Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse scandal

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


December 10, 2019

TOP STORIES

Buffalo bishop resigns after scandal over secret list of abusive priests
“First, a whistle-blower revealed that Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo had kept files about abusive priests that he hid from the public. Then leaked recordings showed that he was reluctant to remove a parish priest whom he called a ‘sick puppy.’ On Wednesday (Dec. 4), after months of pressure from priests and lay leaders, the Vatican said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Bishop Malone, effective immediately(link is external). Since the Vatican did not specify the reasons behind the resignation, it was unclear whether Bishop Malone had been forced to quit.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Legal reckoning: new abuse suits could cost church over $4B
“At the end of another long day trying to sign up new clients accusing the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse(link is external), lawyer Adam Slater gazes out the window of his high-rise Manhattan office at one of the great symbols of the church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ‘I wonder how much that’s worth?’ he muses. Across the country, attorneys like Slater are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades.” By Bernard Condon and Jim Mustian, Associated Press, in Time

Argentine court finds two Catholic priests guilty of sexually assaulting deaf children; first convictions in long-alleged abuse
“An Argentine court on Monday Nov. 25) found two priests and a lay worker guilty of the sexual abuse and rape of 10 former students of a Catholic institute for the deaf(link is external), the first legal victory for a string of hearing-impaired victims stretching from Italy to the Andes whose denunciations against one of the clerics to church officials including Pope Francis went unheeded for years. The landmark verdict related to the Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the western Argentine city of Luján de Cuyo is the latest stain on the church’s handling of sex abuse cases in Francis’s native Argentina. Argentine prosecutors last week requested an international arrest warrant for Catholic Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta—a longtime associate of the pope accused of sexually abusing two seminarians.” By Anthony Faiola, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post

Lawsuit: Church pressured victims into unfair settlements
“Two impoverished Mississippi men who say they were sexually assaulted by Franciscan missionaries filed a federal lawsuit Thursday (Nov. 21) claiming that Catholic officials pressured them into signing settlements that paid them little money and required them to remain silent(link is external) about the alleged abuse. The lawsuit, filed in New York, claims the church officials drew up the agreements a year ago to prevent the men from telling their stories or going to court — a violation of a 2002 promise by American bishops to abandon the use of nondisclosure agreements, as part of an effort to end the cover-up of sexual abuse within the church.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

Children’s rights group says ‘third wave’ of abuse scandals hitting Latin America
“A children’s rights group is warning that a ‘Third Wave’ of clerical sex abuse scandals is hitting Latin America, with revelations showing how the Catholic Church has continued to try and hide the extent of the crisis(link is external). The London-based Child Rights International Network (CRIN) released The Third Wave: Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Latin America on Nov. 20. It looks at the scale of abuse and cover-up by the Church in every Latin American country, as well as reviewing whether national laws on child sex crimes adequately protect children.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Questions of faith: exclusive survey of Catholic Church employees
“A vast survey of the Roman Catholic Church workforce in America shows the people who know best how the church is run – the employees themselves – are deeply split on key issues facing parishes across nation(link is external). The survey reveals diocesan priests are far more likely to view clergy abuse as a problem of the past, while nuns and other religious employees often consider sex abuse and misconduct to be major problems even today. And just as Pope Francis considers expanding the role of married men and women in the church, the survey highlights vivid differences in how female and male employees view a host of religious reforms under the Vatican’s consideration.” By Dan Corcoran, NBC-TV Connecticut News

ACCOUNTABILITY

Bishops need to recognize their own checkered history
“Novelist William Faulkner wrote, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ Faulkner’s insight is worth remembering in church circles as Catholics deal with the fallout from the ongoing process of bishops investigating other accused bishops(link is external). In the short time since the church formalized that process to deal with its seemingly never-ending crisis, we are finding out that it’s had, to put it mildly, its hiccups.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

German Catholic women call for change as ‘synodal path’ gets underway
But the momentum for real change — the loudest voice for a transformation of the church — comes from Catholic women(link is external) who are no longer willing to accept a subordinate role in a male-dominated church. ‘The grief that women had to endure through the power of churchmen was too great, and the hope for real change was too small,’ said Mechthild Heil in an email, noting that many women have turned their backs on the Church. Heil is the leader of the Catholic Women’s Association in Germany and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party in the Bundestag.” By Donald Snyder, National Catholic Reporter

Diocese: Bransfield should apologize and pay $792,000 restitution
“Disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield would make public apologies and pay $792,638 restitution(link is external) if he accepts a proposed ‘plan of amends’ from the Wheeling-Catholic Diocese. Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan on Tuesday outlined the penance for Bishop Michael Bransfield, whose sexual and financial activities continue to receive scrutiny.” By Brad MdElhinny, MetroNews

CARDINALS

Cardinal Cupich: how can we end clerical sex abuse and purify the church?
“One day, a man in his mid-50s came to my office and shared the painful story of being sexually abused by his pastor(link is external). He started serving Mass when he was 9 years old, and the pastor always asked him to stay afterward to tidy up the sacristy. One day the priest took him to the basement and sexually abused him. He did this every Sunday over four years … Seeing the suffering in this victim-survivor’s eyes, witnessing his courage in sharing this horrible experience with me, I knew I had to act.” By Blase J. Cupich, America: The Jesuit Review

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

NJ’s Former Top Roman Catholic Cleric Among Clergy Named in New Sex Abuse Lawsuits
“Theodore McCarrick — the now-defrocked, one-time top Roman Catholic cleric in New Jersey — is among the defendants named in dozens of lawsuits filed this week(link is external) after lawmakers eased the state’s legal bar on claims of past sexual abuse by clergy members and others in a position of trust. A lawsuit filed on behalf of 37-year-old John Bellocchio alleges that he was assaulted by McCarrick, then the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, in the vestry of Hackensack’s St. Francis of Assisi Church in the mid-1990s, when he was a 14-year-old altar server.” By Brenda Flanagan, NJTV News

Pennsylvania, New Jersey bishops ask Vatican for McCarrick report
“The bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey discussed sexual abuse with Pope Francis in a Thanksgiving Day meeting, according to Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, who was present at the meeting. The gathering was a central part of the bishops’ ‘ad limina’ visit, during which the bishops also asked the Vatican to release the results of its investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick(link is external), who had served in two New Jersey dioceses before being named archbishop of Washington and a cardinal, then was dismissed from the clerical state when the Vatican determined he had abused minors.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

Adrift & alone
“The 2019 fall gathering of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore lacked the drama of last year’s meeting, where a breakdown in communications between the USCCB and Rome on addressing the sex-abuse crisis was visible for all to see (an embarrassment for which the official explanation contradicts the well-documented history). This time around, the bishops avoided major public missteps(link is external) and everything appeared to go according to plan.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Sex abuse claim dismissed by church foreshadowed years of allegations against W.Va. bishop
“Michael J. Bransfield was just a couple of years into his tenure as West Virginia’s bishop in 2007 when one of his former students called a church sexual abuse hotline(link is external). Decades earlier, at a Catholic high school, Bishop Bransfield had repeatedly summoned him from class, escorted him to a private room and fondled his buttocks and genitals, the caller said. The former student said he was a freshman when the unwanted touching began.” By The Washington Post in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Argentine bishop says he’ll return to face sex allegations
“An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis said Saturday (Nov. 23) he’ll return voluntarily to Argentina to respond to prosecutors’ accusations of sex abuse(link is external). Javier Belda Iniesta, the canon law lawyer for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta issued a statement that the monsignor would arrive in Argentina on Tuesday (Nov. 25) and would fully cooperate with authorities. Zanchetta has been formally accused of ‘aggravated continuous sexual abuse’ of two seminarians, charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He has denied the charges.” By Associated Press

The failed leadership of U.S. bishops is clear
“What a mess. It doesn’t take an ecclesiologist to arrive at that conclusion about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after witnessing its dysfunction during the group’s recent meeting in Baltimore. If there is an upside to the proceedings, it is that neither the bishops nor the faithful need any longer pretend that the church is being led competently or that the bishops are acting in unity(link is external). What has become clear is that too many of the bishops still are captives of the political culture wars; that the conference as a whole has been drained of authority and credibility because of the ongoing sexual abuse scandal; and that the bishops have been frozen in place by their inability to collectively and honestly examine the secretive, privileged culture that was the pathway to the current mess.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

PRIESTS

Fallen priests: should we hear their stories
“Speaking about the church’s sex-abuse scandal at a September conference on the ‘Catholic Imagination’ at Loyola University in Chicago, the essayist Richard Rodriguez said a very brave thing(link is external). ‘What do we know about these priests? We know nothing about the burden of these fallen priests,’ Rodriguez said, according to articles in the National Catholic Reporter. ‘We don’t know their stories. What do they think they were doing? … We have no idea who they were, or what they suffered…. Our imaginations have gone dull.’” By Paul Baumann, Commonweal

WOMEN DEACONS

Possibility of female deacons gives some Catholic hope
“There are many roles open to women in the Catholic Church today, said (St. Louis University professor of theology Rev. David) Meconi, including campus chaplain and Eucharistic minister. (Eucharistic ministers serve Communion but do not consecrate the bread and wine themselves.) Still, he believes restricting ordination to men is an essential part of the faith(link is external).” By Shahla Farzan, National Public Radio

VATICAN

Vatican still refusing to expel priests condemned in Provolo case
“This week’s convictions of priests Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi for the sexual abuse of minors at the Antonio Próvolo Institute in Mendoza exposes yet another failure by the Vatican to act and respond to judicial sentences against members of the Catholic Church(link is external). In a historic judgment, both priests were convicted for the repeated rape and abuse of deaf students at the school in Luján de Cuyo. Corbacho received 45 years in prison for his crimes and Corradi received 42 years. The institution’s former gardener, Armando Gómez, was given 18 years behind bars.” By Mariana Sarramea, Buenos Aires Times

Vatican accused of harboring bishop in sex abuse claims
“The Vatican has been accused of harboring a bishop wanted for alleged sex abuse offences, as Pope Francis railed against the evils of sexual exploitation on a visit to Thailand. Prosecutors in Argentina have issued an international arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is accused of sexually abusing young trainee priests(link is external), known as seminarians. He denies the charges. Bishop Zanchetta, 55, who is close to his fellow Argentine Pope Francis, lives in the Vatican.” By Ruth Sax, Premiere.org.uk

Vatican charity knew in 2017 of pedophilia concerns about Central African Republic director
“The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year(link is external). CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week (Nov. 25), reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.” By Associated Press in Los Angeles Times

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican officials: Swiss bank suspected of money laundering led to Pell conflict
“The Holy See’s relationship with a disreputable Swiss bank triggered an internal dispute(link is external) between the Secretariat of State and Vatican financial authorities. At the center of the conflict was a multimillion-dollar line of credit used to fund a controversial investment in London property speculation. Sources inside the Vatican’s Prefecture for the Economy confirmed to CNA that a substantial part of the $200 million used to finance the Secretariat of State’s purchase of a luxury development at 60 Sloane Avenue came through credit extended by BSI, a Swiss bank with a long track record of violating money-laundering and fraud safeguards in its dealings with sovereign wealth funds.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

Study shows 65% of U.S. dioceses post audited financial reports online, but 27% post no financial information
“Voice of the Faithful has completed its third annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency(link is external) and concluded that, although a majority of dioceses have made a commitment to financial transparency, a sizable minority share little or no verifiable financial information with their members.” By Voice of the Faithful in Longview News-Journal

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

German Catholics’ celibacy debate could lead to schism with Vatican
“German Catholics are meeting to debate what remain taboo subjects for many in the church — lifting celibacy policies and whether to allow women to play bigger roles in ecclesiastical life(link is external). The German Bishops Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics will start a two-year process of reckoning and reform on Sunday (Dec. 1), the first day of Advent. The meeting comes in response to damning revelations of sexual abuse in the church.” By Ivana Kottasova, CNN

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

German Catholic Church debates sexuality, celibacy and women’s roles
“The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has a split identity(link is external). At home, attendance is falling and many Germans say they regard the church’s teaching on social issues as hopelessly out of touch. But globally, the German church is one of the most powerful — and liberal — regions of the Catholic world, a player whose wealth and theological influence are now creating a challenge for the entire church.” By Liam Stack, The New York Times

VOICES

Viewpoints: healing reconciliation, reform: a path forward for he diocese of Buffalo
“Last December, the Movement to Restore Trust empaneled six working groups involving about 150 Catholics who developed a series of reports and recommendations for reform in the Diocese of Buffalo. These reports were released to the public this past July. The Movement was working with the diocese on the early stages of implementation of various reforms when it determined in early September that it did not believe that it could make further progress on its reform agenda while Bishop Richard J. Malone remained in office(link is external). The Movement called for the bishop’s resignation on Sept. 5. He has refused to resign.” By John J. Hurley, Special to The Buffalo News

Our View: State falls short on abuse reform
“The 2018 release of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report exposing decades of Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse offered state lawmakers the opportunity to level a gross imbalance of power and speed justice to damaged victims. They failed to deliver in full(link is external). Landmark legislation guaranteed to protect future victims is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to be signed into law … But when it comes to the grand jury recommendation that victims be given a time window to sue the church retroactively, those victims who want to confront their abusers independently and transparently in a court of law again must wait.” By GoErie.com Editorial Board

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Ohio House GOP leader ‘open’ to statute of limitations reform after I-Team report on Catholic church

“The author of a 2006 bill that reformed Ohio’s civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse wants to revise the law again after reviewing materials uncovered in the I-Team’s three-month investigation of the Catholic Church(link is external). Rep. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Green Township, said he would like to encourage more public disclosure in the church and correct problems a Columbus judge cited in 2010. As majority floor leader, Seitz sets the Republican agenda in the House.” By Dan Monk, WCOP-TV9 News

How some sex abuse victims are finding different ways to sue clergy in Pennsylvania
“The #MeToo movement and revelations around child sexual abuse have prompted lawmakers across the U.S. to extend the window to sue for old sexual assaults(link is external). Pennsylvania’s Legislature just passed a bill that would move forward a constitutional amendment that allows these suits. But that process can take years. From member station WHYY, Laura Benshoff reports on a group of victims who are not waiting for that to happen to sue the Catholic Church.” By Laura Benshoff, Blue Ridge Public Radio

Pennsylvanians get more time on sex abuse charges, suits
“The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday (Nov. 21) giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges(link is external). The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.” By Mark Scolforo, The Morning Call

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Advocacy group urges changes to Catholic abuse review boards
“The bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Roman Catholic diocese, who was recently appointed chairman-elect of the U.S. Catholic church’s national committee for protecting abuse victims, should lead an effort to change boards that review abuse allegations(link is external) to make them more transparent, inclusive and willing to publicly identify predator priests, an advocacy group said Friday (Nov. 15).” By Margaret Stafford, Associated Press

Clergy abuse reparations are closure for some victims, resurface trauma for others
“For some, these payments provided a kind of closure, after years of ‘howling into the wind(link is external),’ as 67-year-old John Quinn put it. He first came forward two decades ago with allegations of sexual assault by a Philadelphia priest and said he considered waiting to sue. Instead, he received $250,000 from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Independent Reparations and Reconciliation Program in February. ‘I’m a man of my word; I signed it and I said I wasn’t going to go after them anymore,’ said Quinn. Still, doubts and questions persist, he said. ‘I get stressed, I get depressed, I get what-ifs … what if it didn’t happen this way, where would I be?’” By Laura Benshoff, National Public Radio

Pennsylvanians to get more time on sex abuse charges, suits
“The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday (Nov. 21) giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges(link is external). The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press

CALIFORNIA

Pedophile priests operated at this Bay Area school for decades. This is the Catholic order that covered up their abuse
“Two boys, born into deeply religious families, both sent to Catholic school, and both abused by the very priests and teachers meant to protect them(link is external). George Stein and Joey Piscitelli grew up a decade apart, but they are connected by their abuse at the hands of priests and brothers from a Catholic order founded to help and support vulnerable children. Their experiences reveal a pattern of abuse and cover-up going back more than half a century.” By Nima Elbagir,Barbara Arvanitidis, Katie Polglase,Bryony Jones and Alex Platt, CNN

Pinay filmmaker sues LA’s Catholic archdiocese over childhood sexual assault by Filipino priest
“A Filipina American filmmaker from Hollywood is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles over sexual assault she experienced as a child by a Filipino priest(link is external).  The suit is said to be the first civil lawsuit against the nation’s largest Catholic diocese since California passed a law giving childhood sexual assault survivors more time to file civil lawsuits.” By Rae Ann Varona, Asian Journal

MICHIGAN

Former Coloma, Michigan, priest pleads guilty to a felony after clergy abuse investigation
“Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel said a 57-year-old Coloma priest pleaded guilty to felony charges Wednesday(link is external) (Nov. 20). The Rev. Brian Stanley pleaded guilty to attempted false imprisonment during a pretrial conference in an Allegan County Circuit Court. Stanley faces five years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years. ‘Mr. Stanley’s decision to plead guilty to attempted false imprisonment ensures that he will be held accountable for the pain and suffering he has caused,’ Nessel said in a written statement on the pleading.” By WWMT-TV3 News

NEW JERSEY

New accusers file suits alleging sex abuse by defrocked Paterson Diocese priest
“At least two new accusers came forward this week(link is external) (Dec.4) to file sex abuse lawsuits naming a now-defrocked Paterson Diocese priest, James T. Hanley, who has admitted to abusing children and was at the center of the 2002 Catholic Church scandal in New Jersey related to an alleged cover-up of sex abuse by some bishops.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

New sex abuse lawsuits roll in as New Jersey law takes effect
“Three years ago Sunday (Dec. 1), Carolyn Fortney woke up in a hospital. She had tried to end her life, she said, because of sexual abuse she endured from a priest decades ago(link is external). Her sisters were with her then, and three were next to her Monday (Dec. 2) in Newark, when the family announced a new lawsuit against Newark’s Archdiocese. ‘Did they know he was a pedophile, prior to moving him to PA?’ asked Lara Fortney-McKeever, one of Carolyn’s sisters who said she was also abused in Pennsylvania by the same priest.” By Blake Nelson, New Jersey Advance Media for NJ.com

New accuser names former Cardinal McCarrick as dozens of lawsuits are filed un New Jersey law
“The first wave of lawsuits was filed Sunday (Dec. 1) under a new state law(link is external) that opened the way for perhaps hundreds of people to bring sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and other institutions. They included a new accuser saying in court papers that he was abused as a child growing up in Hackensack by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, once one of the most powerful leaders in the U.S. Catholic Church. McCarrick was defrocked earlier this year amid allegations that he sexually abused minors and harassed adult seminarians.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

Diocese of Metuchen addresses indictment, alleged crimes predating accused’s tenure as priest
“The former pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Middlesex, Fr. Patrick J. Kuffner, identified on the list of names of clergy currently under investigation(link is external) by civil authorities as released by the Diocese of Metuchen in February of this year, was arrested Nov. 20 by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department on three counts of sexual assault of a minor that date back more than three decades to when he was a layperson and while in Massachusetts.” By Diocese of Metuchen

NEW YORK

Sexual abuse and its widespread damage
“During the last two decades, we have learned more about sexual abuse than we ever expected or wished to know. The suffering that victims and their families endured has been twofold(link is external) — the abuse itself and the trauma of being silenced or ignored. Much has changed in the church since the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the Dallas Charter) in June 2002, but the pain continues.” Editorial by The Tablet, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn

NORTH CAROLINA

Reporter Sarah Delia talks about ‘The List,’ a new investigative series from WFAE
“Most Catholic dioceses in the country have released a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. The diocese of Charlotte has not released a list(link is external), but its bishop has said he’s committed to doing so by the end of the year. In the meantime, WFAE’s Sarah Delia has been learning how such a list is compiled, what it means, and how victims of clergy continue to deal with the abuse they suffered.” By Sarah Delia, WFAE-RF National Public Radio

More ‘credible’ sexual misconduct claims found against former Belmont Abbey leader
“Belmont Abbey College announced late Tuesday (Nov. 26) that four more claims of sexual misconduct have been found ‘credible’(link is external) against one of the school’s former top officials. The findings involve Monsignor Mauricio West, who was most recently the vicar general and chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. He stepped down from those roles in March after an initial claim of sexual misconduct against him – concerning an incident in the mid-1980s – was found to be credible by authorities with the diocese.” By Michael Barrett, Gaston Gazette

OHIO

These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State
“The Diocese of Covington suspended the Rev. Jack Goeke from ministry in 1994 after two women accused him of sexually abusing them while they were as young as 11(link is external). More than two decades later, local Catholic Church and community leaders participated in a celebration to honor Goeke. A Facebook photo from June 2018 shows a smiling Goeke at a groundbreaking ceremony for a legacy house honoring his quarter-century of work at Housing Opportunities for Northern Kentucky, a nonprofit that renovates and builds homes for low-income families.” By Paula Christian, Craig Cheatham and Don Monk

OKLAHOMA

Internal investigation clears Tulsa priest of sexual abuse allegations
“A Tulsa Roman Catholic priest is being allowed to return to work after officials with the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma say an internal investigation failed to substantiate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). The diocese on Tuesday announced that the Rev. Joe Townsend is no longer on administrative leave and could be considered for a pastoral assignment next year.” By KFOR-TV4 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania’s clergy abuse hotline received 1,900 calls since grand jury report
“Nearly one year after a landmark grand jury report revealed accusations of sexual abuse against more than 300 priests across Pennsylvania, the state‘s clergy abuse hotline is still ringing. The hotline has received 1,862 calls since being instituted last August(link is external), according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The majority of the calls, roughly 90 percent, were related to allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church. The remaining calls were related to institutions or individuals outside the Catholic church.” By Hoback Herald

Survivors conflicted about compromise to change Pennsylvania sex abuse law
“When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes. Some sexual-abuse survivors and victim advocates felt conflicted by the compromise package(link is external): Missing was a cornerstone of the recommendations by last year’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse inside six of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses. That recommendation was for a two-year window in state law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue over claims that are past Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.” By Marc Levy, Associated Press, in The Morning Call

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Catholic priest Urbano Vasquez gets 15 years for sexual abuse of children
“A Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two children(link is external) at a DC church. The Washington Post reports that most of the more than 80 people who filled the courtroom Friday were supporters of 47-year-old Urbano Vazquez, providing a visual representation of how this case has divided his former parish.” By Associated Press on WJZ-TV13 News

WYOMING

Gordon says he’ll talk to AG about priest abuse in Wyoming
“Gov. Mark Gordon said he would talk with Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill about investigating sexual abuse by priests in the Equality State, in the wake of other states launching their own inquiries(link is external) into the history of abuse by Catholic clergymen. ‘My sense is I probably will, now that you bring it up, probably ask Attorney General Hill her point of view of where the state’s role should be,’ Gordon said during a wide-ranging interview with the Star-Tribune on Tuesday (Dec. 3). ‘Those are horrific cases. Horrific cases.’” By Seth Klamann, Caspar Star Tribune

Police say no plans to look into investigation into bishop, despite criticism from victim’s family
“There doesn’t appear to be much interest at looking back to 2002. Cheyenne police say they have no plans to reexamine that year’s most high-profile sexual abuse investigation(link is external). In April 2002, recently retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in Cheyenne in the 1970s. The Cheyenne police investigation that followed lasted two months before the allegation was declared unfounded because of a lack of victim cooperation.” By Seth Klaman, Caspar Start Tribune

AFRICA

How a Catholic order dedicated to protecting children failed them
“A pedophile priest was sent to work for an aid organization helping vulnerable families in an African country, even though his Catholic order knew he had been convicted of abusing children years earlier in Europe(link is external), a CNN investigation has found. Father Luk Delft is accused of abusing at least two other boys in the Central African Republic (CAR) while in a key role at Caritas, a leading Catholic charity.” By Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, Katie Polglase, Bryony Jones and Alex Platt, CNN, on WRAL.com

ARGENTINA

Argentine prosecutor calls for international arrest of bishop accused of sex abuse
“An Argentine criminal prosecutor has requested the arrest of a Roman Catholic bishop after officials said he ignored repeated calls and emails relating to an investigation of sex abuse allegations against him(link is external). The prosecutor in charge of gender violence and sex crimes for Oran, in the northern province of Salta, called for the arrest of Gustavo Zanchetta. The official request would need to be made by an Argentine judge, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said on Thursday (Nov. 21).” By Cassandra Garrison, reuters, on WTVBAM.com

AUSTRALIA

States agree on uniform mandatory reporting laws
“A federal and state agreement to standardize laws making it mandatory for priests to report child sexual abuse revealed during confession(link is external) is ‘counter-productive and unjust,’ Archbishop Mark Coleridge said. The state and federal attorneys-general agreed to three principles for the laws at a meeting in Adelaide on Friday (Nov. 29). The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president said that while the Church supports nationally consistent mandatory reporting regimes and reportable conduct schemes that include ministers of religion as mandatory reporters, it does not consider the removal of legal protections for the sacramental seal of confession to be ‘helpful or necessary.’” By CathNews.com

CANADA

36 cases of abuse by Catholic priests uncovered in B.C.
“A file review of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy within the Archdiocese of Vancouver has uncovered 36 cases, most of them involving minors(link is external). A report released Friday (Nov. 22) says Archbishop Michael Miller appointed a committee last year to conduct the review following the disclosure of global sexual abuse by clergy. ‘This past year, guided by divine providence, we have studied and learned more than ever before about the pain suffered by you, victims/survivors of clerical sexual abuse in our Archdiocese,’ Miller says in a pastoral letter preceding the report.” By Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press, on HuffingtonPost.ca

Judge to investigate Montreal archdiocese’s handling of priest’s sexual abuse
“Montreal’s archdiocese enlisted a former Quebec Superior Court justice on Monday (Nov. 25) to investigate the case of a priest found guilty of sexually abusing two boys(link is external). Pepita G. Capriolo will conduct the investigation into Rev. Brian Boucher, a Catholic priest who was sentenced in March to eight years behind bars.” By The Canadian Press

FRANCE

French cardinal’s career at stake in sex abuse case
“A French cardinal said Thursday (Nov. 28) he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children(link is external), speaking at an appeals court hearing that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after his original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.” By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Associated Press

GUAM

Guam Catholic Church enters bankruptcy amid sex abuse claims
“Guam‘s Catholic Church filed for bankruptcy Wednesday (Nov. 20), a move that will allow the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of child sexual abuse lawsuits and enter settlement negotiations(link is external). Ford Elsaesser, an attorney representing the church, said the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition was filed with federal court in Guam. The church faces multimillion-dollar lawsuits for sexual abuse from about 190 accusers. Elsaesser couldn‘t put a figure on the dollar amount the church is hoping to raise for its settlement. But it said its current assets are valued at $22.9 million with liabilities of $45.6 million. The church also plans to sell non-essential real estate and add the proceeds to the settlement fund.” By Stock Daily Dish

INDIA

Catholic priest arrested for allegedly making schoolgirls view porn
“An elderly Catholic priest, who worked as a correspondent of a school in Coimbatore, was arrested on Thursday (Nov. 21) for allegedly sexually harassing students of the institution(link is external). The priest, Maria Antony Raj, was reported to be around 60 years of age. Raj had been the correspondent of the St Mary’s High School in the Gandhipuram area of Coimbatore for over a year. The Hindu reported Raj allegedly forced ‘at least’ five girls of the school to open lewd content on his mobile phone on multiple occasions.” By The Week

MEXICO

Victim ignored by bishop today pushes Mexican Church on reform
“From the time she was 10 until she turned 17, Maria says she was sexually abused by a priest in San Ambrosio in the Mexican state of Sonora(link is external). Years after the local bishop refused to investigate her allegations, her abuser was finally removed from the clerical state. For the past two years, she’s been asked by several abuse prevention experts to share her story, including before several hundred South American bishops.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

In 10 years, 550 sexual abuse complaints against Catholic Church
“Mexico has had the highest number of sexual abuse complaints against members of the Catholic clergy in Latin America(link is external) over the last decade. According to the Child Rights International Network (CRIN), there have been 550 complaints from 2008 to February of this year against priests and other workers in the Catholic Church. In the last nine years, 152 priests have been suspended from their duties for presumed sexual abuse.” By Mexico Daily News

Priest abused by head of Catholic order abused at least eight girls aged 6-11
“A priest abused as a teenager by the founder of the Legion of Christ Catholic order himself went on to abuse children in at least two cities(link is external) in Mexico. Fernando Martínez Suárez admitted to having sexually abused at least eight girls aged 6 to 11 between 1990 and 1993 at the Cumbres Catholic Institutes in Mexico City and Cancún.” By Mexico News Daily

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Buffalo bishop resigns after scandal over secret list of abusive priests / The New York Times

“For better or worse, he (Bishop Malone) had become the lightning rod for all that was wrong, and we really weren’t going to make any progress toward healing and reconciliation as long as he remained,” said John J. Hurley, the president of Canisius College. (The New York Times)

First, a whistle-blower revealed that Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo had kept files about abusive priests that he hid from the public. Then leaked recordings showed that he was reluctant to remove a parish priest whom he called a “sick puppy.”

“On Wednesday (Dec. 4), after months of pressure from priests and lay leaders, the Vatican said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Bishop Malone, effective immediately. Since the Vatican did not specify the reasons behind the resignation, it was unclear whether Bishop Malone had been forced to quit.

“Bishop Malone, in a statement, described his resignation as an early retirement that had been accepted by Pope Francis. He said he had made the decision to step down ‘freely and voluntarily’ after being made aware of the conclusions of a recent Vatican investigation into the crisis in his diocese, which has been in turmoil over his handling of clergy abuse cases.

“‘I have concluded, after much prayer and discernment, that the people of Buffalo will be better served by a new bishop who perhaps is better able to bring about the reconciliation, healing and renewal that is so needed,’ he wrote.

By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times — Read more …

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Catholic Church could be hit by a deluge of lawsuits thanks to new state laws / Time

AP interviews with more than a dozen lawyers and clergy abuse watchdog groups offered a wide range of estimates but many said they expected at least 5,000 new cases against the church in New York, New Jersey and California alone, resulting in potential payouts that could surpass the $4 billion paid out since the clergy sex abuse first came to light in the 1980s. (Time)

A wave of new laws in 15 states that allow people to make claims of sexual abuse going back decades could bring a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that could surpass anything seen so far in its clergy abuse crisis.

“Associated Press reporting found it could result in thousands of new cases against the church and more than $4 billion in payouts.

“It’s a financial reckoning playing out in such populous Catholic strongholds as New York, California and New Jersey, among the eight states that go the furthest with ‘lookback windows’ that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old.

“That has lawyers fighting for clients with TV ads and billboards asking, ‘Were you abused by the church?’ And Catholic dioceses are considering bankruptcy, victim compensation funds and even tapping valuable real estate to stay afloat.”

By Bernard Condon and Jim Mustian, Associated Press, in Time — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Nov. 26, 2019

TOP STORIES

Church sex-abuse boards often undermine victims, help clergy
“Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards. These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry. But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments(link is external). Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.” By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press

Does the Church get it on sex abuse? Classic Catholic reply is, ‘sic et non’
“Since last summer’s twin eruptions of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and the scandals surrounding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, many Catholics have found themselves wondering if anything’s truly changed in the Church vis-à-vis the clerical abuse scandals. After decades of crisis and repeated vows of reform, they ask, is it possible the Church still doesn’t get it?(link is external)” By John L. Allen, Curxnow.com

Catholic bishops’ new anti-abuse hotline to be ready soon
“A new national hotline to report sexual misconduct accusations against Catholic bishops in the U.S. could be operating by the end of February(link is external), three months ahead of the deadline set by Pope Francis. That forecast came Wednesday (Nov.13) from Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as the bishops concluded a three-day national assembly. The early start-up date would require all of the nearly 200 dioceses to be ready; church officials sounded optimistic that would happen.” By David Crary and Regina Garcia Cano, Associated Press

Cardinal Pell granted final appeal of conviction on sexual abuse charges
“Australia’s highest court has granted Cardinal George Pell leave to appeal his landmark conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys(link is external) in the 1990s, setting the stage for a new round of hearings next year to evaluate the historical conduct of the Vatican’s former No. 3 official. The High Court of Australia announced the decision to allow the cardinal a final appeal the morning of Nov. 13 in Canberra. Pell, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March, will remain in jail pending the court’s decision on his appeal, expected to come in 2020.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church files to challenge law protecting sex abuse victims
“A Long Island Catholic diocese is suing to overturn the Child Victims Act(link is external), claiming the new law that protects sex abuse survivors, many of whom suffered at the hands of the church, is unconstitutional. The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed papers Tuesday in Nassau County Supreme Court against the act, which changed the statute of limitations for child sex crimes and opened up a year-long window where any child sex abuse victim can file a claim against their abuser, regardless of when the alleged crime happened.” By Gabrielle Fonrouge, New York Post

U.S. bishops elect L.A.’s Archbishop José Gomez as president
“Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles was elected by an overwhelming majority Tuesday (Nov. 12) to be the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops(link is external). Archbishop Gomez, born in Mexico and a naturalized U.S. citizen, is the first Latino elected to head the conference. Bishops meeting in Baltimore this week for their annual fall gathering also elected Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit as vice president. The vice presidential election, which requires a simple majority of those bishops voting, took three ballots, with Archbishop Vigneron receiving the most votes on each ballot.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Child sex abuse inquiry: Catholic Church ‘shocked to core by evil of clergy’
“The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has told an inquiry the Church was ‘shocked to the core’ by child sexual abuse(link is external) perpetrated by members of the clergy. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said the community had struggled to cope with ‘the presence of evil embodied in its members.’” By BBC News

Catholic bishops’ agenda: immigrants, gun deaths, sex abuse
“US Catholic bishops received a challenging to-do list Monday (Nov. 11) as they opened their national assembly — notably to support immigrants and refugees, extend the campaign to curtail clergy sex abuse and work harder to combat gun violence(link is external). They also were urged by Pope Francis’ envoy to be more vigorous in promoting sometimes-divisive segments of the pope’s agenda. ‘The pope has emphasized certain themes: Mercy, closeness to the people… a spirit of hospitality toward migrants, and dialogue with those of other cultures and religions,’ Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio, told the bishops as they opened a three-day meeting. ‘Do you believe these are gradually becoming part of the mindset of your clergy and your people?’” By David Crary and Regina Garcia Cano

ACCOUNTABILITY

Pennsylvania moves closer to overhauling child sex crimes after Senate passes ‘historic’ reforms
“Pennsylvania on Wednesday (Nov. 20) took one step closer to joining the ranks of states that have overhauled child sex crime laws(link is external). The state Senate approved measures that would open a pathway for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek legal recourse. By an overwhelming majority vote, the Senate passed two House measures that will broadly reform the statute of limitations and address the recommendations made by the scathing 2018 grand jury report into clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church statewide.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden?
Overview: What did WCPO I-Team find in investigation into sexual abuse in Catholic Church?(link is external)

Part 1: Could priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse be walking among us – without our knowledge?(link is external)

Part 2: Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden? (link is external)Part(link is external)

Part 3: Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility(link is external)

Part 4: These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State(link is external)

By Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

Pope’s point man on abuse to U.S. Church: be prepared for new revelations
“One of Pope Francis’s closest allies in fighting clergy sex abuse praised the American church for going ‘a step further’ than the Vatican’s new global guidelines for bishop accountability by requiring a third-party reporting system, which is set to take effect next year … At the same time, in remarks at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday (Nov. 13), (Archbishop Charles) Scicluna warned that Americans must be prepared for further revelations similar to those in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report(link is external), which chronicled decades of past abuse of minors at the hands of clergy, particularly as numerous states are undergoing their own similar investigations. By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Making ministry whole
“In a recent Commonweal article, my Dominican brother Michael Sweeney presented an excellent overview of the ‘paradigmatic clericalism’ that has marked Catholicism since at least the Council of Trent(link is external). This has persisted despite the theological shift that took place at Vatican II, which included such landmark developments as the emergence of ‘lay ecclesial ministry’ and the creation of the permanent diaconate. While these were important steps forward, much of the council’s promise to empower the laity remains unrealized. There are other post-conciliar developments, however, that may prove to be far more significant in declericalizing the church.” By Fr. Charles Bouchard, O.P., Commonweal

POPE FRANCIS

Pope taps fellow Jesuit as Vatican’s finance minister
“Pope Francis on Thursday (Nov. 14) appointed a fellow Jesuit to be the Vatican’s finance minister(link is external), filling a crucial position left vacant for more than two years after Cardinal George Pell left Rome to stand trial on sex abuse charges in his native Australia. The appointment of the Rev. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, a 60-year-old Spanish economist, came one day after Australia’s Supreme Court agreed to hear Pell’s appeal of his conviction for molesting two choirboys in the 1990s. Pell denies the charges.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

O’Malley: Vatican may ‘soon’ release details of McCarrick investigation
“In a brief presentation Nov. 11 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told the bishops gathered in Baltimore the Vatican may publish what it knows about the ascent to power of now-disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick by Christmas(link is external), or perhaps the New Year. McCarrick was dismissed by the Vatican from the clerical state in February following an investigation of accusations that he had abused children early on in his career of more than 60 years as a cleric, and that he also had abused seminarians as a bishop.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

BISHOPS

French bishops back payments to sex abuse victims
“French bishops voted on Saturday (Nov. 16) in favor of a plan to offer payments to people who were sexually abused as children by members of the Catholic clergy(link is external). The French bishops conference said in a statement that each bishop would get in touch with victims they knew of to offer a ‘single lump sum of money.’ It added that neither the French legal system nor the Church required the payment of the money, and it was not intended to be a reparation.” By Reuters, in The New York Times

Bishop who investigated sex abuse accused of sex abuse
“A Roman Catholic bishop named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo, New York, has himself been accused of sexual abuse of a child(link is external), an attorney for the alleged victim notified the church this week. The attorney informed Catholic officials in New Jersey that he is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of a client who says he was molested by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in the mid-1970s, when DiMarzio was a parish priest in Jersey City. DiMarzio said there is no truth to the accusation.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

U.S. bishops: consensus by bromides
“As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its plenary this morning (Nov. 11), and always they begin with morning prayer, the bishops had scarcely finished the Benedictus when Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, approached one of the microphones to urge the bishops to focus on the defense of the deposit of faith(link is external). Looking around the room, I did not see any posters that read ‘Down with the Nicene Creed’ nor witness any bishops whispering against the hypostatic union. What was he talking about? The poor man has bought into the nonsense emanating from LifeSiteNews and EWTN, from Cardinal Raymond Burke and Kazakhstan Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the idea that Pope Francis is indifferent or even hostile to orthodoxy. It is bunk, of course, but bunk with a currency in certain well-funded conservative sectors of the church in the United States.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops’ priorities and plans: a nothing burger
“The U.S. bishops seem determined to turn their conference, once the model for other countries, into a nothing burger(link is external). Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron presented the 2021-2024 ‘Priorities and Plans’ and the consultation among the bishops that led to their formulation. The first item is ‘Evangelization: Form a joyful band of missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.’ The items under this heading were not earth-shattering, and they lacked the Holy Father’s heartfelt way of discussing evangelization. They were unobjectionable but nothing more.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Embattled Buffalo bishop in Rome next week for ad limina visit
“Buffalo’s embattled bishop, Richard Malone, will be in Rome next week(link is external) (Nov. 11) as part of the New York region’s scheduled meetings with Vatican officials. Crux confirmed with Kathy Spangler, a spokesperson for the diocese, on Wednesday (Nov. 6) that Malone will be in attendance. The meetings, known as the ad limina visits, are part of the regularly scheduled meetings between bishops and officials from the Roman Curia.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Mexican prelate says bishops should admit moving predators was a mistake
“A Mexican archbishop has said it’s time for prelates to own up to the mistakes they’ve made handling clerical sexual abuse cases(link is external), including what he euphemistically called the “geographical solution” of simply moving predators from one assignment to another without addressing their behavor. “We bishops need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past: we weren’t conscious of the seriousness of the issue, and the solutions we gave weren’t the right ones,” said Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera, of Monterrey, president of the Mexican bishops’ conference.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Most priests accused of sexually abusing children were never sent to prison. Here’s why.
“The Catholic Church has been under scrutiny from survivors, victims’ advocates and, in some cases, law enforcement, since early 2002, when the sex abuse crisis that involved church administration covering for thousands of priests first became public knowledge. In the last two decades, there’s been major church reform, including the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which established guidelines for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Meanwhile, dioceses across the country have released lists of credibly accused priests, many of whom are deceased. Most of these men have never faced criminal prosecution, often because of statute of limitation laws(link is external) that advocates across the country are trying to change. And some claim they have been wrongly accused.” By Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY

VATICAN

President of Vatican’s financial watchdog agency resigns in apparent surprise
“The head of the Vatican’s financial watchdog authority will be leaving his post by the end of the month(link is external), the city-state said in an unexpected Nov. 18 announcement adding to a months-long saga that has brought to light new questions about the Vatican’s economic controls. René Brülhart, a Swiss lawyer and former head of Liechtenstein’s financial intelligence unit, has led the agency, formally known as the Financial Information Authority (AIF), since 2014.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican youth seminary scandal grows with new abuse claims
“A scandal over alleged sexual molestation and abuse at the Vatican’s youth seminary is growing(link is external), with more former papal altar boys alleging inappropriate behavior by priests inside the Vatican walls. Le Iene, an Italian investigative television program, plans to air the new allegations Sunday; the show provided the broadcast to The Associated Press ahead of time. The Vatican announced in September that its criminal prosecutor was seeking to indict a former senior seminarian and the then-rector of the St. Pius X seminary on sexual abuse charges.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

CHURCH FINANCES

Four Twin Cities women charged in scheme to steal more than $680,000 meant for Catholic Charities homeless
“Federal authorities have charged four more people in an elaborate scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Catholic Charities(link is external). The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday (Nov. 12) that they’ve charged four women with conspiracy to commit wire fraud to obtain more than $680,000 in charitable funds meant to help homeless people. The case is related to one that broke earlier this year when the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged five people with defrauding the nonprofit.” By Mary Lynn Smith, Star Tribune

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Almost nine in ten believe Catholic priests should be able to marry
“In a recent poll on IrishCentral, readers decided by an overwhelming majority that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry(link is external). In total, 320 of you voted with 87.5% saying that yes, priests should be allowed to marry within the Catholic Church. Voting against were 9.06% while 3.44% were unsure.” By IrishCentral

VOICES

Will Pennsylvania legislators leave victims of priest sex abuse out in the cold?
“And what have legislative leaders, especially Sen. Joseph Scarnati, offered to these victims? The short answer is – essentially nothing(link is external). No window to identify hidden predators, and the ruse of an unlikely constitutional amendment. Fifteen years of offensive foot dragging, especially alarming given the risk to so many children. And what do they offer? A long, narrow and crooked road to justice, one treacherous path covered in thin ice of electoral instability and legislative uncertainty. A challenging road to nowhere.” By Kathryn Robb and Marci Hamilton

Editorial: May the Church embrace true transparency
“A variety of potentially divisive issues, ranging from immigration to gun control, were discussed by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops during a national meeting in Baltimore last week. Dealing with the elephant in the room ought to be at the top of their agenda(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is archbishop of the Galveston-Houston diocese, is ending a three-year term as head of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops. Much of his time in the post has been dominated by controversy over the church’s handling of predator priests — and those with even higher positions in the church.” By The Winchester Star Editorial Board

Synodality isn’t just an option, it’s the only way to be church
“Last week, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy delivered the 2019 MacTaggert Lecture at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. In a manner in keeping with his typical erudite yet accessible articulation of church teaching and recognition of the pressing signs of our times, McElroy made a case for a broader embrace of what he called ‘the type of synodal pathway that the church in the Amazon has been undergoing(link is external).’ Drawing on his own experience as a participant in the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region last month and having overseen a local synodal process in the San Diego Diocese, McElroy identified four ecclesial characteristics that result from a more-synodal existence …” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

The Editors: Evangelization, polarization and accountability among the most pressing issues for the U.S. church
“The bishops of the United States are wending their way to Rome in different groups over the next four months for their ad limina apostolorum(link is external) visits with Pope Francis and other Vatican officials. The visits, held every five years, allow bishops the chance to voice their specific concerns about their dioceses—and to get feedback from the Vatican as well. There are myriad issues that need discussion, including the ongoing sexual abuse crisis and the continued exodus of U.S. Catholics from the church. But the visits are short, and both the bishops and the pope necessarily have to choose among the other issues they want to discuss.” By The Editors, America: The Jesuit Review

Georgetown University issues report on sex abuse, makes recommendations
“In order to best address the twin crises of clergy sexual abuse and leadership failure(link is external), a report released Nov. 4 by Georgetown University recommends placing victim-survivors at the center of the response and confronting clericalism. The report titled, ‘Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation: Lessons, Directions, and Paths Forward,’ was created by Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. It reflects and summarizes key ideas and proposals from a June 14-15 national convening here of more than 50 mostly lay Catholic leaders from across the United States.” By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

How Vermont’s Catholic Church stashed away a half-billion dollars in assets
“When Vermont’s Catholic Church recently came clean about its half-century-long history of child sex abuse claims against 10% of its clergy, many wondered how much money the state’s largest religious denomination had on hand to deal with a potential new wave of lawsuits. The statewide Diocese of Burlington’s latest public financial statement lists $16 million in unrestricted net assets. But that figure doesn’t include an estimated $500 million in property that church leaders stashed into trusts more than a decade ago to protect those assets from priest abuse settlements(link is external).” By Kevin O’Connor, VTDigger.com

Pope appoints Jesuit priest as Prefect of Secretariat for Economy
“The Holy Father has appointed Father Juan Antonio Guerrero as the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See(link is external). Currently, the 60-year-old Jesuit, Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, is the Father General’s Delegate for Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works. He is also a General Councillor. ‘As a Jesuit, it is a joy to receive a mission directly from the Pope. It is a privileged way to realize my vocation,’ said Father Guerrero.” By Vatican News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility
“Christy Miller doesn’t want the Catholic Church’s money. She just wants the church to pay. ‘It was never about the money for me. It was about justice(link is external),’ she said. ‘If it hits their pocketbook, they’re more apt to change. That’s why the money plays a role.’ Miller sued the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2003, alleging her high school religion teacher, the Rev. Thomas Brunner, sexually abused her for two years in the mid 1980s.” By Dan Monk, Paula Christian and Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

Victims of Catholic Church sex abuse want statute of limitations to be dropped
“An attorney who represents victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests called on Colorado legislators to drop the statute of limitations(link is external) on such crimes on Wednesday (Nov. 13). Jeff Anderson also presented names and photos of around 100 priests who served in Colorado who have been accused sex abuse. One name on the list was now-former Jesuit Father Patrick O’Liddy. CBS4 featured him in a news story several years ago.” By Rick Sallinger, CBS-TV4 Denver

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic priest arrested after 11-year-old girl allegedly records herself being molested
“An 11-year-old Italian girl has been hailed as a hero after using her cell phone to document the alleged sexual abuse inflicted on her by a Catholic priest(link is external). Father Michele Mottola, 59, was arrested this week in Trentola Ducenta, near Naples, after audio recordings said to be of him and the girl were given to local press. The bishop of Aversa, Angello Spinillo, was made aware of the allegations as early as May 2018 and suspended Mottola at the time, as well as reporting the allegations to the Public Prosecutor of the Commissariat of Aversa. However, no further action was taken against the priest.” By Tareq Haddad, Newsweek

Sex abuse prevention expert says ‘no simple answers to complex problems’
“Last week, Father Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit who is a member of Pope Francis’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, showed an uncharacteristic moment of impatience during a Q&A when he was asked by a priest why he wasn’t focusing on homosexuality as the real cause of clerical sex abuse … In an interview following the event, he explained that he was a bit under the weather so he was off his game somewhat, however, he stood by the core of his response to the priest: ‘There are things that you can repeat over and over again and people don’t get it.(link is external) As I said in my response to him, it’s the same when people repeat over and over again that it is celibacy that causes the abuse.’” By Shannon Levitt and Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Expert says some Latin American churches are doing ‘nothing’ about abuse
“When the Boston Globe released a shocking series of news stories about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the city of Boston in 2002, Father Daniel Portillo was a seminarian(link is external). When Mexican Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ who was found to have abused minors, died in 2005, Portillo was in Rome and saw how some members of the order founded by the late priest still labeled him a saint.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Abuse crisis shows need for holiness, renewal in church, priests say
“Four Catholic priests who serve in various ministries and are on the front lines facing the aftershocks of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church gave their perspective on helping the church address the problem(link is external). They participated in an Oct. 29 panel discussion sponsored by the Catholic Project, an initiative of The Catholic University of America. The event was held at the university’s Heritage Hall.” By Mark Zimmerman, Catholic News Service

LatAm activitsts aim to press beyond ‘cosmetic actions’ on sex abuse crisis
“Three years after a national congress regarding the sexual abuse of minors, the Pontifical University of Mexico in Mexico City is again hosting a conference discussing sex abuse in the continent’s Catholic communities(link is external). ‘The Latin American Church cannot expect significant change if we continue with the same things we’ve been doing,’ said conference organizer Father Daniel Portillo Trevizo, Director of the Center of Investigation and Interdisciplinary Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME).” By Shannon Levitt, Chruxnow.com

COLORADO

Law firm releases report naming Colorado Catholic clerics accused of sexual abuse
“A law firm that has published more than two dozen reports about sexual abuse in the Catholic church released a report Wednesday (Nov. 13) that includes information about 102 clerics who are accused of child sexual abuse and worked within the Archdiocese of Denver(link is external), and the dioceses of Pueblo and Colorado Springs. The report from Jeff Anderson and Associates includes 95 names. Seven priests in the report are unidentified. It comes on the heels of an independent review from former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, which named 43 Catholic priests who were accused of sexually abusing children in those same three dioceses.” By Janet Oravetz and Marc Sallinger, 9News.com

KANSAS

Prosecutors: Kansas City Kansas priest in child sex case to get new trial date after jury deadlocks
“The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office intends to bring a new trial against a Kansas City, Kansas, Roman Catholic priest accused of child molestation(link is external). The trial against the Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, will likely be scheduled in April and held in May, Jonathan Carter, the office’s spokesman, told The Star on Wednesday. Kallal faces two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. His original trial, held in September, ended in mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict.” By Katie Bernard, The Kansas City Star

KENTUCKY

Covington Diocese to review priest files amid I-Team investigation into abuse in Catholic Church
“The Diocese of Covington hired two former FBI agents to review its records on priests over the past 59 years to determine if all allegations of child sexual abuse have been reported to authorities(link is external). A diocese spokeswoman announced the independent review on Tuesday, just days before the WCPO I-Team is scheduled to publish and air a three-month investigation into how local Catholic Church leaders handle allegations of priest sexual abuse.” By Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

LOUISIANA

New molestation suit accuses Jesuuit of using parent, alumni donations to pay abuse settlements
“A former Jesuit High School student who says he was raped by a predator janitor on the school’s campus(link is external) in the 1970s alleges in a new lawsuit that Jesuit officials have used millions of dollars in parent and alumni money to cover abuse-related settlements. The 19-page suit is the latest in a series of complaints attributing acts of sexual abuse to Peter Modica, a former minor league baseball player who got a job on Jesuit’s groundskeeping staff despite having previously pleaded guilty to molesting two teenagers.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

Catholics form new group to fight for transparency and disclosure of secret records
“They call themselves Catholics of Louisiana for Church Reform. They are convinced the future of the church depends on total transparency concerning the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up(link is external). Despite the release of lists of credibly accused clergy, victims and their advocates have challenged the completeness and accuracy of the information made public in Southwest Louisiana and beyond. Luke Jones founded Catholics of Louisiana for Church Reform.” By KPLC-TV7 News

MARYLAND

Survivors of clergy sex abuse call for Church to release names of leaders accused of abuse
“Survivors of clergy sex abuse and their supporters are outlining their requests for Catholic Church leaders ahead of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which began Monday (Nov. 11) in Baltimore. Among the changes victims want to see are archdioceses nationwide releasing the names of clergy and anyone in the church who has been accused of abuse(link is external).” By Rachel Menitoff, WJZ-TV13 News

MICHIGAN

Priest sentenced in AG’s clergy abuse investigation
“One of six Catholic priests charged in an investigation by the attorney general’s office received his sentence Wednesday(link is external) (Nov. 20). Patrick Casey, 56, will serve 45 days in jail, one year of probation and have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in October.” By FOX17Online.com

MINNESOTA

Sexually abused as a child, Minnesota priest feels revictimized by attorney’s disclosure
“Like any other Sunday, the Rev. Joseph Richards led Mass on Nov. 10 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fertile, a northwest Minnesota town in Polk County with almost 850 residents. But this was the first Sunday Richards would address the congregation since it was revealed he was sexually abused as a child by his great-uncle(link is external). It was also disclosed that he sought help after having sexual fantasies about children and that he admitted to inappropriately touching a 5-year-old when he was 14.” By April Baumgarten, Forum News Service, Duluth News Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Two new lawsuits accuse Jesuit priests of sexual abuse”
Allegations of clergy sexual molestation of children struck at the heart of a Downtown Albuquerque church Friday(link is external) (Nov. 15) with the filing of two lawsuits claiming abuse by three Jesuit priests who once ministered there – one as recently as 2011. In one of the two cases, the alleged victim, now 25 years old, contends he was sexually abused eight years ago at Immaculate Conception Church in Albuquerque. His lawyer says he is one of the youngest survivors to come forward in recent years.” By Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal

NEW YORK

Outspoken gay Catholic priest Bernard Lynch accused of late-’70s sexual abuse of teen student at Bronx school
“An outspoken, internationally-known gay Catholic priest renowned for his work among New York’s AIDS patients in the 1980s was accused in a Wednesday (Nov. 20) lawsuit of sexually assaulting a teen student at a Bronx school four decades ago(link is external). The anonymous plaintiff, then a 16-year-old at Mount St. Michael Academy, alleged the sexual abuse occurred in 1978-79 when Father Bernard Lynch served as the school’s campus chaplain. Lynch was tried and acquitted of abusing a different student from the same school after a 1989 Bronx trial.” By Larry McShane, New York Daily News

Victims to share stories of impacts of childhood sex abuse
“‘Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors(link is external)’ will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 14) in the parish center of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse will discuss how the abuse has affected them over their lifetimes. The event is being organized by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who said they were sexually abused as minors by priests in the Buffalo Diocese.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Lawsuit accuses priest of sexually abusing St. Sylvester’s student in 1960s
“A lawsuit accuses a priest who was a prominent member of the Augustinian Order on Staten Island of sexually abusing a child(link is external) at St. Sylvester’s R.C. Church in Concord in the 1960s. The Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed by Jeff Anderson & Associates on Aug. 14 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of an anonymous alleged victim identified only as ARK63 DOE. Named as defendants in the lawsuits are the Archdiocese of New York, the Augustinian Order and related entities, including the former Augustinian Academy on Grymes Hill, and St. Sylvester’s Parish.” By Maura Brunlund, SILive.com

Retired State Supreme Court judge has strong words for Bishop Malone
“Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone is on his way to Rome for a face-to-face meeting with Pope Francis. It’s part of a regular visit to the Vatican by New York State’s Catholic bishops, but this time the visit comes on the heels of a massive sexual abuse scandal exposed in part by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team over the last two years(link is external). Now, a state judge is taking the rare step of speaking out against a sitting bishop.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

OHIO

Covington Diocese hires ex-FBI agents to perform independent priest sex abuse review
“The Diocese of Covington has hired two former FBI agents to independently review its priest files with an eye toward any potential sex abuse(link is external), according to an article in a Diocese-run publication. In August, Rev. David Glockner was removed from his ministry within the Diocese of Covington at Holy Redeemer Parish in Vanceburg, Kentucky. The 84-year-old priest was accused of inappropriately touching two high school girls, according to an Aug. 8 Enquirer article.” By Chris Mayhew, Cincinnati Enquirer

PENNSYLVANIA

Former altar boys sue Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese over alleged sexual abuse
“Two men who were formerly altar boys at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in McDonald, filed a 28-page lawsuit on Tuesday (Nov. 19), alleging sexual abuse by a priest at the church in the 1980(link is external)s. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, current bishop David Zubik and St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. An attorney for the men writes the abuse began in the early 80s, with his clients joining St. Alphonsus Catholic School when they were 11 and 13 years old. Both soon became altar boys.” By Nick Matoney, WTAE-TV4 News

Lawyer for priest on trial says difference cleric abused the victim
“The trial for a retired Catholic priest on sexual abuse charges began with dramatic testimony and a contentious cross-examination(link is external) Wednesday (Nov. 6) after the priest refused a prosecutor’s plea-bargain offer and his defense attorney suggested a different, now-deceased priest is to blame. The Rev. Hugh Lang, 88, a former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, faces eight counts related to an alleged assault on an 11-year-old boy in 2001 at St. Therese Parish in Munhall, where Father Lang was a priest at the time.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VERMONT

Why survivors advocates, accused ex-priest find fault with Catholic Church’s abuser list
“An ex-priest in an Upstate New York diocese left the priesthood in 2000 after serving in various parishes for nearly a decade. Eighteen years later, the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg included the man’s name, James Larche, on a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). Larche moved to Vermont in 2012 and got a job as a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center where he’s worked without incident ever since.” By Isaac Fornarola, Burlington Free Press

WISCONSIN
‘I was such a little kid’: as Wisconsin Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse grows, the trauma lingers
“When she was 7, Patty Gallagher was chosen to bring the priest who served her parish and school in Monona, Wisconsin, his daily milk. The Rev. Lawrence Trainor was practically a member of the family. He came over for dinner and visited the family cottage. Gallagher’s father and Trainor played cards and drank together. Trainor, a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, ingratiated himself with her parents. And then, Gallagher said, he ‘raped me in every way possible(link is external).’” By Erica Jones, Wisconsin Watch

Sentencing concludes long road to justice
“Thomas Ericksen, a former priest of the Diocese of Superior, was sentenced Sept. 26 in Sawyer County Circuit Court to the maximum 30 years in prison for molesting boys while serving in diocesan parishes decades ago. Although the church long ago settled the question of Ericksen’s fitness for the priesthood – he was removed from ministry in 1983, began a counseling program in the Twin Cities and was permanently removed from the priesthood through laicization in 1988 – Catholics may still have questions(link is external).” By Anita Draper, Catholic Herald of the Diocese of Superior

CANADA

Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver aware of 36 cases of clergy sex abuse since 1950s, CBC learns
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver was aware of 36 cases of abuse by clergy under its jurisdiction, including 26 involving children(link is external), results of an internal review of cases of clergy sexual abuse obtained by CBC’s The Fifth Estate show. The review, commissioned in 2018 by Archbishop Michael Miller, examined church files dating back to the 1950s. No Catholic entity in this country has ever made this kind of information public before. The Vancouver review also found three of their priests had fathered children.” By Laura Clementson and Gillian Findlay, CBC News

FRANCE

French bishops approve payments for church sex abuse victims
“French bishops on Saturday (Nov. 9) approved plans to financially compensate people abused sexually within the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). Any person recognized by their bishop as a victim will be eligible to receive money, they said, and the church will appeal for donations to foot the bill. Bishops also voted to allocate 5 million euros ($5.5 million) to an independent commission examining church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts.” By Claire Parker, The Associated Press

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Brothers of Stain John denounce sexually abusive founder
“The Brothers of Saint John, a Catholic movement launched in France in 1975, have officially renounced their sexually abusive founder Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe(link is external) and pledged to revise their rules without reference to him. A general chapter held near Lyon concluded the community could no longer recognise the Dominican priest as its inspiration.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cardinal Pell granted final appeal of conviction on sexual abuse charges / National Catholic Reporter

He (Cardinal George Pell) is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail. (National Catholic Reporter)

Australia’s highest court has granted Cardinal George Pell leave to appeal his landmark conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s, setting the stage for a new round of hearings next year to evaluate the historical conduct of the Vatican’s former No. 3 official.

“The High Court of Australia announced the decision to allow the cardinal a final appeal the morning of Nov. 13 in Canberra. Pell, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March, will remain in jail pending the court’s decision on his appeal, expected to come in 2020.

“Pell was long the highest-ranking Catholic in Australia but was brought to Rome in 2014 by Pope Francis to restructure the Vatican’s finances. He is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail.

“The court of appeal in the Australian state of Victoria had rejected an earlier appeal by the cardinal in a 2-1 verdict in August. The appeal granted by the high court Nov. 13 will be Pell’s last opportunity to contest his conviction.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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