Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vatican defrocks ex-U.S. Cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

The officials ‘‘imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.’’ (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)

Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday (Feb. 16).

“The punishment for the once-powerful prelate, who had served as the archbishop of Washington and had been an influential fundraiser for the church, was announced five days before Francis is set to lead an extraordinary gathering of bishops from around the world to help the church grapple with the crisis of sex abuse by clergy and systematic cover-ups by church hierarchy. The decades-long scandals have shaken the faith of many Catholics and threatened his papacy.

“Defrocking means McCarrick, 88, who now lives in a friary in Kansas after he lost his title of cardinal last year, won’t be allowed to celebrate Mass or other sacraments.

“The Vatican’s press office said that on Jan. 11, the Holy See’s doctrinal watchdog office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had found McCarrick guilty of ‘solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.'”

By Frances D’Emilio and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …

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The law that could hold Catholic bishops accountable / The Rivard Report

We don’t know the details of the many ways in which church authorities covered up the scandals, often leading pedophiles to be transferred to other parishes where they were free to victimize more children. (The Rivard Report)

The list of credible sexual abuse cases listed by the Archdiocese of San Antonio last week (Feb. 1) was long and depressing. It was also incomplete.

“It included the names of 54 priests and one deacon whose alleged crimes ranged from six decades ago to recent. The details were sterile. They did not include accounts of the actual abuses, but the bare bones of where the men served and how they were dealt with: sent to Mexico for treatment, suspended from priestly duties, or in a very few cases, referred to law enforcement and prosecuted.

“Missing was any account of how bishops and other church authorities actively covered up sex crimes involving minors, often leaving the perpetrator to victimize more children.

“Yet these church authorities are as responsible for the devastation of lives that now confronts the church as the perpetrators themselves. And they should be held just as accountable.

“We don’t know the details of the many ways in which church authorities covered up the scandals, often leading pedophiles to be transferred to other parishes where they were free to victimize more children. But here is one example of such efforts, and of a law passed by a young San Antonio legislator in an attempt to pierce the secrecy.”

By Rick Casey, The Rivard Report — Read more …

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Cardinal Pell, top advisor to Pope Francis, found guilty of ‘historical sexual offenses’ / America: The Jesuit review

The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis … (America: The Jesuit Review)

An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

“The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.

“Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to ‘historical child sexual offenses.’

“The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, who placed great trust in him by nominating the Australian prelate to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors (he was the only cardinal from Oceania at that time, and Francis chose one cardinal from each continent) and by appointing him as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy with a sweeping mandate to reform Vatican finances.”

By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Finding hope and healing in the face of the abuse crisis / America: The Jesuit Review

The abuse crisis exposes an enormously frightening reality: People, even without a direct experience of abuse, may recognize that they have entrusted the care of their souls to unreliable leadership. (America: The Jesuit Review)

In February of next year, Pope Francis will meet with presidents of episcopal conferences throughout the world to talk about the Catholic Church’s response to clerical abuse. The U.S. bishops met in November of this year and discussed the same topic. In many dioceses, parishes have been or will be hosting listening sessions for concerned parishioners. All these meetings are meant in some way to address the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

“The current round of gatherings and news coverage strikes many people as sadly familiar—a replay of what happened in the early 2000s. But this is different. Today’s conversations have shifted. The focus now falls on bishops who were negligent, incompetent or downright devious in dealing with clergy who had perpetrated abuse against minors. This new scrutiny of abuse in the church, one earnestly hopes, will lead to necessary structural realignments. Reforms may include new paths for accountability and transparency, a more rigorous application of existing church law or its amendment if needed, and closer cooperation with civil authorities to deal with criminal activity and any related cover-up.

“Structural reform and renewal are absolutely necessary to reclaim a measure of integrity for the church and—some would even say—for her very survival. These changes, however, are not enough to bring healing. The abuse crisis is about more than just logic and reason. The current crisis has revealed the unreliability of church leaders in protecting the flock entrusted to their care. And that matters very much to everyone with or without a direct experience of abuse. I would argue that any effective healing must take the experience of reliability versus unreliability as a central focus.”

By Louis J. Cameli, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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U.S. bishops must lead in accountability for clergy abuse / Voice of the Faithful

BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 13, 2018 – Voice of the Faithful believes the U.S. Catholic bishops must take the lead in accountability for clergy abuse regardless of direction coming from the Vatican as the bishops meet in Baltimore this week.

The Vatican has told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not to vote on measures they have proposed recently regarding clergy sexual abuse of children and its coverup. Voice of the Faithful would like bishops to do what is morally right rather than hide behind Vatican directives.

Clergy sexual abuse of minors and its coverup is morally reprehensible, and VOTF and others have repeatedly listed what bishops can do, none of which require Vatican approval and most of which have been done by at least one bishop. For example, bishops can:

  • list publicly all abusers in a diocese and open secret files;
  • report every case of clergy abuse to civil authorities regardless of the diocese’s estimation of credibility;
  • cooperate with civil investigations;
  • resign if guilty of abuse or coverup and hold the guilty within diocesan administration accountable;
  • investigate the extent of abuse and coverup in their dioceses and hold perpetrators and abettors accountable; or
  • remove honorifics awarded previous prelates or diocesan administrators credibly accused of abuse or coverup.

“Bishops also must lead the battle against clericalism, which has led to secrecy and coverup of clergy abuse and resulted in such profound mistrust from the laity,” said Mary Pat Fox, VOTF president. “Regaining the trust of the laity will be difficult at best and will not happen without greater transparency and lay leadership, including involvement in the Pope’s meeting of bishops’ conferences in February. It’s clear from the fact that investigations have been launched by attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia that the Dallas Charter did not go far enough to ensure accountability for the coverup or the protection of children.”

If U.S. bishops implemented practical activities like those mentioned and discussed additional, stronger measures at their meeting, submitting them to the Vatican regardless of its response, their status in the eyes of the faithful would rise measurably. The longer the bishops delay in dealing with the immorality of this crisis, the greater their loss of what little moral credibility they have left.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Nov. 13, 2018
Contact: 
Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org(link sends e-mail), 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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