitment to the Decree of Child Protection.’” By Sarah Hager, Fox19Now.com

Toledo Diocese rules Catholic priest accused of sex abuse unfit for duty
“The Diocese of Toledo has unanimously decided that Father Nelson Beaver is not suitable for priestly ministry. The decision was announced today. Father Beaver was put on administrative leave in October of 2018 after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) dating back over 25 years. Three additional allegations linked to the sexual abuse of a minor were also made and according to the diocese, substantiated against Father Beaver.” By ABC-TV13 News

OKLAHOMA

Church report provides lesson on transparency
“With its approach to determining which of its priests may have committed sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City impressed even a group that’s been one of the Catholic Church’s most vocal critics(link is external) throughout the clergy abuse scandal. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the archdiocese’s report ‘goes into much greater detail than most other reports commissioned by church officials.’” By The Oklahoman Editorial Board

PENNSYLVANIA

Greensburg Diocese paid $4.35 million in sexual abuse claims
“The Greensburg Catholic Diocese paid $4.35 million to settle claims with 57 adults who suffered child sexual abuse at the hands of clergy(link is external), church officials announced Thursday (Oct. 17). Greensburg was among five Pennsylvania dioceses and one archdiocese that established compensation funds for survivors of clergy child sexual abuse following last year’s release of a statewide grand jury report detailing allegations of abuse against 301 priests over seven decades.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims
“Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church. To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims(link is external).” By Emily Opilo, The Morning Call

Lehigh County priest removed from ministry following allegations of sexually abusing a minor
“Authorities are investigating allegations that a Lehigh County priest sexually abused a minor(link is external).

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry services. Potts is accused of sexually abused a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday. Potts owas the pastor at St. George Parish in Shenandoah during the time of the alleged abuses.” By Virginia Streva, PhyllyVoice.com

Woman sues Greensburg diocese, bishops, claiming sexual assaults by pries in 1970s
“A woman has sued the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, along with its current and most recent bishops, alleging in graphic terms that she was sexually abused by her parish priest dozens of times while a child(link is external) in the 1970s. The suit, filed Wednesday in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court, accuses the late Rev. George R. Pierce of “grotesquely abusing” and sexually assaulting the woman in various ways, starting when she was 10 or 11 years old and lasting until she turned 15.” By Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TEXAS

Jesuit Prep sued again over sex abuse, this time involving a priest and coach
“A fourth former student at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has filed a lawsuit alleging he was abused by priests(link is external) when he was a student there. The plaintiff, a Dallas lawyer in his 50s, filed the lawsuit this month against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, saying he was sexually abused in the early 1980s by two Jesuit Prep priests.” By Jennifer Emily, The Dallas Morning News

Jury finds former priest not guilty of sexual abuse charges
“A Parmer County jury found Peter Wafula, the former priest accused of sexual abuse of a child, not guilty today(link is external) (Oct. 23). The courtroom heard the closing statements today before the jury went into deliberations. During the closing statements, the defense told the courtroom, ‘There is no greater crime on earth than to convict an innocent man.’ On the other hand, the prosecution said, ‘A person who knows he should never be alone with a child has him alone in a place where he has control.’” By Kaitlin Johnson and Arianna Martinez, KFDA-TV10 News

VIRGINIA

Virginia priest admits to having contact with child in ’90s, diocese says
“A Catholic priest at a Northern Virginia church admitted he had sexual contact with a minor at another church and has stepped down(link is external) from his position as pastor, according to a letter from the Diocese of Arlington. Father Christopher Mould was the pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton. Mould told Bishop Michael Burbidge on Tuesday (Oct. 15) the sexual contact happened ‘on one occasion’ when he was parochial vicar at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Reston from 1992 to 1995, Burbidge said in the letter to parishioners.” By Gina Cook, NBC-TV4 News

WYOMING

Wyoming sex abuse queries lacked victim cooperation
“Two Catholic Church officials who succeeded a Wyoming bishop accused of sexual abuse(link is external) say a lack of victim cooperation hampered the investigations. The Casper Star-Tribune reports at least 16 men said they were abused by former Bishop Joseph Hart, who retired in 2001.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Extra jail time for rapist ex-priest who assaulted boy at summer camp
“A former Catholic priest who was jailed for raping a boy at a notorious Victorian boarding school(link is external) will spend more time in prison for sexually assaulting another child. Michael Aulsebrook, a one-time deputy principal at Salesian College Rupertswood, is in prison after he was last year found guilty of raping an 11-year-old boarding student at the Sunbury school in 1988.” By Adam Cooper, The Sydney Morning Herald

CANADA

Historic judgement against Basilian Fathers means easier road to justice for all abuse victims
“Rob Talach has been battling the Catholic Church for a long time(link is external). He has earned the monicker the Priest Hunter, and in his career at Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers, he has launched 395 suits against the church. But an award of punitive damages and one for loss of income in the case of Rod MacLeod, a former student at St. Charles College in the 1960s, has set a new standard, Talach said in an interview with Sudbury.com.” By Darren MacDonald, Sudbury.com

Catholic diocese admits liability in sex assaults
“The Catholic diocese in Kamloops is admitting liability at the civil trial involving a priest accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a school teacher(link is external) more than 40 years ago. On Wednesday (Oct. 9), John Hogg, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, made the admission of vicarious liability by the defendant diocese for the conduct of Rev. Erlindo Molon, the priest in question.” By Keith Fraser, Vancouver Sun, on TimesColonist.com

EL SALVADOR

El Salvador archbishop apologizes over priest sex abuse cases
“El Salvador’s top Roman Catholic cleric apologized Sunday (Nov. 3) for the alleged sexual abuse by a priest of an unidentified minor 25 years ago(link is external). ‘We have apologized to the victim and now I am repeating it publicly, and we also ask for forgiveness from the community for the scandal that this has caused,’ San Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas said in a news conference after celebrating Mass.” By The Associated Press on ABCNews.go.com

FRANCE

Francois Ozon on dramatizing the biggest abuse scandal to hit the French Catholic Church
“For most film directors, the nail-biting action unfolds on screen. Not, however, for François Ozon. The theatrics over his latest film played out in the French courts as he fought a last-minute attempt to stop it being released and found himself at the center of a legal and national controversy. Today, Ozon can almost but not quite laugh about his starring role in the off-screen drama that earlier this year came perilously close to having his €5.9m (£5.2m) film By the Grace of God – the story of a real-life scandal involving a pedophile priest(link is external) – canned.” By Kim Willsher, The Guardian

French abuse victims urge Vatican to have archdiocese pay compensation
“Victims of sexual abuse by a Lyon priest have urged the Vatican to recognize the responsibility of his archdiocese in the affair(link is external), which could open the door to compensation payments by the Church. About 15 of them sent their demand to the Vatican after the admitted abuser, Bernard Preynat, was removed from the clerical state in July. The archdiocesan court said at the time that he could now concentrate on considering the financial demands of his victims.” By Tom Heneghan, Reuters, in The Tablet

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest planned to sexually abuse 2-yesr-old boy
“A Catholic priest is being jailed for more than three years after police say he planned to sexually abuse a 2-year-old boy(link is external). BBC News reports Matthew Jolley, 32, admitted to trying to arrange for sexual activity with a child in the United Kingdom. According to Metro, Jolley told an undercover Cheshire police officer — who he thought was a 36-year-old man — that he was sexually attracted to children. Through messages on the Grindr dating app, the newspaper said Jolley revealed he would be interested in meeting up with the fictitious man’s 2-year-old son and proceeded to send an indecent picture of himself.” By BBC News on WTSP-TV10 News

GUAM

Guam clergy sex abuse survivors may receive payments in 2020
“Officials say Guam’s clergy sex abuse survivors could begin receiving compensation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in the first half of 2020(link is external). The Pacific Daily News reported a U.S. District Court judge has given the archdiocese more time to calculate payment amounts to nearly 280 clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants. Officials say victims and church officials are scheduled to go into mediation Oct. 30, with a church reorganization plan to follow.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

INDIA

Mysuru priests accuse bishop of sexual misconduct, corruption, shoot letter to Pope Francis
“A group of 37 priests from the Mysuru Diocese has written a letter to Pope Francis requesting his urgent intervention in the affairs of the Bishop of Mysuru KA William. The priests have demanded that the Bishop be removed(link is external) over his alleged involvement in criminal offences, misappropriation of funds and sexual misconduct. The Bishop has also been accused of practising factionalism, favouritism and also getting married.” By Nolan Pinto, India Today

NEW ZEALAND

The Church’s procedures to deal with complaints against bishops
“Pope Francis published his motu proprio ‘You are the Light of the World’ (Vos Estis Lux Mundi) on May 10, 2019. A ‘motu proprio’ is a legislative document Popes use, meaning ‘at my own initiative.’ This motu proprio introduces mandatory reporting within the Church for cases of sexual abuse(link is external). As well, Vos Estis Lux Mundi outlines the procedures to deal with complaints of sexual abuse by bishops, or failures of bishops and religious leaders to deal properly with complaints in either canon or civil law.” By NZCatholic.org

Man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable for abuse
“One drunken night in 2013 in Melbourne, Marc wrote an email to the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He was drunk a lot back then. ‘I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you,’ he said. Not now, now he’s dry. He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn’t remember sending the email. ‘The first line, and this was five years ago, was, ‘If there’s ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence(link is external).’” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

PHILIPPINES

U.S. priest who gave out gifts in Philippines accused of abuse
“The American priest‘s voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village(link is external). ‘I should have known better than trying to just have a life,’ the priest said in the November 2018 call. ‘Happy days are gone. It‘s all over.’” By Tim Sullivan, Associated Press, in Casper Courier

POLAND

Polish court orders compensation for 1980s victim of pedophile priest
“The appeals court in the northern city of Gdansk ordered the accused priest, his former parish and diocese to pay 400,000 zlotys (92,500 euros) to Marek Mielewczyk, 50, the victim of sexual abuse(link is external) from 1982-87. ‘Sexually abusing minors unaware of the criminal nature of the acts perpetrated on them is to treat others in a humiliating and inhumane manner, which is the same as torture,’ judge Dorota Gierczak said, according to the PAP news agency on Tuesday, October 8. The judge said the statute of limitation did not apply because it involved ‘acts incompatible with the rules of society.’” By Agence France-Presse on Rappler.com

UKRAINE

Ukrainian Catholic Church urges victims of abuse to not be silent
“Victims of violence need consolation, healing and justice, the Ukrainian Catholic Church said in a pastoral letter on safeguarding. Reaffirming a commitment to preventing and fighting ‘any manifestation of violence in our church structures(link is external),’ the bishops urged anyone who may have experienced or witnessed abuse in any forms or its cover-up, to not be silent.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

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USCCB president disinvites Bishop Bransfield from fall assembly / Catholic News Service

“The people of this diocese would be very upset and angry to think he (Bishop Bransfield) would be participating in decisions that might well affect them,” Bishop Brennan explained. (Catholic News Service)

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in consultation with the members of the USCCB Administrative Committee, has taken the highly unusual step of disinviting a fellow bishop from the conference’s fall general assembly.

“The decision affects Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, retired bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, who left his position in September 2018 under a cloud of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Pope Francis accepted Bishop Bransfield’s resignation Sept. 13, 2018.

“The USCCB meets Nov. 11-13 in Baltimore.

“The action comes under one section of the recently adopted “Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops.”

“Bishop Mark E. Brennan, who succeeded Bishop Bransfield, said he initiated the process under the protocol soon after he was installed Aug. 22 to head the West Virginia diocese.”

By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service — Read more …

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