Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse scandal

Vatican abuse summit focuses on how Catholic bishops can police one another / National Catholic Reporter

(Cardinal Blase) Cupich (Archbishop of Chicago) began his own talk by outlining four broad principles under which the church should act in regards to abuse, underscoring in particular the need to listen to victims and to incorporate lay people “into every effort to identify and construct structures of accountability.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Presentations during the second day of Pope Francis’ highly anticipated global summit on clergy sexual abuse focused widely on how Catholic bishops should police one another for signs of questionable conduct, while also making room for the'”essential role’ of laypeople in rooting out abuse.

“Although the main speeches from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on Feb. 22 mentioned various issues facing the global Catholic Church in confronting the abuse crisis, they both stressed a desire for prelates to watch over each other.

“Gracias, the first of the day to address the first of its kind summit, asked the 190 cardinals, bishops and heads of religious orders taking part at one point: ‘Do we really engage in an open conversation and point out honestly to our brother bishops or priests when we notice problematic behavior in them?’

“The cardinal then said the prelates need to better develop a culture of ‘correctio fraterna,’ which recognizes criticism ‘as an opportunity to better fulfill our tasks.’

Cupich began his own talk by outlining four broad principles under which the church should act in regards to abuse, underscoring in particular the need to listen to victims and to incorporate lay people ‘into every effort to identify and construct structures of accountability.'”

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

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Pope presents participants at Vatican bishops’ clergy abuse summit a ‘road map’ for discussion

On the opening day, Feb. 21, of the Vatican’s bishops’ summit on clergy sexual abuse and protection of children in the Church, Pope Francis presented 21 ‘reflection points.’ “They are a road map for our discussion,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator, said at a news conference, according to The New York Times. The reflection points were written by various commissions and episcopal conferences. They are:

1.) To prepare a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.

2.) To equip oneself with listening structures that include trained and expert people who can initially discern the cases of the alleged victims.

3.) Establish the criteria for the direct involvement of the Bishop or of the Religious Superior.

4.) Implement shared procedures for the examination of the charges, the protection of the victims and the right of defense of the accused.

5.) Inform the civil authorities and the higher ecclesiastical authorities in compliance with civil and canonical norms.

6.) Make a periodic review of protocols and norms to safeguard a protected environment for minors in all pastoral structures: protocols and norms based on the integrated principles of justice and charity so that the action of the Church in this matter is in conformity with her mission.

7.) Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against Bishops.

8.) Accompany, protect and treat victims, offering them all the necessary support for a complete recovery.

9.) Increase awareness of the causes and consequences of sexual abuse through ongoing formation initiatives of Bishops, Religious Superiors, clerics and pastoral workers.

10.) Prepare pathways of pastoral care for communities injured by abuses and penitential and recovery routes for the perpetrators.

11.) To consolidate the collaboration with all people of good will and with the operators of mass media in order to recognize and discern real cases from false ones and accusations of slander, avoiding rancor and insinuations, rumors and defamation (cf. Pope Francis’ address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2018).

12.) To raise the minimum age for marriage to sixteen years.

13.) Establish provisions that regulate and facilitate the participation of lay experts in investigations and in the different degrees of judgment of canonical processes concerning sexual and / or power abuse.

14.) The right to defense: the principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the lists of the accused being published, even by the dioceses, before the preliminary investigation and the definitive condemnation.

15.) Observe the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed. To decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave the public ministry.

16.) Introduce rules concerning seminarians and candidates for the priesthood or religious life. Be sure that there are programs of initial and ongoing formation to help them develop their human, spiritual and psychosexual maturity, as well as their interpersonal relationships and their behavior.

17.) Be sure to have psychological evaluations by qualified and accredited experts for candidates for the priesthood and consecrated life.

18.) Establish norms governing the transfer of a seminarian or religious aspirant from one seminary to another; as well as a priest or religious from one diocese or congregation to another.

19.) Formulate mandatory codes of conduct for all clerics, religious, service personnel and volunteers to outline appropriate boundaries in personal relationships. Be specific about the necessary requirements for staff and volunteers and check their criminal record.

20.) Explain all information and data on the dangers of abuse and its effects, how to recognize signs of abuse and how to report suspected sexual abuse. All this must take place in collaboration with parents, teachers, professionals and civil authorities.

21.) Where it has not yet been in place, establish a group easily accessible for victims who want to report any crimes. Such an organization should have a certain autonomy with respect to the local ecclesiastical authority and include expert persons (clerics and laity) who know how to express the Church’s attention to those who have been offended by improper attitudes on the part of clerics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will Vatican Bishops’ Summit Be Turning Point for Clergy Abuse Crisis?

Voice of the Faithful awaits action from bishops worldwide gathering at the Vatican Feb. 21-24 to discuss solutions to the evil of clergy sexual abuse in the Church. We’ve been here before and, once again, hope that Church leaders will find ways to turn the corner on this crisis, become truly transparent and accountable, and offer healing for the entire Body of Christ. We trust our hope is not in vain, but experience tempers our expectations.

At least this time, the Vatican is attempting a degree of transparency:
  • A website, pbc2019.org, that contains information about the summit, with video commentaries and links to resources;
  • Multiple daily briefings for worldwide news media covering the event;
  • Livestreaming of parts of the summit from the Vatican News website, vaticannews.va (watch that website for more information).

The bishops’ posturing notwithstanding, we will judge them sincere only by their actions. Last November, before U.S. bishops met for their fall general assembly, Voice of the Faithful listed several specific actions expected of bishops. Click here to read them.

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Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained / Associated Press

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, one of the summit organizers, said the sexual abuse of adults needs to be addressed. But he said the four-day summit must remain focused on its original intent. “Young people, minors don’t have a voice. They are kept in silence,” he said. “This is about making sure their voice is heard.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up.

“The meeting opening Thursday (Feb. 21) comes at a critical time for the church and Francis’ papacy, following the explosion of the scandal in Chile last year and renewed outrage in the United States over decades of cover-up that were exposed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“Here is a look at what’s in store for the summit …”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Theology, history, canon law may figure in lay role in addressing crisis / Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

Reform is a constant in church history, he (Carlos Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University) added, because “corruption is a constant in human history.” (Catholic News Service on CatholicPhill.com)

 A panel of academics at a Feb. 6 conference on the clergy sex abuse crisis noted that the current crisis is not the first scandal to confront the church, and that the church has had trouble putting those scandals to rest.

“The clergy has had ‘the power to correct themselves,’ said Carlos Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University, ‘but throughout all of this time, that power has been used very unevenly and ineffectively.’ Reform is a constant in church history, he added, because ‘corruption is a constant in human history.’

“Eire was one of three panelists at the second in a series of programs called ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The Feb. 6 program was subtitled ‘The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis: Theological and Historical Foundations.’ It was sponsored by the university’s Institute of Human Ecology.”

By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com — Read more …

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