Posts Tagged child sexual abuse
Despite denials, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against Theodore McCarrick and reported them to Vatican / The Washington Post
McCarrick’s case is reportedly about to be decided in one of the highest-profile clergy sex abuse trial processes to come before Rome. (The Washington Post)
Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and reported them to the Vatican in 2004, church officials confirmed Thursday evening, despite portraying himself since last summer as unaware of any complaints surrounding McCarrick.
“Robert Ciolek, a former priest who reached a settlement with the church in 2005 after accusing clerics including McCarrick, told The Post he recently learned that the Pittsburgh Diocese has a file that shows that Wuerl was aware of his allegations against McCarrick. The file includes documentation that Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh at the time, shared the information with then-Vatican ambassador Gabriel Montalvo.
“The content of the document, which Ciolek told The Post he saw in December, clashes sharply with Wuerl’s public statements about McCarrick since the older cleric was suspended in June due to a complaint that he groped an altar boy decades ago.
“The explosive allegations against McCarrick, which include two other accusations of abusing minors as well as those of harassment of seminarians, tipped off a full-blown crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. All along, Wuerl has largely rejected charges that he played a role in it.”
By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …
Cardinal Pell, top advisor to Pope Francis, found guilty of ‘historical sexual offenses’ / America: The Jesuit review
The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis … (America: The Jesuit Review)
An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
“The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.
“Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to ‘historical child sexual offenses.’
“The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, who placed great trust in him by nominating the Australian prelate to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors (he was the only cardinal from Oceania at that time, and Francis chose one cardinal from each continent) and by appointing him as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy with a sweeping mandate to reform Vatican finances.”
By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …
Vatican appears likely to empower archbishops on abuse claims against bishops / National Catholic Reporter
The possibility of empowering archbishops to investigate allegations made in their provinces was raised at the annual meeting of the bishops’ conference in November, when the prelates were considering a number of proposals to respond to this year’s spate of revelations of clergy sexual abuse. (National Catholic Reporter)
One of the proposals made at last month’s meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops for investigating future allegations of misconduct by prelates appears likely to receive Vatican approval, according to several eminent canon lawyers and theologians.
“The suggestion to empower the nation’s metropolitan archbishops to examine accusations made against bishops in their regions of the country corresponds both with the way the church handled such issues in earlier centuries and the current Code of Canon Law, they say.
“Nicholas Cafardi, a respected civil and canon lawyer, noted that the current version of the code already says the Vatican can give archbishops ‘special functions and power’ in their regions ‘where circumstances demand it.’
“‘This function could be to receive and investigate accusations of sexual impropriety … and then to report to the Holy See on the results,’ said Cafardi, who has advised bishops and dioceses on canonical issues for decades.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse / National Catholic Reporter
The three harrowing accounts were part of a Nov. 27 testimony-sharing and panel discussion event in Rome, held less than a mile east of the Vatican and meant to raise up women’s voices in the revived discussion of clergy sexual abuse after a spate of revelations globally this year. (Global Sisters Report in National Catholic Reporter)
“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence.
“Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear, once the head of the women’s branch of a burgeoning but now disgraced lay religious movement, recounted being forbidden to speak of her abuse by its male second-in-command, and threatened with publishing of false claims against her own conduct should she disobey.
“American Barbara Dorris, long known as a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP, spoke publicly for the first time about her rape by a priest as a 6-year-old girl, and how it continued for years afterward.
“Saying she did ‘everything in my power’ to hide her pain from her devout parents and family, Dorris only came forward as a parent when she recognized warning signs in the behavior of another priest on a playground with children.
“And German Doris Wagner tells of the calamitous fifth year in her mixed-gender religious order, when a male superior came into her room at night and raped her.
“‘Instantly, I knew … that if I spoke about this, the community would blame me and not him,’ she says. ‘And so I kept silent.'”
By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“It’s groundbreaking if we’re going to see one of the U.S. attorneys pursuing the Catholic cases,” said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and chief executive of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank focused on preventing child abuse. “The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.” (Associated Press)
The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe.
“The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.
“Now federal prosecutors are bringing the Justice Department’s considerable resources to bear, according to two people who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
“‘It’s groundbreaking if we’re going to see one of the U.S. attorneys pursuing the Catholic cases,’ said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and chief executive of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank focused on preventing child abuse. ‘The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.'”
By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker, Associated Press — Read more …
Its (Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s letter) unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks amounted to an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis’ papacy … (The New York Times)
On the final day of Pope Francis’ mission to Ireland, as he issued wrenching apologies for clerical sex abuse scandals, a former top Vatican diplomat claimed in a letter published on Sunday (Aug. 25) that the pope himself had joined top Vatican officials in covering up the abuses and called for his resignation.
“The letter, a bombshell written by Carlo Maria Viganò, the former top Vatican diplomat in the United States and a staunch critic of the pope’s, seemed timed to do more than simply derail Francis’ uphill efforts to win back the Irish faithful, who have turned away from the church in large numbers.
“Its unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks amounted to an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis’ papacy at perhaps its most vulnerable moment, intended to unseat a pope whose predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.
“Archbishop Viganò claimed that the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and that Pope Francis knew about the abuses by the now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public. Yet, the letter contended, Francis did not punish the cardinal, but instead empowered him to help choose powerful American bishops.
By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …
“It’s heartening that finally after all these years, and we hope it’s more than just verbiage, that the very things that the bishops attacked us for saying, they’re saying it now,” she (Donna Doucette, Voice of the Faithful Executive Director) added. (Catholic News Service)
An independent lay-run board that would hold bishops accountable for their actions, a national day for Mass or prayers of reparation, and encouragement to parishioners to become more involved in their diocese are among steps suggested by prominent lay Catholics to right the U.S. church as it deals with a new clergy sexual abuse scandal.
“Those contacted by Catholic News Service said that it was time for laypeople to boost their profile within the church and help begin to dismantle long-standing clericalism that has sought to preserve the reputation of offending clergy at the expense of the safety of children.
”Their credibility is gone and the trust of the faithful is gone,’ Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, said of the U.S. bishops as they worked to develop steps to promote greater accountability on abuse …
Cesareo was not alone in calling for a separate body to be established to handle accusations of abuse involving bishops. While details varied, the basic premise envisions that such a board would review abuse allegations or complaints of improper handling of an abuse claim by any bishop.
Just such a body has been sought since 2002, when the abuse scandal arose in the Archdiocese of Boston, by the church reform group Voice of the Faithful, said Donna Doucette, executive director.
By Dennis Sadowsky, Catholic News Service — Read more …