Posts Tagged church finances

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

Why the ‘Metropolitan Plan’ doesn’t work
“The now-glaring weakness of the USCCB’s 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was that it made no provision for dealing with bishops who engage in sexual misconduct. In the wake of the scandal surrounding Theodore McCarrick, who had escaped the consequences of his abuses for decades, the American bishops realized this gap had to be closed … As if by an act of divine providence, however, the first trial run of a metropolitan-centered strategy to contain abusive bishops has provided a spectacular public demonstration of how this plan can fail(link is external).” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

‘Maverick’ Catholic nun banned from speaking to Australian church over progressive views
“Sister Joan Chittester, a powerful voice for female empowerment within the Catholic church, claimed her invitation to speak at a conference in Melbourne next year has been withdrawn(link is external). Sister Joan Chittester has advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and the renewal of the Catholic Church for over 40 years. Chittester was set to visit Australia to speak at The National Catholic Education Conference next year, but claims she was recently told the invite had been rescinded.” By Simone Amelia Jordan, 10daily.com

Before I take on clericalism, I will say: ‘I love being a priest’
“James Carroll argues in a recent issue of The Atlantic that the priesthood needs to be abolished before the church can be reformed. Garry Wills, in his 2013 book Why Priests?, says that priests are a self-perpetuating clique and a medieval power grab, contrary to the equality of all believers … I wouldn’t go that far. But after nearly four decades as first a seminarian and then a priest, I do think the priesthood needs reform — fundamental reform(link is external). We don’t need window dressing. We don’t need just some changes in policy and procedure. We need to change the whole culture of the priesthood and episcopacy. If we don’t, we will continue to decline and ultimately collapse in our own irrelevance and scandal.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Purging silence: Vatican expands abuse prevention to lay movements
“Millions of Catholics live their faith through their association with lay movements and Catholic groups, but some also have lost their faith when they were sexually abused in those groups and felt they had nowhere to turn(link is external). While much of the Church’s recent focus has been on clerical sexual abuse and the accountability of diocesan bishops, the Vatican is making child protection a priority for new movements and lay associations, too.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Altoona-Johnstown Diocese appeals court ruling
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown has challenged the ruling in a case that – if upheld – could significantly expand the ability of alleged childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse to file civil claims against the church(link is external). In December 2017, Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva dismissed a case brought by Renée Rice against the diocese, then-retired (now deceased) Bishop Joseph Adamec, the estate of deceased Bishop James Hogan and the Rev. Charles Bodziak because the abuse she alleged Bodziak committed, from 1975 or 1976 through 1981 when they were both at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, was past the commonwealth’s statute of limitations.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

New York Archdiocese sues 32 insurance companies for breach of contract in sex abuse cases
“The New York Archdiocese has filed a lawsuit against 32 of its insurers for not paying claims of abuse victims(link is external). The archdiocese—which covers New York, Bronx, and Richmond counties along Westchester, Rockland and other Hudson Valley counties—filed suit in New York Supreme Court on behalf of other religious organizations, schools, hospitals and other institutions which might be impacted by the case.” By Frank Esposito, Rockland/Winchester Journal News

Can laypeople lead a parish? Look to Louisville for a thriving example
“In his recent book Worship as Community Drama, sociologist Pierre Hegy described an unusual Catholic parish(link is external) whose identity he hid under the name Church of the Resurrection. When the book was published earlier this year and we read the chapter titled ‘A Lay-Run Parish: Consensus Without a Central Authority,’ we could tell that it was about us. I asked Hegy about possibly revealing the facts behind the chapter. He replied that sociological protocols had to be followed in the book, but these would not apply to an article in a newspaper. OK, here goes.” By Joseph Martos, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican waives immunity for France envoy accused of sexual assault
“The Vatican has waived immunity for its envoy to France(link is external), who is under investigation for sexual assault, according to the Bishops’ Conference of France. Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 74, is alleged to have inappropriately touched a junior male official working at the Paris city hall, deputy mayor Patrick Klugman told CNN earlier this year.” By Barbara Wojazer and Valentina DiDonato, CNN

Significant progress in ensuring bishop accountability
“From June 10-14, during the 2019 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Spring General Assembly, my brother bishops and I gathered with a singular focus: governance(link is external). With recent crises and failures involving then-Cardinal McCarrick and the poor handling by some bishops of credible allegations of sexual abuse, our obligation to develop a better system to initiate investigations against bishops was clear. Therefore, the majority of the week was devoted to this issue and much was achieved.” By Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in The Arlington Catholic Herald

Call 911, not the church
“Catholic bishops came out last week (Jun. 21) with their plan to deal with bishops who commit or cover up sexual abuse. Their idea is that they will watch each other, and it is wholly insufficient(link is external). It’s startling that this needs to be said, but allegations of criminal sexual abuse should be referred directly to the police — investigators who are trained to get to the bottom of such issues. It doesn’t matter if the allegations are against priests, bishops, ministers, teachers, Scout leaders or Uncle Pete: Go to the police. That the bishops either don’t get that or don’t want it can only promote the kind of arrogant insularity that led to this crisis in the first place.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Report of sexual abuse by late bishop filed with Hampden County DA
“Christopher J. Weldon, a longtime Catholic bishop for the Springfield Diocese, now stands formally accused of sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external). Three weeks after denying that it had received a credible accusation against Weldon of molestation, the diocese Thursday (Jun. 20) filed an initial report of a claim of such abuse with the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.” By Larry Parnass, The Bershire Eagle

By holding themselves accountable, bishops close the gap
“The U.S. bishops’ newly approved plan establishing procedures to report complaints of clergy sexual abuse and to hold its leaders accountable(link is external) is an important step in the ongoing struggle to move beyond the crisis. We pray that it works as hoped, and that the Church will in time fully recover the dedication and trust of the faithful.” Editorial by Catholic New York

BISHOPS

Auxiliary bishop latest to be hit with sex abuse allegation in archdiocese
“The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has temporarily stepped aside from public priestly duties after being hit with what the archdiocese has termed a ‘false allegation’ of sexual abuse from 1971(link is external). Several chancery departments and at least one pastor received letters addressed to Bishop George Sheltz, containing an accusation of molestation, archdiocesan officials said in a statement dated Friday (Jun.21).” By Samantha Ketterer and Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle

Australians begin ‘ad limina’ visits acknowledging impact of crisis
“The president of the Australian bishops’ conference told his fellow bishops that it is ‘a time of humiliation’ for Catholic Church leaders, but he is convinced that God is still at work(link is external). As church leaders continue to face the reality of the clerical sexual abuse crisis and attempts to cover it up, ‘we as bishops have to discover anew how small we are and yet how grand is the design into which we have been drawn by the call of God and his commissioning beyond our betrayals,’ said Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, conference president.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

In interview, Archbishop Gregory reflects on recent actions taken by U.S. bishops to address the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
“In a June 21 interview with the Catholic Standard newspaper, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory offered insights on the actions taken by the U.S. bishops at their June 11-13 meeting in Baltimore(link is external) to address the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. In 2002, the nation’s bishops at their meeting in Dallas adopted the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ when then-Bishop Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, was serving at the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The following is the text of Archbishop Gregory’s interview with Mark Zimmermann, the Catholic Standard’s editor.” By Mark Zimmerman, Catholic Standard

PRIESTS

What would married priests in the Amazon mean for the church, etc.?
This week on Inside the Vatican(link is external), Gerry and I talk about the U.S. bishops’ new resolutions on sexual abuse. How does the U.S.C.C.B. compare to other bishops’ conferences around the world? Then, we take a look at a new document prepared for the synod on the Amazon region, which officially introduces the possibility of ordaining married men. What are its implications for the rest of the church? And what other topics addressed in the document should we be paying attention to?” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Being church: We can do this
“As Jamie Manson wrote in 2012, women religious ‘have created among themselves a form of church that so many restless Catholics long for(link is external): small, supportive, non-hierarchical, intimate communities that are deeply rooted in tradition, devoted to sacramental life, and grounded in outreach to the poor and marginalized.’” By Betsy D. Thompson, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

Debate on female deacons not just about history; it’s about art
“A small group of activists and academics embarked on a mission this week to dig deep into early Christian art, in search of answers on the original role of women in the Catholic Church(link is external), only two months after Pope Francis called for further study and historical data concerning the ordination of female deacons. ‘Ancient Christian art proves that women took on a much greater role in the ministries and the liturgy than originally thought,’ said Ally Kateusz, Research Associate at the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, during her presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome July 2.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

UISG president says group is considering publishing women deacons report
“Pope Francis in May formally handed over the secret report of his commission to study the history of women deacons in the Catholic Church to the global umbrella group of the world’s women religious, which had originally requested the commission’s creation in 2016. Now, the new leader of that umbrella group, which represents some 450,000 sisters and nuns around the world, says it will be considering soon whether to make the report public(link is external).” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Pope names women as full members of congregation for religious
“Pope Francis named six superiors of women’s religious orders, a consecrated laywoman and the superior of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to be full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life(link is external). Previously, the members had all been men: cardinals, a few bishops and several priests who were superiors of large religious orders of men.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Local Catholics feel they have the power to act within the church
“The Tennessean recently featured the voices of Catholics, both from around the country and particularly in Middle Tennessee(link is external), expressing their disappointment and disillusionment with their church (‘Please give me a reason to be Catholic’). At the same time, we were posing the question ‘Can the Church Survive?’ to some 25 members of Christ the King parish’s adult education community here. We asked three specific questions …” By Bob O’Gorman and Paul Dokecki, Tennessean

VATICAN

New Vatican doc displays simplified, decentralized curia
“A preliminary outline of Pope Francis’s coming apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia reveals the merger of several more departments and an increased emphasis on the presence of laity(link is external) as part of a reform hinged on decentralization and synodality and fueled by evangelization. Tentatively titled Praedicate Evangelium, a draft of the constitution has been sent to the heads of all Vatican departments, bishops’ conferences, nuncios and certain law institutes, whose comments are being studied before the document’s publication.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Vatican abuse investigator: ‘You never get used to it, you feel your heart and soul hurting’
“In a remarkably frank and detailed speech, the Vatican official heading the department charged with reviewing clergy sexual abuse allegations(link is external) told an assembly of Catholic journalists that his investigators and the press ‘share the same goal, which is the protection of minors, and we have the same wish to leave the world a little better than how we found it.’” By Greg Erlandson, Catholic News Service

Vatican sex abuse office looking for more canonists
“The Vatican office that handles clergy sex abuse is looking for help to process what a top official says is a steady stream of cases that arrive every day from around the world(link is external). Monsignor John Kennedy, head of the discipline section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told a conference of Catholic journalists this week that while his staff has more than tripled to 17 full-time experts in the past 15 years, he still borrows four others occasionally and is looking for more.” By Associated Press

CLERICALISM

The problem of clericalism makes transparency impossible
“I think we owe a debt of gratitude to former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield, pilloried by The Washington Post for his reportedly lavish and lascivious ways. The Post wrote from an unredacted report written by lay investigators. Bransfield’s creative accounting let us see exactly who benefited from his largess. His history of unchecked behavior demonstrates who knew what and when. Most importantly, his objectively sad story sheds light on ingrained episcopal practices around the world(link is external). Plus, it saves us the trouble of reading medieval history.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

U.S. bishops at odds over Amazon synod’s married priest proposal
“While the upcoming Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon is focused on pastoral needs for that particular region, two U.S. bishops have weighed in on one of its central proposals – offering starkly different takes(link is external). Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee have taken to Twitter in recent days to comment on the Pan-Amazonian Synod’s working document, which raises the option of ordaining married men in order to provide greater access to the sacraments, particularly in the remote areas of the region.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Some Oswego Catholics upset with church selected for merger
“Starting July 1, Catholics in Oswego will merge their four churches into one because of the dwindling number of worshipers and limited resources in the community(link is external). Although many parishioners understand the need for the consolidation, several are unhappy with where the new faith community will celebrate mass. The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has decided to move forward with St. Paul’s Church as the home of the newly named Christ the Good Shepherd Parish.” By Payne Horning, WRVO-FM National Public Radio

New generation emerges at CTSA convention, as theologians play long game
“It’s rare that a paper at an academic conference is received like a hit song at a rock concert. But such was the case at the Friday (Jun. 7) morning plenary session at the Catholic Theological Society of America’s annual convention, held June 6-9 in Pittsburgh. In a paper titled ‘Another Pro-Life Movement is Possible: Untangling Patriarchy and the Pro-Life Movement,’ accompanied by a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation, theologian Emily Reimer-Barry argued that the pro-life movement the millennial generation has inherited is ‘deeply flawed, and Catholics need to rethink our support for it(link is external).’ Reimer-Barry is an associate professor from the University of San Diego.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Another voice: Laity can play key role in repairing Catholic Church
“Catholics are members of a global church with more than a billion adherents, of whom nearly 70% live in South America, Africa and Asia. Though members of a large global church, it is in local parishes that church members worship, learn, grow, form relationships and act out their faith. This is clearly a situation where we need to ‘Think globally, act locally(link is external).’ The clerical abuse crisis has dramatically impacted the Catholic Church at all levels. And it is not yet resolved. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 81% of U.S. Catholics indicated they believe that this is an ongoing problem.” By Robert Poczik, The Buffalo News

Priests and bishops need more range
“Earlier this year the journalist David Epstein published his second book, titled Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. The book is an engaging response to earlier bestsellers that have emphasized specialization, concentration and repetition as the universal path to success … As true as this is elsewhere in society, it is also true in the field of ministry(link is external). In light of Epstein’s book and as a professor who teaches religious order and lay graduate students for ministry in the Catholic Church, I found myself thinking about what lessons might be gleaned from the argument presented in Range for the church today.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

Why Catholic bishops need a year of abstinence on preaching about sexuality
“ If Catholic bishops hope to reclaim their moral credibility after revelations about covering up clergy sexual abuse(link is external), the hierarchy might start by sending a simple but potent message: Church leaders should take a year of abstinence from preaching about sex and gender. It might seem obvious that a church facing a crisis of legitimacy caused by clergy raping children would show more humility when claiming to hold ultimate truths about human sexuality …There is an unmistakable hubris displayed when some in the church are determined to make sexuality the lynchpin of Catholic identity at a time when bishops have failed to convince their flock that they are prepared to police predators in their own parishes.” By John Gehring, Religion News Service

Our opinion: For future’s sake, Church must confront past
“The acknowledgment by the Springfield Diocese that former Catholic Bishop Christopher J. Weldon has been credibly accused of sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external) is welcome, yet overdue. As is too often the case with dioceses across the nation, Springfield had to be pushed into doing what it should have done at the first opportunity.” By The Bershire Eagle Editorial Board

CHURCH FINANCES

Allentown Diocese cuts office staff by nearly 25% to pay for sex abuse victims
“The Allentown Diocese has cut its office staff by nearly a quarter and enacted a pay freeze to help compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse(link is external), officials announced Monday (Jul. 8). The cuts, effective last Friday (Jul. 5), were centered in the diocesan’s administrative office, where 96 people worked prior to the reductions, according to a news release from diocese spokesman Matt Kerr. Most of the cuts were made through attrition, and a voluntary retirement program was offered, according to the diocese.” By Emiy Opilo, The Morning Call

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The biggest deterrent to reporting child sexual abuse
“In the United States, about one-third of child-sexual-abuse victims come forward with their allegations before adulthood. Another third disclose far later in life—the median age is 52—and the rest never reveal their past trauma at all. In recent years, many children’s advocates have looked to shift these low reporting numbers (and correspondingly low rates of prosecution) by addressing a legal hurdle that lies in the way of many victims seeking court-based justice: the statute of limitations(link is external).” By Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic

Sex abuse lawsuit deadlines extended by North Carolina House”
“North Carolina House members have backed overwhelmingly a longer period of time for victims of child sexual abuse to sue perpetrators for damages as adults(link is external). The measure now heading to the Senate following Wednesday’s (Jun. 19) vote of 104-10 extends the statute of limitations for a victim from 21 years of age to 38. The bill also would give older adults outside the proposed age cap a two-year window to file lawsuits.” By WSOC-TV9 News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

U.K. church officials ‘deliberately misled’ U.S. archdiocese
“An English church official ‘deliberately misled’ a U.S. archdiocese into harboring a pedophile priest and helping him to escape justice for a quarter of a century(link is external), said a report from a child abuse inquiry. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles was persuaded to shelter Fr. James Robinson, who during the 1970s and 1980s had raped several boys, after officials gave false information about his sexual history. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse concluded in a report published June 21 that the deception meant that Robinson ‘was able to remain in America and avoid prosecution for nearly 25 years.’” By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

ARIZONA

Group releases names of 109 clerics accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix
“The names of more than 100 clerics accused of abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix(link is external)were released Wednesday (Jun. 26). A group of lawyers, victims, and advocates held a joint press conference in downtown Phoenix to share the report in hopes of ‘bringing out of the dark’ information that they claim has not been thoroughly provided by the Catholic diocese.” By Karla Navarrete, Associated Press, on ABC-TV15 News

ARKANSAS

Five priest abuse victims settle with Catholic Diocese for $790,000
“KARK/FOX 16 broke the news last night (Jun. 27) of a $790,000 settlement by the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock with five victims of priest abuse(link is external) in the 1970s. The men, some of whom were quoted in KARK’s report, said they’d been abused by Father John McDaniel, who died in 1974, at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock.” By Max Brantley, Arkansas Times

CALIFORNIA

Sex offender, former Catholic priest reportedly presided over Masses in Fillmore
“A former Catholic priest removed from ministry and convicted of molestation was reportedly presiding at home Masses(link is external) in Fillmore, according to a May 30 alert from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The notice from the archdiocese’s Vicar for Clergy Office to priests, deacons and parish life directors warns that Carlos Rene Rodriguez has no permission to act as a Roman Catholic priest.” By Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star

CONNECTICUT

‘The priest wielded God as a tool to do what he did to me’
“The anger has hardly subsided. Nearly 10 years ago, a wooden board ticked off John ‘Timothy’ McGuire – an object entirely too big to take the brunt of his resentment. He tried to throw it, and broke his back. ‘The anger that we harbor(link is external),’ said McGuire, looking out through his front window at St. Mary of the Sea Church in New London. ‘The level of anger …we get angry at things that aren’t big enough to get angry about.’” By Anna Maria Della Costa, Norwich Bulletin

FLORIDA

Florida Catholic church sex abuse investigation shrouded in secrecy
“Roman Catholic Bishops were in Baltimore on Tuesday (Jun. 18) to confront the reignited sex abuse crisis. They’re looking at increasing their accountability when it comes to sex abuse cases(link is external). Several Attorneys General, including Florida’s, launched state investigations after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse. More than half of all the dioceses around the country have released lists with the names of Catholic clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.” By NBC-TV2 News

ILLINOIS

Archdiocese releases review of abuse-prevention policies
“A review of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s policies and procedures on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), the way the archdiocese reports and investigates allegations and how it supports victims showed many strengths, as well some areas that could be improved. Monica Applewhite, an internationally recognized expert on sexual abuse and the development of policies and procedures to deal with it, was hired last year to evaluate what the archdiocese has done and could do better.” By Michelle Martin, Chicago Catholic

KENTUCKY

Priest resigns from Louisville church after being accused of ‘inappropriate’ photos
“A priest at a Catholic church in the Highlands resigned after he was accused of taking ‘inappropriate’ photos of students(link is external) during a field day at the end of the school year. The Rev. Jeff Gatlin, pastor at St. Francis of Assisi, 1960 Bardstown Road, was accused of ‘inappropriate picture taking’ of students during a May 13 field day celebrating the end of the parish school year, according to emails sent by church and Archdiocese of Louisville officials that were obtained by the Courier Journal.” By Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal

LOUISIANA

Baton Rouge Diocese adds two more names to list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Diocese of Baton Rouge on Sunday Jul. 7) released two more additions to its list of Catholic clerics who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external), bringing the total now to 43. Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca released the initial list in January, which included 37 names but has since been supplemented multiple times. Duca said from the beginning that it would evolve as other diocese release their own lists amid a nationwide push for transparency from church leaders.” By Lea Skene, The Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Bishop Christopher Weldon’s legacy under cloud as district attorney receives sexual abuse claim from Springfield Diocese
“The 27-year legacy of Bishop Christopher J. Weldon is a visible one and continues to impact many in Western Massachusetts … A possible darker side to his legacy(link is external)emerged with greater visibility Thursday (Jun. 20) after Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski met with an alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse, heard his accusations against Weldon and two priests decades ago, and filed an initial report with Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Archdiocese removes prominent Detroit priest from pulpit
“A conservative Detroit priest renowned for his orchestral Masses and traditional Latin services has been removed from public ministry after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit reviewed what it described as a ‘credible allegation’ that he had abused a child(link is external) decades ago. The announcement, made during services Sunday at the Rev. Eduard Perrone’s church, shocked parishioners and came a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone groped him.” By Mike Householder and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press

Metro Detroit priest being investigated for sexual abuse of minor
“A metro Detroit priest is being investigated for sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) and has been restricted from all public ministry pending the outcome of the canonical process. The Archdiocese of Detroit said they recently received an allegation against Father Joseph (Jack) Baker, 57, involving sexual abuse of a minor. The allegation dates back to the early years of his ministry. He is currently a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford.” By WXYZ-TV7 News

MINNESOTA

Diocese of New Elm reaches $34 million settlement over clergy abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and area parishes have reached a tentative $34 million settlement with 93 people who said they were sexually abused as children by clergy(link is external) and others in the diocese. ‘We won,’ said Bob Schwiderski, a survivor of clergy abuse who filed a civil suit against the New Ulm diocese in 1992 that eventually unleashed hundreds of similar claims throughout Minnesota.” By Mary Lynn Smith and Paul Walsh, Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Nearly 400 claims of clergy sex abuse filed against Archdiocese of Santa FE
“It was announced Friday, June 21, that almost 400 people have filed claims of clergy sexual abuse against New Mexico’s largest Roman Catholic diocese(link is external). In coming months, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will negotiate reparations. The actual number of people harmed by priest abuse in New Mexico is likely much bigger than 400, Albuquerque attorney Levi Monagle said. His firm, Hall & Monagle, represents about one-third of those claimants.” By Hannah Colton, KUNM-FM National Public Radio

NEW YORK

Cardinal Dolan refuses to remove priest accused of sexually abusing eight children
“For the second time in six month’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, refuses to remove a priest accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The latest incident involves Monsignor John Paddack, stationed at Church of Notre Dame on W. 114th St. in Manhattan. The priest has been accused of sexual abuse by eight different individuals and the Archdiocese, and specifically Cardinal Dolan, has known about the allegations since 2012 but has stubbornly refused to take action.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

Parents outraged after Buffalo Diocese assigns two ‘improper’ priests to parishes with schools
“Parents are outraged that two priests who had ‘improper’ sexual contact with parishioners(link is external) will soon be sent by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to parishes with elementary schools. The Revs. Joseph C. Gatto and Samuel T. Giangreco Jr. were suspended last year after adult parishioners came forward to allege unwanted sexual advances by the priests.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Embattled Bishop Malone to hold ‘listening session’ Saturday in Olean
“Following months of criticism, Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone will be in Olean this weekend (Jun. 29) to listen to parishioners’ concerns about the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external) … It will be the fourth of seven listening sessions held throughout Western New York over the next two months. The events are a byproduct of Malone’s discussions with The Movement to Restore Trust, an initiative of lay people led by Canisius College President John J. Hurley.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Priest accused yet again—two men say he raped them in Brooklyn grade school
“Two men have accused a priest, who is now dead, of raping them in the rectory at their Brooklyn parish in the 1980s(link is external), the Daily News has learned. The allegations were laid out Friday (Jun. 21) in an order to show cause filed by their lawyer, Keith Sullivan, in Brooklyn State Supreme Court, which names the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Church of St. Patrick. They have accused the Rev. John Abrams of raping them when they were students and altar boys at St. Patrick Catholic elementary school in Bay Ridge.” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo abuse victim alleges cover-up
“James Bottlinger said he was prepared to take his secret to the grave. But watching others speak out about the Catholic Church’s handling of its child sexual abuse scandal gave him his ‘voice(link is external).’ Bottlinger rejected what is reportedly the largest compensation settlement ever offered by the Diocese of Buffalo, $650,000, because he says he wants answers instead regarding why church leaders repeatedly exposed children to a priest that they knew was a pedophile.” By Rick Pfeiffer, Niagara Gazette

NORTH DAKOTA

‘It was her fault’ attorneys claim Fargo Diocese blamed alleged sexual assault survivor
“Attorneys for an alleged sexual assault survivor say the Fargo Diocese told them ‘it was her fault’ after coming forward(link is external). The law firms of Bradshaw and Bryant and O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss will hold a press conference Thursday, July 11 in Fargo. They claim Father Michael Wright abused someone at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, North Dakota.” By Austin Erickson, KVRR-TV News

Fargo woman details abuse claim against retired priest under investigation
“A woman who claims that she was sexually abused by a Fargo Catholic priest(link is external)decades ago says she hopes her story will encourage other victims to step forward. The woman, who wants to be called ‘Jane,’ was a teenager in the 1970’s when she says the abuse happened in the rectory at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. In an interview with KFGO News, ‘Jane’ says over the course of about three months, she was inappropriately touched by Fr. Jack Herron.” By KFGO-FM News

OHIO

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland adds 22 names to list of clergy accused of sexual abuse
“The Dioceses of Cleveland released an updated list Friday (Jun. 21) afternoon comprised of individuals against whom there are substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a child(link is external). According to Cleveland church officials, the named persons on the list have been placed there based on available evidence ‘that the allegations were more likely than not to be true.’” By Drew Scofield, ABC-TV5 News

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma priest suspended following sexual misconduct claim
“The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma has announced that a Roman Catholic priest was placed on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor(link is external). The diocese said in a statement Friday (Jul. 5) that the Rev. Joe Townsend is cooperating with a diocesan investigation and denies any misconduct.” By Associated Press on KOCO-TV5 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese places deacon on leave over allegation
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has confirmed it placed a deacon on leave pending an investigation into ‘an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor(link is external).’ The deacon, John C. Miller, of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Ross, was placed on leave in 2018, according to the Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, diocesan spokesman. Deacon Miller was accused of an unwanted kiss to a minor girl, the ‘first such allegation ever made against him.’” By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling may help other older clergy abuse lawsuits proceed
“A recent decision by the Pennsylvania State Superior Court may soon open the door for previously time-barred Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse lawsuits to proceed(link is external). On June 11, 2019, a three-judge panel agreed to reinstate a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who claims she was sexually abused by clergy in the 1970s and 1980s. She filed the lawsuit in 2016, but it was dismissed by the trial court because the statute of limitations had expired.” By Eric T. Chaffin, The Legal Examiner

TEXAS

Former El Paso Catholic priest’s sexual assault trial begins
“Former El Paso priest Miguel Luna, who is accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl(link is external) decades ago, was in court Tuesday morning for the start of his trial. ‘A wolf in sheep clothing’ is how prosecutors described the former El Paso priest Miguel Luna. The state went on to say that he used his position of trust to sexually assault the victim back in the 1990s.” By Justin Kree, CBS-TV4 News

Five Franciscans who once served at San Xavier Mission ‘credibly accused’ of child sex abuse
“Five Franciscan friars who once staffed churches on the Tohono O’odham reservation near Tucson have been named to a new list of Roman Catholic clergy ‘credibly accused’ of child molestation during their careers(link is external). The five, all now deceased, were members of the California-based Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara. Four of the five were assigned at various times to the historic San Xavier Mission, the religious order recently disclosed on its website.” By carol Ann Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star

Third priest accused of sexual abuse files lawsuit against Diocese of Corpus Christi
“A third priest who was named in a list of clergy members who were ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct(link is external) is suing Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Msgr. Jesús García Hernando is the latest to claim the diocese and bishop made a ‘false’ statement in claiming he was ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting a minor.” By Eleanor Dearman, Corpus Christi Caller Times

VIRGINIA

Richmond Catholic Diocese adds six clergy members to sexual abuse list
“Six names have been added by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond to a list of clergy who have credible and substantiated accusations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) against them. The six names added by the Diocese are Stanley F. Banaszek, Anthony M. Canu, Patrick J. Cassidy, Leonardo G. Mantei, Thomas D. Sykes and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. The only one not known to be dead already is Vincent The Quang Nguyen.” By Nick Boykin, WTKR-TV3 News

WASHINGTON

Diocese releases several names of priests accused of sex abuse from Tri-Cities
“The names of dozens priests and deacons in Central Washington with substantial sexual abuse allegations were released on Wednesday(link is external) (Jul. 10). Bishop Joseph Tyson, after thorough consultation and upon the recommendation of the Yakima Diocese Lay Advisory Board, has established a website listing the names of priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during their time of ministry within the Diocese of Yakima.” By Thomas Yazwinski, KEPR-TV News

WEST VIRGINIA

‘He hurt people’: West Virginia’s long-faithful Catholics grapple with news of bishop’s misconduct
“Nancy Ostrowski knows this state. And she thought she knew her bishop(link is external). Her family has been attending St. Joseph Catholic Church since the Romanesque Revival building was dedicated in 1860, just before West Virginia broke away from Virginia to support the Union. Her ancestors saw the heady years of Martinsburg’s heyday, when the mills running day and night here supplied clothing to the world, and the heavy decades of struggle when those mills closed down.” By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post

AFRICA

Focus on Africa: Sex abuse scandal rocks Liberia’s Catholic Church
Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in Liberia’s Catholic Church continue to traumatize the lives of spiritual workers(link is external), after two top clerics were named in a major sex and office abuse scandal. The most damaging scandal to hit the faith in decades broke out in August last year when estranged Reverend Father Gabriel Sawyer sent an email message to the Pope. He accuses the Archbishop of Monrovia and another top prelate of persecuting him and other subordinates who refused to have sex with him.” By William Niba, en.rfi.fr/africa

AUSTRALIA

Five per cent of applicants processed through National Redress Scheme amid ‘wave of reforms’
“The Commonwealth’s Department of Social Services says just 5 per cent of applications to the National Redress Scheme have been processed(link is external) as the compensation program marks its first anniversary. The national scheme was established 12 months ago to provide compensation for institutional child sexual abuse survivors and was intended to be an alternative to civil litigation, requiring victims to provide less supporting information than to a court.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia

The Marist Brothers and a secret list of 154 accused child sex offenders
“One hundred and fifty-four brothers have been accused of sexually assaulting students at Marist schools(link is external), but their identity and whether they are still teaching remains a secret. In their own words, the Marist Brothers are ‘dedicated to making Jesus known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected.’ It’s an admirable mission statement, but one that is hard to reconcile with the evidence delivered to the 2016 royal commission into child sexual abuse …” By Suzanne Smith and Georgia Wilkins, Crikey Magazine

Tasmanian priest reveals own sexual abuse at hands of Catholic church
“A parish priest in Tasmania has revealed for the first time he himself was abused by a priest as a schoolboy(link is external) at Burnie’s Marist Regional College, and says he wants to encourage others to come forward. Father John Girdauskas told the ABC he was first sexually abused by Father Laurie Gallagher in the 1970s, when he was 14.” By Henry Zwartz, ABC News Australia

CANADA

Former Catholic priest Barry McGrory found guilty of historic sex assaults
“Defrocked Catholic priest Barry McGrory has been found guilty of sexually abusing two teenage boys in a church rectory(link is external) during the early years of his long and sordid clerical career. McGrory, 85, showed no emotion as Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin delivered her verdict Monday (Jun.24). ‘I find that Mr. McGrory preyed on the vulnerability of these complainants,’ O’Bonsawin said in finding McGrory guilty on two counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

CHILE

Presence of disgraced cardinals at ordination of new bishop causes uproar in Chile
“After Pope Francis accepted the resignation of one of the two newly appointed auxiliary bishops of Santiago, Chile before his episcopal ordination, the second auxiliary’s ordination, in Rome, was tainted by the presence of two disgraced former archbishops(link is external) of the Chilean capital. Cardinals Ricardo Ezzati and Francisco Errázuriz, both emeritus archbishops of Santiago who have been subpoenaed by local prosecutors for covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse, attended the episcopal ordination of Alberto Lorenzelli.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

INDIA

Child rights body files case against Kerals priest who was held for abusing minors
“The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) on Tuesday (Jul. 9) has filed a case against the Kerala Catholic priest who was recently arrested by the police for sexually abusing minor boys(link is external). The director of the boys’ home in Kochi, Father George TJ alias Jerry, was arrested by the Kerala police on Sunday. The arrest was made following a complaint by the parents of the victims, who alleged that their boys were being abused for over six months now.” By Times Now News

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A Step Toward Accountability / Voice of Faithful diocesan financial transparency study on Commonweal.org

Transparent financial reporting would have revealed the extent of the settlements bishops made, and lay Catholics would have been aware that abuse was not rare but widespread. (Voice of Faithful diocesan financial transparency study on Commonweal.org)

Reports of sexual abuse and cover-ups within the church hierarchy have led to increased attention to the church’s secrecy around its finances. Until only recent decades, U.S. diocesan financial affairs were kept confidential and knowledge was compartmentalized; even some very highly placed diocesan officials were unaware of the settlements used to keep clerical sexual abuse under wraps. It was generally assumed that once contributions hit the collection basket, parishioners had no business knowing how the bishops used that money. What they would have learned is that the U.S. Catholic Church has spent $3.99 billion related to clerical-abuse settlements.

“Before the Boston Globe’s 2002 “Spotlight” report, most Catholics in the pews thought that clerical abuse was rare. But presiding bishops knew differently: both from their personal experiences, and from the work of Fr. Thomas Doyle and others, who reported in the 1980s on the prevalence of abuse in the church. When Rev. Gilbert Gauthe admitted to abusing more than three hundred children in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1986, or in 1993 when Rev. James Porter was sentenced to between eighteen and twenty years in prison for sexual abuse of children in Fall River, Massachusetts, there was minimal discussion of the role that church funds might have played in keeping those stories quiet.

“Transparent financial reporting would have revealed the extent of the settlements bishops made, and lay Catholics would have been aware that abuse was not rare but widespread. With this information made public, many children could have been spared the devastating effects of child abuse. Even were abuse to occur, church officials would not have been able to cover it up with secret settlements. Serial abuse would have been far less likely …”

By David Castaldi, Joseph Finn and Margaret Roylance on Commonweal.org — Read more …

David Castaldi was a biotechnology entrepreneur and CEO who also served as Chancellor and CFO of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB). Joseph Finn was a member of the RCAB’s Diocesan Finance Council and authored its initial charter. Margaret Roylance is a research materials engineer, Vice President of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), and Chair of its Finance Working Group. All three were among the founding members of VOTF.

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Francis admits ‘serious mistakes’ in handling of Chile abuse cases
“Pope Francis has admitted making ‘serious mistakes’(link is external) in his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases in Chile, telling the country’s bishops in a lengthy letter that he feels ‘pain and shame’ for the ‘crucified lives’ of those who suffered abuse. But Francis has not revealed whether he will sack a Chilean prelate accused of covering up abuse, whom he has previously defended to the outrage of abuse survivors. Instead, Francis has asked the country’s bishops to come to Rome en masse for a meeting at some point soon.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

As diocese prepares to pay victims, its primary source of money: parishioners
“Bishop Richard J. Malone assures donors that no gifts to Catholic Charities will be used to settle clergy sexual abuse claims. But area Catholics – one way or another – are paying(link is external). To compensate sex abuse victims, Malone said the diocese will rely on insurance coverage, investment reserves and the possible sale of property, all of which trace back to the wallets and pocketbooks of people in the pews.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

First class action against Church looms under new laws
“The Sale Diocese (Australia) could become embroiled in a landmark class action to be brought by alleged victims of child abuse(link is external). The proposed action relates to alleged historical child sex and physical abuse offences at St Patrick’s College in Sale, many of which are said to have occurred in the 1970s when the school housed boarders. Two St Patrick’s cases have already been prosecuted in the criminal system, with another case against a Marist Brother, alleging multiple victims, set to go to trial later this year.” By CathNews.com

In Gaudete et Exultate, Pope answers ‘Amoris’ critics; don’t ‘reduce, constrict’ Gospel
“Although a new document from Pope Francis on holiness reflects permanent themes in his thinking and in Catholic spirituality, in context, it also offers indirect commentary on two recent burning questions(link is external): First, what does the pope really believe about Hell, the afterlife, and the spiritual realm? Second, how would he answer critics such as the several hundred who gathered in Rome to contest his 2016 document Amoris Laetitia?” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Catholic Whistleblowers want ‘substantial revisions’ to church’s sex abuse policies
“A Catholic watchdog group is challenging the U.S. bishops to make ‘substantial revisions’ to their nearly two-decade-old policies regarding sexual abuse of minor(link is external)s, and to include abuse survivors and the laity in the process. Among seven reforms to the guiding documents — the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Young People, or the Dallas Charter, and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons — proposed by the Catholic Whistleblowers are: extending its zero tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse to any cleric, religious or church employee, including bishops complicit with abuse …” By Peter Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Sex-abuse report looms over Catholic dioceses
“Since July 2016, a grand jury seated in Pittsburgh has been quietly hearing testimony on alleged rape and sexual abuse of children by priests and others associated with the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). The scope of the investigation spans seven decades and from one end of Pennsylvania to the other. What is expected in the coming weeks is a report that could be the most comprehensive and geographically expansive official report ever produced in the United States on the enormity of the scandal.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Downingtown pastor resigns after ‘inappropriate’ expenses, relationships
“Seven years ago, Msgr. Joseph McLoone was dispatched to Downingtown with a tall task: to try to stabilize St. Joseph Parish, a Catholic community left shell-shocked after its pastor was charged with protecting priests who preyed on children(link is external) across the region … But this weekend (Apr. 15), St. Joseph parishioners learned that his tenure had come to a shocking end. The archdiocese announced that McLoone, 55, had resigned – less than two months after he went on an indefinite leave of absence – amid an investigation into financial improprieties and inappropriate ‘relationships with adults’ that violated archdiocesan standards.” By David Gambacorta and John V. Smith, The Inquirer

Victims of Legion of Christ founder seek compensation for abuse
“Eight victims of the Catholic Church’s most notorious pedophile priest(link is external) are pressing the Legion of Christ religious order to compensate them for the sexual abuse they suffered and the psychological harm they say resulted from the order’s prolonged campaign to discredit them. The men sent a letter to the Legion’s leadership seeking public. … The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, is the latest indication that clergy abuse victims are increasingly demanding recognition and apologies for the retaliation often inflicted on them by Church leaders after they report allegations of abuse.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Chilean abuse victims welcome Pope Francis’ letter, call for zero tolerance
“Victims of clergy sexual abuse welcomed Pope Francis’ letter in which he apologized(link is external) for underestimating the seriousness of the crisis in Chile. James Hamilton, Jose Andres Murillo and Juan Carlos Cruz, victims of Father Fernando Karadima, released a statement April 11 saying they appreciated the pope’s letter and were ‘evaluating the possibilities’ for meeting with the pope. ‘The damage committed by the hierarchy of the Chilean church, to which the pope refers, has affected many people, not just us,’ the victims said.” By Jane Chambers, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

POPE FRANCIS

Chile victims meet Pope April 28-29 at Vatican
“The three main protagonists in denouncing Chile’s sex abuse scandal will meet with Pope Francis on April 28-29(link is external) and will stay as his guests at the Vatican hotel where he lives, one of the men told The Associated Press. Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Chile’s most famous predator priest, said he and his colleagues had agreed to Francis’ invitation to come to Rome so the pope could personally apologize for having discredited them during his recent trip to Chile.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Pope Francis’s ‘Gaudete et Exsultate,’ the devil vs. the middle class of holiness
“The call to holiness is universal, and it is incompatible with individualism, dogmatism, and sectarianism. This is the heart of the exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate(link is external), the fourth major pontifical document to appear since Francis became pope (not counting the encyclical Lumen fidei of June 2013, largely written by Benedict XVI before his resignation). The new exhortation is also the most important magisterial text of the Catholic Church on holiness since Vatican II’s Lumen gentium, which insisted on the ‘universal call to holiness.’” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Pope Francis’ new exhortation on holiness is deeply Ignatian
“Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, ‘Gaudete et Exsultate,’ (‘Rejoice and Be Glad’) offers Christians a rich reflection on the ‘Call to Holiness in Today’s World(link is external).’ It is both steeped in the church’s spiritual tradition and at the same time is a passionately personal document. The third of the pope’s apostolic exhortations, it bears the date March 19, 2018. Thus it marks the fifth anniversary of Francis’ inaugural Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 2013, and, in many ways, can be read as a recapitulation of major themes and concerns of his papal magisterium.” By Robert P. Imbelli, America: The Jesuit Review

Panelists look at ‘new lens’ of Pope Francis
“Among the plethora of events commemorating five years of Pope Francis’ pontificate this spring, the one at the University of Notre Dame aimed to focus on his contributions to Catholic social teaching on peace(link is external), the poor and the planet. But another ‘P’ also kept coming up: polarization. Although Francis remains popular, controversy about his pontificate is real, especially among inner-circle Catholics deeply invested in the church, said speakers at the April 3 event, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops try to clarify Pope Francis’ decision not to apologize for residential schools
“The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says it’s incorrect to suggest that Pope Francis is refusing to apologize to survivors of Canada’s notoriously abusive residential schools. The conference has sent a background paper to MPs and senators in a bid to clarify what it characterizes as ‘misunderstandings and factual errors(link is external)’ in media reports about the Pope’s decision not to personally apologize for the role played by the Roman Catholic Church in operating the schools.” By Andrew Medichini, The Associated Press, in The Globe and Mail

CARDINALS

Cardinal Pell’s sex abuse hearing closes, ruling expected May 1
“A lawyer for the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis(link is external) told an Australian court on Tuesday (Apr. 17) that Cardinal George Pell could have been targeted with false accusations to punish him for the crimes of other clerics. Defense and prosecution lawyers were making their final submissions in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in a hearing to determine whether the case against Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic was strong enough to warrant a trial by jury.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Flannery urges end to silencing of Irish priests before papal visit
“Vatican silencing of six Irish priests(link is external) should be ended in preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next August, one of those priests has said. Redemptorist priest Fr. Tony Flannery said that ‘if Irish bishops really cared about justice and fairness in the church’ they would be making efforts to have sanctions placed on the six priests during the pontificate of Pope Benedict lifted.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Get rid of the clergy but keep Holy Orders
“In their fascinating exchange on the clergy (‘Imagine There’s No Clergy’), William M. Shea and David Cloutier seem unable to distinguish the ‘clerical state’ from the ‘sacrament of orders(link is external).’ One author appears to seek elimination of both for the sake of evangelical renewal, while the other appears to seek preservation of both for the same reason. Contrary to what appears to be the argument of both authors, the ‘sacrament of orders’ and the ‘clerical state’ are historically distinct and institutionally separable. During its first three centuries, the Greek-speaking church developed and sustained the ‘sacrament of orders’ for episcopoi, presbyteroi, and diaconoi (bishops, presbyters, and deacons). But there was as yet no ‘clerical state.’ That came only in the fourth century, through the Constantinian fusion of the Catholic Church with the Roman Imperial State.” By Joe Holland, Commonweal

Priests’ group wants significant change in priest formation process
“The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests has called on the U.S. bishops to assure that teachings of the Second Vatican Council(link is external) become the bedrock of U.S. priestly formation programs, not ‘little more than an historical footnote’ or ‘a distortive moment in the Church’s pilgrimage through time.’ On March 29, the national group released the text of a 5,000-plus-word statement outlining ‘five overriding concerns’ about priestly formation. The document and an explanatory letter was sent to Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, in late January. Tobin chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, which is overseeing revision of the Program of Priestly Formation for U.S. seminaries, part of a global effort mandated by the Vatican.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Catholic sisters are not an ‘endangered species’
“I was deeply inspired by a recent interview of young Catholic sisters(link is external) who are entering religious communities at a time when some wonder if this lifestyle is doomed to extinction. Worldwide there are about 670,000 Catholic sisters, but there are 75 percent fewer U.S. sisters today compared to 1965, when 180,000 sisters were serving in Catholic schools and hospitals. Today, 45,605 serve in more diverse ministries, and many are well into their wisdom years. Still, over 1,000 U.S. women are preparing to become sisters right now, and over 200 women and men profess perpetual vows annually.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Sisters on the front lines declare: ‘we’re the Church, we’re leaders!’
“As anyone who follows the Catholic Church has known for a long time, in many of the ways that matter, including leadership of some of the Church’s keenest social justice fights, religious women represent the front lines(link is external). That point got an exclamation point at a Rome gathering on Wednesday (Apr. 11), with nuns involved in combating human trafficking and ending some of the world’s most chronic conflicts declaring, ‘We are the Church, we are women, we are leaders!’” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

CHILD PROTECTION

Archdiocese reveals investments in child protection, victim aid
April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month(link is external), and on April 23 the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will conduct a conference on the topic for safe environment coordinators and facilitators at the Doubletree by Hilton in King of Prussia. A letter announcing this conference written by Archbishop Charles Chaput was sent to all archdiocesan priests and deacons earlier this month.” By Lou Baldwin, CatholicPhilly.com

Hundreds march in downtown Boise to demand an end to child abuse
“Hundreds of people hit the streets of downtown Boise Wednesday (Apr. 4) in a stand for children – and against abuse. Chanting ‘No excuse for child abuse(link is external),’ the group marched from the Grove Plaza to the Idaho Statehouse for the Idaho Child Abuse Prevention Rally. Many of the participants dressed in blue and carried blue pinwheels, which organizers call the symbol of the happy, healthy, carefree childhood that all children deserve.” By KTVB-TV

Online course focuses on child sex abuse prevention
“A Ronkonkoma-based nonprofit on Monday (Apr. 2) announced that the group has launched a free online course that seeks to teach adults how to detect, report and, hopefully, prevent child sexual abuse(link is external). Enrollees will learn tips on how to prevent a sexual assault from taking place and “tricks” sexual predators employ to gain access to children, said Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law and The Crime Victims Center.” By Chau Lam, Newsday

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Quebec bishops ponder possibility of married priests
“The Catholic bishops of Quebec have discussed the possibility of ordaining married men to priesthood(link is external). During a conference dedicated to the future of the Catholic Church in Quebec, Auxiliary Bishop Marc Pelchat of Quebec said consolidating parishes was not a solution to the lack of priests. ‘During a closed hearing at a recent plenary session of bishops, there was talk of the ordination of married men of a certain age, whose ecclesial commitment is tested. This is an important reflection that we have right now,’ he said in mid-March.” By Veronique Demers, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

A return to church tradition on women deacons
“Two new books in Italian join the expanding conversation about women in the diaconate(link is external), one a collection of academic essays, the other a more accessible, general book. Both Donne Diacono? and Diacone are in response to Pope Francis’ May 2016 announcement and August 2016 appointment of the Papal Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. The books’ titles belie their views. Women Deacons? and Deacons seem innocuous enough in English, but their matching linguistic subtexts present the view that women deacons are just that.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Should women rejoice over ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’?
“The first impressions of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, are in and, not surprisingly, the reviews are glowing. And with good reason: in his reflection on the universal call of all of God’s people to holiness, Francis taps into one of the richest dimensions of the Catholic imagination. That is, the notion that those who live in our midst, from our next-door neighbor to the homeless person on the street, can, and often do, reflect God’s presence … But, sadly, another hallmark of Francis’ theological vision also resurfaces in this latest work: his narrow view of a woman’s purpose in the world(link is external).” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

There are also women there
“The first thing that jumped out at me in Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate, is how much he has put women in the foreground(link is external). Women are usually in the background of papal statements, if they appear at all. Not here. They are upfront and visible. Right at the outset (§ 3), Francis brings up the witness of Sarah (along with Abraham), and calls attention to the role of our own mothers and grandmothers as holy witnesses who have shaped our faith.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Pontifical Commission for Latin America proposes synod on women
“The Catholic Church in Latin America must recognize and appreciate the role of women(link is external) and end the practice of using them solely as submissive laborers in the parish, said members of a pontifical commission. In addition, at the end of their plenary meeting March 6-9 at the Vatican, members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America proposed that the church hold a Synod of Bishops ‘on the theme of the woman in the life and mission of the church.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Cardinal Tobin warns against temptation to shrink Catholic community to pure members
“Attempts to make the church smaller and more pure(link is external) will only achieve one of the two—and it is probably not the latter. That was the message from Cardinal Joseph Tobin in a talk at Villanova University on April 12, during which he urged Catholics to resist allowing ‘the individualism that permeates our culture’ to infect the church.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Weekly Catholic Church attendance in decade-long decline
“Weekly church attendance among Catholics in the United States has been on a steep and steady decline over the past decade(link is external), Gallup data released Monday (Apr. 9) indicate. Gallup’s data found an average of 39 percent of Catholics reported attending church within the past seven days between 2014 and 2017, compared with 45 percent from 2005 to 2008.” By Daniel Uria, UPI

German bishops ask Vatican for clarity on Holy Communion
“Seven German bishops have written to the Vatican, asking for clarification on the question of Protestant spouses of Catholics receiving Holy Communion(link is external). The letter was sent to Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The signatories, among them the Archbishop of Cologne and five Bavarian bishops, did not beforehand consult with the president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx.” By Anian Christoph Wimmer, Catholic News Agency

VOICES

‘Biggest obstacle to Catholic Church is itself,’ claims bishop
“The Bishop of Galloway has released a letter suggesting: ‘It could be argued that the greatest obstacle to preaching the gospel today in Scotland is the Catholic Church itself(link is external).’ The clergyman’s letter came just days after a priest from his diocese was jailed for child sex abuse. He said negative publicity was ‘embarrassing’ to Catholics. The pastoral letter from Bishop William Nolan said recent sexual abuse scandals involving clergy called into question the trust parishioners have in their priests.” By BBC News Scotland

Appalled by what Catholic Church has become, I am walking away
“I am voting with my feet. As a 62-year-old practicing Catholic, one would think my religious adherence has been well and truly set. To an extent, that is correct; I love my church’s rites and, most especially, the beautiful sacraments that have helped to sustain me throughout my life. I appreciate the redemptive power of confession, when used in appropriate circumstances and with the freedom of surrender. Despite this deeply felt connection, I have concluded my only way forward is to turn away(link is external).” By Maryanne McNeil, The Chronicle Herald

CHURCH FINANCES

Expert in diocesan finances has ‘never seen’ pension move like La Crosse’s
“Jack Ruhl, an expert on diocesan finances, frequently wanders through the thicket of church financial disclosures, but has never seen anything like the dissolution of the Diocese of La Crosse(link is external), Wisconsin, lay pension plan … He told NCR he has never seen the approach taken by the La Crosse Diocese, which says it will not be able to meet its promised obligations to hundreds of retired Catholic school teachers, parish workers and custodians.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Downingtown St. Joe’s parish members in shock after sudden resignation of pastor
“Over the weekend (Apr. 15), parishioners were informed that (Monsignor Joseph) McLoone had been placed on administrative leave by the archdiocese after he acknowledged that he had set up a private bank account in the church’s name, and had used funds from that account — which in all totaled about $110,000 over a six-year period beginning in 2017 — for ‘personal expenses of an inappropriate nature(link is external) … related to relationships with adults.’ By Michael Rellahan, Delaware County Times

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

What’s next for Child Victims’ Act in Albany
“The bill was included inside a New York State Assembly budget proposal this year, but was not included in the final spending plan. Currently, victims of child sex abuse in New York state can only seek civil penalties against their abusers until the age of 18. The Child Victims Act, which aims to extend that age to 50, would also open a ‘look-back’ period of a year for those who were abused at any time.(link is external) Despite originally being included with the state budget this year, it was removed before the budget passed late last week.” By Katrina Fuller, The Post-Journal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Barbara Dorris, two board members the latest SNAP leaders to leave
“More leadership upheaval(link is external) has hit the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Roughly a year after founder Barbara Blaine and executive director David Clohessy departed the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, another longtime leader, Barbara Dorris, has left the sexual abuse victims’ advocacy organization, along with the president of its board of directors and another board member.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Can justice heal scars of sexual abuse by a priest?
“Nothing damages a child more than betrayal of trust. Failure by a person who is supposed to love and/or protect the child leaves lifelong scars. Knowing that, it is painful to read that a state grand jury is poised to deliver ‘the worst report ever’ on child abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external) in six dioceses, including Harrisburg. State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, who counts himself as a survivor of clergy abuse, said the grand jury had no trouble finding witnesses to testify. His hope is that the report will prompt the Legislature to pass laws allowing victims to get justice despite the passage of time.” By Nancy Eshelman, PennLive.com

CONNECTICUT

Civil lawsuit filed against Connecticut priest accused of child sex abuse
(Apr. 18, 2018) “A man who says he was sexually abused by a priest(link is external) while growing up in Bristol is taking his case to court. A civil lawsuit filed in New Haven Superior Court names the priest, Reverend Gregory Altermatt, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. It claims sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s when the plaintiff, now in his 40s, was 7 to 15 years old.” By Justin Schecker, NBC News Connecticut

ILLINOIS

Religious orders should publicize names of those accused of sexual abuse, just like diocesan priests
“On its website, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet publishes a document called, ‘List of Diocesan Priests With a Credible/Substantial Allegation(link is external).’ When I checked Friday (Apr. 13), the list contained 35 names and was last updated in late 2016. I’d like you to take note of the word ‘diocesan’ in the document’s title.” By Ted Slowik, Chicago Tribune

Ex-Providence Catholic president under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of student
“The former president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, whom police investigated earlier this year for ‘potentially inappropriate material(link is external)’ on his cell phone, is now under investigation for allegations he sexually abused a male student in the mid-1990s, police said. New Lenox Police Chief Bob Sterba said Thursday (Apr. 12) that the department began a criminal investigation into the sexual abuse claims against the Rev. Richard McGrath after the alleged victim came to them in early January.” By Zak Koeske, Chicago Tribune

MAINE

Maine House votes to save child abuse prevention program
“The Maine House voted Tuesday (Apr. 10) to rescue a $2.2 million child abuse prevention program(link is external) in an attempt to overturn efforts by the LePage administration to terminate it. The bill to save the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children has attracted bipartisan support, with Democratic lawmakers joined by Republican Senate Majority Leader Michael Thibodeau and Republican Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough. The measure was approved on a voice vote and will now go to the Senate.” By Joe Lawlor, Portland Press Herald

MARYLAND

Former youth minister at Rockville church sentenced to three years for sexual abuse of teen
“A former youth minister at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville was sentenced Tuesday (Apr. 3) to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a teen parishioner(link is external), according to Montgomery County prosecutors. Brian Patrick Werth, 34, had been arrested in 2016 in connection with the abuse of a then-16-year-old girl, to whom he had sent explicit text messages for two years and had sexual contact with her earlier that year. He was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault.” By Joe Zimmermann, Bethesda Magazine

MICHIGAN

Prosecutor jabs back after DeLand’s attorney calls charges ‘outright appalling’
“A Catholic priest in the Saginaw area is facing additional charges. Rev. Robert DeLand was jailed Thursday, April 5, on four additional charges … DeLand of Freeland originally was charged in February with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting two males(link is external), ages 21 and 17. Det. Brian Berg with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department said three of the new charges involved the same victim from the original February charges. The fourth charge involved an additional 18-year-old victim who claims DeLand tried to sexually assault him inside St. Agnes Church in May 2017.” By WNEM-TV

Upper Peninsula priest on leave denies allegation of sexual misconduct with minor
“A retired priest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula currently on administrative leave has denied allegations he committed sexual misconduct involving a minor(link is external) back in the 1970s. The Mining Journal reports Rev. Frank M. Lenz said that he is innocent ‘without reservation’ and that he looks forward to the investigation clearing his name. Lenz was accused on Friday, March 30 by a woman who said he sexually abused her at least a dozen times while she was underage.” By Benjamin Raven, MLive.com

NEW JERSEY

Lawsuit alleges Bergen Catholic covered up wrestling coach’s abuse
“A former wrestler has sued a prestigious Catholic high school in New Jersey, claiming school and church officials conspired to cover up sexual and verbal abuse in its nationally recognized wrestling program(link is external). Andrew Miltenberg represents the former student, who accuses Bergen Catholic High School wrestling head coach David Bell and assistant coach Dominick Spataro of sexually harassing the boy and others on the team.” By ABC7NY.com

NEW MEXICO

Not all abusive clergy listed in archdiocese list
“In September, after years of pressure from survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe publicly released the names of 74 priests, deacons and brothers it says have been credibly accused of abusing children(link is external) in its parishes in the past several decades. Many people hailed the list as an important first step in the archdiocese taking accountability for widespread suffering caused by a deeply rooted scandal. But a lawsuit filed Thursday (Apr. 5) in a state District Court in Albuquerque accuses the archdiocese of issuing a list that was ‘deceptively incomplete.’” By Phaedra Haywood, The Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Buffalo bishop to sell mansion to compensate clergy sex abuse victims
“Bishop Richard J. Malone mentioned in March that no Catholic Diocese of Buffalo properties would be off-limits from the possibility of being sold to help compensate childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse. The sell-off started on Tuesday (Apr. 17), with Malone’s sudden announcement that he will put on the market his own residence(link is external), a palatial mansion on one of Buffalo’s most exclusive streets that’s been home to Buffalo bishops since 1952.” By Jay Tokasz and Jonathan Epstein, The Buffalo News

Priest who taught at two Buffalo-area high schools was target of sex abuse complaint
“A priest who taught students at two Buffalo-area Catholic high schools for more than a decade was suspended from any public ministry in 2014 after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external), The Buffalo News confirmed this week (Apr. 9). The Rev. Michael M. Lewandowski, now 71, was suspended after the allegation was made in May 2014, according to the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pa.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Priest accused of sexual abuse at Lewiston church
“In 1981, a Western New York native says a man he trusted, did the unthinkable at a Catholic church in Lewiston. ‘I had asked to have a confession and after the confession, he sexually abused me(link is external).’ That survivor came forward Thursday (May. 5), over the phone. We’ve identified him as ‘John Doe’ because he doesn’t want to reveal his identity.” By Rochelle Alleyne, Spectrum News Buffalo

50 years later, man accuses prominent Niagara Falls priest of molesting him as a child
“A 63-year-old Youngstown man alleges he was sexually abused 50 years ago by a Niagara Falls priest(link is external) who received many awards and honors for his work with poor people, the homeless and disadvantaged teenagers. Niagara County resident Mark V. Lynch said he was 13 years old when he was molested in 1968 by the late Rev. Joseph A. Schuster in a Niagara Falls rectory.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese suspends deacon, says child porn charges against him ‘disturbing’
“A deacon with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been arrested and is facing child pornography and related charges(link is external), accused of trying to contact a minor over the internet. Investigators say the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested 73-year-old Rosendo ‘Ross’ Dacal, of McCandless, at his home on Tuesday (Apr. 11).” By Ralph Iannotti, KDKA-TV CBS Local, Pittsburgh

Grand jury investigation into Harrisburg Diocese nears completion; findings to be worse than other reports
“The findings of a state grand jury investigation into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in six Roman Catholic Dioceses across Pennsylvania, including that of Harrisburg, are shaping up to be the most damning to date against the Catholic Church, according to one of the biggest advocates for victims of child sex abuse. State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, on Wednesday (Apr. 4) said the findings out of the grand jury will likely prove to be worse than those out of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Erie Catholic diocese priests, laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse
“Erie Catholic Diocese released a list of all priests and laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) during a news conference Friday morning (Apr. 6). The list includes 34 priest, 20 of whom are deceased, and 17 laypersons, two of whom are dead. The list includes the names of people who have been credibly accused of actions ranging from furnishing pornography to minors to direct, sexual assault of minors. The Diocese said it believes these actions disqualify them from working with children and youth.” By ErieNewsNow.com

Survivor of abuse warns that grand jury findings of Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses will be graphic, troubling
“Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse are bracing for what they say is certain to be stunning findings(link is external) out of the most current investigation into abuse across six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. One of those advocates, Shaun Dougherty, himself a childhood victim of sexual abuse by a priest, warned that the findings expected out of the grand jury investigation could be extremely troubling. ‘There’s some graphic things coming,’ Dougherty told PennLive during a phone interview from his home in New York. ‘If their report reflects the reports I’m hearing, yes some parts are going to make the Altoona-Johnstown report look like Disney World. This is huge.’” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

ARGENTINA

Argentine bishop’s new law orders priests: ‘hands off children’
“Priests in Argentina are now banned from touching children(link is external) under new guidelines intended to help curb pedophilia in the Catholic church, but relatives of survivors say the move doesn’t go far enough. New ecclesiastical legislation from Archbishop of Parana Juan Alberto Puiggari, in the province of Entre Rios, rules that priests must refrain from all physical contact; must leave the sacristy door open while hearing confessions; must be accompanied by another adult during road trips with minors, and are prohibited from sharing a hotel room with children.” By TeleSurTV.net

AUSTRALIA

States slow to sign on to redress scheme
“Recalcitrant states – rather than the churches – are looming as the biggest roadblock to the Commonwealth’s $4 billion sexual abuse redress scheme(link is external). As the broad Catholic sector moves to opt in, the Turnbull Government will use a state and territory ministers’ meeting on April 30 to urge Western Australia and Queensland to join the national victim compensation scheme.” By CathNews.com

Former Shenton Park priest charged with historic child sex offenses
“An 83-year-old man has been charged with historic child sex abuse offences(link is external), allegedly committed while he was a priest at a Shenton Park Catholic church between 1979 and 1992. Police allege the man physically and sexually assaulted seven children – boys and girls – who were aged between six and 12 years old at the time of the first offence.” By The Sydney Morning Herald

Archbishop denies in Australian court knowledge of pedophile
“A Catholic archbishop on Wednesday (Apr. 11) denied under oath in an Australian court that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest(link is external). Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson is the most senior cleric in the world to be charged with covering up for a pedophile priest. The 67-year-old was tried in the Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday after Magistrate Robert Stone rejected his application to have the case thrown out. Wilson has pleaded not guilty and faces a potential two-year prison sentence if convicted.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Former Catholic principal, 80, sexually assaults five young boys
(Apr. 6, 2018) “A former Catholic principal has pleaded guilty to assaulting five boys(link is external)while he taught at a Victorian school in the 1970s. Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, 80, was the head of St Paul’s Catholic College in Traralgon and the sports master when the assaults happened. He pleaded guilty during a committal hearing at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to abusing five boys during his tenure, the Gippsland Times reported.” By Cait Kelly and Australian Associated Press for Daily Mail Australia

CANADA

Convicted of sexually abusing boys, ex-priest granted parole
“William O’Sullivan arrived at Penetanguishene, Ont, Friday (Apr. 13) expecting the worst but hoping he was wrong. He wasn’t. Donald Grecco, the former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing O’Sullivan as a boy(link is external), will soon be a free man. After deliberating for more than four hours Friday, Ontario parole board members at the Central North Correctional Centre voted to grant Grecco’s request for early release after serving six months of an 18-month sentence.” By Grant LaFleche, St. Catharine’s Standard

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic Church ‘sorry’ but yet to contact priest sex abuse victims
“The Catholic Church in Scotland has apologized to two victims of a priest jailed for sexual abuse(link is external) but is yet to contact them. Father Paul Moore committed the crimes in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996. Two of his victims, Paul Smyth and Andi Lavery, went public with their stories after waiving their right to anonymity.” By BBC News Scotland

Top Catholic school stripped of pupil welfare responsibilities
“A leading Catholic school has been stripped of its responsibilities to protect children(link is external) amid concerns over the way it has handled allegations of sexual abuse. The Charity Commission has appointed a lawyer to take charge of safeguarding at Ampleforth College, a prestigious boarding school in North Yorkshire. Emma Moody has been appointed to manage the charities that run the college and Ampleforth Abbey. Both bodies have been under investigation by the commission since 2016 following reports of abuse.” By Harriet Sherwood

GUAM

Father Adrian Cristobal accused of sexually assaulting altar boy
Another sexual abuse lawsuit(link is external) has been filed against the church, this time naming former Chancellor Father Adrian Cristobal. The alleged victim is now 35 years old and is only known by the initials L.J.C. He alleges that Cristobal molested him when he was between the ages of 12 to 14 years while an altar boy at the San Vicente Church in Barrigada.” By Janela Carrera, Pacific News Center News First

New archbishop cracking down on clergy sex abuse
“He’s the leader of Guam’s faithful. Archbishop Michael Byrnes was appointed to the Archdiocese of Agana two years ago. At the time there were only a handful of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits. Though the count is now upwards of 160-lawsuits(link is external), he’s worked tirelessly to prevent future cases. And his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He’s the recipient of this year’s Visionary Voice Award. Earlier this week, Archbishop Byrnes accepted the award during a proclamation signing to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Priest admits sexual assaults
“A 79-year-old priest who got a suspended jail term last month for sexually assaulting a girl throughout her First Confession(link is external) in West Cork pleaded guilty yesterday to carrying out similar assaults on three other girls in the mid-1970s. John Calnan who is now living at The Presbytery, Roman St, Cork, was formally arrested and charged yesterday (Apr. 9) by Detective Garda Maurice Shanley.” By Liam Heylin, Irish Examiner

MEXICO

Mexican diocese apologizes for failing to stop abusive priest
“A Mexican diocese has apologized and asked for forgiveness for failing to stop a priest from sexually abusing Catholic school children(link is external). At the time, the priest had been banned from his priestly duties in a neighboring archdiocese. ‘As a church, we ask for forgiveness from the victims. … We manifest our commitment to always act truthfully and with justice and, as an institution, take preventive measures so that nothing similar ever happens again,’ the Diocese of Irapuato, in the western state of Guanajuato, said April 3 in a short statement.” By David Agren, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican probes funding of cardinal’s lavish apartment / Religion News Service

The Vatican has launched an official investigation into the funding of the restoration of the apartment of the former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

“The investigation involves two executives from Rome’s Bambini Gesu Children’s Hospital — former chairman Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina – who are being investigated for allegedly misappropriating hospital funds to pay for the restoration.

“Greg Burke, deputy director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the probe Thursday. He said Bertone was not under investigation.”

By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Vatican to try five, including reporters, over leaks scandal / Reuters on Religion News Service

The Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 21) ordered five people, including two Italian journalists, to stand trial for leaking and publishing secret documents, in the latest development in a leaks scandal which is rocking the papacy.

“The trial stems from the publication of two recent books which depict a Vatican plagued by mismanagement, greed and corruption and where Pope Francis faces stiff resistance from the old guard to his reform agenda.

“The Holy See was embarrassed and angered by the books, which it said used information that should never have been allowed to leave the walls of the city state.”

By Reuters on Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Can Pope Francis clean up God’s bank / The Guardian

Untraceable cash transfers and a culture of secrecy made the Vatican bank one of the world’s most notorious financial institutions. But Pope Francis’ attempts at reform are meeting ferocious resistance—At 6.30 on the morning of 28 June 2013–just three months into the reign of Pope Francis–officials of the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian law enforcement agency for financial crime, pulled up in front of a rectory in Palidoro, a quiet seaside town west of Rome. When they rang the bell, the cleric who came sleepily to the door was informed that he was under arrest. A few hours later, wearing a well-cut grey suit, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano was shown into a cell in the Regina Coeli, Rome’s most overcrowded prison.”

By Paul Vallely, The Guardian — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Survey finds serious flaws in diocesan financial management / National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic priesthood is aging at an alarming rate, and thousands of U.S. diocesan priests are expected to retire within the next few years. With most diocesan priest pension plans significantly underfunded, questions over where the money comes from to support them may point to a major crisis in the making …

“Half of all priests currently in active ministry also expect to retire by 2019, and most of them expect to receive the pension payments they’ve been promised. Church leaders have known for decades about the looming priest shortage and its implications for sustaining Catholic parishes as Eucharistic communities. Another, more hidden crisis lurks in diocesan pension reserves that are underfunded, many of them seriously …

“The hierarchy must admit that changes are needed in financial management. At the same time, priests and laity must demand more financial transparency and accountability. Pell (Cardinal George Pell, Prefect for the Secretariat for the Economy), referring to anticipated changes in the Vatican bank said, ‘There need to be changes in the economic area — not just with the so-called Vatican bank — but more generally there is work there to be done [and] a need to ensure that things are being properly done.’

“Let’s hope the American hierarchy gets the message.”

By Jack Ruhl, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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