Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

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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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


Mar. 29, 2019

TOP STORIES

Bishops must look within their own culture
“It took a long time — decades, in fact — for understanding of the clergy sex abuse crisis to evolve to a point where it is now widely recognized that the scandal metastasized systemically, the abuse itself a twin evil with a cover-up(link is external) that was repeated from country to country, continent to continent, in shockingly similar ways by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Clergy culture or clerical culture are quickly becoming well-worn descriptions of an entity that previously went by the more reverential term ‘priesthood.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis refuses resignation of French cardinal convicted of cover-up
“French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon said Pope Francis would not accept his resignation following his conviction for covering up clerical sexual abuse(link is external), so he has decided to step aside temporarily for the good of the archdiocese. The cardinal had met Pope Francis March 18 to hand in his resignation after a French court gave him a six-month suspended sentence in the cover-up case.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

Pennsylvania native and West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield knowingly employed pedophiles
“West Virginia authorities on Tuesday (Mar. 19) accused Michael J. Bransfield, a Philadelphia native and former Roman Catholic bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va., and his predecessors of ‘knowingly employing pedophiles’ — including some priests cited in last year’s Pennsylvania grand jury report examining decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up(link is external). In a civil suit, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey alleged that West Virginia’s prelates had endangered children for decades by failing to conduct adequate background checks or disclose abuse accusations against clerics and diocesan employees to parents in the parishes where those people were assigned.” By Jeremy Roebuck and William Bender, The Philadelphia Inquirer, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pope accepts resignation of embattled Chilean cardinal
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean cardinal who has faced widespread criticism for his handling of cases of clerical sexual abuse in the country(link is external). The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the Vatican announced March 23; the Vatican did not give a reason for the cardinal stepping down. All bishops are required to offer their resignations when they turn 75; Cardinal Ezzati is 77.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Ireland considers plans for seminarians to spend more time in parishes
“Under new plans being considered, Irish seminarians would spend most of their time working in parishes(link is external) rather than in the traditional seminary environment. The plans would allow for more time involved in active pastoral work alongside priests and lay pastoral workers and would, according to one bishop, give them a more realistic insight into priesthood in contemporary Ireland.” By TheCatholicUniverse.com

Bishop Eamonn Casey accused of sexually abusing three women as children
Three women made allegations that they were sexually abused as children by former Bishop of Galway the late Eamonn Casey(link is external) and two have received compensation as a result. In one of the cases, Bishop Casey, who died in March 2017 aged 89, admitted the abuse when he was serving as a priest up to 2005 in the south England diocese of Arundel and Brighton.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Founder, board of Vatican women’s magazine quit
“ The founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican’s women’s magazine have quit after what they say was a Vatican campaign to discredit them(link is external) and put them ‘under the direct control of men,’ that only increased after they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy. The editorial committee of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly glossy published alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement in the planned April 1 editorial and in an open letter to Pope Francis that was provided Tuesday (Mar. 26) to The Associated Press.” By The Associated Press

ACCOUNTABILITY

Latin American prelate casts doubt on U.S. accountability plan for abuse crisis
“A Latin American bishop with personal experience of the clerical sexual abuse crisis has doubts about a proposal reportedly gaining ground among U.S. bishops(link is external) to impose accountability for the cover-up of abuse by enhancing the authority of metropolitan archbishops, saying that it amounts to prelates policing other prelates. Instead, he proposed the creation of independent bodies to provide accountability, featuring lay leadership and especially a greater role for women.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Why is the Vatican’s process for holding bishops accountable still so opaque?
“Since the summer of 2018, the church has seen three cardinals face specific consequences in connection with sexual abuse. Understanding these already complex cases has been made more difficult by unclear canonical procedures(link is external), by decisions reserved to Pope Francis himself and—most vexing—by limited communication from the Vatican about what process is being followed on what timeline. Taken together, these cases illustrate why accountability for bishops has become a focus of the sexual abuse crisis in the church. Both process and communication need to be improved in order to rebuild trust among the people of God that the church is committed to healing and reform.” By Editors at America: The Jesuit Review

Peru bishop wants excommunication for abuse scandals, not just defrocking
“Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri, Peru believes current punishments for both the crime of clerical sexual abuse (usually expulsion from the clerical state) and the cover-up are ineffective, and suggested harsher penalties including excommunication(link is external). As a former member of a group whose founder has been charged with abuses of conscience, power and sexuality, Schmalhausen told Crux that some key questions need to be asked.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

West Virginia AG sues Wheeling-Charleston Diocese, bishop
“West Virginia’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese after allegations it and a former bishop knowingly employed pedophiles and did not conduct background checks(link is external). The civil complaint, which was filed Tuesday in Wood County Circuit Court, alleges the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of not disclosing the danger to parents who bought its services for their children. Morrisey’s complaint alleges those actions lacked transparency in sharp contrast to the diocese’s advertised mission of providing a safe learning environment.” By Anna Moore, FOX11-TV News

Cardinal Marx: church needs to seriously discuss celibacy, role of women and sexual morality
“The Catholic Church in Germany is at a point where serious debate — including on priestly celibacy and the role of women — and openness to doing things in a new way must encouraged(link is external), said the president of the German bishops’ conference. “Shakeups demand special proceedings,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, conference president, said March 14 at the end of the bishops’ spring meeting in Lingen. The sexual abuse scandal and demands for reform have changed the German church, the cardinal said.” By Zita Fletcher, Catholic News Service, America: The Jesuit Review

Church must follow, accept local laws on abuse, Vatican abuse expert says
“The Catholic Church must respect the law and accept court decisions regarding clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up(link is external), said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading expert in child protection. Interviewed by Vatican News March 15, Zollner noted that in 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear to bishops’ conferences around the world that the Church must obey civil laws regarding cases of abuse.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

How are bishops being held accountable for abuse and cover up?
This week on ‘Inside the Vatican(link is external),’ Gerry and I update you on Australian Cardinal George Pell and several other high-profile cases of abuse. We’ll also talk about Pope Francis’ sixth anniversary as pope … We’ll also look at several new cases that might show us how authorities inside and outside of the church are holding bishops accountable for sexual abuse and its cover-up.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

Civil courts step in to solve what the Catholic Church won’t
“This week (Mar. 13) marked a major turning point in the Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse crisis(link is external). An Australian court sentenced Cardinal George Pell to six years in prison for sexually abusing minors, a decision that not only makes him the highest-ranking Church official to face civil justice, but also underscores a central animating tension in the issue: the one between civil and Church authorities. After years in which victims saw Church officials as lax and unresponsive, more protective of the abusers than of the abused, civil justice has moved in and filled the gap.” By Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic

VATICAN’S BISHOPS’ CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT

Vatican summit prompts cardinals to recommit to caring for abuse victims
“The Archdiocese of Boston is implementing a reporting system to handle confidential and anonymous reporting of misconduct by high-ranking church officials(link is external), including cardinals and bishops. Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley announced in a Lenten message March 8 following the Vatican’s February summit to protect children and minors that the third-party EthicsPoint reporting system would begin “soon” to accept reports of misconduct related to the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Abuse summit achieved something, but not what pope or bishops expected
“The so-called ‘summit’ on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure(link is external). The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen. The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.” By Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter

Your thoughts on Vatican abuse summit
“NCR readers had a myriad of reactions to the Feb. 21-24 summit of bishops at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sex abuse crisis. A sampling of letters(link is external) from NCR readers reacting to the summit are below. They have been edited for length and clarity.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Fr. Zollner: Do justice for victims of clerical sexual abuse
“The Bishops who participated in the Meeting on the ‘Protection of Minors in the Church’ at the end of February have ‘taken some initiatives(link is external),’ says Fr Hans Zollner, SJ, President of the Centre for Child Protection in an interview with Vatican News’ Gudrun Sailer. Some Bishops, he says, have revised their guidelines to find and implement ways of ‘cooperating with Civil Authorities.’ Fr Zollner explains that Presidents of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences are seeking the help of the Centre for Child Protection in the formation of Church personnel on the ground, after many of them were reduced to tears in hearing testimonies of survivors of child sexual abuse.” By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News

CARDINALS

The Catholic Church is investigating George Pell’s case. What does that mean?
“Cardinal George Pell was this week sentenced (Mar. 13) by a Victorian court to six years’ jail for sexually abusing two choirboys, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. Although Pell was found guilty of the charges against him in December, he has remained a Cardinal in the Catholic Church(link is external). The Church previously said it would await the outcome of an appeal before taking action, but it has since confirmed that an investigation of Pell’s case will be conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” By TheConversation.com

CARDINAL PELL

How Cardinal George Pell became the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted of child abuse
“After years of accusations involving Pell’s complicity and direct abuse — and several trials later—Cardinal Pell has been convicted of child abuse on five counts and sentenced to six years in jail(link is external). News of the court proceedings was suppressed until only recently, as his case was protected by a strict media gag order common in high-profile criminal cases in Australia. The verdict was announced formally only days after Pope Francis’s Vatican summit to address child abuse within the Catholic Church, an institution that’s still grappling with its horrifying history of child abuse around the world.” By Nicholas Lord, Rolling Stone

BISHOPS

Bishop says recovery from abuse scandals a ‘generational’ task
“In his debut at America’s largest annual Catholic gathering, one of the rising stars of the U.S. hierarchy warned that full recovery from the clerical abuse scandals, including a new style of leadership in the Church, will be a ‘generational’ ta(link is external)sk. ‘We’ll be at this for a while,’ said Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who made a splash at last fall’s Synod of Bishops in Rome with his blunt, forceful language on the abuse crisis.” By Elise Harris and John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Bishop’s phone porn didn’t involve minors, but questions remain on move to Vatican
“When Pope Francis decided in 2017 to bring an Argentine bishop to Rome and give him a job in the Vatican, the prelate had been accused of ‘strange behavior’ but not of criminal sexual conduct, Crux has learned. The first formal allegations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, formerly of the northern Argentine diocese of Oran, came in 2015 when a diocesan secretary found pornographic pictures on the prelate’s phone(link is external).” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Irish bishops conclude general meeting
“The Bishops of Ireland concluded their Spring 2019 General Meeting Wednesday (Mar. 13) issuing a statement on the topics discussed. During the gathering in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Bishops reflected on the recent meeting on ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church(link is external)’ which took place from 21-24 February in the Vatican. Also present was the chair and CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland who updated the bishops on the standards and guidance for safeguarding children which exist throughout the Church in the country.” By Vatican News

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Conference says after youth synod, ‘people must listen to young people’
“‘I always disliked this Synod on young people,’ admitted Andrea Monda, Editor and Chief of the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano. Bishops from all over the world convened in Rome for a summit last October to discuss ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment’ and produced a document containing over 160 points(link is external). Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation to young people – ‘Christ lives’ – was signed at the Marian shrine of Loreto on Monday (Mar. 25) and will be made available to the public April 2. As a religion teacher and university professor in close contact with youth, Monda struggled to understand how young people could be a topic for a summit of bishops.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

After years of abuse by priests, #NunsToo are speaking out
“In February, Pope Francis acknowledged a longstanding dirty secret in the Roman Catholic Church — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests(link is external). It’s an issue that had long been kept under wraps, but in the #MeToo era, a #NunsToo movement has emerged, and now sexual abuse is more widely discussed. The Vatican’s wall of silence was first broken in Women Church World, a supplement of the official Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

CLERICALISM

Theologians examine role of power, clericalism in the sex abuse crisis
“Two systematic theologians examined how power and clericalism among Catholic clergy played a role in creating the sexual abuse crisis(link is external) that has rocked the church anew since June during a daylong Catholic University of America conference. While offering differing perspectives, Richard Gaillardetz of Boston College and Chad Pecknold of The Catholic University of America agreed March 26 that clericalism needed to be addressed if the church is to begin recovering from the scandal.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

America’s most prominent nun says women should ‘seize the moment’
“Sister Norma Pimentel, arguably the most prominent Catholic woman in America today, has said she believes it is time for women to step up, take the initiative and be proactive in the Church(link is external), rather than waiting for someone to create space for them. In comments to Crux, Pimentel said her hope is for a woman ‘conscious of her presence in society, in the family, in our country, in the world. A woman who does not step back and let others [act], but who actually takes the initiative to voice what she sees and acts on it.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxow.com

How things are changing for women in the Vatican
“Gerard O’Connell is out this week, so instead of following our usual format for the ‘Inside the Vatican’ podcast, we’re breaking out of the weekly news cycle to bring you an interview about a slow change that’s beginning for some really important people in the Vatican: Women(link is external). Lucetta Scaraffia is the editor of Women Church World, the monthly magazine that comes as an insert in the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

Women’s authority can help heal our church’s broken governance
“I suppose Women’s History Month is a good time to weigh in on current discussions and disagreements about women deacons and women priests(link is external) in the Catholic Church. In some ways, it seems a fluffy conversation in light of recent revelations about our grievously wounded clerical system. But perhaps that is exactly why we need to have this discussion.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Women in theology share trials and triumphs at panel event
“Seven years ago, Sr. Annmarie Sanders interviewed theologian Sr. Sandra Schneiders, one of the first women to earn a doctorate of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Schneiders, now a professor emeritus at the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, told Sanders, the director of communications for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and an IHM sister, that she was the only woman taking examinations in classes with 200 men. The men, Schneiders said, simply assumed the woman would not pass the exams(link is external).” By Chris Herlinger, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Australian church completes first phase of historic plenary council
“The Australian Catholic Church has completed the first phase of its 2020 Plenary Council, in which laypeople will be allowed to vote and decisions could be binding on the nation’s Catholics, once ratified by the Vatican. The meeting’s organizers have received more than 20,000 submissions from more than 75,000 Catholics around the country in a 10-month ‘listening and dialogue’ process that finished March 13. The landmark meeting that will take place in two Australian cities during 2020 and 2021 is already bringing to the surface debate about the role of the laity in the church(link is external) and other reforms that are becoming more urgent in the wake of the ever-growing global sexual abuse scandal.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Future of Youngstown Catholic Diocese brings fewer priests, smaller congregation
“The future of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese will likely mean fewer Masses and, possibly, fewer churches because there are fewer Catholics(link is external) and an even smaller number who regularly attend. Numbers released on Friday (Mar. 22) show Catholic participation in the diocese is way down — in some cases, nearly 70 percent.” By Sarah Mercer and Stan Boney, WKBN-TV News

Number of U.S. Catholics considering leaving he church has gone up after recent sex abuse crisis
“The percentage of US Catholics who say the clergy sex abuse crisis has them questioning whether to leave the faith(link is external) has jumped 15 points since the last major crisis in the early 2000s, a poll released Wednesday (Mar. 13) finds. Thirty-seven percent of Catholics told Gallup that ‘recent news about sexual abuse of young people by priests’ has them personally questioning whether to remain Catholic, compared with 62 percent who said it had not.” By Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, in The Boston Globe

VOICES

The Church under pressure: reform or counter-reform?
“Bishop Charles Morerod, who is recognized as one the leading intellectuals among the Catholic hierarchy of Europe, recently told La Croix ‘the Church reforms itself under the influence of seemingly adverse forces.’ The 57-year-old Swiss Dominican, head of the Diocese of Lausanne-Genève-Fribourg since 2011, was referring to the sexual abuse crisis and how it is putting pressure for change on the Catholic Church(link is external). Mounting pressure is a key factor to consider in the debates within the Church about the institutional reforms that are needed to address how bishops have failed in handling sex abuse cases. But this pressure on the institutional Church is undeniably different today from that of the past.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International

The end of an era? The abuse crisis redefines church sovereignty
“The relationship between papal power in the church and the political power of the state has been defined for centuries by diplomacy, foreign policy, revolutions, and parliaments. Now, because of the sexual-abuse crisis, it is being redefined by the criminal-justice system of the secular state(link is external). The convictions of Cardinal George Pell by an Australian tribunal for crimes of sexual abuse against minors, and of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin by a French tribunal for failing to report an abusive priest, together mark a new chapter in the relations between church and state.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: protecting children
“Last month’s summit in Rome on child sex abuse did not break new ground for those, like myself, who have been following this crisis for more than 30 years, but it did make clear — again — that the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has been devastating for the victims of abuse and for the church as a whole(link is external). There are three parts to the crisis, which I plan to deal with in three successive columns. First, there is the failure to protect children; second, the failure to hold bishops accountable; and third, the lack of transparency in dealing with the crisis. Protecting children is a fundamental obligation of any adult, even of those who are not parents …” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church continues to fail on the issue of sexual misconduct
“Why do we keep hearing this story? That is the question that so many of us have been trying to answer in light of more recent revelations about the Catholic Church’s widespread cover-up of child sexual abuse by the clergy(link is external). This far-reaching scandal has even reached LMU with recent reports of sexual harassment by a former LMU Jesuit, Bishop Gordon Bennett. Though we still do not know the precise nature of the allegations, they were deemed credible enough to bar Bennett from performing any priestly or episcopal ministry.” By Abby Pollack, The Los Angeles Loyolan

CHURCH FINANCES

Parishioners at Claremont church claim money is being mismanaged
“A group of concerned parishioners are asking their church where there money has gone(link is external). About 15 members of Saint Augustine – Our Lady of Victory claim money at the Claremont congregation has been mismanaged for years under the leadership of Father George Stewart. Among the allegations are nearly $20,000 in renovations that never came, hundreds of thousands in rent income that is seemingly unaccounted for and never seeing funding and stipend money owed to the church’s food pantry and its volunteers.” By News12 The Bronx

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

New Jersey sexual-assault victims will soon have more time to sue abusers under bull that just passed
“Despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, state legislators passed a bill today giving victims of sexual assault in New Jersey significantly more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bill, which had been stalled in the state Legislature for more than two decades. The state Assembly voted 71-0 with five abstentions Monday (Mar. 25) to approve the measure (S477), which would vastly expand the current two-year statute of limitations for such civil suits to seven years in most cases.” By S.P. Sullivan, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Maryland House of Delegates OKs bill lifting age limits on filing child sexual abuse lawsuits
“The Maryland House of Delegates on Monday (Mar. 18) approved a bill removing the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits arising from child sexual abuse(link is external). The House passed the bill by a bipartisan vote of 136-2 without debate, sending it to the state Senate for consideration. The bill would allow victims of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit anytime. And victims who previously were barred from filing a lawsuit because of the prior limits would have a two-year window to file a lawsuit.” By Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Speakers at Georgetown dialogue on child sex abuse look at ‘path forward’
“Some 60 years later, sexual abuse by a trusted priest is still vivid(link is external) for Michael Nugent. His 2002 accusation against Father Marion Snieg, who abused him at the parish school of St. Jane de Chantal in Chicago in 1959, when he was in the eighth grade, was part of an $8 million settlement in 2003 by the Archdiocese of Chicago involving 12 priests and 15 victims.” By Kurt Jensen, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Broken Faith: inside the Catholic Church’s plan to quietly pay survivors of sexual abuse
“For survivors, many of whom have spent decades coping with trauma, the (compensation) programs are a way to finally be acknowledged by the Church that wronged them … But the programs amount to a kind of private justice: At a time when states are considering rewriting statute of limitations laws, sexual assault survivors must sign away their right to ever sue the Church. There is generally no requirement that the Church admit guilt and there’s no guarantee that evidence of sexual abuse will ever be made public(link is external), or that anyone in the Church will be held accountable after the settlements.” By Carter Sherman and Joe Hill, Vice News

Survivor Stories: Marie Collins
“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. In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside(link is external). 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

Faced with ongoing sexual-abuse crisis, what are Catholic parents to do?
“As it has been for decades, the Catholic Church is in the midst of a crisis, one whose long reach has traumatized thousands and left one of the world’s oldest institutions struggling to find a way forward … What is an institutional crisis for the Church is a personal crisis for the faithful. Lay Catholics are left to grapple with what this crisis means for them, their families, and their faith. Parents in particular often feel acutely conflicted(link is external).” By Julie Beck and Ashley Fetters

Movement leader says Christ is key to recovery from abuse scandals
“Catholicism’s ongoing clerical abuse scandals have provoked wide reactions, not the least of which has been a push both within the Church and from outside it for tough norms and policies to provide accountability for both the crime and the cover-up. However, according to a leading member of a high-profile Catholic movement, the more essential change the scandals should provoke is a renewed internal commitment to Christ(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

CALIFORNIA

Sex abuse must be reported by clergy, senate bill contends
“California Sen. Jerry Hill, (D-San Mateo), has introduced legislation to require clergy of all faiths to report suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement without regard to the circumstances(link is external). Although current law includes clergy members in the list of 46 professionals with social workers and teachers as mandated reporters, the law also exempts clergy from such reporting if they gain their knowledge or suspicion of the crimes during ‘a penitential communication.’ By Sue Wood, Patch.com

COLORADO

Review of Catholic Church in Colorado is miserably weak
“The Colorado attorney general and Catholic Church last month announced an agreement that established an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy(link is external). This is Colorado’s contribution to a broader search for truth that’s occurring in states across the country. In some states, law enforcement officials are aggressively pursuing relevant information, but that’s not happening in Colorado. In fact, the terms of the agreement are so favorable to the church and so incommensurate to the gravity of crimes uncovered in numerous other dioceses that it’s doubtful to result in an honest account of abuses that took place in Colorado.” By Daily Camera Editorial Board

CONNECTICUT

10 Priests added to Bridgeport Diocese abuse allegation list
“The Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has added 10 priests to its list of those credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external). The list includes eight deceased priests, one retired diocesan priest who is on permanent administrative leave and one Venezuelan priest who was present in the diocese for one summer.” By Rich Scinto, Patch.com

FLORIDA

Allegations of sexual abuse made against priest who served at Jacksonville Catholic church in 1980s
“The Diocese of St. Augustine said Thursday (Mar. 21) night that ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse’ have been made against a priest who served at a Jacksonville parish(link is external) in the 1980s and 1990s. In a statement, the diocese said the allegations were made against Father William Malone, who served in the diocese from January 1982 to March 1992. The abuses happened in the early 1980s at Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville.” By Action News Jax

Catholic priest charged with drugging, raping woman
“A Roman Catholic priest in Florida is facing charges that he drugged a female parishioner and raped her(link is external). The Rev. Jean Claude Jean-Philippe was in a Miami-Dade County jail late Saturday (Mar. 16) charged with sexual battery on an incapacitated victim. The Miami Herald reports that in October the 64-year-old priest invited the victim to his home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead. The woman said she drank tea he gave her and passed out. She told investigators she woke up two hours later naked in Jean-Philippe’s bed, believing she was raped.” By Associated Press on ABC News

HAWAII

State representative urges the Catholic Church to establish procedures to stop sexual abuse
“Rida Cabanilla Arakawa, the State Representative for Ewa Beach, called out the Catholic Church(link is external) Friday (Mar. 15). In a news conference at the State Capitol, she urged the pope and church bishops to establish procedures stopping further sexual abuse by clergy and instead help victims heal and keep their faith. Cabanilla Arakawa introduced a House Resolution recently, a reaction to many allegations worldwide leading to clergy either being convicted or resigning.” By KITV4 News

ILLINOIS

New report to detail Catholic priest sex abuse cases
“A new report out today (Mar. 19) lists hundreds of names, work histories and background information of Catholic priests in Illinois accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The survivors behind the 185-page report—the most comprehensive to date–hope it pushes bishops to reveal the identities of hundreds of more clergy involved in the cases. The report was assembled by law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which gathered information from survivors, lists of credible allegations and other outlets.” By Vi Nguyen, CBS-TV News Chicago

KANSAS

Victims’ group wants to see upcoming criminal trial of accused KCK priest play out
“Less than three weeks before the criminal trial of a priest charged with sexually abusing a child(link is external) is set to begin in Wyandotte County, victims’ advocates on Thursday (Mar. 21) said they hoped the complete story comes out in court. David Clohessy, former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the group wants prosecutors to reject any plea deal for the Rev. Scott Kallal and instead push for a jury trial at which those ‘who may have concealed or ignored’ alleged child sex crimes against Kallal ‘might also be publicly exposed.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Mother of Catholic church abuse victim in Kansas laments ‘third-degree burns to the soul’
“Janet Patterson ripped the blinders off when her adult son killed himself shortly after revealing a priest sexually abused him as a child(link is external). For three decades, Catholic church leaders in Wichita, Newton and Conway Springs ignored reports of children suffering at the hands of Robert Larson. At least five victims committed suicide. ‘Suicide is a very real thing,’ Patterson said. ‘Not only suicide but dying slowly on the vine, so to speak, when you have third-degree burns to the soul. Nobody can see those burns, but they hurt, and they hurt so badly that they influence everything in your life.’” By Sherman Smith, Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas bill requiring clergy to report suspected sexual abuse receives broad support
“A bill that would require clergy to be mandatory reporters of suspected sexual assault(link is external) received broad support during its first hearing in the Kansas Legislature. Several people who identified themselves as victims or related to victims of sexual violence spoke Wednesday in support of Senate Bill 218 before the Kansas Senate’s state and federal affairs committee. Baldwin City Democrat Sen. Tom Holland introduced the bill in January.” By Dylan Lysen, Lawrence Journal-World

MASSACHUSETTS

Case of ex-priest convicted of altar boy abuse back in court
“The case of a former Massachusetts priest who was convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy(link is external) in Maine years ago is due to return to court later this week. Ronald Paquin was found guilty of 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct in November and has been awaiting sentencing. The case is expected in York County Superior Court in Alfred on Friday (Mar. 29). Paquin’s sentencing was delayed when his attorney filed a motion requesting a mental health evaluation. A judge granted the request.” By NBC10-TV News

Springfield Diocese sets services to show ‘solidarity’ with clergy abuse victims
“A Prayer Service for Healing to show ‘solidarity’ with victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) will be held Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m at St. Michael’s Cathedral, 254 State St. The service is part of Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski’s efforts announced in February to hold dialogue and prayer sessions as a ‘sign of our collective commitment to victims that we are truly sorry for our church’s past failure and remain steadfast in our ongoing efforts to prevent any future abuse.’” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Teens testify Catholic priest sexually assaulted them
“With a jury looking on Wednesday (Mar. 21), two teens testified that a Roman Catholic priest had sexually assaulted them(link is external). Testimony in the first of three trials for Robert J. “Father Bob” DeLand began the afternoon of Wednesday, March 20, before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson. DeLand, 72, is a longtime priest who worked in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.” By Cole Waterman, MLive.com

John Nienstedt, Detroit’s poster boy for the Catholic Church abuse scandal, is back – and the archdiocese is keeping it quiet
“It didn’t look like anyone was living at the home north of Port Huron — no cars in the driveway, no tire tracks in what was left of the snow and ice. Looking through a screen, I saw two pairs of boots on the floor, the corner of a treadmill, and a chair and table. Just as I was going to leave, he got up from the table, clutching a copy of Inside the Vatican magazine. Suddenly I was face to face with Archbishop John Nienstedt(link is external).” By Michael Betzold, Detroit Metro Times

Former Catholic priest’s sex abuse trial to begin Tuesday
“Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday (Mar. 19) morning in the sex abuse case involving a former Catholic priest(link is external). Robert DeLand is known by many as ‘Father Bob.’ He’s accused of sexual misconduct against three young men dating back to 2017. Two of the young men were 17-years-old when the alleged incidents took place, the third man was 21-years-old.” By Rebecca Tryich, ABC12-TV News

Survivors want Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo to name priests accused of abuse
“A support group for men and women abused by members of the Roman Catholic Church has called on the Diocese of Kalamazoo to publicly list the former Kalamazoo-area priests who have credible allegations against them(link is external). The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Thursday, March 14, called for Diocese of Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley to post the names of all church staff accused of molesting children on the websites of Kalamazoo churches. The post should include photos and work histories, SNAP said.” By Emily Monacelli, MLive.com

Archdiocese of Detroit will re-examine list of accused clergy
“The Archdiocese of Detroit said Wednesday (Mar. 13) that it will re-examine its list of religious order priests accused of abuse that some victims allege is incomplete(link is external). The announcement came after members of a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) claimed city’s Catholic officials are being ‘reckless and secretive’ by withholding details of all accused priests.” By Sarah Rahal, The Detroit News

MISSISSIPPI

Bishop in Mississippi: ‘deeply sorry’ for clergy sex abue
“A Catholic diocese in Mississippi is releasing names of clergy members it says have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Joseph Kopacz said the Diocese of Jackson is publishing the list Tuesday (Mar. 19) on its website. It’s part of the international reckoning of clergy abuse allegations that have shaken the Catholic church. The Jackson bishop said in a letter released Monday (Mar. 18) that he is ‘truly, deeply sorry’ for pain that be caused by the list.” By Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press

MISSOURI

Survivors accuse Missouri bishop of withholding details of abuse
“With Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the background, two members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests accused Bishop Shawn McKnight and the diocese of Jefferson City of continuing to withhold information about abusive priests(link is external). ‘We’re here to essentially protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded,’ said David Clohessy, SNAP’s president based in St. Louis. Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr., a priest at Immaculate Conception Church and School in Jefferson City, has been placed on administrative leave while being investigated for allegations of ‘boundary violations’ with minors.” By Roger McKinney, Columbia Daily Tribune

MONTANA

Accusation against York Catholic Priest not credible
“The child sexual abuse allegation against a former York Catholic teacher and York County priest was deemed not credible(link is external), according to a Montana diocesan official. The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings Chancellor Darren Eultgen told The York Dispatch in February that there was an independent investigation into the allegations against Rev. William Cawley.” By Christopher Dornblaser, York Dispatch

NEBRASKA

Andrew Rannells says a Catholic priest sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager
“In his new memoir, ‘Too Much Is Not Enough,’ Andrew Rannells says a Catholic priest in his 60s sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager(link is external). The former ‘Girls’ star, now 40, describes his Catholic upbringing in Omaha, Nebraska, in an excerpt from the memoir. Rannells went to Catholic school, and also served as an altar boy. According to the excerpt, Rannells, who is now openly gay, says that later during his time at a Jesuit high school, he was struggling with his sexuality. At a low point, he says he decided to open up to a priest whom he calls Father Dominic during the rite of confession.” By Antoinette Bueno, Entertainment Tonight

NEW JERSEY

Former TCNJ chaplain from Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal exposed
“As the Catholic Church grapples with widespread sex abuse scandals, new details have emerged about a child-molesting ex-priest who targeted students(link is external) at the local campus known today as The College of New Jersey. The Rev. Vincent J. Inghilterra, better known as Father Vince, has debauched the morals of ‘multiple victims’ and has since been removed from ministry, the Diocese of Trenton confirmed in a public tell-all outing the identities of 30 clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor.” By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, The Trentonian

NEW MEXICO

Ex-priest charged with raping New Mexico girl in 1990s
“Former Roman Catholic priest Sabine Griego was arrested Tuesday (Mar. 12) at his home in Las Vegas, N.M., accused of raping an 8-year-old Albuquerque girl(link is external) nearly three decades ago. Griego, 81, has been charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with one count of sexual penetration of a minor and coercion resulting in great bodily harm and mental anguish. He is being held without bond at the San Miguel County Detention Center in Las Vegas.” By Rebecca Moss, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Diocese obscured depth of crisis by scrubbing dead priests’ bios, victims say
“Monsignor J. Grant Higgins was a Catholic priest for 60 years, but when he died in 2016 at age 90, the Buffalo Diocese tried to make it seem as if he wasn’t a priest(link is external). A paid death notice for Higgins omitted the honorific title of ‘Reverend’ that is standard in priest death notices and obituaries. The Mass of Christian Burial for Higgins was held at a church in North Buffalo, more than 25 miles away from his last parish assignment in the Village of Angola, where he was well-known and had served for 14 years. The diocese did not publish an obituary on Higgins in its own Western New York Catholic, a monthly newspaper that assiduously chronicles the deaths of area priests, deacons and nuns.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Diocese says child sex abuse claim against Ellicottville priest is credible
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has substantiated an allegation of child sexual abuse against a suspended Ellicottville priest(link is external). The diocese announced Thursday (Mar. 21) the Rev. Ronald Mierzwa, pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville, will remain on leave while the results of its investigation are reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in Rome, which will make the final determination.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Priests, other clergy would be mandatory child abuse reporters under proposed New York law
“In light of horrific sex abuse scandals in the Diocese of Buffalo and across the country, a Cheektowaga lawmaker has proposed a new law that would require Catholic priests and other clergy members to report child abuse in New York State(link is external). Despite some resistance by the Diocese of Buffalo, it appears to have widespread support from lawmakers in Western New York.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Buffalo Diocese in urgent need of major reform, lay Catholics say
“Bold reforms are needed to help the Diocese of Buffalo recover from one of the nation’s worst sex abuse scandals and to restore trust in its leadership(link is external), lay Catholics say. The Movement to Restore Trust, a group of lay (or non-ordained) Catholics organized by Canisius College President John J. Hurley last year, has released its report after three months of discussion and debate.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

NORTH DAKOTA

Critics say North Dakota dioceses too slow naming problem priests
“North Dakota’s Roman Catholic dioceses are mulling whether and when to release information about priests accused of sexual abuse, even as critics say they are moving too slowly following explosive revelations in Pennsylvania last year(link is external). The Bismarck Diocese, the state’s second-largest, says it plans to release the names of priests with ‘substantiated claims’ against them of sexual misconduct with minors after it finishes reviewing its files. But the Fargo Diocese hasn’t yet decided whether to release names.” By Dave Kolpack, Insurance Journal

OHIO

Survivors say Columbus Diocese’s list of accused priests is incomplete
“The Catholic Diocese of Columbus released its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) earlier this month, but a survivors’ advocacy group said the list is incomplete. The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said there are at least seven clergy members who should be on the list. The names have been made public before and include two that have been the subject of news coverage in the last few years.” By ABC6-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Victim of clergy abuse in Pennsylvania receives $2 million settlement
“A man who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania received $2 million in a settlement(link is external) with the Erie diocese that the priest was a member of, the victim’s lawyer said on Tuesday (Mar. 26). The priest, David L. Poulson, pleaded guilty in October to two felony charges for sexually assaulting one boy and trying to assault another. In January, he was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.” By Jacey Fortin, The New York Times

Vatican defrocks Poulson as priest in Erie diocese
“The Vatican has removed from the priesthood(link is external) David L. Poulson, 65, the former pastor in the Catholic Diocese of Erie who was sentenced to two and a half to 14 years in state prison in January for molesting two boys. Poulson, 65, applied to be defrocked, or laicized, as a condition of his guilty plea and sentence, which was imposed in Jefferson County. He is at the state prison at Camp Hill, near Harrisburg.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

Msgr. Mazur relieved of priestly duties
“A priest at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament has been put on leave, a move the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese indicated is because of an investigation into allegations involving a minor(link is external). ‘This comes as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct involving a minor, which occurred years ago,’ diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said in a statement about Monsignor Robert C. Mazur that was sent out to news media late Wednesday (Mar. 13) afternoon.” By Altoona Mirror

Former Susquehanna Valley Catholic priest accused of assaulting altar boys
“A man who served as a Catholic priest in the Susquehanna Valley is facing new allegations that he assaulted two boys(link is external). In court documents, police say John Allen, 75, of York, indecently touched two altar boys while serving as a priest at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Harrisburg from 1997 to 2002.” By WGAL-TV News

SOUTH DAKOTA

Watchdog group lists 24 Sioux Fall Catholic clergy accused of abuse
“A day following the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese release of a list of names of 11 priests who abused children, KELOLAND Investigates is looking back at the history of the priest sex abuse problem in Sioux Falls(link is external). Our requests for an interview with current Bishop Paul Swain on the release of this list of priest was denied.” By Angela Kennecke, Kelo Media Group on keloland.com

TEXAS

Catholic priest accused of groping woman during anointing
“A Catholic priest has been arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of groping a woman in home hospice care(link is external) while giving her the anointing of the sick. Father Gerold Langsch, of Austin, was arrested Thursday (Mar. 21) and charged with assault by contact stemming from the Oct. 5 encounter. The 75-year-old priest is free on $15,000 bond. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $4,000.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

14 abusive priests found in Georgetown’s past, present
“Since 1937, Georgetown University students have learned from, lived with and sought the guidance of religious leaders on campus. Of those leaders, 14 have been credibly or plausibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external), according to an investigation by The Hoya … The credibility of accusations against each priest is based on settled lawsuits, the review of Catholic Church authorities or admissions of guilt. Each priest’s affiliation with Georgetown was verified through media reporting, public church statements or university archival material.” By Adam Shaham, Will Simon and Will Cassou, The Hoya

WISCONSIN

Milwaukee Archdiocese stresses importance of transparency in clergy sex abuse scandal
“Over the state line, nearly 400 Catholic clergy members in Illinois have been accused of sexual misconduct. A report released on Wednesday, March 20, revealed background information and work history of priests and lay persons accused of abuse … On the Milwaukee Archdiocese website is a list of its own, including detailed information on priests with a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external), including assignments, timeline, and related documents.” By Aaron Maybain, FOX6-TV News

CANADA

Catholic Church to investigate 60 years of child sex abuse allegations in Montreal
“The Diocese of Montreal has assigned an independent committee to examine more than six decades of files related to allegations of sexual abuse committed on children by the clergy(link is external) or church personnel in Montreal-area parishes. Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine has asked retired Superior Court justice Anne-Marie Trahan to oversee the investigation, which will also examine files of the dioceses of St-Jérôme, Valleyfield, St-Jean-Longueuil and Joliette.” By Presse Canadienne in Montreal Gazette

Montreal priest who sexually abused boys gets eight years in prison
“A Montreal priest who sexually abused two former parishioners when they were boys(link is external) has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Quebec court Judge Patricia Compagnone handed down the sentence to Brian Boucher Monday (Mar.25), based on a joint recommendation from the Crown and the defence. Boucher was handcuffed in the courtroom and led away by a constable.” By Steve Rukavina, CBC News

Survivors of pedophile priest who served in Sudbury subject of documentary
“Over the course of 38 years, William ‘Hod’ Hodgson Marshall — who served as a Basilian priest and Catholic teacher in Sudbury, Toronto and Windsor — sexually abused at least 17 minors(link is external). ‘I grew up Catholic in Windsor. I was an altar boy at a church in the east end,’ recalls filmmaker Matt Gallagher. ‘I was a grown man when these things about certain priests started coming out … I haven’t considered myself a Catholic since I was 18 years old. But this film was still very difficult to do.’” By Dalson Chen, Windsor Star

CHILE

Fresh allegations cloud pope’s appointment of Chilean church leader
“Pope Francis’s pick to replace Chile’s top cardinal – who has been dismissed over allegations of covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external) – was on Monday (Mar. 25) forced to deny that he himself had covered up the crimes of predator priests. In a case that appears to cast doubt on Francis’ judgement in appointing him to replace Chile’s top prelate Ricardo Ezzati, Spanish bishop Celestino Aos was forced to deny allegations from two sex abuse victims that he covered up for their abuser.” By Buenos Aires Times

Chilean bishops called in to testify about cover-up allegations
“Chilean bishops began testifying at the local prosecutor’s office this week on charges that they covered up cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external). Their questioning comes less than a year after every bishop in the country presented their resignation to Pope Francis, who said that many of them were guilty of cover-up and destroying evidence implicating abusive priests. In all, eight Chilean bishops have been called to testify – some of them on charges that they themselves sexually abused either minors or seminarians.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FRANCE

Convicted French cardinal says pope has refused his resignation
“Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic cardinal convicted this month of failing to report sexual abuse allegations, said on Tuesday (Mar. 19) that Pope Francis had turned down his offer to resign(link is external). ‘On Monday morning, I put forward my resignation to the hands of the Holy Father. Invoking the presumption of innocence, he declined to accept this resignation,’ said Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, in a statement.” By The Guardian

France demands Vatican lift envoy’s immunity over abuse probe
“French prosecutors said Friday (Mar. 15) they had asked the Vatican to lift the diplomatic immunity of its envoy to France who is under investigation for alleged sexual assault(link is external). Luigi Ventura, 74, is facing four complaints of sexual abuse — including an allegation he molested a junior official at Paris town hall. Investigators have already spoken to three of the complainants, a source close to the case told AFP, saying in three cases they had accused him of groping their backsides.” By Agence France-Presse on France24.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest jailed for sexually abusing six children
“A Catholic priest has been jailed for nine years and 11 months after abusing six children in the 1970s, leaving one of his victims ‘in fractured pieces(link is external).’ Francis McDermott, 75, abused six victims, some as young as 10, in London, Norwich, and High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, between 1971 and 1978, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.” By Press Association in Daily Mail

POLAND

Catholic Church in Poland releases study on sexual abuse by priests
“The Roman Catholic Church in Poland released long-awaited statistics on Thursday (Mar. 14) that shed light on the sexual abuse of children by priests(link is external) over the past 28 years. The study, commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and pulling together data from over 10,000 local parishes, found that from 1990 to mid-2018, church officials received abuse reports concerning 382 priests.” By Joanna Berendt, The New York Times

Polish Church says 382 minors abused by clergy from 1990-2018
“As many as 382 children were sexually abused by clergy in Poland(link is external) between 1990 and 2018, according to findings presented on Thursday (Mar. 15) by the Polish Catholic Church in one of the most devout countries in Europe. The report follows investigations into widespread abuse of minors by clergy in other countries – notably in Chile, the United States, Australia and Ireland – that have shaken the Roman Catholic Church to its foundations.” By Marcin Goclowski, Reuters

TAHITI

Tahiti Catholic priest charged with sexual assault
“Earlier this month, a 40-year-old man was detained and questioned for two days about the alleged sexual abuse of minors(link is external). He was set free and declared an ‘assisted witness’ in the ongoing investigation. The prosecution, however, objected to this and Tahiti Nui TV said he has now been charged. The suspect remains free but is not allowed to visit his parish or leave the territory.” By Radio New Zealand

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


March 18, 2019

TOP STORIES

Cardinal George Pell of Australia sentenced to six years in prison
“George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison(link is external) on Wednesday (Mar. 13), for molesting two boys after Sunday Mass in 1996. The cardinal was convicted on five counts in December, making him the most senior Catholic official — and the first bishop — to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.” By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave, The New York Times

Vatican to open own investigation into accusations against Pell
“The Vatican is opening its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell(link is external), who was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors in his native Australia, a spokesman said on Wednesday (Feb. 27). The move means that Pell, who maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the verdict, could be dismissed from the priesthood if the Vatican’s doctrinal department also finds him guilty.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Swiss bishops, religious orders strengthen abuse reporting mandate
“Just a few days after the Vatican summit on child protection and clerical sexual abuse, the bishops’ conference and major religious superiors of Switzerland adopted new guidelines(link is external), which include mandatory reporting of all allegations to the police. Previously, the bishops said in a statement, when adults reported having been abused, church officials were required to inform them that they could file a civil lawsuit and that they could decide whether a report was filed with the police.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cardinal Barbarin sentenced to six months suspended sentence
“A French court on Thursday (Mar. 7) convicted a French cardinal for failing to report to authorities allegations of sexual abuse of minors by a priest(link is external). The Lyon court handed Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, a six-month suspended prison sentence for not reporting the cases in the period between July 2014 and June 2015. The 68-year old cardinal was not present in the Lyon court to hear his conviction. His lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said he will appeal.” By Vatican News

The sex-abuse crisis and ordinary lay Catholics
“Toward the end of February 2019, Pope Francis met in Rome with about 124 church leaders, focusing on the sex-abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of this long-awaited summit was to provide a teaching moment to the hierarchy(link is external) that addressed the scarring pain of the victims, to hear testimony from some survivors, to review the church’s obligations to act against abuser priests and bishops and to pray, seeking forgiveness for the church’s horrible failures.” Commentary in Coastal Point by Jeannie Bennett Fleming, member of Coastal Delmarva VOTF

ACCOUNTABILITY

Cardinal Pell to appeal conviction on three grounds
“The sexual abuse crisis has put the Catholic Church in crisis globally, and everywhere the response has been full-scale legal warfare. The Vatican, the national hierarchies and the local bishops all dodged and weaved. They filed for injunctions to stop documents being released to the state commissions of investigation. When state authorities had the documents, the church did all in its power to avoid prosecution by relying on the statute of limitations and to limit any extension of these statutes to preclude further prosecutions.” By CathNews.com

Two bishops accused of sexually harassing adults are barred from priestly duties
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore said on Monday (Mar.11) that it had barred two bishops from performing priestly duties and referred their cases to the Vatican(link is external) after an internal investigation into allegations that they had sexually harassed adults, including one claim that was dismissed by church investigators a decade ago. The announcement shined a light on the alleged abuse of adults, an often overlooked corner of the Catholic Church abuse scandal …” By Liam Stack, The New York Times

Catholic archbishop, on his hands and knees, begged for forgiveness over abuse
“When the Archdiocese of Hartford released a list this year identifying 48 priests accused of sexual abuse, five of them had served at the same church: St. George’s, in the small coastal town of Guilford. One had been a pastor there for more than a decade, baptizing children and hearing confessions … And so The Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair, the archbishop of Hartford, responded to the crisis with an extraordinary gesture(link is external): He held a special Mass of Reparations. He said that he came before the congregation ‘on my knees as a bishop’ in search of forgiveness.” By Rick Rojas, The New York Times

Australia’s plenary can wait: We need an adjournment on scandal”

“So often moving against the tide of conventional wisdom, I emigrated from Australia to Ireland in the early ’70s. In 1989, representing a local educational project, I visited a previous archbishop of Dublin and asked him for a financial contribution. He smiled and arranged for me to meet the diocesan accountant. This priest smiled, too, but told me that I would not receive any money for my cause because every possible penny was being kept to finance settlements in the anticipated sex abuse litigation(link is external). Three years previously, Irish bishops had begun to insure themselves against just such risks. The sexual abuse crisis has put the Catholic Church in crisis globally, and everywhere the response has been full-scale legal warfare.” By Gail Grossman Freyne, National Catholic Reporter

‘Metropolitan model’ may not answer question of abusive bishops
“After the conclusion of the unprecedented Vatican summit on child abuse last week, one issue that was repeated was ‘accountability.’ However, despite this mantra, the problem of what to do with bishops who have themselves been accused of abuse remains(link is external). Right now, bishops can be judged by the pope alone. Although a special tribunal to handle accusations against bishops was authorized by Pope Francis, he later backtracked and decided to use specially constituted bodies in cases against bishops.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Sins of the Fathers: What will accountability look like for the Catholic Church
“For years now, survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse have sought accountability at the local level, taking claims to their parish or bishop. But the Roman Catholic Church is a global institution, and experts say its cover-up of child abuse reaches the upper echelons of church leadership(link is external). What would it take to go after the Vatican?” By Mary Harris, Slate

Vatican embassy confirms complaint of sexual misconduct against ex-nuncio
“The apostolic nunciature in Ottawa, Ontario, confirmed Feb. 26 that it received a first complaint of sexual misconduct concerning Archbishop Luigi Ventura(link is external), the Vatican’s ambassador to Canada from 2001 to 2009. Archbishop Ventura, now 74, is under investigation for similar allegations in France, where he has served as nuncio since 2009. The alleged incident took place July 26, 2008, at the shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.” By Philippe Vaillancourt, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Deliver us: Is the church still covering up abuse?
Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end?(link is external) That’s a question everyone has been asking since the latest wave of news in 2018. 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, America: The Jesuit Review

VATICAN BISHOPS CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT

Following summit, Church will focus on eight points in ‘all-out battle’ against abuse
“At the closing of the Vatican summit on sexual abuse, Pope Francis outlined eight points that the Church will focus on in an ‘all-out battle’ against the sexual abuse of minors(link is external) to, he said, ‘turn this evil into an opportunity for purification.’ ‘We need to recognize with humility and courage that we stand face to face with the mystery of evil, which strikes most violently against the most vulnerable, for they are an image of Jesus,’ Pope Francis said Feb. 24 following the Vatican summit’s closing Mass in the Sala Regia.” By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency, on DenverCatholic.org

The Editors on the Vatican Summit: One Step Forward
“In the lead-up to last month’s four-day Vatican summit on the sexual abuse of minors, organizers made a concerted effort to lower expectations. A crisis decades in the making, the full scope of which is still coming into view, would not be solved in one meeting, they insisted(link is external). There would be no sweeping policy changes from on high, no declaration from Pope Francis that definitively addressed every concern about how the church handles sexual abuse, no ‘closure.’ But even if such a gathering was never intended to do everything, it’s still fair to ask whether it did enough. The unsatisfying answer is that no one knows—yet.” By The Editors at Commonweal

Cardinal O’Malley says Vatican meeting was ‘a huge step forward’
“Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley says the recently concluded meeting at the Vatican was a ‘huge step forward’ that educated many of the bishops attending about the clergy sex abuse problem(link is external) that has plagued the Roman Catholic Church. ‘For many of the bishops, I think the conference was a very transformative experience. For many of them, it was the first time that they were listening to victim/survivors; it was the first time they were hearing about the challenges of safeguarding and the responsibility of the bishops,’ O’Malley said in a post on his blog Friday (Mar. 1).” By Martin Finucane, The Boston Globe

Why the sex abuse summit accomplished nothing
“For decades we’ve heard countless opinions of what has caused the clergy sex abuse crises in the Catholic Church: clericalism, celibacy, bad seminary formation. But on the closing day of the bishops’ summit on the protection of minors, we heard a new theory: the devil made them do it(link is external). That’s what Pope Francis suggested multiple times and in various ways in his speech at the conclusion of the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

After Vatican abuse summit, survivors express disappointment and call for concrete reforms
“A group of nearly 200 Catholic leaders including cardinals, lay experts and philanthropists, who met in Washington last month to discuss the church’s ongoing sexual abuse crisis(link is external), released a report with dozens of recommendations just days after a global summit of bishops in Rome concluded their gathering about the same topic.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Will anything change after the Vatican meeting on abuse?
“The much-anticipated February conference on sex abuse at the Vatican is now history. This is the conference that prevented the U.S. bishops from acting on the sex abuse crisis back in November at their meeting in Baltimore. Was it worth it? What was accomplished?(link is external) We heard the same rhetoric we have been hearing since the crisis first broke in Boston more than 15 years ago. Little in the way of concrete action came out of the discussions. They were marred by divisive speeches demonstrating just how divided our church has become. Finger-pointing and accusations often drowned out thoughtful or serious dialogue on how to address the issue that continues to bedevil the church.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

After the Vatican’s summit on abuse, the stakes are clear
“The long-awaited ‘Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church,’ nicknamed the abuse summit, was an extraordinary and historic gathering that surpassed many expectations while perhaps disappointing others(link is external) … It also may have become a prototype of sorts for what synodal gatherings may come to look like in the future in terms of both a diversity of voices and an honesty of opinion.” ByGreg Erlandson, The Pilot

In wake of Vatican summit, Villanova professor believes Catholic Church is on path to reform
“A week ago (Feb. 21-24), an unprecedented Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse ended. While some had greater expectations of Pope Francis and church leadership, a Villanova professor believes they’re on the right track for reform(link is external). Many observers labeled the summit’s results as empty and lacking in the kind of concrete responses the pope promised at the beginning of the historic session.” By Mark Abrams, KYW News Radio

The sins of the church
“Last week (Feb. 21-24), over a hundred Catholic bishops gathered in Rome for a conference that addressed the problem of child sexual abuse by priests(link is external). The church, and the general public, have known about this problem since the 1980s, when complaints began to surface in the United States. The Vatican chose, at first, to regard it as a localized phenomenon.” By Leonard Hitchcock, Idaho State Journal

Grading the Vatican abuse summit
“The consensus view is that the Vatican pretty much flunked its summit on the protection of minors. Yes, there was some good rhetoric, some powerful statements above all by women presenters, but what was accomplished(link is external)? Where were the concrete steps that Pope Francis called for when he opened the meeting? As a New York Times editorial concluded, ‘[A] malignancy whose primary victims are trusting children must be treated by immediate and radical measures, not by appeals or hand-wringing.’” By Mark Silk, Religion News Service

Why the Pope’s summit on abuse disappointed some survivors
“…Francis offered no detailed plan on how to prevent abuse, or binding rules on how to deal with abusers and cooperate with law enforcement(link is external). A promise to issue a new guidebook for bishops received short shrift from advocates. ‘Over the years, we’ve seen many church leaders write new guidelines, which are then developed, watered down, published and ignored,’ says Colm O’Gorman, an Irish survivor of clergy abuse who now heads the Irish branch of Amnesty International. ‘There’s nothing unprecedented about this.’” By Ciara Nugent, Time

POPE FRANCIS

The good, the bad and the merciful: Pope Francis after six years
“Six years ago, on March 13, the College of Cardinals surprised the world with the election of the Argentine Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio as pope. Taking the name Francis, he won the admiration and respect of Catholics and non-Catholics alike(link is external) with his simplicity and concern for the poor and marginalized. With each passing year, however, criticism of the pope has become more vocal, especially from the Catholic right, who think he is breaking with traditional church teaching, and the political right, who don’t like his views on global warming, immigration and social justice.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Sixth year may go down as the most decisive in Francis’ papacy
“It was the early afternoon Eastern time when the smoke started to billow from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel. At first, it was hard to tell if it was white or not, but as the camera stayed trained on it, and the TV anchors debated its color, the smoke grew whiter and whiter, and then the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica began to ring. Habemus papam. It has been six years to the day since the cardinals elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope(link is external), and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal deacon, announced: Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Few abuse scandals involve Francis as directly as that of Argentine bishop
“Though Pope Francis has faced questions and even criticism for his overall handling of the clerical sexual abuse scandals in Catholicism(link is external), few cases touch the pontiff quite as directly as that of Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who was brought to Rome at the pope’s personal initiative and who now stands accused of abuse … Last year, it became public that Zanchetta has been accused both of sexual misconduct and of financial wrongdoing, although a Vatican spokesman insisted there were no abuse allegations at the time Zanchetta was brought to Rome.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Cardinal O’Malley announces hotline for reporting bishops, cardinals
“In a Lenten letter to the people of the archdiocese released March 8, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced his decision to implement a system for reporting misconduct by a bishop or cardinal of the Archdiocese of Boston(link is external). In his letter, the cardinal spoke of the Summit to Protect Children and Minors that took place at the Vatican in February and the impact it had on the bishops who attended.” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot

Catholic Church cardinals implicated in sex abuse, cover-ups
“The conviction of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin for failing to report a known pedophile priest to police deepens the crisis confronting an already discredited Catholic Church hierarchy(link is external). The verdict handed down by magistrates Thursday (Mar. 7) shows the church’s once-untouchable “princes” increasingly are judged accountable for priests who abuse children and the superiors who allowed the abuse to continue.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Cardinal Pell: understanding the verdict and the fury
“Tuesday, February 26, 2019, will go down as probably the worst day yet in the entire 231 year-long history of Australian Catholicism. We thought we’d seen it all during the four years of Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse(link is external), especially as terrible stories of mistreatment of children by clergy and in Catholic institutions were recounted. But George Pell’s conviction leaves that shame for dead. Australian Catholics are stunned, outraged and angry at the lack of accountability and betrayal as we are left utterly leaderless by bishops who seem to have run for deep cover from faithful Catholics and everyone else.” By Paul Collins, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

A ‘political town with pastoral needs’ anticipates a new archbishop
“Pope Francis is expected to appoint a new archbishop of Washington in the coming days, a high-profile pick that will be one of the most pivotal of his papacy(link is external) given the nature of this unusual see and the fact that its two most recent leaders have been embroiled in the clergy sex abuse scandal. If evaluated merely by geographical size and statistics, the Archdiocese of Washington doesn’t rank as one of the heavyweights of American Catholicism … (However,) this ecosystem (the nation’s capital) of secular and church politics — in the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world — makes the archdiocese unique.” By John Gehring, National Catholic Reporter

Mexican bishops present five objectives for action on clergy abuse
“The Mexican bishops’ conference has presented an action plan for protecting minors from sexual abuse by clergy(link is external) and pastoral agents. The plan, presented March 5 in Mexico City, outlines five objectives: Diagnosis, prevention, justice and response, supporting victims and promoting respect for the law.” By David Agren, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Seminaries, relatively recent in church history, are still evolving
All accused priest sex abusers attended seminary(link is external). While that relationship does not constitute a cause, it has not escaped the attention of seminary rectors and scholars. Seminaries — set apart from the secular world and seen by some as a breeding ground for clericalist attitudes that fostered the sex abuse crisis — have come in for criticism. Yet leaders of Catholic seminaries say that their priestly formation programs have already successfully implemented curricula that can check future sex abuse.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Number of priests declined for first time in decade, Vatican says
“The percentage of Catholics in the world has remained steady, while the number of priests has decreased for the first time in almost a decade(link is external), according to Vatican statistics. Meanwhile, the numbers of bishops, permanent deacons, lay missionaries and catechists have all increased, it said.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Church renewal needs shared clergy-lay leadership, say experts
“Changing canon law to allow lay people ‘authentic and honest participation’ could encourage renewal in a wounded church(link is external), an expert in church law said in a talk to the Catholic student group at UC Berkeley’s law school. Jennifer Haselberger has a Ph.D. in philosophy and a licentiate in canon law and served as chancellor at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis before resigning in protest in 2013 over concerns about how the archdiocese handled clergy abuse cases.” By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco

CLERICALISM

Clerical identity crisis: Flock and pasture can’t tell shepherd who he is
“One of the more memorable public lectures I attended was offered by the then-dean of the faculty of spirituality at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University. He admitted before the crowd that after decades of spiritual direction with countless priests and religious he’d come to the conclusion that their overriding problem is that ‘they don’t know who they are(link is external).’ But we would be mistaken to think of this as a ‘church issue’ only. Aristotle wrote in The Nicomachean Ethics that ‘people seem to seek honor in order to convince themselves of their own goodness.’” By Mark Slatter, National Catholic Reporter

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

As debate on married priests reignites, ordaining ‘viri probati’ faces hurdles
“This year’s upcoming Vatican summit on the Amazon region is shaping up to be one of the more contentious meetings since the subject of giving communion to the divorced-and-remarried caused heated debates in 2014 and 2015 … The lack of priests in the region is a very real problem(link is external). In Brazil, there is only one priest for every 10,000 Catholics – in the United States, the ratio is about one for every 2,000. In the Amazon region, the situation is even more acute: In some areas, congregations might see a priest once or twice a year.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women’s roles ‘more critical than ever’
“In the lead-up to International Women’s Day on Friday (Mar.8), Australia’s bishops have acknowledged the inspirational work of women throughout the country(link is external) who now make up 77 per cent of the Church’s workforce. And with more than 65 percent of leadership or lay ministry roles within the Church exercised by women, the work of women in Church structures and organizations has become increasingly critical.” By CathNews.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

One-third of American Catholics consider leaving Church, Gallup reports
“More than one-third of American Catholics have considered leaving the Church in the wake of the latest abuse scandals(link is external), according to a new Gallup poll. The Gallup poll found that 37% of Catholics were questioning their commitment—a substantial increase over the 22% who were questioning their faith in 2002, when the sex-abuse scandal first erupted nationwide.” By CatholicCulture.org

VOICES

Has the Catholic Church committed the worst crime in American history?
Horseplay,” a term used to denote child rape(link is external), is, says Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, part of a sinister glossary of euphemisms by which the Catholic Church’s bureaucracy obfuscates in documents the church’s “pattern of abuse” and conspiracy of silence “that goes all the way to the Vatican.” “Benevolent bishops” are those who allow predatory priests, shuffled from other dioceses, to continue as priests.” Commentary by George Will in Chicago Tribune

The need for fundamental reform in the Catholic Church
“Anger, sorrow, disbelief — these were just some of the emotions I felt upon receiving news that our university’s Catholic chaplain Father Carsten Martensen received allegations for sexual abuse of a minor in the 1970s … I had never personally experienced, nor did I ever expect, such allegations arising from within my very own community. The news came as an utter shock and disturbance — to think that the chaplain who had provided significant guidance and wisdom throughout my time here at Cornell may have possibly exploited a child(link is external) and kept silent for all these years.” Commentary by DongYeon Margaret Lee, The Cornell Daily Sun

At Lent, Catholics reflect on faith as sex abuse scandal shakes the Church
“Lent is meant to be a time of reflection for Christians around the world. But once again this year, it comes at a time of deep disquiet within the faith. Sexual abuse and misconduct scandals have continued to rock the Catholic Church(link is external), leading many to question their religious institutions, or even their faith itself. Just this past week, a French Catholic Cardinal was found guilty of covering up dozens of incidents of sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese.” By Michel Martin, National Public Radio

French cardinal’s downfall a lesson in how accountability happens
“After he (Cruxnow.com managing editor Charles Collins) got done explaining why the Metropolitan may not be the best way to foster accountability, I asked Charley what Church officials ought to do instead. I can’t remember his exact words, but the gist was, ‘It doesn’t matter, because grand juries and public prosecutors will do it for them(link is external).’ Right on cue, three days later Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, was found guilty by a French court of failure to report sexual abuse by one of his priests and was given a six-month suspended jail sentence. It’s the third time a Catholic bishop in France has been convicted of a similar offense, and the first time for a cardinal.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

This Lent, don’t give Catholic bishops a dime
“On Ash Wednesday, the holy season of Lent began — and so did the annual fundraising drives by many of the nation’s Catholic bishops known as the bishops’ Lenten appeals. My advice to my fellow Catholics? Don’t give them a dime(link is external). Last fall, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was supposed to vote on a resolution to create a special commission, including six lay members, to investigate bishops who cover up sexual abuse.” By Marc Thiessen, The Washington Post, in The Orlando Ledger

Why this Lent is an opportunity to get our response to sex abuse right
“As Catholics begin Lent in the midst of crisis, I feel like we have been here before. In fact, we have. But this time, something is different. During Lent in 2002, Catholics were reeling from the sexual abuse revelations emerging from Boston and from across the country. Many people looked to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to take action. The bishops took initial steps at their June meeting that year, but they focused on responding to some aspects of abuse and missed the fact that the church was facing twin crises: a crisis of abuse and a crisis of leadership failures(link is external) and cover-up. This time, both crises need to be addressed in order to get at the root causes and move the church toward recovery and reform.” By Kim Smolik, America: The Jesuit Review

A long, difficult grind toward reform
“The recent Rome gathering of bishops from around the world to discuss the sex abuse crisis constituted a remarkable moment in the history of the scandal(link is external). I am aware of strong critiques coming largely from the right and left margins of the community, but it would have been difficult to imagine as little as five years ago a gathering of the hierarchy that so honestly discussed the depravity and failure of the clerical and episcopal cultures.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Francis of Assisi’s model for church reform may help in abuse crisis
“But over time he (St. Francis) began to realize the broader implications of Christ’s exhortation to him from the cross. It would seem that ultimately God was less concerned about the physical structures of this or that particular worship space and more interested in spiritual and moral renewal(link is external), a rebuilding of the church that is the Body of Christ. St. Francis’ whole manner of living became focused on renewing the embodied, daily experience of Christian life by prioritizing the fundamentals of Gospel values in service to the poor, forgotten, voiceless and abandoned in his own time and context.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

New report addresses church’s ‘twin crises’ of sex abuse, leadership failure
“Just days after the close of the Vatican abuse summit, a prominent U.S. Catholic group has released wide-ranging recommendations to address what it calls the ‘twin crises’ of sexual abuse and leadership failures in the church(link is external). The recommendations were part of a report Friday (Mar. 1) from the Leadership Roundtable, a coalition of laity, religious and clergy to promote best practices in church management. The proposals are aimed simultaneously at reforming the structures and the clerical culture that permitted sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults to persist and go unreported for decades.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Breaking the culture of silence and secrecy
“Last week Pope Francis convened a summit to discuss clergy sexual abuse. Silence still shrouds clergy abuse of women(link is external). In early February, the pope acknowledged the Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by clergy members. Reports have surfaced worldwide, and the pope admitted that nuns have spoken out for years. In November, the International Union of Superiors General, representing 500,000 nuns, had urged its members to bypass the church and report to law enforcement directly, citing a “culture of silence and secrecy.” Where are the voices of the American sisters?” By Ann Wolf Hodges and John T. Chibnall, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Child Victims Act opens door to $20 million suit against Catholic Church
“A former Queens man is using a new law to re-file a $20 million lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn(link is external) and other religious institutions, claiming they allowed his convicted sexual abuser Robert Oliva to molest him for years as a child. James Carlino filed his second suit Tuesday (Mar. 5) in Queens Supreme Court, thanks to the new Child Victims Act that expands statute of limitations on civil cases.” By Elizabeth Rosner and Lia Eustachewich, New York Post

‘Give victims a taste of justice.’ Sexual assault survivors plead for more time to file suit over past abuse in New Jersey
“Bearing photos of themselves as children, six sisters came to a Statehouse hearing in Trenton on Thursday (Mar. 7) to plead with a panel of state lawmakers to vote in favor of bill allowing child sex assault victims in New Jersey to sue over past abuse(link is external). Five of the Fortney sisters say they were sexually assaulted decade ago by Father Augustine Giella, a priest who was transferred to their parish in western Pennsylvania from the Archdiocese of Newark. They are still seeking answers.” By Susan K. Livio, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Legislature considers sex abuse investigation of Catholic Church
“The Hawaii House and Senate are also voting on separate proposals to eliminate the statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims(link is external). Last summer, a Minnesota law firm published a 50-page booklet listing Hawaii priests accused of child sex abuse. The alphabetical list started with Marc Alexander, who is currently serving as Honolulu’s housing director and has denied 2016 allegations by a minor in Kailua. It ended with Douglas Zlatis, who was accused by two students at Father Damien Memorial School and died in 2009.” By Anita Hofschneider, Honolulu Civil Beat

Maryland looks at eliminating statute of limitations on child sexual abuse
“Maryland’s House of Delegates is considering a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations in civil claims of child sex abuse(link is external). The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill on Thursday (Feb. 28) from survivors and advocates. Among them were the bill’s sponsor, Del. C.T. Wilson, who was sexually abused as a child himself. In addition to firsthand accounts of abuse, the committee heard from various survivor organizations, as well as those who deal with legally pursuing sex abuse cases.” By Keara Dowd, WTOP.com

Priest scandal sparks debate of Iowa bill to end statute of limitations on sex crimes against minors
“Charges of sexual assault and other sexual crimes against minors could be tried at any time under legislation being considered by state lawmakers(link is external). The proposal would eliminate Iowa’s current statute of limitations on those crimes. Currently, sexual assault charges must be brought within 10 years of the alleged victim turning 18 years old or within three years of an alleged perpetrator being identified by DNA evidence.” By Erin Murphy, Sioux City Journal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Jenkins announces university plans to address Catholic Church sexual abuse crisis
“University President Fr. John Jenkins announced Notre Dame’s plans to address the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal(link is external) in a statement to the campus community Monday (Mar. 4). ‘I have heard from many in the campus community how the stories of the past months disheartened and challenged their faith,’ Jenkins said in the statement. ‘True faith calls us not to be discouraged by human sin, but to focus more completely on the hope offered by Christ … Our response, then, demands prayer and reflection, but we must also act.’” By The Observer

Is the Catholic Church still covering up child sex abuse on the grounds that it is a ‘pontifical secret’?
“For a while, I thought Pope Francis was a good man(link is external). I was quite moved when he comforted a child who had been told one of his parents was going to hell due to his atheism, telling him a loving God would never do such a thing. He spoke openly about reforming the monolith the Roman Church has become, and I was delighted. Here, I thought, was the kind of leader the church needed in the 21st century. But alas, the mask quickly began to slip.” By Shane Dunphy, TheJournal.ie

CALIFORNIA

Local priest accused of child molestation placed on leave
“A local priest is under investigation after being accused of child molestation(link is external). A letter was read to parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church during mass Sunday (Mar. 3) on behalf of Bishop Armando Ochoa stating that Father Miguel Flores is on leave while the Diocese of Fresno investigates allegation of sex abuse of a minor. Parishioners gasped audibly when it was announced at masses that their priest has been suspended from pastoral duties because of allegations of child molestation. Flores was placed on paid leave Feb. 28.” By Mary Kate Paquette, KGET.com, Fresno, California

COLORADO

Review of sex abuse by Catholic priests will not include one-third of Colorado’s publicly accused clergy
“For five years in the late 1960s and early ’70s, a Catholic brother used ether to subdue at least 23 teenage boys at a Catholic high school in Pueblo. He told them he was conducting an “experiment.” Instead, they alleged in a lawsuit, he molested and raped them in the band room(link is external) … But Mueller’s case and at least eight others like it will not be included in the third-party review announced last month by the state attorney general and the Catholic Church in Colorado because Mueller was supervised by a religious order, not a diocese.” By Elise Schmelzer, Denver Post

FLORIDA

Guest Column: Catholic church needs an abrupt 180
“Carl Hiassen’s March 2 column was right; the pope must confront the pain of Catholic congregants. The survival of the human race depends on morality and religion must be its guardian(link is external). That’s why it’s unacceptable for the Catholic Church’s Meeting on Sexual Abuse (Feb. 24, 2019) to end without a plan. Five strategies have been proposed for years to address these problems. It’s time they were enacted.” Commentary by Diana Milesko in StAugustine.com

INDIANA

Indiana attorney general provides forum to report abusive clergy
“Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office is providing an online form enabling individuals to more easily report instances involving alleged abuse by clergy. The form may be found at his homepage at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/(link is external). ‘Recent national and international reports of alleged abuse committed by clergy members have prompted widespread concerns,’ Hill said in a statement. ‘Hoosiers are understandably worried that this kind of criminal activity might go underreported even here in Indiana. As a result, we have decided to make sure citizens have an available means of reporting any potential abuse so that authorities at all levels of government can pursue justice for victims.’” By News-Sentinel Staff

ILLINOIS

Whitmer asks for $2 million to investigate Catholic clergy sex abuse
“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked the state Legislature to approve a $2 million supplemental allocation for a state investigation into clergy sexual abuse within the Catholic Church(link is external). The $2 million is expected to pay for the entirety of the investigation and would be funded by state settlement money, said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Dana Nessel.” By Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News

IOWA

Diocese of Sioux City releases sexual abuse list
“The Catholic Diocese of Sioux City released a list of priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external). Some victims claim that it may be too little, too late. Pope Francis recently lead a meeting on clerical sexual abuse. He made a call “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors” and insisted that the church needed to protect the children “from ravenous wolves.” Despite this vow “to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of our mission,” critics are saying the speech was short of a detailed battle plan.” By Mary Hartnett, KWIT-FM Sioux City

KENTUCKY

Kentucky priest, team chaplain accused of sex abuse
“A Catholic priest who was often seen on the bench alongside Rick Pitino’s Kentucky and Louisville basketball teams has been suspended on allegations he sexually abused a minor(link is external) in the 1980s.

Father Joseph Edward Bradley was ‘temporarily suspended’ by the Diocese of Owensboro, according to a statement Friday (Mar. 1). The diocese received a report that he had sexually abused a minor ‘in the 1980s while he was principal at Owensboro Catholic High School.’” By WSAZ.com, Owensboro, Kentucky

MASSACHUSETTS

Sentencing of former Massachusetts priest delayed for mental evaluation
“The sentencing of a former Massachusetts priest for sexually assaulting an altar boy(link is external) in Maine has been pushed back to allow for a mental health evaluation. Ronald Paquin was found guilty of 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct in November. The Portland Press Herald reports lawyers for Paquin filed a motion last week to request the evaluation and a judge granted it.” By Associated Press on WHDH.com

MINNESOTA

Minnesota priests gather to listen, reflect on church’s sex abuse crisis
“Father 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 A. Hebda had extended to priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis(link is external): to join him for an evening to reflect on the clergy sexual abuse crisis. But Father Finnegan was grateful he went.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

NEBRASKA

Catholic Church challenges attorney general’s subpoenas
“The Catholic church pushed back against state investigators this month, asking a judge to toss the 400 subpoenas the Nebraska attorney general served on churches(link is external) and schools this week seeking evidence of clergy sex abuse of minors. Short of that, church officials asked a judge to give them more time to comply, and to force Attorney General Doug Peterson to narrow his requests.” By Peter Salter and riley Johnson, Lincoln Journal Star

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey bishop’s statement highlights efforts to ensure safe environment
“A statement signed by New Jersey bishops details ongoing efforts to ensure safe environments for children and youth(link is external), deal with clergy charged with abuse and assist victims in their process of healing. The March 4 statement was provided to the 120 state legislators and media outlets by the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, in Trenton.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

List of accused Catholic priests brings dread
“One of the recent reports from a state’s Roman Catholic dioceses listing names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of children hit close to home for me(link is external). When I saw news reports last month that New Jersey’s dioceses had released the names of 188 priests and deacons, I felt compelled to go online to see if any of those priests had served at my childhood parish in the Camden Diocese.” By Carol Balinski, Reading Eagle

New Jersey Catholic dioceses must build on list of accused clergy
“The recent release by New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses of a list of 188 priests and deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing children brought heartbreak anew(link is external). Innocents were harmfully exploited for decades, and few of the accused faced anything like justice. Putting together and releasing the list, however, was also a good if much-belated start for New Jersey’s five dioceses to finally come clean about their history of failing to protect children and even covering up cases of abuse.” By Atlantic City Breaking News

Parents are often forgotten victims of Catholicism’s sex abuse scandal
“When she talks about the Catholic Church, you can hear the sound of Phyllis Hanratty’s breaking heart. Hanratty’s son, Edward Jr., said he was abused by a Catholic priest for several years(link is external) in the late 1980s when the family lived in Ridgefield Park and were loyal members of St. Francis of Assisi parish.” By Mike Kelly, North Jersey Record

NEW MEXICO

AG investigation names two more priests
“The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating two Catholic priests in connection with the repeated rape of a boy over several years(link is external) in the 1980s while they served as church leaders in Albuquerque and as Boy Scout leaders while on outings in ‘wilderness areas’ of New Mexico.” By Matthew Reisen, Albuquerque Journal

NEW YORK

Report clergy sex abuse to police, not the church
“Imagine your child was sexually abused at a place synonymous with goodwill. A school. A close neighbor’s home. A church. What would your first reaction be?(link is external) For most people, the answer is straightforward: Call local law enforcement. Despite this common-sense reaction, the Catholic church is reinforcing the same dangerous practices that protected its power at the expense of children’s safety by still encouraging reports of abuse be made directly to the Catholic church.” Commentary by Tim Hale, Albany Times Union

Catholic group urges Buffalo’s bishop to adopt reforms in wake of abuse scandal
“The Buffalo Diocese must do more to assist clergy sex abuse survivors and to disclose the depth and scale of abuses perpetrated on children and vulnerable adults, according to an organized group of Catholic worshippers. Those are among nine key recommendations from the group, which has been meeting since December to find ways of rebuilding trust in the diocese in the wake of a clergy sex abuse scandal that has rattled the faithful. The group calling itself the Movement to Restore Trust urged Bishop Richard J. Malone(link is external)to offer one-on-one and group listening sessions with sex abuse victims, as well as a full spectrum of ‘independent, trauma-informed counseling services, treatments and therapies’ and a more sensitive and responsive intake program.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Local nun, priests among the names uncovered in sex abuse claims process
“In the first claim of child sexual abuse resolved under the Rochester diocese’s reconciliation program(link is external), the diocese agreed to pay $125,000 to a man who said he was victimized years ago. The priest in question, the Rev. Bernard A. L. Carges, had never been identified publicly as an abuser until the victim’s lawyer provided his name.” By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Ithaca College, Cornell priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor
“A priest who served at Ithaca College and Cornell University has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). In an Intercom message sent out to the campus community, Hierald Osorto, Ithaca College’s director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester alerted the school it had received notice of an allegation against Rev. Carsten Martensen, who has served in campus ministry for both schools since 2007, for abuse that allegedly occurred in the 1970s.” By Katie Sullivan Borrelli, Ithaca Journal

Day of reckoning: A wave of fresh accusations against priests has been unleashed
“After decades of anguish and argument over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, a final reckoning may be coming for New York parishioners(link is external). Over the last quarter century, sexual abuse allegations, some of them horrendous, have been lodged in fits and starts against more than 400 priests and others associated with the church in New York state. The church hierarchy has been accused of concealing the truth about sexual misconduct as well. But the number of past accusations and admissions pale in comparison to what’s happening today, and what will happen in the months ahead.” By Steve Orr and Sean Lahman, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

OHIO

Time will tell if abuse scandals affects gifts to Catholic Church
“Ash Wednesday. It’s a time when Christians to pray, fast, reflect and repent in the 40 days before Easter. Some members of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus and other Ohio dioceses that have released lists of clergy members accused of sexually abusing children might also be thinking about their monetary contributions to the church(link is external).” By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

Advocates decry diocese’s consideration of accusers’ reputations as ‘sickening’
“Victim advocates say the fact that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus considers an accuser’s reputation when determining the credibility of sexual-abuse allegations is ‘atrocious(link is external)’ and comes across as victim blaming. ‘That’s sickening … Who do they think they are?’ asked Judy Jones, Midwest regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). ‘So many victims, they’re struggling, they’re going through so many things.’” By Danae King, Columbus Dispatch

Columbus diocese releases priests sex-abuse list
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released a list Friday (Mar. 1) of 34 clergy members who were ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children(link is external). The latest abuse case on the list occurred more than 25 years ago. The diocese said that it reviewed files on almost 2,000 clergy members who served in the diocese since it was founded in 1868.” By Danae King, Columbus Dispatch

PENNSYLVANIA

Catholic priest in Philadelphia arrested and charged with raping teen girl and recording sex act
“A Catholic priest in Philadelphia has been charged with raping a teen girl, corrupting her morals and recording her in a sex act(link is external), court records and the priest’s lawyer confirm. The Rev. Armand Garcia, 49, turned himself in for booking early Monday and posted his $250,000 bail hours later, his lawyer William J. Brennan told the Daily News.” By Nancy Dillon, Daily News

Bishop releases plan to address clergy child sex abuse
“Bishop David Zubik has created a five-point plan of action for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to address concerns raised during a series of ‘listening sessions’(link is external) held following last year’s release of a grand jury report chronicling decades of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The action plan contained in a pastoral letter titled ‘The Church Healing’ that was released on Monday (Mar. 4) ‘goes beyond issues directly related to sexual abuse’ to address: accountability and transparency in church governance, spiritual and human formation for clergy and seminarians, and providing additional channels for parishioners to bring their concerns to the bishop.” By Tony Larussa, TribLive.com

Pennsylvania prosecutor fights clergy sex abuse as she maintains Catholic faith
“When allegations of past sexual abuse were first made against a priest(link is external) at St. Clement Catholic Church in Johnstown, Pa., Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan recognized the name immediately. The Rev. George Koharchik had been her family’s pastor for the decade he served at St. Clement’s, from 1974 to 1984. When each of her four eldest siblings got married, ‘he had such a connection with us that he came back to do the weddings,’ Callihan, the sixth of nine children, recalled in a recent interview at her second-floor courthouse office.” By Bobby Ross, Jr., Religion News Service

SOUTH CAROLINA

As Vatican conference on sexual abuse ends, Charleston Diocese on track to release list of credibly accused
“Last Sunday (Oct. 24), Pope Francis ended his unprecedented summit at the Vatican on preventing clergy sexual abuse. At the same time, the Charleston Diocese is preparing to take its own unprecedented measure. A spokeswoman for the Diocese confirmed earlier this week that the diocese is still on track to release its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) by the end of March, a move that will surely spark plenty of conversation in the ‘Holy City’ once the list is revealed.” By Live 5 News Web

VERMONT

Vermont Catholic bishop sees progress in abuse scandal
“Ask Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne about the church’s progress on worldwide concerns about priest misconduct and his initial words aren’t promising(link is external). ‘I’ve been a member of the Catholic Church all my life, ordained for 33 years, a bishop for eight years and I lived in Rome 4½ years — I know the glacial speed in which the church works.’ Even so, Coyne says recent developments at the global and state level give him reason for hope.” By Kevin O’Connor, VtDigger.org

WISCONSIN

Name of bishop who mishandled clergy abuse removed from Green Bay cathedral building
“The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay has removed a former bishop’s name from a cathedral center(link is external) because of the bishop’s reported mishandling of clergy abuse complaints. The Bishop Wycislo Center, an addition to the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, will now be called the Cathedral Center.” By Haley BeMiller, Green Bay Press Gazette

AUSTRALIA

Independent panels to ensure transparency
“Broken Bay Diocese has appointed two independent panels to further the diocese’s commitment to safeguarding, transparency and accountability. The appointment of the panels follows the September 2018 launch of the Diocesan Office for Safeguarding, an initiative commenced under the leadership of former Broken Bay bishop Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli. The office marked the first stage of a new structure for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults within Broken Bay(link is external) by drawing together the valuable work being done in safeguarding, child protection and professional standards across the diocese’s administration, parishes, schools and CatholicCare Broken Bay.” By CathNews.com

Former Catholic priest sexually abused boy over six-year period, Brisbane court hears
“A Brisbane Catholic school priest and teacher took nude photographs of a young student on school grounds and at school excursions over several years from the mid-1970s, a Brisbane court has heard. Former Villanova College priest Michael Ambrose Endicott, 75, pleaded not guilty in the District Court in Brisbane to eight counts of unlawfully and indecently dealing with a child under 12 years old(link is external) and under 16 years old.” By Rachel Riga, Australian Broadcasting Company

CANADA

Police hunted for secret church archives during probe of abuse allegations at St. Anne’s residential school
“When OPP Det. Greg Delguidice was preparing to look into widespread allegations of physical and sexual abuse by priests, nuns and staff at St. Anne’s Indian Residential School(link is external) in northern Ontario, he did some homework first. As part of the investigation 25 years ago, Delguidice studied up on the Roman Catholic Church’s canon law and learned of archives held by dioceses that contain records of sensitive information about priests.” By Jorge Barrera and Lynette, CBC News

CHILE

Chilean priest accused of a abuse, cardinal accused of cover-up
“Chile’s Roman Catholic church, already the target of Vatican sanctions, was being shaken Tuesday (Mar. 5) by yet another allegation of priestly abuse and high-level cover-up(link is external). Daniel Rojas Alvarez, a 43-year-old indigent man, appeared on a state television broadcast Monday night saying that a priest at the Santiago Cathedral had drugged and raped him in 2015. He said Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati had given him money when told of the attack and told him not to report it.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press, on PressHerald.com

COSTA RICA

Costa Rican police raid Church offices after priests accused of sex abuse
“The offices of the Archdiocese of San José and the Costa Rican bishops’ conference were raided by police Thursday (Mar. 7) as part of an investigation of two priests accused of sex abuse(link is external). The Judiciary Investigation Department confiscated computers and files March 7 in search of information regarding Fathers Manuel Antonio Guevara Fonseca and Mauricio Viquez Lizano, and proof of potential cover-up by Archbishop José Rafael Quiros Quiros of San Jose, according to the AP.” By Catholic News Agency

MEXICO

101 of Mexico’s 152 church sex abuse cases being prosecuted
“The head of the Mexican bishops’ conference says 101 of the 157 cases in which Roman Catholic priests have been implicated in sex abuse(link is external) have been turned over to prosecutors. The bishops’ council previously said 152 priests had been removed from the ministry over the last nine years for sex abuse offences against ‘youths or vulnerable adults.’” By Associated Press on VancouverSun.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


March 1, 2019

TOP STORIES

Pope defrocks Theodore McCarrick, ex-cardinal accused of sexual abuse
Pope Francis has expelled Theodore E. McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, from the priesthood(link is external), after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades, the Vatican said on Saturday (Feb. 16). The move appears to be the first time any cardinal has been defrocked for sexual abuse — marking a critical moment in the Vatican’s handling of a scandal that has gripped the church for nearly two decades. It is also the first time an American cardinal has been removed from the priesthood.”By Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Australian Cardinal George Pell convicted of child sex abuse
A high-ranking Catholic official has been convicted of child sex abuse(link is external)and is due to be sentenced Wednesday (Feb. 27). Australian Cardinal George Pell, a top adviser to Pope Francis who was in charge of Vatican finances until he was accused, was found guilty of five charges of ‘historical child sexual offenses’ that go back decades. A jury in the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne where Pell, 77, was once archbishop, found the cardinal guilty after two days of deliberation in December.” By Richard Gonzales, National Public Radio

After abuse crisis, Holy Spirit planning new ‘season’ for the church
“The laity may be angry over the most recent revelations of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis, but bishops, particularly younger ones, share in that anger and ‘want to move with real force’ toward solutions and it could yield a new season for the church(link is external), said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Feb. 6.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Why does the Catholic Church keep failing on sexual abuse, By Emma Green
“A few years after Seán O’Malley took over the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003, at the peak of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis in America(link is external), he led novenas of penance at nine of the city’s most affected parishes. At each church he visited, he lay facedown on the floor before the altar, begging for forgiveness. This is how O’Malley has spent his life in ministry: cleaning up after pedophile priests and their apologists, and serving as the Catholic Church’s public face of repentance and reform.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

How Long, O Lord, Must We Wait
“How long O Lord? How long must we wait for both clergy and laity to recognize that incremental change will not work(link is external)? We need wide-ranging structural reform. We need checks and balances rather than the feudal governance we have now in which each bishop is the undisputed master of his diocesan fief. Catholic patience is (finally) running out. And many Catholics are working to find solutions rather than enable the present moribund clerical system.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


February 8, 2019

TOP STORIES

New York Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle
“The long and bitter battle for legislation that would allow New York sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other organizations for monetary damages ended with victory(link is external) Monday (Jan. 28) when the state Senate passed the Child Victims Act. The vote was 63 to nothing, a spokeswoman for one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, said. The new law does away with the statutes of limitations that have prevented some alleged abuse victims from going to court to seek damages. And it includes a one-year ‘look-back window’ that will allow others who weren’t able to sue in the past to file fresh claims.” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC News

Catholic leaders in Texas name 286 accused of abusing children
“Catholic leaders in Texas on Thursday Jan. 31) identified 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children. The number represents one of the largest collections of names to be released since an explosive grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania(link is external). Fourteen dioceses in Texas named those credibly accused of abuse. The only diocese on Thursday not to provide names, Fort Worth, had done so more than a decade ago and then provided an updated accounting in October.” By CBS News

Vatican summit to create task force to aid bishops in safeguarding
“Since the work of child protection must continue after the February meeting at the Vatican on safeguarding, one organizer said they plan on creating a ‘task force’ with teams on every continent. The task force would be just one of a number of ‘concrete measures that we want to offer the bishops of the world(link is external),’ Jesuit Father Hans Zollner told the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano Jan. 24.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Church historian says sex abuse poses biggest threat to church in 500 years
“A month before the start of a global summit in Rome on the sex abuse crisis, a prominent church historian and theologian said last week that the issue poses the biggest challenge to the church in 500 years(link is external). ‘This is not like the Protestant Reformation; it’s not,’ Massimo Faggioli, a Villanova University professor, said in a talk at Immaculate Conception Church in Hampton, Virginia. ‘But in my opinion, it’s the most serious crisis in the Catholic Church since the Protestant Reformation.’” By Robert McCabe, National Catholic Reporter

Francis expresses openness to married priests in places of ‘pastoral necessity’
“Pope Francis closed the door Jan. 27 on his making celibacy optional for all Catholic priests, but also expressed openness to allowing older married men to be ordained to the priesthood(link is external) where there is a ‘pastoral necessity.’ In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a five-day visit to Panama, the pontiff first stated firmly: ‘I am not in agreement with making celibacy optional.’ But the pope then noted that there are areas of the world where Catholics are deprived of the Eucharist.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope acknowledges nuns were sexually abused by priests and bishops
“Pope Francis said on Tuesday (Feb. 5) that the Roman Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops(link is external), the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue. Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse in recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and in Italy, and a Vatican magazine last week mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests. But Francis has never raised the issue until he was asked to comment during a news conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.” By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

The law that could hold Catholic bishops accountable
“We don’t know the details of the many ways in which church authorities covered up the scandals, often leading pedophiles to be transferred to other parishes where they were free to victimize more children. But here is one example of such efforts, and of a law passed by a young San Antonio legislator in an attempt to pierce the secrecy(link is external).” By Rick Casey, The Rivard Report

UN probes Italy’s role in Church’s child abuse scandals
“A United Nations Committee for the protection of minors questioned the Italian government last week about clerical sexual abuse(link is external) in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges. “We are saddened by the lack of information regarding sexual abuse against minors by Catholic clergy, and we are concerned by the information we have received that points to numerous clerical abuse victims,’ said Spanish Professor Jorge Cardona, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, during a Jan. 22-23 hearing.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Catholic child abuse perpetrators have been convicted and jailed, but not those who protected them
“In 2010 Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, first raised holding the Vatican accountable for the global child sexual abuse scandal(link is external) by viewing it as a human rights abuse issue. In his book, The Case of the Pope, Robertson argued that unless the then Pope Benedict XVI divested the Vatican of its controversial statehood and devotion to canon law, the Catholic Church would remain a serious enemy to the advance of human rights.” By The Newcastle Herald

The Catholic Church faces its past
“In February, Catholic bishops from around the world will attend a summit at the Vatican to discuss how to tackle child abuse within the church(link is external). Last year a series of inquiries shook the church, embroiling Pope Francis in the biggest crisis of his papacy. Investigations found that historical sexual abuse had been covered up for decades, and thousands of victims gave evidence of rape and abuse. In the UK, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse is examining the extent of any institutional failures to protect children by the Catholic church in Birmingham.” By India Rakusen, Harriet Sherwood and Tom Phillips, The Guardian

A reckoning on clergy sex abuse
“The release of a report by a statewide grand jury detailing the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, and an institutional cover-up across six dioceses stretching all the way to the Vatican, has sparked a movement and reckoning across our country(link is external) … But while all of this is happening, one important response has not happened: Our Legislature has not approved reforms recommended by the grand jury to prevent this kind of horrendous, systemic abuse from reoccurring — and to give victims of clergy abuse their day in court.” By Josh Shapiro, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

Summit, lawyers discuss what’s needed to solve church’s abuse problem
“Permanent solutions to the church’s sexual abuse crisis are going to require a greater level of lay participation and more legal muscle. These were conclusions discussed at two events in Washington: a lawyers’ panel at the Catholic Information Center, sponsored by the Thomas More Society Jan. 31, and a media conference Feb. 2 following the Leadership Roundtable’s Catholic Partnership Summit Feb. 1-2.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Madigan, Shapiro discuss abuse ahead of Vatican summit
“The first ever global summit on abuse is scheduled to take place later this month at the Vatican. Pope Francis says it will focus on how church leaders handle allegations. But in Chicago Monday (Feb. 4), two lead investigators say the catholic church can no longer police itself(link is external). This summer first it was the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro who released his shocking grand jury report. Then, Attorney General Lisa Madigan opened an Illinois investigation. Shapiro alongside Madigan at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics — detailed what they uncovered as they examined the Catholic Church records on priest abuse.” By NBC5 Chicago News

Voices against clergy sex abuse plan visit to Vatican
“Two of Pennsylvania’s most prominent voices for victims of child sexual abuse plan to be in Vatican City(link is external) and Rome when presidents of the Catholic bishops’ conferences of the world meet with Pope Francis later this month. Shaun Dougherty, a Westmont resident, and state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, want to use the event as a way to bring attention to the legislator’s proposal to modify commonwealth law by creating a two-year retroactive window for past victims to file claims even if the statute of limitations has already expired.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

Prominent survivor submits recommendations for Vatican abuse summit
“A prominent survivor of clerical sexual abuse has called on the Church to clearly define abuse in canon law and implement a zero-tolerance policy(link is external) at the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on the issue. Irishwoman Marie Collins was appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014, but resigned in 2017, citing Vatican resistance to reform … In explaining her recommendations, Collins said she wanted the officials to ‘move forward efficient and effective means by which minors can be better protected in the Catholic Church globally without further delay.’” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

How the Vatican summit’s moderator approaches the problem of clerical sexual abuse
“The moderator of the Vatican’s February summit on child sexual abuse has written an article outlining his take on the Church’s most effective models of response for addressing its sexual abuse crisis(link is external) … Fr. Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit and former papal spokesman, will be a central actor in the Feb. 21-24 meeting, which will convene the leaders of bishops’ conferences from around the world to discuss the clerical sexual abuse of minors.” By Andrea Galiarducci, Catholic News Agency, on Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis on Venezuela, married priests, and the sex abuse summit
“‘I am frightened of a bloodbath in Venezuela,’ Pope Francis told reporters on the flight from Panama to Rome on Jan. 27. It was the most significant comment he made in a 47 minute press conference in which he answered a wide range of questions(link is external), including his expectations for the Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of children and the eradication of abuse in the church, the possibility of ordaining mature married men (viri probati) as priests, the need for sexual education in school, the issue of migration and an evaluation of his visit to Panama.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

After damaging year, Pope Francis calls for 4-day clerical sex abuse summit
“Investigations into child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests took a highly public turn last year. State prosecutors took the novel step of releasing the names of hundreds of accused priests, as well as those who covered up their crimes(link is external). As NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports, the revelations and the church’s response severely damaged the church’s credibility and Pope Francis’s reputation. In response, he has called for an extraordinary four-day summit on sex abuse next month.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

Pope Francis is in Panama for Catholic Church’s World Youth Day
“Pope Francis is in Central America. He’s in Panama to attend the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day(link is external). While travelling, the pope was asked about the wall that President Trump wants to build on the border with Mexico. And the pope responded by saying, it is fear that makes us crazy.” By Steve Inskeep, Morning Edition, National Public Radio

CARDINALS

Cardinal DiNardo speaks on ‘healing breach of trust’ caused by sex a use crisis
“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), echoed Pope Francis’s call for a ‘new ecclesial season,’ in response to the clergy sex abuse scandals, saying that one positive fruit of the present crisis could be a deeper embrace of the Second Vatican Council. DiNardo’s remarks came during a day-long conference on Wednesday (Feb. 6) sponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology(link is external) at the Catholic University of America on ‘The Role of the Laity in Responding to the Crisis: Theological and Historical Foundations.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Top U.S. cardinal let priest accused of sexual abuse lead Mass
“The cardinal who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops allowed a priest to celebrate Mass the same day his name was among those released on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo told the Rev. John T. Keller on Wednesday (Jan. 30) evening that he would be placed on administrative leave the next day, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Friday (Feb 1). DiNardo allowed Keller to lead the 9 a.m. Thursday Mass at his parish, the statement said, because Keller ‘was already scheduled to celebrate’ it.” By Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press

PRIESTS

New report warns against priests placing themselves above laity
“First comes baptism, then comes holy orders, a Boston College report about forming new priests reminds seminary educators and others in a study released in December 2018. The paper, titled ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry(link is external),’ argues that sacramental doctrine is a starting point in transforming seminary formation. Priests in today’s church need skills in forming communities and working with all the baptized faithful, particularly women, the study proposes.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic abuse scandal galvanizes Mount Angel seminarians’ resolve
“Has the onslaught of church sex abuse and authority exploitation disclosures of recent months given men who are actively discerning priestly vocations pause to step back, hold the church in contempt, even walk away? Apparently not at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon, according to students, faculty and staff there. If anything, the crisis seems to have galvanized the resolve of many priesthood-seekers at the West Coast’s largest seminary(link is external) to serve the church rather than stiff-arm it.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

New Boston College report on the priesthood addresses pressing need
“The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry has distinguished itself again at sentire cum ecclesia, thinking with the church, about an issue of enormous ecclesial importance(link is external), issuing a short, 10-page report entitled ‘To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry.’ Like the two-way immersion network for Catholic schools run by Boston College’s School of Education and their groundbreaking research into Hispanic ministry in parish life, this recent study puts the university’s intellectual resources at the service of a pressing need for the church in the United States; in this case: addressing the issue of priestly formation and ministry.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Stuck in the middle: a seminar sponsored by Boston College addresses priestly formation
“Many symbols of Catholicism have changed, receded, or even disappeared, to be replaced by others. But not the Catholic priest. The church’s presence in education, culture, and social work may not be as visible as it once was, but the priest’s role remains conspicuous. When most people think of Catholicism, they still think of a man in a Roman collar(link is external). A seminar sponsored by Boston College that ran from September 2016 until the summer of 2018 has produced an interesting document on priesthood and ministry, with a noteworthy set of proposals on the formation of future priests.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Bishops address abuse scandal with U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day
“As Pope Francis was arriving in Panama Jan. 23, bishops from the United States wasted no time addressing the sex abuse scandal back home(link is external) during a popular event aimed at American and other English-speaking World Youth Day pilgrims. ‘It’s not easy being Christian, it’s not easy being Catholic … especially today when things in the church are difficult,’ said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, addressing the sex abuse scandal in a room of hundreds of U.S. young adults attending the FIAT Festival for U.S. pilgrims at Panama’s Figali Convention Center.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

Young people deserve to hear directly from Pope Francis on synod
Pope Francis should write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation following the close of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people(link is external), the faith and vocational discernment. At the Sept. 18, 2018, press conference announcing the pope’s apostolic constitution Episcopalis Communio on changes to the rules concerning voting members and the preparation for synods, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, suggested that Francis might elect not to write a post-synodal exhortation. He might simply affirm that the final synod document is taught exercising his ordinary magisterium, according to Baldisseri.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican magazine denounces sexual abuse of nuns by priests
“The Vatican’s women’s magazine is denouncing the sexual abuse of nuns by priests(link is external) — and the resulting ‘scandal’ of religious sisters having abortions or giving birth to children who are then not recognized by their fathers. The February issue of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly magazine distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, was published Friday (Feb. 1) … It said nuns have been silenced for years by fear of retaliation against themselves or their orders if they report the priests who molested them.” By Nicole Winfield, Associate Press, on CTVNews.com

LAITY & THE CHURCH

National assembly ‘would give laity a voice’
“An Adelaide parishioner is seeking support to hold a national assembly of the laity(link is external)next year to give lay men and women a more united voice on the future of the Church. The ‘grassroots meeting’ is being proposed by John Sabine, a parishioner from the Dulwich/Burnside community, who described it as a chance for the laity to “get their act together” and determine who would be responsible for actioning change in the Church.” By CathNews.com

VATICAN

Vatican doctrinal official steps down amid investigation of sexual advances
“An Austrian priest under canonical investigation stepped down as an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith(link is external) in an effort ‘to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community,’ the doctrinal office said. The priest, Father Hermann Geissler, ‘affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action,’ the office said in a note released by the Vatican press office Jan. 29.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Pope reaffirms celibacy but makes case for exception
“Pope Francis is ruling out any lifting of the celibacy requirement for priests(link is external) but says there’s reason to consider ordaining older, married men in remote communities where priests are in short supply. Francis said he believes priestly celibacy is a gift for the Catholic Church and opposes a blanket change to make it optional. But he said ‘pastoral necessity’ might justify alternative options in certain parts of the world.” By Associated Press

WOMEN DEACONS

I got a glimpse of women deacons, and it’s troubling
“Last week, two members of the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women spoke publicly for the first time since their appointment … As they offered their reflections during a panel discussion at Fordham University, several questions were answered(link is external): the commission’s report is complete; it is on Pope Francis’ desk; no one knows how, or if, or when the report will influence the pope’s decision on whether the Roman Catholic Church should restore the diaconate for women.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Seeing light through the priest sex abuse storm
“Many have voiced the opinion that giving more laity – and, specifically, women – positions of leadership in the Catholic Church would help avoid sexual abuse scandals like the one now consuming the faith and its faithful(link is external). In the Buffalo diocese, there are a series of positions open to lay people, but ultimate power always remains with clergy. Even so, one empowering model may light the way to the future.” By Marian Hetherly, WFBO-FM Buffalo’s NPR News Station

Live from Australia: How young Catholics are changing the church
“This week, Jesuitical is coming to you live from Australia. We’ve mastered driving on the left side of the road (sort of); we got up close and personal with a kangaroo; and even though Ashley tried to leave me to drown in the Great Barrier Reef, we managed to record this week’s episode … In our interview, we chat with Sebastian Duhau, Australia’s representative at the Synod on Young People. We look at the Synod’s final document and talk about what still needs to be done to have young people lead in the Catholic Church(link is external).” By Zac Davis, America: The Jesuit Review

How World Youth Day is changing the church
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican’ we look at why the Vatican seems to be lowering expectations for its upcoming international summit on sexual abuse. Then, Gerry O’Connell and I talk about World Youth Day, which is being held in Panama this week. Gerry has covered every World Youth Day since the inaugural one in 1985, and he explains how the young people at this event have had a significant impact on their bishops, and even on popes(link is external). We also look at how Pope Francis is empowering young people and local churches by decentralizing the Vatican’s power.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

The church needs Vatican III
“However, the church is faced with a crisis that goes even beyond the sex abuse atrocities(link is external). There is a fracturing within the church of historic dimensions. Pope Francis himself has lost credibility, as members of the hierarchy feel emboldened to criticize him directly. They not only question his actions on the crisis but go after his leadership and commitment to what they see as unchangeable doctrines … I believe that at this point it can only change with a worldwide Third Vatican Council.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Parishes, dioceses feeling the financial pinch: second collections noticeably down as parishioners struggle with lack of trust in national Church
“These days, Father John Hollowell sits at his desk and pores over financial statements, trying to figure out how to cut almost 25 percent of his two Indiana parishes’ operating budgets for next year … In a recent interview with Our Sunday Visitor, Father Hollowell said he noticed ‘a pretty sharp decline’ in parish weekend collections(link is external) last summer, when the national clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded anew with revelations that former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was alleged to have harassed and molested minors and seminarians several decades ago.” By Brian Fraga, OSV Newsweekly

Fraud expert pushes procedures to safeguard parish collections
“Every weekend Catholics hand their money to parish collections with hope that their treasure will not be pilfered(link is external). Changing that hope into reality has been the clarion call for decades of Michael Ryan, 81, who retired from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with expertise in how to combat embezzlement. Many parishes are subject to internal theft, a practice that could be halted via simple procedure changes, said Ryan.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Man arrested for stealing money from Raceland church’s donation box
“The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for stealing money from a donation box at a Raceland church(link is external). On Jan. 24, deputies responded to St. Hilary of Poitiers Catholic Church in reference to a burglary. Deputies learned a man walked into the church, forced open the donation box and took money from inside.” By WWLTV.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Former child abuse victims, advocates push Tennessee to end its expiration date for seeking justice
“The sexual abuse started when Scott Walker was 11 years old(link is external). Walker says a young man who befriended him in the late 1980s in their Murfreesboro neighborhood repeatedly raped him until he was 12. But Walker kept quiet and turned to alcohol. More than a quarter of a century would pass before Walker, then a few years sober, would report the sexual abuse to police. But by then it was too late. The crime was too old to prosecute, the local authorities would tell him.” By Holly Myer, Tennessean

Why this time was different: the church’s objections to the Child Victims Act finally ran out
“It took more than 15 years, but when the Child Victims Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate, it passed unanimously(link is external). This is the harbinger of good things to come in other states. For the very first time, the most powerful bishop in a state — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — publicly withdrew his opposition to the bill. That opened the door for Republicans to vote for the Child Victims Act, but it also changed the discourse about window legislation across the United States and even the world.” By Marci Hamilton, New York Daily News

Berks lawmaker: sex-abuse legislation still a priority
“With a new legislative session now underway in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi said he is ready to continue his fight on behalf of child sexual abuse survivors. The Berks County Democrat, a Catholic clergy abuse victim himself, has been leading efforts to reform the state’s statute of limitations(link is external).” By 69News and Associated Press

Church abuse victims wait to see if legislature will act
“Lawmakers have returned to the Pennsylvania Capitol but have yet to revisit legislation on child sexual abuse scandals since an October fight killed a bill(link is external) that would have allowed long-ago victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other institutions. The Legislature’s new two-year session began in earnest Monday (Jan. 28), with little mention of legislation reflecting the state attorney general’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses.” By Marc Levy, Associated Press

Child Victims Act brings some justice for those who suffered sexual abuse
“The Catholic Church’s bishops in New York State made the right decision to change course and back passage of the Child Victims Act(link is external). The Senate and Assembly are expected to approve the legislation on Monday (Jan. 28) that will expand the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims and open a one-year ‘look-back’ period for victims of any age to bring lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

States move to ease restrictions on child sex-abuse lawsuits
“In many states across the U.S., victims of long-ago child sex-abuse have been lobbying for years, often in vain, to change statute of limitation laws that thwart their quest for justice(link is external). This year seems sure to produce some breakthroughs, due in part to the midterm election results and recent disclosures about abuse by Roman Catholic priests. New York state is Exhibit A. The Democrats’ takeover of the formerly Republican-controlled Senate seems almost certain to produce a more victim-friendly policy in place of one of the nation’s most restrictive laws.” By David Crary, Assoicated Press

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Victims’ stories most important in publicly naming abusers
“The 15 Catholic dioceses of Texas releasing the names of 278 clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse dating back to 1950 acknowledges that the stories of victims are being heard(link is external), said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. ‘That’s one thing they (victims) want. They want their stories heard. That’s really important,’ Cardinal DiNardo told Houston’s KPRC-TV in an interview that was broadcast in several segments Jan. 31 as the list was released.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

‘A reckoning with the past’: Priest responds to child sex abuse accusations within Church
“In Texas, the Catholic Church just released the names of 300 priests accused of child sex abuse, joining a number of other dioceses that have made their records public. The church has made headlines in recent months in other ways, too. Debates over the behavior of a group of Catholic students at the March for Life and the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have drawn a lot of attention. And it’s left the clergy embattled and the faithful asking questions of their church(link is external).” By Lulu Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition Sunday

Church goers come together after clergy sexual abuse allegations
Hundreds flowed into Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church(link is external) Saturday (Feb. 2) evening. It was the first big mass since the news from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released its list of priests accused of sexual abuse. While dozens of priests were on the list, parishioners Saturday were looking to turn the page.” By ABC13 Eyewitness News

CALIFORNIA

Oakland diocese issued news release on alleged priest misconduct with minor. Five hours later it alerted police.
“When Oakland diocese officials issued a news release before dawn Thursday (Jan. 31) announcing that Rev. Alex Castillo, who headed the faith formation and other programs, had been placed on administrative leave for inappropriate contact with a minor(link is external), they had not yet alerted police. It would take another five hours after the 5:14 a.m. press statement for an official from the Oakland diocese to call Oakland police to investigate one of its high-ranking priests, according to a police spokeswoman. Sources say the allegations involve a victim who was a minor in 2016 when the alleged crime occurred.” By Matthew Gafni, Bay Area News Group, in Mercury News

Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse too late for the Wasco brothers
“‘He would take me in the back and do all sorts of things. I was really confused. I didn’t know what I should do,’ George Santillan told me in 2013. Santillan was describing the years of sexual abuse inflicted upon him and his younger brother(link is external), Howard Santillan, by Monsignor Anthony Herdegen of St. John’s Catholic Church in Wasco. According to documents from a Fresno appellate court, the sexual abuse began when George was 10, in 1959, and when Howard was 6, in 1960. Like thousands of other children molested by priests, the brothers never told anyone about the abuse until many years later — only to be met by disbelief. They were called liars.” By Jose Gaspar, Bakersfield Californian

Report names more than 80 former San Bernardino-area clergy accused of sexual abuse
“A report released Thursday (Jan. 31) from a Minnesota-based law firm listed the names of more than 80 former clergy accused of sexual abuse(link is external) in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, an area now covered by Diocese of San Bernardino … At a press conference in Ontario, attorney Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates outlined the report’s findings and introduced two men who recounted being abused in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Shane Newell and Christopher Damien, Palm Springs Desert Sun

CONNECTICUT

Alleged priest abuse victims call on diocese to set up compensation fund
“A group of people who say they were abused by Diocese of Norwich priests but are barred from filing lawsuits due to the statute of limitations are calling on Bishop Michael Cote to meet with them and establish a victims compensation fund(link is external). In an open letter to Cote, John Timothy McGuire of New London said that while Pope Francis recently has instructed bishops to seek out victims, he and the others have not heard from him.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

Connecticut must investigate the crimes committed within the Catholic Church
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford recently released a list of dozens of priests against whom it found ‘credible accusations’ of sexually abusing minors(link is external). The archdiocese should be commended for its efforts to be transparent about a past that for too long was hidden in shadows. The Hartford archdiocese and the Bridgeport diocese have both hired well-respected judges to review how allegations were handled in the past. That too is a positive step. But serious questions remain unanswered, and despite their efforts at transparency, church officials are not law enforcement.” By Harford Courant Editorial Staff

Sex-abuse claims against Fairfield University non-profit settled for $60 million
“Fairfield University and four other religious and charitable organizations have reached a $60 million settlement regarding alleged sexual abuse from a graduate(link is external). In a statement released on Friday, the university announced that it has agreed to a second and concluding legal settlement with a group of individuals who came forward with allegations that they were sexually abused in Haiti in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Douglas Perlitz, a Fairfield University alumnus.” By Zak Falla, Fairfield Daily Voice

IDAHO

Retired Boise priest appeals 25-year sentence for child porn, drug crimes
“The Rev. William Thomas Faucher is appealing the 25-year prison sentence imposed on him by 4th District Judge Jason Scott on Dec. 21. The 73-year-old retired priest was charged with 24 crimes: 21 counts of sexual exploitation of a child(link is external) (possession and distribution of child pornography) and three counts of drug possession (marijuana, LSD, ecstasy). He pleaded guilty to five felonies.” By Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman

KANSAS

KBI launches investigation into clergy abuse at Kansas Catholic dioceses
“The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday (Feb.5) it has initiated an investigation into reports of sexual abuse by clergy at the four Catholic dioceses of Kansas(link is external). The agency is asking victims to step forward with information about abuse inflicted by clergy members, church employees or church volunteers. Last month, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas released the names of 22 clergy members who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse involving a minor.” By Ft. Leavenworth Lamp

‘A grave human tragedy’: KCK archbishop names 22 priests credibly accused of sex abuse
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas on Friday (Jan. 25) released the names of 22 priests in its files who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) made against them in the past 75 years. ‘Each name on this list represents a grave human tragedy,’ said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann in a statement published Friday in The Leaven, the archdiocesan newspaper. ‘Each name represents a betrayal of trust and a violation of the innocent.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Sen. Holland introduces bill to make church clergy mandatory reporters of suspected sex crimes
“State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, introduced a bill Wednesday (Jan. 23) to require that church clergy and employees be mandatory reporters of sexual assault(link is external). ‘Clergy leadership are adults that children must be able to trust to keep them safe,’ Holland said during an afternoon news conference at the Capitol in Topeka. ‘(The bill) mandates that they report suspected abuse or neglect to authorities. It is an extra layer of protection for all Kansas children.’” By Dylan Lysen, Lawrence Journal-World

LOUISIANA

Investigation finds 27 local priests accused of sexual abuse
“Twenty-seven priests ordained or serving in the Diocese of Alexandria were found to have credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors(link is external) in an investigation by the diocese. The names of the priests were released Wednesday (Feb 6) in a letter from Bishop David P. Talley. The cases, which were discovered through a review of hundreds of files of priests who have served in the diocese, date back to the 1940s.” By Jeff Matthews, Alexandria Town Talk

Diocese of Lafayette files protective order in request for list of accused priests
“The diocese of Lafayette calls a legal request for its list of accused priests “unnecessary”, ‘grandstanding’ and ‘irrelevant(link is external)’ to the case filed against a St. Landry Parish priest who’s accused of molesting a boy. Abbeville attorney Tony Fontana filed suit on behalf of a St. Landry Parish man who claims he was molested by Father Michael Guidry while he was a minor. Also named as plaintiffs in the case are the man’s parents; his father is a deacon in the diocese, who served alongside Fr. Guidry at St. Peter’s Church in Morrow.” By Jim Hummel, KAT-TV News

Baton Rouge clergy sex abuse: answering key questions before diocese releases list
“The Diocese of Baton Rouge is expected on Thursday (Jan. 31) to release a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Ahead of the release, The Advocate tracked every known allegation of abuse involving a Baton Rouge priest. Here’s what we found. At least 15 priests who have served in the Diocese of Baton Rouge were accused of sexual abuse …” By The Baton Rouge Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Lawsuit alleging abuse by Falmouth priest settled for $400K
“Two Massachusetts men who alleged they were sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) have each received $200,000 settlements. Their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, announced the settlements Tuesday (Jan. 22). The Cape Cod Times reports the lawsuit was filed in June 2015 by two men who had been altar servers at St. Anthony’s Parish in Falmouth from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. Their lawsuit named Daniel Cronin, the retired Archbishop of Hartford and before that the bishop of the Diocese of Fall River.” By Associated Press in Boston Herald

MINNESOTA

Survivors, lay leaders help archdiocese hear victims, assist in healing
“Frank Meuers and Tim O’Malley meet every month or so, often for breakfast, to talk about the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse(link is external). Meuers is the southwest Minnesota chapter director of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and O’Malley directs the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

April 8 deadline set for Diocese of Winona-Rochester child sex abuse filings
“Individuals with a claim of child sexual abuse against the Diocese of Winona-Rochester(link is external) will need to register that claim no later than April 8. According to the diocese’s notice of chapter 11 bankruptcy, creditors — victims of abuse by clergy, staff or volunteers — need to file a proof of claim, a signed statement describing a creditor’s claim. Proofs of claim can be filed electronically on the court’s website at www.mnb.uscourts.gov(link is external). No login or password is required.” By Brian Todd, Post Bulletin

MISSISSIPPI

Biloxi Diocese names three priests ‘credibly accused of sexual misconduct
“Three priests in the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi were removed from ministry, and one was incarcerated, because they ‘were credibly accused of sexual misconduct of minors(link is external),’ the Diocese announced Thursday (Jan. 24). The Diocese identified them as former priests Jose Vazquez Morales, Jerome J. Axton and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. In all three cases, the Diocese notified the District Attorney’s Office, a news release said.” By Jill Toyoshiba, Sun Herald

MISSOURI

More abuse survivors and witnesses step forward in Missouri Catholic clergy probe
“An estimated 70 people have completed an online form saying they were either a victim or a witness to abuse by Catholic priests as part of an investigation(link is external) underway by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. That number is up from the 50 survivors and potential witnesses who contacted the office in the first month of the probe, which was launched in August by Schmitt’s predecessor, Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.” By Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW MEXICO

Credibly accused: The Archdiocese of Santa Fe left names off its list of pedophile priests—and has no plans to add them
“In November, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe filed for bankruptcy protection and reorganization. Its decision to keep the two priests—and potentially scores of others like them—off its public list raises questions(link is external) about Archbishop John C Wester’s stance on making public the painful history of priestly sex abuse as the church faces a legal reckoning with survivors of such crimes.” By Matt Grubs, Santa Fe Reporter

NEW YORK

Buffalo Diocese offers more than $8 million to abuse victims
“The Buffalo Diocese so far has offered more than $8 million to nearly four dozen people sexually abused as children by priests(link is external), according to victims and lawyers who represent them … In interviews with lawyers and victims The News has learned that at least 47 victims have received offers that collectively amount to about $8.1 million. The offers ranged from $10,000 to $650,000.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Retired Munhall Catholic priest arrested, charged with child sex abuse
“Allegheny County police Friday (Jan. 25) arrested a retired Catholic priest for the alleged assault of a 10-year-old boy(link is external) in 2001, authorities said. The Rev. Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at St. Therese in Munhall at the time of the alleged assault, said police Inspector Andrew Schurman. Schurman said the alleged victim, who he did not identify but lives in another country, saw the media coverage of the statewide grand jury report alleging decades of abuse and cover-ups within six Catholic diocese, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh.” By Megan Guza, The Tribune-Review

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia priest placed on leave, decades-old abuse alleged
“Father Steven J. Marinucci, 71, is on administrative leave and his priestly duties are restricted after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received an allegation he sexually abused a minor decades ago(link is external). He has denied the allegation, and it is the first of its kind the church has received about him, according to a statement by the archdiocese.” By Matthew Gambino, CatholicPhilly.com

Retired priest arrested for alleged indecent assault of boy following investigation
“Another Catholic priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a young boy(link is external). According to the Allegheny County Police Department, Father Hugh J. Lang, 88, was a priest at Saint Therese in Munhall in June of 2001 when the alleged assault occurred. The victim was 10 years old at the time, and now resides in another country according to police Lang was placed on administrative leave in August when the church became aware of sexual abuse allegations against him.” By WPXI News

SC Catholic Church delays naming priests accused of sexual abuse
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston is delaying its promised release of the names of priests accused of sexually abusing children(link is external). In a statement Monday (Feb. 4), Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the diocese needs more time to review its records and won’t meet a mid-February deadline that it set at the end of 2018.” By Bristow Marchant, The Charlotte Observer

TEXAS

15 Catholic dioceses in Texas to name clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of sexual assault
“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and 14 other Texas Catholic dioceses plan to release a list of names after an investigation dating back to 1950(link is external). Many, including parishioners and abuse survivors, have been waiting for this day since October, when the church announced the list was coming out. On the list will be the names of bishops, priests, deacons and other clergy members the Catholic Church says have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting a minor.” By Taisha Walker, Click2Houston News

Why, despite 100s of letters, Texas AG can’t investigate priest abuse
“Hundreds of Texans reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, asking it to investigate Catholic Diocese in Texas(link is external) after Pennsylvania’s attorney general launched prosecutions into claims that children were sexually abused. Paxton’s office’s response: state law doesn’t allow them to investigate.” By Erin Cargile, Phil Prazan and Jody Barr, KXAN-TV News

Lawsuit alleges Dallas Catholic Diocese mishandled report of priest’s sexual abuse
“The Dallas Catholic Diocese is again under scrutiny over allegations that church officials mishandled their response to a report of sexual abuse by a priest(link is external). The allegations — which involved a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson — were first publicly detailed in a lawsuit filed six months ago in Dallas County district court. But the case got renewed public attention after a WFAA-TV (Channel 8) report on the case this week.” By David Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News

Roundtable discussion: how to handle Catholic Church sex abuse scandal
“A roundtable discussion just started in Montrose about the sexual abuse scandal swirling around the Catholic Church(link is external). The discussion comes exactly one week before the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is expected to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. A victims’ advocacy group is hosting the discussion. The leader of the group, Michael Norris, said members question if the archdiocese will be fully transparent. They also want to know what church officials’ definition of credibility is.” By Sophia Beausoliel, Click2Houston.com

WISCONSIN

State should investigate Catholic Church abuse
“‘The Church’s credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes(link is external), but even more by the efforts made to deny or conceal them,’ Pope Francis wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops about abuse over the years. ‘This has led to a growing sense of uncertainty, distrust and vulnerability among the faithful.’ In recent years, more has come to light about abuse from the past with the release of lists of priests who are accused of abusing children.” By The Journal Times Editorial Board

Superior Diocese cooperating with Ericksen probe; to release list of other abusive priests
“The Catholic Diocese of Superior says it is cooperating with officials investigating the case of a priest accused of assaulting minors(link is external) the 1980s. Dan Blank, the diocese’s director of administrative services, told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin that the diocese was an intermediary in the reporting of a case filed Jan. 11 accusing former priest Thomas Ericksen of sexual assault of an unconscious victim.” By Laura Schultte, Wausau Daily Herald

EAST TIMOR

U.S. priest laicized for child abuse in East Timor; police investigate
“After accusations of sex abuse, the Vatican has laicized American Richard Daschbach(link is external), a former Divine Word missionary who ran orphanages in East Timor for 27 years. Accusations surfaced early in 2018 that Daschbach, who arrived in the country in 1966, had been sexually abusing young girls who were in his care in the enclave of Oecusse, which sits separate of the rest of East Timor and is surrounded by Indonesian territory.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GERMANY

German Catholic Church ‘needs urgent reform’
“The head of the Catholic Church in Germany on Sunday (Feb. 3) faced fresh calls for ‘courageous reforms’ in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated nearly 1,700 clerics. Eight well-known theologians and Catholics wrote an open letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx urging the Church to ‘free diocesan priests to choose their own way of life,’ in other words, recommending a relaxation of strict celibacy rules.” By Deutsche Welle

GUAM

Clergy sex abuse survivors in Chuuk, Pohnpei sought
“A law firm representing dozens of Guam clergy sex abuse plaintiffs is now also reaching out to child sexual abuse survivors in Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia(link is external), from the 1950s to the present. The law firm of Berman O’Connor & Mann is seeking individuals who may have been victims of sex abuse while a minor and while attending Catholic schools and Catholic parishes in Chuuk and Pohnpei.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Finally, Kerala Catholic priests can be defrocked for sexual abuse of minors
“The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council has published a set of guidelines for protection of minors and ‘vulnerable adults’ from sexual abuse and assault(link is external) in the Church and Church controlled organizations. The document, accessed by TNM, has been drafted as per the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) guidelines on the same issue, which were reportedly formulated in October 2015. Titled KCBC Guidelines for Safe Environment Programme for Church Personnel Connected with Institutions where Minors or Vulnerable Adults are Given Particular Care, the guidelines provide for defrocking of priests (remove a person from priesthood) who are found guilty of sexual abuse, and are found to be a ‘threat to minors.’” By Ragamalika Karthikeyan and Sandeep Vellaram, The News Minute

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

 January 25, 2019

TOP STORIES

Cardinal Wuerl acknowledges he knew of one accusation against predecessor
“In a second letter issued in mid-January about what he knew and didn’t regarding abuse allegations involving his predecessor, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Washington’s retired archbishop, apologized Jan. 15 for what he called a ‘lapse of memory(link is external),’ clarifying that he knew of at least one abuse allegation against former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, but he had ‘forgotten’ about it. In the letter sent to priests of the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl acknowledged that he became aware of the allegation against now-Archbishop McCarrick after receiving a report in 2004 about a different allegation, but the ‘survivor also indicated that he had observed and experienced ‘inappropriate conduct’ by then-Bishop McCarrick.’” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Vatican commission members: Women served as deacons for a millennium
Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millennium(link is external) in a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles, according to Phyllis Zagano, an author and professor of religion at Hofstra University, and Bernard Pottier, S.J., a faculty member at the Institut D’Études Théologiques in Brussels, in an interview this week with America. ‘They anointed ill women; they brought communion to ill women,’ said Ms. Zagano. They also participated in baptism, served as treasurers and, in at least one case, participated in an annulment.” By Brandon Sanchez, America: The Jesuit Review

Irish abuse survivor wants Vatican summit to increase accountability
“A prominent survivor and advocate for those affected by clerical abuse has urged Pope Francis to publicly name bishops who have been found guilty of negligence by church tribunals(link is external). Marie Collins – who was a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors from 2014 to 2017 – also said that, during the Vatican summit on safeguarding in February, the pope should set out comprehensive procedures to hold bishops accountable.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Curb the crisis: 10 essential lessons for investigating church leaders
“The Catholic Church is in serious and deepening crisis, primarily as a result of grave sins and failed leadership involving clergy sexual misconduct(link is external). This tragedy is most recently exemplified by the alleged abusive, long-standing behavior of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In order for the church in the United States to determine and learn from how it failed to address McCarrick’s decades of alleged misconduct, new guidelines and procedures must be established and implemented for investigating him and any high-ranking church leader.” By Hank Shea, National Catholic Reporter

17 years later, the impact of clergy sex abuse on Boston’s Catholic community
“The top Catholic bishops from around the world will gather at the Vatican for a historic summit next month. The topic will be sex abuse by the clergy. Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins looks at the impact of the revelations on the once thriving Catholic community in Boston(link is external).” By Robin Young, Here & Now, WBUR-FM, National Public Radio

ACCOUNTABILITY

We want to see humility, action, but I’m not expecting anything like that from bishops
“Nothing. That is what I am expecting from the bishops in Rome in February. Nothing. Maybe that seems a bit pessimistic, but I think it is realistic. I’ve been disappointed at their lack of courage and leadership before. So, this time, it is best to expect nothing(link is external). I was disappointed in 2003 when the U.S. bishops drafted the Dallas Charter which rightly held priests accountable for sexual abuse of minors but did nothing about the accountability of the bishops. They thought only Rome could hold them accountable.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

New Jersey priest arrested in first criminal case from state’s clergy abuse task force
“New Jersey authorities announced Thursday (Jan. 17) that a priest has been charged with sexual assault(link is external) based on allegations stemming from the 1990s in the first criminal case by the state’s new Clergy Abuse Task Force. Father Thomas P. Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he sexually abused a minor between 1990 and 1994, while he worked at Saint Cecelia Church in Woodbridge, according to a press release from the state Attorney General’s Office.” By Doha Madani, NBC News

Editorial: the lesson of Opus Dei Fr. McCloskey’s downfall
“It is time for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a standard sign to be posted in every chancery office in the country, just outside the bishop’s door, reading: IT’S THE CLERICAL CULTURE!(link is external) It is time to be done with the breathless wonderment at whatever new revelations show one more holy and wonderful priest has been, in a hidden life, abusive of children, or women, or seminarians, or just a liar about what he knew or didn’t know, did or didn’t do.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

USA Northeast Province releases names of Jesuits credibly accused of sexual abuse
“Following similar moves by other U.S. provinces, the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus on Jan. 15 released a list of members with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external). ‘At the heart of this crisis is the painful, sinful and illegal harm done to children by those whom they should have been able to trust,’ John J. Cecero, S.J., the provincial of the Northeast Province, said in a statement. ‘We did not know any best practices to handle these violations many decades ago and regrettably made mistakes along the way.’” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Diocese, Zubik, Wuerl sued in latest round of accusations
“In 1976, a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh took a 13-year-old boy on a trip to Super Bowl X in Miami. Instead of enjoying a fun trip to watch the Steelers play the Cowboys for the NFL championship, the boy endured what he later described as a ‘week of hell.(link is external)’ The priest, the Rev. Thomas M. O’Donnell, forced the boy, Martin Nasiadka, now 56, to share a bed with him and repeatedly sexually assaulted him over several days.” By Andrew Goldstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Faith in clergy’s honesty tanks among U.S. Catholics
“Fewer than a third of U.S. Catholics rate the honesty and ethical standards of clergy as ‘very high’ or ‘high,’ the latest evidence of the hierarchy’s diminished credibility as a result of the clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external), according to a Gallup poll released Friday (Jan. 11). The record-low 31 percent honesty rating marked an 18-percentage-point drop from 2017, a large fall after years of steady decline that followed a new global explosion of the scandal and revelations of high-ranking cover-up.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

A global response to abuse: work already underway, Jesuit says
“By summoning leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences and top representatives of religious orders to the Vatican in February to address the abuse crisis and the protection of minors, Pope Francis is sending the message that the need for safeguarding is a global issue(link is external) … While Catholic leaders in some countries might not recognize it as a global issue, Vatican offices that receive abuse allegations have a “clear idea about what is the situation now because allegations come from all parts of the world,” said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.” By Carol Glatz, U.S. News & World Report, in Catholic Standard

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

Five reasons the pope’s clergy sex abuse meeting in Rome will fail
“Next month’s meeting in Rome, called by Pope Francis to deal with the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, may well be a failure before it even starts(link is external). The stakes for the meeting have been ratcheted up, at least for the American church, as the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse has summoned up new scrutiny of the church’s response, from the pews and from government officials; then, in November, the Vatican squelched a vote at the U.S. bishops’ fall meeting on measures designed to hold the hierarchy accountable for not dealing with abuse.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter

Getting to February: the decisions that could shape the pope’s summit
“As the Church continues to wrestle with the fall-out of last year’s sexual abuse scandals, the Vatican faces a series of crucial decisions in the coming weeks(link is external). How they are resolved, and in what order, will likely set the tone for the rest of the year. One month from today (Jan. 22), the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences will gather in Rome for a special summit to address the abuse crisis. Ahead of that meeting, the Vatican has attempted to lower what it has called ‘excessive’ expectations.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

What’s known, and unknown, about pope’s abuse summit in February
“When presidents and other representatives of the world’s nearly 130 bishops’ conferences gather in Rome next month for a summit on clerical sex abuse(link is external), many experts are predicting it will be the most-covered Vatican event since the last papal election in 2013. Whether the gathering lives up to that hype, however, remains to be seen.” By Inés San Martin and Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Vatican summit to help nations lagging on abuse policies, Jesuit says
Only about half of the national bishops’ conferences in the world have adopted complete, Vatican-approved guidelines for handling accusations of clerical sexual abuse(link is external) and promoting child protection, said the Jesuit named to moderate the Vatican’s February summit on abuse. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said about one-quarter of the bishops’ conferences have received feedback on their proposed guidelines from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and are working on the final versions. That leaves 25 percent of conferences ‘behind for various reasons, among which are different cultural contexts and a scarcity of available competence.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Vatican abuse summit to hear from survivors
“A summit at the Vatican to address child sexual abuse next month will include both a penitential liturgy and testimonies from survivors(link is external). The meeting will include plenary sessions, working groups and time for communal prayer while listening to the personal testimonies of abuse survivors. Though no formal schedule has yet been released, there will also be a penitential liturgy during the three-day gathering, which will conclude with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.” By CathNews.com from Cruxnow.com

Vatican lowers expectations ahead of February’s sex abuse summit
“The Vatican has spelled out the purpose and goals of the summit on the protection of minors, to be held Feb. 21 to 24, which will bring together the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the Catholic world, senior officials of the Roman Curia, representatives of the international unions of major religious superiors (both men and women) and a number of survivors of abuse. It also sought to lower expectations for that event(link is external). ‘The goal is that all of the bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors,’ Alessandro Gisotti, the interim director of the Holy See press office, told journalists.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis wants bishops to learn to punish abusers at the Vatican’s sex abuse prevention summit
“Pope Francis is insisting that bishops attending his high-stakes sex abuse prevention summit will learn the laws to use against predators(link is external), how to care for victims and will make sure that no cleric abuse cases are covered up again. The Vatican on Wednesday (Jan. 16) provided details about the Feb. 21-24 meeting, saying its main aim is to guarantee that bishops around the world ‘clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors.’” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Time

McCARRICK CASE

Disgraced U.S. ex-cardinal could be defrocked soon
“Disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick is almost certain to be defrocked in the next few weeks over allegations against him, including sexual abuse of minors(link is external), two Vatican sources said. Last July, McCarrick became the first Catholic prelate in nearly 100 years to lose the title of cardinal. The allegations against him date back to decades ago when he was still rising to the top of the U.S. Church hierarchy.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Accuser speaks to D.A. about cover-up
“The key accuser in the sex abuse case against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has met with New York City prosecutors, evidence that the scandal that has convulsed the papacy is now part of the broader U.S. law enforcement investigation(link is external) into sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. James Grein gave testimony last month to Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Sara Sullivan, who is investigating a broad range of issues related to clergy abuse and the systematic cover-up by church superiors, Grein’s attorney, Patrick Noaker, told The Associated Press.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on LMTOnline.com

The cardinal who knew and said nothing
“What did Donald Cardinal Weurl, Washington’s retired archbishop, know about his pervy predecessor, the ex-cardinal Theodore ‘Uncle Ted’ McCarrick, and when did he know it? That question has agitated American Catholics ever since McCarrick’s depredations came to light last summer. Well, now we have an answer: Wuerl knew much more than he first let on. In fact, Wuerl was aware of allegations of McCarrick’s predatory(link is external) ­behavior going back at least 15 years, and he misled the Catholic faithful in the capital and across the nation instead of speaking with the honesty ­required of a disciple of Jesus.” By Sohrab Ahmanri, New York Post

POPE FRANCIS

Vatican editor says Pope must face questions on women, sex abuse
“According to an Italian historian who presides over a monthly Vatican magazine on women, both women and clerical sexual abuse are problems that will continue to dog Pope Francis until they’re resolved(link is external). ‘[A] question arises, that of women who are nonexistent and invisible in the eyes of ecclesiastical hierarchies, accustomed to taking their service for granted,’ Lucetta Scaraffia wrote in a recent op-ed for the Spanish newspaper El Pais. ‘Today religious [women] no longer accept shameful conditions of exploitation and humiliation.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Pope meets with Chilean bishops, discusses abuse crisis
“Pope Francis spent nearly three hours with bishops from Chile discussing the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the church in the country(link is external), a Chilean bishop said. Briefing journalists on the bishops’ meeting with the pope Jan. 13, Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos Perez, apostolic administrator of Rancagua and secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, said they met for one hour with the pope at Vatican’s Apostolic Palace and were invited to have lunch for nearly two hours with him to discuss ‘the situation of the church in Chile.’ By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

CARDINALS

French cardinal to be acquitted of covering sex abuses in Lyon
“One of France’s most prominent bishops, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, is likely to be acquitted of charges of not denouncing a priest who sexually abused children(link is external)between 1971 and 1991. At the end of his four-day trial, Jan. 7-10, in Lyon, public prosecutor Charlotte Trabaut announced she would not ask for his conviction. Even though the president of the tribunal is not bound by the prosecutor’s stand, it seems likely that the cardinal will be acquitted. French judicial authorities opened a case against Barbarin in 2016, in the name of the French state. The court closed it, invoking statute of limitation.” By Elisabeth Auvillain, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

Reality check was missing at U.S. bishops’ retreat
“It was a highly unusual event when most of the bishops in the United States gathered(link is external) for a weeklong retreat earlier in January at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago. The event was driven by a most unusual and debilitating problem, the clergy sex abuse crisis, which has bedeviled the church in the United States for nearly 34 years. The event itself may have been the primary goal — gathering a group of men publicly divided over a host of issues for prayer and meditation away from daily pressures. Only time will tell if there are long-term benefits.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Board

Italian bishops refine anti-abuse guidelines without victim input
“As the Vatican prepares to host an international summit of bishops in February on clerical sex abuse, the Italian bishops are preparing by fine-tuning new guidelines for the protection of minors … Victims of sexual abuse were expected to meet with the commission during its gathering, ‘but we preferred moving it because there wasn’t enough time(link is external),’ (Father Stefano) Russo (Secretary General of the Italian Bishops’ Conference) said.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

Bishops describe retreat as inspiring, Spirit-filled
“Although the weeklong retreat for U.S. Catholic bishops emphasized quiet reflection, several bishops spoke out on social media during the retreat and after it(link is external) wrapped up Jan. 8 with positive reaction about it and to give shoutouts to the retreat leader, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who has preached to popes and top officials of the Roman Curia for nearly 40 years.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis’ letter to the U.S. Bishops
“On January 1, Pope Francis wrote an extraordinary eight-page letter to the bishops of the United States(link is external) as they were preparing to convene at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago for a retreat with the preacher to the papal household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. The retreat was suggested by Pope Francis to the leaders of the U.S. Bishops Conference when they met with him in Rome in September about steps to respond to the sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Church in our country.” By Father Roger J. Landry, The Pilot

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Women religious shatter the silence about clergy sexual abuse of sisters
“Galvanized by the #MeToo movement and the sex abuse crisis commanding the attention of the Vatican, women religious are now openly discussing a subject that was once taboo — sexual harassment, abuse and rape of sisters by clergy(link is external) — in congregational motherhouses and national conference offices.Slowly, an era is ending in which Catholic women religious were silent victims of sexual abuse by priests and bishops. Consider these developments in the past year …” By Gail De George, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Lay people in Church roles ‘the way of the future’
“Newly-appointed Brisbane Archdiocese chancellor Pat Mullins says more lay people should step up to take on Church roles(link is external). ‘It’s a good direction that the Church is going in, I think. It’s the way of the future,’ he said. Uniquely qualified for the role of chancellor, Mr Mullins is believed to be Australia’s only canon lawyer simultaneously practicing as a common lawyer. He becomes the first layman to hold the position in Brisbane, succeeding Fr Adrian Farrelly, chancellor for the past 10 years.” By CathNews.com

The Catholic Church has a leadership problem. Lay people can help.
“The Catholic Church, according to this week’s guest, is facing not one but two crises(link is external). The first is the sexual abuse of children and its cover-up; the second is a complete break down of trust in church leadership. Kerry Alys Robinson has been working to confront both over a decade as the founding executive director of Leadership Roundtable, a group that brings together clergy, religious and laypeople to promote the best practices in the areas of finance, human resources and management.” By Ashley McKinless, America: The Jesuit Review

VATICAN

Vatican: no prior accusation of sex abuse against Argentine
“The Vatican is insisting that there were no accusations of sexual abuse against an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis(link is external) when he resigned suddenly in 2017 and was promoted to a job at the Vatican. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti repeated Tuesday (JAN. 22) that the Vatican only received the first accusations of alleged sexual abuse by Archbishop Gustavo Zanchetta a few months ago.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

CHILD PROTECTION

Vatican releases details on protection of minors meeting (aka. Vatican Bishops Summit on Clergy Abuse)
“The Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, on Wednesday (Jan. 16) provided journalists with further information regarding ‘The protection of minors in the Church’ Meeting(link is external), to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019. The Organizing Committee of the Meeting gathered in Rome on Thursday 10 January, he said. Afterwards, the Holy Father received in audience the members of the Committee, who updated him on preparations for the Meeting.” By Vatican News

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Vermont Catholics voice support for married, female clergy
“The first surprise came when a crowd of 75 Vermont Catholics defied a snowstorm to ask a flurry of questions about a rise in priest misconduct(link is external) headlines and fall in parishioner attendance. ‘Can you see the possibility,’ one woman asked, ‘of having a dialogue about celibacy, marriage and the priesthood?’ The second one arrived when the head of the state’s Roman Catholic Diocese answered each and every inquiry without dodging or deflecting. ‘If the Holy Father said we’re going to allow for married clergy, I would say fine,’ Bishop Christopher Coyne said. ‘But I would feel badly for the woman who would have to marry me.’” By Kevin O’Connor, VtDigger.com

WOMEN DEACONS

It’s not about women priests
The question of women deacons has nothing to do with women priests(link is external). What? And, why? Well, to begin with, historical documents — canons, liturgical texts, and other writings — speak freely and regularly about women deacons, not priests, ‘ordained’ or ‘blessed.’ Facts are facts.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

One-third of U.S. bishops believe church ‘should’ ordain women as deacons
“As Pope Francis mulls a report about women deacons in the early church, a new survey reveals that at least when it comes to U.S. bishops, support for ordaining women as deacons remains uneven(link is external). According to a report released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University on Jan. 22, just 33 percent of bishops in the United States think the church ‘should’ ordain women as deacons.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Scandal-scarred American Catholic Church approaches a crossroad
“The Catholic abuse scandal in the United States is approaching a critical moment(link is external)as the Vatican prepares for a worldwide abuse summit with a prominent American former cardinal under Vatican investigation and another American cardinal under pressure for changing his story about what he knew about the case.” By Alex Johnson, NBC News

Church in India must confront ‘indifference to spirituality,’ bishop says
“In a ‘dynamic and fast-changing’ society, the Church in India must embrace ‘flexibility’ in pastoral ministry(link is external), according to one bishop in the country. ‘Evangelization demands creativity and innovation. God is ever new and ancient,’ said Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona at the beginning of this week’s plenary meeting of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI).” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

Here’s one way the Catholic Church can regain some of its credibility
“Next month, more than a hundred Catholic bishops are expected to meet in Rome for a gathering dedicated to the sexual abuse crisis. In a letter released by the Vatican from the conference’s steering committee, bishops were urged to meet with survivors of abuse(link is external). Committee members say the Church’s credibility is at stake. The upcoming conference comes as the Catholic Church continues to grapple with the fallout of the crisis … In the audio above, she explains why she believes releasing names of the accused can help the Church gain back some of its credibility.” By Abner Fletcher, Houston Public Media

VATICAN II

Vatican II: Reforming the Catholic Church
Pope John XXIII wanted to modernize the Catholic Church(link is external); reforms too place in 1960s.” By BBC News

VOICES

Why victims of Catholic priests need to hear more than confessions
“Pope Francis has criticized U.S. Catholic bishops for how they handled the pervasive sexual abuse of children by predatory priests. He even called for a new management method and mindset in dealing with this crisis. Most recently, the pope summoned presidents of every bishops’ conference from around the world to come to the Vatican on Feb. 21 through 24 for a meeting on how to respond to the pervasive scandals(link is external). As trauma psychologists who have collectively spent nearly 60 years investigating and treating the devastating effects of violation and assault, we have concrete suggestions based on clinical experience and research for such change.” By Joan Cook and Jennifer Freyd, TheConversation.com

The long road to transparency and healing in the Church
“Five months after the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, the Catholic Church is facing a number of investigations and many calls for transparency(link is external). Dioceses and religious orders have begun releasing the names of credibly accused clergy. However, questions have been raised about whether or not the grand jury report itself was misleading, in an extensive piece from Peter Steinfels, former religion reporter for the New York Times, published in Commonweal. We speak with Peter Steinfels and Kathleen McChesney, a retired FBI agent who works with the U.S. bishops on child and youth protection, about how to achieve transparency and accuracy in understanding the history of abuse in the church.” By America: The Jesuit Review

Time’s up!
“In a basketball game if you’re still holding the ball when the shot clock expires, the most jarring noise in the arena, the buzzer, sounds off loud and clear. Known as a turnover, the ball goes over to the other team. The Catholic Church in New Jersey is losing their match with the faithful. They’ve had more than ample time, decades actually(link is external), to do what is right for victims of sexual abuse. Having failed to police itself, the Church must know their time on the shot clock is about to expire.” By Tom Barrett, Insider New Jersey

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic Charities appeals for $11M as sex scandal roils Buffalo Diocese
“Some local Catholics fuming over the Buffalo Diocese’s sex abuse scandal have threatened to hold back on gifts to the church(link is external), and the diocese soon will get a better sense of the depth of that anger. Catholic Charities – the human services arm of the diocese – on Tuesday launched its annual appeal and said it will seek to raise $11 million in support of programs that benefit more than 150,000 people. The Catholic Charities board chose to keep the goal at the same level of the past three years, even with the possibility of some Catholics withholding their giving.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Former Catholic Charities workers, friends accused of stealing money meant for homeless
“Federal prosecutors have accused former Minnesota charity workers and their friends of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars originally set aside to help the homeless(link is external). The heartless scam could have bilked Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis of $750,000, the nonprofit said in a statement ― money that state and local governments had given the charity for homeless outreach.” By Carol Kuruvilla, Huffington Post

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Cardinal Timothy Dolan proves once again the Church will never reform itself without the law and civil society behind it
“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the Child Victims Act, for which we have been fighting for 15 years, will pass this year with his full support. With both houses controlled by Democrats, the leadership of Sen. Brad Hoylman, now Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, he is surely correct. The barrier to passage until now has been Republican lawmakers kneeling to the Catholic bishops and in particular New York City Archdiocese’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan(link is external). The latter is not going down, though he is decidedly going down on this issue, without a final whining tour about justice for child sex abuse victims.” By Marci Hamilton, Verdict: Legal Analysis and Commentary from Justia

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

A wake-up call against sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is a widely discussed topic today(link is external). It has cut across families (often in the form of domestic violence), spreads even to religious institutions, and is often used as a weapon in conflict situations. Many have experienced this humiliating trauma, and felt its stigma. We are overwhelmed and concerned about it as if it were a cancer! Few could be aware of its magnitude unless they are close to its reality. In the Great Lakes Region of Africa, consecrated women and men who have been exposed to the realities of sexual abuse were urged to address its horror through a wakeup call at two formation …” By Mary Lilly Driciru, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Why making clergy mandatory reporters won’t solve the Catholic abuse crisis
“The desire to protect children from abuse, both sexual and physical, has led many states to designate certain classes of people as mandatory reporters(link is external), even threatening them with jail time if they fail to report abuse. These laws vary from state to state in terms of who are listed as mandatory reporters and what they are required to report. Mandatory reporters have included teachers, nurses, doctors, child welfare officials and police. Even psychologists and psychiatrists, who normally must respect the confidentiality of what they are told by their patients, have sometimes been covered.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Proposed laws in D.C. and Virginia would require clergy to report sexual abuse
“In response to recent Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandals, lawmakers in the District and Virginia say they will soon propose legislation that adds clergy to the list of people mandated by law to report child abuse or neglect(link is external). Both efforts hit at the hot-button intersection of child protection and religious liberty, but lawmakers are expected to give them an open reception at a time when recent sexual abuse scandals in churches and others involving athletes have prompted conversation about broadening legal responsibility to extend beyond positions such as teachers and doctors.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

CALIFORNIA

Santa Rosa Diocese names 39 clergymen as known or alleged sex abusers
“Santa Rosa Bishop Robert F. Vasa on Saturday (Jan. 12) revealed the names of 39 priests and deacons(link is external) who church leaders say committed child sexual abuse or were credibly accused of such crimes, a disclosure that marks the most comprehensive acknowledgment of the decades-long scope of the clergy abuse scandal for the local Catholic church.” By Mary Callahan and Guy Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Diocese of Monterey releases names of clergymen accused of sexual misconduct
“The Diocese of Monterey has released the names of 30 Clergymen who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a child(link is external). According to the Diocese, the assaults go back to the 1950’s. There have been two allegations received since the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People was put into effect in 2002 and implemented in the Diocese of Monterey in 2003.” By Brandon Castillo, KION-AM News Channel

CONNECTICUT

Hartford Archdiocese identifies 48 priests accused of sexual abuse

“When John T. O’Connor retired in 1997 after 50 years as a priest, parishioners at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Newington named their parish hall after him. On Tuesday (Jan. 22), after the Hartford Archdiocese included O’Connor in a list it made public of Catholic clergymen who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external), the current parish priest said O’Connor’s name would be stripped from the hall.” By Dave Altimari, Jesse Leavenworth and David Owens, Hartford Courant

ILLINOIS

Clergy sexual abuse: justice before forgiveness
“The latest spate of revelations regarding Catholic dioceses in Illinois protecting and hiding sexually abusive clergy is, sadly, nothing new(link is external). In January 1976, an associate pastor at Ascension Church in Oak Park, Fr. Richard Barry ‘Doc’ Bartz, molested me during an overnight ski trip to Wisconsin. My incident with Bartz, which I reported to the Archdiocese in 1992, was not the only case of sexual abuse in Bartz’s file.” By Patrick, Navin, OakPark.com

North side Catholic priest removed from church following allegation of sexual abuse of a child
“The Archdiocese of Chicago removed a priest from a North Side Catholic church after receiving a report of an allegation that he sexually abused a child(link is external) decades prior in suburban Midlothian, according to a news release. The Rev. Patrick J. Lee, the head pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the East Lakeview neighborhood, was asked by Cardinal Blase Cupich to ‘step aside’ from ministry after someone came forward this week and reported being sexually abused as a child by Lee, according to a statement issued by the archdiocese.” By Elvia Malagon, Chicago Tribune

IOWA

Diocese issues statement on allegations
“The Diocese of Sioux City would first like to apologize to all victims of abuse by members of the clergy(link is external). We are working to do everything we can to help victims who come forward. We want to help them feel a sense of justice and healing. The Diocese of Sioux City continues to express sorrow for and to apologize to the victims of sexual misconduct by members of our clergy. We again encourage all victims, if you have not reported past or present abuse, to please come forward. The Victims Assistance hotline number is (866) 435-4397 or (712) 279-5610.” By Diocese of Sioux City in The Catholic Globe diocesan newspaper

LOUISIANA

Houma-Thibodaux names 14 priests accused of sexual misconduct involving children
“The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux on Friday (Jan. 11) named six Catholic priests who admitted or were convicted of sexual misconduct with children(link is external) as well as three others who faced civil litigation credibly accusing them of molesting minors. Another five were credibly accused outside of a court setting of ‘serious and unacceptable conduct with minors, ranging from inappropriate physical contact … to molestation,’ bringing the total number of names on Friday’s list to 14, officials said.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Advocate

MAINE

Some accused priests on Jesuits’ list played key roles at Cheverus
“Included in Tuesday’s (Jan.15) release by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits of credibly accused priests are eight with ties to Maine(link is external). Information in this list was drawn from publicly available records, news reports and information provided by the Jesuits.” By Eric Russell and Megan Gray, Portland Press Herald

MARYLAND

Baltimore archbishop takes steps to increase reporting of abuse, seeks to move archdiocese ahead of reform
“Archbishop William Lori encouraged the more than 500,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore on Tuesday (Jan. 15) to report wrongdoing by clergy at all levels as part of an effort to regain public trust as church leaders worldwide confront a sexual abuse crisis(link is external). Lori outlined the expansion of a reporting system to cover himself and his three auxiliary bishops, as well as a code of conduct the bishops will sign, as steps he is taking to address any abuse up to the highest levels.” By Sarah Meehan, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland attorney general: hotline for clergy abuse victims
“Maryland’s top law enforcement official on Thursday (Jan. 10) announced a phone hotline for victims to report child sex abuse(link is external) associated with a place of worship or school across the U.S. state, which is steeped in Catholicism like few others. Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the creation of the hotline in Baltimore, home to the country’s first bishop, first cathedral, first diocese and first archdiocese. Unlike counterparts in other states that have formally announced probes into clergy sex abuse, Frosh’s office has only publicly called for victims of abusers linked to schools or places of worship to come forward.” By David McFadden, Associated Press

MASSACHUSETTS

Our opinion: diocese still dodging issue of clergy abuse
“The Catholic Church will never succeed in putting its clergy abuse scandals behind it as long as it insists on finding ways to avoid full responsibility(link is external). The latest example is the absence of The Rev. Richard J. Ahern on the Springfield Diocese’s list of clergy who sexually abused young people even though he clearly belongs there. The Rev. Ahern served churches all over the Diocese, including Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Fenn Street in Pittsfield, a church that was closed about a decade ago. Court records document his abuse of children in the diocese and a long list of allegations against him were unresolved when he died in 2001.” By The Berkshire Eagle Editorial Board

Accused priest not on the list
“The Rev. Richard J. Ahern isn’t on the Springfield diocese’s list of clergy who sexually abused young people. But the priest, who served in Pittsfield, died in 2001 with a stack of allegations against him(link is external). A decade after Ahern ended his ministry in Berkshire County, the priest’s own religious order prohibited him from hearing confessions from children, sent him to weekly therapy sessions and barred him from the diocese that includes Pittsfield and is now overseen by The Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski.” By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

MISSISSIPPI

‘A nightmare.’ May tells all, says he was abused by Mississippi priest more than 75 times
“Mark Belenchia remembers the first time he saw his would-be abuser. Belenchia was playing third base, wearing a white, wool baseball uniform with green socks pulled up to his knees. A matching green hat covered his mop of dark brown hair. He was 12 years old.(link is external)The year was 1968, and the Rev. Bernard Haddican had just arrived in Shelby, a small town nestled in the Mississippi Delta.” By Sarah Fowler, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

NEW JERSEY

First criminal case filed by new state task force on clergy abuse
“The New Jersey attorney general’s clergy abuse task force has filed its first criminal case against a Roman Catholic priest who allegedly sexually assaulted a teenage girl in the 1990s(link is external). A priest from Phillipsburg has been arrested and charged with multiple criminal counts in the sexual assault of a child who was between the ages of 14 and 17 when the abuse allegedly occurred. The arrest was made by members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office assigned to the task force.” By Krystal Knapp, Planet Princeton

Ten Catholic priests with N.J. ties on new list of Jesuits accused of sex abuse
“Ten priests who spent part of their careers in New Jersey are on a new list of 50 Jesuits who have been accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). The USA Northeast Province Jesuits, an organization representing the Roman Catholic order of priests in north Jersey and several other states, released its list Tuesday. The order is the last of the regional Jesuit organizations to publicly name all priests credibly accused of abuse.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Catholic Church settles for $400K in five sex abuse lawsuits against New Jersey priest
Five alleged victims who say they were sexually abused by a New Jersey priest settled their lawsuits(link is external) against the Catholic Church for a total of $400,000 — and a sixth cases against him is still in court, an attorney said. The Rev. Michael ‘Mitch’ Walters was accused of molesting both boys and girls at St. Cassian Church and school in Montclair and St. John Nepomucene Parish in Guttenberg in the 1980s and 1990s. He denied the accusations and was removed from ministry in 2016.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media

NEW MEXICO

Santa Fe archbishop agrees to open lawsuit records
“Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester agreed to open sealed state court lawsuits in priest child sexual abuse cases and pay therapy bills for survivors(link is external) during an extraordinary public meeting with several victims whose claims are now intertwined with the archdiocese’s pending bankruptcy reorganization. It was also revealed during the meeting last week Jan. 11) that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe continues to pay thousands of dollars a year to assist two priests who have been credibly accused of molesting children.” By Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal

NEW YORK

Diocese of Scranton launches compensation program for sex-abuse survivors
“The Diocese of Scranton on Tuesday (Jan. 22) launched its Independent Survivors Compensation Program(link is external) designed to compensate survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Participation by survivors is voluntary and the program is run independently of the diocese.” By Bill O’Boyle, Times Leader

‘Spotlight’ lawyer says Newark archdiocese blamed victims to defend predator priest
“The lawyer celebrated for going after predatory Roman Catholic clergymen in Boston accused the Archdiocese of Newark on Monday (Jan. 14) of using a blame-the-victim strategy to protect a New Jersey priest who allegedly abused five boys and a girl decades ago(link is external). Mitchell Garabedian, whose efforts were dramatized in the Oscar-winning movie ‘Spotlight,’ launched the broadside after announcing that five of the alleged victims of the Rev. Michael ‘Mitch’ Walters had settled their civil lawsuits against the Catholic Church for $400,000. The sixth case against Walters is still in court, he said.” By NBC News

NORTH CAROLINA

Why hasn’t Charlotte Catholic diocese released list of priests accused of sex abuse?
“Dozens of Catholic dioceses and religious orders across the country have, in recent months, released lists of priests who have been credibly accused of child sex abuse(link is external) over the years. In North Carolina, the 54-county Raleigh diocese published its list in October. But the Charlotte diocese, which includes the rest of the state, hasn’t yet. The state’s attorney general, Josh Stein, says the Charlotte diocese should follow the lead of the others.” By Tim Funk, The Charlotte Observer

PENNSYLVANIA

Compensation fund now in effect for victims of priest sex abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Victim Compensation Fund is now in effect(link is external). Dioceses across the state announced its creation last month. The fund allows victims of priest sex abuse to receive monetary compensation, though none of the money comes directly from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.” By WPXI-TV News

Phillipsburg priest arrested, accused of sexually assaulting teen
“Authorities arrested a Roman Catholic priest from Phillipsburg this week on allegations he sexually assaulted an underage girl(link is external) during the 1990s. The arrest of Father Thomas P. ‘Tom’ Ganley, 63, was announced in a news release late Thursday (Jan. 17) afternoon from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.” By Kurt Bresswein, LehighValleyLive.com

Archdiocese of Philadelphia places one priest on administrative leave and announces two others have been found unsuitable for ministry
“Reverend Monsignor Joseph L. Logrip has been placed on administrative leave and his priestly faculties have been restricted following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s. Reverend John F. Meyers and Reverend Raymond W. Smart previously had their priestly faculties restricted. Both have been found unsuitable for ministry based on substantiated allegations that they sexually abused minors(link is external) in the early 1980s.” By Archdiocese of Philadelphia Press Release

Catholic priest sentenced to prison in Jefferson County sex abuse case
“A Catholic priest was sentenced Friday (Jan. 11) to 2½ to 14 years in state prison during an emotional proceeding at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Jefferson County Common Pleas President Judge John H. Foradora levied the sentence after reading Bible verses and quoting saints and theologians. David Poulson, 65, who was assigned to the Diocese of Erie but has been forbidden from serving as a priest and is in the process of being removed from the priesthood, pleaded guilty in October to sexually assaulting one boy and attempting to assault another(link is external) at a rural Jefferson County cabin between 2002 and 2010.” By Shelly Bradbury, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Harrisburg Catholics seeking answers after clergy sex abuse scandal pack ‘listening session’
“About 250 people attended a town-hall style meeting at a Harrisburg Catholic parish night to hear what their church was doing differently after revelations that thousands of children were molested by priests(link is external) over decades. Parishioners asked tough questions at the 7 p.m. meeting at the Saint Catherine Laboure Parish at 4000 Derry Street. It was the first in a series of planned ‘listening sessions’ by Bishop Ronald W. Gainer across the Harrisburg Diocese, which covers 89 parishes.” Christine Vendel, PennLive.com

Diocese of Hamburg to restore trust in the Catholic Church following sex abuse scandal
“Catholics in Harrisburg looking to heal following alleged child sex abuse in the church met face-to-face with their Bishop(link is external) Thursday (Jan. 10). Hundreds of people, including some sexual abuse survivors, filled Saint Catherine Labouré looking to Harrisburg’s Bishop Ronald Gainer for leadership following turmoil in the Catholic church.” By Brendan Kinney, Local21News.com

TEXAS

Police issue arrest warrant for Dallas priest after new accuser comes forward
“Dallas police have issued an arrest warrant for an Oak Cliff priest previously accused of molesting three teenagers after a new accuser reached out to investigators. Edmundo Paredes, the former longtime pastor at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, had been accused of sexually assaulting three teenage boys(link is external) more than a decade ago and stealing from his parish. The Dallas Catholic Diocese, amid a worldwide sex-abuse crisis within the Catholic Church, made the allegations public in August.” By David Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News

Sisters’ plea to the Catholic Church: ‘I want the truth to be known’
“There was a time when Monica Deanda Baez was a little girl that she prayed to God to let her die. In her family’s modest home in northeast Houston, she would climb on top of the toilet and scream out the bathroom window to God, to whomever — to whatever — would listen. ‘I would beg God,’ Baez said. ‘Please let me die, ‘cause I don’t want him to do this to me anymore.’ Baez, now 53, said for years she was sexually abused by her family’s priest(link is external). It was only later she learned that her older sister, Elodia Flores, and three of their siblings also said they suffered the same abuse by the same priest.” By Jeremy Rogalski and tina Macias KHOU-TV News

VERMONT

Catholic diocese reviews sexual abuse allegations involving 52 priests
“A lay committee created by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington has identified 52 former or deceased priests accused of sexually abusing children in Vermont(link is external). The names of those with substantiated allegations against them will be released as soon as next month, Bishop Christopher Coyne said Thursday night at St. Mary’s Church in St. Albans.” By Derek Brouwer, SevenDaysVt.com

WISCONSIN

Milwaukee DA John Chisholm calls for a statewide review of Catholic Church abuse files
“Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is calling for a statewide investigation of the Catholic Church’s response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), similar to the Pennsylvania probe that sparked a wave of inquiries across the country. Chisholm said he would like to work with district attorneys around the state and newly elected Attorney General Josh Kaul to review all abuse allegations over the last 50 years. He said he would hope the state’s bishops would voluntarily open their files.” By Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Green Bay diocese releases list of 46 priests it knows to have sexually abused minors since 1906
“he Catholic Diocese of Green Bay on Thursday (Jan. 17) morning released 46 names of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external). At a press conference on the diocesan campus, Bishop David Ricken apologized to the 98 known victims of sexual abuse by the clergy in the diocese since 1906 and called for other victims, if any, to come forward, to help make sure no abusers remain in the clergy.” By Paul Srubas, Green Bay Post-Gazette

CHILE

Chilean church abuse victims launch fresh attack on bishops
“Two victims of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic Church priest in Chile launched a fresh attack on the country’s bishops(link is external) on Wednesday (Jan. 9), accusing them of failing to reform or learn from the crisis. Juan Carlos Cruz and Jose Andres Murillo, two prominent victims of the abuse who gave evidence of their ordeal to Pope Francis in Rome, said the pontiff had also acted too slowly in handling the crisis.” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

FRANCE

French court to rule in March on cardinal’s alleged abuse cover-up
“A court trying a French cardinal on charges he covered up the sexual abuse of minors(link is external) by one of his priests will render its verdict on March 7, the judge in the case said yesterday (Jan. 10). The court in Lyon, southeast France, has spent the past four days trying Philippe Barbarin, the city’s 68-year-old archbishop, and five of his former aides.” By MalayMail.com

Vatican is now defendant in three Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits
Three Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits this week have named the Holy See, or the Vatican, as a new defendant(link is external). Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the survivors of clergy sex abuse believe they can hold the Vatican responsible under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s tort exception to sovereign immunity. The survivors demand damages and repair of the Holy See’s policies for child protection, according to a joint statement from attorneys Delia Lujan, Michael Berman and Charles McDonald.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

GUAM

Guam Catholic Church files for bankruptcy under shadow of abuse claims
“The Catholic Church on Guam has filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to settle 200 claims of child sex abuse(link is external). The move by the Archdiocese of Agana will allow it to avoid trial and enter settlement negotiations. Since the territory’s statute of limitations was lifted in 2016, 21 people – including a bishop, two archbishops and several priests – have been named in 200 child sex abuse lawsuits which date back to the 1940s. The bankruptcy was filed in the federal court after mediation attempts with victims’ lawyers ultimately failed.” By Radio New Zealand

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Church response to modern abuse scandals ‘same as 30 years ago’
“As the scandal of clerical child sex abuse emerges in other countries across the world the Catholic Church response in each has been exactly as it was in Ireland decades ago(link is external), Dublin abuse survivor Marie Collins has said. ‘The church reaction is a mirror image of what we were hearing here in Ireland 30 years ago. I spoke recently with someone from Poland where the crisis is just now breaking. There the bishops are saying it is ‘enemies of the church’ who are behind it. It is an aggressive ‘media with an anti-church agenda’, all very familiar and an absolutely disgraceful attitude in 2019,’ she said.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

 January 11, 2019

TOP STORIES

Where do the biggest Vatican stories of 2018 stand now?
“This week before Inside the Vatican goes on break, we are giving you a round-up of this year’s top Vatican news—and digging into the questions that remain about these stories going into the new year. We examine whether Pope Francis’ document on holiness ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ has had an impact beyond its short appearance in the news cycle. We also look at the open questions from this year’s sexual abuse scandals in both the United States in Chile—and ask when those questions might finally be answered.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

More than 500 priests accused of sexual abuse not yet publicly identified by Catholic Church, Illinois attorney general finds
“A scathing report from Attorney General Lisa Madigan finds the number of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse against children in Illinois is much higher than previously acknowledged. The report said accusations have been leveled against 690 priests, while Catholic officials have publicly identified only 185 clergy with credible allegations against them …The report says Illinois dioceses “have lost sight of both a key tenet” of policies laid out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as ‘the most obvious human need as a result of these abhorrent acts of abuse: the healing and reconciliation of survivors.’” By Elvia Lalagon, Chicago Tribune

U.S. Jesuit provinces release names of priests accused of abuse
All U.S.-based provinces of the Society of Jesus are releasing the names of clerics they say are credibly accused of child sex abuse, joining other Catholic institutions that are embracing increased transparency as they rush to respond to the resurgence of the Catholic sex abuse crisis. The revelations are seen as an important step by the Society of Jesus, which claims more than 16,000 members worldwide, including the pope. Although it does not represent the whole of Catholicism, the group is deeply influential both inside and outside the church …” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

A reckoning is underway in U.S. Catholic Church
“Over the past four months, Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children in an unprecedented public reckoning spurred at least in part by a shocking grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, an Associated Press review has found. Nearly 50 dioceses and religious orders have publicly identified child-molesting priests in the wake of the Pennsylvania report issued in mid-August, and 55 more have announced plans to do the same over the next few months, the AP found. Together they account for more than half of the nation’s 187 dioceses.” By Claudia Lauer, The Associated Press

Catholic cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial
“A Catholic cardinal and five other people went on trial Monday (Jan. 7) accused of covering up for a pedophile priest who abused Boy Scouts — France’s most important church sex abuse case to date. The case poses a new challenge to the Vatican, amid growing demands in overwhelmingly Catholic France for a reckoning with decades of sexual abuse by the clergy.” By Nicholas Vaux-Montagny, The Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

Pope Francis accepts the resignation of L.A. auxiliary bishop accused of abuse
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, after an allegation of his misconduct with a minor in the 1990s was deemed credible by the archdiocese’s independent Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board. Pope Francis’ decision to accept the resignation is in line with his zero-tolerance policy in cases of abuse.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic bishops told to act on sex abuse or lose all credibility
“The Roman Catholic Church’s leading experts on sexual abuse told bishops on Tuesday (Dec. 18) finally to take responsibility for a global clerical abuse scandal and go and speak personally to victims, or risk seeing the Church lose its credibility worldwide. Pope Francis has summoned the heads of some 110 national Catholic bishops’ conferences and dozens of experts and leaders of religious orders to the Vatican on Feb. 21-24 for an extraordinary gathering dedicated to the sexual abuse crisis.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Long history of nuns abused by priests in India
“The nuns talk of Catholic priests who pushed into their bedrooms and of priests who pressured them to turn close friendships into sex. Across India, they talk about being groped and kissed, of hands pressed against them by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ. At its most grim, nuns speak of repeated rapes, and of a Catholic hierarchy that did little to protect them.” By Tim Sullivan, Associated Press, in The Seattle Times

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …

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