Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse scandal

Following bishops’ spring meeting, Voice of the Faithful echoes calls for mandatory civil reporting and lay involvement in bishop accountability

BOSTON, Mass., June 18, 2019 – The 2019 U.S. Bishops’ spring assembly left Voice of the Faithful and concerned Catholics across America with a nagging sense of déjà vu. Once again, the plan for resolving the Church’s lengthy, widespread child abuse and cover-up scandal is for bishops to hold their fellow bishops accountable. This is the best they could do nearly 35 years after Jason Berry’s reporting on horrendous abuse in Louisiana and Fr. Tom Doyle’s comprehensive report on the extent and potential repercussions of Catholic clergy abuse.

Over the past three and a half decades, time and again, when clerical transgressions were brought to light by others, bishops apologized and promised reform. The reform attempted at this latest bishops meeting has left bishops monitoring other bishops, controlling reports to lay boards and establishing themselves as final arbiters when abuse is reported. It has left us still waiting for substantive actions that could signal real reform. Here are two:

  • mandatory reporting of abuse allegations to civil authorities, even where state law does not require it, as Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski emphasized during the bishops’ meeting; and
  • mandatory lay involvement in bishop accountability, without which, as the bishops’ National Review Board Chairman Francesco Cesareo has said, a culture of self-preservation would continue that suggests complicity.

For arguably good reasons, Pope Francis in his recent Vos estis lux mundi did not require either of these actions, only suggested them, while requiring that bishops’ transgressions be reported within the Church and investigated by other bishops. This is a variation of the medieval court system where only clerics were allowed to judge other clerics and not a step forward.

At their meeting, U.S. bishops adopted the metropolitan model suggested by Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich wherein a metropolitan archbishop, a largely ceremonial role, would be in charge of investigating bishops within his province. But without mandatory reporting to police and mandatory lay involvement, the faithful can only hope that the bishop involved will investigate properly—investigative work that is not covered in any catechism or theology course.

VOTF agrees with canon lawyer and former National Review Board chairman Nicholas Cafardi, who has been quoted, “The system really perpetuates clericalism, which is something Pope Francis has criticized in other situations—the idea that priests exist on a different level than lay people and bishops exist on a different level than priests, and that’s by divine origin and you can’t even talk about changing it.”

Although several bishops during their spring meeting spoke in favor of mandatory reporting and mandatory lay involvement, they did not carry the day. This underscores the necessity for Lay Catholics to continue the drumbeat for reform and repeatedly ask their bishops to lobby their brothers and the Pope for whatever is needed for real reform, whether papal edicts or changes in canon law.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, June 18, 2019
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.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


June 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

U.S. Catholic Church reports big rise in sex-abuse allegations
“Quantifying its vast sex-abuse crisis, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church said Friday (May 31) that allegations of child sex abuse by clerics more than doubled in its latest 12-month reporting period, and that its spending on victim compensation and child protection surged above $300 million(link is external). During the period from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations of abuse, according to the annual report of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. That was up from 693 allegations in the previous year. The report attributed much of the increase to a victim compensation program implemented in five dioceses in New York state.” By David Crary, Associated Press

Double-barreled McCarrick news perfectly captures accountability challenge
“Sometimes the fates who govern the news business have a wicked sense of timing. After a long stretch of relative quiet regarding Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal who was defrocked over sexual misconduct and abuse charges, Tuesday (May 28) brought not one but two major new developments(link is external) … The double whammy of these two stories coming at once does neatly illustrate two of the major questions left hanging by the McCarrick case, which in turn encapsulates the meta-narrative of the entire saga …” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

West Virginia bishop gave powerful cardinals and other priests $350,000 in cash gifts before his ouster, church records show
“In the years before he was ousted for alleged sexual harassment and financial abuses, the leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia gave cash gifts totaling $350,000 to fellow clergymen(link is external), including young priests he is accused of mistreating and more than a dozen cardinals in the United States and at the Vatican, according to church records obtained by The Washington Post. Bishop Michael J. Bransfield wrote the checks from his personal account over more than a decade, and the West Virginia diocese reimbursed him by boosting his compensation to cover the value of the gifts, the records show.” By Michelle Boorstein, Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow, Jr.

‘Revolution’ in Poland as nation confronts priestly abuse
“One victim spoke out, and then another, and another. A statue of a pedophile priest was toppled in Gdansk, put back by his supporters, and finally dismantled for good. A feature film about clerical abuse was a box office hit. Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came(link is external): A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.” By Vanessa Gera, Associated Press

Bishops of East Africa develop handbook to guide child protection
“Catholic bishops of East Africa have introduced a handbook to assist church leaders develop standards to safeguard the safety of children(link is external). Titled ‘Child Safeguarding – Standards and Guidelines: A Catholic Guide for Policy Development’ was introduced May 29 in the Kenyan capital May 29 by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, known as AMECEA.” By Francis Njuguna, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

The purgatory of the sex abuse crisis
“Eugene Cullen Kennedy, who died June 3, 2015, was one of the most prolific and insightful observers of the Catholic Church in the modern era. Following is the first of two pieces on the clergy culture and the sex abuse crisis(link is external) that were part of a larger work underway when he died. The manuscript, last worked on in January 2015, was shared with NCR by his widow, Sara Charles Kennedy, who noted the happy coincidence that Kennedy’s date of death was the same as that of St. Pope John XXIII, whom he greatly admired. John XXIII died in 1963. The longer manuscript was lightly edited for clarity and divided into two parts.” By Eugene Cullen Kennedy, National Catholic Reporter

Australian Catholic Church releases standards for child protection
“The Australian Catholic Church has released its National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, more than 18 months after they were recommended by the country’s landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, in the latest chapter in the overhaul of how the Church responds to clergy sexual abuse(link is external). The standards closely parallel the commission’s recommendations as well as norms enshrined by the government in the National Principles for Child Safe Organizations, although some provisions have been watered down, observers noted.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

The U.S. Catholic Church spent more than $300 million on abuse-related costs in 12 months
“Between June 2017 and June 2018 the Catholic Church in the United States spent a whopping $301.6 million on costs related to clergy sexual abuse(link is external), including nearly $200 million in legal settlements, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The new report also revealed that, during the same 12-month period, the church fielded 1,051 new ‘credible allegations’ of sexual abuse of a minor by priests and other clergy.” By Daniel Burke, CNN

ACCOUNTABILITY

Ex-seminarian’s struggle shows ‘overlapping jurisdictions’ gap in abuse crisis
“Seventeen years ago, a young foreign-born seminarian was packing his bags for the opportunity of a lifetime. During a chance meeting at a Labor Day BBQ, the highly influential and now disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick encouraged him to transfer to Washington, D.C., where he enrolled in the Theological College. Little did he know that choice would influence the rest of his life. The experience turned sour when ‘Martin,’ a pseudonym, says he was sexually assaulted by a transitional deacon(link is external) who was studying at TC and who would be ordained a priest the following year.” By Inés San Martin and Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Woman accuses Cardinal DiNardo of dismissing sex abuse case
“When Cardinal Daniel DiNardo first met Laura Pontikes in his wood-paneled conference room in December 2016, the leader of the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to its sex abuse scandal(link is external) said all the right things. He praised her for coming forward to report that his deputy in the Galveston-Houston archdiocese had manipulated her into a sexual relationship and declared her a ‘victim’ of the priest, Pontikes said. Emails and other documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the relationship had gone on for years — even as the priest heard her confessions, counseled her husband on their marriage and pressed the couple for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on ReligionNews.com

California archbishop ‘deeply disappointed’ by senate passing confession bill
“Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by the California Senate’s passage of a bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of Confession(link is external). After legislators voted 30-2 in favor of the measure May 23, the archbishop urged the state’s Catholics ‘to continue to pray and make your voices heard on this issue, which is so vital to our faith and religious freedom.’” By Catholic News Service in Catholic Sun

Pope says Argentine bishop now facing Vatican sexual abuse trial
“An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis is now on trial at the Vatican, accused of sexually abusing seminarians(link is external). Francis revealed the development in an interview with Mexico’s Televisa Tuesday. He said he received the results of a preliminary investigation into Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta two weeks ago and ordered the case be handed over for trial by a Vatican tribunal. Zanchetta resigned suddenly as bishop of Oran, Argentina in 2017 and within a few months, Francis named him to a senior Vatican administration position.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Press Herald

McCARRICK CASE

Pope Francis denies he know of abuse by McCarrick
“For nearly a year, Pope Francis remained mostly silent in the face of a searing accusation by a former papal ambassador to the United States that he knew, and did nothing about, the sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick … But in an interview published Tuesday (May 28), just weeks after Francis issued the first law requiring that officials in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide report cases of clergy sexual abuse to their superiors, he directly denied the accusation(link is external).” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Letters suggest lax enforcement of restrictions on disgraced D.C. ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick
“The former secretary to defrocked American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has released excerpts from private and confidential correspondence among top Vatican leaders(link is external)which reveal details of restrictions placed on McCarrick by the Holy See following allegations of sexual misconduct. The communications reveal the extent to which the restrictions were known among senior church leaders – and particularly by his successor Cardinal Donald Wuerl – but not enforced.” By Anna Matranga and Seth Doane, CBS-TV News

Pope Francis denies knowing of allegations against McCarrick
“Nearly a year later, Pope Francis denied claims made by a former apostolic nuncio to the United States(link is external) who accused him and other church officials of failing to act on accusations of abuse of conscience and power by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. ‘I knew nothing, obviously, of McCarrick. Nothing, nothing. I said several times that I didn’t know, that I had no idea,’ the pope said in an interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki published by Vatican News May 28. ‘You know that I didn’t know anything about McCarrick; otherwise, I would not have stayed quiet.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

CARDINAL PELL

Vatican trial possible for Cardinal Pell
“Whether or not Cardinal George Pell wins or loses his appeal against his conviction in Australia for child sexual abuse he may still face a Vatican trial(link is external). This possibility was mooted in Rome once his sentence was announced in Melbourne. The 77-year-old Pell, who is now in jail, returns to a Melbourne court on Wednesday and Thursday to appeal his conviction after being found guilty of sexually abusing two choirboys in the 1990s. Three judges will hear Pell’s appeal.” By SBS.com.au

Analysis: Pell sex abuse conviction appeal
“Whatever the outcome of his appeal against a conviction for sexually abusing two choir boys, Cardinal George Pell’s case is far from over(link is external). Even if the Australian cardinal is successful in overturning his conviction, he could find himself back in jail if the highest court in the land were to re-confirm the jury’s declaration of guilt. Such a scenario is not without precedent, and it means the process could drag on into the middle of next year, and beyond. Justice, however, must take its course.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

BISHOPS

Catholic groups weigh in with ideas for bishops’ meeting on how to ‘solve’ abuse crisis
“As the U.S. bishops prepare to meet June 11-14 in Baltimore, with sex abuse concerns at the top of their agenda, they don’t lack for advice(link is external). Across the Catholic spectrum, groups and individuals have issued statements and offered declarations about how to fix the church. John Carr, a retired staff member for the U.S. bishops and now director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, urged the bishops to keep their focus …” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Here’s a must-do agenda for the U.S. bishops conference
“A week from tomorrow (that is, May 11), the U.S. bishops will gather in Baltimore for their annual spring meeting. The principal item on the agenda is the enactment of new policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults(link is external). Last autumn, you will recall, the bishops planned to take action on several items to address the crisis but the Vatican ordered them not to vote on any proposals until after they had taken a retreat together, which they did in January, and until the conclusion of the February summit of bishops from around the globe called by Pope Francis to focus on this issue.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Conservatives still rule the U.S. bishops’ conference
“At the U.S. bishops’ meeting in November 2017, as the prelates voted in the much-anticipated election for chair of their pro-life committee, the ballot offered a stark choice: one candidate a culture warrior who emphasized opposition to abortion; the other, more moderate, took a “seamless garment” approach that connects life issues … The results proved that progressive prelates didn’t have the numbers to control the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops(link is external), not to mention its statements, policies and priorities.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Officials look at meaning, role of ‘metropolitan archbishop’
“Most Catholics have never heard of a ‘metropolitan archbishop,’ even if their archbishop is one. Designating an archdiocese as a ‘metropolitan see’ is part of an organizational model, borrowed from the Romans(link is external), that goes back to the early days of Christianity, said Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Angelus

PRIESTS

Head of U.S. Catholic priests’ largest group asks bishops to end clericalism
“The Catholic Church in the United States needs to focus on three priorities: drawing the curtain on its culture of secrecy, ending clericalism, and giving women more roles in Church affairs(link is external), the chair of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) wrote in a letter to bishops dated June 4. ‘We are in crisis. We need change,’ wrote Father Kevin Clinton, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul – Minneapolis. ‘Please engage all of God’s People in bringing about the needed change. Clericalism most especially must be eradicated, and women must be integrated.’” By La Croix International Staff

The priesthood has meaning, and not just for male priests
“With every new wave of stories of sexual abuse by priests, it can be much harder not to create a spiritual bunker containing the people I like and leaving out the rest. I have felt despair and frustration at the crisis of abuse and the failure of leadership that got us here. The Church needs healing. It needs a new way forward. But it also needs the priesthood(link is external).” By Kerry Weber, Executive Editor for America: The Jesuit Review, in The Atlantic

WOMEN DEACONS

What the debate over deacons gets wrong about Catholic women leadership
“Two years ago I was on a panel at the University of Notre Dame where a fellow presenter lamented the almost total absence of women in leadership in the church(link is external). Perhaps she did not read my bio or listen to my presentation. During the panel discussion, I finally had to interject that I was the chancellor of one of the largest dioceses in the country and fourth on the organization chart for the Diocese of Orange.” By Pia de Solenni, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

German Catholic women begin boycott over lack of reforms
“A grassroots Catholic women’s movement – using the motto of the Virgin Mary who should be given her voice(link is external) – launched a week of disobedient non-service on Saturday (May 11) – with the backing of major lay organizations and even singular bishops. The women planned to hold rites outside churches, without priests, and withhold services inside parishes until May 18 at least 50 locations to back their call that the Vatican open the priesthood to women and drop celibacy.” By Deutsche Welle

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Laity not playing ‘gotcha’ with bishops on abuse, review board chair says
“The path to rebuilding the U.S. church’s credibility as it emerges from the lingering clergy sexual abuse scandal rests in embracing the role of laypeople as important collaborators(link is external), said the chairman of the National Review Board. Francesco Cesareo told Catholic News Service June 3 that laypeople want transparency and openness from the bishops and the sooner the prelates put aside their guardedness about welcoming laity as partners, the sooner the U.S. church will heal.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

Laity need strong voice at government/bishops talks
Parishioners ‘must be heard’(link is external) in any future Church-State talks particularly regarding the future of Catholic schools, two leading Irish theologians have said. The call comes after the Irish bishops confirmed they will be discussing the Taoiseach’s proposed ‘new covenant’ between faith groups and secular society planned for July 4. Despite a commitment to divestment from Church leadership, at grassroots level there are ‘very, very strong views on the need to protect Catholic education,’ Prof. Eamonn Conway of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick told The Irish Catholic.” By Chai Brady, The Irish Catholic

CLERICALISM

Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes
“Currently, beyond the purely advisory role of parish and diocesan councils, laypeople hold no formal role in the authority structure of the Church. This must change. Giving laypeople a powerful voice at every level of Church governance(link is external) would be a consequential first step in building an ecclesial culture of justice, transparency, and humility.” By Susan Bigelow Reynolds, The Atlantic

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Cardinal Kasper says Francis will allow married priests, if bishops request it
“German Cardinal Walter Kasper, considered a close theological adviser to Pope Francis, said that if during an upcoming meeting of bishops on the Amazon region the prelates asked for the ordination of married men, the Argentine pontiff would grant the request(link is external). He also said that the ordination of women, even to the diaconate, is out of the question, as it would undermine a ‘millennia old tradition,’ noting, however, that the Catholic Church would ‘collapse’ without women.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Catholic is Kenya rebel against celibacy vow for priests
“He was a priest just out of seminary. She was a nurse. They were both from the slopes of Mount Kenya, but their paths improbably crossed in Rome. He became unshakable in his desire to marry her, even though he had taken the Catholic Church’s mandatory vow of celibacy for priests. When he returned to preach in Kenya, Peter Njogu was shocked when fellow priests told him that many of them had broken that vow, marrying and having children(link is external).” By Max Bearak, The Washington Post in Stars & Stripes

CHURCH REFORM

Proposed new apostolic constitution reorders Vatican’s offices
“The draft of Pope Francis’ document to reorganize the Vatican’s sprawling bureaucracy significantly reorients the mission of the Catholic Church’s central command(link is external), emphasizing that officials must no longer consider themselves a ‘superior authority’ but servants of the pope and the world’s bishops. The text of the proposed new apostolic constitution, obtained by NCR, also notably reorders the precedence of the Vatican’s offices, downgrading the once all-powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in favor of a new streamlined evangelization bureau charged with attracting followers by considering the ‘fundamental questions’ of our era.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Francis’ draft of curial reform fundamentally reimagines Vatican’s role
“Pope Francis’ long-awaited apostolic constitution on the reform of the Curia has finally appeared. Those looking for radical structural reform may be disappointed. However, the document contributes much toward a fundamentally different conception of the role and function of the Curia(link is external) within the life of the church. The Roman Curia in its modern form, dating back to the 16th century, has remained remarkably resistant to substantive reform, in spite of efforts undertaken by both Pope St. Paul VI and Pope St. John Paul II. Some of that resistance to reform may have been a consequence of the failure to consider the Curia within an ecclesiological framework sufficiently informed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).” By Richard Gallardetz, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

New papal abuse policy will help restore trust
“Three months ago, Pope Francis called for an ‘all-out battle’ against the scourge of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and bishops(link is external). Now the Holy Father is making meaningful progress in the fight to protect the innocent and purify the church, and he deserves praise for his strong leadership. This month, Pope Francis ordered every diocese to develop a system that allows the public to submit allegations of abuse by any church official. Crucially, this includes bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, all of whom have historically escaped such oversight.” By Tim Busch, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic Church spent $10.6 million in Northeast on lobbying since 2011
“The Catholic Church has spent more than $10.6 million on lobbying in northeastern states since 2011 — and has poured a significant amount of that money into blocking bills aimed at clergy sexual abuse, a recent study revealed(link is external). The analysis of lobbying data, conducted by the Seeger Weiss and Williams Cedar law firms and dubbed ‘Church Influencing State,’ found that in the Empire State alone the New York State Catholic Conference and the Catholic Conference Policy Group spent $2.9 million over eight years to lobby government officials.” By Michael Gartland, New York Daily News

Unhappy Buffalo Catholics are giving less in wake of clergy sex abuse scandal
“The clergy sex abuse scandal is costing the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo more than the $17.5 million paid to childhood victims of abuse through a special compensation program. Giving at area Catholic parishes is down since last August(link is external) and is likely to result in a budget shortfall at the diocese and cuts to ministries and services, according to the Rev. Peter J. Karalus, the diocese’s chief operating officer. ‘The abuse scandal has had consequences on the financial condition of the diocese beyond the cost of settling claims,’ said Karalus, vicar general and moderator of the curia, in a preface to the diocese’s 2018 financial report.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Catholic archdiocese mired in deficit and debt
“Australia’s largest Catholic archdiocese has been plunged into budget deficit and debt, reflecting financial constraints across the church in the wake of the sex abuse scandal(link is external). Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli has flagged a major overhaul of finances and church structures in a talk to clergy and staff, calling for restraint and a new way forward to deliver services. Staff are expecting job losses and budget cuts to deal with the poor budget position.” By John Ferguson, The Australian

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Scott signs bills removing statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims
“(Vermont) Gov. Phil Scott last week signed a new law that removes the time limit for victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil claims against their abusers(link is external). Scott also signed a bill that will extend the statute of limitations for criminal offenses including manslaughter and sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The bill eliminating the six-year statute of limitations for civil child sexual abuse cases was a priority for the House Judiciary Committee this year.” By Xander Landen, VTDigger.com

Arizona’s statute of limitations for child sex abuse is the worst in the country
“The arrest of a priest in Arizona on sex abuse charges out of Michigan could lend fuel to legislative efforts to expand the time that victims in this state have to sue their assailants(link is external) … The news comes as Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, is trying to convince colleagues to scrap existing Arizona laws which say that victims here have only until they turn 20 to file civil suits. Boyer told Capitol Media Services he can’t say whether Crowley and other priests accused of incidents of sexual abuse were purposely moved to Arizona because of what he sees as the limited ability of those who are abused and assaulted here to file civil actions.” By Daniel Perle, Capitol Media Services, on KJZZ.org

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Diocesan whistleblower slams compensation program for victims of clergy abuse
“The former executive assistant to Bishop Richard Malone says the compensation program set up by the diocese for victims of clergy sex abuse ‘didn’t have survivors best interest at heart or in mind(link is external).’ Siobhan O’Connor, who leaked several documents that detailed clergy sex abuse from the diocese’s archives, spoke at a press conference in Los Angeles Tuesday (Jun. 4) afternoon. The announcement was made as six dioceses in California are launching a victims’ compensation program similar to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program that the Diocese of Buffalo set up.” By Chris Horvatits, WIVB-TV4 News

Survivors of sexual abuse by nuns want greater visibility for their accusations
“When Patricia Cahill was 15, she received an unexpected request(link is external). A nun who taught at a Catholic high school near her home in Ridgewood, N.J., called her at home and invited her to perform at an upcoming ‘hootenanny’ Mass. ‘This was [the] 1960s, you know. Peter, Paul and Mary and all that,’ Cahill said. ‘I didn’t really play guitar, but a nun — a nun! — asked me to.’” By Laura Benshoff, National Public Radio

CALIFORNIA

Law firm releases list of 43 clergy members allegedly accused of sexual misconduct
“A law firm that investigates child abuse claims released a list of 43 people within the Fresno Diocese who it says are accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). ‘We’re here because the Diocese of Fresno and the Catholic bishops in Fresno are dirty,’ said Jeff Anderson from Anderson & Associates. ‘They’re secret keepers.’ Anderson and his associates held a news conference in Fresno today (Jun. 5) accusing the Fresno Diocese of covering up sexual misconduct allegations.” By Amber Frias, KGET-TV

Three California priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors on first list released by Franciscans
“An Oakland-based Catholic order for the first time on Friday (May 31) released its own list of clergy with credible accusations of child sex abuse(link is external). The Franciscans of the Province of St. Barbara’s list contains 50 names involving 122 victims. Some of the accused have been previously reported by advocates or are included in court documents, but at least one has never been reported.” By Polly Stryker, KQED National Public Radio News

GEORGIA

Georgia attorney general opens Catholic priest abuse investigation
“Georgia has become the latest state to open a formal investigation into the Catholic Church’s priest sex abuse scandal(link is external) in the state. The state does not have a large Catholic population within the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah. However, the newly-minted archbishop of Washington DC is the former Archbishop of Atlanta, Wilton Gregory. Gregory’s predecessor in Washington was forced to retire after the scathing Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report concerning his tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

ILLINOIS

After 2006 sex abuse lawsuit, priest served in Whiting for seven years
“Months after the Rev. Stephen Muth retired at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Whiting, superiors put him on administrative leave, removing him from the priesthood. Church leaders had concluded Muth, 69, received a ‘recent credible accusation of sexual misconduct involving a vulnerable adult(link is external) (considered a minor under canon law),’ according to a statement dated Oct. 22.” By Meredith, Colias-Pete, Chicago Tribune

Chicago pastor arrested for allegedly sexually abusing twin girls he tutored at his home
“A Chicago pastor was arrested Friday (May 24) after allegedly abusing twin 12-year-old girls he had tutored at home(link is external). His arrest was announced by police Sunday, after the clergyman attended a bond hearing. Jeffery Parks, 51—a pastor at Good Shepherd Church—is accused of inappropriately touching the girls on multiple occasions since 2017. He tutored the twin girls for three years before he was reported to police, according to The Chicago Tribune.” By Katherine Hignett, Newsweek

IOWA

Iowa attorney general requests clergy abuse records from Catholic dioceses, launches hotline
“Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has requested information related to clergy abuse records from the state’s four Catholic dioceses(link is external), his office announced Monday (Jun. 3). Letters sent to officials in Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City ask the dioceses to voluntarily share records related to abuse allegations, diocesan review boards, and settlements by Aug. 1.” By Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register

KENTUCKY

Bills enabling a statewide clergy abuse investigation stalled in Kentucky. Supporters blame politics.
“A pair of bills that would have opened an avenue to investigate alleged clergy abuse in Kentucky languished in this year’s legislative session(link is external), and some supporters of the proposals say partisan politics is to blame. Amid a national reckoning over allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Kentucky lawmakers failed to advance or even consider legislation to expand the Attorney General’s powers to investigate crimes, like clergy abuse, that often occur across multiple jurisdictions. Now, the attorney general and his allies are crying foul.” By Pete Madden, ABC-TV News

MASSACHUSETTS

Former insider sees cover-up by Springfield Diocese on abuse
“A former member of the board that reviews sexual abuse allegations for the Springfield Diocese says the church is attempting to quash an altar boy’s report of molestation to preserve the reputation of a longtime local bishop(link is external). In a statement in response to an article in The Eagle, the diocese says that when its review board met last year with a Chicopee man who served as an altar boy in the 1960s, that man did not allege sexual abuse by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon. But Patricia Martin and two others who attended that June 13, 2018, session confirmed this week that the victim specifically named Weldon as an abuser.” By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

Five Catholic priests charged in Michigan sex abuse investigation
“As part of the state’s investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday (May 24) criminal sexual conduct charges against five priests in Michigan(link is external). ‘Some of these clergy … preyed on young children,’ Nessel said at a news conference about the men who were priests at the time of the alleged abuse. She said the five cases were the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as investigators continue to track down hundreds of tips on abuse by Catholic priests.” By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Roman Catholic diocese suspends priest accused of misconduct
“A Roman Catholic diocese in Massachusetts says a longtime priest has been suspended amid an allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external). The Herald News reports that Fall River Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha said in an email Sunday (May 26) that Father Bruce Neylon, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, was removed from active ministry.” By Associated Press on ABCNews.com

MISSOURI

St. Louis victims have waited long enough for findings on clergy sexual abuse
“For months now, the St. Louis Archdiocese has been saying it intends to follow the lead of its counterparts around the nation and publicly identify its clergy who have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of children. Since last year, the Missouri Attorney General’s office, under two consecutive office-holders, has said it will complete and release an independent investigation of the issue statewide. To date, neither promise has been fulfilled(link is external).” By St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board

NEW JERSEY

These three New Jersey nuns were accused of sex abuse. Here’s what we know about them
“When a law firm released a report earlier this month naming 311 Catholic clergy members from New Jersey accused of sexual misconduct there was something striking about the list– it included women(link is external). Three nuns from New Jersey were among the priests, monks, deacons and other clergy members listed in the report compiled by New Jersey attorney Greg Gianforcaro and Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm that specialized in representing victims of abuse.” By Kelly Heyboer, New Jersey Advance Media on NJ.com

NEW YORK

Sex-abuse fallout triggers uncertain summer for Diocese of Rochester
“This is the second of two parts on the Diocese of Rochester’s ongoing response to the sexual-abuse crisis(link is external). Part I appeared in the Courier’s April edition. The summer of 2019 promises to be an uncomfortable one for New York’s Catholic bishops and their staffs. Last fall, the state’s attorney general launched an investigation into the handling of cases of clergy sexual abuse by New York’s seven dioceses and the Archdiocese of New York. The probe is one of nine similar investigations underway by attorneys general across the nation.” By Catholic Courier

Buffalo Diocese affirms abuse allegations against priest, returns two to ministry
Allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) against the Rev. Michael P. Juran were substantiated by Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone after an investigation, and Juran will remain on administrative leave while the Vatican reviews the decision, Malone said Thursday (May 30) morning. An allegation of child sex abuse against the Rev. Robert M. Yetter was not substantiated, but Yetter will remain on administrative leave as the diocese continues to investigate allegations of adult sexual abuse by the former pastor of St. Mary Church in Swormville.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Long Island deacon accused of decades-old sex abuse
“A Roman Catholic deacon on Long Island is accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external)decades ago. According to a statement from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the allegation was made against Deacon Richard LaRossa, who served St. Raymond’s Church in East Rockaway. The alleged abuse happened about 26 years ago but was recently reported to the diocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. The diocese alerted law enforcement.” By LongIsland.News12.com

Buffalo diocese: Clergy abuse victims have been compensated
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo said Tuesday its clergy abuse compensation program rejected more than half the claims filed by alleged victims while offering 127 people awards ranging from $2,000 to $650,000. The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program was established last year amid public scrutiny of the diocese’s handling of claims of sex abuse against priests. In a summary, the diocese said that while a few awards are outstanding, the program ‘is substantially complete(link is external).’” By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, in Lexington Herald Leader

Buffalo Diocese working to educate students, staff on clergy abuse crisis
“Sister Gail Glenn, longtime elementary school principal at Catholic Academy of West Buffalo, says her seventh and eighth graders have discussed the clergy sexual abuse crisis in class(link is external), while many of the younger students have not: About 8,500 elementary students attend Catholic school in Diocese of Buffalo; Clergy sexual abuse crisis discussed more among the upper grade levels; Students, staff provided ongoing abuse training. ‘We help them understand, that you’re going to find sick people all over and you just have to be aware,’ said Glenn.” By Mark Goshgarian, SpectrumLocalNews.com

OHIO

Catholic Diocese of Columbus adds additional priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added four names to its website list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external). The list was initially released on March 1, 2019, with 34 names on it. On March 5, the diocese added two more names. The website was updated on May 23 with the additions of Rev. Walter H. Horan, Rev. Stephan L. Johnson, Rev. Francis M Sweeney, and Rev. John J. Walsh.” By Sarah Wynn, ABC-TV6 News

TEXAS

Dallas bishop questions affidavit, says police raid was ‘traumatic’
“Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas questioned an affidavit and a dramatic raid by local police who descended on church property in the Texas diocese(link is external) wearing ‘ski masks and SWAT gear’ in mid-May saying they were looking for documents related to abuse investigations. The Diocese of Dallas has fully cooperated with police and has been transparent and communicative with law enforcement, which is why ‘we were surprised, dismayed and even disappointed by the action taken,’ said the prelate in a May 17 video posted on the diocese’s website a couple of days after the raid.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Woodville priest placed on leave by Diocese of Beaumont during sexual misconduct investigation
“A Woodville priest has been removed from his duties at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church after allegations of sexual misconduct at his former diocese(link is external) surfaced. Monsignor Frank Rossi, who retired from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, was accepted into the Beaumont Diocese in May 2017 to work at the parish according to a letter sent to parishioners Saturday by the Bishop of the Beaumont Diocese the Most Rev. Curtis J. Guillory.” By Reagan Gibson and Tyler Seggeman, 12NewsNow.com

VIRGINIA

Why advocates are pushing for more transparency in the Catholic Church
Local advocates are calling for more transparency in Catholic churches(link is external). They held a town hall discussion on the issue on Monday (Jun. 3) night in Vienna. Among the demands discussed were calls for a third-party national hotline, to hear out tips involving clerical sex abuse and full transparency throughout an investigation, when it comes to clerical sex abuse victims and their families.” By Anna-Lysa Gayle, WJLA-TV7 News

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia diocese releases more accused priests’ names
“West Virginia’s only Roman Catholic diocese has released the names of two more priests who it says have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse(link is external) in the state. The priests are accused of committing the abuse while working at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Both are deceased. One of them, the Rev. Raymond Waldruff, previously was accused of abuse in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s. Complaints of decades-old abuse were made against him in March in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and in April in the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky.” By John Raby, Daily Journal

WISCONSIN

Green Bay diocese names 48th priest determined to have sexually abused a minor
“The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay last month identified another priest who molested a child, amending its list of known abusers(link is external) with little notice to the general public. The diocese on May 23 added Steven Scherer to the list of priests who sexually abused minors over the past century. Scherer, who died in 1999, was determined by the diocese to have committed a single instance of abuse around 1980 or 1981. The allegation surfaced after his death.” By Haley BeMiller, Green Bay Press-Gazette

AUSTRALIA

Church’s astonishing defense ignores royal commission’s findings on notorious pedophile priest
“Here were lawyers for the very same Catholic Church launching a defense which rejected some of the royal commission’s key findings(link is external) in relation to one of its most notorious pedophile priests. The many good Catholics who espouse Christian values of decency and kindness and social justice might question the expenditure of the proceeds of their collective collection plates to mount that defense.” By Louise Milligan, Australian Broadcasting System

Church reaches new milestone in response to child sexual abuse
“Catholic Professional Standards Limited has released its National Catholic Safeguarding Standards in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission(link is external) into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. CPSL chief Sheree Limbrick said that during the royal commission, Catholic leaders committed to establishing nationally consistent standards and to the audit and public reporting of the compliance of Church authorities with those standards.” By CathNews.com

BANGLADESH

Church in Bangladesh to discuss new sex abuse norms in August
“Bangladeshi Catholics must break taboos surrounding sexual abuse to end a culture of silence(link is external), according to the country’s top prelate. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, the Archbishop of Dhaka, leads the small Catholic community in the Muslim-majority South Asian country. Christians make up just 0.5 percent of the population and there are only around 400,000 Catholics in the country.” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

CANADA

Canadians say the Catholic Church has failed in its sex abuse response
“Most Canadians, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, agreed in a recent poll that ‘the Catholic Church as a whole has done a poor job of addressing this issue of clerical sexual abuse(link is external).’ And 55 percent said the Catholic Church, still the country’s largest religious denomination, will be ‘weakened’ by its handling of the abuse crisis, a view shared by 42 percent of practicing Catholics. In the survey conducted online in early May and just published by the British Columbia-based Angus Reid Institute, 78 percent of all Canadians (including non-Catholics) gave the church a poor grade.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

CHILE

Chilean bishop-elect apologizes for comments on abuse crisis, women
“After the uproar caused by his words regarding Chile’s clerical abuse scandals and the role of women in the Church, the newly appointed auxiliary bishop of Santiago apologized for his comments(link is external). ‘I would like to sincerely ask for forgiveness for the pain and uncertainty my words might have caused,’ Bishop-elect Carlos Irarrazaval said May 29.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FRANCE

Commission into clerical sex abuse in France opens
“An independent commission set up by the French Catholic Church to look at allegations of sexual abuse by clerics(link is external) began its work by launching an appeal for witness statements. France’s Catholic bishops set up the commission last year in response to a number of scandals that shook the church in the country and also worldwide. It now has the task to shed light on sexual abuse committed by French clerics on minors or vulnerable individuals going right back to the 1950s.” By RTE News

LIBERIA

Liberian bishops summoned to Rome over alleged sex scandal
“Last week representatives of the Liberian bishops’ conference traveled to the Vatican to address accusations from a local priest that two of the country’s bishops were guilty of soliciting him for sex(link is external). Bishop Anthony Borwah, President of the Liberia Bishops’ Conference, traveled to Rome to meet with Vatican officials after Father Gabriel Sawyer, a parish priest from Monrovia, raised accusations against the current Archbishop Lewis Zeigler, who heads the archdiocese, and against Bishop Andrew Karnley of Cape Palmas – located on Liberia’s southern coast – of sexual advances and abuses of power.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

U.S. Catholic Church reports big rise in sex-abuse allegations / Associated Press

The findings were evidence of “complacency and lack of diligence on the part of some dioceses,” said a letter included in the report from Francesco Cesareo, who chairs a review board created by the bishops in 2002 to monitor sex abuse prevention efforts. (Associated Press)

Quantifying its vast sex-abuse crisis, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church said Friday (May 31) that allegations of child sex abuse by clerics more than doubled in its latest 12-month reporting period, and that its spending on victim compensation and child protection surged above $300 million.

“During the period from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations of abuse, according to the annual report of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. That was up from 693 allegations in the previous year. The report attributed much of the increase to a victim compensation program implemented in five dioceses in New York state.

“According to the report, Catholic dioceses and religious orders spent $301.6 million during the reporting period on payments to victims, legal fees and child-protection efforts. That was up 14% from the previous year and double the amount spent in the 2014 fiscal year.”

By David Crary, Associated Press — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Francis mandates clergy abuse reporting worldwide, empowers archbishops to do investigations / National Catholic Reporter

Under the scope of the new laws, such disclosure (of abuse or coverup) could be rather wide-ranging, even retroactively. Article six of the apostolic letter makes clear that anyone who is serving or has served as a bishop can be investigated for acts committed during the time of their ministry. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis issued sweeping new laws for the Catholic Church on the investigation of clergy sexual abuse May 9, mandating for the first time that all priests and members of religious orders worldwide are obligated to report any suspicions of abuse or its cover-up.

“The pontiff has also established a new global system for the evaluation of reports of abuse or cover-up by bishops, which foresees the empowering of archbishops to conduct investigations of prelates in their local regions with the help of Vatican authorities.

“The new norms, contained in a brief apostolic letter titled Vos estis lux mundi (‘You are the light of the world’), are exhaustive in scope, applying in some way to every ordained or vowed member of the 1.3 billion-person church. They also encourage lay people to make reports of abuse, and provide for involvement of lay experts in investigations.

“In his introduction to the document, which goes into effect June 1, Francis says he has created the new laws so the church will ‘continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future.'”

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

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for? / America”: The Jesuit Review

Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing. (America: The Jesuit Review)

In the final episode of Deliver Us, we ask: What’s mine to do and not somebody else’s? What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for?

“To grapple with these questions, we spoke to people who have responded to the sex abuse crisis in different ways. Geoff Boisi and Kerry Robinson talk about why they formed Leadership Roundtable, an organization which brings best business practices to church leaders and which has convened experts to discuss the church’s future. Leadership Roundtable has made it a priority to address the “twin crises” of the abuse crisis—one being the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and the other being the leadership failures in the church that have led to distrust.

“Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing, and Monica LaBelle offers her experience of setting up listening sessions in her parish.

“We also hear from you, our listeners, in this final episode. You tell us what you’ve been doing to help the church move forward.”

By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review — Listen to the podcast …

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Catholic University sex abuse series wraps with starkly different viewpoints / National Catholic Reporter

The day-long conference at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., was the fourth and final installment of the university’s “Healing the Breach of Trust” series.

Two well-known lay Catholic leaders in the United States presented strikingly different opinions on the cause of the clergy sex abuse crisis, the role of the laity and the centrality of victim-survivors at an April 25 conference at Catholic University of America, titled ‘The Way Forward: Principles for Effective Lay Action.’

”The day-long conference, the fourth and final installment of the ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ series, was marked by the divergent 25-minute presentations of George Weigel and John Carr, who spoke at different points in the day.

“Weigel, a biographer of Pope John Paul II and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., discussed the negative influence of Satan, the sexual revolution and mass media on the current crisis.

“Carr, the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and former director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development at the U.S. bishops’ conference, presented 10 lessons on dealing with clergy abuse he gained from personal experience as both a victim-survivor and in working with the bishops.”

By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


April 26, 2019

TOP STORIES

With letter on sex abuse, Pope Benedict returns to the public eye
“In his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI is apparently tired of hiding. The former pontiff, who declared he would ‘remain hidden to the world’ when he became the first pope in six centuries to abdicate in 2013, has released a 6,000-word letter that puts the blame for the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church(link is external) on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the disappearance of God from public discourse in the West and what he considers dangerously liberal theological ideas that eroded morality after the church reforms of the Second Vatican Council.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Inside the fight for compensation for clergy sex abuse survivors
“For attorney Ken Feinberg and his longtime associate Camille Biros, their work overseeing compensation funds for survivors of clergy sex abuse(link is external) is familiar: They represented the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Deepwater Horizon spill. In order to determine what type of compensation is appropriate, Biros says they look at written documentation of the abuse, such as journal entries, or sometimes the survivor will tell their story in person.” By Robin Young, National Public Radio

Catholic diocese, Movement to Restore Trust launch new methods for abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is taking a new approach to handling alleged sex abuse cases(link is external). The diocese now is working with the Movement to Restore Trust, an independent group of Catholics. The group first met with officials from the diocese last Thursday Apr. 11). They discussed new ways to improve the church’s response to accusations of abuse made against members of the clergy. One idea would be for Bishop Richard Malone to reserve time in his schedule regularly for one-on-one meetings with victims. Additionally, there would be diocese-wide listening sessions over the next few months to hear directly from Catholics about the scandal and other matters of importance to churchgoers.” By Spectrum News Staff

We’re waiting on decision about women deacons
“Will he or won’t he? That’s the question being asked in some circles as the date approaches for the pope’s appearance at this year’s May 6-10 meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious. Every three years the group meets in Rome, and during the last gathering, in answer to a question from the group, Pope Francis agreed that it would be good to appoint a commission to study the history of women deacons(link is external). The commission was formed within three months, in August 2016, and last summer, having completed its work, the commission sent a paper to the pope. So the big question this year is: What’s Francis going to say about women deacons?” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

How can we shift power in the Church – Talking about clericalism
“In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside. She wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help(link is external)? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.” By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review

As Child Victims Act takes effect, some seek to void settlements
“Beginning in August, people with decades-old claims of childhood sex abuse will have the rare chance to sue their alleged abusers(link is external) and the institutions who they say ignored the crime. The Child Victims Act, which passed the Legislature in January, lifts the statute of limitations for reporting childhood abuse and also creates a one-year ‘look back’ window for past claims to be brought. But hundreds who say they were abused by Catholic priests may be ineligible to pursue damages in court due to releases they signed as part of New York Archdiocese’ victims compensation program, relinquishing their rights to sue the church.” By Rachel Silberstein, Times Union

Latin American and Caribbean religious conference formalizes protocols for protection of minors
“When the Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious (CLAR) decided to form a commission geared toward the protection of minors(link is external), Sr. Nancy Negrón Ortiz was the logical choice to help lead that effort. Ortiz, a Missionary Sister of the Good Shepherd (Hermanas Misioneras del Buen Pastor), is a psychologist experienced in working with abused children and is also a member of the CLAR presidency. The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which first met in November in Bogotá, Colombia, established protocols for responding to victims who come forward that each member country’s religious conference can adapt to their own local civil laws.” By Soli Salgado, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

One pope is quite enough
“We are living in a unique moment in church history with an ex-pope, properly credited for having the courage to resign when the problems he faced became overwhelming, living within the Vatican walls. The resignation is best interpreted as Benedict XVI’s act of generosity toward the church. The graciousness Francis has displayed toward his predecessor is equally an act of generosity. Increasingly, however, Francis must also be calling on the virtue of patience(link is external) to deal with the interference of a predecessor whose retirement has gone from a promised ‘life dedicated to prayer’ to a life of backseat pontificating.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

BISHOPS

German theologians blast Benedict’s letter as ‘failed and improper’ account of abuse crisis
“A group of prominent German-speaking theologians has sharply criticized retired Pope Benedict(link is external) XVI’s recent letter on clergy sexual abuse, saying it ‘instrumentalized’ the Catholic church’s continuing crisis to rehash stale, decades-long theological disputes. In a blunt two-page letter released April 15, the theologians said the former pontiff ignored scientific research on the causes of abuse, neglected evidence of the centuries-long history of the problem, and did not speak from the perspective of victim-survivors.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

World’s largest Catholic country debates the right number of priests
“A declining proportion of Catholics and accelerated growth of Evangelical denominations in Brazil since the 1970s have frequently caused anxiety for the Catholic Church, which fears a vocations crisis from which it might not easily recover(link is external). Although the country continues to have the biggest Catholic population in the world with 123 million adherents, a supposed lack of priests could speed up a downfall. But the insufficiency of the clergy in Brazil may not be so obvious.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Look up at the altar, where are the women?
“If you had the chance to attend Holy Week services in person or via television — and I hope you did — you probably noticed the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a men’s church. The clerics — all vested — are in the sanctuary or at least up front. The rest of us are far away. Keeping the faithful at a distance was a hallmark of medieval Catholicism, so much so that St. Francis of Assisi tried to do something about it. Unable to bring the people closer to the celebration, he gave them the Gospel. His attitude, still flowering in the world, helps faithful folks assimilate the uncomfortable truth: they cannot be near the sacred. Especially women(link is external).” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Gonzaga University forming panel to address clergy sex abuse

“Four months after Gonzaga University was criticized for allowing sexually abusive priests to live on campus, GU President Thayne McCulloh announced Monday (Apr. 15) he is assembling a commission to address the abuse crisis that continues to grip the Catholic Church(link is external). In an email to faculty and staff, McCulloh said the commission will ‘identify, discuss and make recommendations’ about how the university should respond to abuse by clergy.” By Chad Sokol, The Spokane Spokesman-Review

VATICAN

New Vatican document to put evangelization ahead of doctrine
“A new ‘super dicastery’ on evangelization might be one of the most significant reforms of the governing structures of the Vatican(link is external), according to a new report. Spanish journalist Dario Menor Torres, writing for the weekly Vida Nueva, reveals several elements of the new Vatican constitution that has been in development for years. The biggest novelty in the document, called Praedicate Evangelium (‘Preach the Gospel’), will be the creation of the ‘super dicastery’ for evangelization, which will potentially be more important than the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), often called ‘The Supreme Congregation.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Vatican imposes 10-year suspension on Legionaries priest for abuse
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has banned a Legionaries of Christ priest from publicly exercising his priestly ministry for 10 years after he was convicted in Chile of sexually abusing a young girl(link is external). Irish-born Legionaries Father John O’Reilly was convicted in Chile in 2014 and sentenced to four years of ‘supervised liberty.’ When the four years was up in December, he was told to leave the country or face deportation. He moved to Rome, where he still lives, according to the Legionaries.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Two groundbreaking dialogues at the Vatican this week
This week on ‘Inside the Vatican(link is external),’ Gerard O’Connell and I update you on Cardinal Sarah’s recent comments on migrants, which strike a different tone from what we’ve come to expect from Pope Francis. We also discuss why Francis prefers to have advisors who disagree with him on some issues. Then, Gerry and I will tell you about an international human rights delegation that visited the Vatican asking for support for the decriminalization of homosexuality … Plus, we’ll take a look at what it means for the Vatican to begin a dialogue with this delegation. Our final story is about an ecumenical retreat—possibly the first of its kind—being held at the Vatican this week for the opposing political and ecclesial leaders of South Sudan.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

The Catholic Church faces a youth retention problem following sex abuse scandals
“When USC students discuss Catholicism with one another, all too often the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the sexual abuse scandal in the church(link is external). That’s what David de la Cruz has experienced during his time on the Caruso Catholic Center Student Advisory Board. ‘I think there is a lot of misunderstanding because I know that sometimes when I say that I am Catholic, the punchline eventually gets to, ‘Oh, how many pedophile priests do you know?’ said de la Cruz, a sophomore majoring in classics and informatics. ‘That is very reductionist, and a hurtful sentiment to hold.’” By Mia Speier, USC Annenberg Media

CHURCH REFORM

Three criteria to evaluate Francis’ reform of Vatican curia
“The cardinals who voted in conclave to elect Pope Francis did so hoping he would reform the scandal-plagued Vatican Curia(link is external) and make it more responsive to the concerns of the universal church. Six years later, his reform proposals are reportedly to be promulgated at the end of June, although they will probably be leaked earlier. Will they satisfy the critics of the Curia? Reforming the Vatican Curia has been a constant topic since the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965. The Curia has been accused of being inefficient, Byzantine, dictatorial, and out of touch with the needs of ordinary Catholics. On top of that, it has been plagued by financial and sexual scandals.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

New Vatican constitution will resist centralization in Rome, drafter says
“It took 29 meetings, but the pope’s ‘C-9’ council of cardinal advisers, which is now functionally more akin to a ‘C-6,’ has a new constitution for the Vatican in the form of a draft presentable to all the bishops’ conferences(link is external) around the world, the heads of the various departments of the Holy See, theologians and canonists. According to a principal drafter of that document, one core aim, reflecting the electoral mandate given Pope Francis six years ago, is to combat centralization of power in Rome.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

More Americans than ever are leaving the Catholic Church after the sex abuse scandal. Here’s why.
“On Palm Sunday, Barbara Hoover exited Brougher Chapel with a palm frond in her left hand. The 76-year-old retiree sized up the church in front of her and sighed, visibly upset. ‘I don’t know why I’m still here(link is external),’ she said, throwing her hands up. ‘I don’t know why I still go. I guess the ritual.’ In Portland, Oregon, Norma Rodriguez, 51, hustled up the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, eager to get a good seat before the service started …” By Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY

VOICES

Those abused by priests need justice, more protection from the Catholic Church, advocates say
“Recently, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill that would give survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey more opportunity to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. This is an important step in addressing the decades of clergy abuse, but for countless survivors in New Jersey, it is too little, too late(link is external).” By Justin Hoffmann and Michelle Simpson Tuegel

The Guardian view on the Catholic Church: trouble ahead
“Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before his death as if he were the messiah, pushing through adoring crowds who sang and waved palm fronds – at least that’s what the story says. By this criterion at least, Pope Francis is further from Jesus than most popes(link is external)have been. He entered Holy Week this year battered by assaults from the right wing of the American church, the Italian government, and even his immediate predecessor, the former pope Benedict XVI …” By The Guardian Editorial Board

The wrong way to ask Catholics for money amid the sex abuse crisis
“It is that time of year when a portion of Mass is dedicated to the Annual Appeal(link is external). The collection used to be called the Cardinal’s Appeal, but this is the Archdiocese of Washington, and we’ve been having some problems with our cardinals lately. Given the ongoing scandals surrounding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and outgoing Cardinal Donald Wuerl, asking Washington parishioners for money is more awkward and delicate than usual.” By Melissa Cedillo, America: The Jesuit Review

CHURCH FINANCES

Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church investigating $160K theft, pastor says
“After the recent appointment of a new pastor, a Murfreesboro Catholic church learned two former employees may have stolen nearly $160,000 from the parish(link is external). Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church alerted the congregation in April of the theft, according to a letter from Father John Sims Baker and Larry Farmer, chair of the parish finance council, obtained by The Daily News Journal.” By Brinley Hineman, Murfreesboro Daily News Journal

Priest arrested after $14,000 goes missing at his Kansas parish
“Authorities in Reno County, Kansas, say a Roman Catholic priest has been arrested after an investigation into money missing from his church(link is external). The sheriff’s office said in a news release that 51-year-old Juan Gregorio Garza-Gonzalez, of Wichita, was arrested Thursday (Apr. 9) … The release said detectives determined nearly $14,000 was missing from several locations at the church.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

General Assembly committee deals a blow to many priest abuse victims
“A General Assembly committee has modified a proposed bill so alleged victims of Catholic clergy abuse will not have a 27-month window to sue the church(link is external)regardless of their age. During an April 1 public hearing before the Judiciary Committee, people older than 48 who say they were sexually assaulted by priests urged the committee to support a provision in Senate Bill 3 that would have allowed them to sue the church after that age, which is the current law.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

Governor signs law expanding stature of limitations for sexual assault prosecutions
“The statute of limitations on rape was limiting justice for rape survivors. That’s now changed, but it’s taken five years of painful work. As Governor Inslee singed the new law today, Dinah Griffey stood with her husband Dan. He’s one of the lead sponsors. Later she said it sends a powerful message of support to survivors, that they are believed(link is external) … And it eliminates the statute of limitations for child rape.” By Essex Porter, KIRO-TV7 News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Archdiocese shares expertise on healing from clergy abuse
“Groups discussing best practices for legal and pastoral approaches to the national clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external) are reaching out to officials with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Organizations seeking their faith-filled expertise, perspective and experience recently included an April 9 panel discussion at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on the role of civil law and the action of lawyers in hiding and uncovering the abuse crisis.” By The Catholic Spirit of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

How Catholic Church used treatment centers to protect priests accused of child abuse
“In 1995, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned an internal church study on child abuse(link is external). The two-volume study surveyed bishops in more than 100 dioceses nationwide about their use of treatment centers to assess and care for priests believed to be sexually abusing children. The result: 87% of bishops (127 out of 145 dioceses surveyed) reported using treatment centers for clergy accused of child abuse.” By Ian Nawalinski, WHYY, Philadelphia National Public Radio

ARIZONA

Phoenix Diocese still trying to right the wrongs of decades of coverup
“With the #MeToo movement sparking a social awakening, empowering more victims to seek help and justice the Phoenix Catholic Diocese is still trying to right the wrongs of decades of secrecy and cover-up(link is external) as they investigate new allegations. Mary O’Day sent a letter to the Pope in October 2017 detailing claims of being sexually abused in her parish as a child, saying nuns were involved.” By Nicole Crites, 3TV Phoenix on AZFamily.com

CALIFORNIA

Diocese says it will add names to accused list if contacted by victims, survivors
“The Diocese of Stockton said Friday (Apr. 19) that it will not add any new names to its list of ‘credibly accused’ unless(link is external) it is contacted by victims and survivors. The diocese’s statement comes after the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests came to Stockton on Tuesday (Apr. 16) to urge the organization to add an additional seven names of clergymen who spent parts of their careers in the area and have been publicly accused of abuse in other regions to its list of ‘credible accused.’” By Wes Bowers, Stockton Record

Teen molested by Catholic school teacher gets record $8 million from L.A. archdiocese
“For more than a year, some at San Gabriel Mission High School had expressed concerns about Juan Ivan Barajas. Officials received reports about suspicious behavior between the athletic director and students at the all-girls campus … Still, Barajas continued to oversee the office he used repeatedly to molest a 15-year-old(link is external). The Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently agreed to pay a record $8-million settlement to the victim, now 18. It is the largest individual settlement by the local church in a sex abuse case.” By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Livermore priest accused of sexual assault held prior accusations
“A Catholic priest accused of sexual assault(link is external) in the East Bay also has some serious allegations from his past. A young former seminarian who does not want to be identified says he was sexually assaulted by a priest he considered a mentor, Father Michael Van Dinh. He says it happened inside the rectory of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Livermore where he says Van Dinh lured him with the promise of helping him find a job.” By WPIX-TV5 News

LOUISIANA

Accused priest’s records show effort by church to conceal scandal
“When the Diocese of Lafayette released its list of accused priests last week, 11 of the 37 members of clergy had never been publicly accused(link is external). Among them is the Rev. John de Leeuw, who made arrangements to defend himself in death. Shortly after publishing the church’s list, KATC was contacted by a friend of de Leeuw, who shared with us more than 100 pages of documents the late priest kept about his case.” By Jim Hummel, KATC-TV3 News

33 priests, four deacons accused of sex abuse in Catholic Diocese of Lafayette
“The Roman Catholic diocese in Louisiana where the first widely reported case of U.S. clergy sex abuse became public in the 1980s has released a list of 33 priests and four deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external) or vulnerable adult. Lafayette Bishop Douglas Deshotels’ list identifies three priests who were convicted or pleaded guilty but does not indicate where any of the 37 was accused, let alone give details of the accusations.” By Associated Press on NOLA.com

Louisiana bishop celebrates special Way of the Cross to ‘heal this wound’ of abuse
“Where there is darkness, light shines; where there is despair, hope. Bishop Michael G. Duca celebrated a special Way of the Cross for reparation for the sin of sexual abuse within the church(link is external) April 5 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, offering grace to survivors and asking the church to accompany them on their journey of healing. ‘(Praying the Way of the Cross) was important because we need to heal this wound in the church in many different ways.’ The bishop said.” By Catholic News Service in The Catholic Sun

Diocese of Lake Charles releases list of credibly accused clergy
“The Diocese of Lake Charles has released a list of clergy against whom they have found credible accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor(link is external). The list contains the names of a dozen people, eleven of whom were priests. One was a religious called a brother. Of the priests, eight are dead. The others include Mark Broussard who is in prison serving two life sentences plus fifty years for sexually abusing children.” By Hannah Daigle and Theresa Schmidt, KPLC-TV7 News

MARYLAND

Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore has added the names of 23 deceased priests and religious brothers to its online database of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse(link is external), signaling a revision in policy on dealing with cases that come to the diocese’s attention only after an accused individual has died. The change is part of an ongoing effort by the diocese to enhance openness when it comes to the issue of child sexual abuse in the church, said Archbishop William E. Lori, leader of the area’s half-million Catholics.” By Jonathan M. Pitts, The Baltimore Sun

MISSOURI

Judge denies lower bond for ex-priest accused of abuse
“A St. Louis County judge on Monday (Apr. 22) refused to lower bail for a former Catholic priest who was previously imprisoned and labeled sexually violent(link is external). Fred Lenczycki, 74, of suburban Chicago, was charged in February with two counts of sodomy for allegedly abusing two boys in the early 1990s at a north St. Louis County parish. He is jailed on $500,000 cash-only bond but was seeking an unspecified reduction.” By Jim Salter, Associated Press, on FoxNews.com

NEVADA

Diocese IDs clerics, volunteer accused of sexual misconduct
“The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list Friday of 27 priests and six others who served in the Las Vegas Valley and had been ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct with a minor(link is external). The announcement came a week after the Catholic Diocese of Reno named 12 ‘credibly accused’ priests, eight of whom at some point had served in the Las Vegas area. All of those priests also were included in the Las Vegas list.” By Rachel Crosby, Las Vegas Review-Journal

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey sting: Cop, minister among 16 charged with trying to lure children for sex
“Police in a three-state sting operation said they caught 16 people, including a cop and a minister, using chat apps to lure children for sex(link is external). In a news conference Wednesday (Apr. 24) morning, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that ‘Operation Home Alone’ had nabbed the alleged child predators from across the region. Half of the men accused are from New Jersey, seven are from New York and one is from Pennsylvania.” By Anthony Zurita, North Jersey Record

Vatican formally removes former Diocese of Metuchen priest from priesthood
“Mark Dolak, identified on the list of names of credibly accused clergy released by the Diocese of Metuchen, has now been permanently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican(link is external). The announcement was made in a news release posted Friday (Apr. 19) to the diocese’s website. Dolak, 66, had his priestly duties removed by the diocese more than two decades ago after he had multiple accusations of child sexual abuse made against him.” By Mike Deak, Bridgewater Courier News

New Jersey clergy sexual abuse victims say church compensation program isn’t enough
“Nearly 50 years after the first attack occurred, Todd Kostrub finds it easier to talk about the sexual abuse he said he endured at the hands of a Franciscan clergyman, but the pain never goes away. Yet, when Kostrub heard New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses created an independent victim compensation program for victims of child sexual abuse, he was initially optimistic — until he learned(link is external) that he was excluded from making a claim because the man was a brother of a religious order, not a diocesan priest.” By Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News

NEW MEXICO

Priest abuse survivors, advocates laud Perrault conviction
“The verdict issued Wednesday (Apr. 10) against former Roman Catholic priest Arthur Perrault marked the first time a jury in New Mexico has found a member of the clergy guilty of sex crimes against children(link is external). Legal experts and victims’ advocates say Perrault’s conviction could mark a new era in how prosecutors try such cases. While hundreds of civil cases alleging child sexual abuse have been brought against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe over the past several decades, those lawsuits largely have been settled out of court for undisclosed sums, and rarely have priests faced criminal investigations.” By Rebecca Moss, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Diocese of Buffalo puts three priests on temporary leave of absence
“The Diocese of Buffalo has placed three priests on temporary leave of absence(link is external)following an incident at Saints Peter & Paul Parish Rectory in Hamburg. According to the diocese, ‘unsuitable, inappropriate and insensitive conversations’ took place during a social gathering of seminarians and priests on April 11 that some seminarians found to be offensive.” By WKBW-TV7 News

Buffalo priest who advised U.S. presidents about youth was alleged child molester
“Monsignor Joseph E. Schieder advised Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy on youth issues. In the 1950s and ’60s, he was arguably Buffalo’s most renowned Catholic priest, writing books on youth and their concerns and regularly traveling the country and abroad to speak at youth conferences … But behind his accomplishments, Schieder hid a dark secret(link is external). The secret wasn’t revealed until 2018 – more than two decades after Schieder’s death at age 87 – when his name was included on a Buffalo Diocese list of priests with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against them.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Catholic diocese agrees to changes in handling of sex abuse cases
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Movement to Restore Trust have formed a Joint Implementation Team, facilitated by Leadership Roundtable, to address the clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external). Among the first orders of business was to agree to changes in how the diocese handles abuse cases. Bishop Richard Malone said the team held its first meeting on April 11 and quickly reached agreement on the following initiatives …” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM, Buffalo National Public Radio

Priest in Manorhaven steps aside after abuse allegation
“A parish priest in Manorhaven has stepped down while law enforcement authorities investigate an allegation that he sexually abused a minor(link is external) more than 40 years ago when he served in Suffolk County, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and officials said Monday (Apr. 16). The Rev. Steven J. Peterson, 71, has been serving as pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in the village of Manorhaven. Diocese officials announced the move Sunday during Masses at the church, parishioners said.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Leaked diocese document reveals names of more accused priests
“The names of an additional 27 Catholic priests accused of misconduct emerged this week in leaked Buffalo Diocese(link is external) documents showing that a review board examined allegations against the priests. A copy of the June 27 meeting agenda of the Diocesan Review Board included the names of nearly 100 priests. Bishop Richard J. Malone in 2018 publicly identified most of the priests as having been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. But Malone has remained silent on 27 of those priests, including a former superintendent of Catholic schools, Monsignor Ted Berg, and a former high-ranking diocesan administrator, Monsignor Albert Rung.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

‘It’s their word against his’: Priest accused of sexually abusing boys goes to court
“Their stories are strikingly similar, recorded three months apart by a Dauphin County detective. They have names, but they’re known now as Victim 1 and Victim 2. Both men say John G. Allen sexually abused them(link is external) from 1997 to 2002 while they were altar boys at St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg. Allen, a 75-year-old defrocked priest who lives in York County, molested them in the rectory and the area where altar boys and priests put on their robes for mass, according to Detective John O’Connor.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

Allentown Diocese opens its new compensation fund to victims of priest sex abuse
“The Allentown Diocese on Tuesday (Apr. 23) announced the opening of a five-month window for people who suffered abuse by clergy to file claims for compensation(link is external). In addition to packets of information being sent by overnight courier to more than 100 people who have already reported their abuse to the diocese, a Washington, D.C., law firm specializing in administering victim compensation funds has a call center and website ready for those who may have waited to come forward.” By Peter Hall, The Morning Call

Pennsylvania House committees advance more grand jury recommendations on Catholic clergy abuse
“House committees advanced legislation Monday (Apr. 16) that addresses recommendations from last year’s grand jury report on hundreds of ‘predator’ Catholic priests(link is external), less than a week after the full chamber gave the OK to a civil window for older sex abuse victims. Without any dissenting votes, the House Children & Youth Committee advanced a bill to increase penalties for failing to report child abuse, while the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that affirms the right of child abuse victims to break non-disclosure agreements to cooperate with law enforcement.” By Stephen Caruso, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

TEXAS

Accused bishops must be held accountable
“It is important to publicize names of credibly accused priests(link is external) who were in San Antonio, even if their alleged abuses took place in other regions. Although no claims of abuse were made locally, it is naïve to conclude there were no incidents. Statistics show that 1 in 10 victims of sexual abuse will report their abuse, and studies confirm that most sex offenders have more than one victim.” By Patti Koo, for the San Antonio Express News

WEST VIRGINIA

Ceremony, panel discussion aims to address child sex abuse
“While some conversations are uncomfortable, many find that discussing sexual abuse, especially of a child, is among the hardest topics to handle(link is external). But for Tom Stollings, one of the father’s involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit against a local Mormon church, bringing this commonly regarded ‘dark’ topic into the light has become his life’s passion.” By Breanna Francis, The Journal

Transparency on sex abuse requires more than just clerics
“While Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori and the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (DWC) invoke ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ regularly regarding clerical sex abuse, they struggle to put these concepts into action(link is external). Disconnects between Lori and DWC higher-ups versus our secular authorities and West Virginia Catholics seem almost insurmountable, as Catholic leaders continue evading actual transparency, accountability and too many significant questions.” By Vincent DeGeorge, Charleston Gazette-Mail

AUSTRALIA

Catholic priest charged over alleged child sex abuse at NSW school
“A Catholic priest has been charged in Sydney for alleged sex abuse against multiple children(link is external) at a Southern Highlands boarding school during the 1980s. Police say that Father Anthony Caruana, 77, indecently assaulted five children aged 12 to 15 when he was a dormitory manager, rugby coach and band teacher at Chevalier College.” By Megan Gorrey and Sally Rawsthorne, Sydney Morning Herald

Principal knew about alledged sex abuse 35 years before teacher was convicted, letter reveals
“Senior staff at a Catholic school in Tasmania, including the then principal and his boss, were aware of allegations a teacher was sexually abusing multiple children(link is external) as far back as 1971, and sought to move the teacher to a different parish, a letter obtained by the ABC reveals. The teacher, Greg Ferguson, was convicted of historical child sex offences against two students in 2007 relating to his time at Burnie’s Marist College in the early 1970s.” By Henry Zwartz, ABC News Australia

BRAZIL

Brazil bishops issue handbook on dealing with clergy sex abuse
“After securing approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Brazilian Conference of National Bishops (BCNB), responsible for the single largest Catholic country in the world, has adopted a new handbook containing measures dioceses must take to deal with sex abuse cases(link is external). Published in March, the document is part of a broad effort by the Brazilian Church to deal with the growing social concerns over the sexual abuse of minors.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, Cruxnow.com

FRANCE

French Catholics raise voices, demand measures to prevent further clergy sex abuse
“How could this happen? This question is the most common reaction in France after a well-documented public television program showed that many nuns had been sexually abused by priests(link is external) for more than 20 years in France. Not only did the nuns not talk about it for years, but people who knew did nothing to denounce the predators.” By Elisabeth Auvillain, Globe Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

GUAM

People of faith reflect on the Catholic Church at a crossroads
“Johnny S. Villagomez said he’s lost trust in the Catholic priests who have been named in clergy sex abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Agana. But he hasn’t lost faith in God and the Catholic Church(link is external). ‘Who else is going to take care of the church if not us, the believers?’ Villagomez said, after he and his wife, Linda, attended Palm Sunday Mass. On Guam and across the nation, the Catholic Church is at a crossroads.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Church wants 80-plus clergy sex abuse cases moved from local to federal court
“The Archdiocese of Agana seeks the transfer of more than 80 clergy sex abuse cases from local court to federal court(link is external) which it says has jurisdiction over the archdiocese’s reorganization bankruptcy filing. Attorneys for the archdiocese filed notices of removal over the last few days, citing a provision in the U.S. Code that authorizes the removal of claims or causes of action in a civil action that are ‘related to’ bankruptcy cases.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Despite scandal, St. Thomas Christians in Kerala are staying with church
“On a hot Sunday morning as high Mass let out at St. Thomas Kottakavu Church, Niya Francis, 24, found her shoes among a sea of sandals left outside the church doorway and joined her fellow catechism teachers as they headed to class in a small building next door. Teaching her faith has been something Francis has wanted to do as soon as she was old enough to command a classroom … While Syro-Malabar Catholics number just 5.1 million out of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide, in Kerala, Syro-Malabar Catholics make up the majority of Christians(link is external). In a country that’s predominantly Hindu, Kochi stands out with a near 40 percent Christian population.” By Denise Chen, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter

India Cardinal mounts strong defense of ‘zero tolerance’ on abuse
“Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, a member of Pope Francis’s council of cardinals which advises him on Vatican reform and one of four figures tapped to organize a recent summit on the fight against clerical sexual abuse, says Catholic parents have the right to know the Church is genuinely committed to ‘zero tolerance(link is external).’ By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Northern Ireland abuse survivors lose compensation case
“Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley’s ongoing failure to compensate victims of historical abuse(link is external) in the absence of a Stormont executive is not unlawful, a High Court judge in Belfast has ruled. An abuse survivor failed in his bid to compel Mrs Bradley to implement stalled redress mechanisms for victims and call an Assembly election. But Judge Bernard McCloskey opened the door for a further potential challenge if Mrs Bradley does not act on draft legislation on the compensation scheme that has been developed by Stormont civil servants.” By The Irish Times

PHILIPPINES

Ending impunity for child abuse
“Help a child being abused and report the crime to civil authorities. In an article published in the January 2019 issue of the ‘World Mission’ magazine, Fr. Shay Cullen of the Preda Foundation wrote that, ‘Every one of us has a solemn duty and responsibility to stop (child abuse)(link is external).’ Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban co-founded the People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (Preda) Foundation, an Olongapo City organization promoting and protecting the rights of women and children.” By Cebu Sun Star Editorial Board

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment