Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Sept. 27, 2019

TOP STORIES

A Rhode Island church was told it hired an accused child molester: It kept him on for two decades
“When the Rev. Barry Gamache arrived at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in early 1997, it had been a dozen years since a former longtime parish priest was hauled away for sexually abusing teenage boys … And when the new priest needed someone to handle the church’s finances, he found a parishioner who was eager to help: David E. Barboza. A Globe investigation this summer revealed that Barboza had been accused of sexual misconduct with three boys in the 1970s and 1980s(link is external). Gamache said he was ‘surprised and hurt’ by those revelations. Two other men have subsequently reported to the State Police that they were also victims, and still others have made similar allegations to the Globe.” By Amanda Milkovits, The Boston Globe

Revealed: How pedophile priests in Victoria worked together to share vicitms
“Some of the Catholic church’s worst pedophile priests shared victims, passed on details of vulnerable children considered easy targets and worked together to conceal their crimes(link is external) as part of informal networks of sexual abuse hidden in Australian seminaries, schools and parishes. An investigation by The Age has identified for the first time that many priests involved in historical sexual abuse of children did not simply act as individuals but formed clusters, or pedophile rings, throughout Victoria, from the western district to the Gippsland region and in suburban Melbourne.” By Farrah Tomazin, Chris VedeLago and Debbie Cuthertson

Safeguarding must be imbedded into Church life across the globe
“The 11th Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors concludes in Rome … According to a press release issued at the conclusion of the Assembly, there is a continuing need for the culture and mission of Safeguarding to be systemically embedded into the life of the Church across the globe(link is external). In this regard, the Pontifical Commission is engaged in three specific Working Groups: Working with Survivors, Formation and Education, and Safeguarding Guidelines and Norms.” By Vatican News

Cardinal George Pell to appeal to high court over child sexual abuse conviction
“Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell have lodged a special leave application with the high court to try to appeal his historical sex abuse convictions(link is external), which will be his final avenue to have his conviction overturn. The high court on Tuesday (Sept. 17) confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry. The lodging of the appeal does not mean the high court will agree to hear the case.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

Abuse crisis, leadership failure having impact on church giving
“The Catholic Church in the United States has spent a staggering amount of money – close to $4 billion in the past 20 years – to investigate, adjudicate and prevent clergy sex abuse, and to compensate victims for the harm they’ve suffered. And as those expenses have prompted dioceses to lay off staff, sell property and liquidate some assets, there is growing evidence that more Catholics across the country are deciding not to contribute(link is external) to their bishops’ diocesan appeals because of the scandals.” By Brian Fraga, Catholic News Service, Cruxnow.com

Bishop’s secret list of accused priests leaves him besieged
“Bishop Richard J. Malone kept a secret black binder in a closet with a list of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse(link is external). He was recorded in a conversation expressing more concern about his own reputation than about removing a priest whom he called dangerous and a ‘sick puppy.’ And some of the bishop’s own clergy are circulating a letter of no-confidence in him.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

‘Seduction’ of children did little harm, said Catholic gatekeeper
“The psychologist who worked with the Catholic church for three decades to screen candidates for the priesthood once characterized child abuse as ‘seduction’ that would do little lasting harm to its victims(link is external). Ronald Conway, the Melbourne Archdiocese’s “consulting psychologist for religious vocations” tested applicants to the Corpus Christi seminary from 1969 to at least 2001, during which time 16 child abusers graduated as priests. Mr Conway himself was later accused of historical sexual misconduct by former patients of his private practice, though never charged or convicted.” By Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin and Debbie Cuthertson

ACCOUNTABILITY

Cincinnati bishop ‘anticipating’ Vatican investigation into handling of abuse cases
“Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati has submitted a report to Rome, following criticism of the archdiocese’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse against a local priest(link is external). Archdiocesan officials told CNA Sept. 17 that a complete file on the case of Fr. Geoff Drew has been sent to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, for transmission to the relevant curial departments, expected to include the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

Jurors deadlocked in trial of priest accused of molestation
“A Kansas jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Kansas priest who was suspended from the ministry after he was accused of inappropriately touching a young girl(link is external) on two occasions. A Wyandotte County jury announced Monday (Sept. 16) evening that it could not determine the guilt or innocence of the Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, who was charged with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He was accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl in 2015 at a Kansas City, Kansas, church gymnasium and again at a graduation party in Bonner Springs.” By The Associated Press in National Catholic Reporter

Vatican prosecutors request indictment of Italian priest on charges of sexual abuse
“Vatican prosecutors have requested the indictment of an Italian priest on charges of sexual abuse(link is external) that occurred at least seven years ago at a minor seminary located within the Vatican walls. The prosecutors also requested the indictment of the rector of the seminary at the time of the alleged crime, on charges of aiding and abetting abuse, the Vatican press office announced Sept. 17. The requested indictments appear to be the first of their kind for sexual abuse committed on Vatican territory.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Missouri AG issues report regarding clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church; identifies 12 cases for potential criminal prosecution, more than any other state attorney general
“Today (Sept. 13), Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt held a press conference to announce the findings of the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). After an extensive review of the records of thousands of clergy members and conducting interviews with victims, the Attorney General’s Office will refer 12 former clergy members for potential criminal prosecution, the most of any state attorney general probe, and laid out suggested guidelines for the Catholic Church moving forward.” By Office of the Missouri Attorney General

POPE FRANCIS

Attacks against Pope Francis are aimed at influencing the next conclave
“‘The attacks against Pope Francis in the church today’ are ‘a fight between those who want the church dreamed of by the Second Vatican Council and those who do not want this(link is external),’ Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Jesuits, stated at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Sept. 16. Speaking to the press in Italian, he said … ‘I am convinced that it is not only an attack against this pope. Francis is convinced of what he is doing, ever since he was elected pope. He will not change.’ And his critics ‘know he will not change,’ said Father Sosa, adding, ‘In reality, these [attacks] are a way to influence the election of the next pope.’” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

What 10 new cardinal tell us about Pope Francis’ priorities
“In announcing the appointment of 10 new cardinal electors, Pope Francis has improved the possibility that the next pope will continue his policies, but their appointments have also sent a message to the church about what should be the priorities of its leaders(link is external). Cardinals do not just elect popes. They also help guide the church through committees, called congregations, that supervise the work of Vatican offices. Who serves on these congregations can influence the direction and priorities of these offices.” By Thomas J. Reese, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal Pell lodges high court appeal
“Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers have lodged a High Court challenge to his conviction(link is external), saying he was asked to prove the impossible by two appeal court judges. His lawyers argue that Victoria’s Court of Appeal mistakenly reversed the onus of proof when hearing his case, forcing him to prove it was impossible for him to sexually assault two choirboys in a cathedral.” By CathNews.com

BISHOPS

Bishop Malone accused of mishandling sex abuse in Maine, before he came to western New York
“At a news conference two weeks ago, Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone said he had a good record on dealing with sexually abusive priests. ‘You call it cover-up, we call it confidentiality,’ he told reporters. Malone pointed to his time in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, where he served for eight years before coming to Buffalo. But on the ground in the bishop’s old diocese, advocates for victims of sexual abuse and new documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team paint a much different picture(link is external) of the bishop’s past — especially when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Former Albany bishop denies second abuse claim
“Former Catholic Bishop Howard J. Hubbard has been accused of sexual abuse in a second civil complaint(link is external) — this one alleging he and two other Albany priests sexually assaulted a teenage girl repeatedly in the rectory of Immaculate Conception Church in Schenectady in the late 1970s. In a statement released Monday (Sept. 16), Hubbard denied the new claim and reiterated his earlier assertion that he has never sexually abused anyone.” By Cayla Harris and Steve Hughes, Albany Times Union

Bishop Bransfield’s life of luxury
“New details have emerged about the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). Bransfield spent nearly one million dollars on private jets and over $660,000 on airfare and hotels during his 13 years as bishop of his former diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

A new investigation by the Washington Post, published on September 12, reported that during his last year in active ministry, Bransfield took at least 19 trips in what was described as a chartered luxury jet. Those trips cost the diocese more than $142,000.” By Catholic News Agency in Catholic Herald

  • Bishop of West Virginia, one of the poorest states, lived a life of luxury, By David Gew

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women walking together, away from the church
“The Vatican released the participants’ list for the upcoming Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region the other day. All 185 synod votes belong to men. There is one voting lay person: Ecuadorian Holy Family Br. Miguel Angel González Antolín, one of 15 named by the men’s Union of Superiors General. The 10 women religious nominated by the women’s International Union of Superiors General (UISG) are in the back rows(link is external), with 45 other auditors.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

‘It’s our church, too’: Conference to focus on need for women’s leadership
“Women’s inroads as leaders in the church and society is to be celebrated, but there is still much work to do so that churches, businesses and governments can benefit from the gifts and talents of half the human race. So say speakers tapped to share their wisdom on the topic of women’s leadership at the second Women of the Church conference(link is external), scheduled for Oct. 18-20 at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

CHILD PROTECTION

Revised archdiocesan child protection policy also emphasizes safe environments for adults
“The Archdiocese of Washington’s Child Protection Policy was instituted in 1986 as one of the first such policies in the nation and has been used as a model for dioceses nationwide. The policy – which covers healing, reporting and prevention of abuse – was updated in 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2013 to incorporate enhancements in child protection mandates and oversight. And in July 2019, the policy was again revised, with a new title that reflects its expanded scope, as the archdiocese’s Child Protection and Safe Environment Policy(link is external), to emphasize the importance of ensuring safe environments for people of all ages, protecting children from sexual abuse and adults from sexual harassment or abuses of power.” By Mark Zimmermann, Catholic Standard, Archdiocese of Washington

CHURCH FINANCES

A New York diocese filed for bankruptcy. Why more may follow.
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection under the financial weight of new sexual misconduct lawsuits(link is external), but lawyers and church leaders say it may not be the last. The state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses are facing financial pressures as a result of the state’s new Child Victims Act … More than 400 cases have been brought against the dioceses since Aug. 14, when the law’s one-year “look back” period for such suits began.” By CBS-TV News

Bishop says bankruptcy could be best balance of justice for sex abuse victims
“Bishop Malone says he’s close to making a decision on whether the Buffalo Diocese will file for bankruptcy(link is external) but he says he’s not there yet. Today (Sept. 19) on WBEN Radio, the bishop spoke about the decision to either litigate cases filed under the Child Victims Act or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bishop says there have been 138 cases filed against the diocese so far. He expects for there to be around 250 to 275 cases filed under the Child Victims Act.” By WIVB-TV4, Buffalo, N.Y.

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Amazon archbishop backs ordination of married priests
“According to a Spanish missionary archbishop who’s been in Ecuador since 1998, ‘We must thank God that there are still prophets like Pope Francis’ who think about the future. Specifically, the bishop backed the ordination of married men as priests in the Amazon(link is external), supporting the idea of calling viri probati, or tested married men, into the priesthood to serve isolated rural communities.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Germany’s Catholic Church struggles with women and power
Catholic women are demanding change in the church and giving Germany’s bishops an earful(link is external) as they meet in Fulda. The bishops are under pressure — from the progressive grassroots at home and from a reluctant Vatican. They won’t let up. Catholic women protested in the central city of Fulda ahead of the plenary assembly of Germany’s Catholic bishops on Monday (Sept. 23) afternoon. ‘We want to be visible and audible. And I believe that we owe it to the women and men of the Catholic Church that we are heard more,’ said Mechthild Heil, head of the Catholic Women’s Community of Germany (kfd).” By Deutsche-Welle

VOICES

A place for the Church’s thinking
“University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh once called Notre Dame ‘a place where the Church does its thinking.’ Although the origin of Hesburgh’s words have been lost to time, their meaning remains clear: Notre Dame could be a sanctuary for Catholic reflection – a meeting ground for the Church to convene and bring about concrete change … As the face of Catholic scholarship in the U.S., perhaps Notre Dame is a fitting venue for this discussion(link is external) by merit of its reputation alone. But there is a far greater reason we need this conference: Many in the tri-campus community feel the wounds of the crisis deeply.” By The Observer Editorial Board

Latest Pew survey a case of good-news, bad-news for American religious leaders
“Results from the latest Pew Research survey on how much trust Americans have in those holding positions of power and responsibility offer both good and bad news for religious leaders, particularly those of the Christian faith. First, the bad news: According to the survey results, published Sept. 19, religious leaders in America fall behind journalists, police officers and military officers in terms of public confidence in their ethical behavior(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Financial toll of priest sex abuse on Chicago Archdiocese? $220 million and climbing
“Underscoring how the Chicago Archdiocese continues to pay millions of dollars for clergy sex abuse of children(link is external) that occurred decades ago, a prominent attorney announced Tuesday (Sept. 17) that he has newly settled cases for the long-ago misdeeds of five former Catholic priests. The archdiocese has paid more than $80 million since 2001 to 160 people represented by Jeff Anderson’s firm, the attorney said. That’s a large chunk of the estimated $220 million that the archdiocese had spent in total to settle such claims, the church confirmed.” By Madeline Buckley and Elyssa Cherney

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Predator priests: When will Missouri scrap statute of limitations for sex crimes
“Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has referred the cases of a dozen former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors to prosecutors after a year-long investigation. That potential for justice for any of those so long denied is appreciated, though it’s impossible to say how many of the dozen men will be charged, much less convicted. But charges can’t even be pursued against 46 other ex-clergy because the statute of limitations on the allegations against them has expired(link is external).” By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Notre Dame study: 6 percent of seminarians report sexual misconduct; 90 percent report none
“According to new research from the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, 6 percent of Catholic seminarians across the country say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, while 90 percent report none(link is external). Another 4 percent said they might have experienced misconduct but were not sure, and 84 percent of seminarians believe their administration and faculty take reports of such misconduct very seriously. ‘Sexual Harassment and Catholic Seminary Culture’ is a laity-led, first-of-its-kind survey that was carried out in a collaboration between the McGrath Institute and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.” By Amanda Skofstad, Notre Dame News

Six California Catholic dioceses announce launch of victim compensation program
“Six Catholic dioceses in California, including San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles, on Monday (Sept. 16) announced the launch of a victim compensation program allowing them to settle claims of clergy sexual abuse outside of court(link is external). The California Catholic Conference announced in May that the six dioceses were forming the Independent Compensation Program (ICP) for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests. Registration opened Monday for victims who want to file claims. The other participating dioceses include San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento.” By Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke, The San Bernardino Sun

Catholic priest files defamation lawsuit after being outed as alleged predator
“A lawsuit by a former priest is seeking punitive damages for ‘severe humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress(link is external)’ after being outed as an accused child molester by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. J. Patrick Foley of Sacramento, California, claims that the Diocese promoted a ‘reckless disregard for the truth’ in a September 12 filing with San Diego Superior Court. In 2018, Foley was one of eight men added to a list of Catholic clergy believed by the Diocese to be responsible for sexually abusing children. Foley’s lawsuit alleges that his inclusion on the list amounts to publishing ‘false and defamatory material.’” By Aila Slisco, Newsweek

CALIFORNIA

Compensation process opens for clergy sex-abuse victims
“Childhood victims of clergy sex-abuse in San Diego and five other Roman Catholic dioceses in California can file for compensation under a program that started accepting claims this week(link is external). The Independent Compensation Program, announced in May, is being run by lawyers Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two experienced adjudicators who handled the 9/11 victims fund, among others. They are also administering claims programs for abuse victims in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.” By John Wilkens, The San Diego Union-Tribune

COLORADO

Some question if Colorado probe of Catholic Church will uncover full scope of priests’ abuse
“As investigations in other states produce arrests and unearth abuse allegations within the Catholic Church, some people in Colorado are questioning if negotiations before the state’s review began will protect the church’s reputation and prevent the disclosure(link is external) of decades worth of closely held secrets.” By Tony Kovaleski, ABC-TV7 News

ILLINOIS

Illinois opens 24 Catholic Church sexual abuse cases that were never investigated
“The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is opening 24 cases of alleged priest misconduct that were never investigated. Now, there are concerns that over 1,000 reports of possible sexual misconduct by clergy within the Catholic church were not reviewed properly(link is external). In 2006, the DCFS entered an agreement with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Under the requirements of said agreement, the church was supposed to report any allegation of abuse they became aware of to the DCFS, regardless of the alleged victim’s age. Under state law, these cases do not have to be reported to DCFS if the victim is no longer a minor.” By Jeffery Martin, Newsweek

KANSAS

Wichita diocese names 15 priests accused of child sexual abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Wichita has released the names of 15 priests who have been accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). The diocese said in a release on Thursday that claims against diocesan clergy on the list have been substantiated. Nine of the priests are with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, and six who, though not priests of the diocese, served in the diocese for a period of time.” By KAKE-TV News

LOUISIANA

Madonna Manor, Catholic home for troubled youth in Marrero, at center of new abuse lawsuit
“A 61-year-old man has filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly abused during the 1960s and 1970s by a high-ranking Catholic priest, three nuns and a lay employee(link is external) with ties to a church-run home for troubled youth in Marrero. Eric Reynolds’ lawsuit, filed Thursday (Sept. 19) at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, accuses priest Raymond Hebert, civilian staffer Charlie Earhart and nuns Martin Marie, Alvin Marie and Gertrude Marie of either molesting or beating him over 10 years after his arrival at Madonna Manor in about 1965.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com (The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate)

MICHIGAN

Former Diocese of Lansing priest faces additional sexual assault charge
“A Catholic priest who once served parishes in three counties within the Catholic Diocese of Lansing faces an additional sexual assault charge(link is external). Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo was among the first five priests Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office charged in late May. DeLorenzo, now 80, was charged with three counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct based on allegations he fondled and assaulted a young boy for five years while he was pastor at Holy Redeemer Church near Flint.” By Megan Banta, Lansing State Journal

MISSOURI

Missouri’s stilted probe of clergy abuse must not be the last word on the issue
“With the Catholic Church’s sordid history of enabling and covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests, and the long failure of government to confront those crimes, it’s tempting to cheer any progress toward justice. That’s why, at first blush, last week’s news might have appeared promising: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt forwarded the names of 12 former priests to local authorities for possible prosecution after an investigation that dredged up scores of previously unreported allegations against clergy in the state. But a closer look suggests this progress toward justice is at best minimal(link is external).” By The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board

NEW JERSEY

Former Howell priest charged with sexual abuse of a minor
“ A former pastor at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Howell has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor in incidents back in the late 1990s(link is external), announced Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. Father Brendan Williams, 78, of Lawrence, NJ was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault—criminal sexual contact on a victim under the age of 13. Williams was pastor at St. Veronica at the time the alleged criminal acts occurred, between 1997 and 1999.” By Kimberly Bosco, JerseyShoreOnline.com

NEW MEXICO

Former priest likely to spend the rest of his life in prison for abusing an altar boy in New Mexico
“A former Roman Catholic priest who spent decades on the run was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external) in New Mexico. At a sentencing hearing Friday (Sept. 13), US District Judge Martha Vazquez described the case involving Arthur Perrault, 81, as the ‘worst case that I have ever handled and ever seen.’ Perrault was convicted in April of seven federal counts for the early 1990s sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy, who was an altar boy at St. Bernadette’s parish in Albuquerque.” By CNN on Pix11.com

NEW YORK

He sued over a priest’s abuse. Then the diocese filed for bankruptcu.
“Last month, at 67 years old, Mr. (Peter) Saracino filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester under a new law in New York that allows victims to seek justice over sexual abuse from long ago. He expected revelations. Instead, he said, came another betrayal(link is external). His lawsuit and dozens of others against the diocese were supposed to play out in civil court, with the expectation that victims would learn what church leaders knew and did. But the diocese sidestepped all of that by declaring bankruptcy.” By Corina Knoll, The New York Times

Erie County DA opens criminal investigation based on allegations from former seminarian
“’2 On Your Side’ has learned a criminal investigation has been opened(link is external) to examine allegations made by a former student at Christ the King seminary. Kait Munro, spokesperson for Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says the office ‘has opened a file.’ That’s the term used to indicate a criminal investigation has been initiated.” By Steve Brown, WGRZ-TV2 News

Despite what bishop says, poll finds most area Catholics want him to resign
“An overwhelming majority of area Catholics or lapsed Catholics want Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign(link is external) as leader of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, a recent poll by The Buffalo News has found. Nearly 86% of the 473 Erie and Niagara county residents surveyed this weekend said they feel Malone should step down from the post he has held since 2012. Fewer than 3% of those surveyed said Malone should stay on as bishop. About 12% were undecided.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

OHIO

Fairfield-based priest not indicted by grand jury over conduct with teens
“A priest will face a review from his missionary home in Fairfield after a Kentucky grand jury declined to indict him in connection with allegations he acted inappropriately with teens(link is external). According to a statement issued by John Stegeman, spokesman for the Glenmary Home Missioners in Fairfield, ‘a grand jury in Lewis County, Kentucky has declined to indict Glenmary Father Dave Glockner on allegations he touched two teens inappropriately in early August.’” By Michael Clark, Journal-News

Columbus diocese creates task force to review handling of priest sex abuse allegations

“In the six months since the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released a list of priests whom it deemed had been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors, it has added 14 more names and started a task force to study its policies and make recommendations(link is external) to the bishop. The task force, which was formed in May and still is being established, will have 12 to 15 members, including a parish priest and people in the fields of law enforcement, civil law, canon law and mental health.” By Danae King, The Columbus Dispatch

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia priest removed from ministry over sexual assault allegations from decades ago, Archdiocese says
“A Philadelphia priest has been removed from ministry over sexual assault allegations from decades ago(link is external), the Archdiocese says. Rev. Christopher Lucas worked at many places across the Archdiocese but was most recently at St. John the Baptist parish and Hallahan Catholic Girls High School. The Archdiocese says the 63-year-old was accused of sexually assaulting a minor in the 1970s before he was 18 years old. Lucas has not been criminally charged.” By CBS-TV3 Philadelphia

RHODE ISLAND

Providence man urges diocese to release information about his abuser
“A Providence man who says he was sexually abused as a child(link is external) by the Rev. Normand J. Demers, a former priest in the Diocese of Providence who died last year, spoke about his experience in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul on Monday (Sept. 23). Robert Houllahan, 50, said Demers sexually abused him at St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Providence, when Houllahan was 7 or 8 years old.” By Madeleine List, Providence Journal

Watchdog Team: Providence diocese adds another name to list of credibly accused priests
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence added a new name to its list of clergy that it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external). Paul Desrosiers, a priest who died from injuries he suffered in a bus crash in 1984, was added to the list of names sometime after it was originally released, on July 1. His inclusion on the list brings it to 51 in total, including priests and deacons.” By Brian Amaral, Providence Journal

WISCONSIN

Former Wisconsin priest, with 11 men saying he abused them as boys, faces sentencing Thursday
“A former Wisconsin priest will be sentenced on Thursday (Sept. 25)(link is external), nine years after victims first told police he molested them. Thomas Ericksen, 72, will face Ashland County Circuit Court Judge Kelly McKnight at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Sawyer County Courthouse in Hayward. Ericksen faces up to 30 years in prison for two charges of sexual assault from incidents dating to the early 1980s, when he was stationed at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Winter.” By Laura Schutte, Wisconsin Daily Herald

Clergy abuse: Activist asks Wausau church-goers to lobby La Crosse Diocese for openness
“Dozens of flyers fluttered under windshield wipers in the late morning breeze Sunday (Sep. 15) as parishioners left St. Michael Catholic Church in Wausau. The flyers were neatly tucked there by David Clohessy, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. As parishioners began leaving the church, he handed them out, asking people to take them home and read them. His goal, he said, was to bring awareness to the fact that the La Crosse Diocese still hasn’t released a list of credibly accused abusers.” By Laura Schutte, Wausau Daily Herald

AUSTRALIA

Retired Victorian priest Peter Waters jailed for abuse of five boys
“A retired Victorian priest will spend the next 14 months behind bars for molesting five boys decades ago in what has been branded a ‘monumental breach of trust(link is external).’ Peter Waters, 74, abused the boys in the 1970s and ’80s, sometimes after climbing into their beds. Waters began grooming one boy after he entered the confessional booth to reveal the Catholic sin of masturbation. When the boy stayed overnight with the priest during the 1980s, Waters molested him as he pretended to sleep. The victim’s brother suffered similar abuse, waking to Waters entering his bed after socializing together, consuming alcohol and cigarettes.” By Marnie Banger, 7News.com.au

Ground zero: How the Ballarat diocese exported pedophiles to the world
“(Darren) is just one of at least 140 people who have made claims of child abuse against the Catholic church in the Ballarat diocese – an extensive region covering 41 parishes in the western third of the state. It’s one of the epicentres of the Catholic child abuse scandal in Victoria(link is external). While St Alipius Boys School and St Patrick’s College in Ballarat are often viewed as ‘ground zero’ for the crisis, less is known about how the pedophiles at the center of these two hubs spread their abuse across the Western District, intersecting with other known sex offenders along the way.” By Debbie Cuthbertson, Andrew Thomson, Farrah Tomazin and Chris Vedelago, The Age

How a Melbourne seminary became the breeding ground for pedophile rings
“The altar boy sat firmly on the back of the motorbike, his skinny arms gripping the waist of the young priest as they weaved through the suburban streets leading to Victoria’s most prestigious Catholic seminary … According to a civil lawsuit due to be filed in court this week, Father Russell Vears guided the 14-year-old boy, John Fells*, into the building, down a corridor with rooms on both sides, and to a communal area where four or five other boys were already sitting, waiting on a couch. Then the St Peter’s altar boy says he was picked out by a newly ordained priest, Paul David Ryan, and taken into a bedroom where he was abused(link is external).” By Farrah Tomazin, Chris Vedelago and Debbie Cuthbertson, The Age

New admission by diocese could cost Australian church millions in claims
“The Australian Catholic Church could face tens of millions dollars in compensation claims after the Diocese of Ballarat in Victoria state admitted, for the first time, it knew of the behavior of a pedophile priest yet continued to move him around from parish to parish(link is external). The church’s admission was made in the case of JCB v. Bishop Paul Bird for the Diocese of Ballarat, in which a defendant with a pseudonym is suing the diocese for his rape, at age 9, by Ridsdale (former priest Gerald Ridsdale, one of Australia’s most notorious pedophiles) at the tiny country town of Mortlake in 1982.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in San Francisco Catholic

CANADA

Group calls for Catholic bishops to release names of clergy accused of abuse
“A group of survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has called for Canadian bishops to follow in the footsteps of some American counterparts and release the names of clergy facing credible misconduct allegations(link is external). The survivors — connected by their shared experience rather than an umbrella organization — have travelled to the site of this week’s annual meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Cornwall, Ont., to ask church officials to publicize the names. Thus far, the bishops have pushed back.” By Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press, on 660CityNews.com

The walking wounded: In Canada, survivors of Catholic Church Sex abuse await a reckoning
“Rob Bowden, a goldsmith in Sydney, Cape Breton, is plagued by nightmares from the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Evelyn Korkmaz in Ottawa has recurring flashbacks of the mental, physical and sexual abuse she experienced in the early 1970s at the notorious St. Anne’s residential school in northern Ontario, and sometimes stutters when she tries to speak. Across the country in Tsawwassen, B.C., Nicholas Harrison still bears a scar that snakes across his chin from when he says he was thrown down the stairs at school as an eight-year-old. All three are survivors of clergy abuse.” By Tavia Grant, The Globe & Mail

FRANCE

France’s Catholic child abuse probe flooded with messages
“A commission set up by the French Catholic Church to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics received about 2,000 messages in its first three months(link is external), chairman Jean-Marc Sauve said today (Sept. 20). The independent body, looking into abuse claims dating back to the 1950s, was set up last year in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide.” By MalayMail.com

INDIA

Kerala priest booked for sexual assault on minor
“The Kerala police on Friday (Sept. 20) booked a Catholic priest in Erankulam district for allegedly sexually assaulting three minor girls(link is external) when they went to his chapel for blessings after the Sunday mass last month. Police said Father George Padayathil, 68, the vicar of the Holy Church in Chendamangalam, is absconding after they registered a case against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and other sections. They said the incident happened when the children, all class 5 students, went to his room in the church to get his personal blessings after the Sunday mass.” By Hindustan Times

PANAMA

New sex scandal hits Panama’s Catholic Church – three priests spared from duties
“Three Catholic priests were removed from their religious functions in Panama Friday for ‘inappropriate’ and ‘scandalous’ behaviors(link is external), after a digital news outlet revealed sexual encounters of priests with men, including a minor. ‘The Archdiocese of Panama feels deeply hurt and ashamed to receive information about the inappropriate and scandalous behaviors of priests Rogelio Topin, Orlando Rivera and Karl Madrid,’ the Church said in a statement.” By MercoPress, South Atlantic News Agency

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


September 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

Vatican authorizes ‘Vos Estis’ investigation into Minnesota bishop Hoeppner
“Bishop Michael Hoeppner is the first sitting U.S. bishop to be investigated under new misconduct protocols introduced by Pope Francis earlier this year(link is external). Hoeppner, Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, will be investigated by Minneapolis’ Archbishop Bernard Hebda, on charges that Hoeppner thwarted a police or canonical investigation of clerical sexual misconduct in his diocese. “I have been authorized by the Congregation for Bishops to commence an investigation into allegations that the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner, the Bishop of Crookston, carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston,” Hebda told CNA Sept. 10.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency, in The Pilot

Wyoming bishop a perfect test case for Pope’s vows of accountability
“Ask the typical American Catholic in the pews, and most could probably tell you a fair bit about Theodore McCarrick … By way of contrast, few rank-and-file churchgoers outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Kansas City, Missouri, could probably pick Bishop Joseph Hart out of a lineup – and that relative obscurity is precisely what makes Hart such an ideal test case for Pope Francis’s avowed commitment to accountability(link is external), including for bishops.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

In secret recording, Buffalo bishop admits new scandal ‘could force me to resign’
“New audio recording reveals embattled Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York seeking to contain yet another public relations crisis in his diocese, saying he feared it could force his resignation(link is external). The audio files, released on Wednesday (Sept. 4) by WKBW, were recorded on August 2 by Malone’s priest secretary, Father Ryszard Biernat, who took a leave of absence from his post, beginning August 14.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Denounce abuse clergy
“Five months ago, The Hoya published an investigation identifying 14 former Georgetown University religious leaders credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) — including two associate deans, three chaplains in residence and seven professors. The university’s only response was to add two brief paragraphs on its website reaffirming that none of the abuse had occurred on campus … To demonstrate that Georgetown is capable of acting morally — and not simply taking calculative actions to protect its reputation — Georgetown must publicly condemn the 14 abusive religious leaders and organize university-wide dialogue on its historical connection to clerical abuse.” By Yumna Naqvi, The Hoya

Indictment of former Pennsylvania priest signals aggressive new reach by federal prosecutors in clergy sex abuse investigation
“Two priests have been convicted; one other awaits trial. That’s about the sum total of legal action that has taken place in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, which identified more than 300 predator priests statewide. That narrative could be about to change(link is external). Last week, federal prosecutors dealt the latest salvo in what is fast becoming a tide of aggressive new strategies to criminally prosecute child sex predators and their accomplices in the Catholic Church.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

In U.S. tour, Marie Collins exposes clerical culture behind abuse cover-up
“The Catholic Church has reached a crossroads. Its leaders can either change, become open and accountable, or maintain the status quo(link is external): an institution lacking transparency, wrapped in secrecy and beholden to a clerical culture that is at the heart of the institution’s problems. That bleak assessment was made by Marie Collins, the Irish clerical sexual abuse survivor who was an original member of a papal commission dealing with the sex abuse crisis, and who said she is ‘hanging on by my fingernails.’ The scandal, she said in remarks Sept. 8 opening a five-city U.S. tour, is both systemic and global, and clericalism remains at its core.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Dolan considering options over scandal-hit buffalo diocese
“The Catholic Herald has learned that the Archdiocese of New York is closely monitoring the crisis in the Diocese of Buffalo(link is external), and that broad consultations are ongoing, with a view to possible action. The embattled Bishop of Buffalo, Richard J. Malone, faced several new calls for his resignation … The director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, told the Catholic Herald, ‘[The Archbishop of New York,] Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan, is very aware of his responsibilities as Metropolitan under Vos estis [lux mundi],’ the reform law Pope Francis enacted this past spring to streamline ecclesiastical investigations into clerical abuse and remove obstacles to investigations of abuse coverup.” By Christopher Altieri, Catholic Herald

Catholic diocese needs a new leader
“In recent months, Richard Malone, the embattled bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, continued to receive support from members of the Movement to Restore Trust, an advisory group of local Catholics that was formed in response to a recent rash of sexual abuse allegations facing members of the clergy. On Thursday (Sept. 5), that all changed. The group of lay Catholics who had been working with Malone to develop reforms in hopes of moving the diocese forward joined a chorus of critics who have been calling on the bishop to resign(link is external). In a statement issued to the media this week, members of the Movement to Restore Trust members determined that Malone’s actions in response to the sex abuse scandal threaten to set the diocese “back several decades.” By The Editorial Board of the Niagara Gazette

List: Every abusive Catholic Church priest, clergy member named in every state in past year
“In mid-August last year, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro read a grand jury report that listed more than 300 abusive priests in Pennsylvania. A month later, dioceses in Arkansas and San Diego released their own lists of priests and clergy members who were credibly accused of child sex abuse. Since then, there have been hundreds of abusive clergy named every month by dioceses, religious orders and lawyers across the country(link is external). At least 20 attorneys general in other states have followed Shapiro’s lead and launched similar statewide investigations.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

The Vatican makes a dramatic move against a crisis-hit cardinal
“There appears to be no imminent finale to the corruption scandal(link is external) that has dogged the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and its head, Cardinal George Alencherry. In a dramatic move earlier this week, the Vatican stripped the cardinal of his administrative powers just three months after he was controversially reinstated (after being earlier suspended) – to the chagrin of many priests and members of the laity in the southern state of Kerala.” By Saptarshi Ray, Catholic Herald

McCARRICK CASE

Theodore McCarrick still won’t confess
“On a cloudy Sunday morning in August, Father John Schmeidler delivered a brisk homily at St. Fidelis Catholic Church on the virtue of trusting that God always has a plan. There were at least 200 people listening in the pews, almost 20 percent of this rural prairie town’s population: large families, young couples, elderly people, men in jeans and cowboy boots. There’s not a single other church in town. Even if we just do our simple daily duties, Father John told them that Sunday, ‘our God brings great things.’ Last fall, God brought to Victoria an unexpected visitor: Theodore McCarrick(link is external), once the most powerful Catholic priest in America.” By Ruth Graham, Slate

Seton Hall investigation finds McCarrick harassed seminarians
“A yearlong investigation by Seton Hall University confirmed that Theodore McCarrick, the laicized cardinal who had been archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000, had sexually harassed seminarians(link is external) during his tenure as head of the archdiocese. ‘McCarrick created a culture of fear and intimidation that supported his personal objectives. McCarrick used his position of power as then-archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians,’ said the 700-word “update,” dated Aug. 27.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

Former U.S. Catholic cardinal downplays charges of sexual abuse against him
“Theodore McCarrick, one of the U.S. Catholic Church’s most influential clerics until he was accused a year ago of abusing boys and young men, denied in an interview published Tuesday (Sept. 3) that he abused someone in the confessional(link is external) – a charge for which the Vatican defrocked him. McCarrick spoke briefly to Ruth Graham of Slate for the piece, which profiles the life of the toppled church leader now that he’s been relegated to living in a friary in the small, western Kansas town of Victoria.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis: ‘I pray there are no schisms’
“Faced with sustained opposition from Catholic conservatives in the United States who accuse him of driving traditionalists to break with the church, Pope Francis said on Tuesday (Sept. 10) that he hopes it doesn’t come to that, but isn’t frightened of it either. “I pray there are no schisms(link is external),” Francis said in a lengthy news conference aboard the papal plane as he returned from a six-day trip to Africa. “But I’m not scared.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Cardinal-elect was a Francis bishop before Francis
“As the calendar turned to September, Pope Francis, relatively quiet and out of the limelight during the heart of the summer, resurfaced with big news — the appointment of 13 new cardinals, choices that make clear he intends to use that papal prerogative to reshape the hierarchical culture at that elite level … The name that really jumped out at me was Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini of Huehuetenango(link is external), with whom I spent a day during a reporting trip to Guatemala in 2013. Western Guatemala, with all of its stunning natural beauty, is not a normal stop on an upwardly mobile career in the church. It is easy to say — and I have said it — that Ramazzini was a Francis bishop before Francis came along.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Pope announces names of 13 new cardinals for the missionary Church
“After reciting the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday (Sept. 1), Pope Francis announced a consistory to be held on 5 October for the nomination of 13 new Cardinals(link is external). He said that the places where these new Cardinals come from express the missionary vocation of the Church as she continues to announce the merciful love of God to every person on earth. After reading their names, the Pope asked everyone to pray for the new Cardinals so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, they might help in his ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of all the faithful Holy People of God. The names of the new Cardinals are …” By Vatican News

BISHOPS

Two bishops appear on Missouri diocese’s list of substantiated clergy abusers
“The names of two bishops appear on a list of clergy with ‘substantiated abuse of minors allegations(link is external)’ from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released Sept. 6. The bishops are retired Bishop Joseph H. Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and now-deceased Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to the list assembled by the diocese, which dates back to its founding in 1956, the abuse claims for each bishop took place within the Missouri diocese’s territory. Each bishop also had more than one abuse allegation reported.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Embattled Buffalo bishop calls alleged love triangle ‘convoluted’
“In the midst of an ongoing crisis surrounding Bishop Richard Malone’s governance of the Diocese of Buffalo(link is external), newly revealed correspondence suggests a romantic relationship between the bishop’s priest secretary and a former diocesan seminarian who resigned last month. In a press conference on Wednesday (Sept. 4), Malone called the content of the letter ‘a bit concerning’ and the entire situation ‘a very complex, convoluted matter.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com(link is external)

Scandal muddies legacy of former Bridgeport bishop, Vatican’s longtime fixer from Baltimore
“Late last summer, Vatican officials realized they had an uncontainable mess – four whistleblowing priests alleging financial and sexual misconduct by the bishop of West Virginia. So they did what Catholic officials have done for decades: They turned to William Lori. From Rome and Washington to Connecticut and then Baltimore, where he is now archbishop(link is external), Lori is often on the front lines when the nation’s largest religious group is facing major scandals or perceived threats to its values and traditions. He is the Vatican’s fixer in the United States.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, in The Telegraph

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women must be at tables where church decisions are made
“The Catholic Church is the largest global humanitarian network(link is external), with enormous potential, and therefore responsibility, to address human suffering and complex global challenges. It is also the vehicle through which the Catholic faith is transmitted to nearly 1.3 billion people. Sui generis, with a divine mission, the church is distinct from secular institutions. Nevertheless, it is composed of people, facilities, property and finances that deserve to be handled with the highest levels of ethics, care, accountability and contemporary best management practices.” By Kerry Alys Robinson, Chicago Catholic

CHURCH FINANCES

Pope Francis orders Vatican to get finances under control
“Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to rein in spending and get its budget deficit under control. The Wall Street Journal reports the Vatican’s deficit doubled in 2018 to nearly $77 million(link is external) on a budget of about $330 million. Vatican officials are concerned this issue could compromise the pope’s mission and the ability to preserve historic buildings and employee pensions.” By Adam Elrashidi, Newsy.com

CLERICALISM

Case of Bishop Hart shows role clericalism plays in abuse cover-up
“For years, clergy abuse survivors fought to have Bishop Joseph Hart’s name stripped from the building of St. Joseph’s Children’s Home(link is external) in Torrington, Wyoming – a residence for troubled teenage boys known as the Hart’s Children Center. They had been unsuccessful for over a decade, but after Bishop Steven Biegler arrived in the diocese and deemed two allegations against Hart as credible and substantiated, the name was finally removed in 2018 as a concrete sign that the diocese was acting on the information of abuse.” By Christopher White, The Tablet

Confronting causes of clericalism; original sin, institutional dynamics
“Reforming the priesthood will mean reducing the effects of clericalism. Clericalism is a real thing, not a myth or mirage. It is a sense of elitism and superiority among the clergy that sets them apart from and above the rest of the people in the church(link is external). It affects the way clerical people — clergy and laity — behave. To tackle clericalism, the church must first figure out where it comes from. Then we must figure out how to combat it. I think that clericalism comes from four things: our fallen nature, institutional dynamics, a corrupted tradition, and seminary training.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Marriage doesn’t solve the priest shortage, says had of Ukrainian Rite
“Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has urged those considering allowing priests in the Latin rite to marry in order to help solve a crippling shortage, to proceed with caution(link is external), saying marriage has not curbed shortages in his own rite. With five blooming seminaries in Ukraine alone, “thanks be to God we do not lack vocations,” Shevchuk said, but noted that despite the fact that priests in his church … have the ability to marry, the high numbers don’t appear for Greek Catholics in other countries.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

In Africa, Pope Francis comes face to face with the future of the Church
“Young men and women wearing the words ‘Pope Francis’ on their backs and ‘Catholic Youth’ on their sleeves packed the bleachers of a stadium in Mozambique on Thursday (Sept. 5) and listened to Francis tell them, ‘You are important!’ ‘You need to believe it,’ Francis said to the raucous crowd at the Maxaquene Pavilion, in the capital, Maputo, where young Africans regaled him with songs and skits(link is external).” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Unclear whether Catholic Church has future in Ireland
“Refusal to face the truth about the state of the Catholic Church in Ireland is ‘a form of religious treason,’ a founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests has said. Fr. Brendan Hoban has claimed those in the church who want to move forward ‘can no longer afford to indulge those who cling to the wreckage of the past(link is external).’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

VOICES

CNY clergy abuse victims call for forgiveness of abusers
“A message of forgiveness(link is external) is coming from two victims of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The two men want to propose an alternative to the anger and bitterness the scandal has wrought.” By Ellen Abbott, WRVO-FM Public Media

The Vigano letter, one year later
“It’s been just about a year since Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published the now-infamous letter in which he accused Pope Francis of covering up for sexual abusers and ‘the gay lobby’ and called on him to resign. The ‘Viganò letter’ came less than two weeks after the release of the Pennsylvania grand-jury report on clerical sexual abuse and about a month after Francis had asked for the resignation from the college of cardinals of Theodore McCarrick … a crisis that came to a provisional close in mid-September when the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ conference met with Francis in Rome. I say ‘provisional’ because one year later, the crisis hasn’t abated so much as entered a different phase.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Lectures at The University of Scranton explore response to clergy sexual abuse
“The University of Scranton’s Task Force on Healing, Reconciliation and Hope will host two public lectures this fall, one exploring ‘Insights from History and Theology’ and the other discussing ‘Prevention, Healing and Reconciliation.’ On Sept. 16, award-winning authors Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, and Rita Ferrone, a writer and frequent speaker on issues of liturgy and church renewal, will discuss lessons that can be gleaned from history about the clergy sexual abuse crisis and how prayer and liturgy can be a source of healing and courage(link is external).” By The Abington Journal

Black victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests got dramatically smaller settlements than white victims
“Two Black male victims who received settlements over sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests are coming forward to reveal that they were paid far less than white victims(link is external). The Associated Press reports the Diocese secretly paid two Black men from Mississippi $15,000 each, requiring them both to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), also known as confidentiality agreements. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson settled lawsuits brought on by 19 different victims. Of those survivors, 17 are white and were paid at least $250,000 each — some up to $1.3 million — in similar settlements.” By Angela Wilson, BET

Buffalo bishops silenced Fr. Ryszard about alleged sex assault
“Ryszard Biernat was just 23 years old when he arrived in the Diocese of Buffalo in 2003. The future secretary to the bishop — who has now become Whistleblower No. 2 in the diocese sex scandal(link is external) — was only a seminarian when he was assigned to stay with Rev. Art Smith at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in South Buffalo.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

CONNECTICUT

Former Trumbull priest barred from ministry after review of decades-old sexual abuse claim
“A Catholic priest who retired from a Trumbull parish has been placed on administrative leave and barred from ministering publicly(link is external) after a review found credible evidence he abused a minor more than 35 years ago. The Diocese of Bridgeport was first made aware of the allegation against Rev. Stephen Gleeson in 2002 but recently reviewed it again “based on certain additional information” and concluded the accusation is credible, Bishop Frank Caggiano wrote in a letter late last month to parishioners.” By Zach Murdock, Hartford Courant

MISSOURI

Kansas City diocese names priests in ‘the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors’
“Saying that ‘the dreadful scourge of sexual abuse of minors has wounded our entire family of faith(link is external),’ Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Friday (Sept. 6) released a list of 24 priests he said have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. ‘The release of these names cannot change the past,’ Johnston said in a statement. ‘It is merely a step forward in hope, but a necessary step.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

Catholic officials names them as abusers. Now these former St. Louis clergy must face their pasts.
“…Dennis J. McClintock, 72, a rehabilitation aide, sat at the edge of the workout floor, sporting an orange Hawaiian shirt, a stark contrast to the white clerical collar he used to wear as a Roman Catholic priest. On July 26, the Archdiocese of St. Louis made a long-awaited splash by releasing a list of former clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Some names were already widely known; their abuse had been the subject of lawsuits and news stories. Others, including McClintock’s, were being made public for the first time.” By Jesse Bogan, Erin Heffernan and Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW JERSEY

St. Cecelia’s sex assault priest gets four years in prison
“A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to four years in state prison for sexually assaulting a teenage girl(link is external) while he was a youth group adviser at a church in Woodbridge Township, during the early 1990s. Father Thomas P. Ganley, 64, of Phillipsburg, N.J., was sentenced to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus in Middlesex County on August 26, 2019. He pleaded guilty on April 8 to second-degree sexual assault, admitting that he engaged in sexual acts with the victim when she was 16 or 17 years old, at a time when he had supervisory authority over her.” By NJToday.com Staff

NEW MEXICO

More sex abuse lawsuits filed against Catholic priests who served in New Mexico
“Two new lawsuits allege abuse in New Mexico Catholic churches. A woman identified as ‘Jane Doe P’ claims she was sexually molested by a teenage boy in 2001 when she was 10 years old. Her parents sent her to see the priest at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Roswell for spiritual guidance. The lawsuit claims, instead of spiritual guidance, the priest, Father Juan Montoya, raped her inside the church.” By Chris Ramirez, KOB-TV4 News

NEW YORK

Diocese of Rochester files bankruptcy, citing sex-abuse lawsuits
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, facing potentially huge judgments for past sexual abuse by its priests and other ministers, filed bankruptcy(link is external) Thursday (Sept. 12) morning … The petition estimates the diocese’s assets as $50 million to $100 million —and its financial liabilities as $100 million to $500 million. Rochester’s diocese becomes the first of New York state’s eight dioceses, and the 20th nationwide, to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court because of financial fallout from the Catholic Church’s decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.” By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

‘Michael Cohen of Brooklyn Diocese’ faces own sex abuse suit
“The ‘Michael Cohen of the Brooklyn Diocese’ who allegedly worked as a fixer for pedophile priests himself stands accused of child sex abuse by people deeply concerned that he continues to practice in Queens(link is external). Thomas Davis and an anonymous accuser have filed child sex abuse suits against Monsignor Otto Garcia — accused by a Diocese nun of covering up at least three child sex abuse investigations — who currently serves as parochial vicar at the Church of St. Teresa in Woodside, according to his accuser, attorneys and reports.” By Kathleen Culliton, Brooklyn Patch

Disappointment from whistleblower of diocese sex scandal
“Siobhan O’Connor, a whistleblower in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, was among the few protesters standing outside of St. Joseph’s Cathedral(link is external) after Bishop Richard Malone held his press conference Wednesday (Sept. 4) detailing the complex relationship between Father Jeffrey Nowak, seminarian Matthew Bojanowski, and the bishop’s former secretary, Father Ryszard Biernat. During the press conference, the bishop reiterated that he will not resign. At the time, O’Connor only heard bits and pieces of his press conference due to the ambient noise in the background.” By Mike Baggerman, WREN-AM News

Former Cardinal Spellman, Stepinac priest accused of sex abuse at Resurrection Church in Rye
“A former Rye priest was accused of sexually molesting an altar boy(link is external) in the 1970s in a lawsuit filed Thursday (Aug. 29) under New York’s Child Victims Act. William T. White is accused of sexually abusing the victim at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye multiple times between 1972 and 1973, when the boy was 11 and 12 years old, according to the suit.” By Mark Lungariello, LoHud.com

‘The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse,” seminarian says
“Another seminarian in the Diocese of Buffalo has given up his dream of becoming a Catholic priest, blaming alleged sexual harassment by diocesan priest(link is external) Rev. Jeffrey Nowak and Bishop Richard J. Malone’s lack of action when he reported it. Matthew Bojanowski, whose mother first revealed the allegations of sexual harassment in an interview with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team, announced Tuesday (Sept. 3) he is resigning from Christ the King Seminary and is calling on the seminary to be shut down and for Bishop Malone to resign.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Priest placed on administrative leave by Buffalo Diocese as initial inquiry wraps
“A priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as the investigation continues against him(link is external). Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, the pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Cheektowaga, was placed on leave by the bishop, effectively immediately, according to a statement from the Diocese. Nowak is accused of harassing a former seminarian.” By WIVB-TV4 News

Law firms sue Catholic Church and Boy Scouts for ‘secret files’ on alleged sex abusers
“Two law firms say they are suing the Boy Scouts of America, the New York Archdiocese and the Diocese of Brooklyn over ‘secret files’ that they claim would reveal ‘decades worth of evidence’ about alleged child sex abusers(link is external). Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC say they will represent 550 people who claim they were abused by Catholic Church and Boy Scout leaders.” By Victoria Merlino. Queens Daily Eagle

OHIO

Columbus diocese adds eight names to priest sex-abuse list
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added the names of eight priests who have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors(link is external), bringing the total to 48 after this third update of its list. All but one of the additions were in the category of ‘extern,’ which covers clergy members who served in Columbus but were accused of abuse elsewhere.” By Danae King, Columbus Dispatch

‘This was an act of an unloving man’: Man who accused priest of rape encourages others to come forward
“A man who says he was a victim of Father Geoff Drew says wants others to speak out about what allegedly happened to them(link is external). Drew is accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago. He pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape during a bond hearing on Aug. 21. Cincinnati police released a letter from the alleged victim on Thursday (Sept. 5) because he would like his words to be heard. In the letter, the man says he wants to relay a message to other alleged victims that they are not alone and what happened was not their fault.” By FOX-TV19 News

PENNSYLVANIA

These alleged abuser priests were scot-free for decades – until they weren’t
“In photos of defrocked archdiocesan priest  last week outside a Bucks County police station, the alleged child sexual predator flashed an outsized grin. He was wearing a suit jacket that flitted as he moved an arm. The pose was more fashion-catalog preen than street candid of a 74-year-old being booked for molesting children. Then again, Trauger had evaded justice since at least 1981.(link is external) So that megawatt grin? Maybe it was just that of a septuagenarian who knew that he’d mostly dodged the system.” By Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Former Catholic priest arrested on false statement charges
“United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Robert Brennan, 81, of Perryville, MD, was arrested and charged by Indictment with four counts of making materially false statements(link is external) in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States government.” By FOX-TV43 Philadelphia

Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh contracts with outside firms for handling misconduct
“The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Tuesday (Sept. 3) plans to expand how it handles reports of suspected wrongdoing within the diocese including allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external). The diocese has chosen Ethics Point as a third-party reporting system to receive questions related to suspected wrongdoing in parishes, schools or diocesan offices, Bishop David Zubik wrote in his pastoral letter.” By Emily Balser, TribLive.com

Defrocked Bucks County priest faces charges for fondling altar boys before Mass, DA says
“A former priest is now charged with sexually assaulting at least two altar boys(link is external) during his decadelong tenure at a Bucks County church. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub announced charges Tuesday (Sept. 3) against Francis ‘Frank’ Trauger. The alleged assaults occurred when the now 74-year-old Trauger was a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania in the 1990s and 2000s.” By Dan Stamm, NBC-TV10 Philadelphia

Lawsuit filed against priest of Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton
“Four men have filed suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton and its current and former bishop over claims a priest sexually abused them(link is external) when they were children. The plaintiffs are believed to be the first to take advantage of a recent Pennsylvania appeals court ruling that could make it easier for some victims of abuse to pursue civil claims.” By Associated Press on CBS-TV News Pittsburgh

TENNESSEE

Memphis’ first Catholic bishop replaced on downtown mural after child sexual abuse accusations
“Memphis’ first Catholic bishop has been replaced on a mural downtown months after he was included in a list of clergymen accused of molesting children(link is external). The ‘Upstanders Mural’ – on a wall across from the National Civil Rights Museum – is supposed to honor heroes, but after allegations of child sex abuse against the late Carroll Dozier surfaced earlier this year, the group that painted the mural decided he no longer belongs there.” By Nina Harrelson, WREG-TV3 News

VERMONT

Survivors question priest abuse probe
“A Vermont Catholic Church report revealing the names of 40 priests accused of sexually abusing children over the past seven decades(link is external) has both provided answers and prompted questions for survivors and members of the state’s largest religious denomination. ‘This is a long overdue step towards transparency — and there is still more work to do,’ said Zach Hiner, executive director of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.” By Kevin O’Connor, Valley News, on vnews.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Priest convicted of sex abuse of girls at DC parish seeks new trial
“A Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing two girls(link is external) at a D.C. church is seeking a new trial, saying he was unfairly prejudiced, and denied a fair trial in D.C. Superior Court. Urbano Vazquez, 47, was found guilty on all four counts Aug. 15, after a seven-day jury trial. The crimes happened between 2015 and 2017, while Vazquez was an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods in Northwest D.C.” By Neal Augenstein, WTOP-FM News

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia attorney general urges court to advance lawsuit against Wheeling-Charleston Diocese
“West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged a circuit court to allow the state to proceed with allegations that the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese violated state law through its knowing employment of pedophiles(link is external) and its failure to conduct adequate background checks for those working at its schools and camps. Morrisey’s response, served Wednesday (Sept. 4) afternoon, argues that the diocese’s motion to dismiss mischaracterized the state’s intent and distorted state law.” By Herald Mail

WISCONSIN

Review completed of diocesan files on sexual abuse issues
“After a review of over 500 personnel files and tens of thousands of pages by an objective third-party review firm, the Diocese of Madison is confident that there are no known historical issues regarding the sexual abuse of minors(link is external) left uninvestigated or undisclosed. These are some of the key takeaways diocesan leadership is drawing from a now-concluded forensic file review of diocesan clergy personnel files.” By Diocesan Staff for the Catholic Herald

WYOMING

Cheyenne diocese struggles with abuse revelations about popular bishop
“Nearly three decades had passed since Martin last stepped foot inside a Catholic church. Yet as he sat in the pews of the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Cheyenne for Good Friday service last April, he knew Bishop Steven Biegler was speaking directly to him. ‘Over the last year, we have seen that the Church’s leaders have been weak and sinful,’ said the bishop. ‘Yet, Christ still goes to the cross for us(link is external). His death is still stronger than all of our horrible sins. The blood and water flowing from Christ is the greatest force in the universe. So we can be reborn.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Laws forcing priests to report child abuse passed in Victorian parliament
“The Victorian government says it hopes it does not have to jail priests who fail to report child abuse revealed in the confession box. The state’s Parliament passed laws on Tuesday Sept. 10) carrying sentences of up to three years for failing to report abuse(link is external), but Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday morning that he did not know of any convictions under Victoria’s broader mandatory reporting laws, in place for 25 years.” By Noel Towell and Simone Fox Koob, The Age

Church admits liability in child abuse case
“The Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a child by pedophile Gerald Ridsdale(link is external) in a significant case that could open the floodgates for survivors seeking compensation. After denying any knowledge of Risdale’s offending before the nine-year-old boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake, in western Victoria in 1982, lawyers for the Church on Friday (Sept. 6) accepted an amended statement of claim from the survivor in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Man protests outside Welland church for one year on behalf of sex abuse survivors
“William O’Sullivan has protested in front of St. Kevin’s Parish in Welland every Sunday for a full year, and says he is determined to do so until the Diocese of St. Catharines apologizes to the region’s survivors of sexual abuse. O’Sullivan is one of these survivors. He was sexually assaulted when he was nine years old(link is external) by Donald Grecco, who was a priest at St. Kevin’s Catholic church. The assault continued for three years.” By CBC News

FRANCE

Paris prosecutor steps up effort to investigate clergy abuse
“The chief Paris prosecutor and the French capital’s archbishop have struck an agreement allowing faster investigations into alleged sexual abuse by clergy(link is external). Thursday’s accord came as more people in France are coming forward about past sexual wrongdoing by priests, and after repeated scandals pushed the French Catholic Church to step up efforts to address abuse.” By Associated Press on NewsMax.com

HUNGARY

Catholic bishops apologize to child abuse victims, take steps to prevent further cases happening
“The Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is taking all possible steps to address the issue of child abuse within the church(link is external), according to a statement on Thursday Sept. 5). ‘The sexual abuse of minors is unacceptable everywhere, especially in the church,’ the statement said, adding that it was taking ‘every possible measure’ to prevent the abuse of minors. It also apologized to victims on behalf of the abusers. ‘We feel sympathy and compassion for all those who have suffered harm as children.’ Anyone found to have engaged in abusive acts against minors has no place in the priesthood, the statement said.” By Hungary Today

PHILIPPINES

U.S. priest accused of abusing boys for decades in Philippines
“The American priest’s voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village(link is external). ‘I should have known better than trying to just have a life,’ the priest said in the November 2018 call. ‘Happy days are gone. It’s all over.’ But, the young man later told the Associated Press, those days were happy only for the priest. They were years of misery for him, he said, and for the other boys who investigators say were sexually assaulted by Father Pius Hendricks.”” By Tim Sullivan, Cruxnow.com

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


September 2, 2019

TOP STORIES

Australian court upholds Cardinal Pell’s conviction on abuse charges
“A panel of three Australian judges has upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s in a 2-1 decision(link is external), ordering the Vatican’s former number-three official to continue serving a six-year prison term. The decision, announced by the Court of Appeal in the southeastern state of Victoria early Aug. 21 in Australia, marks another historic moment in an historic case. Pell, who was long the highest-ranking Catholic in Australia but was brought to Rome in 2014 by Pope Francis to restructure the Vatican’s finances, is the first Vatican official charged by authorities on abuse allegations, the first convicted, and the first sentenced to jail. He is now also the first to lose on appeal.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Rep

RICO suit against Buffalo diocese alleges conspiracy in sexual abuse cases
“Twenty-two plaintiffs filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 against the Diocese of Buffalo, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools, a seminary, among others, alleging ‘a pattern of racketeering activity’ that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse(link is external).

The lawsuit was filed on the first day of a legal ‘window’ allowing for sexual abuse lawsuits to be filed in New York even after their civil statute of limitations had expired.” By Catholic News Agency

Wyoming bishop’s decades of abuse destroyed lives, traumatized families
“As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come. Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming, recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Hundreds of lawsuits filed on first day of New York litigation window
Over 400 lawsuits were filed in New York state on the first day of a one-year window in the statute of limitations(link is external), allowing abuse survivors to file suit against their abuser or the institution where the abuse occurred. The lawsuits include an allegation against a sitting bishop and a RICO suit against the Diocese of Buffalo and the Northeast Province of the Jesuits. Other suits were filed against laicized former archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and against retired Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany. Hubbard has denied the allegations.” By Catholic News Agency

Retired pope responds to criticism of his reflection on abuse crisis
“Responding to criticism of notes he published about the roots of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, retired Pope Benedict XVI said the fact that the critiques barely mentioned God proved his point(link is external). ‘As far as I can see, in most reactions to my contribution, God does not appear at all,’ which is ‘exactly what I wanted to emphasize’ as the central problem, he wrote in a brief note to Herder Korrespondenz, according to KNA, the German Catholic news agency.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

In Mississippi Delta, Catholic abuse cases settled on the cheap
“A famed Catholic religious order settled sex abuse cases in recent months by secretly paying two black Mississippi men $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims, The Associated Press has found. The cash payments are far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received(link is external) since the church’s abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002. An official with the Franciscan order denies the two men’s race or poverty had anything to do with the size of the settlements.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

ACCOUNTABILITY

Aussie headaches on Pell case could be child’s play compared to Rome’s
“Up to this point, the ire of those who believe Cardinal George Pell is innocent of the charges of child sexual abuse brought against him in his home country has been directed largely at the Australian judiciary, most recently at a Victoria appeals court that upheld his conviction on Wednesday in a 2-1 split decision. Assuming that ruling holds up, however, such frustration could quickly shift from the Australian system to the Vatican’s(link is external), because that’s where the action would be next – and honestly, the heartburn there could be much more intense.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CARDINAL PELL

Editorial: Those who dismiss Pell verdict ignore integrity of legal system
“The response in certain circles to the Aug. 21 court decision upholding Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys(link is external) in the 1990s was as swift as it was irrational. Edward Peters, a canon lawyer who teaches at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, claimed in a tweet some 40 minutes after the verdict that ‘the testimony used to convict Thomas More was more plausible.’ Hours later, John Paul II biographer George Weigel questioned at First Things whether people would want to travel to Australia anymore because of ‘mob hysteria.’ First Things editor Matthew Schmitz likened an aggrieved Pell to the suffering Christ.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Why Justice Mark Weinberg believed George Pell should go free
“One of the three Court of Appeal judges who heard George Pell’s appeal believes there is a ‘significant possibility’ the cardinal did not commit the child sex crimes(link is external) he’s in jail for and would have acquitted him. Justice Mark Weinberg said he was not convinced by the victim’s evidence and could not exclude the possibility that some parts of the former choirboy’s testimony were ‘concocted.’” By Adam Cooper, The Age

Appeals court upholds Cardinal Pell conviction on abuse charges
“An Australian appeals court upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell on five counts of sexually assaulting two choirboys(link is external) more than two decades ago. A three-judge panel of the Appeals Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria announced its decision Aug. 21 in Melbourne. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson read the decision during a 30-minute hearing.” By Catholic News Service

BISHOPS

Pressure mounts on Buffalo bishop after two seminarians resign over scandal
“As pressure continues to mount for Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone to step down over his handling of sex abuse cases(link is external), two seminarians have publicly left the diocesan seminary and echoed calls for his resignation. The first seminarian, Stephen Parisi, withdrew in a 6-page letter dated August 15 where he outlines what he describes as a lack of proper governance. He concluded his letter by directly addressing Malone, offering a stinging assessment of his leadership and pleading for his resignation.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

World’s oldest living bishop, who is uncle of Chile’s president, accused of abuse
“Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera, has urged for the Catholic Church to be investigated over clerical sexual abuse, and he gave his full support to new law that ends the statutes of limitations on abuse cases. However, when it comes to the allegations made against his uncle, the world’s oldest living bishop(link is external), he’s having a hard time believing it. Archbishop Bernardino Piñera, who served as Archbishop of Serena from 1983-1990 after previously serving as Bishop of Temuco, is being investigated by the Vatican over allegations that he sexually abused a minor 50 years ago.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Facing lawsuit, retired Albany Bishop Hubbard says he has ‘never sexually abused anyone’
“Retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany said in a statement Aug. 16 he ‘never sexually abused anyone’ and is taking a voluntary leave of absence(link is external) from the Diocese of Albany to deal with the allegations. The Evangelist, Albany’s diocesan newspaper, reported that a lawsuit filed Aug. 14 accuses Bishop Hubbard of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the late 1990s. The suit was filed the day New York state’s Child Victims Act went into effect.” By Catholic News Service in America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Face facts, says LCWR president: Sisters have been part of Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal
“Catholic sisters must face the reality that they have also been part of the sexual abuse scandal in the church(link is external), said the president of the leadership conference representing most women religious in the United States. Holy Cross Sr. Sharlet Wagner, the 2018-2019 president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), spoke on the issue in her Aug. 15 presidential address at the organization’s annual assembly, which drew nearly 700 women religious and guests to the Aug. 13-16 event.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Real reform in the Church requires a faithful laity, priests says
“For the Catholic Church to be renewed, the entire body of Christ – especially the laity – must strive to live the faith devoutly(link is external). This was the message of Father Roger Landry, who works for the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, at a Eucharistic assembly in July. ‘While in history, reforms have been championed by popes, bishops, founders of religious orders and their spiritual sons and daughters, the real reform of the Church happens when lay people assimilate it and live it,’ he said.” By Catholic News Agency in Catholic Herald

Sisters count on the ‘multiplication factor’ of lay partners in their ministries
“Every person has a gift that they bring with them, no matter how insignificant. I can only be aware of this gift if I am open and accept the possibility of change. So partnering/working with non-vowed people has positively made my life and ministry more effective(link is external). I worked with a young woman whom I see as the epitome of honesty and transparency. In my work, I have to give an accurate, updated account of the funds of a group of people. This young woman helped me through it. She is very accurate in accounting for the funds that come in and go out of the office.” By The Life Panelists, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Vatican tells Argentinian court accused bishop has job in Rome, despite being suspended
“Despite being investigated for allegations of having sexually abused two seminarians, an Argentinian bishop close to the pope(link is external) has once again been allowed by a judge to travel to Rome. The judge said that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has ‘collaborated’ with the investigation and has a document from the Vatican saying he must return to Rome ‘to continue with his daily work’ – even though he has been suspended from his job.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Vatican invokes Cardinal George Pell’s ‘right to appeal’ after child sexual abuse conviction upheld
“The most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be convicted of child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, has lost his appeal against his conviction, but maintains he is innocent. In a brief statement issued after the decision the Vatican reiterated that Pell maintained his innocence, and that it was now ‘Pell’s right to appeal to the high court.’(link is external) ‘At this time, together with the church in Australia, the Holy See confirms its closeness to the victims of sexual abuse and its commitment to pursue, through the competent ecclesiastical authorities, those members who commit such abuse,’ the statement also said. No mention was made of stripping Pell of his cardinal title.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

VOICES

U.S. bishops should drop everything and focus on preventing schism
“I have a modest proposal for the U.S. bishops’ conference. They should scrap their entire agenda for the upcoming November plenary and address a single question: To what degree are the seeds of a de facto schism being sown within the U.S. church?(link is external) Last week, a friend called my attention to a website called ‘Faithful Shepherds’ that was launched a year ago by LifeSiteNews. They state that their purpose is to provide a ‘one-stop database’ about where Catholic bishops stand on certain issues and to ‘encourage bishops to be faithful to Christ.’ By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church sex abuse: the difference a Pennsylvania grand jury made in lives of survivors
“It has been one year since the Pennsylvania grand jury report named 300 sexually abusive Roman Catholic priests in the state. After an 18-month investigation, the grand jury concluded that ‘over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records’ … As a scholar who has spent the last eight years interviewing Catholic survivors of clergy sex abuse, I know that even though there were only a few convictions in Pennsylvania, the release of the grand jury report was a watershed moment for survivors(link is external).” By Brian Clites, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Is it time for the U.S. church to hold a regional synod to address the abuse crisis?
“The conference of bishops, meeting in Dallas, had lately adopted a charter and norms for the protection of children. Now the eight called for something more. Convene a plenary council or regional synod, they urged their fellow bishops, and use it to get at the roots of what had happened so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again … Now it seems that those eight bishops were ahead of their time. In the face of a crisis even worse than 17 years ago, the idea of a regional synod for the Catholic Church in the United States looks increasingly appealing(link is external).” By Russell Shaw, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

A year later, Pennsylvania Senate still dodging grand jury findings on clergy abuse
“One year after an investigating grand jury gave Pennsylvania legislators all the evidence they needed to update laws on child sexual abuse — in fact, Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking work led to reforms in other states, including New Jersey — the response in Harrisburg has been little more than ‘we’ll get to it.’ Someday(link is external). The grand jury report identified more than 300 priests as sexual predators and thousands of victims. It spawned investigations by other states’ attorneys general and a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.” By Lehigh Valley Express Times Editorial Staff

Let the handlers of predatory priests pay in full
“Priests are supposed to offer spiritual comfort to adults and counsel young people on the values they will need later in life. They are not supposed to be sexual predators taking advantage of children(link is external). That’s what makes the release of a list of alleged pedophile priests from this area, including one formerly of the Sacred Heart Church in Cairo, a tragedy and a disgrace. The priests were named in lawsuits filed against the Albany Diocese by alleged sexual abuse victims under the Child Victims Act. It’s an offensive litany of accusations, both legally and morally.” By HudsonValley360.com Editorial Board

CHURCH FINANCES

As the Archdiocese of Detroit awaits its judgement day, it plays hide-and-seek with its money—including a Cayman Islands venture
“While the local Catholic Church promotes its efforts to protect children today, it’s been busy protecting its financial assets(link is external) as a day of fuller reckoning for past sexual abuse survivors draws closer. Across the country, statute of limitations laws on civil actions have been eroding, leading to costly settlements for abuse victims. Only intense lobbying by the insurance industry and the Catholic Church has restrained this tide in Michigan.” By Michael Betzold, Detroit Metro News

Priest accused of stealing nearly $100K from Downingtown parish
“A priest is accused of stealing close to $100,000 from his Downingtown parish, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said. Father Joseph McLoone was arrested Wednesday (Aug. 21) for the theft of $98,405.50 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church(link is external). McLoone, 56, took over as pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish following the removal of Msgr. William Lynn due to Lynn’s indictment and incarceration. Officials said McLoone accomplished the theft by diverting parish funds into a secret account, misappropriating fees charged to parishioners, and other fraudulent activity.” By ABC-TV6 News Philadelphia

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Corey Feldman calls for Hollywood sexual abuse victims to support bill to change California statute laws
“Corey Feldman is hoping to use his voice and celebrity status to help fellow victims of sexual abuse(link is external). The actor, who serves as Child USA’s ambassador and has spoken out extensively about the alleged abuse he suffered as a child actor, is urging abuse victims in Hollywood to sign a letter that he will be sending on Thursday (Aug. 15) to the California Senate in relation to current laws about the state’s statute of limitations.” By DNYUZ.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Why childhood victims stay silent about abuse for decades
“It took Ann Fossler more than 25 years to reveal that she had been repeatedly molested when she was as young as 6 years old. Fossler said she first confided in a counselor in the 1980s that a Buffalo Diocese Catholic priest who was a close family friend sexually abused her for several years and that she kept it secret because she feared her parents, who adored the priest and were devout Catholics, would be crushed by the revelation(link is external).” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Why is the Child Victims Act ‘look-back’ window so short?
“Buffalo News readers have asked a number of questions since Wednesday (Aug. 14), when the Child Victims Act opened a one-year window for filing civil lawsuits(link is external) over old allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The questions ranged from why the look-back is only a year long to why steps are not being taken against the Vatican. To answer the questions, The News gathered information from attorneys representing people who say they were abused, attorneys representing priests accused of molesting children, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and past stories in The News.” By Lou Michel and Qina Liu, The Buffalo News

ALASKA

Bombshell report: Seven local clergy named in sex misconduct cases
“A bombshell report released by local Catholic leadership named seven Southeast Alaska clergymen who since 1951 have been ‘credibly’ accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). The Diocese of Juneau on Wednesday (Aug. 21) announced the results of an Independent Commission’s review of decades of files including sexual misconduct allegations within the diocese. The commission was formed in late 2018 by Bishop Andrew Bellisario, and it consisted of a retired police lieutenant and retired judges.” By Ben Hohenstatt, Juneau Empire

ARKANSAS

Arkansas church, Diocese of Little Rock sued over alleged sexual abuse
“The Diocese of Little Rock and the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tontitown are being sued by an unidentified person who alleges both were negligent for allowing a priest to sexually abuse him(link is external). The lawsuit filed by ‘John Doe 201’ claims that he was sexually assaulted when he was a teenager by priest Joseph Correnti. John Doe 201 is now an adult resident of the State of Arkansas and is claiming the repeated sexual battery happened from approximately 1995 to 2002, beginning when John Doe 201 was approximately 14 to 15 years old.” By Associated Press on CBS-TV11News

CALIFORNIA

Bakersfield priest sues founder of Catholic group for defamation
“A Valley priest who has been the target of several sexual abuse allegations is suing the founder of a Catholic organization for defamation(link is external). According to the civil lawsuit, filed through Kern County Superior Court earlier this month, Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, made statements about Msgr. Craig Harrison that were ‘false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous.’” By Monica Velez, Valley Public Radio News

East Bay priest charged with sexually abusing child facing nearly five years in prison
“An East Bay priest who repeatedly sexually assaulted a child is facing nearly five years in state prison(link is external), officials said. Hector David Mendoza-Vela on Friday (Aug. 16) pleaded no contest to five counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child age 14 or 15, court documents show. David Mendoza-Vela, 42, a Catholic priest in Fremont, has been arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, according to arrest records and the church. (Courtesy of Alameda County Sheriff’s Department). Last month, he pleaded not guilty to 30 criminal counts filed against him in April by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.” By Joseph Geha, East Bay Times

ILLINOIS

Illinois attorney general and Cardinal Cupich have private meeting; discuss clergy sex abuse investigation
“Amid a protracted state investigation of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, Illinois’ top law enforcement official has met with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich(link is external), the ABC7 I-Team has learned. The one-hour, one-on-one discussion took place at Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office in the State of Illinois Thompson Center about two weeks ago. The Archdiocese of Chicago and Illinois’ five other Roman Catholic dioceses have been subjects of an ongoing investigation by the state attorney general’s office for the past year.” By ABC-TV7 News Chicago

KANSAS

Activists urge Kansas to broaden reporting of clergy abuse
“David Clohessy and Larry Davis stood on a busy Topeka street corner Tuesday (Aug. 20) for a moment of silence on behalf of people who committed suicide after they were abused by priests … Both men had plenty to say, however, across the street from Topeka’s Mater Dei Catholic Church about their belief Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, hadn’t been proactive enough in reaching out to victims or in identifying alleged perpetrators involved with Catholic churches(link is external).” By Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capitol-Journal

MICHIGAN

Michigan priest accused of tying up teenage boy, taping mouth and eyes
“The ongoing investigation into sex-abuse claims involving Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses has resulted in more charges by the state attorney general’s office, this time against a former Otsego priest. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that Father Brian Stanley, of Coloma, is being charged with one felony count of false imprisonment(link is external). If convicted, Stanley would face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender, according to state law.” By Ryan Boldrey, MLive.com

MINNESOTA

Clergy abuse survivor to coordinate Minnesota archdiocese’s outreach
“Paula Kaempffer, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse she suffered as an adult working in the church, knows firsthand about the kind of healing that can take place. And as the new outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention(link is external) for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she said healing ‘takes a lot of personal work’ and ‘a lot of inner strength to recapture the power that has been taken away from you.’” By Joe Ruff, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

MISSOURI

St. Louis County priest already deemed sexually violent sentenced again
“The first U.S. Catholic priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was convicted in Illinois has been sentenced to 10 years in prison(link is external) for abusing two boys in Missouri in the 1990s. Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton. Lenczycki is 75. Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with abusing three boys in the 1980s in Illinois. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison.” By Associated Press on NBC-TV5 News

NEW JERSEY

First Catholic priest charged with sex assault after tip to AG’s clergy abuse hotline to be sentenced
“A disgraced Roman Catholic priest who admitted to sexually assaulting a teenage girl three decades ago will be sentenced(link is external) Monday (Aug. 26) in Superior Court in Middlesex County. Thomas P. Ganley, 63, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a girl who was a member of the youth group he led in the 1990s. The priest’s case was the first criminal case prosecuted after the start of the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Task Force, which was formed last year to investigate allegations of clergy abuse.” By Sophie Nieto-Munoz, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK

Five adult siblings claim a childhood of abuse by the priest who kept them as his mostly secret family
“Five adult siblings recently claimed a childhood of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by Francis Melfe, a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) whom, they say, kept them and their mother as his mostly-secret family at a large suburban Guilderland home. Edith Thomas, the mother of the five adult children, told The Enterprise this week, ‘They haven’t spoken to me since 1992.’” By The Altamont Enterprise Guilderland

Child Victims Act tears open North Country’s history of sexual abuse
“Lawsuits filed last week under the Child Victims Act claim children were targeted by abusers and pedophiles over a period of decades in dozens of communities(link is external) across the North Country. The Boy Scouts are named in at least one of the suits, but most of the cases target the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. More than 400 lawsuits were filed statewide last week under the Child Victims Act, after New York temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on sexual violence cases.” By Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio

In disturbing allegations anonymously filed, three priests accused of abusing 7-year-old boy together
“In a graphic and disturbing case filed under the Child Victims Act, three priests are accused of sexually abusing a seven-year-old at St. Francis High School(link is external) in the late 1970s. The anonymous plaintiff says that in 1977, Father James Smyka, Father Aurelian Brzezniak and Father Patrick Mendola sexually abused him in a shower room in front of an audience of between 15 to 20 other priests.” By WVIB-TV4 News

Long Island hit with dozens of sexual abuse lawsuits under Child Victims Act
“Since Aug. 14, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across New York State related to the Child Victims Act(link is external), which went into effect that day. The law, signed in February by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives a one-year grace period, eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims. Suits have already been filed against every Catholic diocese in the state, Boy Scouts of America, Rockefeller University, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and other organizations.” By Marco Schaden, Long Island Weekly

Filings detail clergy, school abuse in Niagara County
“Lawsuits filed in Niagara County reveal the details of abuse suffered by scores of children over the past several decades(link is external). The filings are among the hundreds of court documents that flooded state courts after the opening of the Child Victims Act ‘look-back window,’ which allows survivors to submit civil lawsuits against their abusers that may have lapsed due to the legal statute of limitations. The majority of the civil legal complaints accuse clergy or employees of the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual and physical abuse.” By Philip Bambini, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

NORTH DAKOTA

Priest won’t face child sex abuse charges in Fargo
“A Catholic priest in south-central North Dakota will not face criminal charges after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a child in Fargo(link is external), but the case could go to a prosecutor in McHenry County after an investigation revealed one incident allegedly happened there. The Cass County Attorney’s Office announced Monday (Aug. 19) it would not pursue a criminal case against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who has served as a priest at three North Dakota churches in McIntosh County since 2010.” By April Baumgarten, Forum News Service, in The Bismark Tribune

OHIO

Activists demand Columbus Diocese expand list of clergy accused of abuse
“Advocates from SNAP gathered in front of St. Joseph Cathedral to demand the Catholic Diocese of Columbus add the names of three more ministers to its official list of clerics credibly accused’ of sexual abuse(link is external). The Columbus Diocese in March published a list of 36 clergy, both alive and deceased, alleged to have sexually abused minors.” By Adora Namigadde, WOSU-FM Columbus National Public Radio

Cincinnati priest arrested and indicted for sexually abusing minor
“A Cincinnati priest removed from ministry last month for grooming behavior has been indicted on nine counts of raping an altar server(link is external). Fr. Geoff Drew was arrested Aug. 19 on allegations dating back 20 years, which concern Drew’s time as music minister at a local parish, prior to his ordination as a priest. The accusations concern abuse said to have taken place over two years, when the reported victim was 10 and 11 years old. If convicted, the priest could face life in prison.” By Catholic News Agency

SNAP leader: Catholic churches need better vetting for priests
“The Rev. Geoff Drew, suspended last month after allegations of inappropriate behavior, now stands charged with nine counts of rape(link is external) — all for incidents that allegedly happened before he entered the priesthood. Dan Frondorf, a local leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Drew never should have been able to become a priest — and the Catholic church should develop a better process for keeping predators out of its clergy.” By WCPO-TV9 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Two more Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse
Two more Catholic priests are being accused of child sex abuse(link is external). The Diocese of Pittsburgh says it is aware that someone registered with the compensation fund. The complaint named fathers Larry Smith and Joseph Girdis. It says the abuse happened when the victim was 12 years old and was living at the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth.” By KDKA-TV2 News

Court allows lawsuit against diocese
“The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown’s application for re-argument in the lawsuit(link is external) of a woman who claims a pedophile priest consistently molested her in the 1970s and ’80s in Blair County. Wednesday’s (Aug. 14) ruling reaffirming that Renee A. Rice can pursue her lawsuit against officials in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese reflects an evolving legal landscape, according to Rice’s attorney, Richard Serbin of the Janet, Janet & Suggs law firm.” By Russ O’Reilly, Altoona Mirror

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina Catholic priests and diocese silent on how they’ll handle allegations on Sunday
“Sunday will once again bring South Carolina’s Catholics to church as fresh allegations of child sexual abuse surface, this time in a lawsuit against the bishop who presides over the state(link is external). Bishop Robert Guglielmone, who has led the state’s Catholics for more than a decade, has denied the allegations, which are alleged to have happened in the late 1970s while he was a priest in New York. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday (Aug. 14) along with hundreds of others as New York state loosened its statute of limitations for such lawsuits.” By Mike Ellis, The Greenville News, in The Independent Mail

TEXAS

Victims of child sex abuse have new chance to hold abusers accountable in court
“John Delaney, a survivor of child sex abuse, wants other victims to know this: Starting Sept. 1, they could have another chance to hold their abusers accountable in court(link is external). Delaney and the San Antonio chapter leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered outside the Bexar County Courthouse Tuesday (Aug. 27) morning to raise awareness about a new Texas law going into effect next month that allows victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits against abusers up to 30 years after they turn 18.” By Marina Starleaf Riker, San Antonio Express-News

VERMONT

Catholic Diocese of Burlington to release names of priests in church investigation
“A 10-month investigation into potential pedophile priests is done. The Catholic Diocese of Burlington will release its report Thursday (Aug. 22). But our Darren Perron obtained details of that report, revealing decades of abuse by 40 priests(link is external). ‘I’m 66 years old… This individual had an elevated place in my family’s life. So, no, I never told my parents,’ John Mahoney said. He didn’t tell them that he was repeatedly abused by a priest starting in eighth grade. Mahoney kept the secret– until now.” By WCAX-TV3 News

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Priest guilty of sex abuse; list of D.C., Baltimore accused priests
“A Catholic priest who served in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., was convicted Thursday (Aug. 15) of four counts of child sexual abuse(link is external) against two children that happened on the grounds of his parish, Shrine of the Sacred Heart Parish in Northwest Washington. The Rev. Urbano Vazquez, 47, of Washington, D.C., committed the abuse from 2015 to 2017, prosecutors said. He was arrested in November 2018.” By Deb Belt, Patch.com

WISCONSIN

Clergy abuse: Here are the resources offered to victims in Wisconsin by diocese
“The Catholic church both nationally and in Wisconsin has been under intense scrutiny recently with a rising number of people claiming priests sexually abused them. In Wisconsin alone, more than 130 priests are known to have sexually assaulted children in the state(link is external). That number is likely to grow as Madison, La Crosse and Superior dioceses review their files and investigate abuse allegations. Officials with each of Wisconsin’s five Catholic dioceses said they urge anyone who knows about or is suspicious of current, ongoing abuse to report directly to local police immediately. Dioceses then ask that a report be filed with the church, as well.” By Laura Schulte, Wausau Daily Herald

WYOMING

Diocese says more abuse victims have come forward
“More people who say they’re victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Wyoming clergymen have come forward(link is external) since the release in early June of a list of 11 men who the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed had faced substantiated accusations of abuse. That list identified 30 known and substantiated victims of the 11 men. Twenty-nine victims were juvenile boys and girls, while one was identified by the diocese as a vulnerable adult. It’s unclear how many more victims have come forward since the list was released in the diocese’s newsletter and on its website June 12.” By Seth Klamann, Casper Star Tribune via Wyoming News Exchange

AUSTRALIA

Coalition agrees to pass laws forcing priests to report child abuse
“New legislation forcing priests to report child abuse to authorities even if disclosed in confession(link is external) now has enough support to pass through both houses of Victorian Parliament. The Andrews government introduced the legislation earlier this month compelling priests to break the seal of confession to report disclosures of child abuse, but the Coalition stopped short of supporting it at the time. However, on Monday (Aug. 27) Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien revealed he would back the bill.” By Benjamin Preiss, The Age

Argentina prelate says clerical abuse crisis ‘just beginning’ in pope’s country
“Although by now Catholics in some parts of the world have lived with the ferment caused by revelations of clerical sexual abuse for decades, a bishop who heads a commission for preventing abuse in Argentina says that in Pope Francis’s native country, the crisis is ‘just beginning(link is external).’ ‘It’s not that the abuses are beginning, but society’s awareness, with cases becoming public,’ said Bishop Sergio Buenanueva, of San Francisco, in the region of Cordoba.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CHILE

Pope sends video message to new abuse prevention center in Chile
“Pope Francis begins by saying that, through this video message, he wants to be present on this day on which the Fundación Cuida takes shape. The purpose of this new centre, he says, is not only to address the serious problems of prevention and abuse, but to conduct research and to seek policies(link is external) that can ‘save more and more minors from everything that is abuse, everything that is manipulation and that in some way destroys their hearts.’” By Vatican News

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica priest wanted for sex abuse of minors arrested in Mexico
“Costa Rican Catholic priest Mauricio Víquez Lizano, on the run since January of this year, was arrested this Sunday (Aug. 18) at dawn in San Nicolás de Los Garza, Monterrey, in the Mexican state of Nuevo León(link is external). The priest, 55, was wanted in 194 countries since he fled Costa Rica for alleged sexual abuse, qualified rape and aggravated corruption against minors. See more: Catholic Priest Mauricio Víquez fled after the Church warned him about a criminal complaint? The Attorney General of Mexico confirmed the detention.” By QCostaRica.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Chichester publishes in-depth study of abuse in its diocese
“The diocese of Chichester should not be too hasty in its attempts to consign sexual abuse to history, a new report suggests(link is external). The diocese was marked out by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse for special interest, based on the number of high-profile cases of abuse. An earlier report by Dame Moira Gibb also examined aspects of abuse in Sussex. This week, the diocese quietly published a third report, Sexual Abuse by Clergymen in the Diocese of Chichester: ‘You Can’t Say No to God’ … The authors warn the diocese ‘not to be tempted to approach the future by adopting the mantra ‘That was then; this is now.’” By Hattie Williams, Church Times

GUAM

More than 220 former altar boys, students and Boy Scouts launch sex abuse lawsuit Guam’s archdiocese
“More than 220 former altar boys, students and Boy Scouts are suing the Catholic clergy in Guam in a shocking sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has spanned generations and involved the island’s archbishop. The Catholic clergy in U.S. has been shrouded in a sex abuse scandal over the past decade and now it has left its mark on the American island territory of Guam.” By Brinkwire.com

INDIA

Judge in India says Christian education ‘highly unsafe’ for future of children
“A representative of the local Catholic bishops’ council called the remarks of an Indian High Court judge attacking Christian education ‘unfortunate.’ Madras High Court Justice S. Vaidyanathan on Friday said, ‘there is a general feeling among parents of students, especially female students, that coeducational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children(link is external).’” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


August 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

CLERICALISM

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

COLORADO

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

DELAWARE

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

LOUISIANA

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

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

MINNESOTA

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

MISSISSIPPI

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

MISSOURI

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

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

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

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

NEW HAMPSHIRE

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

OHIO

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

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

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

SOUTH CAROLINA

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

TENNESSEE

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

VERMONT

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

VIRGINIA

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

WYOMING

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

ARGENTINA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CHILE

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 31, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VOICES

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

COLORADO

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

KANSAS

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

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

KENTUCKY

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

LOUISIANA

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

TENNESSEE

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

TEXAS

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

VIRGINIA

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

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

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

WASHINGTON

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

WISCONSIN

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

AUSTRALIA

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

CHILE

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

GUAM

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

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

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

INDIA

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

MEXICO

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

POLAND

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

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

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

CLERICALISM

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

ARIZONA

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

ARKANSAS

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

CALIFORNIA

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

CONNECTICUT

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

FLORIDA

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

ILLINOIS

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

KENTUCKY

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

LOUISIANA

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

MINNESOTA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

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

OHIO

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

OKLAHOMA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

TEXAS

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

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

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

VIRGINIA

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

WASHINGTON

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

AFRICA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

CANADA

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

CHILE

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

INDIA

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


June 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

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

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

CARDINAL PELL

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

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

CLERICALISM

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

GEORGIA

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

IOWA

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

KENTUCKY

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

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

MISSOURI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

OHIO

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

TEXAS

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

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

VIRGINIA

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

WISCONSIN

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

BANGLADESH

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

CANADA

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

CHILE

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

FRANCE

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

LIBERIA

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

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