Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


August 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

Flurry of suits emerge as New York opens door to old abuse claims
“It was the early 1950s and Peter Vajda was a little boy attending a Catholic boarding school in the Bronx when he says a religious brother molested him. The brother is likely long dead, but the church survives. Just after midnight Wednesday (Aug. 14) morning, Vajda, now 75, filed a civil lawsuit naming the Archdiocese of New York as a defendant. Justice, he says, may have been delayed but he won’t let it be denied(link is external). ‘Now it’s their turn. Now it’s their time,’ he told The Associated Press Monday (Aug. 12). ‘And I want them to get everything they deserve in the way of punishment.’” By David Klepper, Associated Press

Unmarked buildings, quiet help for accused priests
“Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in this tiny Midwestern town as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. Neighbors had no idea some of the dressed-down clergymen dining at local restaurants might have been accused sexual predators. They had been brought to town by a small, nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii. For nearly two decades, the group has operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country(link is external).” By Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Garance Burke, Associated Press

Clergy abused an entire generation in this village. With new traumas, justice remains elusive.
“The two brothers sat a few houses apart, each tending to his own anger. Justice is slow in Alaska villages, they have learned. Sometimes it never arrives. Chuck Lockwood, 69, grew up in this Yup’ik Eskimo village of 400 along the Norton Sound coast but left as a child for boarding school. His rage is fresh … He was among an entire generation of children, now mostly in their 50s and 60s, who survived years of sexual abuse by Jesuit priests(link is external) and Catholic church personnel shipped to the village of St. Michael. His wife was abused too.” By Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News

Catholic charities tested by abuse scandal, border crisis
“For U.S. charities affiliated with the Catholic Church, the past year has tested the resilience of their fundraisers and the loyalty of their donors in unprecedented fashion. Even as many donors reacted in dismay to the Church’s extensive sex-abuse scandals(link is external), the charities faced new challenges trying to address the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. For the agencies with the most donors, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, it’s too early to gauge the overall financial impact of sex-abuse developments last year.” By David Crary, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Chicago Tribune investigation reveals financial burdens of Chicago Catholic churches
“Dozens of Catholic churches and schools in Chicago have closed. NPR’s Noel King talks to David Heinzmann of the Chicago Tribune about his story examining the archdiocese’s accounting practices(link is external).” By Morning Edition on National Public Radio

Guam’s Catholics reckon with decades of ‘horrific’ abuse
“For decades, (Archbishop Anthony) Apuron oversaw a culture of impunity where abusers went unpunished(link is external). Long after it erupted into scandal on the mainland, clergy sexual abuse remained a secret on Guam. On this island where four out of five people are Catholic, the abusers held the power. Now, thousands of pages of court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, along with extensive interviews, tell a story of systemic abuse dating from the 1950s to as recently as 2013. They show a pattern of repeated collusion by predator priests, with abuse that spanned generations and reached all the way to the very top of the church hierarchy.” By Michael Biesecker, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

How D.C. Catholics are leading the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal
“This week (Aug. 14) marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed the alleged crimes of hundreds of priests over seven decades and brought the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church back into the national spotlight … In the wake of last summer’s news, my parish, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., embarked on a ‘Season of Discernment.’(link is external) We asked: How could a local parish help heal serious wounds—especially wounds of trust born of the scandal—for survivors and their families as well as the broader community of lay faithful? How might we avoid getting stuck in the status quo and move forward to enact meaningful change?” By Kathleen Coogan, Pastoral Council, Holy Trinity Parish, Washington, D.C. She will be part of a panel discussion local responses to clergy abuse during Voice of the Faithful’s 2019 Conference in Boston Oct. 10. Click here for information and registration.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Catholic dioceses launch independent system to report misconduct by bishops
“The Dioceses of the Boston Province have launched a third party, independent system to report abuse by Catholic bishops(link is external), according to a statement released Wednesday ( Aug. 14) … With the understanding that the implementation of the national system is months away, the bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent website. The Province includes the Archdiocese of Boston, Diocese of Fall River, Diocese of Worcester, Diocese of Springfield, Diocese of Burlington (Vt.), Diocese of Manchester (N.H.) and the Diocese of Portland (Maine).” By South Coast Today

They normalized a culture of child rape and then asked us to sigh away our rights
“If the Catholic Church had offered me any amount of money in 2007 when I reported the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I would not be writing this. I was a 36-year-old active alcoholic struggling to make ends meet and ruining relationships with the people I loved. My abuse came from a pedophile priest named Thomas Smith(link is external) who cast 13-year olds in a Passion Play he directed every year at my grade school. It was his way of satisfying his “depraved and sadistic” sexual desires, as documented in the 423-page Grand Jury Report from 2005 covering abuses in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I played Jesus.” By Jay Sefton, PennLive.com

Justice late, not denied: New York to allow old abuse suits
“Hundreds, possibly thousands of people who say they were molested as children in New York state are expected to go to court this week(link is external) (Aug. 11) to sue their alleged abusers and the institutions they say failed them, including the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, public schools and hospitals. It’s all because of a landmark state law passed this year that creates a one-year window allowing people to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state’s statute of limitations, one of the nation’s most restrictive, that had prevented many victims from seeking justice for decades-old abuse.” By David Klepper, Associated Press

Secrets, abuse can thrive under cover of non-disclosure agreements
“Numerous lawyers argue that nondisclosure agreements do not belong in government, raising concerns about perpetuating inappropriate conduct and a lack of transparency. ‘Nondisclosure agreements help sexual abuse to continue(link is external),’ said Boston-based attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented victims in clergy sexual abuse cases. ‘The abuser can continue to abuse, and the public is not made aware of an existing safety concern. It is shocking to think the government would favor secrecy over transparency in such situations.’ By Mary Markos, Boston Herald

McCARRICK CASE

Ex-cardinal letters show signs of grooming victims for abuse
“At first glance, the handwritten postcards and letters look innocuous, even warm, sometimes signed off by ‘Uncle T.’ or ‘Your uncle, Father Ted.’ But taken in context, the correspondence penned by disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to the young men he is accused of sexually abusing or harassing is a window into the way a predator grooms his prey(link is external), according to two abuse prevention experts who reviewed it for The Associated Press. Full of flattery, familiarity and boasts about his own power, the letters provide visceral evidence of how a globe-trotting bishop made young, vulnerable men feel special – and then allegedly took advantage of them.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

In letter, Pope Francis encourages priests dejected by abuse crisis
“Pope Francis acknowledged the shame and frustration felt by priests who are discouraged by the actions of fellow clergy members who betrayed the trust of their flock through sexual abuse and abuse of conscience and power(link is external). In a letter addressed to priests around the world Aug. 4, the pope said that many priests have spoken or written to him expressing ‘their outrage at what happened’ and the doubts and fears the sexual abuse crisis has caused.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis names vice director of Holy See press office
“Pope Francis Thursday (Jul. 25) appointed Cristiane Murray as vice director of the Holy See Press Office(link is external). Murray, 57, has worked for Vatican Radio for more than 25 years, where she provided live commentary on papal events and international trips.” By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency

On prevention of child abuse, Pope Francis points to St. John Bosco’s example
“In an unscripted video message that appears to have been recorded on a cell phone, Pope Francis spoke of the need for an ‘apostolate of prevention’ to protect minors from abuse(link is external). ‘Prevention. Prevention. Because you never know where a child will be abused, where the child will be misled, where someone will teach him to smoke drugs, a form of corruption. Let us not think that only sexual abuse is the only type of abuse. Any type of corruption is an abuse of a child,’ Pope Francis said in Spanish in a YouTube video published on July 18 by the Pontifical University of Mexico.” By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency

BISHOPS

Argentine bishop tapped by pope for Vatican job faces abuse trial
“Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a prelate from Pope Francis’s native country whom the pontiff brought to Rome and gave a Vatican job in 2017 and who’s now facing charges of sexually abusing seminarians, is expected to appear in court in the diocese he once led on Thursday (Aug. 8). Zanchetta has been formally accused of ‘aggravated continuous sexual abuse’ of two young men(link is external), and a judge previously ordered him to remain in Argentina and stay away from the alleged victims and their families. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Auxiliary bishop did not disclose Cincinnati priest accusations
“An auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and member of the USCCB committee on child protection, is facing accusations that he failed to report(link is external) to Cincinnati’s archbishop a series of allegations that a priest had engaged in inappropriate behavior with teenage boys. After CNA presented its investigation to the archdiocese, a spokesperson said that Bishop Joseph R. Binzer would be removed from his position as head of priest personnel, effective immediately, while the archdiocese begins its own internal investigation.” By Ed Condon, Catholic New Agency

PRIESTS

Tackle clericalism first when attempting priesthood reform
“If the priesthood is to be reformed, we must tackle the disease of clericalism(link is external). It won’t be easy. Clericalism is so deeply ingrained in our structures and way of thinking that we almost can’t imagine how things could be otherwise. In his 2018 ‘Letter to the People of God,’ Pope Francis condemned the sins of sexual abuse and the abuse of power in the church. He linked those sins to clericalism. ‘To say no to abuse is to say an emphatic no to all forms of clericalism.’ What is clericalism? The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests put out a white paper on clericalism in June 2019. It defines clericalism is ‘an expectation, leading to abuses of power, that ordained ministers are better than and should be over everyone else among the People of God.’” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Francis urges priests to be faithful in time of ‘ecclesial purification
“Pope Francis published a letter Sunday (Aug. 4) to encourage all priests to remain steadfast and prayerful during this time of purification after revelations of abuse by some priests(link is external), so that there may be a renewal of holiness in the priesthood. ‘I am convinced that, to the extent that we remain faithful to God’s will, these present times of ecclesial purification will make us more joyful and humble, and prove, in the not distant future, very fruitful,’ the pope wrote in a letter published Aug. 4.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Assembling the people of God like LCWR
Imagine an annual gathering called an ‘assembly.’ Not a ‘meeting’ or a ‘convention’(link is external): Those words at root mean no more than ‘to come into the same place.’ Instead, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious gathers each August for an ‘assembly.’ Think of assembling the pieces of a puzzle, connecting pieces into a whole that gives greater meaning to every part and creates new beauty in the world … Ever since I became aware of LCWR assemblies in 2012, I’ve been fascinated and frankly awed at what I witness in my reading and following online and watching videos.” By Betty D. Thompson, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LCWR to examine: What does it mean to be a leader at this moment in time
“Leadership in a global community requires seeing the connections between what might otherwise seem like disparate subjects, such as racism and climate change. Likewise, it would be easy to look at the schedule for LCWR’s upcoming assembly and see it as a collection of random parts … ‘We’re trying to be faithful to the question of what does God need from religious life(link is external) at this moment in time,’ (St. Joseph Sister Carol) Zinn said.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Look for lay involvement that transcends the ideological divide
“Are you a lay Catholic? It’s time we talked. Good news. There’s agreement now conceded across the church: We have a right and an obligation to be involved in matters of church governance. No one, at least publicly, relegates us to pay, pray and obey. We are supposed to step up. But what should that lay involvement be(link is external)?” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

U.S. priest to receive reports of abuse, cover-up at Vatican City State
“Vatican City State will have its own reporting system in place before the end of the year for flagging suspected cases of the abuse of minors and vulnerable people and instances of cover-up or negligence(link is external) in handling such cases, the Vatican said. In the meantime, U.S. Msgr. Robert Oliver was appointed to be the contact person for people with information or concerns about potential cases of abuse and cover-up within the Vicariate of Vatican City State, the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported July 30.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

CLERICALISM

Clergy and laypeople collaborate to confront clericalism
“Pope Francis condemns clericalism, repeatedly. Catholic commentators decry it. Theologians and church historians examine its roots. Now, in a significant collaboration, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful have examined the ways clericalism emerges from the clerical culture, generating complex problems facing the Roman Catholic Church today, and they suggest ways to combat it.” By Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

At Benincasa community, a new model for a religious life unfolds
“Much has been written about the Nuns and Nones project in the past year, both in our own pages and in the national media. The movement has the very good intention of connecting millennials with limited or no ties to religion with women religious to share their mutual passions for social justice and community life. But not all Catholic millennials are ‘nones,’ and, contrary to prevailing opinions, not all faithful Catholic millennials are conservative(link is external).” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Burke is a living symbol of a failed version of church
“Catholics, especially those of a traditional bent, love and understand symbols. Someone as traditionalist and as media-savvy as Timothy Busch has to understand that whatever else was said during his Napa Institute’s sprawling conference at the end of July, the most visible symbol was Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken critics of Pope Francis(link is external). The five-day conference in Napa, California, at the posh Meritage Resort and Spa, one of Busch’s holdings, was transparently partisan and tilted, episcopally and theologically, to the far right.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Large number of Dutch churches to close in near future
“If some fifty years ago you happened to find yourself in one of the small villages in the Dutch countryside, you could hardly get lost. The only thing you needed to do was look up, find the church tower and you would always find your way back. Because the church – literally – was at the heart of the village … But if you speak to the villagers, you quickly notice that many of their communities have changed rapidly over the past decade. No longer is the church the central meeting place of the community(link is external).” By Michiel van de Kamp, Katholiek Nieuwsblad, on Cruxnow.com

VOICES

Editorial: Movement to Restore Trust delivers a worthy action plan for diocese
“The New York State Child Victims Act goes into effect this month, opening the door for victims of child sex abuse to file lawsuits against those responsible for their pain. The Catholic Church, including the Buffalo Diocese, will be one of the prominent institutions forced to reckon with crimes committed in its past. At a time of such vulnerability, the diocese is fortunate to have the counsel and support of the Movement to Restore Trust(link is external), the group of local Catholic laity that recently issued its report proposing reforms for the diocese.” By Buffalo News Editorial Board

CHURCH FINANCES

Pope approves new statutes for Vatican Bank
“Pope Francis approved new statutes for the Institute for the Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, that include structural changes and a mandatory external audit(link is external). The renewed statutes, which were approved by the pope ‘ad experimentum’ (on a trial basis) for two years, were published by the Vatican press office Aug. 10. In a document signed by the pope Aug. 8, the pope emphasized the changes were to reinforce the Vatican bank’s intended mission to manage assets for ‘the works of religion or charity.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Giving by Catholics suffering from abuse scandal
“An article in USA Today says that the unwillingness of the Roman Catholic Church to address its sex abuse scandals head-on has led those charitable nonprofits affiliated with them to struggle with impatient, even disgusted donors(link is external). For instance, Catholic Charities of Buffalo only made 85 percent of its $11 million goal. Parishioners withheld donations after Bishop Richard J. Malone let priests accused of inappropriate conduct remain active in the church. Even though donors had the option of directing the whole of their donations to the charity, instead of the usual 50/50 split with the parish, there was a shortfall.” By Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly

Catholic Church should make finances public
“People who could have done something about it were aware of the ‘excessive spending’ engaged in by former bishop Michael Bransfield, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. They did not. So, while church officials have pledged to keep a close eye on spending in the diocese, rank-and-file Catholics can be pardoned for asking why, if problems occurred before, they cannot again(link is external).” By The Martinsburg Journal in The Beckley, West Virginia, Resister-Herald

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Retroactive clause for clergy abuse claims cited for lack of movement
“A recommendation made in the grand jury report, which was released one year ago on Aug. 14, 2018, following an investigation into child sexual abuse and cover-up in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, has become one of the most contested and legally challenging issues in the state capital over the past year(link is external). The panel called for lawmakers to create a retroactive window during which alleged victims of abuse can file civil claims even if the statute of limitations, which is currently age 30, has already expired.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Nun sexually abused me at Catholic orphanage, woman says
“Susanne Robertson has devoted much of her life to sounding the alarm over the horrific abuse she says she suffered at a New York orphanage more than 50 years ago(link is external). A maintenance man sexually assaulting her in a boiler room. A nun violating her with a Lysol-soaked rag. For nearly 25 years, her efforts to force a reckoning on the St. Colman’s Home near Albany have gone nowhere. But now, the opportunity Robertson has been waiting for has finally arrived.” By Aliza Nadi, Emily Siegel, Anne Thompson and Rich Schapiro

He says a priest abused him. 50 years later, he can now sue.
“Major institutions across New York State, from the Catholic Church to the Boy Scouts of America to elite private schools, are bracing for a deluge of lawsuits now that adults who said they were sexually abused as children will be entitled to pursue formal legal action(link is external). New York joined more than a dozen states this year in significantly extending statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits over sexual abuse. Previously, the state had required that such suits be filed before a victim’s 23rd birthday.” By Rick Rojas, The New York Times

Activist Italian priest arrested on charges of abusing young men
“An Italian priest known for involvement in his community was placed under house arrest by local authorities on Wednesday (Jul. 31), on charges of allegedly drugging and sexually abusing adult members of his parish(link is external). ‘The news of the arrest of Father Stefano Segalini and the precautionary measures applied by the judiciary pain us deeply,’ said Father Luigi Chiesa, Vicar General of the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio in northern Italy where the events allegedly took place, in an August 1 statement.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Woman who kept her abuse by a priest secret for 66 years gets six-figure settlement
“For 66 years, she kept a dark secret about how her parish priest in Pennsylvania sexually abused her when she was just 6 years old(link is external). It took a brush with mortality to convince the now 85-year-old woman to “put all of her ducks in a row” and file a report against the Rev. Martin J. Fleming, her lawyer revealed Wednesday (Jul. 31).” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC-TV News

Abuse accuser wants Steubenville university to be accountable
“An alumna of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio has written an open letter saying she was sexually abused while a student there and that the school administration ignored her complaints(link is external). In a letter published July 8 on Patheos, an online site, Karen, who chooses to not share her last name, states that she was sexually abused by a friar while attending Franciscan University from 1987 until she graduated in 1991 … She wrote the open letter, she told NCR, because ‘it was important for me to use my voice, and to share that my story is not over.’” By Jenn Morson, National Catholic Reporter

CALIFORNIA

For first time, thousands of San Diego Catholic diocese members gather to discuss abuse within the Church
“Thousands of San Diego clergy members met Tuesday (Aug. 13) for a first-of-its-kind gathering to address sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church(link is external). Bishop Robert W. McElroy called for more than 2,500 San Diego area priests, teachers and administrators to attend a mandatory meeting with District Attorney Summer Stephan at the University of San Diego. It is the first time in its history the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has called every member of its church to order.” By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan, NBC-TV7 News

Charged dropped against long-time Dinuba Catholic priest Raul Diaz
“More than two months after he was placed on administrative leave, Father Raul Diaz appears poised to return to the pulpit. Charges of inappropriate conduct with minors were recently dropped against the long-time Dinuba catholic priest(link is external). Parishioners were informed during a recent Sunday service. ‘Everybody heard it, and they were applauding from the get-go I was saying there’s nothing there,’ said Pablo Contreras of Dinuba.” By ABC-TV30 News

COLORADO

Colorado Catholic Church investigated for child sex abuse by priests
“In February, the three Catholic dioceses of Colorado announced they would open their records and provide information about allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests(link is external) that go back decades. Led by former U.S Attorney Robert Troyer, the investigation and review is examining alleged abuse of minors by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in Colorado since 1950. The initiative also includes a reparation fund for victims to be paid for by the church, and will incorporate a full review of church policies and procedures for responding to and preventing abuse.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

DELAWARE

Priest, under investigation in Wilmington, stripped of clergy status after New Castle child sex abuse claims
“A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has been removed from ministry and had his faculties to exercise priestly ministries suspended following allegations he sexually abused a teen(link is external) 38 years ago. The victim made claims against Rev. William J. Porter, 71, while at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in New Castle. Delaware State Police began their investigation in March, but informed the diocese on July 19, 2019, that it had completed the investigation and the conduct had occurred outside the statute of limitations.” By D.J. McAneny, WDEL-FM News

ILLINOIS

Rev. Clements accusation is in realm of unthinkable
“Is nothing sacred in my Church? That was my question as I read the headline: ‘Retired Celebrity Priest George Clements Accused of Sex Abuse in 1970s.’ It invades the realm of the unthinkable. The Rev. George Clements, 87, has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974 while serving as pastor of Holy Angels Church on Chicago’s South Side.” By Laura Washington, Chicago Sun Times

Belleville priest who said he ‘never hurt a child’ accused for second time of sexually abusing a boy
“Catholic church leaders in the Belleville Diocese promoted a priest they knew as a danger to children(link is external) until he was in charge of their largest parish and its grade school, where he is accused of sexually abusing students, according to a civil suit filed earlier this month. Joseph Schwaegel, who was first accused of child sexual abuse in a 1999 lawsuit, has been named in a new complaint filed against the diocese July 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.” By Belleville News-Democrat

LOUISIANA

Abuse finding didn’t end ex-deacon’s work with children
“A former Roman Catholic deacon barred from the ministry in New Orleans because of sexual abuse allegations maintained access to schoolchildren(link is external) and held leadership roles as recently as last year in the Knights of Columbus, despite promising three decades ago to avoid young boys “for the good of the Church,” according to records obtained by The Associated Press.” By Jim Mustian and Kevin McGill, Associated Press

Lawyers in clergy abuse lawsuit seek documents from Saints executives
“The lawyers for a man who alleges he was sexually abused by former Catholic deacon George Brignac decades ago have sent a subpoena to the New Orleans Saints for copies of any communications between club officials and the local archdiocese(link is external). According to attorneys Richard Trahant and John Denenea, the move came after the discovery process turned up documents and emails which, they contend, showed at least one member of the Saints’ administration — longtime public relations chief Greg Bensel — was advising the archdiocese on how to publicly address local claims pertaining to the Catholic Church’s ongoing clergy abuse crisis.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com (The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate)

MASSACHUSETTS

Mitchell Garabedian nails another pedophile priest
“The statement below was issued today by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian. Mr. Garabedian is best known for his representation of victims in the Archdiocese of Boston child molestation scandal. ‘I represent a female clergy sexual abuse victim(link is external) who received a low six figure award from ISCP (compensation program) on July 10, 2019. The sexually abusive priest, Fr. Martin J. Fleming, was ordained in 1898. The courageous victim, now 85 years old, was sexually abused in 1941 when she was 6 years old.” By Cape Cod Today Staff

Veteran lawyer for victims of clergy sexual abuse ‘absolutely not surprised’ by Bishop Weldon allegations
“Attorney John J. Stobierski was not surprised when he read news reports this spring that a man had come forward with accusations he had been sexually molested by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon(link is external) during the 1950s. ‘During the years I represented survivors of abuse, I heard a number of references to Weldon,’ said Stobierski who litigated and negotiated more than five dozen clergy sexual abuse cases with settlements totaling more than $10 million. ‘I am absolutely not surprised.’ By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican

MICHIGAN

Sterling Heights woman says priest abused her in 1977 at Detroit church
“A Sterling Heights woman said Tuesday (Jul. 30) she was victimized by a Catholic priest while working in a Detroit rectory as a teenager(link is external) 42 years ago. Jeanne Hunton said the sexual abuse happened during the summer of 1977, when she took a job as a housekeeper at age 14 in the rectory at Assumption Grotto Church on Detroit’s east side.” By George Hunter, The Detroit News

Former Saginaw Diocese bishop discusses eight more clergy accused of sexual misconduct
“Officials with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw recently added the names of eight religious-order clergy to a list of those who, according to the church, have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). There are now 30 names on that list. Diocese officials announced the update, as well as changes to diocesan policy intended to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse, in two news releases on July 20.” By Heather Jordan, MLive.com

Priests accused of sex abuse turned to under-the-radar group
“The visiting priests arrived discreetly, day and night. Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in this tiny Midwestern town as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. Neighbors had no idea some of the dressed-down clergymen dining at local restaurants might have been accused sexual predators(link is external). For nearly two decades, a small nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii has operated out of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.” By Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Garance Burke, The Republic

MINNESOTA

Duluth-area priest accused of sexual abuse dating to 1970s
“In a letter read to parishioners on Sunday (Aug. 4), the Diocese of Duluth disclosed new allegations of sexual abuse against a priest in the diocese(link is external). In the letter dated July 30, Bishop Paul Sirba said the diocese had been notified of a sexual abuse accusation against the Rev. David Tushar. Tushar, 70, is priest at St. Francis Catholic Church in Carlton, Minn., and Sts. Joseph and Mary Catholic Church in Sawyer, Minn.” By Adelie Bergstrom, Twin Cities Forum News Service

MISSISSIPPI

Retired, 90-year-old Mississippi Catholic priest removed after 1950s child sex allegation surfaces
“A 90-year-old, retired Catholic priest who served nearly half a century in Mississippi was removed from public ministry this week after an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct(link is external) that occurred in the 1950s. Bishop Joseph Kopacz removed the Rev. Edward Balser after what the church described as a credible allegation of abuse was discovered when the church was preparing files for the release of a list of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors.” By Magnolia State Live

MISSOURI

Conception Abbey releases past allegations list
“Concern for transparency and accountability has prompted many dioceses and religious orders to publish information about members within their groups who have had allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against them(link is external). With that goal, Conception Abbey provided the names of eight abbey priests or brothers against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made in the past 70 years. None of these priests continues in ministry.” By Nodaway News

K.C.-area priest admits guilt in child pornography case
“A Catholic priest at a church in Baldwin City, Kansas, pleaded guilty Friday (Jul. 26) to federal child pornography charges(link is external). Christopher Rossman, 46, a former priest at Annunciation Catholic Church, faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 after investigators found child pornography on his tablet computer in September 2016.” By KSHB-TV41 News

St. Louis Archdiocese names 64 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children or possessing child porn
“The Archdiocese of St. Louis on Friday (Jul. 26) released the names of 61 clergy members with substantiated abuse allegations against them(link is external), as well as three priests who were found to have possessed child pornography, following a months-long internal review of diocesan records going back 70 years.” By Nassim Benchaabane and Jess Bogan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Clergy abuse advocates speak out about predator priests in Columbia
“Two clergy abuse advocates from mid-Missouri spoke out Wednesday (Jul. 24) at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on the need for people to know the truth about predator priests who might still be hiding and living in the community(link is external). David Clohessy, SNAP’s former executive director and a survivor of clergy abuse, held a news conference in front of the church. He held up cardboard signs bearing the names of alleged predator priests who have lived in Columbia. He was joined by Bob Heinz, a member of a similar organization, Voice of the Faithful, who held up pictures of clergy abuse victims.” By Chloe Khaw, Columbia Missourian

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire Catholic Church website lists names of predator priests
“Catholic Church leaders in New Hampshire have added a page to their website that lists dozens of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse going back to 1950(link is external). Announced Wednesday (Jul. 31) by the Diocese of Manchester, the ‘Restoring Trust’ website provides the year each priest was ordained, his parish assignments and his status, which ranges from criminal conviction to being defrocked to “assigned to a life of prayer and penance.” By Mark Hayward, New Hampshire Union Leader

NEW JERSEY

Attorney identifies 12 more Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children in New Jersey
“An attorney for childhood victims alleging sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy says he has turned up the names of 12 New Jersey priests who were not previously disclosed on lists(link is external) the church released. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian represents 22 men and 8 women who say they were abused as children by New Jersey priests. Garabedian says the names of 12 of the accused aren’t on lists of more than 180 priests the church released earlier this year.” By CBS-TV3 Philadelphia

Catholic fund begins offering cash to settle N.J. priest abuse claims. Here’s how many applied.
“A new compensation fund backed by New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses(link is external) is paying its first financial settlements to people who say they were sexually abused by priests and other clergy members. The fund — called the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program — was unveiled earlier this year by the state’s Catholic dioceses as a way for victims to settle their cases with the church privately, without going to court.” By Kelly Heyboer, New Jersey Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK

Child Victims Act lawsuits to peel open decades of secrecy in clergy sex abuse
“The tight lid that the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo kept for decades on clergy sex abuse cases will be peeled open Wednesday (Aug. 14) with a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court(link is external). Lawyers predicted the diocese would face more than 200 lawsuits by the end of the one-year ‘look-back’ window that will open at 12:01 a.m. The names of at least a dozen Catholic priests who hadn’t before been publicly accused of child sex abuse will emerge in the filings, according to lawyers filing the lawsuits.” By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Diocese of Rochester to face at least 75 new lawsuits over child abuse
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester will face a potentially massive flood of lawsuits next month when New York’s child sexual abuse reporting reforms go into effect(link is external), as the local fallout continues from decades of abuse and cover-ups by priests and others in the Catholic community nationwide. According to Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, dozens of victims claiming abuse by clergy members in the Diocese of Rochester have come to him over the last several months to inquire about filing lawsuits.” By Matt Butler, Ithaca.com

Advocates and lawmakers want New York child sexual abuse survivors to know one-year window to seek civil action is about to open
Survivors of child sex abuse will soon have a new opportunity to seek justice(link is external). The recently enacted Child Victims Act dramatically changed the legal landscape in New York State, empowering those who were subjected to sexual abuse at a young age and offering them new ways make things right … In civil cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 55. The law also opens up a one-year window that begins Aug. 14 allowing victims older than 23 to sue their abuser or any institution that helped to cover up the offense — regardless of how long ago the act occurred.” By Denis Slattery, New York Daily News

Buffalo bishop returned priest accused of abuse to ministry after ‘thorough’ investigation. Others call it a ‘sham.’
“Bishop Richard Malone says his congregation’s darkest days are in the past. The embattled spiritual leader has faced calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against clergy members in the Diocese of Buffalo, where a public reckoning that started as a local scandal became a national headline … But multiple people familiar with that investigation expressed serious concerns with the findings(link is external) of what they view as a deeply flawed report, raising questions about the process by which the Diocese of Buffalo evaluates allegations against its clergy members. By David Wright, Pete Madden, Cho Park and Shannon K. Crawford, ABC-TV News

New York child sex-abuse victims demand release of ‘secret files’ on pedophile priests
“Child sex-abuse victims are calling on the New York Attorney General’s office to release the Catholic Church’s ‘secret files’ on predatory priests(link is external), The Post has learned. On the heels of a bombshell Pennsylvania report on child-sex abuse by Catholic clergy, former New York AG Barbara Underwood launched a sweeping probe in September 2018.” By Susan Edelman, New York Post

Group presses for more Buffalo Diocese reforms in abuse cases
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo should hire additional sex abuse investigators, make its review board more independent and disclose more information about a sex abuse scandal that has roiled Western New York Catholics for the past 17 months, a Catholic reform group said. The Movement to Restore Trust, an ongoing effort of a group of lay Catholics urging improvements to the diocese’s handling of clergy sex abuse claims(link is external), recommended those key changes and others in a series of new reports slated for release today.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

NORTH CAROLINA

Independent firm reviewing Charlotte Diocese’s priest files
“An independent investigative firm is reviewing the Diocese of Charlotte’s priest personnel files as part of the diocese’s effort to release the names of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse(link is external), the diocese announced Aug. 12. U.S. Investigative Security Services Agency of Charlotte is conducting a comprehensive review of all priest files since the diocese was established in 1972, searching for any indication of sexual abuse of a minor. Their task involves reviewing tens of thousands of pages in more than 1,000 files.” By Patricia L. Guilfoyle, SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Charlotte Catholic Diocese says list of credibly accused is still forthcoming
“Earlier this year the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte announced it would release a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual assault. They didn’t release the list Monday (Aug. 12), but did share more about the list.(link is external) The list will run approximately 20 names long and include ordered and parish priests. The list will include credibly accused clergy whether they are alive or have passed away.” By Sarah Delia, WFAE-FM National Public Radio

New sexual misconduct allegation surfaces at Charlotte Catholic church
“Channel 9 has learned of a new allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external) in a Charlotte Catholic church. Monsignor Mauricio West was the chancellor of the Diocese of Charlotte until he resigned in March after allegations that he made unwanted advances toward a student at Belmont Abbey College in the 1980s. A second man told anchor Allison Latos it happened to him on campus, too.” By Allison Latos, WSOC-TV9 News

NORTH DAKOTA

Justice still to come for victims of Crookston Diocese abuse after settlement
“The Diocese of Crookston reached a $5 million settlement this month with victims of clergy sexual abuse, but one victim said the real victory is still to come(link is external). ‘I was never concerned about monetary gain in this lawsuit. My pursuit was for truth. I wanted the people to find out how many priests the public did not have information on who were credibly accused,’ said Ronald Vasek, who filed a lawsuit against the diocese and Bishop Michael Hoeppner in 2017. ‘And that list is going to greatly increase now, through the efforts of these lawsuits.’” By Tess Williams, Forum News Service, in Bismark Tribune

OHIO

Plenty of shock, ‘very little details’ at meeting about St. Ignatius priest’s sudden suspension
“There is no evidence the Rev. Geoff Drew is guilty of criminal wrongdoing, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. But some parishioners who attended a crowded Monday (Jul. 29) night meeting meant to address the St. Ignatius priest’s suspension left uneasy … That explanation matched the archdiocese’s official statement to press earlier in the day: That Drew had been accused of behavior ‘contrary to the (archdiocese) ‘Decree On Child Protection(link is external).’” By WCPO-TV9 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Clergy abuse survivor family looks back one year after grand jury report
“Today marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report into the sexual abuse and coverup within the catholic church(link is external). Three hundred and sixty-five days since the victim’s stories were told by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and detailed in the grand jury report. A central Pennsylvania family of sisters sat on stage with the Attorney General as he spoke about the findings, at one point telling their story.” By Amanda Hoskins, CBS-TV21 News

Grand jury report echoes a year later
“The fallout from the crimes, cover-ups and profound human toll exposed a year ago by a statewide investigative grand jury continue to ripple through the Catholic Diocese of Erie and others in Pennsylvania. As Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico said earlier this month, coming to terms with the monstrous legacy of predator priests and the hierarchy that harbored and enabled them will continue to roil the church(link is external) and the faithful in the years ahead. Persico, 68, told reporter Ed Palattella that he expects the sexual abuse crisis to remain at the forefront for the rest of his tenure.” By GoErie.com Editorial Board

Bishop Zubik reflects on clergy sex abuse one year after grand jury report
“Bishop David Zubik outlined a renewed commitment to healing victims, financial transparency and continued listening one year after the release of the state’s grand jury report on child sex abuse by Catholic clergy(link is external). ‘The church is profoundly indebted to those courageous victims/survivors who have helped us grow in understanding the damage caused by sexual abuse and of how the church community can offer them understanding and support,’ Zubik, the head of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in a statement released today (Aug. 14).” By Tawnya Panizzi, TribLive.com

Lawsuits filed against Jesuits, Pennsylvania Catholic bishops, for supervisors accused of ignoring sexual abuse
“Lawsuits have been filed against the Jesuits of New York and a current and two former Catholic bishops in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese for conspiracy and fraud, stating they had transferred a seminarian they knew molested children in Rochester, New York, to a parish in State College(link is external).” By Steve Marroni, PennLive.com

A year later, Catholic Church and Pennsylvania politicians ignore abuse survivors
“As hundreds of victims of sex crimes anxiously awaited the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse last summer, the Catholic Church successfully blocked its release for weeks through appeals to the state’s supreme court … When the now-infamous report was at last made public on August 14 of last year, its reverberations were felt nationally … In Pennsylvania alone, nearly 2,000 calls have flooded Pennsylvania’s Clergy Abuse Hotline, set up by the attorney general’s office last year in the wake of the report’s release. Because of Pennsylvania’s archaic statute of limitations, the vast majority of the living victims of priests named in the report, and thousands more, cannot seek justice(link is external). Their abusers remain free under Pennsylvania law and cannot be prosecuted.” By Jimmy Hutton, Religion News Service

What the Allentown Diocese has done in the year since clergy sex abuse allegations surfaced
“Last August, the public finally got to see the chilling findings of a grand jury investigation into decades of sexual abuse within six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, including the Diocese of Allentown … In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the report’s release, the Allentown Diocese issued a statement about programs it has implemented to prevent abuse and keep children safe(link is external).” By Julia Owens, Lehigh Valley Live

Nearly 1,900 calls into Pennsylvania’s clergy abuse hotline in 1st year
“Investigations remain underway after 1,862 calls were made to a clergy abuse hotline in the 12 months since a landmark grand jury report(link is external) exposed decades of child abuse within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, the state attorney general said Tuesday (Aug. 6). About 90 percent of those calls concerned allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. The rest were about institutions or people outside the Catholic church.” By Mark Scolforo, NBC-TV10 News Philadelphia

Conference at Carlisle church to examine abuse crisis in Catholic Church
“Nearly a year after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a comprehensive report on clergy child sexual abuse, an organization dedicated to education will hold a conference looking at the crisis. Hosted by the St. Gabriel ministry of Saint Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Carlisle, the conference will examine the causes of the crisis and learn what is being done to promote healing and justice for the victims(link is external).” By Tammie Gitt, The Sentinel

Some clergy sex abuse survivors choosing to decline compensation from Diocese of Harrisburg
“The deadline to accept or decline offers from the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Survivor Compensation Program has arrived. The program was set up in February as an attempt to make financial amends to victims after a Grand Jury report on child sex abuse within six Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania. However, for one of those survivors, who anonymously told FOX43 his story of abuse by a former Diocese of Harrisburg priest, the settlement money simply isn’t enough(link is external).” By Jossie Carbonare, FOX-TV43 News

RHODE ISLAND

Goodwill allowed ‘credibly accused’ priest to visit schools in R.I.
“A man on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s list of clergy who’d been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing a minor visited schools and worked in the presence of children(link is external) after he got a new job at Goodwill, according to social media postings and school officials. Kevin R. Fisette, 64, was removed from ministry and resigned from his post as pastor of St. Leo the Great Church in Pawtucket in 2009 after a sexual-abuse allegation from the early 1980s … By October 2010, he had a new job at Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island. From 2014 to 2018, social media posts showed him visiting Goodwill’s donation bins at Rhode Island schools.” By Brian Amaral, Providence Journal

Full accounting provides hope for path forward
“Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released a list of priests and clergy members found to have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children since 1950. It represented an important step forward for survivors of abuse, as well as for the broader community. As Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said, acknowledging these cases through the recent disclosure represented a ‘difficult but necessary moment in the life of our diocesan church.’ In terms of both transparency and accountability, however, much more work remains to be done(link is external). Now, it is poised to proceed.” By Cranston Herald Editorial Board

Rhode Island attorney general gains access to seven decades of clergy sexual abuse records
“Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office is investigating nearly seven decades of sexual abuse to children(link is external) by Roman Catholic priests in the diocese of Providence. On Tuesday (Jul. 23), the two offices signed a memorandum of understanding, giving Neronha’s office and Rhode Island State Police access to records of allegations dating back to 1950.” By Rachel Nunes, Patch.com

SOUTH CAROLINA

Priest exchanged inappropriate pictures with juvenile, police report says
“St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church placed a parochial vicar on administrative leave July 20 following a report of the priest allegedly exchanging inappropriate photos with a male juvenile(link is external). Father Raymond Flores, 33, of Aiken, was placed on leave without the ability to perform priestly duties, according to a Tuesday (Jul. 30) news release by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.” By Matthew Enfinger, Aiken Standard

TENNESSEE

Tennessee man sues Diocese of Knoxville for ‘horrific acts of childhood sexual abuse’
“A Tennessee man is suing the Diocese of Knoxville, alleging he was exposed to ‘horrific acts of childhood sexual abuse’ by a priest and others(link is external). Filed in the Sixth Circuit Court of Knox County in Knoxville, Blount County resident Michael Boyd’s lawsuit claims Catholic Priest Father Xavier Mankel and other sexually abused Boyd and their alleged actions were covered up by the diocese.” By Adrian Mojica, FOX-TC17 Nashville

VERMONT

Survivors group demands list of accused Vermont clergy. ‘Children are at risk.’
“Nearly a year after Vermont law enforcement and Catholic leaders announced separate investigations into clergy misconduct, the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is questioning why neither review has led to the public release of information(link is external). ‘Every single day a predator’s name is hidden, children are at risk,’ David Clohessy, the longtime former leader of the group, called SNAP, said Monday (Aug.5) during a visit to the state. ‘They should have put out a list years ago — it’s incredibly irresponsible to wait,’ he added. ‘Although none of these guys may be in parishes anymore, one of them could be a coach at a soccer camp or tutoring at the library or providing piano lessons in his apartment.’” By Kevin O’Connor, VtDigger.org

VIRGINIA

Priests accused of sexual assault served at churches in Dan River region
“At least four Catholic clergymen accused of sexual assault against minors once served at churches in Danville and Pittsylvania County(link is external). All of the clergymen — including three priests and a monsignor — are dead, according to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s website that includes a list of the accused clergy. Those listed on the website who served at churches in the Dan River Region are monsignor Carroll T. Dozier, Father Austin Ryder, Father Thomas D. Sykes and Father Philip J. Higgins.” By John R. Crance, GoDanRiver.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Trial starts for DC priest accused of sexually abusing girls
“A trial is underway for a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children in his Washington, D.C., parish(link is external). News outlets report 47-year-old Urbano Vazquez appeared in court Tuesday for the first day of his trial on child sexual abuse charges. He’s accused of groping a 9-year-old girl and 13-year-old girl in 2016, two years after he was ordained as a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan religious order.” By Associated Press in The News Tribune

WEST VIRGINIA

Lawsuit accuses bishop of Catholic Diocese of Charleston of sexually abusing minor
“The Catholic Diocese of Charleston says a lawsuit filed in New York names Bishop Robert Guglielmone and accuses him of sexually abusing a mino(link is external)r. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Nassau County, New York, according to diocese spokesperson Maria Aselage. In the suit, an alleged victim accused Guglielmone of sexually abusing him during 1978 and 1979 while Guglielmone served as a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, New York.” By Live5News

WYOMING

Clerics should face charges related to sex abuse case
“The Cheyenne Police Department has recommended sexual abuse charges against a member of the Roman Catholic clergy(link is external) and another man who was seeking to join the clergy related to incidents from the 1970s and ’80s. In a news release, CPD said it has sent a recommendation for charges to the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office after a year-and-a-half-long investigation into allegations that juvenile males were the victims of sex abuse.” By Ramsey Scott and Isabella Alves, Wyoming Tribune Eagle

ARGENTINA

Argentina’s most pious spot also in epicenter of clerical abuse crisis
“Argentina’s northern province of Salta, known for colorful mountains, valleys, and small, picturesque towns that intertwine with exquisite wineries, is also known as the most piously Catholic province of the 23 that make up the nation … It also happens to be at the epicenter of the country’s clerical sexual abuse earthquake(link is external), because Salta is the metropolitan see of the Diocese of Oran. Gustavo Zanchetta, the former bishop, abruptly resigned his position in 2017 after being appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Catholic Church continues to play hard-ball with clergy sex abuse victim
“The Catholic Church continues to challenge a clergy sex abuse victim of notorious priest Gerald Ridsdale(link is external). After last month arguing to delay the civil compensation trial by at least 120 days, it has now demanded the victim, who was raped as a nine-year-old in a confessional box, provide a copy of the church’s own rules in Latin. The victim’s lawyers have been asking the church to hand over archive documents.” By Andrew Thomson, The Courier

Former Victorian Catholic priest Paul Ryan jailed for historical child sex offenses
“Paul David Ryan, now a 70-year-old pensioner, was charged after a 2016 police investigation sparked by the sex abuse royal commission(link is external). The charges relate to three boys, who were aged 14, 15 and 17 at the time of the assaults. The first boy was training to be an altar boy and the other two were students at the Warrnambool Christian Brothers’ College, where Ryan worked as a school chaplain and provided sex education classes.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia

CHILE

New revelations on sex abuse hit Chilean church
“Just when you thought the situation in the Catholic Church couldn’t get worse, new allegations of clerical abuse and its cover-up have hit the press(link is external). It has also become clear that the crimes committed by one of Chile’s once most-beloved priests exceeded what was originally thought.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Jesuits publish inquiry results, confirm abuses by famed priest
“While deceased Jesuit Fr. Renato Poblete Barth was known publicly as a champion of the poor in Chile, an internal investigation funded by the Jesuits revealed that the famed clergyman abused more than a dozen women(link is external) over a span of nearly 50 years.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest, 76, is jailed for 18 years for ‘horrifically’ sexually abusing two teenage boys
“A Catholic priest who sexually abused two teenage boys at a seminary(link is external) where he taught has been jailed for 18 years. Michael Higginbottom, 76, was found guilty by a jury of five counts of serious sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault following a re-trial. The boys were abused as they boarded at St Joseph’s College, a Catholic seminary in Upholland, Lancashire, which has now closed, in the 1970s and 80s. During a two-week trial, jurors heard he ‘regularly, systematically and horrifically’ abused the boys.” By Paul Britton, Manchester Evening News

Archbishop tried to discredit BBC film on church links to abuse
“The most senior Catholic leader in England and Wales went to extraordinary lengths to try to discredit a BBC documentary on child sexual abuse and its cover-up by the church(link is external), the Guardian can disclose. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, publicly accused the BBC of bias and malice before the documentary was aired in 2003. Documents seen by the Guardian show he also lobbied the BBC’s director of news, wrote to all priests in his archdiocese urging them not to speak to BBC journalists, and lodged a formal complaint against the program’s makers.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 31, 2019

TOP STORIES

Brazilian bishop accused of cover-up as police investigate new abuse allegations
“Police in Brazil are investigating three Catholic priests accused of abusing several altar boys and seminarians. The former bishop of their diocese, who resigned in May, is also under investigation(link is external) for having allegedly extorted money from them in exchange for his silence. The lawyer of a group of victims said last week he intends to file lawsuits against the Catholic Church, seeking $530,000 in damages for each person.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, Cruxnow.com

After pressure from lay group, West Virginia diocese agrees to audit
“A lay group that urged West Virginia Catholics to withhold support for their diocese(link is external)claimed victory after Archbishop William Lori announced July 17 that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will undergo an independent financial audit. ‘I clearly understand that the Church has a long way to go to regain your confidence and trust,’ Lori, archbishop of Baltimore who is also serving as administrator for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, wrote to West Virginia’s Catholics. Lori disclosed that the diocese would engage the services of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP for a full audit of its finances.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Bransfield disciplined by Pope Francis
Pope Francis has handed down discipline against former Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Church Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). In a brief communication released Friday (Jul 19), the Pope said Bransfield cannot live in the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese. He’s also prohibited from taking part in any Catholic Church services in West Virginia and must make personal amends for people he has harmed.” By Jeff Jenkins, Metro News

In 44 states, clergy don’t have to tell police when someone confesses to child sex abuse
“Under current Utah law, members of the clergy are not required to report confessions of child sex abuse. Utah State Rep. Angela Romero wants to change that. Romero is drafting a bill that would require any religious leader in a position of authority to become a mandatory reporter—an individual required by law to notify authorities of any admissions of abuse(link is external). Teachers, coaches, doctors and others who work with children are often mandatory reporters. Failure to report can be considered a criminal offense. In a statement on Facebook, Romero said the bill was not targeting any particular religious group, but was rather intended to protect children from harm.” By Jacob Wallace, Newsweek

Report claims church leaders long knew about Bransfield accusations
“A recent newspaper report details claims that senior church leaders in the United States knew as far back as 2012 about complaints against a West Virginia bishop whose spending habits and recent accusations of sexual misconduct(link is external) have dogged the body of U.S. bishops at a time when they’re seeking a path toward greater accountability for themselves. A July 3 story in The Washington Post said U.S. and Vatican officials had for years received correspondence from parishioners and others concerned with excessive spending by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, the former head of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the country.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Catholic group’s response: not a dime to the diocese
“Following an open letter to Archbishop William Lori and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, a group of Catholics have declared their intent to withhold funds to the diocese after failing to receive a measured response(link is external). Last month (June), Lay Catholic Voices for Change, an organization comprised of Catholics from north-central West Virginia, sent an open letter to Lori addressing what they saw as numerous issues with the structure of the church, as well as their proposed solutions and a call for increased parishioner participation in clerical matters. The letter requested a response by June 28, which did not come.” By The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

Catholic Church offers cash to settle abuse claims
“Amid the latest wave of sexual-abuse investigations and allegations against the Catholic Church, victims whose criminal cases are too old to bring to court are considering suing the church. To stem the tide of potential settlement costs, some dioceses, like the one in Scranton, Pennsylvania, are creating compensation programs for victims. There’s one catch: Taking the settlement means shielding the church from having to make certain documents public and victims are then barred from further lawsuits(link is external).” By Greater Baton Rouge Daily Business Report Staff

ACCOUNTABILITY

Sex abuse survivors’ advocacy group wants two bishops blocked from ministry
“Advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse have urged the local bishop to bar from church functions two prelates with ties to Kansas City, Missouri(link is external), who’ve been central figures in the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sent a letter July 5 to Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop James Johnston requesting he use a new protocol created by U.S. bishops to block resigned Bishop Robert Finn and retired Bishop Joseph Hart from ministry and all church meetings and activities.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Putting Church above children
“One way Pope Francis could move ahead with his aim of curbing clergy sex abuse in the worldwide Catholic Church would be to insist that the Holy See comply with the international human-rights treaty(link is external) it signed to protect the rights of the child. Since nearly every country in the world (other than the United States) has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1989 treaty sets a clear international standard for Catholic bishops everywhere.” By Paul Moses, Commonweal

Morrisey calls Pope Francis’ punishment of Bransfield ‘only one step’ in effort for transparency
“West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey believes former Bishop Michael Bransfield punishment by the Catholic pope is one step toward full transparency(link is external). ‘The allegations against former Bishop Bransfield have caught the attention of nearly everyone in the Catholic faith, including the Pope himself, who has now given disciplinary measures for Bransfield,’ Morrisey said. ‘Pope Francis’ call for Bransfield to ‘make personal amends for some of the harm he caused,’ is a first step, but it is just that—only one step—since the public cannot know the full extent of harm caused by Bransfield’s actions until the Diocese fully complies with our subpoena and releases the full Bransfield report.’” By Kyla Asbury, West Virginia Record

Catholic group launches diocese donation boycott
“A message is being sent to the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Members of a group calling for accountability from the Diocese in the wake of an independent report detailing alleged financial and sexual misconduct on the part of former Bishop Michael Bransfield are now encouraging the withholding of contributions to the Diocese itself(link is external).” By MetroNews Staff

McCARRICK CASE

No answers from Washington archdiocese about McCarrick’s money
“More than one year after the announcement of allegations of sexual abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Archdiocese of Washington has continued to refuse questions about McCarrick’s use of a personal charitable fund(link is external). McCarrick funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through what was known as the Archbishop’s Fund, and reportedly made gifts to senior Vatican officials, even while the fund remained under the charitable auspices of the archdiocese.” By Ed Condon, Catholic New Agency

POPE FRANCIS

Pope: Church needs apostolate of prevention to protect minors from abuse
“Prevention is key in protecting minors from abuse, Pope Francis said. The protection of minors is a serious concern and what is needed is ‘an apostolate of prevention(link is external),’ he said in a video message to Catholic leaders taking part in a safeguarding course at the Pontifical University of Mexico. The month-long course, ending July 27, was sponsored by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Formation for the Protection of Minors, which collaborates with the Center for Child Protection of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

With upcoming retirements, Francis could ‘reorient’ U.S. bishops’ conference
“Pope Francis will have a rare opportunity to revamp the leadership of a large segment of the U.S. Catholic Church(link is external) in the coming year, as a high number of bishops in dioceses across the country are reaching the traditional retirement age of 75. In fact, nine residential American bishops are already 75 or older. Five more will turn that age by the end of June 2020. Although prelates can serve past retirement age at the pope’s pleasure, it is expected that many of the 14 will be replaced.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

When picking new U.S. bishops, Francis shouldn’t hesitate to ruffle feathers
“My colleague Joshua McElwee has an article today listing the U.S. dioceses that are vacant, those with a bishop who is already past the mandatory retirement age of 75, and those soon to turn 75, 22 ordinaries in all. As he notes, these appointments could potentially shift the U.S. bishops’ conference in a new direction(link is external). Let’s look at which appointments are the most important and why, and discuss generally the kinds of choices the pope faces. First, a little background. For most of the history of the Catholic Church, bishops were nominated by the local civil authority, and it was left to Rome to confirm the nomination.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

The USCCB and the sex abuse crisis
“Perhaps some of you are getting tired of hearing about the sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Church, but my sense is that most of you want to be kept informed about how the leadership of the Church is addressing this current scandalous situation. As a follow-up to my last column, I want to explain to you the actions taken by the United States bishops at our June meeting(link is external) … What the U.S. bishops did was take our Holy Father’s direction and apply it here in the United States. We essentially adapted the actions we were prepared to take at our last November meeting in light of the Pope’s letter, applying the new universal law of the Holy Father to the situation in our own country.” By Most Rev. Alexander Sample, Archbishop of Portland, Catholic Sentinel

The Vatican’s next Synod of Bishops should focus on women
“That so many are left guessing as to the interior life of one person (Pope Francis) — a man — should indicate that an additional approach is necessary. Namely, the next general assembly of the Synod of Bishops (which will likely occur in the early years of the coming decade) should be dedicated to the role of women in the life of the church(link is external). The importance of this issue — one the church really can’t afford to punt on any longer — tracks with the increased importance Francis has placed on the Synod of Bishops during his pontificate.” By Don Clemmer, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Catholic priests in India protest cardinals return
“India’s Catholic Church, already rocked by allegations that a bishop raped a nun, is facing an uprising by hundreds of priests against one of the country’s four cardinals following his reinstatement by Pope Francis(link is external). Francis last year effectively suspended Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the eastern rite Syro-Malabar church in the southern Indian state of Kerala, amid a controversy over disputed land sales. Francis named a temporary administrator to run Alencherry’s Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, resolve its financial problems and try to heal the divisions the dispute had caused among the priests.” By Emily Schmall and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on WRAL-TV News

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Pope Francis gets it right on Curia reform and women
“In appointing seven women to the Vatican congregation that oversees religious orders July 9, Pope Francis achieved a double win. In one stroke, he has advanced both the role of women in the church and the reform of the Vatican Curia(link is external). This is significant because his efforts so far in these areas have been mediocre. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), colloquially known as the Congregation for Religious, is responsible for setting policy for Catholic nuns, brothers and consecrated lay people.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Nuns & Nones helps millennials find surprise soulmates in Catholic sisters
“The Dominican sisters sat in silence, eyes closed, palms upturned, couches and chairs pushed together into a circle in the room at the Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their reading that evening came not from Scripture, but from poet Mary Oliver: ‘Though I play at the edges of knowing, / truly I know / our part is not knowing, / but looking, and touching, and loving.’ And the candle flickering in their midst didn’t invoke a saint, but author and activist James Baldwin. Joining the Catholic women religious in contemplation was a group of young women who aren’t sure they’d describe themselves as religious in any sense(link is external).” By Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service

WOMEN DEACONS

As recruiting era slows, women religious reflect, then choose new course
“The questions for women in religious communities facing decline are ceaseless(link is external). How do we provide for our elderly members? How do we shut down a mission central to our identity as a congregation — or pass it on to laypeople? How do we grieve the deaths of friends, which often seem to come in waves, and keep hope alive? Remarkably, leaders and observers say, while there had been times of sadness as colleagues died and ministries were reconfigured or surrendered, women religious have not been overwhelmed. Instead they have brought skill, resilience and profound faith to the task of planning for their individual and corporate futures.” By Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Register

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

I’m a Catholic woman who was allowed to preach at Mass—until it was banned
“In our parish in Northern California, lay women began to preach the good news during the Sunday liturgy in 1996(link is external). The practice emerged from within the faith community. Several women had approached our pastor and spoke of the devastating lack of women’s spiritual wisdom and leadership in the church for 2,000 years. We asked: Couldn’t women, who feel called and are prepared, give a homily—a teaching that expands on the message of the Scripture readings and invites listeners to a change of mind and heart? By Jean Molesky-Poz, Amercia: The Jesuit Review

How can the church honor women? Elevate Mary Magdalene’s feast to a solemnity
“According to the Gospel, the first person to encounter the risen Christ is the female disciple Mary of Magdala, also known as Mary Magdalene.(link is external) John recounts the amazing story in the Gospel passage proclaimed at Easter Sunday Mass: ‘On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb’ (Jn 20:1). Nothing in the Gospel occurs by mere chance. It is highly significant that in a society where men wielded power in almost every aspect of life, Christ chose a woman to be the first to see him after his resurrection and to announce the news to his apostles.” By Alvan I. Amadi, America: The Jesuit Review

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Lay role matters in renewing church wounded by abuse, speaker says
“The laity can lead the way in renewing a church wounded by the decades-long sexual abuse scandal(link is external), according to Meghan Cokeley, director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for the New Evangelization. Prayer, redemptive suffering, forgiveness and a deeper understanding of the laity’s calling can radically revive the church, said Cokeley, who has been touring Philadelphia-area parishes to deliver a talk titled ‘What Can We Do? The Role of Laity in a Time of Crisis.’” By Gina Christian, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

VATICAN

Curia reform: changing attitudes, not just structures
“Pope Francis’ plan for the reform of the Roman Curia will change the names of several offices and merge a few of them, but the biggest change it hopes to spark is one of attitude(link is external). The last major reorganization of the Curia came with St. John Paul II’s apostolic constitution, ‘Pastor Bonus’ (The Good Shepherd) in 1988, which — in its very first sentence — spoke of Jesus entrusting the apostles with ‘the mission of making disciples in all nations and of preaching the Gospel to every creature.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Pope Francis appoints new Vatican press office director
“ Pope Francis appointed Matteo Bruni to serve as director of the Vatican press office(link is external), replacing Alessandro Gisotti, who had been serving as interim director since Dec. 31. The Vatican announced the appointment July 18. Bruni, 42, previously served as assistant to the director since 2013, helping organize and coordinate media presence and pools on papal trips. Born in Winchester, Great Britain, Bruni began working at the Vatican press office in 2009, coordinating accreditation for journalists.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

The priesthood is being crucified on the cross of celibacy
“We cannot bring about real reform of the Roman Catholic priesthood unless we do away with mandatory celibacy(link is external) for diocesan priests in the Latin rite. Why would that improve the priesthood? It would make priests more honest about ourselves and sexuality. With real parents in the priesthood, it would make us more aware of the vulnerability of children and more outraged at their abuse. (Does anybody really think that if bishops were also real fathers that they would have covered up so much child abuse?)” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Lay Advisory Board’s second meeting highlights synod efforts at healing
“Dale Lieb stepped away July 17 from his second Lay Advisory Board meeting with Archbishop Bernard Hebda determined to help spread the word about prayer and listening events set to begin this fall in preparation for the 2021 archdiocesan synod(link is external). ‘We’re inviting everyone to attend these events,’ Lieb said. ‘This whole thing is being guided by the Holy Spirit.’ Archbishoip Hebda announced the synod last month and planning is well underway as the archbishop prepares over the next two years to hear suggestions from people about the pastoral needs of the local Church.” By Joe Ruff, The Catholic Spirit

VOICES

The structural violence of the Catholic Church
“I used to love hearing St. Peter’s church bells from my house. Now I have a visceral reaction to them. I’m reminded of hypocrisy, loss and destruction(link is external). From the beginning of the effort to save the chancery, we said this was about much more than saving buildings. The physical destruction of the chancery is itself a violent act; but I want to talk about another type of violence. ‘Structural violence refers to any scenario in which a social structure perpetuates inequity, thus causing preventable suffering.’ (Thoughtco.com) The role of structural violence in the Catholic Church is rarely discussed.” By Stacey Morrissey, JournalStandard.com

Reform or dismantle? Why we need to keep the institutions that keep us
“One of the effects of the sex-abuse crisis is the current moment of institutional iconoclasm—the temptation to get rid of the institutional element of the Catholic Church(link is external). The failures of the church’s institutions are now on full display, even more so than after the revelations of the Spotlight investigation. It is hypocritical, however, to interpret the abuse crisis as a clerical abuse crisis rather than a Catholic abuse crisis.” By Massimo Faggioli

CHURCH FINANCES

Priest with money bags hurt in crash, allegedly pilfered $95K from Santa Rosa church
“Bishop Robert F. Vasa knew something was amiss as the bags of cash started piling up(link is external). First, it was the six security bags — used for collecting parish donations — found in a Santa Rosa priest’s car after the pastor was injured in an accident. Then it was the dozen sacks — both sealed and unsealed — in the same priest’s office, as well as a $10,000 stack of cash found in his desk drawer.” By Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle

Financial records paint troubling picture of Catholic Charities of San Antonio
“Financial records leaked to the KSAT 12 Defenders paint a disturbing picture about how money is being handled by Catholic Charities of San Antonio(link is external), the charitable arm of the Archdiocese, which claims to serve hundreds of thousands of people a year across 19 South Texas counties. An audit done by an outside accounting firm looked at the charity’s records for its financial year ending June 30, 2018 … found a long list of accounting problems, some of them serious and referred to as ‘material weaknesses.’” By Dillon Collier, KSAT-TV12 News

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston hires independent auditor, will publish audit results
“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which has come under fire from the West Virginia attorney general for what he claims was an attempt to ‘sidestep transparency,’ has appointed a new independent auditor that will conduct an audit of all diocese accounts(link is external). Archbishop William Lori said in in a news release Wednesday that CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) LLP – a national auditing firm that serves more than 30 dioceses across the country – has been hired to be the auditing firm for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.” By FOX-TV11 News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Survivor asks Pope to back bill ending statute of limitations for abuse
“An abuse survivor in the pontiff’s native Argentina has called on Pope Francis to back a push in the country’s senate to eliminate a statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children(link is external) in Argentine law. The bill was introduced just days after Chile’s congress voted July 6 to remove the statute of limitations on child abuse from its own criminal code. An earlier effort in Argentina to lift the statute of limitations in 2011, known as the ‘Piazza law’ for fashion designer Roberto Piazza who was sexually abused by an older brother, was subject to diverse legal interpretations and, observers say, has not been widely implemented.” By Inès San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

The hope of justice heals old, still raw wounds
“Last year, we used this page to call for passage of the Child Victims Act, and we were glad when this year — with two Democratic houses — the legislature finally passed the act. … But even we weren’t prepared for the emotions unleashed(link is external) when we published a front-page story last week on a priest who had served in our community — in Altamont and in the Hilltowns — being accused of raping boys in his care.” By The Altamont Enterprise Editorial Staff

‘The 50 Year Secret’ – Q&A and Reporter’s Notebook
“This Q&A time line begins February 13, 2019, when the Diocese of Arlington and Diocese of Richmond (Virginia) released their lists of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse … You’ll find the more questions asked the more revealing answers we got(link is external) … Question: Were there any priests moved around from one diocese to another …” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Tom Doyle – The Truth Seeker
“If you ask Tom Doyle to describe himself he would say a former priest and Catholic Church attorney who now helps priest sex abuse survivors by testifying in court cases as an expert on the policies and practices of the Church. Doyle also consults for states and nations investigation child sex abuse. In a sense, Doyle is a whistle blower for how the Catholic Church used to, and presently, operates(link is external). He says leadership within the Catholic Church is doing much better in terms of preventing pedophile priests from abusing and helping abuse survivors get help. But he says the lies continue and for that reason shared his thoughts with ABC7 News for The 50 Year Secret.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Becky Ianni – The Survivor
“Becky Ianni, a spokesperson for SNAP in the D.C. region and a child sex abuse survivor, gave ABC7 News access to the recording she made of her Diocese of Arlington Review Board Hearing in 2007. This recording is equal parts revelatory and heartbreaking(link is external). The Diocese of Arlington eventually ruled that Ianni’s abuse allegations against Monsignor William Reinecke were credible. Ianni is permitting us to air parts of her testimony to help survivors find the strength to come forward and for institutions, like the Catholic Church, to understand more completely the horrors unleashed by abusive members of the clergy on generations of children.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Kelley Arnold – The Witness
“Kelley Arnold grew up in Old Town Alexandria. Arnold says a significant part of his childhood revolved around the church he and his family attended: St. Mary Catholic Church, now the Basilica of St. Mary. Father William Reinecke began working at St. Mary when Arnold was a young teenager. Arnold says Father Reinecke was beloved and respected by parishioners. So, when Reinecke invited minor boys on overnight, out of town trips, Arnold insists no one, initially, suspected Reinecke was a serial pedophile(link is external). Arnold, in chilly detail, now tells the never heard before stories of Father Reinecke’s grooming and eventual sexual assault of boys. Arnold’s heartfelt story of regret reveals the method of a deranged yet trusted religious leader. He hopes by coming forward others will get the help they need.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Why is priest sex abuse often unreported?
“Survivors and experts who work in the field of child sex abuse will tell you there are many reasons why it’s difficult for some to report priest sex abuse(link is external). Denial, fear and shame are just a few of the reasons. So, we asked survivors and experts on this subject why sex abuse is so often unreported or reported decades after occurring. ‘I always blamed myself,’ Becky Ianni says. ‘I was taught that he was sent by God so therefore God is punishing me. I must be a bad little girl … That somehow, even though I did not remember my abuse until I was 48, that feeling of inadequacy was with me my entire life.’” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

Former altar boy comes forward with stunning revelations about former local priest
“Earlier this year, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington released its list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse. Father William Reinecke, one of the highest-ranking members of the clergy in our region in the last half century, was among those listed. After speaking with one of Reinecke’s survivors, we realized that a much larger, never-before-told story of widespread, serial pedophilia involving Reinecke may exist(link is external). So, we decided to dig deeper.” By Jay Korff, WJLA-TV7 News

CALIFORNIA

Former Buffalo priest accused of abuse in California lawsuit
“An Episcopal priest in California who formerly served as a Catholic priest in the Buffalo Diocese was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a woman in the Town of Tonawanda decades ago(link is external). The abuse is alleged to have happened when the Rev. Paul J. Kowalewski was preparing to be a Catholic priest in Buffalo in the 1970s. Kowalewski, 71, currently is listed as part of the assisting clergy in the Church of St. Paul in the Desert, a parish in Palm Springs in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. He has been an Episcopal priest since 1990.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

COLORADO

Op-Ed: Validity of Catholic Church and Colorado sex abuse report doubtful
“For thirty years, the Catholic Church has been rocked by a steady roar of sexual abuse revelations. Some of its priests have been serially sexually abusing its children. Many of its bishops have been “covering up” these crimes. The massiveness of these crimes — they occurred in significant numbers in every corner of the Catholic world — has dulled our senses to the personal pain of each story. This is a universal story that continues in many forms. A few weeks ago, Colorado announced a new chapter(link is external).” By Terry Kelly, Westword.com

ILLINOIS

Catholic Diocese of Crookston settles clergy sex abuse lawsuit for $5 million
“The diocese of Crookston, Minnesota has settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of child sex abuse survivors(link is external). The agreement is for $5-million. A Twin Cities law firm says the agreement will result in payments to 15 abuse victims and keep the diocese from filing for bankruptcy. The names of priests will also be disclosed.” By KFGO-FM

Chicago Archdiocese removes priest from duties after allegations of sexual abuse that took place two decades ago
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has removed a priest from pastoral duties in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) that took place two decades ago. In a Saturday (Jul. 13) letter to members of two South Side parishes, Cardinal Blase Cupich says the Rev. William McFarlane was asked to step aside from ministry after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office revealed the allegation.” By Associated Press in Chicago Tribune

KANSAS

Kansas Bureau of Investigation receives 119 reports of a use in Catholic clergy investigation
“The Kansas Bureau of Investigation releases new details on their task force investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy members in Kansa(link is external)s. You’ll remember, the KBI launched that investigation back in February, at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Kansans were asked to report any victimization by members of the clergy, church employees, volunteers or others in positions of authority within the church. Since that time, the KBI has received 119 reports from victims who’ve contacted them related to past sexual abuse. Those reports prompted 74 investigations in 33 Kansas counties.” By KWCH-TV12 News

Kansas City Kansas Archdiocese priest charged with possessing child pornography
“A priest who served at several locations under the Kansas City, Kansas, Archdiocese has been charged in federal court with possessing child pornography(link is external). Christopher Rossman allegedly possessed visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct in September 2016, according to charging documents.” By Katie Moore, The Kansas City Star

KENTUCKY

St. Xavier High School releases list of brothers the school says were ‘credibly accused’ of abusing children
“St. X has released a list of brothers the school says were ‘credibly accused’ of abusing kids(link is external). The list was created with the help of a retired FBI agent, who reviewed records going back decades. Fourteen brothers once assigned to St. X were named, dating from the 1930s until the 80s. Of those, only the allegations against three happened during their time at the school.” By WDRB-TV News

LOUISIANA

Lake Charles Diocese knew of abusers years before listed dates; helped priests continue careers
“The Diocese of Lake Charles joined its six Louisiana counterparts three months ago in releasing a list of clergymen from its jurisdiction who have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors. The lists were intended to answer nationwide public demands for accountability and transparency. But although the Lake Charles list named predatory priests, it did so in a way that was less than transparent(link is external).” By Ben Myers, The Acadiana Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Retired judge will investigate sexual abuse allegations against late bishop
“A retired judge will review a Chicopee man’s allegation that former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon subjected him to sexual abuse in the 1960s(link is external). The man and his allies are taking a wait-and-see approach to the news. The Springfield diocese announced Monday (Jul. 22) that Peter A. Velis, a retired Superior Court judge, will begin work immediately to investigate reports from a former altar boy that Weldon not only assaulted him, but facilitated his abuse and that of other children by local clergy.” By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

Xaverian Brothers release names of members of credibly accused of abuse
“The Xaverian Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious order that operates five high schools in Massachusetts, has identified 34 men found to be credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external) dating back to the early 20th century. At least a dozen of those named were associated with St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers and at least five men worked at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood. Others taught at Malden Catholic High School and St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, according to the list.” By Danny McDonald and Alison Kuznitz, The Boston Globe

MICHIGAN

Catholic Diocese of Saginaw adds eight religious order clergy to list of those accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has added the names of eight religious-order clergy to its website naming those who, according to the church, have at least one credible allegation of child sexual abuse against them(link is external). Church officials could not be reached immediately for comment. But the Saginaw Diocese website now includes the names of several members of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and one member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Six of the eight people named are deceased.” By Zahra Ahmad, MLive.com

Priest roundup shows Michigan attorney general isn’t letting justice evade victims
“Bringing cases against priests based on decades-old incidents shows how determined Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is to use her resources in the now years-long Catholic Church abuse scandal(link is external). It must have been a shock to the six men arrested around the world May 24; most had been living quietly in other states for decades. But Nessel knew what they most likely didn’t: The clock on Michigan’s statute of limitations law stops running when the accused perpetrator leaves Michigan. The arrests sent a clear signal to church leaders and to victims: she’s leaving no stone unturned.” By Michael Betzold, DeadlineDetroit.com

NEW MEXICO

Face to face with Brad Hall: fighting for victims of clergy sex abuse
“Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall has represented more than 200 victims of priest sex abuse(link is external) in New Mexico. As his years-long legal battle nears its conclusion in federal bankruptcy proceedings, Hall talked about the legal and emotional journey that began with an unlikely visit.” By Kent Walz, Albuquerque Journal

NEW YORK

Bronx sisters reach settlement with New York Archdiocese over sexual assaults in their home b parish priest
“Two Bronx sisters sexually abused by a trusted parish priest(link is external) inside their home during the 1970s reached a settlement with the Archdiocese of New York over the childhood assaults. ‘In bringing this into the light, the evil cannot hide and we can begin the healing process,’ said Imelda Maldonado Davis, 54, at a Tuesday (Jul. 23) news conference outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ‘And we can protect all of our children.’ By Mikey Light and Larry McShane

Bishop Malone says Olean listening session was ‘most powerful’ yet
“Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone called his listening session last month in Olean ‘the most powerful’ one yet, according to meeting notes from a group of lay people working with the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo(link is external). The embattled Malone spoke to and listened to local parishioners for two hours June 29 at Archbishop Walsh Academy as part of his listening sessions about the diocese’s clergy sexual abuse crisis. While media was not permitted in the session, the Movement to Restore Trust, an initiative of lay people that is hosting the listening sessions, posted its own notes from the session on its website.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Holy Trinity forged to fight sexual abuse crisis in Catholic Diocese
The Child Victims Act fully becomes New York law on Aug. 14. It is expected to bring a new wave of sexual abuse cases into the light(link is external), as the law allows more survivors their day in court. It also adds more urgency to the work currently underway to transform the Buffalo Catholic Diocese into a place of healing for those who have lost faith in the church. Canisius College President John Hurley and other lay Catholic leaders organized the Movement to Restore Trust in the fall of last year to ensure the sexual abuse crisis in the church never happens again … One of the nine points was to bring in an independent collaboration of prominent laity, religious and clergy called Leadership Roundtable to facilitate the work. ” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM, Buffalo’s National Public Radio Station

NORTH CAROLINA

Observer, other media seek to unseal records from lawsuits against Catholic diocese
“News outlets including The Charlotte Observer have filed joint court motions that seek to unseal documents in two lawsuits that claimed sexual abuse(link is external) by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. Both lawsuits were resolved in favor of the 46-county diocese. The media group argues that documents the diocese had asked to be sealed, as part of motions for summary judgment in the cases, are of significant public interest. Television stations WBTV, WCNC and WSOC are also part of the group.” By Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer

Abuse survivor calls for transparency within Charlotte Catholic Diocese
“The Catholic church abuse scandal erupted years ago, but there are still demands for accountability. Names of church leaders accused of abuse have been released city by city, but not in Charlotte(link is external). A survivor told Channel 9 his calls for action have been ignored. ‘I want them to know that I have not disappeared,’ he said.” By WSOC-TV9 News

NORTH DAKOTA

Belcourt woman publicly accuses priest of sexual assault during confession, sues Fargo Diocese
“Kateri Marion said she felt abandoned by Catholic leaders when she reported that a priest at her church in Belcourt, N.D., sexually abused her(link is external) three years ago. ‘I can’t tell you how scared I was when I came forward,’ she said Thursday, July 11, during a news conference held at the law offices of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo. ‘When I came forward, they left me in despair to pick up the pieces myself.’” By April Baumgarten, InForum.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Alleged victim of clergy sex abuse sues Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop
“A man who claims he was sexually abused by two priests in the Diocese of Harrisburg(link is external) in the 1960s is now filing a lawsuit against the Diocese, a former Bishop, and the current Bishop. This is after he turned down a victim compensation fund offer. From 1960-1965, Donald Asbee says two priests repeatedly raped and sexually abused him while he served as an altar boy. He’s now suing the Diocese, one former Bishop, and the current Bishop, for punitive damages. Asbee claims he was sexually assaulted first by Father Raymond Daugherty when he became an altar boy at age 9.” By ErieNewsNow.com

Catholic clergy sex abuse lawsuit loophole announcement
“The first of its kind lawsuit is being announced at the PA State Capitol Tuesday (Jul. 23) morning on behalf of a Catholic Clergy child sexual abuse survivor. At 10:30 Tuesday morning a man who said he’s a survivor of child sex abuse from two priests(link is external) is speaking out. The plaintiff lives in Missouri, but as a child he lived in Milton, Penn., an hour north of Harrisburg. While serving as an altar boy he says he was repeatedly raped by two Harrisburg Diocese priests at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church. Up to this point, the statute of limitations prohibited many child sex abuse survivors from filing. But according to a new ruling, there’s a lawsuit loophole.” By Christine McLarty, ABC-TV27 News

RHODE ISLAND

AG’s review goes beyond church’s list of ‘credible’ accusations
“Rhode Island’s attorney general said Friday (Jul. 12) that it will be several more months before he is finished reviewing allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy(link is external) in the state. Democrat Peter Neronha said he continues to review allegations of clergy sexual abuse to figure out what happened, what the response was and whether anyone can be held responsible.” By Jennifer McDermott, Associated Press in The Sun

TENNESSEE

Former altar boy was abused by a Knoxville priest and ex-bishop, lawsuit alleges
“An East Tennessee man says he was repeatedly sexually abused by a longtime priest and the first bishop of the Knoxville diocese(link is external), and was offered up to visiting priests for ‘inappropriate sexual conduct’ in a church sacristy. Attorneys for Blount County resident Michael Boyd are suing the Diocese of Knoxville in a Knox County Circuit Court lawsuit filed July 18. Boyd’s lawyer said he is OK with his name being used in news reports.” By Amy McRary, Knoxville News Sentinel

TEXAS

Jury finds former El Paso priest guilty in sexual assault trial
“A jury has found former El Paso priest Miguel Luna guilty on all 12 counts of sexual assault of a minor(link is external). Closing arguments took place and a third victim testified on Monday (Jul. 14), saying Luna raped her. In closing arguments, the state told jurors Luna used his position to sexually assault and that religion had nothing to do with the incident and told them that God was used to groom and rape the victim.” By Justin Kree and Marisa Saenz, CBS-TV4 News

VIRGINIA

Priest list includes affiliation and status
“The Diocese of Richmond added six priests to its list of clergy with credible and substantiated claims of child sexual abuse(link is external), Thursday, June 27. In a statement released simultaneously with the six names, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said, ‘As we continue to engage with survivors of abuse and learn more about the history of our diocese, we continue our commitment to transparency. It is my sincere hope that the additions of these individual will help provide healing for anyone who suffered at their hands.” By The Catholic Virginian

Norfolk Catholic priest suspended after new complaint over conduct
“The Richmond Diocese suspended a Norfolk priest Friday (Jul. 12) after a complaint about a violation of the church’s code of conduct with minors(link is external), according to a news release from the church. Bishop Barry C. Knestout suspended the priestly faculties of Father Joseph H. Metzger III, former pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church on Newport Avenue near Colonial Avenue and the Talbot Park neighborhood.” By Saleen Martin, The Virginia Pilot

Faith leaders now mandatory reporters of abuse under new law
“Faith leaders in Virginia are now required to report suspected child abuse(link is external). Legislation that went into effect July 1 adds ministers, priests, rabbis, and imams to the list of mandated reporters. But victim advocates say they want the law to go further. Becky Ianni with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said she hopes the law will increase reporting of child abuse, but is concerned about what she identifies as a loophole.” By WCEV-FM National Public Radio

WASHINGTON

These priests are accused of sexual abuse in the Tri-Cities area, shows Catholic Church list
“A list of Catholic Church priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) in Benton County has been made public on a new website. The list posted by the Yakima Diocese Lay Advisory Board at bit.ly/YakimaAbuseList names 21 men who served the church in areas of central and eastern Washington under the Yakima Diocese. Franklin County is in the Spokane Diocese and not covered by the list.” By Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald

WISCONSIN

St. Norbert Abbey releases list of 22 Norbertine priests known to have abused minors
“St. Norbert Abbey has identified 22 Norbertine priests who sexually assaulted minors over six decades(link is external). The abbey on Friday (Jul. 19) released the list of names after an investigation into abuse allegations conducted by an outside organization. Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, abbot of St. Norbert, said in a letter that he chose to publish the findings ‘in the spirit of accountability.’” By Haley BeMiller, Green Bay Press-Gazette

AUSTRALIA

New guidelines inform Church’s response to abuse
“The Catholic Church is developing new national policy guidelines to strengthen and standardize Church authorities’ responses to historical and contemporary concerns and allegations of abuse of children and vulnerable adults(link is external). Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the development of the guidelines is a critical step forward in the Church’s ongoing response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.” By Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference

CHILE

Chile ends statute of limitations for sex crimes with underage victims
“Chile has removed the statute of limitation on sex crimes against children and adolescents(link is external), though the new law is not retroactive. The move comes in the wake of major controversies about abusive Catholic clergy and attempts at reform in the Catholic Church in Chile.” By Catholic News Agency

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Priest ‘systematically’ abused boys at St. Joseph’s College, court told
“A Catholic priest sexually abused two boys ‘regularly, systematically and horrifically(link is external),’ a jury was told. Michael Higginbottom, 76, is accused of targeting pupils while he was a teacher in the 1970s and 1980s at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, Lancashire. Two complainants said they were abused in his living quarters at the boarding school, Burnley Crown Court heard.” By BBC News

GUAM

Preist sexally abused Dededo boy at Talofofo Falls camping
“A lawsuit filed on Wednesday (Jul. 24) alleges that Father Louis Brouillard sexually abused a Dededo boy(link is external) during a weekend camping trip at Talofofo Falls around the late 1960s. The plaintiff, identified in federal court documents only by the initials B.A. to protect his privacy, was a member of the Boy Scouts of America from around 1969 to 1971.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News

Catholic priest, Father Andrew Manetta, accused in new molestation case
“A man who took confirmation classes at the Chalan Pago church in the mid-1980s, when he was a teenager, has accused Father Andrew Manetta, who was parish priest at the time, of sexually assaulting him during a sleepover(link is external). The man, identified in Superior Court of Guam documents by the initials L.L.L., has asked for at least $5 million in damages from the Capuchin Franciscans, Manetta’s religious order.” By Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News

Father Adrian Cristobal, accused of sex abuse in Guam, is missing after leaving Phoenix
“Father Adrian Cristobal, who was on sabbatical in Phoenix until recently and is accused of sexually abusing two boys(link is external) more than 20 years ago in Guam, has not returned to the island as ordered by the church. Two men filed separate civil suits in federal court in Guam in April and May accusing Cristobal of sexual abuse. Cristobal had arrived in Phoenix in December 2017 for sabbatical with a letter of good standing, the Phoenix Diocese said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic.” By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Arizona Republic

INDIA

India toughens law to protect children from sexual abuse
“The Indian government has toughened a law against child sexual abuse and child pornography(link is external). The law amended this week has increased the maximum penalty for child sex abuse to capital punishment from 20 years in prison. The government also defined child pornography for the first time and made the penalties more stringent, with a maximum punishment up to three years in prison.” By Associated Press

MEXICO

Mexico conference aims to help Latin America fight abuse in the church
“Pope Francis wants an ‘apostleship of prevention’ when it comes to abuse, he said in a new video. ‘Any person, a lay man or woman, a religious man or woman, a priest, a bishop, who prevents children from reaching Jesus must be stopped while we’re still in time, or punished if they’ve committed a crime,’ Francis said in a video he sent last week to the 170 participants of a five-week program on abuse prevention at the Pontifical University of Mexico(link is external).” By Inès San Martin, Cruxnow.com, on AngelusNews.com

POLAND

Polish abuse scandal: victims take on the Catholic Church
“Marek Mielewczyk was a 13-year-old altar boy when a priest asked him to come to his presbytery. ‘This is where I was abused for the first time(link is external),’ he says. He is one of several victims, now adults, featured in a documentary about Polish priests who sexually abused children. Tomasz and Marek Sekielski’s film, Don’t Tell Anyone, was watched 20 million times in the first week of its digital release – and prompted an unprecedented challenge to Poland’s Roman Catholic Church.” By Adam Easton, BBC News, Warsaw

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

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

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

CLERICALISM

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

ARIZONA

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

ARKANSAS

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

CALIFORNIA

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

CONNECTICUT

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

FLORIDA

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

ILLINOIS

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

KENTUCKY

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

LOUISIANA

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

MINNESOTA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

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

OHIO

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

OKLAHOMA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

TEXAS

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

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

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

VIRGINIA

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

WASHINGTON

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

AFRICA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

CANADA

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

CHILE

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

INDIA

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

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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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


May 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

Francis mandates clergy abuse reporting worldwide, empowers archbishops to do investigations
“Pope Francis issued sweeping new laws for the Catholic Church on the investigation of clergy sexual abuse(link is external) 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.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Francis: Women deacons commission gave split report on their role in early church
“The Vatican commission studying the history of women serving as deacons in the Catholic Church has been unable to find consensus on their role in the early centuries of Christianity and is yet to give a ‘definitive response(link is external),’ Pope Francis said May 7. In a press conference aboard the flight back to Rome after his three-day visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the pope said the primary question is whether women who served as deacons were ordained in a manner similar to male deacons. Each of the 12 members of the commission, said Francis, ‘thought differently.’ By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Ruling lets abuse survivor proceed with suit against California bishops
“A Los Angeles, California, superior court has ruled that a survivor of sexual abuse can sue the state’s Catholic bishops(link is external) and the California Catholic Conference. In a press conference livestreamed from Burbank, California, April 29, survivor of clergy sexual abuse Tom Emens spoke alongside attorneys with the Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm.” By Maria Benevento, National Catholic Reporter

Illinois Catholic Church didn’t disclose hundreds of abuse cases, new attorney general finding shows
“Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Illinois six Roman Catholic dioceses failed to disclose at least 500 sexual abuse cases involving priests(link is external). That’s one of the first findings the office has released so far in its ongoing investigation of the dioceses. In an interview last week, Madigan said one of the goals of the investigation is to uncover both the extent of sexual abuse incidents in Illinois’ Catholic Church and whether church officials tried to cover them up.” By Sam Dunklau, Illinois Public Radio

If leaked draft for Curia reform is for real, the Vatican is headed for disaster
“If there is any truth to the leaks concerning the Vatican’s forthcoming proposal to reform the Curia, it is going to be a disappointment and a disaster(link is external). A draft of the proposal, expected to be published at the end of June, was obtained by a Spanish weekly, Vida Nueva, and as the Vatican has not pushed back on its analysis, the Catholic News Service and other Vatican reporters are taking it seriously.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

At Rome’s American seminary, scandals aren’t deterring future priests
“‘None of us would have asked for this scandal and the hurt it’s caused,’ said Father Peter Harman, a priest of Springfield, Ill., and rector of the NAC (North American College) since 2016. ‘But perhaps, and I trust in God’s goodness, if this makes us want to be priests for the right reasons, then let it be.(link is external)’” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Editorial: George Weigel, wrong then, wrong now
“The Catholic University of America decided to give the final guest speaker spot in its commendable series of four programs(link is external) examining the priest sex abuse crisis to George Weigel. That was unfortunate, because his long-discredited narrative about the causes of the scandal and his illusory ideas about how to deal with it do a great disservice to the Catholic faithful in this moment when so much of the church is finally squaring up to the awful truth.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for?
“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(link is external)? 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 … 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

ACCOUNTABILITY

Attorneys reviewing ‘massive’ number of documents in Catholic Church investigation
“Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is working around the clock and then some in its review of thousands of pages of information(link is external) seized from Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses. More than 25 assistant attorneys general are assigned to the investigation, in addition to their other assignments, and several regularly work for free on the weekends to process the ‘massive’ amounts of information, said Nessel’s spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney.” By Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News

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 in the state(link is external). 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 Saunders, The Legal Examiner

Los Angeles Archdiocese’s handling of sex abuse cases under investigation by attorney general
“The California attorney general’s office will review how the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has handled sexual abuse allegations(link is external), including whether it followed mandatory reporting requirements to law enforcement, according to a letter reviewed by The Times. The letter, dated Thursday (May 2), from Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to Archbishop Jose Gomez, requests that church officials preserve an array of documents related to clergy abuse allegations.” By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

Catholic University sex abuse series wraps with starkly different viewpoints
“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(link is external) 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.” By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter

How far can statewide investigation of Catholic Church sex abuse go?
“Peter J. Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, has one goal in the review of sex abuse allegations in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Savannah Diocese. ‘We will follow the facts where they lead us and go from there(link is external),’ said Skandalakis, a career prosecutor, who joined PAC last year after more than two decades in public office. There could be further investigation or, perhaps, prosecutions by local district attorneys.” By Sheila M. Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A lawsuit against all of California’s bishops will be allowed to proceed
“Last year, a California man sued bishops from every one of California’s 11 dioceses(link is external), arguing that the church’s history of concealing abusers’ identities is a threat to free speech. This month, a California judge ruled that some of the claims in the lawsuit would be allowed to proceed—a decision that could force church officials to release the names of alleged abusers in dioceses across the state.” By Emily Moon, Pacific Standard Magazine

Vatican reveals more about guidelines on children of priests
“The Vatican has confirmed that guidelines on dealing with Catholic priests who father children are sent to any episcopal conference(link is external) that requests them. Mgr Andrea Ripa, of the Congregation for the Clergy, wrote to Vincent Doyle, founder of the Coping International, which defends the rights of children of priests worldwide, confirming the policy of the Vatican concerning the document.” By Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet

POPE FRANCIS

Documentary chronicles Francis by showing Church changing the world
“An El Salvadoran countryside, a Canadian mosque, a carpenter’s workshop on the small Italian island of Lampedusa and a family home in Minnesota serve as the setting of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation’s latest documentary, The Francis Impact(link is external). Unlike most Vatican or papal-themed documentaries, there’s little footage of Rome. Instead, the documentary – released May 5 – aims to turn the viewer’s attention to the often forgotten regions of the world, much like the mission of its protagonist.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis urged to end clergy abuse in Argentina
“Pope Francis is being urged by campaigners to return to his homeland to deal with revelations of child sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic clergy. Two international campaign organizations are in Argentina to meet the victims(link is external). They are also calling for clergy involved in abuse to be removed from office and to be prosecuted.” By Daniel Schweimier, Al Jazeera

Letter signed by more than 1,500 accuses Pope Francis of the ‘canonical delict of heresey’
“A group of Catholic scholars and priests has written an open letter to the College of Bishops accusing Pope Francis of heresy(link is external). The letter, published by LifeSiteNews April 30, accuses Francis of a ‘comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins’ and is framed as the third step in a process that began with a private letter to the cardinals and Eastern Catholic patriarchs in 2016.” By Maria Benevento, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

In Washington meeting, U.S. bishops dialogue with abuse victims
“On May 1, just behind the walls where the tales of abuse and healing were on display, a small group of Catholics just like the ones in the stories gathered with bishops, clergy, victim advocates and others for a daylong event on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church(link is external), but also to acknowledge the pain caused, to offer comfort, express sorrow, to share a meal, to pray and extend the wish to heal a broken trust.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Profile of women religious rising at the Vatican
“The Vatican can move at a snail’s pace but looking back over the past six years, the profile of women, especially women religious, at Vatican events has risen sharply(link is external). The Roman Curia is not teeming with women leaders and Pope Francis has given no indication, for example, that he will open the diaconate to women, but women are taking center stage more often and doing so with the ‘parrhesia’ or boldness Francis encourages.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

International Union of Superiors General advocates for women, sees influence grow
“In the three years since Pope Francis announced he would create a commission to study the history of women deacons in the Catholic Church(link is external), signaling a possible openness to ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy, there has been little news about the group’s work … Now, that looks set to change. Approximately 850 leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious are preparing to come to Rome May 6-10 for their triennial weeklong meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), an umbrella organization that represents more than 450,000 sisters and nuns around the world.” By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Vatican relaunches women’s magazine team after resignations
“The Vatican announced a new editorial leadership team for its women’s magazine(link is external)Tuesday (Apr. 30), following the clamorous exit of its previous editor who alleged a campaign of delegitimization by the Holy See’s communications operation. Three of the members of the editorial team of Women Church World previously worked for the magazine and stayed on following the resignation of founder Lucetta Scaraffia and other editorial committee members in March.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Speakers address role of laity as church moves forward from abuse scandal
“In introductory remarks during a conference examining the laity’s role in helping the Church move forward from the clergy abuse crisis(link is external), a speaker pointed out that what has happened impacts, and continues to affect, the whole Church. ‘We can’t fix the Church by our own efforts,’ but Catholics, like Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry the cross, ‘can carry some of the weight,’ said Stephen White, executive director of The Catholic Project, a group sponsored by The Catholic University of America in response to the Church abuse crisis.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Rome conference ponders the rise of ‘everyday’ lay saints
“Since the beginning of his pontificate, one of the things Pope Francis has advocated most vocally is a less clerical church with a greater involvement of laypeople at every level(link is external), including the Roman Curia. At a time when the push for lay leadership is growing in the wake of further scandals related to Catholicism’s global sexual abuse crisis, with many arguing lay intervention would help break a systemic cycle of cover-up among bishops and priests, a Rome conference has highlighted the lives of seven lay individuals whose causes for sainthood are underway …” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

Young progressive Catholics really do care about the church
“Almost every conversation I listen to about the future of the Catholic Church in the United States makes two assumptions(link is external). First, that the only young adults still interested in the Catholic Church are very conservative. Second, that all of the other young adults have either rejected the church or are utterly indifferent to it. If that is the case, why do campus ministry programs at progressive Catholic universities have their liturgies packed with students, and why are there waiting lists for their retreat programs and immersion trips?” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

The hopes and challenges of priestly celibacy today
“Celibacy in the priesthood is once again up for discussion. The diminished number of candidates for ordination and the abuse crisis have prodded the discussion, which seems mainly focused on the elimination of celibacy as a mandatory discipline for priests(link is external)in the Western church. But a more foundational concern, in my estimation, needs our reflection before we consider any change. That concern has to do with formation for celibacy and formation in celibacy.” By Louis J. Carroll, America: The Jesuit Review

CHURCH REFORM

Call to Action – the ‘loyal left opposition’ – reorganizes amid an uncertain future
“About a mile west of Wrigley Field, in Chicago’s trendy Roscoe Village neighborhood, sits a three-story, yellow-brick building, where those who can’t afford the nearby million-dollar, single-family homes can get a three-bedroom condo for half that. The building’s first-floor commercial occupants are a spiritual gift shop and bookstore run by volunteers and open only on the weekends, and Call to Action, the 40-year-old Catholic church reform organization(link is external).” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Secretariat of State looks to become even stronger in Vatican reforms
“After nearly 6 years of work, it looks like the new governing constitution of the Vatican should be published by the end of the summer(link is external). On Saturday (Apr. 20), the Spanish publication Nueva Vida will publish an article outlining some of the changes in the document, called Praedicate Evangelium, which Crux reported on earlier this week. The big news is that the once-dominant Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is being effectively demoted. A new ‘super-dicastery’ for evangelization will be given pride of place in the new order, with another ‘super-dicastery’ for charity also superseding the CDF in the new Vatican hierarchy.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Plenary Council changing how faithful communicate
“The Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council 2020 process has changed the way people within the Church communicate with one another(link is external), three key figures have explained. Source, according to ACBC Media Blog … Plenary Council coordinators from the Diocese of Sale, Archdiocese of Brisbane and Diocese of Darwin – part of a network of more than 40 local coordinators across the nation – told Media Blog the Listening and Dialogue process has had a profound and nourishing impact on people in their communities.” By CathNews.com

Vermont synod yields proposals on communications, evangelizing, parish life
“Recommendations on evangelization, vibrant parishes and communications emerged from the Diocese of Burlington’s first synod to be held since before the Second Vatican Council(link is external) took place. On April 16, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne promulgated the documents of the synod at the annual chrism Mass April 16 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington. Recommendations on evangelization, vibrant parishes and communications emerged from the Diocese of Burlington’s first synod to be held since before the Second Vatican Council took place.” By Cori Fugere Urban, Cruxnow.com

Number of ‘nones’ in the U.S. ties with Catholics
“Americans who do not identify with any religion are now as big a part of the country’s population as Catholics and evangelical Christians(link is external), according to a new survey, according to “Our Sunday Visitor.” The General Social Survey, which interviewed more than 2,000 people in 2018, indicates that the religiously unaffiliated, if the present trend continues, will comprise the largest segment of the United States’ population within four to six years.” By CathNews.com

Catholics on Delmarva: Holding firm or struggling with faith
“Jackie Conner is a self-identified ‘cradle Catholic.’ Growing up in the faith, she attended mass every Sunday with her family in Troy, New York, and has continued the tradition each week with her husband, Ernie, since moving to Salisbury in the late 1970s. But it wasn’t always like that. In the early weeks of their 1954 marriage, Jackie said she resisted the Sunday ritual(link is external) because her mother wasn’t there to make her go.” By Rose Velazquez, DelmarvaNow.com

Michigan residents leaving the Catholic Church as many turn away from religion
“The Catholic Church has loomed large over Gloria Emmons’ life.

Growing up in metro Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, her devout Catholic family was surrounded by other devout Catholics. Everybody went to church on Sundays. Nobody ate meat on Fridays. Almost every home had a statue of Mary … But today, Emmons describes herself as an ‘ambivalent’ Catholic(link is external).” By Julie Mack and Scott Levin, MLive.com

VOICES

The Heat: Catholic Church sexual abuse
“Pope Francis, the leader of over 1 billion Roman Catholics across the world, is visiting Eastern Europe this week with stops in Bulgaria and North Macedonia. He has been talking about issues like wealth inequality and he’s defended migrants. But, an issue that still dominates the pontiff’s attention is the decades-old child sexual abuse crisis involving Catholic clergy. Earlier this year he brought together leaders of the Catholic Church from around the globe to the Vatican as he tried to address it. CGTN’s John Gilmore filed this report, and discussions included(link is external) Tim Lennon, sexual abuse survivor and President of SNAP; Ray Flynn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican; Matthias Katsch, German activist who was sexually abused; and Donna Doucette, executive director of a Voice of the Faithful.” By Nathan King, CGTN-TV

Why I stayed, and why I’m leaving: The Church Must Comfort, not Judge
“My daughter Moy Moy died suddenly and unexpectedly in July 2018. My first Commonweal column—written in 1999 when she was ten years old—was about her. Our pediatrician had told us then that Moy probably only had months left to live. My column was about our anguish and grief; about what we had learned from her brief life(link is external) and how much we still didn’t understand. Longtime Commonweal readers may remember that our pediatrician got it wrong. Moy Moy didn’t die.” By Jo McGowan, Commonweal

Here’s how the Catholic Church can mopve from vague promises to bold action, former federal official says
“While in some ways a hopeful step, a four-day meeting in Rome earlier this year called by Pope Francis to respond to the sexual abuse crisis that has impacted the lives of countless victims(link is external) and undermined the moral authority of the Catholic Church was sadly bereft of concrete reform. There is still ample opportunity for the Church to recover from the decades-old scandal and regain the trust of the public, but it will require fundamental reforms in two critical areas that permitted and then covered up those abuses: bishop accountability and Church governance.” By Tom Healey, Star-Ledger

Ideological bias cannot taint our approach to sexual abuse
“Since last summer I have taken part in about a dozen panels and programs across this country that were organized to discuss the causes and consequences of the crisis of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) by members of the Catholic clergy. I have visited several cities and met people from every walk of life—victims, survivors, bishops, priests and religious, lay leaders, moms and dads, young and old. It has been humbling, enlightening and inspiring to take part in these important conversations—the most important conversation we could ever have.” By Mat Malone, America: The Jesuit Review

Confronting the specters
“Paul Elie, a friend and valued contributor to Commonweal for nearly three decades, has written a long article for the New Yorker on the renewed upheaval over clergy sexual abuse(link is external). It is a confusing and ultimately disappointing piece, which conflates older crimes and contemporary revelations while providing little explanation for the varying patterns of priestly sexual abuse and the church’s different responses over the past fifty years.” By Paul Baumann, Commonweal

Your thoughts on Pope Francis’ sixth year, clericalism, unbelief and more
“NCR readers are welcome to join the conversation and send us a letter to the editor. Below is a sampling of letters received in the month of March 2019(link is external). If you want to respond to an article published in NCR, follow the steps listed at the end of this post ― When Francis was elected pope, I didn’t pay much attention (and I’m a priest). Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI’s episcopal nominees had already left me cold. Not as cold and abandoned as I felt in the presence of the schismatic Roman Curia, which has long since abandoned the people of God, but frozen enough to feel that in matters of faith I’d just have to weather through on my own …” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholics want church to invest in ethical funds, survey says

“More than 90% of Catholics said they believe that Catholic organizations should invest church funds in ways that are consistent with church teaching and values(link is external), according to results of a new survey. In addition, about 31% of respondents to the survey conducted by Boston-based Catholic Investment Services said that news of clergy sexual abuse and the church’s handling of such allegations has caused them to give less to their parish. Still, 7% of respondents said they have given more to their parish. However, 41% of respondents said they either plan to donate less to their parish or are considering giving less in the future.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Fatal flaw: Drafting error sinks child sex crime bill
“New Mexico was poised this year to join a wave of states nationwide that are allowing victims of child sex crimes more time to report their perpetrators for possible criminal prosecution(link is external). A last-minute clerical error derailed that effort – at least for this year. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was forced to veto the legislation last month, because her legal team found a fatal flaw that would have given some victims even less time to report the crime than they have under current law.” By Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic priest sex abuse scandal hits home, with more pain sure to come
“‘What’s next?” Roman Catholics worldwide are asking as their church reels amid explosive revelations of sexual assault and abuse of minors by priests(link is external). It certainly has hit home for me. During Mass in January, a representative of the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that the beloved pastor of my church had been accused of sexual abusing a minor in 1979, while serving in a south suburban parish.” By Laura Washington, Chicago Sun Times

My priest was an accused abuser: the Catholic sex abuse story gets personal
“In the photograph, I am smiling brightly, and so are the two men I am standing next to. One is the future father of my children. The other is currently accused of sexual abuse involving ‘multiple’ victims(link is external): his name is Robert Chabak. That’s how he signed my marriage certificate. We called him Father Bob. I’ve wondered over the last several years, of course, about the priests of my youth. As revelation upon revelation of sexual abuse in the Catholic church has emerged, I asked myself if I had known any of the men involved, if the cash I’d faithfully tucked into my collection plate envelopes had gone toward settlements with victims.” By Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro says clergy abuse shadows Catholics’ Notre Dame response
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Joshua Shapiro was impressed with the response of the Catholic Church and Catholics around the world when Notre Dame went up in flames last week in Paris. But he’s disappointed in what he sees as the church’s lackluster response to protecting clergy abuse victims(link is external). In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Shapiro took the church to task for spending millions to influence lawmakers to block his recommendation that they open a window of opportunity for abuse survivors with old claims to sue the church.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

CALIFORNIA

Victim shares story of clergy sexual abuse at Jesuit high school
“A man who says he was sexually abused by a Jesuit brother(link is external) his freshman year of Catholic School is speaking out. Kurt Hoffmann says he was assaulted by his swim coach Brother William Farrington. Now he’s sharing his story and hoping other victims feel inspired to do the same.” By Marissa Perlman, CBS-TV13 News

San Francisco among last Catholic dioceses in state to withhold names of accused clergy
“A lawsuit that would force the Archdiocese of San Francisco to release the names of clergy accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) was allowed to proceed last week. The Archdiocese of San Francisco is among 11 diocese across the state that, along with the California Catholic Conference (CCC), are named in the lawsuit that could force church officials to release the names of alleged abusers and provide documents on clerical offenders. The lawsuit alleges that these documents are kept in the dioceses possession, concealed from the public.” By Laura Waxmann, San Francisco Examiner

Man vows to proceed with California clergy abuse lawsuit
“A man who says he was molested by his parish priest(link is external) decades ago vows to proceed with a lawsuit targeting all Catholic bishops in California after a judge dismissed part of the suit. The so-called ‘nuisance’ lawsuit filed in October by Thomas Emens claims a civil conspiracy among church officials to cover up clergy assault and move offending priests to other parishes.” By Associated Press on SFGate.com

Credible sex abuse claims levied against three former Winters priests, one deacon, diocese says
“Three Catholic priests and one deacon who previously served at churches in Winters had credible claims of sexual abuse and other misconduct levied against them(link is external) across a span of several decades, according to a list published early Tuesday (Apr. 29) morning by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. Those names were among nearly four dozen priests and other clergy members identified by church officials as having been ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors and young people in the Diocese of Sacramento,’ a statement released by church officials said on Tuesday.” By Matthew Keys, Winters Express

‘Necessary reckoning’ – Sacramento Catholic diocese to publish list of accused clergy, bishop says
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento will release a list this week naming priests and deacons determined to have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), Bishop Jaime Soto said in a letter Sunday (Apr. 28). ‘The list will account for our history of sexual abuse over the last seven decades and is a necessary reckoning for our local Church,’ Soto wrote. ‘I am repulsed and heartbroken by the evil acts that were perpetrated upon the innocent by those entrusted with their care. When you read the list you will experience your own feelings of shock, anger and disgust. This undoubtedly will reopen wounds for some.’” By Michael McGough, The Sacramento Bee

Sexual misconduct allegation levied against Fresno Catholic Diocese priest
“A 59-year-old priest with the Diocese of Fresno is on leave after being accused of sexual misconduct in Firebaugh(link is external). Rev. Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison is being investigated after the allegation was made this month by an adult male, who was a minor when the alleged offense happened, according to a statement from the diocese.” By Yesenia Amaro, Sacramento Bee

GEORGIA

Statewide investigation launched into sex abuse allegations in Catholic Church
“Georgia has become the latest state to launch an investigation into past sexual abuse claims within the Catholic Church(link is external), Attorney General Chris Carr said Tuesday (Apr. 30). The repercussions could be widespread. In Pennsylvania, a grand jury report identified hundreds of priests accused of molesting at least 1,000 minors over the past seven decades in that state.” By Shelia M. Poole and Christian Boone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ILLINOIS

Swansea Roman Catholic clergyman charged with sexual assault
“A clergyman with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville was charged Friday (Apr. 26) with sexually assaulting an adult woman on March 1. Deacon Robert J. Lanter, 68, of Swansea, was charged with felony criminal sexual assault, and is accused of assaulting a 29-year-old woman who was unable to give consent(link is external).” By Erin Heffernan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

KENTUCKY

Allegations against Fr. Bradley turned over to Vatican
“When Mark Lyon heard that the allegations made against Father Bradley were substantiated(link is external), he broke down. He would have never dreamed that the man he has known and respected could ever be involved in something like this. ‘When all of these other allegations went on with the other priests, I would have said… Father Bradley? I would have bet everything that I have to say that this would never have happened,’ said Lyon. Lyon tells 14 News that he does not want to believe it’s true. But he is not sure what to believe.” By Joseph Payton, WFIE-TV14 News

MASSACHUSETTS

Former Massachusetts priest John Sweeney sexually abused teens, performed exorcisms on them, according to new allegation
“Nadine Tifft’s faith has been tested. The 37-year-old publicly accused a priest on Tuesday (May 7) of sexually molesting her as a teenager growing up in New England(link is external). ‘I’m still Catholic,’ she said, but adding, ‘It makes it hard to go to church.’ Two decades ago, Tifft and several friends attended leadership retreats organized through her church for young members. The retreats were held around New England, designed to connect Catholics throughout New England with leaders in the church.” By Michelle Williams, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Lawmakers: State must open courtrooms to priest-abuse survivors
“Two Grand Rapids state lawmakers said the timing could be right this year for legislation that would open courtroom doors for survivors of child sexual abuse(link is external) at the hands of Catholic priests and others. The so-called “window” legislation, which would temporarily eliminate the statute of limitations, could have a huge impact on the Catholic Church in the state.” By Ken Kolker, WOOD-TV8 News

For many abused by priests, no window for justice
“A Barry County man said he was looking for justice when he recently called Target 8, along with the church and the Michigan Attorney General, to report a Roman Catholic priest had molested him when he was 12(link is external). He thought his case was recent enough, just 20 years ago, that he could send his molester to jail or make him and the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids pay by suing them. But while a growing number of states have passed laws allowing survivors in years-old cases to file civil lawsuits, there’s nothing he can legally do in Michigan.” By Ken Kolker, WOOD-TV8 News

Sentencing of ‘Father Bob’ follows year of scandal for Catholic Church and Saginaw Diocese
“A longtime Catholic Diocese of Saginaw priest who pleaded no contest to sex crimes faced sentencing on Thursday, April 25. The Rev. Robert J. ‘Father Bob’ DeLand in March pleaded no contest to second-degree criminal sexual conduct(link is external), gross indecency between two males, and manufacturing or distributing an imitation controlled substance. The most serious charge is second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.” By Heather Jordan, MLive.com

MISSOURI

Missouri bishop urges broader approach to help survivors, parishes heal
“Missouri Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City came face to face with a victim of sexual abuse long before he was a bishop(link is external), when a friend in college confided in him about a rape. That experience, as a friend of a person who has suffered similar trauma, seems to have shaped his approach as a vocal bishop denouncing the clergy sex abuse scandal, even if, at 50, he’s one of the youngest and most junior members of the U.S. Catholic bishops.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

NEW JERSEY

Law firm says it will name 300 New Jersey priests accused of sex abuse, including those not named by the Church
“A New Jersey attorney says he has a list of more than 300 priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) in New Jersey — far more than the 188 priests the Catholic Church has said were ‘credibly accused’ in the state’s dioceses. Attorney Greg Gianforcaro said he will release the list Monday (May 6) at an afternoon press conference where he will announce that an unnamed victim of sexual abuse is filing a lawsuit against New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses alleging they created a “public hazard” by not naming all accused priests.” By Kelly Heyboer, New Jersey Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK

Syracuse Catholic diocese pays $11 million to 79 sex abuse victims
“The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has paid nearly $11 million to settle claims with 79 sex abuse victims(link is external), according to a report released today. The Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program was administered by New York City lawyers Camille Biros and Kenneth Feinberg, who have handled victims’ funds after tragedies including 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing.” By Julie McMahon, Syracuse.com

Long Island diocese declines to release list of priests accused of sexually abusing children
“The Diocese of Rockville Centre will not release a list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children(link is external) although it may do so in the future, church officials said Monday (Apr. 28). The decision is in contrast with those of the Archdiocese of New York and other dioceses around the country which have published such lists.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

New York archdiocese names 120 Catholic clergy members accused of sex abuse
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York on Friday (Apr. 26) identified 115 priests and five deacons who have been accused of sexually abusing a child(link is external) in what is one of the largest disclosures that has been made by the church. The list of clergy members joins a flood of names that have poured from dioceses and religious orders across the country in recent months as the church grapples with a scandal over its handling of abuse.” By Rick Rojas, The New York Times

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie’s Persico: ‘We really need to clean this up’
“In April 2018, Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico released the first version of the Catholic Diocese of Erie’s list of clergy and laypeople credibly accused of sexual abuse and other misconduct with minors. A year later, the list continues to grow(link is external) — it started with 51 names and is now at 81 — and so has the diocese’s financial exposure. As state lawmakers extended their debate about whether to adjust the statute of limitations to allow abuse victims to sue over old cases, Persico joined other dioceses statewide and created a compensation fund to pay claims to victims outside of court.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

Trial for York-area defrocked priest accused of molesting two altar boys
“A 74-year-old defrocked Catholic priest who lives in West Manchester Township is now facing trial for allegedly sexually assaulting two altar boys(link is external) when he served at a Harrisburg church. John G. Allen, of the 1600 block of Kenneth Road, had his preliminary hearing at the office of Harrisburg-area District Judge Joseph Lindsey on Wednesday, April 24, according to court records.” By Liz Evans Scolforo, York Dispatch

Alleged predator priest accused of sexually abusing boys faces multiple counts in PA 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.” By Candy Woodhall, York Daily Chronicle

SOUTH CAROLINA

After list of SC Catholic priests accused of abuse, no simple path to healing
“For victims of abuse by Catholic priests in South Carolina, the past month has opened old wounds but also fostered new hope(link is external). Since the 1990s, reports have surfaced implicating priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston in the abuse of minors dating back to at least the 1950s— cases that for years were treated in isolation.” By Gergory Yee and Rickey Dennis, the Post and Courier

UTAH

Grand jury indicts former Conroe priest on child sex abuse charges
“A grand jury on Thursday (May 2) indicted a former Conroe priest on charges stemming from child sex abuse allegations(link is external), according to court records. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez was indicted on two of the four counts of indecency with a child that led to his Sept. 11 arrest, records show. The two charges stem from incidents alleged to have happened to a female parishioner on April 9, 2000, while the cleric was assigned to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Montgomery County.” By Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle

WEST VIRGINIA

Catholic community needs Archbishop Lori to listen
“Almost a year before Michael Bransfield’s resignation as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (DWC), the Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA) wrote a letter to Pope Francis and other Vatican officials to express concerns about our diocese(link is external) and to share thoughts on the kind of bishop we would like to see follow Bransfield. Drawing from the Appalachian Catholic pastoral letters and the example of Pope Francis, both of which challenge people of faith to respond to the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth, our letter requested a bishop who …” By Michael Iafrate

ARGENTINA

Demand for trial against clergy accused of abusing kids
“International and Argentine activists on Monday (May 6) called on Pope Francis to ensure that his ‘zero tolerance’ pledge against sexual abuses by clergy is enforced in his homeland and demanded a trial for those accused of raping deaf and mute children at a Catholic school(link is external). Prosecutors say that members of the clergy abused at least 20 children at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza province. The case has caused a worldwide uproar and more than a dozen people face charges.” By Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press, on Madison.com

AUSTRALIA

Expert panel to conduct Church governance review
“A panel of experts has been convened to conduct a national review of the governance and management structures of Catholic dioceses and parishes. This will include issues of transparency, accountability, consultation and lay participation(link is external). The review was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse after the commission concluded that the governance and management of some dioceses and parishes contributed to the child sexual abuse crisis.” By CathNews.com

CHILE

Abuse survivors in Chile blast deal between Church and prosecutor
“A recently signed agreement between the Catholic Church in Chile and the local prosecutor’s office has caused uproar, with critics charging that it unduly provides protections and privileges to the Church(link is external). The agreement was signed on Tuesday (Apr. 30) by the national prosecutor, Jorge Abbott, and the secretary general of the Chilean bishops’ conference, Bishop Fernando Ramos, who’s one of ten bishops called to testify facing allegations of having covered up cases of abuse.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chilean bishops fear new measure would enforce breaking confession seal
“Chilean bishops said that while they support legislation requiring priests and religious authorities to report crimes, they also fear that an update to the country’s current law would force clergy to break the sacramental seal of confession(link is external). The 155-member Chilean House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure April 23 that would add clergy and religious men and women to the list of police, members of the armed forces, teachers and civil servants who are obliged to report all crimes under article 175 of Chile’s penal code.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Child sexual abuse inquiry to be held into religious organizations
“Child sexual abuse in a wide range of religious organizations and settings, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Buddhists, is to be scrutinized in an official inquiry. The investigation by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA)(link is external) will review child protection and policies in organizations belonging to nonconformist Christian denominations, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Hinduism.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

GUAM

Guam priests’ child sexual abuses would have remained a dark secret were it not for one man
“Back when no one dared to publicly accuse any Guam priest, much less the archbishop, of sexually abusing a child(link is external), former Agat resident John Toves did so in 2014. It was about 12 years after the Archdiocese of Boston’s sex abuse scandal exposed widespread wrongdoing in the American Roman Catholic Church. ‘My aunt referred to my brother as the David who slew Goliath,’ Noreen Toves-Phillips, of California, said about her brother John.’” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

In India, charges against a Catholic bishop a victory for abused nuns
“In the dirt courtyard of St. Teresa’s Women’s College, in this port city in the southern Indian state of Kerala, a group of nuns cast curious glances toward a knot of chatty first-year students huddled together. The young women are mindful not to speak too loud, lest the sisters overhear the topic of their conversation — the alleged rape of a nun by the bishop who oversees a local religious order(link is external). Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a native of Kerala, an enclave of Christians in predominantly Hindu India, is accused of attacking the nun nine times between 2014 and 2016.” By Brooke Thames, Religion News Service

ITALY

Sicilian priest wages decade-long crusade against ‘pedophilia pride’
“Incredibly enough, on April 25th, self-professed pedophiles online celebrate ‘Alice Day’ to promote the normalization of the sexual abuse of minors. For the past 23 years, a priest from a small southern Italian diocese has launched a global initiative on the same day to raise awareness for the protection of minors(link is external). ‘The strength of an initiative is given by its continuity,’ said Father Fortunato Di Noto, founder of Meter Onlus dedicated to protecting children from abuse.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

SPAIN

Former Catholic school teacher gets 21 years in jail for sex abuse in Spain
“A Barcelona court sentenced Monday (A[pr. 29) a former gym teacher at a Catholic school to over 20 years in jail for sexually assaulting students(link is external), in the latest abuse scandal rocking the church in Spain. Joaquin Benitez, who taught for nearly three decades at a Barcelona school run by the Marist community, a Roman Catholic order at the centre of a clerical abuse scandal in Chile, got a jail term of 21 years and nine months for assaulting four students.” By Agence France-Press on NewIndianExpress.com

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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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Apr. 12, 2019

TOP STORIES

Pope issues law, with penalties, for Vatican City to address sexual abuse
“Pope Francis has issued a highly anticipated law for Vatican City officials and diplomats overseas to tackle sexual abuse(link is external), setting up what is intended to be a model for the Roman Catholic Church worldwide by requiring, for the first time, that accusations be immediately reported to Vatican prosecutors. The Vatican characterized the law — and accompanying pastoral guidelines — as a reflection of the most advanced thinking on preventing and addressing sexual abuse in the church.” By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

Francis says he may reconsider convicted cardinal’s resignation after appeal
“Pope Francis has indicated he will reconsider his decision not to accept the resignation of a French cardinal convicted of covering up sexual abuse(link is external) after the prelate’s appeal is heard. In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Morocco, the pontiff also admitted that Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin may be guilty, but asked for the continued observation of presumption of innocence during the appeal.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope challenges U.S. bishops on clerical sex abuse
“Pope Francis has challenged the United States bishops conference on their strategy for dealing with clerical sexual abuse(link is external). The Pope suggested the US bishops had adopted a mentality of a self-governing congregationalist church detached from Rome. ‘The Church is not congregationalist, it is the Catholic Church where the bishop must take control of this as the pastor,’ the Pope told journalists on board the papal plane from Morocco.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: Transparency
Catholic theology affirms that confession is good for the soul, so it’s a bit of paradox that the last thing the American Roman Catholic bishops or the Vatican want to do is publicly confess everything they know about clergy sex abuse(link is external). The bishops now understand the need to protect children by removing abusive priests from ministry. Most even grasp the need to hold bishops accountable for allowing bad priests to continue in ministry. But as a body they really do not want to expose their dirty laundry to public view. Public confession, they fear, will scandalize the faithful and bring the church into further disrepute. It’s this that led many bishops in the past to attempt to cover up.” By Thomas Reese, S.J. Religion News Service

Rejecting appeal, Vatican hands down final ruling against Guam bishop
“The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has rejected an appeal by the now-former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron(link is external) of Agana, Guam, upholding its judgment of finding him guilty of abuse against minors. The doctrinal tribunal’s decision is final and no further appeals are possible, it said in a communique published April 4.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Catholic leaders in Japan to conduct survey on sexual abuse
“Catholic bishops in Japan plan to conduct a nationwide survey on sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy(link is external), church officials said Monday (Apr. 8). Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, the leader of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, shared the plan on Sunday during a gathering in Tokyo where a man spoke of being abused as a young boy at the hands of a German priest.” By Makiko Inoue and Mike Ives, The New York Times

What do the Church’s victims deserve?
“Like many Catholics, I wonder whether this story will ever be over and whether things will ever be set right. Often called a crisis, the problem is more enduring and more comprehensive than that(link is external). Social scientists report that the gravest period of priestly sexual abuse was the sixties and seventies, and the problem has been in public view for the past three and a half decades. For most American Catholics, then, the fact of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup by bishops has long been an everyday reality.” By Paul Elie, The New Yorker

In new letter, Benedict blames clergy abuse on sexual revolution, Vatican II theology
“Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution(link is external), developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God. The letter, one of a handful the ex-pontiff has shared publicly since his resignation in 2013, immediately drew criticism from theologians and Vatican watchers. They noted it does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Leader of U.S. bishops set for Rome trip to talk bishops’ accountability
“Archbishop José Gómez, the de facto head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as the body’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, faces health issues, will travel to Rome the week after Easter to meet Vatican officials to discuss new measures for U.S. bishop accountability(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

What does justice look like for survivors?
“Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end? That’s a question everyone has been asking since the latest wave of news in 2018(link is external). 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? 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

Catholic governance – a challenge for improvement
“A monarchical organization, powered by ideology, with promotion by patronage results in bad governance. The Catholic Church has a governance problem(link is external). Wilton Gregory has been appointed Archbishop of Washington, DC replacing Cardinal Donald Wuerl. While there will be some disappointed faces amongst younger bishops in the USA, most Catholic commentators are positive about the appointment.” By Eric Hodgens, La Croix International

Holy Cross leaders, Catholic community members consider effectiveness of lay review boards in combating sexual assault
“In January of 2002, when the Boston Globe Spotlight team released an article exposing the sexual abuse crisis in Boston parishes, the Catholic Church entered a state of deadlock. In response to the mass allegations, Church leaders met in Dallas that June and created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The charter established several stipulations, including a key way for lay communities to check their clergies’ power: the creation of review boards(link is external).” By Claire Rafford, The Observer

Lawmakers must stop cooperating in the bishops’ dirty tricks
“Just when everyone wants to believe that the Catholic bishops have turned the corner on child sex abuse, they pull another stunt to set back the progress for all child sex abuse victims(link is external). This time their chosen state was Maryland. They will continue to endanger children. It’s time for lawmakers to reject the bishops’ advice on any issue involving child sex abuse. The bishops have been lobbying against child sex abuse victims on two fronts for years …” By Marci Hamilton and Kathryn Robb, Verdict.Justia.com

Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: holding bishops accountable
“When people were first confronted with the extent of Catholic priests’ sexual abuse of children, they were angry. But when, in the early 2000s, they learned that their bishops knew about the abuse and did little to stop it, Catholics and even the wider public were outraged(link is external). As the crisis has rolled on, the demand that the bishops be held accountable for not reporting the abuse to the police, for keeping these priests in ministry and for not protecting children has become the focus of state and church inquiries, from the Vatican to attorney general offices across the U.S.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

Lori: Church has many reasons to get right response to child sex abuse
“A week into National Child Abuse Protection Month, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori visited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chapel April 8 to celebrate midday Mass for conference employees and reflect on the church’s work to develop policies and procedures to prevent child abuse by those within the church(link is external). He recognized that those who work at U.S. bishops’ conference headquarters have a keen desire ‘to do everything possible to address on an ongoing basis the sexual abuse crisis that has roiled the Catholic Church for such a very long time.’” By Christopher Gunty, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN’S BISHOPS’ CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT

Organizer of pope’s anti-abuse summit terms it ‘partly a success’
“A member of the organizing committee for February’s Vatican sex abuse summit has dubbed the meeting ‘partly a success(link is external),’ saying it achieved his main goal of bringing about ‘unity for the whole church leadership that was present.’ Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of Rome’s Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, said that 2018 was a ‘year of change’ in the Church’s understanding of the global sex abuse crisis and that ‘we are at another level of awareness.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope’s team may need to explain new reluctance on ‘zero tolerance’
“Tuesday (Apr. 2) made official a transition that’s been quietly underway for a while in terms of the Vatican’s response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals: Pope Francis and his aides are rethinking, if not the substance of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy(link is external), at least the rhetoric of it, becoming increasingly unwilling to use that phrase. Confirmation came with release of a document from the pontiff drawing conclusions from last fall’s Synod of Bishops on young people, where tensions over ‘zero tolerance’ formed one of the major pieces of drama.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis: new rules for religious life
“Pope Francis has made several changes to ecclesial canons concerning the dismissal of consecrated persons from the religious institutes(link is external) to which they belong. According to the revised canons, religious who have been “illegitimately absent” from their religious house for a full twelve months are dismissed ipso facto from their Institutes. The new canons also stipulate that the superior of the institute must gather evidence of facts and issue a declaration, which must be confirmed, for the dismissal to be legally recognized.” By Christopher Wells, Vatican News

BISHOPS

In D.C. Archdiocese, the truth is a good starting place
“‘I will always tell you the truth,’ said Wilton Gregory during his introductory news conference(link is external) as newly appointed archbishop of Washington, D.C. ‘I believe the only way I can serve the local archdiocese is by telling you the truth(link is external).’ The repetition of that promise, twice more in the form of an instruction to himself, is a telling indication of the state of things in the U.S. Catholic church today. ‘I always have to tell you the truth,’ he said. ‘I have to tell you the truth. And I will.’” Editorial by National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Pope names Wilton Gregory as new archbishop of Washington
“Pope Francis has named Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta as the new Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington(link is external), hoping to end a tumultuous period for a pivotal diocese whose recent leaders have been at the center of the church’s sexual abuse crisis in the United States. Archbishop Gregory, 71, becomes the first African-American bishop to lead the archdiocese, a position that puts him to in line to become the country’s first African-American cardinal. He has led the archdiocese of Atlanta since 2005.” By Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

Archbishop Wilton Gregory asked to lead Washington archdiocese
“Pope Francis is expected to appoint Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta to serve as the next Archbishop of Washington(link is external), multiple sources have independently reported to CNA. Gregory would become the seventh Archbishop of Washington, succeeding Cardinal Donald Wuerl. A formal announcement could come as early as next week, sources say, though it has not yet been confirmed that the archbishop has accepted the appointment. Sources in Rome and the United States told CNA that Gregory was informed of the appointment earlier this week.” By Ed Condon and J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

PRIESTS

Why the Catholic Church needs two different kinds of priesthood
“Readers of the Dec. 27, 2018 issue of Origins will encounter a document that is both theologically rich and pastorally inspiring. ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry’ is an important new statement on priesthood(link is external), the result of a two-year seminar whose participants were faculty members and others affiliated with Boston College.” By Stephen Bevans and Robin Ryan

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Pope calls abuse crisis a ‘scourge’ in youth doc, omits ‘zero tolerance’
“In a major new document on young people, Pope Francis acknowledges the clerical sexual abuse crisis as a major challenge to the Catholic Church’s credibility, but, following the lead of a summit of bishops last fall upon which it’s based, notably omits any reference to a ‘zero tolerance’ policy(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Francis’ youth exhortation says Catholic Church must change but offers few proposals
“The global Catholic Church must listen more to the critiques of its younger members(link is external) and acknowledge that ‘some things concretely need to change,’ Pope Francis says in a new teaching document. But in a dense, nearly 33,000-word apostolic exhortation published April 2, the pontiff offers few insights for what exactly must change or how the church can go about responding to young people who find its teachings or structures outdated.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

UISG, LCWR leaders discuss clergy sex abuse, and the credibility of religious life
Global Sisters Report recently held a discussion(link is external) with Sr. Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General and superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Africa; Sr. Pat Murray, executive director of UISG and member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Sr. Sharlet Wagner, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and a Sister of the Holy Cross; and Sr. Carol Zinn, executive director of LCWR and a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia. This is an edited transcript of that discussion.” By Global Sisters Report Staff, National Catholic Reporter

Q&A with Sr. Véronique Margron, leader of religious addressing abuse in the church
“Sr. Véronique Margron is a Dominican sister from and provincial prior of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A theologian and specialist in moral theology, she is the former dean of the Catholic University of the West in Angers(link is external), France, and now is president of CORREF (Conférence des Religieux et Religieuses de France). CORREF aims to further ties between communities, hoping to reach a deeper communion between different institutions; encourage members to listen and pay attention to challenges and questions of the 21st century; and bring support between generations of religious men and women.” By Elizabeth Auvillain, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Nuns in Africa create social enterprise startups to help communities
“Sister Christine Imbali of the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret, in western Kenya, has been working to help low-income women and families(link is external) end their reliance on her small community of Catholic religious women and other charitable groups. Instead of a charity, she wants to give families in the country’s fifth-largest city the option to be self-sustaining and to contribute an important aspect of a healthy city — nutrition. Her idea: chickens.” By Heather Adams, Religion News Service

LAITY & THE CHURCH

First lay advisory board meeting opens new dialogue for archdiocese
“Mary Brady hopes a new Lay Advisory Board to assist Archbishop Bernard Hebda will usher in a new era of listening in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis(link is external). ‘I was really active in several archdiocesan commissions when I was in my 20s. They’re no longer around,’ said Brady, 71, citing as one example a former urban Catholic coalition that promoted inner city parishes. ‘I’m hoping that it’s a sign … that the diocese is being more open to a variety of input from people around the entire diocese,’ said Brady.” By Matthew Davis, The Catholic Spirit

Seminary professor: clergy governance in church serves lay vocation
“While the abuse crisis has shaken trust in the church, Dominican Father Pius Pietrzyk, an assistant professor of pastoral studies and chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, told Catholic San Francisco that the church’s governance structure is fundamentally sound(link is external). ‘Canon law reserves governance in the church to clergy, while permitting laity to cooperate in that governance,’ said Father Pietrzyk, who is also a canon and civil lawyer.” By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco

VATICAN

Vatican working on guidelines to report bishops in abuse cases
“The Vatican is working on a papal document that would establish procedures for Catholics to report bishops suspected of sexual abuse or negligence in sexual abuse cases, according to Vatican sources. The document, still in its early stages, would be the second official pronouncement by Pope Francis on the global sexual abuse crisis(link is external)since he presided at a summit of senior bishops at the Vatican in February.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Papal commission for protection of minors meets in Rome
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors how much Pope Francis appreciated their efforts, particularly their proposal for a summit of leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences and for the recently released safeguarding guidelines for Vatican City and the Roman Curia. The commission met in Rome April 4-7 for its 10th plenary assembly(link is external), which was opened by its president, Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

MASS TRANSLATIONS

G.B. Harrison on the new English translation of the liturgy
“Few in the Council (Vatican II) had realized that, when you open the gates to a large and impatient crowd, they rush in and are no longer controllable. Once the vernacular was admitted, the demand for its full use was general and quite irresistible(link is external). Both the Council and the new Pope desired that when a common language is spoken by several countries, commissions should be established to make one text for all. As a result, the English- speaking bishops appointed the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, hereafter referred to as ICEL.” By G.B. Harrison, America: The Jesuit Review

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

‘Is God really only calling single, celibate men to the priesthood? Why two men left
“Just a year after becoming a Catholic priest, Doug Langner said the loneliness started to creep in(link is external). ‘You would go through times of (thinking), wouldn’t it be nice to just share your day with someone else?’ said Langner, who was ordained in 2008 after graduating from Mundelein Seminary, and started to work in a Kansas City, Mo.-area parish. Soon he was the only priest assigned to his church, living alone in the rectory, which isn’t uncommon as the Catholic Church faces a priest shortage that has forced many churches to shut down or merge.” By Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Next task for pope’s cardinal advisors: women’s leadership in the Vatican
“As Pope Francis’ council of cardinals wraps up the drafting of a new apostolic constitution, they have decided to take up the topic of management roles for women working in the Vatican(link is external). Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told journalists April 10 that among proposed agenda items for subsequent meetings of the pope’s now-six member advisory group will be management positions for women in offices of the Holy See.” By Catholic News Agency in The Pilot

Q&A with Sr. Ruth Schonenberger: ‘It is time to act’ for women’s equality in the church
“Sr. Ruth Schönenberger has been prioress of the monastery of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, a community of 70 nuns in the German province of Bavaria, since 2015. Schönenberger is also responsible for Benedictine communities in Bernried, also in Bavaria, and Dresden, in Saxony … GSR: Sister Ruth, in a recent interview, you called for real gender equality in the Catholic Church. Has this anything to do with the recent publication of many cases of abused women, including religious women? Have we reached a turning point?”(link is external) By Elizabeth Auvillain, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Pope says women have ‘legitimate claims’ for equality in Catholic Church. Does that mean leadership?
“Pope Francis said in a document released Tuesday (Apr. 2) that women have ‘legitimate claims’ to seek more equality in the Catholic Church(link is external), but he stopped short of endorsing recent calls from his own bishops to give women leadership roles. In the text, Francis also told young adults they should try to help priests at risk for sexually abusing minors in what a Vatican official said was a great act of trust the pope has for today’s youth to help ‘priests in difficulty.’” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Chicago Tribune

The quick and wondrous radicalization of Lucetta Scarafia
“I’ve never actually met Lucetta Scaraffia, but last October I was in a room where she was giving a speech. It was an experience I won’t soon forget. I was in Rome covering a ‘Catholic Women Speak’ event held just days before the start of the bishops 2018 synod on youth. Scaraffia was the editor of Women Church World, a monthly insert in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. She had recently received high praise from circles of feminists and women religious for her bold March 2018 exposé on the servitude of nuns(link is external) who cook and clean for bishops.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

Are women’s voices being silenced at the Vatican?
“The entire staff of Women Church World, the women’s magazine that comes out once a month alongside L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, resigned on March 26(link is external) … Ms. (Lucetta) Scaraffia (former editor) Ms. Scaraffia described this new willingness among women to speak out about their abuse—not only in Women Church World and the secular press but in YouTube videos that are “like a message in a bottle” on “the sea of the internet”—as a result of the quiet freedom women in the Vatican have found precisely because they are overlooked.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Cardinal John Dew calls for overhaul of Catholic Church in Wellington archdiocese
“Soaring insurance costs and a dwindling number of priests have led one of the country’s most senior clergyman to call for an overhaul into the way Catholic churches are run in the Wellington region(link is external). Archbishop of Wellington Cardinal John Dew sent two memos in February to parishioners and staff throughout the Wellington Archdiocese – which covers the lower North Island and Upper South Island – addressing the state of the church’s buildings and the future of their congregations.” By Tommy Livingston, Stuff.co.nz

The reform seminaries need
“As former seminary professors, we have looked upon the last several months of revelations about clergy sex abuse, cover-ups, and institutional infighting with the same disgust and sadness as our sisters and brothers—but we are not surprised … It is essential to understand how priests and thus, ultimately, bishops are formed(link is external), especially the way they are enculturated into clericalism from their first days in seminary. It is the air they breathe there. Clericalism in seminary formation is explicitly singled out as a problem in the Synod on Youth’s final document, approved in late October 2018, and it affects everyone in the church—it is a systemic and widespread problem.” By C. Colt Anderson and Christopher M. Bellito

Trust in Catholic Church at new low in France
Most French people now have a bad image of the Catholic Church(link is external), according to a poll published by the French newspaper Christian Witness. In addition, they believe Pope Francis has handled the sex abuse crisis badly. A survey of 1000 people in France shows mistrust of the Church in France has increased by 24 per cent in under a decade.” By Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet

Plenary Council listening to 222,000 voices
“Plenary Council 2020 president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says he and his fellow bishops have been ‘amazed’ by the engagement of Australians in the Council’s opening stage(link is external). The Plenary Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase ended earlier this month, concluding a period of almost 10 months for people to share their stories and consider the question ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?’” By CathNews

VOICES

Benedict XVI addresses sex abuse scandal
“In an essay published Thursday at CNA, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI offered his thoughts about the sex abuse crisis facing the Church(link is external). Benedict reviewed the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and examined its effects on priestly formation and life, before suggesting the Church’s proper response. ‘Today, the accusation against God is, above all, about characterizing His Church as entirely bad, and thus dissuading us from it. The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God, through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped,’ Benedict wrote in ‘The Church and the Scandal of sexual abuse,’ published April 11.” By Catholic News Agency Staff in The Pilot

Facing the crisis: what needs to be done to address the crisis underlying the crisis of sex abuse
“As time has passed, it has become increasingly clear that the crisis, although obviously involving the abuse scandal and the bishops’ response, is a far larger matter that raises profound issues of authority, accountability, and participatory decision-making(link is external). When the U.S. bishops gather in plenary assembly in Baltimore two months from now, their immediate task will be putting in place a new system of episcopal accountability in dealing with sex abuse. Its elements will likely include a code of conduct for themselves, a hotline for receiving complaints, and a framework for judging bishops who commit abuse or cover it up when committed by others.” By Russell Shaw, The Pilot

Remembering Gary Hayes, a Catholic priest who held his church to account on abuse
“In 1993, with the help of attorney Steve Rubino, (Rev.) Gary (Hayes) filed the first-ever lawsuit charging Catholic officials with racketeering(link is external). The Rev. Joseph McGarvey and the Rev. William O’Connell repeatedly molested Gary and two other boys, “conspiring to create a sex ring of children that could be sexually abused by the two priests and other priests,” often taking the kids across state lines “for the express purpose of having forcible sexual contact” with them, the suit said.” By David Clohessy, Religion News Service

How are grassroots Catholics responding to the sex abuse crisis?
“Betrayal. Disgust. Outrage. Disbelief. These are among the words we are hearing over and over as we facilitate ‘four courageous conversations’ with parishioners, priests, diocesan leaders and parish staff on their reactions to the recent revelations in the Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external). When the Pennsylvania grand-jury report was published, we knew we had to fashion a way for Catholics to speak their truth aloud and to one another, in the context of reflection, community and prayer. Further, we knew we needed to find a way for these voices to reach the ears of church leaders.” By Sean Reynolds and Dobie Moser, America: The Jesuit Review

The abuse crisis as prophecy & Pascha
“When Pope Francis wrote to the American bishops concerning the abuse crisis, he observed that ‘many actions can be helpful, good and necessary, and may even seem correct, but not all of them have the ‘flavor’ of the Gospel.(link is external)’ By recommending a return to the Gospel as an essential reference point, Francis is on to something … We do not taste the Gospel here. Yet we long for it, even when that longing goes unnamed.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Analysis: Gregory, Apuron, ‘zero tolerance,’ and pontifical secrets
“Thursday (Apr. 4) morning, the Vatican announced the fates of two American archbishops(link is external): one has become the next Archbishop of Washington, and the other has been declared guilty of child sexual abuse; his final appeal had been exhausted. The next moves of Archbishop Wilton Gregory, soon to be installed as Washington’s archbishop, will be carefully scrutinized … But equally important is the story of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who had until today been Archbishop of Agaña, Guam.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

The problematic rise of armchair theologians
“In an essay published in the 2012 collection When the Magisterium Intervenes: The Magisterium and Theologians in Today’s Church, Villanova University theologian Anthony Godzieba raises some key questions about church teaching that surface in an age of ‘digital immediacy(link is external).’ He asks: ‘does this digital immediacy’ influence the reception of these statements which in turn shapes the statements’ truth-value and their influence on the development of the Roman Catholic tradition, the reality of communion, and the very character of ‘teaching authority?’” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

Vocation conference offers space for ‘one foot in, one foot out’ Catholics
“A weekend conference examining Catholic vocation(link is external) was held March 29-30 at Union Theological Seminary, a bastion of liberal Protestantism in upper Manhattan. The location was significant: This particular conference on ‘(Re)Imagining Catholic Vocation’ could not be held at most Catholic venues. Sponsored by Call to Action, the event, according to organizer Abby Rampone, was directed at those Catholic ministers who feel they have ‘one foot in and one foot out’ of the church, as well as those with ‘both feet in and both feet out.’” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Selling people the Vatican ‘gets it’ on abuse a challenge right now
“Having just returned from an 18-day swing through the U.S. that took us to Boston, Denver, South Bend, Anaheim, Simi Valley, Whittier and Detroit, here’s probably the most common question I got along the way from American Catholics vis-à-vis the home office in Rome: ‘Do those guys over there get it(link is external)?’ The ‘it’ refers to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and, more specifically, the gravity and depth of the situation as experienced by American Catholics over the last several months, and thus the perceived need for urgent and dramatic action.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Your thoughts on parish collections, priestly class, racism pastoral and more
NCR readers are welcome to join the conversation(link is external) and send us a letter to the editor. Below is a sampling of letters received in the month of February 2019. If you want to respond to an article published in NCR, follow the steps listed at the end of this post … ‘While I have no doubt the U.S. bishops heartily welcome any narrative that downplays the seriousness of their dereliction (nationwide guidelines for dioceses for parish collections), those of us who continue to financially support our parishes need to know that a clear majority of the collections within the parishes remain highly vulnerable to weekly theft.’ Michael W. Ryan, Milton, Massachusetts” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Shrouded in sanctity: sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
“On February 21, 2019, the Vatican began its summit on the sexual abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church and its followers around the globe, an act the Church believes will lead to ‘concrete and effective measures’ to handle its extensive abuse allegations. While it is fair to keep in mind that such abuses are not confined to the Catholic Church, the crimes remain a disgrace to a supposedly moral and righteous institution(link is external). As recognized by McGill professor (and former Canadian ambassador to the Vatican) Anne Leahy, who I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview for this article, the scandals call into question the entirety of the Church, not just its moral credibility.” By Cesar Ramirez, The McGill International Review

Inside Lucetta Scaraffia’s resignation and Pope Francis’ election
“On the last episode of ‘Inside the Vatican,’ Gerry O’Connell and I brought you an interview with Lucetta Scaraffia, the editor of Women Church World, a monthly magazine that comes out with the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. On Tuesday, March 26, she and the entire staff of Women Church World resigned in protest(link is external) of what they saw as attempts by the new editor of the Osservatore Romano to undermine their publication. So this week, Gerry and I take a look at why Ms. Scaraffia resigned, and what she accomplished as editor.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America; The Jesuit Review

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Draft of new constitution for Curia reform ready for consultation
“A draft of the proposed apostolic constitution for reforming and governing the Roman Curia(link is external) will soon be sent out to leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences, religious orders and some pontifical universities for their observations and suggestions. The draft, which has been approved by Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, will be subjected to this ‘consultative step’ before it is once more amended and then given to the pope for his consideration, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters April 10.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on TheDialogue.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau releases sexual abuse financial report
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cape Girardeau and Springfield has announced in a letter that details the financial expenditures of the diocese in connection to sexual abuse over its 64 year history(link is external). The Church has spent a total of $700,000 over the last 30 years in connection to sex abuse claims. Of that, $70,000 has gone to victim support, $450,000 to settlement, and $189,000 to legal fees. None of the money spent came from local churches.” By KTTS.com

Chicago Archdiocese is quietly using cemetery cash to pay priest sex abuse costs
“For years, the Catholic Church in Chicago has said it enlists two revenue sources to pay for settlements and other costs related to priest sex abuse cases(link is external): loans and the sale of property. But a Chicago Sun-Times examination found the church has been using money from its cemetery system to help pay down nagging debt related to sex misconduct — which at last count was more than $200 million — without telling the public.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun-Times

Catholic school principal, deacon stole $150,000 in church funds
“The principal of a Berks County Catholic school, who also serves as a deacon at the church, is accused of misappropriating roughly $150,000(link is external) of funds from the Diocese of Allentown. According to the Berks County District Attorney’s Office, Thomas J. Murphy, 65, along with his wife, Ann M. Murphy, 61, of Macungie, have been charged in connection with the case dating back to 2010.” By Steve Marroni, PennLive.com

STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS

Fate of two child sex crime bills tied to each other
“The future of the reform of child sex crime laws(link is external) in Pennsylvania hinges on two companion bills now intricately tied to each other under an amendment approved by the House on Tuesday *Apr. 9). The state House of Representatives cleared the way for the two pieces of legislation to go for a full chamber vote, but linked the future of the bill seeking to eliminate criminal statutes for child sex crimes to the bill that would revive expired statutes of limitations.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

‘I am not alone’: House member’s wife seeks more time for sexual abuse victims to sue offenders
“As Becky Leach took her seat Monday (Apr. 8) afternoon, preparing to testify for the first time before a committee at the Texas Capitol, her husband watched as he sat behind his name plate with the word ‘Chair’ engraved underneath. ‘I am a victim — and I am not alone(link is external),’ Becky Leach announced to the room as she began her remarks. ‘From 12 to 18, I was repeatedly and systematically molested. And I refused to acknowledge it.’” By Cassandra Pollok, The Texas Tribune

Pennsylvania House to again consider clergy child sex abuse bills
“Two bills that could make it easier for victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits(link is external), an issue that roiled the General Assembly last year, are expected to get votes next week in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. House Judiciary Chairman Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, said Thursday (Apr. 4) he supports the pair of proposals scheduled for committee votes Monday (Apr. 8).” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, in The Morning Call

Advocates push Connecticut legislators to eliminate statute of limitations for certain sexual assault cases
“Victims of pedophile priests and others urged lawmakers Monday (Apr.1) to pass a sweeping overhaul of Connecticut’s laws on sexual assault and harassment(link is external) that would eliminate the statute of limitations for major sex crimes in the future. Marci A. Hamilton, founder and chief executive officer of Child USA and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, said adults who come forward about sexual assaults decades later are virtually always telling the truth.” By Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Italian victim feels ‘defeated’ after Vatican’s secretive trial of alleged abuser
“Only two months ago Arturo Borelli, a clerical sex abuse victim from Italy, was beaming while walking down the avenue that leads to St. Peter’s Square … Today, Borelli says he feels ‘defeated(link is external)’ in a phone conversation with Crux April 2. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican department that handles matters of clerical sexual abuse, won’t answer his calls. His alleged abuser has been found innocent, but he was not informed of the sentence nor will he ever be able to know the details of the ecclesiastical trial.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Priest sees progress on abuse, but also resistance in some ‘quarters’
“The clergy abuse crisis will not be over in our lifetime(link is external), particularly in countries where it is just being acknowledged, according to Jesuit Father Hans Zollner. However, a growing understanding of the issue among church leadership and commitment to concrete measures that include lay participation will help dispel anger and eventually restore trust, he said.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

CALIFORNIA

Proposed California bill mandates priests report sexual abuse heard in confession
“California lawmakers are hoping to reverse hundreds of years of tradition in the Catholic church and mandate that priests who hear of child sexual abuses in confession report it to law enforcement(link is external). ‘The victims are told to be quiet, abusers are let go, free. Nothing happens to them and the cycle repeats and repeats,’ said Kameron Torres.” By FOX40-TV News

Diocese of San Jose adds Paul Duggan, former priest, to list of clergy accused of sexual abuse
“Paul Emmet Duggan, a former Catholic priest with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has been added to a list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) for allegedly abusing a child at St. Patrick Parochial School in San Jose during the 1950s. The Diocese of San Jose, which encompasses Santa Clara County, added Duggan to its public list Tuesday (Apr. 2).” By Thy Vo, The Mercury News

Fremont Catholic priest arrested on 30 counts of child sexual abuse
“In the East Bay, a Catholic priest has been arrested at his Fremont church and is being held in jail tonight, facing 30 counts of child sexual abuse(link is external). Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela was booked into the Dublin’s Santa Rita Jail on 30 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15.” By Maureen Kelly, KRON-TV 4 News

COLORADO

13 Denver-based Catholic friars with credible sexual-abuse allegations identified
“A Catholic order of Franciscans based in Denver on Thursday (Mar. 28) released the names of 13 friars or former friars who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) or a vulnerable adult. The Capuchin Franciscans — Province of St. Conrad said two of the 13 friars are dead and five have left the order. Nine men on the list spent time serving in Colorado, according to an audit report on the Province of St. Conrad’s website.” By Noelle Phillips, The Denver Post

CONNECTICUT

Bridgeport Diocese abuse victims seek to heal themselves, church
“Joseph Cann Sr. soon will be ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church — a special office that gives him limited priestly duties while allowing him to remain a married father of two. When Cann stands to deliver his first homily in June, it will fall two days before the 2016 date that his 28-year-old son, Joseph Jr., died of an overdose, after telling the family he had been sexually abused by their parish priest.” By Rob Ryser, News Times

Providing a list of accused priests was not sufficient
“It has been nearly two months since the Catholic Diocese of Norwich released its list of priests that it said had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. If the purpose of releasing the list was intended to provide transparency and start to move past the scandal that has long dogged the church, it was an abject failure(link is external). The problem is that Bishop Michael Cote wants to define the parameters of transparency, unadvised and unquestioned by any independent entity. He has lifted the veil, but only so far.” By The Day Editorial Board

ILLINOIS

Five more Catholic priests with ties to Springfield diocese named by SNAP
“The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) on Sunday (Apr. 7) disclosed the names of five more publicly accused abusive priests(link is external) who spent time in the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese but are not on the official diocesan ‘accused’ list. Members of SNAP protested outside of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception urging Bishop Thomas Paprocki to add the names.” By Steven Spearie, The State Journal-Register

Rockford panel addresses sex abuse in the Catholic Church
“Involve lay people in the selection of priests and in the power structure of the Catholic Church, hold priests accountable for their behavior as well as for their ministry, and make celibacy an optional requirement for priesthood. Those were some of the suggestions offered Tuesday (Apr. 2) night during a panel discussion titled, ‘Engaging Lent 2019: Ending the Sex Abuse Crisis.’ About 80 people, mostly seniors, attended the event held at Rockford University’s(link is external) Fisher Memorial Chapel and moderated by Register Star Metro Editor Kevin Haas.” By Chris Green, Rockford Register Star

Bishop Paprocki responds to sexual abuse allegations
“The bishop of the Diocese of Springfield is now speaking out for the first time after a report accused 23 clergymen of sexual abuse(link is external). The report was released last week and included the names and histories of hundreds of clergy accused of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. ‘We’ve chosen to reveal this information because the Catholic bishops and the religious orders who are in charge and have this information and hold it secret have chosen to conceal it,’ Author Jeff Anderson said.” By Niki McGee, FOX55-TV News

Heart of Illinois ABC questions Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky on priest sex abuse allegations
“The Catholic bishops held a press conference about the issue, which marks the first media event Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky was present since new allegations of priest sex abuse(link is external) came to light in the Peoria Diocese. After numerous requests for interviews via phone, e-mail, and in person about sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Church, this is the first time there has been a press event where Bishop Daniel Jenky was present, and available for questioning.” By HeartofIllinoisABC-TV News

IOWA

Diocese of Iowa to name nine credibly accused priests
“All but two of the names have previously been shared publicly, the letter said. The abuse by the nine priests(link is external) occurred between the 1950s and the 1990s, Pates wrote. ‘I share the anger and frustration of recent reports of clerical abuse of minors and young people,’ Pates wrote in the letter dated April 3. ‘It is my sincere hope the release of this list facilitates healing, encourages additional victims who have faced abuse to come forward and begins to restore trust.’” By Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register

KANSAS

Report on Catholic priests sad, disappointing for the faithful
“Most of the incidents of sexual abuse happened years ago, and most of the priests who committed the abuse are dead now. Those who aren’t are no longer members of the clergy. But the Salina Catholic Diocese’s report last week naming 14 priests who, according to substantiated reports, abused children while serving in positions of power in churches(link is external) and schools, is still tragic and deeply disturbing.” By The Manhattan Mercury

Criminal trial of KCK priest accused of abusing a minor is delayed
“Sexual abuse victims and their advocates making plans to attend a rare criminal trial this month of a priest charged with molesting a child(link is external) will now have to wait until at least this summer. The trial of the Rev. Scott Kallal, which was set to begin April 15 in Wyandotte County District Court, has been continued. At a hearing last week, the court — over the prosecution’s objection — granted Kallal’s request for more time. A status conference on the case is set for June 7, and a new trial date has not yet been scheduled.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Salina Diocese releases names of clergy in sex abuse investigation
“The Catholic Diocese of Salina says an investigation has found 14 clergy members with ‘substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external).’ Last September, Bishop Gerald Vincke hired the independent outside counsel of Cottonwood Law LLC. of Hillsboro to conduct a thorough review of clergy personnel files and identify any potential cases of clergy misconduct with minors.” By KWCH12-TV News

LOUISIANA

Lafayette diocese ‘getting close’ to naming priests accused of sexual abuse
“The list of priests accused of sexual abuse(link is external) while serving in the Lafayette diocese is expected to be released soon, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette said Friday. The diocese received a report from the committee in charge of assembling the list last week, said spokeswoman Blue Rolfes. ‘Getting close to releasing it,’ Rolfes said in a brief phone interview last week, although she offered no specific timeline.” By Andrew J. Yawn, Lafayette Daily Advertiser

At St. Dominic in Lakeview, Archbishop Aymond moves to boot priest suspected of child abuse
“Catholic Church officials asked the Dominican order Thursday (Mar. 28) to move an elderly priest out of his living quarters at St. Dominic’s Priory in Lakeview, a day after a victim-advocacy group exposed his presence on a list of Dominican religious order members who have been credibly accused of child molestation(link is external).” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate

Diocese adds more names to list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has updated a list of clergy members it says were credibly accused of sexually abusing children(link is external) or vulnerable adults. News outlets report the most recent update names former Deacon James Lockwood, who the list says was identified as credibly accused by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It says he wasn’t credibly accused in relation to his five-month service with the Baton Rouge diocese.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

MASSACHUSETTS

Archdiocese removes pastor from ministry
“The Archdiocese of Boston announced April 9 that Father Peter Gori, OS, has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately, as a result of receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) alleged to have taken place 28 years ago in the early 1990’s. Father Gori is Pastor of St. Augustine’s, Andover, MA. He previously served in the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston as a canon lawyer.” By The Pilot

MICHIGAN

Whitmer requests $2 million for Catholic clergy abuse investigations
“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is requesting $2 million in her budget for state investigations into abuse by Catholic clergy in Michigan(link is external) as an advocacy group calls upon Catholic officials in Detroit to include more priests on the list of clergy accused of sexual abuse. The money Whitmer is asking for would be used by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office for an investigation launched last year into abuse by Catholic clergy in Michigan.” By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Prosecutors welcome ‘no contest’ plea from Saginaw Catholic priest
“Saginaw county prosecutors say the prospect of audio recordings of himself being played in open court prompted a Catholic priest to plead no contest in a sexual assault case(link is external). Last week, a jury acquitted Rev. Robert Deland Jr. on charges he sexually assaulted two teens. But before a second trial on additional charges could begin this week, Deland pleaded no contest to a sexual assault charge and two other charges.” By Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio, a National Public Radio News Station

MINNESOTA

St. Cloud Diocese, priest sued over sex allegations
“A woman is suing the Diocese of St. Cloud in a lawsuit accusing a Catholic priest of sexual misconduct. The woman was a pastoral associate employed by the diocese. She names the diocese as one of defendants in the lawsuit she filed last month. The woman contends she was subjected to ‘unwelcome, offensive and ongoing verbal and physical sexual harassment(link is external)’ by her supervisor, the Rev. Joseph Backowski.” By Associated Press on KDLT-TV News

Minnesota priests gather to listen, reflect on church’s sex abuse crisis
“Fr. Kevin Finnegan said he didn’t know what to expect when he arrived at St. Peter in Mendota. The pastor of Our Lady of Grace in Edina was responding to an invitation Archbishop Bernard Hebda had extended to priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: to join him for an evening to reflect on the clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external). But Finnegan was grateful he went.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

MISSISSIPPI

A Mississippi man shares his story of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest
“Mark Belenchia of Jackson is 63-years-old. He says he was abused by a Catholic priest from the time he was 12-years-old to 15(link is external). ‘I was an altar boy server and the next thing you know a group of us would be invited over to the rectory and overnight stays,’ said Belenchia. ‘And this was a process over months. And then the next thing you know we’re in the bed and he started touching me. And then the next thing you know there was a lot of other activity going on.’” By Jasmine Ellis, Mississippi Public Radio

Battling Catholic Corruption
“Accusations of sexual abuse have rocked the Catholic church since 2002. In August 2018, the scandal intensified following an investigation in Pennsylvania that found more than 300 priests accused of child sexual abuse — leaving at least 1,000 survivors. This report led to further investigations in Illinois, West Virginia, Texas and Mississippi. On March 19, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson released a list of 37 Mississippi clergy members accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). Bernard Haddican, one of the 17 priests accused, was a pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, which neighbors the University of Mississippi campus.” By Makayla Steede, The Daily Mississippian

MISSOURI

Missouri Catholic diocese reports $700,000 paid out in clergy abuse settlements
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau says it has spent more than $700,000 settling claims of clergy abuse(link is external) over the last 32 years. In a letter with the report, Bishop Edward Rice apologized and said he directed the independent review ‘in the spirit of accuracy, transparency, and truthfulness.’ The bishop said the review that took more than six months to complete covers all clergy files over the 63-yeare history of the southern Missouri diocese.” By Alisa Nelson, OzarksFirst.com

Diocese releases names of additional priests accused of abusing minors
“The names of additional priests accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external) while assigned to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau were released by the diocese today (Apr. 1). The latest list brings to 23 the total number of priests named in allegations that occurred in the diocese since it was founded in 1956. There are 11 other priests who were assigned to the diocese at some point, and who were accused of abuse while assigned elsewhere.” By Andy Ostmeyer, Joplin Globe

MONTANA

Former Catholic priest to plead guilty in child porn case
“A former Roman Catholic priest in northern Montana accused of possessing child pornography plans to plead guilt(link is external)y. The Great Falls Tribune reports that a motion filed in federal court last month says 80-year-old Lothar Konrad Krauth will plead guilty to receipt of child pornography at a hearing on Monday.” By Associated Press in Flathead Beacon

NEVADA

Reno diocese identifies 12 ‘credibly accuses’ former Priests
“The Catholic Diocese of Reno has released the names of 12 former priests it has determined have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of minors(link is external). The diocese on Friday (Apr. 5) released a statement listing 11 individuals who are now dead and one still living former priest who was removed from the ministry 45 years ago for abusing minors.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

NEW JERSEY

Priest admits sexually abusing girl, first conviction for N.J. clergy abuse task force
“A massive investigation by New Jersey authorities into the sexual abuse of young boys by Roman Catholic priests has produced its first conviction(link is external) — by a priest who admitted abusing a young girl. Fr. Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg admitted abusing the girl from 1990 through 1994, — from when she was 14 until she was 17 — while he was a priest at St. Cecelia Church in the Iselin section of Woodbridge.” By Jerry DeMarco, Hackensack Daily Voice

Man who told Catholic church about past sexual abuse says he was brushed aside
“When Johnrocco Sibilia finally broke a 29-year silence about the priest who sexually abused him when he was a teenager(link is external), he said he hoped to ease his pain and extinguish the demons that tortured him for years. Instead, he said he was thrown into a labyrinth of frustration that left him wondering if opening up about his past was a mistake.” By Deena Yellin, North Jersey Record

Diocese of Trenton removes Holmdel priest after ‘credible’ sexual abuse allegation
“A recent and ‘credible’ allegation of sexual abuse of a child(link is external) from decades ago has been made against the Rev. Gregory D. Vaughan, who has served as pastor of the Church of St. Catharine in Holmdel since 2013, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton announced Saturday (Mar. 30) night. ‘The alleged abuse dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when Monsignor Vaughan was a parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish, Keansburg,’ the prepared statement from the Trenton diocese read.” By Erik Larsen, Asbury Park Press

NEW MEXICO

Trial begins for former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children
“A trial for a former Catholic priest who is accused of sexually assaulting children(link is external)began Monday (Apr. 1). The federal case is hinged on one alleged victim. However, many other men will testify that Arthur Perrault sexually molested them as children as well.” By Chris Remirez, KOB4-TV News

Religious orders targeted in New Mexico clergy abuse case
“Religious orders once associated with a now-shuttered Catholic boarding school for Native Americans are being accused of failing to protect students from sexual abuse by clergy and faculty(link is external). An Ohio-based order of Franciscan Friars and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, headquartered in Pennsylvania, are named as defendants in a lawsuit filed this week in a New Mexico court by a team of lawyers that has represented dozens of abuse survivors over the years.” By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press, in U.S. News & World Report

NEW YORK

Catholic religious orders brace for new wave of New York lawsuits
“An attorney who targets accused pedophile priests says lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act could ravage the finances of some Catholic religious orders(link is external). According to Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based lawyer who has represented scores of clergy abuse survivors, there are more than 170 religious orders operating in New York. Many have their national or regional headquarters in the state.” By Chris Glorioso and Evan Stulberger, NBC-TV News

The allegations against Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone: despite scandal, no Vatican response
“The allegations of sexual abuse cover-up against Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone(link is external) span two states and even have connections to the Vatican and Pope Francis. They have outraged Catholics in the Diocese of Buffalo and have led to regular protests, shrinking Mass attendance, dwindling donations and state and federal law enforcement investigations of the diocese. But Pope Francis has been slow to act and has taken no action against the embattled bishop.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

NORTH CAROLINA

Group gathers uptown, calls for release of credibly accused priests’ names
“Tuesday (Apr. 2), people took to the streets of uptown Charlotte to call out abuse in the Catholic church(link is external). Members of a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held signs at a sidewalk news conference, calling for Charlotte Catholic officials to reveal the names of credibly accused priests. The group is upset that predator priests who are or were in the Charlotte area have not been outed, calling for Charlotte Catholic officials to make the names of these priests public like other dioceses have recently done.” By WCNC-TV News

A top diocese of Charlotte official resigns after ‘credible’ sexual misconduct claim
“The second in command of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has stepped down after a ‘credible allegation’ of sexual misconduct(link is external) involving a former adult student of Belmont Abbey College, the diocese’s newspaper reported Thursday (Mar. 28). Monsignor Mauricio West, the diocese’s vicar general and its chancellor for nearly 25 years, has denied the allegation, the Catholic News Herald reported. Following a period of counseling and assessment, the diocese’s bishop said in a statement, West will be on a leave of absence from his ministerial duties.” By Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer

NORTH DAKOTA

Fargo police looking into allegations against Catholic priest that involved a child
“A Catholic priest in south-central North Dakota is under investigation for alleged conduct involving a child(link is external) while the clergyman was stationed in Fargo. The Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga has been placed on administrative leave as the Fargo Police Department looks into allegations that are connected to his time at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo, according to a news release from the Diocese of Fargo.” By InForum.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie Catholic diocese will open files to priest sex abuse victims
“The Catholic Diocese of Erie, which recently settled a $2 million clergy sexual abuse complaint, is making ‘relevant’ internal files available to abuse survivors(link is external) for the asking, church officials said. The policy has been in effect since the diocese launched its compensation fund for abuse survivors in February, said Pittsburgh attorney Mark Rush of K&L Gates, legal counsel to the Erie diocese.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Lawmaker calls for Constitutional amendment to help victims of clerical abuse
“A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would give voters the chance to change the state Constitution and allow victims of expired child sex abuse cases to sue their abusers(link is external) and institutions that may have covered up the crimes even if the statute of limitations has expired. Blair County freshman State Rep. Jim Gregory’s legislation, if passed, would put a Constitutional amendment ballot question before voters as soon as 2021.” By John Finnerty, New Castle News

SOUTH CAROLINA

Catholic Church in South Carolina accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic diocese in South Carolina on Friday (Mar. 29) released a list of 42 priests with ties to the state who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children(link is external). All but 11 of the priests on the list released by the Charleston Diocese have died. The list doesn’t specify the parishes or institutions where the priests served. The list was broken into four parts. Twenty-one priests served in South Carolina. Others were named in a class-action settlement over abuse, had abuse claims from a diocese outside South Carolina or were a visiting priest to the state.” By Associated Press on WFAE-FM Charlotte’s National Public Radio

TENNESSEE

Why this woman is going public for the first time about how a Nashville priest abused her 60 years ago
“Kathleen Lisle cannot forget the summer day a priest at Christ the King Catholic Church called her childhood home, asking her to help fold bulletins for Mass. She hesitated to go(link is external). Lisle was 12. She did not want to be alone with the Rev. James Arthur Rudisill, but, in the 1950s, explaining that to her mother seemed impossible. A frequent guest at the Nashville home where she grew up with 10 brothers and five sisters, Rudisill sometimes sat next to Lisle, rubbing her leg while playing chess.” By Holly Meyer and Anita Wadhwani, Nashville Tennessean

TEXAS

Child abuse victim sues former priest, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
“A man has accused former Conroe priest Manuel La Rosa-Lopez(link is external) of exposing himself during confessional at the Montgomery County parish, according to a lawsuit filed Friday (Apr. 5) against the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The man, identified by his initials in the lawsuit is suing LaRosa-Lopez and Sacred Heart Catholic Church for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and agency.” By Massarah Midati, MySanAntonio.com

Another former Conroe church priest removed over misconduct
“A Houston priest who formerly served a Conroe Catholic church, where another clergy member was accused of sexual misconduct with minors(link is external), has been removed from active ministry. According to a Facebook post to followers by Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Father Jesus Suarez was removed due to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors while serving in Colombia. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston elaborated in a statement that one of the minors may have given birth.” By KTRK-TV

Catholic priest arrested, accused of sexually assaulting women during last rites
“Catholic priest in Austin, Texas, was arrested after police say he assaulted a woman in hospice care(link is external). 75-year-old Rev. Gerold Langsch has been charged with assault by contact, class a misdemeanor. The incident allegedly happened in October 2018 when a woman was put on hospice care after suffering from several medical conditions.” By ABC-TV 4 News

Former deacon’s $1 million lawsuit challenges Teas diocese’s sex abuse claim
“A former Catholic deacon has charged that the Diocese of Lubbock wrongly named him on its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) and has filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million. Lubbock resident Jesus Guerrero has filed a lawsuit that rejected claims he had ever been accused of sex abuse or misconduct. The lawsuit described him as ‘a faithful servant of God in the Catholic Church his entire life,’ the news site EverythingLubbock.com reports.” By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency

UTAH

Is the Utah attorney general’s office investigating clergy sex abuse? Maybe.
“At least 15 state attorneys general have publicized investigations into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in the Catholic Church. Utah’s attorney general won’t comment on whether his office is or isn’t investigating clergy abuse, but the investigation’s chief Monday (Apr. 1) said stopping child abuse in Utah is a top priority for the office.” By Andrew Reeser, ABC-TV 4 News

VIRGINIA

Governor signs bill requiring clergy to report child abuse
“ In response in part to the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, Virginia will have a new law on July 1 requiring priests, ministers, rabbis and other clergy members to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect(link is external). Gov. Ralph Northam has signed into law two bills —HB 1659, sponsored by Del. Karrie Delaney, D-Fairfax, and SB 1257, introduced by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier. The measures mandate that religious officials must report any suspected abuse to local law enforcement. The bills passed unanimously in the House and Senate last month.” By Corrine Fizer, Capital News Service, on NBC12.com

WEST VIRGINIA

Lawsuit claims Bransfield is a ‘sexual predator’
“A Pocahontas County resident has alleged the former bishop of the Roman Catholic Wheeling-Charleston Diocese is ‘a sexual predator(link is external)’ prone to binge drinking and then molesting young men in a new lawsuit filed Friday (Mar. 22) in Ohio County Circuit Court. The plaintiff is identified only as J.E. of Pocahontas County, who lived in St. Clairsville, Ohio, when the incidents were alleged to occur between 2008 and 2014.” By Joselyn King, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

‘The classic grooming situation’: plaintiff’s attorney speaks out about Bransfield lawsuit
“Attorney Robert Warner calls this a ‘classic grooming situation(link is external).’ He claims Bishop Bransfield abused his power to get close to his client, who is referred to as J.E. in the lawsuit. Warner also told us his client had planned to have a career within the church but left the faith after his experiences. ‘It’s a classic case of someone of power that’s just using that position inappropriately in a sexual nature towards the young men that they’re around,’ he said.” By Kathryn Ghion, WTRF.com

AFRICA

We must speak out against abuse in the church
“With every incident in which a minor church member is sexually abused(link is external) by the pastor, his wife, church members and the victim’s family, who are aware or suspicious, are equally guilty. In other words, they and the pastors are all perpetrators who have to be brought to justice.” By Sarah Setlaelo, City Press

AUSTRALIA

Memorial unveiled for Hunter survivors and victims
“A memorial to the survivors and victims of sexual abuse(link is external) was unveiled on Wednesday at the former Marist Brothers High School in Hamilton in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese. Acting Principal of St. Francis Xavier’s College Julia Lederwasch welcomed more than 200 people to the gathering at the college, a co-educational school located at the site of the former Marist Brothers High School.” By CathNews.com

Child protection system has ‘failed’ indigenous families
“The St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra-Goulburn has joined calls for the ACT Government to improve child protection services for Indigenous children(link is external). The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service Winnunga Nimmityja has called on the territory government to greater priority to implementing the interim recommendations of the Our Booris Our Way steering committee on improving the ACT child protection system.” By CathNews.com

New ACT laws make child safety everyone’s business
“Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse has endorsed new ACT legislation requiring all adults to report child sexual abuse(link is external), but will not direct priests to break the seal of confession. The Crimes Act (ACT) will now require any person over 18 who identifies or believes that a child is being abused to report the matter to police. Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay has made it clear that the new legislation applies to all adults without exception.” By CathNews.com

BRAZIL

Brazil begins pilot advisory project for the protection of minors
“Brazil bishops are officially assuming a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on sexual abuse(link is external). The church here has instituted an abuse policy that has been finalized and approved by the Vatican, and Brazil is one of three nations hosting a new pilot project for the protection of minors. Brazil’s project includes the creation of local survivor advisory panels, as recommended by the Vatican commission working on guidelines for the prevention of child sexual abuse. The goal is to assist bishops and develop church policy and best practices from the perspective of victims.” By Filipe Domingues, America: The Jesuit Review

CANADA

Man abused by priest launches class action suit against Montreal Catholic archdiocese
“One of the victims of Brian Boucher, the Montreal priest sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this month for sexual interference and sexual assault(link is external), has filed a request to launch a class action lawsuit against the Montreal Catholic archdiocese. The suit is seeking compensation for anyone who may have been sexually assaulted by a Montreal Catholic priest or a church staff member since 1940.” By Steve Rukavina, CBC News

Questions raised about possible ‘secret archive’ of historical sex abuse records in lawsuit against B.C. ‘playboy’ priest
“One evening in March 1977, Adam Exner, then bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese in Kamloops, B.C., sought to put a lid on what he saw as a brewing scandal involving allegations that a ‘playboy’ priest was having ‘inappropriate relationships’ with women(link is external). Appearing before parishioners assembled at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, Exner kept things vague, according to his speaking notes from the time.” By Douglas Quan, National Post

Five Quebec dioceses to allow external audit of sex abuse cases
“Five dioceses from the province of Quebec will allow an external audit of their files regarding sex abuse cases(link is external), the Archdiocese of Montreal announced March 27. In September, retired Quebec Superior Court Judge Anne-Marie Trahan will be able to consult the regular and secret files of five Catholic dioceses in the greater Montreal area, confirmed Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

CHILE

After scandal, replacing the Catholic hierarchy in Chile
“To grasp the depth of Chile’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, imagine if around 68 of the United States’ 255 active Catholic bishops had been subpoenaed by civil prosecutors on suspicions of either committing the abuse of a minor, covering it up, or both. That’s the situation in Chile, where nine of 34 bishops (27 percent) have been subpoenaed(link is external), including Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz and Ricardo Ezzati, both former and current archbishops of Santiago, respectively. Errazuriz is also a former member of the council of cardinals that has been advising Pope Francis on Vatican reform.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com, in Angelus

Chile court orders Catholic Church to compensate victims in sex abuse case
“A Chilean appeals court ruled on Wednesday (Mar. 27) that the Catholic Church should pay compensation to three victims in a sex abuse case(link is external) involving former Santiago parish priest Fernando Karadima, a decision that could open the floodgates to similar lawsuits. The unanimous decision requires the Church pay 100 million pesos ($146,000) each for “moral damages” to Juan Carlos Cruz, Jose Andres Murillo and James Hamilton. The men accuse Karadima of having sexually abused them decades ago, and the Church of having covered up that abuse.” By Reuters on Nasdaq.com

GUAM

Guam property should not be sold to pay abuse claims
“The Catholic Church in Guam says parishes and schools should not be sold to settle more than 200 clergy sexual abuse claims(link is external). The Pacific Daily News reported Tuesday (Apr. 9) that the statement by the Archdiocese of Agana Tuesday was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors. The lawsuit includes a list of Catholic schools, parishes, vehicles and other assets the creditors believe should be considered archdiocese property and liable for sale.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Vatican upholds sex abuse conviction against Guam archbishop
“The Vatican has upheld its conviction of Guam’s ousted archbishop for sexually abusing minors and has added a further penalty(link is external) on appeal that effectively prevents him from presenting himself as a bishop. The Vatican announced the definitive decision against Archbishop Anthony Apuron on Thursday (Apr. 4). Apuron had strongly denied the charges, saying he was a victim of slander and declaring the decision to exile him from Guam ‘analogous to a death sentence.’” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

INDIA

Indian Catholic priest sentenced to six years in prison
“An Indian former Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl(link is external) in the US, according to a media report. John Praveen, 38, pleaded guilty in February to sexually touching a 13-year-old girl in the Rapid City church, South Dakota over her clothes last year, Rapid City Journal newspaper reported.” By The Hindu Business Line

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Woman’s petition to stop child abuse records being sealed for 75 years
“A petition to stop child abuse records being sealed for 75 years(link is external) has been started by a woman whose three relatives spent years in the Magdalene Laundries with devastating consequences. Laura Angela Collins, from London, has been compelled to try to stop the Retention of Records Bill – approved by Cabinet but which has yet to pass through the Dáil – as her mother Mary Teresa Collins spent years in a Magdalene Laundry in Cork.” By Anne Sheridan, Extra.ie

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin reveal pedophile priests cannot identify new victims because they abused so many
“The Archbishop of Dublin has told of his shock at finding serial pedophile priests are unable to conclusively identify new cases – because they had so many victims(link is external). Dr. Diarmuid Martin said some serial offenders could not recall the names of all their victims which in some instances numbered more than 100. He makes the disturbing revelation in an RTE documentary detailing how the Vatican came to exert control over almost every aspect of Irish life since the foundation of the state.” By Lynne Kelleher, Irish Mirror

Catholic priest who admitted to abusing a boy in Ireland won’t be prosecuted
“Catholic priest Reverend Paul Madden won’t be prosecuted after he admitted to abusing a teenage boy in 1973 while on a mission trip in Ireland(link is external). The Clarion Ledger reports that Rev. Madden is amongst a group of clergymen named by the Jackson Diocese in Mississippi as having been ‘credibly accused of abuse.’ Rev. Madden has admitted to abusing a 13-year-old boy while the two were on a mission trip in Ireland in 1973. A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office told The Clarion Ledger that Rev. Madden could not be prosecuted in the US as the abuse happened overseas and was out of Mississippi’s jurisdiction.” By Irish Central

JAPAN

Japan Catholic Church plans abuse inquiry
“The Catholic Church in Japan said Tuesday (Apr. 9) it will launch an internal probe into claims of sexual abuse against children(link is external) by its clergy, after a wave of pedophilia revelations worldwide. The standing committee of the bishops’ conference last week decided to investigate all 16 dioceses in Japan, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan told AFP. Japan is home to a small community of Roman Catholics, believed to number around 450,000.” By Agence France-Presse-Jiji in The Japan News

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