Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


June 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

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

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

CARDINAL PELL

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

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

CLERICALISM

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

GEORGIA

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

IOWA

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

KENTUCKY

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

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

MISSOURI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

OHIO

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

TEXAS

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

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

VIRGINIA

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

WISCONSIN

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

BANGLADESH

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

CANADA

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

CHILE

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

FRANCE

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

LIBERIA

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

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


May 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

Francis mandates clergy abuse reporting worldwide, empowers archbishops to do investigations
“Pope Francis issued sweeping new laws for the Catholic Church on the investigation of clergy sexual abuse(link is external) May 9, mandating for the first time that all priests and members of religious orders worldwide are obligated to report any suspicions of abuse or its cover-up. The pontiff has also established a new global system for the evaluation of reports of abuse or cover-up by bishops, which foresees the empowering of archbishops to conduct investigations of prelates in their local regions with the help of Vatican authorities.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for?
“In the final episode of Deliver Us, we ask: What’s mine to do and not somebody else’s? What part of the church’s healing are we each responsible for(link is external)? To grapple with these questions, we spoke to people who have responded to the sex abuse crisis in different ways. Geoff Boisi and Kerry Robinson talk about why they formed Leadership Roundtable, an organization which brings best business practices to church leaders and which has convened experts to discuss the church’s future … Donna Doucette of Voice of the Faithful also joins the episode to offer her take on how lay people can contribute to healing, and Monica LaBelle offers her experience of setting up listening sessions in her parish. We also hear from you, our listeners, in this final episode. You tell us what you’ve been doing to help the church move forward.” By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

Catholic University sex abuse series wraps with starkly different viewpoints
“Two well-known lay Catholic leaders in the United States presented strikingly different opinions on the cause of the clergy sex abuse crisis, the role of the laity and the centrality of victim-survivors(link is external) at an April 25 conference at Catholic University of America, titled ‘The Way Forward: Principles for Effective Lay Action.’ The day-long conference, the fourth and final installment of the ‘Healing the Breach of Trust’ series, was marked by the divergent 25-minute presentations of George Weigel and John Carr, who spoke at different points in the day.” By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

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

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholics want church to invest in ethical funds, survey says

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEORGIA

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

ILLINOIS

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

KENTUCKY

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

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

MISSOURI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

Alleged predator priest accused of sexually abusing boys faces multiple counts in PA court
“Their stories are strikingly similar, recorded three months apart by a Dauphin County detective. They have names, but they’re known now as Victim 1 and Victim 2. Both men say John G. Allen sexually abused them(link is external) from 1997 to 2002 while they were altar boys at St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg.” By Candy Woodhall, York Daily Chronicle

SOUTH CAROLINA

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

UTAH

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

ARGENTINA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

CHILE

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

GUAM

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

INDIA

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

ITALY

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

SPAIN

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

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


April 26, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

BISHOPS

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Gonzaga University forming panel to address clergy sex abuse

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

VATICAN

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

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

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

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VOICES

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

ARIZONA

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

LOUISIANA

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

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

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

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

MARYLAND

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

MISSOURI

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

NEVADA

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

TEXAS

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

BRAZIL

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

FRANCE

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

GUAM

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

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

INDIA

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

PHILIPPINES

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

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

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

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

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

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

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

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

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

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

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment