Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Vatican says bishops should report sex abuse to police
“The Vatican told bishops around the world on Thursday (Jul. 16) they should report cases of clergy sex crimes to police(link is external) even when not legally bound to do so, in its latest effort to compel church leaders to protect minors from predator priests. The Vatican issued a long-awaited manual for bishops and religious superiors on conducting in-house investigations into allegations of priests who rape and molest minors and vulnerable adults. While the Vatican has had detailed canonical norms in place for two decades, the laws continue to be ignored by some bishops who dismiss allegations by victims in favor of protecting their priests.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B
“The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid(link is external), with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.” By Reese Dunklin and Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

Reporter’s notebook: clergy sex abuse accountability
“I interviewed Francesco Cesareo, the former chairman of the National Review Board, last week for Our Sunday Visitor on the completion of his eight years leading the committee that advises the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on clergy sex abuse matters(link is external). Cesareo, the president of Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, also went into the progress made on holding bishops accountable, the changes that he believes still need to be made to the Dallas Charter, as well as the reasons he sees for why a culture of accountability may not yet have taken root in some parishes or schools.” By Brian Fraga, Our Sunday Visitor, on Patheos.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

Argentine archbishops under attack for establishing abuse reporting offices
“Two archbishops in Argentina are under fire for following Pope Francis’s orders in creating an office to receive allegations of clerical abuse(link is external). They are being accused of ‘usurpation of the role of the State, swindles and other frauds,’ an allegation some described as ‘grotesque.’ The criminal complaint against Archbishop Eduardo Martin of Rosario and Archbishop Sergio Fenoy from nearby Santa Fe was filed after the two prelates announced the ‘implementation of a system for receiving allegations’ of sexual crimes committed by priests and other members of the Church.” By Inés San Martín, Cruxnow.com

Diocesan clergy abuse Review Board Chairman John Hale resigns, quits Catholic church following Bishop Weldon report
“The chairman of the Springfield Catholic Diocese’s volunteer Review Board resigned in the wake of the release of a report finding late Bishop Christopher Weldon raped a young boy(link is external). John Hale, who served on the volunteer board that hears clergy abuse allegations for 14 years, said he resigned in disgust in the wake of the report, authored by retired Judge Peter A. Velis at the request of the diocese … Hale, retired from both the U.S. Air Force and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, said even more than that, his experience over the Weldon matter triggered his decision to leave the Catholic church altogether.” By Stephanie Barry, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

Leadership Roundtable calls for new financial standards for church
“A new report by Leadership Roundtable recommends establishing national standards for financial management for dioceses across the United States(link is external), along with an annual, publicly shared audit of financial policies and practices. It also calls for the church to invest in more training and support for young adults interested in ministry. The proposal is modeled after the ‘Dallas Charter,’ which was implemented by the U.S. bishops in 2002 and established national protocols for child protection and would be codified in the church’s canon law. The Leadership Roundtable is an organization devoted to promoting best management practices in the church.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

New cardinals? They’ll be more of the same
The good news is 15 new cardinals seem to be on the Roman horizon. The bad news is they are all men(link is external). Yes, Francis will choose from the peripheries. Yes, he will most probably select the usual suspects — the archbishops of Washington, D.C., and Paris, for example. But a mix of major sees, elderly theologians and surprise picks is probably the best he can do right now. Don’t expect a woman’s name to be on the list. The 1917 Code of Canon Law decreed cardinals — advisers to the pope and electors of his successor — must be ‘at least’ priests. The 1983 code added they ‘must receive episcopal ordination’ if not already bishops (Canon 351.1).” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINAL PELL

My faith sustained me: Cardinal Pell
“Cardinal George Pell says he was spat on and abused by fellow prisoners while serving time in jail for historical child sex offences(link is external) and that, in his darkest hours, he contemplated abandoning his fight to clear his name. Opening up about his time behind bars, Cardinal Pell also said the fact he was despised by many of his fellow inmates for being a convicted child sex offender actually helped restore his faith in the natural “existence of right and wrong”. By CathNews.com

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

New sex abuse accusation surfaces against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick
“A firm that has filed previous legal complaints against former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and church entities added another complainant July 21 against the defrocked prelate, leveling a new accusation that he allegedly abused its new client as a boy at a beach house in Sea Girt, New Jersey(link is external), in the early 1980s. (Attorney Jeff) Anderson said the new complaint identifies at least seven children who were ‘groomed by others for McCarrick,’ and in addition to McCarrick it names several Catholic entities as defendants.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, America: The Jesuit Review

‘Pray for your poor uncle,’ a predatory priest told his victims
“Rain fell in New York City four days before Christmas of 2018. Francis M. had planned to be in the city that day for business, but he had dutifully put aside time when asked to answer questions at the Archdiocese of New York offices about his experiences with “Uncle Ted” — former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external). Francis had been in enough depositions in his career as an attorney to know how these question-and-answer sessions went. He assumed he would relate the story of his interactions with Mr. McCarrick, which began when he was 11, and then he would return to his usual routine.” By Elizabeth Bruening, The New York Times

BISHOPS

Allegation of clergy sexual abuse cover-up filed against Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski
“Olan Horne, a long-time advocate for clergy sexual abuse victims, has filed an allegation that Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski engaged in a cover-up(link is external) with the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service. Horne said his complaint is not solely based on a recent investigation by retired Judge John Velis that determined how the Springfield Diocese handled allegations of abuse against the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon was ‘greatly flawed.’” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, The Springfield Republican

PRIESTS

Opus Dei confirms one of its priests sentenced by Vatican for abuse
“Through a statement released on Thursday Jul. 16), Opus Dei publicly acknowledged the first sentence issued by the Vatican against one of its priests for sexual abuse(link is external). ‘The Opus Dei prelature in Spain asks for forgiveness and deeply regrets the suffering caused to the victims,’ says the statement. ‘We ask God to bring comfort and healing to those affected.’” By Inés San Martín, Cruxnow.com

Safeguarding seminar highlights the need for more holistic formation
Priestly formation should focus as much on relationships and formation around sexuality(link is external) as it does on the intellectual, spiritual and pastoral aspects of priesthood, international child protection expert Fr Hans Zollner told Australian seminarians and formators last week. Catholic Professional Standards Limited held the first session of its online Seminary Formation and Safeguarding Seminar last Friday (Jul. 10), which included a keynote from Fr Zollner for seminarians and others involved in forming people for religious life.” By Michael McVeigh, Catholic Outlook

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Boston College theologian Richard Lennan returns as speaker for 2020 Voice of the Faithful Conference
“Voice of the Faithful is welcoming back Boston College theology professor Fr. Richard Lennan as a speaker at its 2020 Conference: Visions of a Just Church(link is external), a virtual Zoom gathering that takes place Oct. 3. VOTF members and others will meet to promote their visions of a just Church 18 years after The Boston Globe brought to light widespread clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston and Voice of the Faithful was founded. After nearly two decades, VOTF continues to address the scandal.” Digital Journal

VATICAN

Vatican: In rare cases, lay faithful can lead marriage rite
“The Vatican said on Monday (Jul. 20) that in very exceptional circumstances and with special permission, lay Catholics can be allowed to perform marriage rites(link is external). In a document issued by the Holy See office for clergy, the Vatican said that could only happen if there are no priests or deacons available, the nation’s bishops sign off on the exception and the Holy See OKs it too.” By Associated Press

Vatican issues guidelines for parishes in Pope Francis era
“Urging parish communities to abandon ‘outdated’ models and to embrace what Pope Francis has styled as a spirit of ‘missionary evangelization,’ the Vatican Monday (Jul. 20) issued a new instruction on the renewal of parish life(link is external). Among other things, the guidelines caution priests not to ‘commercialize’ the sacraments by charging fees, and they stipulate that financial difficulties within a diocese are not a legitimate reason for closing down parishes.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Archdiocese adds $2.5 billion to Queensland Economy
“A ground-breaking study shows the Brisbane Archdiocese makes a $2.5 billion contribution to the Queensland economy(link is external) through its parishes, schools and agencies … It’s the first time a socio-economic study of this size and scope has examined the community role of the Church, stretching across south-east Queensland, taking in 17 local government areas, 24 federal and 70 state electorates.” By CathNews.com

Vatican’s new financial regulator vows transparency
“The Vatican’s new financial regulator says he is confident that the days when the Holy See would ‘wash dirty laundry’ in private are over(link is external) and that Pope Francis’ recent spending rules are a sea change in transparency. In an interview with Reuters, Carmelo Barbagallo, the head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), cited two recent scandals that were revealed by the Vatican and not by the media.” By Philip Pullella and Stefano Bernabei, Reuters

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

German archdiocese plans to cut parishes from 1,000 to 40
“A German archdiocese is pressing ahead with plans to dramatically reduce the number of its parishes despite the Vatican’s decision to block a similar plan in another diocese(link is external). CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German language news partner, reported July 15 that Archbishop Stephan Burger intends to turn the archdiocese’s 1,000 parishes into 40 mega parishes. In a July 14 letter to archdiocesan staff, Burger described the proposal as an ‘adequate response to the challenges facing our archdiocese.’” By Catholic News Agency

VOICES

Bishop McElroy’s hopeful vision of a church transformed
“Last week, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy ordained a new auxiliary, Bishop Ramon Bejarano. McElroy’s homily was a tour de force, not only for its spiritual insights, but for its connections of those insights with the crises facing the nation today(link is external). He spoke this brief but incisive meditation on the Gospel image of the Good Shepherd that should be shared with all new bishops …” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Statute of limitations reform: A bittersweet, overwhelming success
“This week (Jun. 26), the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reported that allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church TRIPLED in the past year. There is only one reason for this huge increase in reports: Statute of Limitation Reform.(link is external) Survivors in many states (California, New Jersey, New York, Arizona) now have the right to come forward in the courts to expose the men and women who abused them and the institutional actors who covered it up.” By Joelle Casteix, The Worthy Adversary

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

Top Vatican investigator on sex abuse says church must empower victims
“It’s been more than a year since Pope Francis issued his historic document, ‘Vos Est Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world),’ and ushered in a new wave of transparency and accountability for abuse cases in the Catholic Church(link is external). But according to Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, much more still needs to be done. ‘We need to empower disclosure’ of abuse cases by providing victims with avenues for safe communication, said Scicluna, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, during a webinar for “A Safer Church” on Tuesday (June 30).” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

ALASKA

Despite abuse allegations, a Jesuit with Alaska ties worked for a prominent Northwest university for years
“In 2011, the Jesuit Order in the Northwest settled a bankruptcy case for $166 million. It’s one of the largest settlements in Catholic church history. A small fraction of that money — less than $500 every month — is going to a man who spent most of the last year behind bars at the Anchorage Correctional Center. His criminal history includes a lot of alcohol-related violence and he blames much of his record on an experience he had with a Catholic priest when he was still a child(link is external).” By Emily Schwing, Anchorage Daily News

CALIFORNIA

Presentation Catholic H.S. admits they failed to protect students from sexual abuse
“Decades after the first complaint, Presentation High School officials admitted Thursday (Jul. 9) their premier San Jose educational institution failed some of its students. ‘I’m relieved. Because it just validated everything I’d been saying for three years,’ said former student Kathryn Leehane … She first penned an op-ed article about her alleged abuse at the school in the 1990s. That led to almost two dozen victims coming forward(link is external), who said administrators did not report instances of sexual abuse and assault stretching back more than three decades.” By Jesse Gary, KTVU-TV2 News

CONNECTICUT

Danbury clergy sex abuse case postponed two months
“The pre-trial hearing of the former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys(link is external) has been pushed to Sept. 4. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 52, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges. The warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest alleges that he groomed two boys over the course of four years, and sexually abused one of them over the same period of time.” By Kendra Baker, News Times

FLORIDA

Sarasota County man sues priest, alleging sexual abuse
“A 33-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against a retired Catholic priest who lives in Ormond Beach, accusing the priest of sexually molesting him(link is external) two decades ago when the man was a teenager being held in a juvenile detention facility. Louis Reed’s suit is filed in Polk County Circuit Court against the Rev. Fred Ruse. An attorney for the former priest said his client did not want to discuss the lawsuit and denied the allegations in a phone interview, citing Reed’s criminal history to question his credibility.” By Frank Fernandez, Herald-Tribune

LOUISIANA

Lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by priest filed against Catholic Diocese of Shreveport
“A civil lawsuit alleging repeated sexual abuse of a minor by a priest(link is external) has been filed against the Shreveport Catholic Diocese. The lawsuit, ‘Paul Doe vs. the Diocese of Shreveport’ accuses the late Rev. William Allison, a priest who served under the Alexandria Catholic Diocese from 1949 until his death in 1987, of sexually abusing the plaintiff during his two-year tenure at Our Lady of Fatima in Monroe, when he was an altar boy in the fifth or sixth grade.” By ArkLaTexHomepage.com

New Orleans clergy abuse plaintiff aims to move bankruptcy-halted case out of federal court
“The plaintiff in a Catholic clergy sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) halted by the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ federal bankruptcy filing is seeking to have his case moved back into state court in hopes of continuing to pursue his claims. In a filing late Tuesday (Jul. 7), the plaintiff’s attorneys argue that the suit revolves around matters of state law and therefore should be transferred back to Orleans Parish Civil District Court rather than handled in the federal system.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate, on WWL-TV4 News

MAINE

Statute of limitations runs out on assault allegation
“The statute of limitations for reporting sexual assaults will prevent a potential case(link is external) involving a priest or pastor from being prosecuted, according to District Attorney Matt Foster. ‘I tried to see if the United States Attorney’s Office would be able to prosecute, but they didn’t think they could prosecute the case either,’ Foster said. Hancock County Sheriff’s Det. Stephen McFarland last week took a complaint from a New Jersey man who reported sexual assaults were committed against him between 1978 and 1980 in Dedham.” By Jennifer Osborn, The Ellsworth American

MASSACHUSETTS

Priests question fund appeal for camp cited in Bishop Weldon abuse report
“Like all camps that can’t open this summer, the one the Springfield Diocese owns alongside a cool mountain reservoir is hurting for money. This week, the Dalton priest who runs Camp Holy Cross passed the hat … What he got instead, from at least two priests, was censure(link is external). That’s because the camp’s name was linked to clergy sexual abuse in the independent report released June 24 by retired Judge Peter A. Velis.” By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

MINNESOTA

Deadline set for St. Cloud Diocese clergy sex abuse claims
“The Diocese of St. Cloud has announced a deadline for claims for victims and survivors of clergy sex abuse(link is external). The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota issued an order Tuesday saying anyone making a claim against the Diocese for sex abuse must make a claim with the bankruptcy court no later than 5:00 p.m. October 21, 2020.” By Jennifer Lewerenz, KNSI Radio

MISSOURI

Lessons learned: St. Louis archbishop-elect leaves a community still reeling from a bombshell report on clergy sex abuse
“A narrator’s voice on a show about the Sistine Chapel triggered John Doe’s memories of horror he experienced as a 9-year-old altar boy. He survived being gang raped and other abuses by Roman Catholic clergy that were so traumatic they took some 50 years to resurface(link is external). Doe ultimately wanted the Springfield Diocese in western Massachusetts to know what had been done to him in the early 1960s — not just by rank-and-file priests, but by the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, whose reputation was still untarnished from leading the diocese from 1950 to 1977.” By Jess Bogan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese releases additional sexual abuse allegations against a retired priest with many ties to the Ozarks
“Since the initial April 27, 2020, release outlining an allegation of sexual misconduct involving Fr. Gary Carr, retired, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has received three additional allegations involving Fr. Carr(link is external). The three allegations were reviewed by the Diocesan Safe Environment Review Board at its most recent June meeting, and all three were found to meet the criteria for publication as they satisfy the prevailing standard of Semblance of Truth. One of the allegations involved a male, now an adult, who reported that Fr. Carr made inappropriate physical/sexual contact with him in 1987.” By KY3-TV News

NEW JERSEY

Nine new sex abuse suits filed against Newark Archdiocese include cleric not accused before
“Nine lawsuits filed against the Catholic Church on Monday (Jul. 13) include allegations of sex abuse against seven clerics(link is external) — including two priests who worked for years after church officials were told of alleged abuse and a religious brother who worked at a Florida university until two years ago despite a criminal conviction. Taken together, they allege abuse by four archdiocese priests and three members of religious orders, including one cleric who had not been publicly accused of abuse before Monday.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

Delbarton sex abuse lawsuits may be first of a wave, raise new questions about abusers
“A new round of lawsuits filed against the order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township underscores questions about how allegedly abusive monks are being dealt with even now(link is external) — with one still having voicemail at a residence on school grounds after being the subject of another lawsuit settled two years ago. Attorneys filed six lawsuits Tuesday (Jul. 7) that contain new accusations of sexual abuse allegedly committed by five men who have been monks of St. Mary’s Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict and one former Delbarton lay teacher.” By Abbott Koloff, New Jersey Herald

NEW YORK.

Lawsuits claim priest in ‘The Exorcist,’ three others sexually abused McQuaid students
“Three priests and a lay teacher who taught at McQuaid Jesuit High School decades ago have been accused of sexually abusing students there in newly filed lawsuits. In a suit filed Tuesday morning, a one-time star teacher at the Brighton school, the Rev. William O’Malley, was accused of sexually abusing a student there in 1975 or 1976. O’Malley, who left McQuaid in 1986, was well-known for his teaching and writing and for his role as a Jesuit priest(link is external) in the supernatural hit film ‘The Exorcist.'” By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Child Victims Act suit filed against former St. Joseph’s school
“A Dunkirk man has filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against the former St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and School for repeated abuse(link is external) he alleged happened in the early 1960s. The 20-page complaint was filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Chautauqua County. The Dunkirk man, who is not being identified, said he was abused by the Rev. Edward Walker between 1960 and 1962 when he was about 12 to 14 years old. Walker was a priest at St. Joseph’s and was associated with Sisters of St. Joseph in Clarence.” By Eric Tichy, Post-Journal, on ObserverToday.com

Survivor Speaks About Syracuse Catholic Diocese Filing for Bankruptcy
“Amy, a sexual abuse survivor, was 11 years old when she was touched inappropriately by a male figure in her church(link is external). ‘Somebody had brought this up to his wife who was the other person running the meetings and she kind of blew it off like she didn’t want to know,’ said Amy. ‘Several times I was told … no one would believe [my story] anyway,’ said Amy. Amy is not her real name but she wishes to stay anonymous for her protection because even to this day she runs into her abuser.” By Katelynn Ulrich Central NY Spectrum News

Albany Diocese adds deceased Capital Region priest to list of offenders
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on Tuesday (Jul. 7) added Rev. Alan Jupin – who spent most of his tenure as a priest at Our Lady of Fatima, now St. Kateri Tekakwitha, in Schenectady – to its list of priests and clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children(link is external). Jupin, who died in January 2019, is accused of molesting five children in Schenectady and Albany in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He is the latest, and the first 2020 addition, to a list of nearly 50 priests and clergy who have substantive complaints of molestation filed against them, as determined by a diocesan review panel.” By Cayla Harris, Times Union

Firms file 20 Child Victims Act lawsuits against diocese
“Twenty new lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Ogdensburg under the New York Child Victims Act Tuesday (Jul. 7). The suits collectively named 14 priests. ‘The Diocese of Ogdensburg takes all allegations of abuse seriously(link is external), and these new allegations will be investigated,’ Diocese of Ogdensburg Communications Director Darcy Fargo said. ‘We hope and pray that victims of abuse are able to find healing and reconciliation, and that justice is served in these cases.’” By Cara Chapman, Press-Republican

NORTH CAROLINA

Bishop: North Carolina priest kept on leave on abuse claims
“A Catholic priest in North Carolina will remain on administrative leave after allegations of sexual abuse against him were revealed last year(link is external), the Charlotte diocese’s bishop said. Bishop Peter Jugis made the announcement to St. Matthew parishioners in a letter Wednesday (Jul. 8), writing that he had accepted the recommendation of the diocese’s Lay Review Board to keep Father Patrick Hoare out of ministry, The Charlotte Observer reported.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

OHIO

Northeast Ohio priest indicted on charges of child pornography, child exploitation and juvenile sex trafficking
Justin Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland, Ohio has returned an eight-count indictment against Robert D. McWilliams, 40, of Strongsville. The defendant is charged with two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, three counts of sexual exploitation of children(link is external), one count of transportation of child pornography, one count of receipt and distribution of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possession of child pornography.” By The Highland County Press

PENNSYLVANIA

Diocese of Scranton seeks stay of sex abuse cases
“The Diocese of Scranton wants the state Supreme Court to stay all activity in lawsuits filed by five men who allege they were molested by a priest(link is external) until the court rules on a critical legal issue that could nix the cases. In a recent court filing, attorneys for the diocese estimate it will incur over $200,000 in attorneys’ fees gathering evidence that lawyers for the victims are seeking. Those fees would be wasted if the Supreme Court ultimately overturns an Allegheny County case that extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims to file suit.” By Terrie Morgan-Besecker, The Citizen’s Voice

Erie Diocese facing lawsuit over fund for abuse victims
“Filing of writ signals suit in Erie County Court. Claims linked to St. Hedwig Catholic Church and its long-closed school. The Catholic Diocese of Erie is the subject of a potential lawsuit over its victims’ compensation fund(link is external), a program the diocese created as an alternative to allowing victims to sue over clergy sexual abuse. Two anonymous plaintiffs have filed paperwork indicating they plan to file a full-blown suit against the diocese in Erie County Court.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

Former Philadelphia priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys in Bucks County
“After years of dodging allegations of abusing children(link is external), a former Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday (Jul. 8) to molesting two altar boys in Bucks County decades ago. Francis Trauger, 74, admitted his guilt to two counts of indecent assault of a minor, and Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to 18 to 36 months in a state prison and seven years’ probation.” By Vinny Vella, The Philadelphia Inquirer

TENNESSEE

Catholic leaders in Nashville face scrutiny over handling of sexual assault allegation against former Aquinas College priest
“A woman has accused the former chaplain of Aquinas College of sexually assaulting her nearly three years ago while she was a student at the Nashville school(link is external). Catholic leaders in Tennessee are now facing scrutiny for how they handled her allegation against the Rev. Kevin McGoldrick, the 46-year-old priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who ministered in Nashville for almost six years.” By Holly Meyer, Nashville Tennessean

TEXAS

Two Catholic priests who worked in Fort Worth were accused of molesting kids elsewhere
“Two Marianist religious order priests accused of molesting children(link is external) in the United States worked in the Diocese of Fort Worth. But they aren’t on a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Fort Worth area because the alleged abuse didn’t occur here, according to a statement from the diocese. The Roman Catholic religious order based in St. Louis recently released the names of its members found to have sexually abused a minor since 1950 in the United States.” By Domingo Ramirez, Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram

VIRGINIA

Former Norfolk Catholic teacher given 3 years for sexually abusing student in 1970s
“A former teacher at Norfolk Catholic High School has been sentenced to five years in prison with two years suspended in connection with sexual abuse of a student(link is external) that happened in the late 1970s. Daniel Wolfe was arrested in March 2019 after the victim came forward alleging sexual abuse between 1978 and 1979, when Wolfe was employed as a teacher at Norfolk Catholic High School. Wolfe pleaded guilty to one charge of crimes against nature in October 2019 in connection with the allegations.” By Sarah Fearing, WAVY-TV10 News

WYOMING

Natrona County prosecutors again decide not to charge retired bishop with sexual abuse
“Natrona County prosecutors have again decided not to pursue sexual abuse charges against retired bishop Joseph Hart, who has been accused of abusing boys(link is external) dating back to the early 1960s. The decision was confirmed Tuesday by Michael Schafer, an assistant district attorney in Natrona County. In a message to the Star-Tribune, Schafer said that prosecutors “did take a look at it for the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office, and after reviewing the investigation, we don’t feel like we can be successful” in prosecuting Hart. Cheyenne’s top prosecutor recused herself from adjudicating the case last year, citing a conflict.” By Seth Klamann, Casper Star Tribune

ARGENTINA

Argentine archbishops under attack for establishing abuse reporting offices
“Two archbishops in Argentina are under fire for following Pope Francis’s orders in creating an office to receive allegations of clerical abuse(link is external). They are being accused of ‘usurpation of the role of the State, swindles and other frauds,’ an allegation some described as ‘grotesque.’ The criminal complaint against Archbishop Eduardo Martin of Rosario and Archbishop Sergio Fenoy from nearby Santa Fe was filed after the two prelates announced the ‘implementation of a system for receiving allegations’ of sexual crimes committed by priests and other members of the Church.” By Inés San Martín, Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Former WA Catholic priest, 84, to face court on historic child sex abuse charges
“An 84-year-old man will face Perth Magistrates Court on Monday (Jul. 13), charged over historical child sex abuse allegations(link is external) dating back to the late 70s and early 80s. Police claim the man indecently assaulted a girl, who was between six and seven years old at the time of the first offence, while he was a Catholic priest providing pastoral care from 1979-1982. The man, who is from the Mandurah district, has been charged with six counts of indecent treatment of a child under 14 years old.” By The Sydney Morning Herald

FIJI ISLANDS

Uncovering child sexual abuse in Fiji’s Catholic schools
“The abuse began when he was seven. He among other young children kept the abuse quiet by the priests and brothers working and living near the Marist Brothers Primary School he attended in Fiji. The sexual abuse happened so repeatedly the children thought it was normal(link is external). ‘[There] were two main ones that would do it to us regularly. Almost like a daily thing,’ the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, told 1 NEWS.” By Barbara Dreaver, TVNZ-TV1 News

GUAM

Catholic archdiocese in Guam stopping monthly payments to former archbishop
“The Archdiocese of Agaña announced Tuesday (Jul. 7) it will no longer give a monthly honorarium to its emeritus Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Archbishop Apuron, 74, was found guilty of some of several abuse-related charges(link is external) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2018. The archdiocese announced June 30 that ‘the decision by Archbishop Michael Byrnes will become effective Wednesday, July 1.’” By Catholic News Agency

INDIA

Indian Bishops to implement CDF guidelines on abuse
“Indian bishops say they are ready to implement the guidelines of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on sexual abuse in the Churh. Bishops in India are ready to implement the instructions contained in the new Vademecum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on procedures to be followed in cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by members of the clergy(link is external).” By Vatican News

INDONESIA

18-year-long child abuse at an Indonesian church opens a can of worms
“A parish church tried to hide a series of sexual assaults, but as more victims come forward, investigators begin to view the case as a Pandora’s box(link is external). ‘I thought church was a safe place. But it is not,’ said Azas Tigor Nainggolan, an Indonesian lawyer, recalling the words spoken to him by one of his clients. In late June, Michael — not his real name — told Nainggolan that his son had been sexually assaulted at St Herkulanus church in West Java, Indonesia. His son had been enrolled in the church as an altar boy, a priest’s assistant during a service – they are most prevalent in Roman Catholic Church services.’ By Jennar Kiansantang and Johanes Hutabarat, TRTWorld.com

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Annual audit shows more than 4,400 allegations of clergy abuse reported
More than 4,400 allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy were reported during the year ending June 30, 2019(link is external), a significant jump from the previous auditing period, according to a report on diocesan and eparchial compliance with the U.S. bishops’ ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.’ Released June 25, the 17th annual report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection states that 4,220 child sexual abuse survivors filed 4,434 allegations. In the 2017-2018 audit period, 1,381 survivors filed 1,451 allegations.” By Catholic News Service

Pope moves against Polish bishop accused of hiding predators
“Pope Francis has ordered a Polish bishop to leave his central diocese(link is external) and let someone else run it while he is under investigation for covering up cases of sexual abuse that were featured in a second clergy abuse documentary that has rocked Poland’s Catholic Church. Francis on Thursday (Jun. 25) named the archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys, to temporarily take over as head of the Kalisz diocese.” By Nicole Winfield and Monika Scislowska, Associated Press

Abuse allegations against former Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon ‘unequivocally credible,’ investigation finds
“A retired superior court judge’s review of sexual abuse allegations against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for more than 25 years, found the accusations to be ‘unequivocally credible(link is external). Meanwhile, mandatory reporters in the diocese who first heard the alleged victim’s account failed to report the matter to law enforcement officials, according to the executive summary for a 350-plus page report released Wednesday (Jun. 24) by the diocese. The report is the product of an investigation by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis, who was hired a year ago to investigate the matter.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, The Springfield Republican

Money for trauma
“The surreal pink and orange hues of New Norcia shoot up out of the sparse Western Australian landscape, just shy of two hours north of Perth. A self-styled quirky stop-off for tourists, it is home to Australia’s only monastic town. New Norcia is also home to one of Australia’s worst records of alleged historical abuse of any institution in the country(link is external).” By Jeremy Story Carter, ABC Australia

Report on sexual abuse allegations against late Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon could prove pivotal
“A soon-to-be-released report nearly a year in the making could shed light on decades of sexual abuse by clergy(link is external) in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield and forever change how one of its most influential bishops is viewed. Last July, retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis was asked by Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct made against the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon dating back to the early 1960s. The report is expected to be released before Rozanski is installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on Aug. 25.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican on MassLive.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

Big differences in diocesan financial accountability says priests’ report on transparency
“‘Good governance demands that the prevailing clericalist culture of secrecy must end,’ says Soline Humbert … According to a ‘Transparency Table’ published this week (Jun. 21) on the Association of Catholic Priests’ website, the diocese of Ossory is the best in Ireland for publishing information about diocesan finances, with the Diocese of Cork and Ross listed in second place … The Transparency Table uses scores based on ten criteria developed by the Voice of the Faithful group in the United States(link is external), including the availability of diocesan financial accounts on diocesan websites, publication of Diocesan Finance Committee Membership and the ease of access that a diocese provides about financial information and their operations.” By Cian Mollow, CatholicIreland.net

CARDINALS

Spanish cardinals offer their red hats to women, calling the zucchetto an ‘illusion’
“Three Spanish-born cardinals on Wednesday (Jun. 24) offered up their ‘red hats and cardinal rings’ to any woman who wants to be a member of the Catholic Church’s most exclusive club(link is external). Yet, there’s a catch: they argue that there’s a need to rediscover the priesthood as Jesus perceived it, saying ‘it’s about service, not power.’ ‘Women, like men, have to rediscover baptism and the dignity of being children of God that the baptism gives us,’ said Cardinal Cristobal Lopez, archbishop of Rabat. ‘Our joy is not in being bishops or cardinals, ordained or not. Our joy must come from being children of God.’” By Inés San Martín, Cruxnow.com

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal Pell to publish prison diary
“Cardinal George Pell is set to publish his prison diary musing on life in solitary confinement, the Church, politics and sport(link is external). Catholic publisher Ignatius Press says the first instalment of the 1000-page diary would likely be published in 2021. Ignatius’ editor Fr Joseph Fessio sent a letter to email subscribers asking for donations, saying Ignatius wanted to give Cardinal Pell ‘appropriate advances’ for the diary to help offset his legal debts. The publisher envisages putting out three to four volumes and the diary becoming a ‘spiritual classic.’” By CathNews.com

PRIESTS

Despite Vatican’s ruling, Virginia priest who blogs about clergy sex abuse remains defiant
“A Catholic Diocese of Richmond priest who frequently blogs criticism over the church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse(link is external) had his petition to remain the pastor of two southwest Virginia parishes rejected by the Vatican. Rev. Mark D. White was suspended from the ministry by Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout last month after being ordered in April to leave two parishes, St. Joseph’s in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount, and relocate to a retreat center in Abingdon, Virginia.” By Dean Mirshahi, WRIC-TV8 News

WOMEN DEACONS

On women deacons, U.S. expert says Pope waiting for more forceful demand from faithful
“On the women deacons issue, a US expert has said that the Pope is waiting for a more forceful demand for that ministry to come from the faithful(link is external). On the question of women’s ordination, ‘I think the Holy Father is waiting for the voice of the Holy Spirit to speak more loudly in the Church, and I think it’s up to the People of God [to decide they want female deacons] and to explain that to their bishops, because the bishops seem to all be waiting for someone else to tell them that it’s ok to ordain a woman as a deacon,” Phyllis Zagano, a professor at Hofstra University in New York, told America in an interview July 1.” By Mada Jurado, NovenaNews.com

VATICAN

Vatican removes Foxhoven, convicted sex offender, from priesthood
“The Vatican has removed a man serving 12 years in prison for sexual battery from the priesthood(link is external). Henry Christopher Foxhoven pled guilty to three counts of sexual battery in November 2018 in Athens County. The Vatican dismissed him from the priesthood in March and informed Bishop Jeffrey Monforton officially June 2 and Foxhoven on June 19.” By WTOV-TV9

CHURCH FINANCES

Diocese sees 54% increase in financial transparency rating.
“‘As the recipient of your generosity, the Diocese takes the responsibility of carefully managing your gifts very seriously. We are committed to the highest standards of good stewardship, accountability and transparency.’ These words from Bishop Ronald Gainer were reaffirmed at the end of 2019 when the Voice of the Faithful Annual Diocesan Online Financial Transparency Study(link is external) was released. This study, annually conducted by the independent VOTF organization, reports on the financial transparency of dioceses and archdioceses throughout the United States. In 2019, the Diocese of Harrisburg received a total score of 86% out of 100%, which is a 54% increase over the Diocese’s score in 2018. The report analyzed the 2018 financial report posted to the Diocesan website.” By Diocese of Harrisburg

Ex-Priest Accused of Using Parish Money to Buy TV, Furniture
“A former Roman Catholic priest in Rhode Island is accused of using parish money to make $40,000 in purchases(link is external) before leaving the priesthood in 2019. Steven Matthew Glover, 42, of Coventry, has been charged with larceny, obtaining money under false pretenses and fraudulent use of a credit card, Rhode Island State Police announced Wednesday.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

Former Comptroller of Catholic Diocese of Steubenville pleads guilty to tax crimes, embezzlement
“The former comptroller of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville pleaded guilty(link is external) in U.S. District Court to failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service payroll taxes withheld from the paychecks of diocesan employees, to filing false tax returns and also embezzling $299,500 in diocesan funds between 2008 and 2017. David A. Franklin, 67, pleaded guilty today to one count of willful failure to account for and pay over employment tax, one count of making a false income tax return and one count of wire fraud.” By U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Survey shows who may be leaving the Catholic Church
“A Pew survey earlier this year found that 10 percent of Americans claim to be former Catholics. While Catholics remain at 25 percent of the U.S. population, it is immigration that is keeping the numbers up. Who are the Catholics who are leaving?(link is external) Are they the critical and disloyal? The data point to a more complex picture. To pursue this question, let’s begin by a look at Albert Hirschman’s classic book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, which analyzes customer behavior and categorizes it according to two dimensions: critical or noncritical, and loyal or nonloyal.” By Anthony J. Pogorelc, William D’Antonio (from a 2008 article in National Catholic Reporter)

VOICES

Unrepentant
“Despite revelations of clergy sex abuse and promises of transparency, a prominent Jesuit university is doing little to punish priests who cross the line(link is external). In this follow-up investigation about the Jesuit order in the Pacific Northwest, reporter Emily Schwing has two stories about Gonzaga University, which among Jesuit schools has the highest number of predatory priests who worked as staff and faculty. The first story takes us to a remote Alaska Native village where a prominent priest was accused of sex abuse by four young men.” By RevealNews.org

Expert warns child protection took ‘severe blow’ during pandemic
“In a webinar on child protection, a top Catholic expert warned that the risks of online child sexual abuse or exploitation has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic(link is external), yet attention to the issue has faded. “I believe honestly that safeguarding and safeguarding minors in the Church, in the States, in the (other) countries, has suffered a severe blow in terms of public attention and in terms of public funding and other funding,” German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner said June 18.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Opinion: Why lawmakers should reform law to help victims of childhood sexual abuse
“I read with great disappointment the failure of Colorado state lawmakers to once again take action(link is external) which would have granted access to our legal system for child victims of sexual abuse. It was right for victims and advocates to pull support from House Bill 1296, eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse only going forward. The bill as proposed, failed to address the needs of past child sexual abuse victims.” By Mark Crawford, The Colorado Sun

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

List of Marianist members found to have sexually abused a minor
“Marianist Provincial Father Oscar Vasquez along with Assistant Provincial Brother Bernard Ploeger announce the publication of a list of names of Province members found to have sexually abused a minor(link is external).” By The Marianists, Province of the United States

Book is among scant print resources for Catholic sex abuse victims
“Given the sexual crimes by Catholic clergy that have come to light from 2002 onward, as well as increased societal awareness of the problem of child abuse in general, the paucity of officially approved Catholic literature for abuse survivors is shameful(link is external). Among the tiny handful of print resources that do exist for Catholics who were sexually victimized as children, “Veronica’s Veil,” published in 2014 with an imprimatur from Bishop Paul S. Loverde, then head of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, is by far the most ambitious.” By Dawn Eden Goldstein, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

FLORIDA

Sarasota County man sues priest, alleging sexual abuse
“A 33-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against a retired Catholic priest who lives in Ormond Beach, accusing the priest of sexually molesting him(link is external) two decades ago when the man was a teenager being held in a juvenile detention facility. Louis Reed’s suit is filed in Polk County Circuit Court against the Rev. Fred Ruse. An attorney for the former priest said his client did not want to discuss the lawsuit and denied the allegations in a phone interview, citing Reed’s criminal history to question his credibility.” By Frank Fernandez, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

IDAHO

Priest accused of abuse leading mass at Catholic church in McCall, popular podcast says
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise responded Wednesday (Jun. 24) after an investigation done by Reveal, a national public radio show and podcast, outlined past abuse allegations made against a current Idaho priest. The podcast, ‘Unrepentant,’ was posted online June 20 and outlines the story of two priests accused of abuse and their victims’ attempts to report it(link is external). One of those priests, the Rev. Bruno Segatta, is currently assigned to McCall’s Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Cascade’s St. Katharine Drexel Station and Riggins’ St. Jerome’s Chapel.” By Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesman

LOUISIANA

Victims’ group seeks dismissal of New Orleans archdiocese bankruptcy
“An organization of victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy is seeking dismissal of a bankruptcy filing by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a Monday news release that its filing, submitted Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Orleans, claims the archdiocese filed the petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in ‘bad faith.’” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

In archdiocese bankruptcy case, creditors committee wants clergy abuse documents to be made public
“James Adams had helped run the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ fundraising arm for years, even serving as president of its board of directors, when his lawsuit alleging sexual abuse at the hands of a Metairie priest compelled him to step down(link is external) nearly two months ago. Now, Adams leads a different board: one formed after the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections May 1, tasked with representing the interests of those who say they are owed money by the church, including fellow clergy abuse claimants.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Springfield Diocese will institute series of reforms after sexual abuse claims against the late Bishop Christopher Weldon deemed credible
“Bishop Christopher Weldon’s name will be removed from Mercy Medical Center’s rehabilitation center(link is external), all honorable references, memorials and photographs of him will be removed from Catholic properties and his remains buried at the entrance of the Gate of Heaven Cemetery will be exhumed and moved to a less prominent location in the cemetery and his grave marked with an ordinary size stone.” By Jeanette DeForge, Springfield Republican

MISSOURI

Catholic order names alleged child sexual abusers who worked at St. Louis area high schools
A St. Louis-based Catholic order that staffs Catholic high schools across the country on Wednesday (Jun. 24) named former members who church officials say sexually abused children(link is external). The alleged abusers include 18 men who worked at several area schools. The disclosure by the Marianist Province of the United States follows a review of more than 2,500 personnel files, including allegations dating as far back as 1950, Provincial Fr. Oscar Vasquez said.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

About-face: Wyoming prosecutor to re-examine ex-KC priest’s sex abuse case, police say
“A bizarre twist surfaced Friday (Jun. 19) in what was thought to be the closed criminal sexual abuse case of a former Kansas City priest who later became a Wyoming bishop(link is external). The prosecutor, whose office last week informed one of the alleged victims that no charges would be filed against retired Bishop Joseph Hart, is now going to re-examine the case, according to Cheyenne police, who conducted the investigation.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

NEW JERSEY

Prestigious N.J. Catholic school hit with more lawsuits alleging students were sexually abused
“Six lawsuits alleging former employees at a prestigious Morris County Catholic school sexually abused minors(link is external) were filed Tuesday (Jul. 7) and more than a dozen additional lawsuits will be added in the coming weeks, an attorney representing the victims said. The lawsuits, filed against Delbarton School, an all-boys school in Morristown, St. Mary’s Abbey and the order that runs the school, St. Benedicts of New Jersey, allege that minors dating back to the 1960s were sexually abused by former employees of the school. The suits were filed in state Superior Court in Morris County.” By Joe Atmonavage, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Allegation of sexual abuse that led to U. Catholic Chaplain Father Gabriel Zeis’s resignation found ‘not credible’
“Former University Chaplain Father Gabriel Zeis, who resigned in September 2019 amid a sexual abuse allegation dating back to 1975, was cleared of the charge(link is external) on June 16 by an independent investigation, which found the allegation ‘not credible,’ the Diocese of Trenton has announced. According to a Sept. 11 email sent to student members of the Aquinas Institute, the University’s on-campus Catholic ministry, Zeis denied the allegation at the time but resigned immediately, both from his position as the ministry’s director and chaplain and as Diosecan Vicar for Catholic Education in the Diocese of Trenton.” By Marie-Rose Sheinerman, The Daily Princetonian

NEW YORK

Former Rochester Bishop Admits Allowing Priests Accused of Abuse to Continue Working
“Former Rochester Catholic Bishop Matthew Clark has admitted in a sworn deposition that he allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to continue working(link is external). The Bishop was questioned in March as part of a bankruptcy hearing for the Diocese of Rochester and his deposition was made public on Monday (Jul. 6).Clark said there were a few occasions he was made aware of priests being sexually inappropriate with minors. He said in those cases, the priests were sent away for treatment and reassigned when they returned. According to Clark, in 1985 he came to the understanding that it was not wise to reassign priests who admitted to abusing minors.” By Spectrum News Staff

Former Binghamton priest and a former Catholic school teacher accused in new Child Victims Act lawsuit
“Former priest of St. Catherine of Siena in Binghamton, Father Edward C. Madore, has five cases against him, accusing him of years-worth of sexual abuse(link is external). He was ordained back in 1970 and stayed until 1987 when he left priesthood and disappeared from church records. Madore is believed to be somewhere in Upstate New York, but his specific whereabouts are unknown.” By WBNG-TV12 News

Syracuse Catholic Diocese’s move shifts sex abuse claims against priests to bankruptcy court
“More than 100 alleged victims of priest sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse(link is external) will no longer get their day in state court. Instead, their cases will end up as part of the diocese’s bankruptcy case. The diocese filed for bankruptcy Friday (Jun. 19) after 38 more victims, including a grandmother, came forward with allegations of priest sex abuse under the Child Victims Act this week.” By Marnie Eisenstadt, Syracuse.com

NORTH CAROLINA

Bishop: North Carolina priest kept on leave on abuse claims
“A Catholic priest in North Carolina will remain on administrative leave after allegations of sexual abuse against him were revealed last year(link is external), the Charlotte diocese’s bishop said. Bishop Peter Jugis made the announcement to St. Matthew parishioners in a letter Wednesday (Jul. 8), writing that he had accepted the recommendation of the diocese’s Lay Review Board to keep the Rev. Patrick Hoare out of ministry, The Charlotte Observer reported.” By Associated Press

OHIO

Cleveland priest faces multiple federal child pornography charges
“A grand jury indicted a Catholic priest on federal charges involving child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children(link is external). The July 2 indictment charged Fr. Robert McWilliams, 40, a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, with two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, three counts of pornography-related charges involving children and three counts of sexual exploitation of children.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Religious order releases list of members who allegedly abused kids, many with Dayton ties
“Leaders of the Marianists — a Catholic religious order with a 170-year history in Dayton — released a list Wednesday (Jun. 24) of 46 priests and brothers they say were found to have sexually abused children(link is external) since 1950 in the United States. The list includes 19 men with ties to the Dayton area and Marianist institutions such as the University of Dayton and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. Sixteen Marianists on the list served in the Province of Cincinnati, which was headquartered in Dayton until it merged with the other Marianist provinces in 2002.” By Josh Sweigert, Dayton Daily News

Columbus Diocese finds allegation of sex abuse of child by longtime priest to be credible
“An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Rev. Kevin Lutz(link is external), a priest in Columbus and central Ohio for four decades who retired last year from St. Mary parish in German Village, has been found credible, the Diocese of Columbus announced Wednesday (Jun. 24). Bishop Robert J. Brennan has accepted a June 17 recommendation by the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children that Lutz’s name should be added to the published Diocesan list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.” By Jim Wilhelm, By Dayton Dispatch

PENNSYLVANIA

Former Bucks County Priest Francis Trauger Behind Bars After Pleading Guilty To Molesting Two Altar Boys
“A former Catholic priest from Bucks County is now behind bars after pleading guilty Wednesday (Jul. 8) to child sex abuse charges(link is external). After his guilty plea, Francis Trauger, a former Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest, was ordered to spend one-and-a-half to three years in jail. The 74-year-old wore a mask, suit and tie and had nothing to say walking into the Bucks County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon.” By Matt Petrillo, CBS-TV3 News

Former Hellertown School Named in Sex Abuse Lawsuit
“A former St. Theresa School student is suing the school as well as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown for sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a teacher(link is external) in the mid-1970s. Mark Beaky, 59, of York, Pa., attended the now-defunct Hellertown school from 1971 to 1975. In a lawsuit filed in Lehigh County Court, he claims that beginning in 1974 he suffered sexual and other forms of abuse by his homeroom teacher at the time, Lawrence Haftle.” By Chris Haring, SauconSource.com

Suit against Scranton Diocese alleges abuse, cover-up by repeat-offender priest
“A Berks County man filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Scranton on Tuesday Jul. 7), claiming the diocese conspired to cover up evidence of abuse(link is external) in order to protect the alleged abuser. The Times Leader does not identify the victims of sexual abuse, but the suit was filed through the man’s attorney, Daniel F. Monahan. According to the suit, the man was abused by the late Rev. Robert Caparelli while the plaintiff was between the ages of 10 and 13.” By Patrick Kernan, Times Leader

Archdiocese pays $50 million, so far, to abuse survivors
“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has paid out or approved more than $50 million so far to 222 clergy sex abuse survivors(link is external), according to a new report from the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program. The program was launched in November 2018 as a means of providing settlements to claimants alleging abuse by archdiocesan clergy. IRRP administrators, acting independently of the archdiocese, assess claims and offer compensation with no monetary cap, either individually or in total. Claims are considered regardless of how long ago the events in question occurred, or whether the statute of limitations had expired.” By Gina Christian, CatholicPhilly.com

TEXAS

Two Catholic priests who worked in Fort Worth were accused of molesting kids elsewhere
“Two Marianist religious order priests accused of molesting children(link is external) in the United States worked in the Diocese of Fort Worth. But they aren’t on a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Fort Worth area because the alleged abuse didn’t occur here, according to a statement from the diocese. The Roman Catholic religious order based in St. Louis recently released the names of its members found to have sexually abused a minor since 1950 in the United States.” By Domingo Ramirez, Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram

VIRGINIA

Richmond diocese investigates abuse allegations against 4 more priests, including 1 who served in Roanoke
“The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Monday (Jul. 6) it was reviewing allegations of sexual abuse made against four former priests(link is external), including one who spent part of his career in Roanoke. William Dinga Jr., who retired from the priesthood in 1990, was the subject of recent allegations of child sexual abuse connected to his time at Christ the King Catholic Church in Norfolk in 1986, according to a diocese statement.” By Alicia Petska, The Roanoke Times

WISCONSIN

Viroqua Catholic priest accused of sexual assault of a child appears in court
“A Viroqua Catholic priest accused of sexual assault of a child(link is external) appeared in Chippewa County Court today. 30-year-old Father Charles Richmond’s signature bond is set at $10,000. He’s facing Felony C charges for at least three violations of first or second-degree sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl while he was a faculty member at a Chippewa Falls High school.” By Molly Ringberg, WKBT-TV8 News

WYOMING

‘How do you say no to a bishop?’: Hart accusers say they survived years of trauma and institutional failures
“Joseph Hart became a priest in 1955, and over his 46-year career in Kansas City and Wyoming, he developed a reputation for ingratiating himself with families in his flock, especially brothers … Hart, the men say, groomed each of them and their families. They say he sexually abused them or their brothers on trips, during the sacrament of confession and in the church buildings(link is external) where the boys did Hart’s housework. He gave some of them alcohol, asked about their sex lives or showed them pornography, they recalled. He told them no one would believe them. He told John he wouldn’t see his father in Heaven if he told anyone.” By Seth Klamann, Caspar Star Tribune

AUSTRALIA

Documents reveal church stayed quiet on sexual misconduct allegations against Broome Bishop for almost a year
“The Catholic Church was told of sexual misconduct allegations against a Western Australian bishop nearly a year before it took action(link is external), according to new documents obtained by the ABC. Bishop Christopher Saunders, who has overseen the vast Diocese of Broome for 25 years, remains voluntarily stood aside amidst an ongoing WA Police investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.” By Erin Parke, ABC Kimberley

CANADA

Five retired priests arrested after allegations they sexually assaulted minors
“Five Catholic priests were arrested at a retirement home in Joliette Tuesday morning on allegations they sexually abused students between 1961 and 1989(link is external). The men, former members of the Clercs de St. Viateur du Canada, are Jean Pilon, 78; Gérard Whissell, 81; Laurent Madore, 83; Raoul Jomphe, 86; and Roger Larue, 88. They face several charges, including gross indecency, sexual assault and molestation, the Sûreté du Québec says.” By Katherine Wilton, Montreal Gazette

Notice posted for class action suit alleging sexual abuse by priests in Halifax-Yarmouth
“Hundreds of Nova Scotians who say they were sexuallly abused by Roman Catholic priests dating back to 1960 are likely to be part of a lawsuit(link is external) launched against the Halifax-Yarmouth Archdiocese and its archbishop. A notice appeared recently on the websites of both the archdiocese and the McKiggan-Hebert law firm in Halifax, who filed the class action with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in August 2018 on behalf of Douglas Champagne and other sexual abuse survivors.” By Francis Campbell, The Chronicle Herald

PHILIPPINES

In Philippines, a child alleges abuse by a Catholic priest – and tests Vatican promise of a global reckoning
“The girl, her long hair in a ponytail, stepped into the cramped, dimly lit courtroom, her first time in such a place. Clinging to her mother, she scanned the dozens of faces assembled before her. The girl, then 5 years old, eventually pointed to a bald man in a striped shirt, his spectacles resting on his head. She appeared nervous and did not speak his name. Her slight gesture in September – identifying the Rev. Aron Buenacosa as the man who sexually assaulted her(link is external) – began the rare trial in the Philippines of a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Her case, in this quiet village on a central Philippine island, will also test Pope Francis’s pledge of an ‘all-out battle’ to confront sexual abuse in all corners of the Catholic world.” By The Nation/Thailand

POLAND

Polish Church faces reckoning over sex abuse
“Jakub Pankowiak’s story of sexual abuse by a local priest is shaking up Poland’s Catholic hierarchy(link is external), amplifying calls for full transparency after decades of cover-ups in the former communist country. Pankowiak, an organist’s son and a young boy at the time, recalls that Father Arkadiusz Hajdasz was ‘friendly, open, smiley’ when he arrived in the town of Pleszew.” By Agence France-Presse

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, June 22, 2020


June 22, 2020

TOP STORIES

Four new members named to National Review Board
“The National Review Board, the all-lay group that monitors dioceses’ performance in dealing with sexually abusive clergy and creating a safe environment for children(link is external) throughout the church, has four new members. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced the appointments June 10. The new members are …” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Vatican investigates Polish bishop for abuse cover-up
“The Vatican has given the go-ahead for an investigation into a Polish bishop suspected of covering up sexual abuse of children by clergy(link is external) — a subject that has long remained taboo in predominantly Catholic Poland. The investigation, which was announced on Tuesday (Jun. 2) by the archdiocese of Poznan, comes just two weeks after the release of a documentary detailing abuse cases that were allegedly covered up by Henryk Janiak, bishop of Kalisz.” By Agence France-Press on YahooNews.com

Eyebrows raised as Swiss bishop taps woman for senior job
“A Swiss bishop’s appointment of a lay mother of three to a senior administrative post previously held by a priest has raised eyebrows(link is external) in conservative Catholic circles, at a time when a strengthened role for women in the church is under debate in other European countries. Marianne Pohl-Henzen will serve as an “episcopal delegate” in the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, and will also be joining Bishop Charles Morerod’s episcopal council, the main governance advisory body which is traditionally made up of priests and bishops.” By Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Jamey Keaten, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Wyoming bishop accused of abuse won’t be charged, prosecutors say
“Following a decision by Wyoming prosecutors not to charge retired Bishop Joseph Hart for sexual abuse against minors, his alleged victims are looking to the Church’s canonical process as a last chance for the 88-year-old prelate to be brought to justice(link is external). As first reported by the Kansas City Star on Tuesday (Jun. 8), and confirmed by Crux on Wednesday, a Wyoming witness coordinator informed one of Hart’s accusers that the prosecutor would not advance the case, citing insufficient evidence. This comes nearly two years after the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed the allegations from the same individual to be credible in 2018.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Final version of governance report to be published by mid-August
“The final version of a report into diocesan and parish governance will be published after a series of amendments and clarifications have been made, likely by mid-August(link is external), according to ACBC Media Blog. Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge on Friday (Jun. 12) announced a timeline for the report’s release after a draft version was leaked to international Catholic media earlier this month. The report, The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia, was prepared by the Governance Review Project Team, a group of experts assembled by the Implementation Advisory Group.” By CathNews.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

Effort to give Colorado child sex assault survivors unlimited time to sue abusers is rejected
“House Bill 1296, brought in the wake of a damning report on Colorado’s Catholic church, was set aside at the request of one of its prime sponsors in the hopes of bringing future legislation that will also benefit past survivors of abuse(link is external). The decision to sideline the measure drew disappointment. In a stunning reversal on Friday (Jun. 12), a lead sponsor on a bill that would have given future child sexual assault victims in Colorado unlimited time to sue their abusers and those who allowed their abuse to happen asked that the measure be rejected. Instead, state Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, said she wants to bring legislation that would also allow prior child sex assault victims to sue to their accusers as other states have done — sometimes called a ‘look-back window’ — despite caution from the legislature’s attorneys that doing so may violate the Colorado constitution.” By Jesse Paul, Colorado Sun

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

Alleged Theodore McCarrick victim says he is helping fact-check abuse dossier
“An anonymous alleged sexual abuse victim of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says he and other alleged victims have been working with the Vatican to fact-check the comprehensive dossier on McCarrick’s misdeeds(link is external). The alleged victim, writing under the name Nathan Doe, says he was one of several minors that McCarrick abused, and that he had previously collaborated with Church authorities to provide evidence during the canonical penal administrative process which resulted in McCarrick’s 2019 laicization.” By Catholic News Agency

BISHOPS

Argentine bishop accused of sexual misconduct returns to work at Vatican central bank
“As the Vatican resumed its activities after the two-month COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, Crux has confirmed an Argentinian bishop suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct with seminarians quietly went back to work(link is external). Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was appointed by Francis to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which functions as the Vatican’s central bank, in 2017, where he works as an ‘assessor,’ a position created for the Argentine.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Catholic bishops need to give up the secrecy
“Australia’s Catholic bishops seem to have learned little from the sexual abuse scandal and its associated cover-ups(link is external). Pushed by a royal commission report to implement reforms, they recently reverted to standard operating procedures of delay and secrecy in suppressing a major report on governance reform. While hoping to delay and control discussion, the bishops were outmanoeuvred by the leaking of the highly significant report. It will now be available to and discussed by all Catholics – as it should be.” By Terry Fewtrell, Canberra Times

Reporting abuse by bishops now easier with new service
“In the United States, accusations of sexual abuse by clergy are to be reported to the local bishop. But what if it’s the bishop himself who is the problem? The answer is the national Catholic Bishop Reporting Service. Begun March 16, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting (CBAR) is a third-party service that collects and reports to appropriate church authorities bishops who have committed sexual abuse or who have interfered with a civil or church investigation(link is external) into allegations of sexual abuse by another cleric or religious.” By Patrick Downes, Hawaii Catholic Herald

New accuser comes forward in DiMarzio case
“A second man has come forward to accuse Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of sexual abuse(link is external). Samier Tadros, 46, alleges that he was sexually abused between 1979 to 1980, when DiMarzio was assigned as a priest to Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, a part of the Newark Archdiocese. Tadros was around 6 years old at the time. DiMarzio, who is currently under church investigation for a previous allegation of abuse, has denied the charges. The allegations were made in a March 9 letter that Tadros’ attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, sent to the Newark Archdiocese’s attorney, according to The Associated Press.” By Sarah Salvadore, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Archdiocesan priests removed from ministry
Three archdiocesan priests have been removed from ministry(link is external) … In each case, the priest retained the presumption of innocence and was allowed to participate in his defense. As is archdiocesan protocol, the allegations were shared with law enforcement, investigated by outside professionals and the entire matter carefully examined by the archdiocesan Lay Review Board, which concluded that the allegations had been substantiated. Both priests have been permanently removed from ministry, and may not publicly present themselves as priests.” By Catholic New York

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Nuns kick off new webinar series on fighting sex abuse
“Members of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) Monday were the protagonists of the first of a series of webinar sessions focusing on child protection(link is external) and how safeguarding efforts have been impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Sister Nuala Kenny, a doctor with a background in pediatrics who has been a member of the ad hoc committee for child sexual abuse for the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference, was the keynote for the June 8 session, which focused on the Theology of Childhood.” By Elise Ann Allen, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Pope appoints two women to positions in Vatican library and financial authority
“The Holy See Press Office on Friday (Jun. 12) announced papal appointments to two positions in the Vatican(link is external). Pope Francis appointed Dr. Raffaella Vincenti as office head of the Vatican Apostolic Library. Dr. Vincenti had previously served as secretary of the Library.  Pope Francis also named Professor Antonella Sciarrone Alibrandi as a Member of the managing board of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF). The AIF works to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorism.” By Vatican News

Abuse scandal linked to status of women in Church
“Cardinal Reinhard Marx has reiterated how urgent it is to appoint more women leaders in the Church(link is external). ‘Changes in this field are really urgent and must be pressed ahead with,’ he warned. ‘We talk a lot about the Church’s new social form and on no other point is this reflected more clearly,’ Marx said last week.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

VATICAN

Vatican frees broker as details emerge of costly London deal
“ The Vatican has released from detention an Italian businessman accused of extortion and fraud(link is external) in a London real estate venture that to date has cost the Vatican more than 350 million euros (nearly $400 million), much of it donations from the faithful. The Vatican said in a statement Monday (Jun. 15) that Gianluigi Torzi, who was jailed in the barracks of the Vatican gendarmes on June 6, was granted provisional release after he wrote a lengthy memorandum for prosecutors about his role in the deal.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

CHURCH FINANCES

St. Cloud Diocese declares bankruptcy
“The Diocese of St. Cloud filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Monday (Jun. 15), just weeks after reaching a $22.5 million settlement with clergy abuse survivors. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing provides a ‘framework for resolution’ of the clergy abuse claims(link is external) filed by 70 individuals against 42 priests dating to the 1950s, the diocese said.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Former Warwick priest accused of stealing from church
“The former pastor of a Catholic parish in Warwick is accused of stealing church funds for personal use(link is external). Steven Matthew Glover, 42, was charged with credit card fraud, larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses. Glover was a priest from 2004 to 2019, most recently serving as pastor at St. Rose and Clement Parish in Warwick. He left the priesthood in 2019 for personal, unrelated reasons.” By Rachel Nunes, Patch.com

Diocese of Rockville Centre threatens bankruptcy in face of child sex-abuse lawsuits
“One of the nation’s largest Catholic dioceses is threatening bankruptcy if a Long Island judge doesn’t pause the nearly 100 child sex-abuse lawsuits it faces(link is external). The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which serves more than 1.4 million Catholics in Nassau and Suffolk counties, claims it’s in an “ever-more serious financial situation,” straining under the legal costs of defending itself in court while its income has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to court papers.” By Kathianne Boniello, New York Post

CHILD PROTECTION

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announces new training program for those required to work with minors
“The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced a new training program for volunteers, staff members and clergy that will be required before working with minors(link is external) in Catholic churches or schools. The program, which launches July 1 and is called Safe and Sacred Training Program for Catholic Dioceses, provides online training in several areas. A news release states those areas include appropriate and inappropriate interaction with minors, proper boundaries, potential red flags and how to report suspected child abuse.” By KOCO-TV5 News

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Record numbers leave Church in Munich archdiocese
“A record number of people left the Church in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising last year, a local statistical office said Tuesday (May 26). The Munich statistical office told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, May 26 that 10,744 Catholics formally withdrew from the Church in 2019(link is external). It noted that this was a fifth higher than in 2018, when 8,995 people left. Statisticians said this was the first time that annual departures had surpassed the 10,000 mark since records began. Previously, the highest figure was 9,010, set in 1992.” By Catholic News Agency in Catholic World Report

VOICES

Bishop made progress but didn’t lead
“Bishop Mitchell Rozanski cleared the low bar set by his predecessor when it came to issues of communication and response to clergy abuse(link is external). Opportunities were missed to do so much more. At his introduction as the new Archbishop of the St. Louis diocese, Bishop Rozanski spoke of initiatives he had taken in Springfield as if they were entirely his own. But they came only after pressure was applied by activists like Olan Horne of Chester, an abuse survivor who advocates for other victims, and by The Berkshire Eagle.” By The Berkshire Eagle Editorial Board

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Quebec moves to eliminate time limits for filing civil sexual assaiults
“Sexual assault victims in Quebec will soon be able to pursue justice against their abusers regardless of how long ago crimes took place, according to proposed legislation tabled Thursday (Jun. 11). The bill tabled in the provincial legislature by Justice Minister Sonia LeBel would eliminate the 30-year time limit for bringing a civil suit against an alleged assailant(link is external). Quebec and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces to maintain a time limitation for this type of lawsuit.” By Jocelyne richer, The Canadian Press, on montreal.ctvnews.ca

‘They are mistaken’: AG backs sex-abuse law challenged by Diocese of Providence
“Three alleged priest abuse victims and the state attorney general this week defended the legality of the new deadline to sue over child molestation(link is external) after the Diocese of Providence argued a key feature was unconstitutional. The arguments come in response to the Diocese of Providence’s attempt to have the three alleged victims’ lawsuits dismissed from state court. A 2019 law extended the deadline to sue over childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years after a victim’s 18th birthday.” By Brian Amaral, Providence Journal

New Jersey sexual abuse law survives Catholic school’s challenge
“A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a New Jersey statute that gives victims of sexual abuse more time to sue(link is external). The 2019 law waived the statue of limitations and allowed victims to file civil suits until they are 55, or seven years after they discover they were abused. Judge Peter Bogaard of Morris County ruled against two arguments submitted by attorneys for Delbarton School, a catholic school in Morristown.” By Associated Press

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

Review: The continued fight to eradicate clergy sex abuse
“A Canadian pediatrician and woman religious who has worked on issues of sexual abuse for more than three decades(link is external), Nuala Kenny, S.C., offers her diagnoses and prescriptions for treating the ‘sick soul’ and the ‘global septic shock in the Body of Christ’ in ‘Still Unhealed.’ Kenny has been working in this area since she joined the one-of-its-kind, lay-led Archdiocesan Commission of Inquiry on Clergy Sexual Abuse in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1989.” By James F. Keenan, America: The Jesuit Review

CONNECTICUT

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case pushed to July
“The pre-trial hearing of the former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys(link is external) has been rescheduled from June 19 to July 24. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 52, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.” By Kendra Baker, New Canaan Advertiser

FLORIDA

Former Winter Haven priest accused of sexually abusing teen in Polk facility; lawsuit filed in Polk Circuit Court
“A Sarasota man is suing a former Winter Haven priest on allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) while the man was incarcerated as a teenager at Demilly Correctional Institution near Polk City. In the lawsuit, filed in Polk Circuit Court, the man states that he initially met with the Rev. Fred Ruse, then pastor at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven, at the prison to receive communion in 2001 and 2002. They met privately in the chaplain’s office and in classrooms at the prison, the lawsuit states.” By Suzie Schottelkotte, TheLedger.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Springfield Diocese temporarily removes 3 priests from public ministry after sexual abuse allegation
“Three priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield have been temporarily removed from public ministry as a result of an allegation of sexual abuse(link is external), according to Jeffrey J. Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance. The priests were not identified. Trant, who was appointed to his position last June, said that 14 new alleged victims have come forward with claims of clerical sexual abuse since July 2019.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Former Franciscan brother living in DeWitt named by second man as sexual abuser
“Two religious orders deny any knowledge of sexual abuse by a former Franciscan brother(link is external) living in DeWitt who is now named in two lawsuits. Martin Rusnak filed a lawsuit in New Jersey earlier this year naming Kurt Munn as an abuser and saying religious leaders enabled Munn for decades. In the legal complaint filed in Mercer County, Rusnak says Munn started abusing him in the 1970s.” By Megan Banta, Lansing State Journal

MINNESOTA

Additional name added to list of clergy likely to have abused minors
“Bishop Donald Kettler added an additional name to the list of clergy likely to have abused minors(link is external): Father Charles Meyer, a member of the Society of the Precious Blood. Meyer was added to the list following notification by the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, that it added him to its list of “extern clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to a June 12 news release from the diocese.” By The Central Minnesota Catholic

MISSOURI

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests hold protest in response to new St. Louis archbishop
“The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a protest Wednesday (Jun. 10) morning in response to the new St. Louis archbishop-elect. On Wednesday it was announced that Pope Francis had named Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski as the 11th bishop and 10th archbishop of St. Louis. SNAP has criticized Rozanski for refusing to name three priests(link is external) who had been suspended after allegations of sexual abuse in Massachusetts.” By Kayla Wheeler, KSDK-TV5 News

NEW JERSEY

Numerous victims of childhood sex abuse file lawsuits against Diocese of Trenton
“The Diocese of Trenton is facing numerous lawsuits alleging it failed time and again to prevent the sexual abuse of children(link is external). These civil-action complaints in Mercer County Superior Court are a microcosm of the widespread sex abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church worldwide. ‘It’s an epidemic in the Catholic Church, and it has been going on for centuries,’ attorney John W. Baldante told The Trentonian in an interview. ‘The Catholic Church has largely ignored this behavior.’” By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, The Tentonian

Priest worked in North Jersey parishes for decades after being accused of sex abuse
“The Rev. Gerald Sudol, who spent decades serving in North Jersey Catholic parishes, allegedly began abusing children even before he was ordained as a priest(link is external). Later he moved from one church to another, at first injecting new life into parishes where he’d been assigned, befriending families and becoming a spiritual mentor to their sons. Then the man who was fondly known as Father Gerry would allegedly abuse boys sexually — sometimes more than one at a time — and tell them that God would punish them if they told anyone.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW MEXICO

Servants of the Paraclete seeks dismissal in Catholic priest abuse lawsuit; victim speaks out
“The Servants of the Paraclete, named in a lawsuit over child sexual abuse by Catholic priests(link is external), asked a New Mexico court to dismiss the case in a June 10 response. The Servants of the Paraclete is one of several defendants, including two Alamogordo Catholic parishes, named in the case filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County. The suit was filed by ‘John Doe’ and alleged negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, public nuisance and racketeering.” By Nicole Maxwell, Alamogordo Daily News

NEW YORK

38 more people sue Syracuse Catholic Diocese, claiming abuse by priests
“Nearly 40 new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse(link is external), alleging child sex abuse by priests and a teacher. The suits filed today alleged allegations of abuse that happened at the hands of priests in parishes across Central New York, spanning more than 50 years.” By Marnie Eisenstadt, Syracuse.com

52 new suits against Albany Diocese allege sex abuse by priests, nuns
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany was the target Monday (Jun. 15) of 52 new lawsuits alleging sex abuse of children by priests and nuns(link is external) as much as 63 years ago. The Guilderland and Minnesota law firms teaming up to represent the victims in these cases have previously filed 22 such lawsuits and say they are preparing 36 more. Other law firms are separately bringing similar cases.” By John Cropley, Albany Daily Gazette

Late priest from Lake Luzerne parish among those named in child sex abuse lawsuits
“A late priest that served at a church in Lake Luzerne was named in one of 52 sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) filed Monday (Jun. 15) against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. The Rev. Charles A. Gaffigan, who retired from Holy Mother and Child Parish in 2011, is accused of sexually abusing a minor from 1992 to about 1994 at what was then Holy Infancy Church in Lake Luzerne, according to a news release from Jeff Anderson & Associates. The law firm has filed a total of 74 lawsuits against the diocese.” By Michael Goot, The Post Star

Child Victims Act attorneys oppose Buffalo Diocese move to shield parishes from lawsuits
“A federal bankruptcy judge will soon decide whether hundreds of lawsuits against Catholic parishes and former parishes, schools and other entities in the Buffalo Diocese should be blocked(link is external) from moving forward in state courts. The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing in February immediately stopped lawsuits against the diocese from advancing as it goes through a reorganization. In May, the diocese asked Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York to extend that same protection to more than 400 Catholic parishes, schools and other entities that also have been named as defendants in Child Victims Act cases.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

TEXAS

Texas Supreme Court to hear case of former deacon suing diocese for abuse claim
“The Texas Supreme Court will hear the Diocese of Lubbock’s appeal of a legal decision allowing a former deacon to sue the diocese for defamation for including his name on a list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse(link is external). ‘We are committed to transparency for the trust and safety of the members of our parishes,’ Bishop Robert Coerver of Lubbock said June 8. ‘At a time when many religious messages are being shared digitally, courts must protect churches’ ability to communicate effectively with their members.’” By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency

VIRGINIA

Sexual abuse allegations by former priests in Hampton Roads under investigation
Allegations of sexual abuse of Hampton Roads children(link is external) by four retired or inactive priests are now under review by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. None of the four are currently serving in active ministry, the diocese said Monday (Jun. 8). None have served in the diocese in recent years. The diocese has not reached any conclusions about the allegations, though it has informed civil authorities about them.” By Dave Ress, Daily Press

Richmond Diocese reviews allegations against four ex-priests
“The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced it has begun reviewing child sexual abuse allegations(link is external) made against four former priests in Virginia. ‘While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and for their loved ones,’ Bishop Barry C. Knestout said in the statement released Monday (Jun. 8).” By Associated Press on ABC-TV13 News

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Church investigations clear DC clergy member a 2nd time on sexual, financial misconduct allegations
“Church investigations into the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. found no credible evidence of sexual and financial impropriety(link is external). Monsignor Walter Rossi has served as rector since 2005 and was accused of sexually assaulting male students at the Catholic University of America. Those allegations reportedly came from Archbishop Carlo Viganò who relayed the accusations during an interview last year with The Washington Post, claiming the Vatican embassy in D.C. received documentation on the matter.” By Ken Duffy, WTOP News

WYOMING

Criminal investigation into Wyoming clergy sexual abuse drags into third year
“The criminal investigation into sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy(link is external) in Wyoming passed its second birthday in April, a prolonged process with no end in sight that has ‘shattered’ an alleged victim’s family’s belief in the criminal justice system. In August, Cheyenne police recommended that retired bishop Joseph Hart, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic church in Wyoming for 25 years, be charged with sexual abuse.” By Seth Klamann, KPVI-TV6 News

FRANCE

Thousands of victims of cheld sex abuse in French Catholic Church, says commission
“At least 3,000 children have fallen victim to sex abuse in the French Catholic Church since 1950(link is external), the president of a commission set up to investigate the claims said today (Jun. 17). Jean-Marc Sauve said preliminary figures suggested some 1,500 clergy and other church officials carried out the abuse. The commission was set up last June at the request of French bishops after a series of paedophilia cases that rocked the Church in France and abroad.” By Malaymail.com

INDIA

Savio Rodrigues on sexual abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church of India
Savio Rodrigues separates the faith from the organization that the Church has become and highlights the corruption that has permeated into it. The faith is under pressure because of the allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) and the harsh treatment meted out to those who highlight them. A must watch!” By Sahil Mishra, PGurus.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Abuse victim’s advocate was ‘open’ about Catholic church role
“A number of victims’ groups called for Brendan McAllister to stand down, or be removed from his post, after it became apparent he has been officiating at Catholic church services at St Peter’s in Warrenpoint. Spokespersons for Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse said that Mr McAllister’s elevation to a leadership role with the church made his positions as the interim advocate for victims untenable – as around 80% of its members had been abused by members of the Catholic clergy(link is external).” By Mark Rainey, News LetterCatholic Church says data laws ‘detrimental to efforts to safeguard children’
“Current data protection legislation is a threat to the safety of children and has made their welfare difficult to guarantee(link is external), the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in 2018. The church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children, based at Maynooth, Co Kildare, said the current legislation was ‘detrimental to the efforts to safeguard children.’” By Patsy McGary, The Irish Times

NEW ZEALAND

Historic sex abuse: Former Catholic brother sentenced to home detention in Napier
“An 81-year-old Catholic brother and schoolteacher from Napier has been sentenced to a second term of home detention for sexually abusing children(link is external) when he was teaching in Masterton more than 40 years ago. Kevin Peter John Healy was sentenced in Napier District Court today on five charges of indecency in the 1970s, involving a girl aged 8 or 9, and her brother and another boy who were at the time aged 12 and 13.” By Hawkes Bay Today

SWITZERLAND

Pedophile priest found free in Switzerland after conviction in Belgium
“A Swiss priest found guilty of abusing a minor in Belgium has been arrested in Switzerland(link is external), where he was living free despite being sentenced to prison in 2017. The Brussels Court of Appeal sentenced Frédéric Abbet to three years’ imprisonment after finding him guilty of sexually abusing a nine-year-old boy in a Brussels boarding school between 2010 and 2011. Swiss regional daily Le Nouvelliste reported on Friday (Jun. 12) that the priest was found living free in the Swiss canton of Valais, years after he was sentenced.” By The Brussels Times

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Jun. 8, 2020

TOP STORIES

Explaining the Vatican’s lingering ambivalence on ‘zero tolerance’
“‘Zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse has become one of those notoriously elastic phrases, such as ‘change,’ ‘hope’ and ‘progress,’ which everyone claims to be for but no one seems to define in exactly the same way. In American Catholic parlance, however, the term ‘zero tolerance’ does have a fairly precise meaning, derived from the US bishops’ 2002 Dallas charter(link is external) and norms: Permanent removal from ministry, and, in most cases, laicization, for even one justified allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. In that sense, ‘zero tolerance’ remains a contested point. To this day, a central plank in the indictment of many abuse survivors and their advocates is that the Vatican has not imposed a universal ‘zero tolerance’ policy everywhere in the world, which is often taken as a sign of reluctance to reform.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Secret bishops’ report calls for radical revamp of Catholic Church
“Australia’s Catholic Church could be dramatically overhauled to give lay people more power, increase the number of women in leadership roles and force parishes to open up their finances to the public(link is external). A secret 200-page report being considered by the nation’s bishops has called for unprecedented reform in a bid to make the church more inclusive and break down the structures that contributed to decades of clergy abuse and cover-ups … But in a sign of how sensitive the church is to issues of reform, the body that commissioned the report – the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference – is unlikely to publicly release or reveal how it will respond to its 86 recommendations until the end of the year.” By Farrah Tomazin, The Sydney Morning Herald

‘Vos Estis’ at one year: Some question pope’s process for investigating bishops
“It is a bit early to assess the effect of Pope Francis’ new global system for how the Catholic Church evaluates reports of clergy sexual abuse or cover-up by individual bishops(link is external), say canon lawyers who spoke to NCR. They also raised questions about the new process, first established in May 2019, which involves the empowering of archbishops to conduct investigations of prelates accused in their local regions. Among their main concerns with the procedure, outlined in Francis’ motu proprio Vos Estis Lux Mundi: the possible bias that can arise in asking one prelate to investigate another, and whether there has been an appropriate level of transparency about bishops who are being investigated.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Brooklyn bishop accused by 2nd man of sex abuse in the 1970s
“The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey(link is external). Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio ‘repeatedly sexually abused’ Samier Tadros starting when he was about 6 years old, according to a March 9 letter that Tadros’ lawyer sent to the attorney representing the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter alleges the abuse happened in Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

Australia’s bishops seeking ‘whole-of-Church’ approach for child protection
“Plans are moving forward for the establishment of a national system for child protection within the Australian Catholic Church(link is external), according to a report following the meeting of the country’s Catholic bishops earlier this month. The ‘National Response Protocol’ will develop a comprehensive system for reporting complaints of clergy abuse or misconduct and establish new guidelines for child protection policies.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

ACOUNTABILITY

Pope makes anti-corruption spending rules mandatory in Vatican
“Pope Francis has approved sweeping new rules for procurement and spending in the Vatican meant to cut costs, ensure transparent competition and reduce the risk of corruption(link is external) in awarding contracts. An Apostolic Letter and 30 pages of new norms released on Monday (Jun. 1) are the culmination of a four-year process to rationalize spending procedures and tackle nepotism and cronyism. They come as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the Vatican’s finances, forcing it to implement some of the toughest cost-control measures ever.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

New suit alleging sexual abuse by an Allentown priest uses a loophole in hopes of getting around statute of limitations
“Relying on a loophole that could open the floodgates for other victims years, or even decades, after the statute of limitation on such claims has expired(link is external), Berks County state Rep. Mark Rozzi on Tuesday (May 26) filed a lawsuit against the Allentown Diocese and Holy Guardian Angels Parish in Reading, saying he was sexually abused by a priest in the 1980s, when he was 13 years old. Rozzi’s attorneys say they are relying on an August state Superior Court ruling that allowed a similar lawsuit, based on new information from the 2016 grand jury report on the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, to move forward.” By Laurie Mason Schroeder, The Morning Call

POPE FRANCIS

Criticizing a pope: a dialogue between Massimo Faggioli and Bill McCormick, S.J.
“The driving thesis of Mr. McCormick’s article is that ‘the papacy does not have an agenda: the papacy is an agenda in itself.’ This is hard to reconcile with an ecclesiology of the papacy as an ecclesial ministry in the framework of a sacramental ecclesiology. But this approach has also far-reaching consequences(link is external). The first is that Mr. McCormick’s argument seems to be not about the style or content of my critique of Pope Francis’ approach to two particular issues, but about the very possibility of criticizing the bishop of Rome at all.” By Massimo Faggioli and Bill McCormick, S.J.

CARDINAL PELL

Inside stories: lawyers on the trials of the Pell case
“In a sexual abuse case that has polarized opinion, for the solicitors working on both sides it has been business as usual(link is external). When the High Court announced on 7 April that it would uphold Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his County Court conviction for sexual abuse of two choirboys in the 1990s, it drew a line, for now, under years of work for the solicitors who have been intimately involved in the case. It has been a case that has polarized opinion, has had international notoriety and involved controversy on a number of levels.” By Karin Derkley, Law Institute Victoria

PRIESTS

Priesthood and the renewal of the Church
Debates about celibacy have recently been in the forefront of conversations regarding the Church(link is external), given the ongoing fallout of the abuse crisis and the meeting of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region in the fall of 2019. Although the synod sought to confront the general pastoral difficulties of the Amazon region, stretched over many South American nations, European prelates focused excessively on changes to the priesthood and ecological problems.” By Jared Staudt, Denver Catholic

CHURCH FINANCES

Opening salvos in Pope Francis’s financial ‘Reform 2.0’
“Facing both a looming economic crisis and reminders that the anti-financial scandal measures adopted to date haven’t been fully effective, Pope Francis and his Vatican team this week (May 27) have moved to try to defuse the bomb(link is external) before it goes off, closing several Swiss holding companies responsible for portions of its assets and reallocating internal control over financial data collection.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Vatican Finances, what is going on? The Vatican City State Administration
“Plans for a ‘Vatican Asset Management’ outfit were laid out almost as soon as Pope Francis created the new Secretariat for the Economy. The VAM was supposed to be a centralized office that managed all Vatican investments(link is external). The proposed management outfit would have responded to two needs: that of generating revenues to support the expenses of the Holy See / Vatican City State; and, that of keeping investments under better control (because each dicastery had some funds that it managed independently).” By Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency

CHILD PROTECTION

Reporting abuse – the church’s blind spot
“When in doubt, REPORT. If every allegation of child sexual abuse was simply reported by church leaders to appropriate authorities, the resulting positive impact would be immeasurable(link is external). Survivors of abuse would feel validated — by itself a significant positive outcome — pathways to healing would open, future victims would be spared and abusers would be revealed. Criminal behavior would be investigated and prosecuted, and elements of  realaccountability put in place. When ministry leaders simply report suspicions and allegations of sexual abuse, the church is perceived as a sanctuary where God’s love and justice are demonstrated.” By Gregory Love & Kimberlee Norris, Church Executive

International Safeguarding Conference announces new webinar series
“In a new series of webinars beginning on 29 May, the International Safeguarding Conference (ISC) will be encouraging ‘the Catholic Church and other faith-based organizations’ to ‘continue with safeguarding programs, despite the expected Covid-19 recession(link is external).’ ICS annually brings together Church representatives, professionals and scientific specialists to share knowledge and good practices on the subject of child protection. ISC writes that the upcoming webinar is ‘the first in a series of webinars’ … which aim to enable safeguarding professionals to share good practice in safeguarding, both in the current pandemic circumstances ‘and in ‘normal’ times.’” By Vatican News

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Record numbers leave Church in Munich archdiocese
“A record number of people left the Church in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising last year, a local statistical office said Tuesday (May 26). The Munich statistical office told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, May 26 that 10,744 Catholics formally withdrew from the Church in 2019(link is external). It noted that this was a fifth higher than in 2018, when 8,995 people left. Statisticians said this was the first time that annual departures had surpassed the 10,000 mark since records began. Previously, the highest figure was 9,010, set in 1992.” By Catholic News Agency in Catholic World Report

VOICES

New bishop says Catholic Church has learned from the past
“Minnesota priest selected to be the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City comes from a diocese that concluded bankruptcy proceedings last year agreeing to pay tens of millions of dollars to victims of child sexual abuse. Father Peter Muhich, 59, said addressing the abuse of victims was ‘obviously a very difficult process’ for the church(link is external) and especially for the victims themselves.” By Kevin Woster, Rapid City Journal

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Child Victims Act gets 1-year extension
“The Child Victims Act received a second extension, bringing the filing deadline for child sexual abuse cases past the statute of limitations to Aug. 14, 2021(link is external). Championed for years by New Baltimore activist and attorney Gary Greenberg, who is a survivor of child sexual abuse, the law initially opened a one-year window of opportunity for claimants of child sexual abuse to bring their case to civil court, regardless of the statute of limitations and when the alleged abuse took place.” By Melanie Lekocevic, Columbia-Greene Media

Texas Statutes of Limitations for sexual crimes against children
“For many years, the Catholic Church has come under fire for the widespread occurrence of child molestation. While the majority of the media attention has fallen on U.S. priests, clergy members in many other countries have been identified as abusers. ‘Sexual Assault, commonly referred to as ‘rape,’ is perhaps the most stressful allegation with which to be faced, particularly if the sexual assault involves a child.” By Broden Mickelsen, Dallas Sex Crimes Lawyers, News.TopWireNews.com

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

Documentary Prompts Polish Archbishop To Refer Case To Vatican
“Poland’s most senior Archbishop referred a child sex abuse case to the Vatican(link is external) on May 17th. Following the release of a Youtube documentary from Tomasz and Marek Sekielski, Archbishop Wojciech Polak has called on the Vatican to launch proceedings against Bishop Edward Janiak. The film alleges that Janiak knew about the allegations for years, but failed to take any action.” By Maria Kuuiper, Current Events, The Organization for World Peace

Revictimizing the victims of sexual abuse
“Victims of sexual abuse by clergy frequently have told me that the way they were treated by bishops has hurt them more than the abuse did(link is external). Virtually every bishop has made the announcement that he is dedicated to helping victims who have been sexually abused by priests and that he has put considerable resources toward that effort. Unfortunately, from what I have heard from too many victims, some bishops are quite adept at virtue-signaling and at making empty promises.” By Janet E. Smith, National Catholic Register

CALIFORNIA

Catholic priest sexual abuse survivor suing Oakland Diocese and East Bay churches
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland and two East Bay churches are the target of a lawsuit by a young man who was sexually abused by a priest when he was a child(link is external), his attorney said Tuesday (May 26). In a complaint recently filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the victim seeks unspecified damages against the the Diocese, St. John’s Catholic Church in San Lorenzo, and Corpus Christi Church in Fremont, accusing them of negligence in not protecting children like him from ‘predator priests.’” By Joseph Geha, Bay Area News Group

LOUISIANA

Alleged victim of nuns’ sex abuse fears Archdiocese bankruptcy will silence him
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans has filed for bankruptcy, and survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy say it’s just a maneuver meant to silence them. They include one man who says he was molested by nuns at a West Bank youth home in the 1970s(link is external), and he’s now urging other victims to speak out. Jeff, whose real name isn’t being used, says his parents sent him to Madonna Manor in Marrero in 1976 for help with dyslexia. He was 11 years old at the time.” By Greg LaRose, WDSU-TV6 News

SNAP asks governor to order state investigation of church
“The Louisiana chapter of SNAP has asked Gov. John Bel Edwards to direct State Police to investigate the Catholic Church(link is external). The organization, which represents and speaks for survivors of sexual abuse by priests, believes that the recent declaration of bankruptcy(link is external) by the Archdiocese is an effort to seal evidence in sex abuse cases.” By KATC-TV3 News

Clergy abuse survivors, Hancock Bank on Archdiocese of New Orleans bankruptcy creditors’ committee
“A committee representing the unsecured creditors in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ bankruptcy case will include clergy abuse claimants and Hancock Whitney Bank(link is external), which has managed more than $38 million in state facilities bonds that helped the local Catholic Church rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Federal court records Wednesday only identified one representative on the seven-member committee: Beth Zeigler of Hancock Whitney. The rest of the names were redacted, suggesting that the committee’s balance might be comprised of people who claim they were sexually molested by New Orleans-area clergymen and religious personnel.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield forms independent task force to advise Bishop Mitchell Rozanski on confronting reported clergy sex abuse
“Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski announced on Wednesday (May 27) the creation of an independent task force to advise the Diocese of Springfield on the ongoing issue of sexual misconduct and abuse by clergy(link is external) within the diocese. The 10-member Independent Task Force on the Response to Sexual Abuse within the Diocese of Springfield will have retired Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Daniel Ford as chairman and Irene Woods, founding executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin, as vice chairwoman.” By Patrick Johnson, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Former priest bound over on criminal sexual conduct charges
“A former Upper Peninsula priest accused of molesting children(link is external) was bound over to Ontonagon County Circuit Court. Gary Jacobs, 74, had a preliminary hearing on Tuesday (May 26) and Wednesday in 98th District Court in Ontonagon. No date has been set for his circuit court arraignment. Jacobs was also arraigned in Dickinson County’s district court Monday for similar charges there. He will be arraigned in circuit court next month.” By Garrett Neese, The Daily Mining Gazette

MINNESOTA

St. Cloud Diocese reaches settlement framework for clergy abuse survivors
“The Diocese of St. Cloud says they have reached framework for a settlement for survivors of clergy abuse(link is external). In a news release from the diocese, it says, ‘the resolution will include the diocese filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future. In the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the framework for resolution will include a consensual plan of reorganization that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse.” By Jenifer Lewerenz, KNSI Radio News

NEW JERSEY

Judge denies Delbarton School’s request to find new sex abuse law unconstitutional
“A judge has denied a challenge to a law that loosened restrictions on civil sex abuse complaints — allowing a lawsuit to continue(link is external) against the order that runs the Delbarton School and clearing the way for dozens of similar cases against the Catholic Church and other institutions to go forward in state courts. The lawsuit against Delbarton was filed more than two years before New Jersey extended the civil statute of limitations for sex abuse cases. Dozens of sex abuse lawsuits have been filed since the law took effect on Dec. 1, 2019, many of them against the Catholic Church for alleged abuse from decades ago.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK

LI priest molested me, now church is trying to keep me quiet, lawsuit says
“A man says a Long Island priest sexually abused him when he was a teen(link is external) — and that church investigators are now trying to intimidate him into silence, new court papers show. Greg Hein, 52, says in a Nassau County lawsuit that Father Gregory Cappuccino repeatedly molested him in the sacristy and rectory of St. Anthony of Padua in Rockville Centre in 1984. Hein was 17 at the time, while the priest oversaw the parish’s youth programs, the suit says.” By Rebecca Rosenberg, New York Post

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie diocese priest reinstated after abuse probe ends
“A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Erie is returning to active ministry after Bishop Lawrence Persico said the diocese could not substantiate allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) made against the priest a year ago. The priest, Monsignor Charles Kaza, has been reinstated as pastor of St. Tobias Parish, in Brockway, Jefferson County, Persico announced on Monday (Jun. 1).” By Times-News staff on GoErie.com

Attorneys: Abuse victims getting low offers from Diocese of Pittsburgh’s fund
“Many people filing claims of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh are being offered compensation amounting to only a ‘fraction’ of what victims have received in other dioceses(link is external), according to attorneys representing many of them before an out-of-court compensation fund. Attorney Alan Perer, who said he represents about 75 clients who applied to the fund, is accusing Bishop David Zubik and the diocese of breaking a promise to compensate victims fairly.” By Perter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Erie Diocese wants out of New York lawsuit against Trautman
“The Catholic Diocese of Erie is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit in New York that tries to connect the diocese to claims that retired Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman(link is external) covered up clergy sex abuse of a minor when he was a top official in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in the 1980s. The suit also names Trautman as a defendant, though the claims against him mostly pertain to his tenure in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. The suit alleges the abuse took place there about six years before Trautman was named the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Erie, in 1990.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

TEXAS

Catholic Archdiocese asks to have child abuse lawsuit dismissed, contends case filed too late
“The lawsuit seeks $20 million in damages from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, claiming the church covered up allegations of abuse(link is external), and continued to allow La Rosa-Lopez access to children. Lawyers for the Archdiocese filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit contending it was filed years after the statute of limitations ran out in 2011. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the archdiocese is trying to escape responsibility by relying on a legal technicality.” By KPRC-TV2 News

A year later, most documents seized in Dallas police raid of diocese ordered returned as sexual assault investigation continues
“A year after police searched Dallas Catholic Diocese offices for records related to allegations of sexual abuse by priests, most of the documents seized in the raid were returned to the church as beyond the scope of the police investigation(link is external). And charges have been filed against only one of the five former priests, who are targets of the investigation. Dallas Bishop Edward Burns condemned the May 15, 2019 raid, which involved dozens of law enforcement officers, as ‘unnecessary and sensational,’’ in a statement released by the diocese Thursday (May 28).” By David Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News

AFRICA

My catholic priest uncle molested me when I was 11 – DJ Switch
“Nigerian rapper and disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, has opened up on how her uncle, who’s a catholic priest, molested her at the age of 11(link is external). The songwriter who was the winner of the Glo X-Factor revealed this on his Instagram page on Monday, adding that her revelation may shock her family. DJ Switch’s post is coming after the brutal killing of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) who was raped and murdered in a church in Benin where she went to study.” By Taiwo Okanlawon, pmnewsnigeria.com

AUSTRALIA

Former principal who warned of dangerous priest to sue Catholic Church
Mr (Graeme) Sleeman now plans to sue the Catholic Church over the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s catastrophic inaction in the 1980s on his complaints about (pedophile priest Peter)Searson(link is external). He estimates his lost education career cost him $3 million. Searson’s infamy was known at the top: the then archbishop of Melbourne, Frank Little, knew of an allegation Searson raped a young woman in 1974, and his conduct around parishioners and children was discussed at archdiocese meetings in the early 1980s.” By Adam Cooper, The Sydney Morning Herald

Bishop backs mother’s plea to release report
“A 94-year-old Newcastle woman calling for the release of royal commission findings on sexual abuse her son endured and his subsequent suicide is being backed by the local bishop. Audrey Nash fears she will die before the findings of the 2016 royal commission probe into her son Andrew Nash’s suicide are made public. Andrew Nash died in 1974 when he was just 13.” By Giselle Wakatama, ABC News, on CathNews.com

Report Suggests High-Ranking Australian Priest Covered Up Decades of Abuse Within Catholic Church
“Weeks after Cardinal George Pell was released from jail, a newly release report suggests that he knew of child sex abuse by Australian priests as early as the 1970s(link is external) but failed to take action to stop it. Pell, an ex-Vatican treasurer, is the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in the church’s clergy pedophilia crisis.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

CANADA

London Catholic Diocese loses appeal in child sexual abuse case
“An Ontario appeals court has dismissed a bid by the Diocese of London to fight a lower court’s decision to throw out a settlement involving a victim of child sexual abuse(link is external). Justice David Aston ruled in 2018 that London-area resident Irene Deschenes would not have settled with the church for the abuse she suffered at the hands of a priest had the church disclosed key information about previous sexual assault allegations.” By CBC News

FRANCE

Church orders French pedophile priest Preynat to compensate victims
“The Ecclesiastical Court of Lyon has paved the way for the compensation of victims of French ex-priest Bernard Preynat(link is external), convicted in March for the sexual assault of minors. In a sentence handed down on Thursday but made public two days later, 21 people assaulted by Preynat between 1971 and 1991 are to receive an unspecified amount of compensation.” By rfi.fr

GUAM

‘Look what he’s taken from me’: the deadly toll of Catholic church sex abuse on Guam
“Roosters crow in the distance as Walter Denton gestures toward a white one-story concrete building behind a church in Agat, a village in southern Guam. ‘You know, just standing here, right behind you, that is where I was raped,’ says Denton, 56. It has been more than three years since Denton first went public with accusations that Guam’s former archbishop Anthony Apuron assaulted him(link is external), and even though he has told the story many times his voice is still heavy with emotion.” By Anita Hofschneider, The Guardian

PHILIPPINES

Priest slams crimes against, and abuse of, children
“A Catholic priest said the sins and crimes committed against children are crimes that cry out to heavens for justice(link is external). Father Melvin Castro of the Diocese of Tarlac said this on the heels of a study by the International Justice Mission stating that the Philippines has become the world’s largest known source of online child sexual exploitation with parents and relatives the ones responsible for facilitating the abuse in nearly all cases.” By Leslie Ann Aquino, Manila Bulletin

POLAND

Polish priests defy bishops and pedophilia scandal
“The documentary ‘Hide and Seek’ by Marek and Tomasz Sekielski, which was watched by almost 7 million people on YouTube within a week, continues to make waves in Poland. The film tells the story of two brothers who were sexually abused by a priest in the diocese of Kalisz in central Poland in the 1990s(link is external). They were 7 and 13 years old at the time. The documentary makes it clear that the local bishop, Edward Janiak, knew about the abuse and swept the scandal under the carpet. The filmmakers uncovered dozens of other cases in the diocese as well.” By Deutsche Welle

SOUTH KOREA

Bishop apologizes for priest’s sex abuse after 23 years
“Bishop John Baptist Jung Shin-chul, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Incheon, issued a statement apologizing for a priest’s sexual abuse(link is external) of students of a Catholic university about 23 years ago. The sexual abuse cases were made public recently through an investigative TV program. In a statement uploaded on the website of the Diocese of Incheon, the bishop said he was deeply sorry for letting such an inappropriate incident happen, confirming the media report was true.” By Park Ji-won, The Korea Times

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


May 10, 2020

TOP STORIES

Pell knew of abuse by Australian pedophile priest
“Australian Cardinal George Pell knew a notorious pedophile priest had been moved decades ago because he had sexually abused children(link is external), and should have removed an unstable priest in another parish who was also a suspected pedophile, a government inquiry concluded. A report from the inquiry on child sexual abuse had been released in 2017, but findings concerning Pope Francis’ former finance minister had been redacted until Thursday to avoid prejudicing juries in any future prosecutions.” By Rod McGuirk, Cruxnow.com

The acquittal of Cardinal Pell
“In setting aside the guilty verdict against Cardinal George Pell on sexual-assault charges, Australia’s High Court effectively concluded the criminal-justice aspect of a case that has consumed the nation and the Catholic Church for years. But the April 7 ruling doesn’t really settle anything in the relationship between the church and the Australian state, nor is it likely to resolve the clash between the different ‘kinds’ of Catholicism in Australia and elsewhere. In fact, the decision will probably keep the contentious debates alive(link is external), perhaps for a long time to come.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Archdiocese of New Orleans to file bankruptcy; Aymond meets with area priests
The Archdiocese of New Orleans is preparing to file for bankruptcy, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday (Apr. 30) evening, as the mounting cost of unresolved clergy-abuse lawsuits and the shutdown of church services due to the coronavirus deliver crushing blows to church finances. The 227-year-old local institution serving half a million New Orleans-area Catholics will join 26 other American dioceses and Catholic religious orders that have sought financial protection(link is external) from creditors and claimants since the clergy-abuse scandal reached a fever pitch in 2002.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com

German Catholic Church agrees to rules for investigating abuse cases
“The Catholic Church has become Germany’s first institution to agree to fixed and binding rules for investigating sexual abuse cases(link is external). The agreement, described as historic by the German government’s abuse commissioner, could become a blueprint for other institutions in the fight against abuse. The Protestant Church in Germany and churches in many other countries have yet to take that step, reported KNA, the German Catholic news agency.” By Catholic News Service on AngelusNews.com

POPE FRANCIS

Sooner or later, Pope Francis will have to face the perplexities of reform
“Granted, right now Pope Francis has bigger fish to fry. Among other things he’s trying to hold the nation of Italy together, appealing on Saturday (May 2) for political unity at a time when regional governors from the political opposition are threatening to sabotage Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s plan for gradually easing coronavirus restrictions by issuing their own ad hoc decrees. Yet at some point when this is over, Francis will have to face the fact that his own house needs some work too(link is external).” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

On a call with President Trump, Cardinal Dolan reveals his true colors
“The ongoing collusion between certain U.S. bishops and President Donald Trump hit its nadir point this weekend (Apr.25). Or at least we have to pray it did. Crux’s Christopher White obtained a recording of a phone call that took place on Saturday between Trump and an estimated 600 Catholics, among whom were bishops and Catholic school superintendents. Leading the pack was New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who seems to like to boast about his relationship with Trump almost as much as Trump likes to boast about himself(link is external).” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINAL PELL

Victorian government clears release of Pell royal commission findings
“Unpublished findings about Cardinal George Pell’s handling of child sexual abuse complaints(link is external) have been cleared for release by the Victorian government. Attorney general Jill Hennessy has advised her federal counterpart, Christian Porter, that blacked-out sections of two reports from the institutional child abuse royal commission can be released, after the high court overturned the cardinal’s convictions for child sexual abuse earlier this month.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

BISHOPS

Nigerian bishop, rejected by former diocese, installed at new diocese
“Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke was installed April 29 as the bishop of the new Ekwulobia Diocese, after having been rejected in the Ahiara Diocese by priests and parishioners in a prolonged crisis that engulfed the Catholic Church in the region for about eight years(link is external). ‘It’s one of the greatest news of the decade in this part of the church in Nigeria because the creation of the new diocese has long been overdue,’ Fr. Martin Anusi, the director of communications at the Awka Diocese, told NCR. ‘People have dreamt and made appeals for a new diocese over the years.’” By Patrick Egwu, National Catholic Reporter

An Australian bishop speaks about a national church ‘fraught with division’
“Like many Catholics in Australia, Bishop Vincent Long speaks about the upcoming plenary council(link is external) as something of a final chance for the national church to show it has both reformed on clergy sexual abuse and can still be culturally relevant in the 21st century. In an emailed NCR interview focused on how the quashing of Cardinal George Pell’s convictions might affect the gathering, which has been in preparation for two years, Long called the assembly ‘the last throw of the dice.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Church members show support for priest in legal battle
“Congregation members of two Catholic churches are showing their support for a priest who was removed by Richmond Diocese Bishop(link is external). The priest has appealed his removal and is still in place at both churches while the process unfolds. Father Mark White presides over St. Joseph in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount … Father Mark White presides over St. Joseph in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount. Originally Father Mark White was told to stop his blog, which at times was critical of the church’s handling of sexual abuse cases. He shut the blog down for some time, but once the pandemic hit and he wasn’t able to meet with his members face to face, he started it up again and he was removed shortly after.” By Eric Pointer, WFXR-TV News

CARA study on new ordinands spots trends worth watching
“The annual survey of seminarians scheduled for priestly ordination(link is external) this year reveals continuing trends and suggests potential trends in the making. ‘We’ve been consistent over the last 20 years in terms of the age of men being ordained to the priesthood. It continues to hover into the low to mid-30s,” said Father Luke Ballman, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, in Rhode Island Catholic

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Peter’s Field Hospital: Interview with Dr. Phyllis Zagano on women in the Church
“This week on Peter’s Field Hospital, Dan Amiri and I had the privilege of interviewing the Catholic author and theologian Phyllis Zagano. Phyllis Zagano is an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and lecturer on contemporary spirituality and women’s issues in the church(link is external). In 2016, Phyllis was named by Pope Francis to serve on the Papal Commission on women in the diaconate. Her new book, Women: Icons of Christ traces the history of ministry by women in the Church, especially women deacons. In this book, she shows how women were removed from leadership, prevented from using their voices, and eliminated from official ministries in the history of the Church. This book also argues in favor of the restoration of women to the ordained diaconate, while refuting the arguments against it.” By Mike Lewis, WherePeterIs.com

Seminaries must hire, involve more women, Cardinal Ouellet says
“For some priests and seminarians, ‘women represent danger, but in reality, the true danger are those men who do not have a balanced relationship with women(link is external),’ said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. The cardinal was interviewed about the role of women in seminaries and seminary formation for the May issue of the women’s supplement to the Vatican newspaper; the interview was published April 24 by Vatican News.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Your thoughts on women’s roles in the church
“On April 8, Pope Francis announced he had created a new commission to study the ordaining of women as deacons in the Catholic Church. This is the second commission on the topic under Francis, however several members of this new commission seem to be opposed to women deacons. This revelation sparked a response from NCR columnist Jamie Manson, who writes: ‘By selecting these members for the commission, Francis has effectively killed the possibility of any real progress for women in the church(link is external).’ Relatedly, St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk wrote a column entitled ‘Women demonstrate what the priesthood of Jesus truly means,’ of which NCR executive editor Tom Roberts mentions in his last NCR Connections column.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

CHURCH FINANCES

Fraudster jailed for stealing $340,000 from Catholic Church to fund ‘indulgent’ lifestyle
“Adelaide mother Kerry Ann Keen used more than $340,000 that she stole from the Catholic Church(link is external) to pay for expensive overseas holidays and indulgent consumer goods. Now, the 57-year-old will spend at least three years in jail for her crimes. ‘In short, this was protracted, calculated dishonestly over a prolonged period [and involved] a large sum of money to fund an indulgent lifestyle,’ SA District Court Judge Stephen McEwen said during sentencing.” By Meagan Dillon, ABC News

Clergy Abuse Costs Drive New Orleans Archdiocese to File for Bankruptcy
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans announced on May 1 that it is seeking federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection(link is external) amid growing legal costs related to sexual abuse by priests. The filing for reorganization could free the archdiocese from the threat of creditors’ lawsuits while it reorganizes its finances. The New Orleans archdiocese is the latest of more than 20 dioceses nationwide to take such action.” By Kevin McGill, Insurance Journal

Seychelles: Police Investigating Nigerian Priest’s ‘Suspicious’ Bank Transactions
“The police in Seychelles are investigating a Nigerian priest based in the island nation following suspicious bank account transactions(link is external), the authorities said Wednesday (Apr. 29). The police statement came a day after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Victoria announced in a communique that ‘a member of its clergy, Father Fidelis Mbanefo has been suspended from his ministerial duties as a priest in the Diocese of Port-Victoria, as of the 17 April 2020.’” By Patsy Athanase, Seychelles News Agency, in Eurasia Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Will the pandemic force the Catholic Church to transform
“While the church has a vast body of members, the pandemic is leaving one of the oldest religious institutions in financial limbo(link is external). The Catholic Church has survived many things, including the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, capitalism and secularism. As the world’s oldest religious institution, with nearly 1.3 billion followers, the Catholic Church is the largest continuously operating international organization, and the faithful would also like it to survive this deadly pandemic. But no one can deny that the Vatican’s finances are in disarray.” By TRTWorld.com

VOICES

Cardinal Pell: A decision with little certainty
George Pell is a cardinal in the Catholic Church. And that is where the problem lies(link is external). It lies as well in the institution. The two are inextricably intertwined so that the fate of one informs the other. Some, like Pope Francis, say, ‘I would like to pray today for all those persons who suffer an unjust sentence because someone had it in for them.’ The Vatican News reported that the pope made this statement at his morning Mass in Santa Marta, shortly after the news broke that the High Court of Australia had quashed the convictions against Pell.” By Gail Grossman Freyne, National Catholic Reporter

COLORADO

Colorado’s priest abuse reparations program has paid more than $3 million to 28 victims so far
“The Catholic Church so far has paid more than $3 million to 28 victims of priest abuse in Colorado(link is external) as part of a review of claims by an independent committee. The work of the oversight committee is ongoing, but its leaders announced Wednesday (Apr. 22) that they have received claims from 91 victims of abuse by priests who worked in one of Colorado’s three dioceses.” By Jennifer Brown, Colorado Sun

FLORIDA

Sexual abuse lawsuit filed in Polk County against retired priest
“On Monday, April 27, 2020 sex abuse attorney Adam Horowitz filed a Complaint in Polk County Circuit Court against Catholic priest Father Fred Ruse, who in 2018, suddenly retired from the active ministry. The suit, filed on behalf of a Sarasota County man, alleges that in 2001 and 2002, he was sexually abused multiple times by Father Ruse(link is external) in a classroom and in the chaplain’s office at the Demilly Correctional Institution in Polk City, Florida, when the plaintiff was approximately 14 and 15 years old.” By Horowitz Law

HAWAII

Hawaii courts filling with sex abuse cases
“Fallout from a slew of recently filed sexual abuse lawsuits(link is external) has a trustee from Punahou Schools stepping down. According to the school, Monica McLaren voluntarily stepped down from the Board, after her husband Christopher McLaren was named in one of several civil cases against Punahou. Hawaii courts have filled with last minute filings for sexual abuse cases.” By Paul Drewes, KITV-TV4 News

IDAHO

Idaho court upholds ex-priest’s prison sentence
“A former Boise priest convicted of possessing violent and extreme child pornography(link is external) will be sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, an appellate court ruled. William “Tom” Faucher, 74, was sentenced in December 2018 without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to distribution of sexually exploitative material, possession of sexually exploitative materials and drug possession, the Idaho Statesman reported.” By Associated Press in Lewiston Tribune

LOUISIANA

Louisiana priest convicted of molestation released on bond
“A former Louisiana priest convicted of molesting an altar boy was released from jail on bond(link is external) over coronavirus safety concerns. Michael Guidry, 77, was released Friday (APR. 24) nearly a year after he pleaded guilty to molesting a 16-year old boy after giving him alcohol in Guidry’s home. The victim said in a civil lawsuit that he woke up one day in 2015 after doing chores in Guidry’s home and found the former priest molesting him. The victim told authorities about the molestation when he was an adult, four years after it happened.” By Associated Press on WBRZ-TV2 News

Survivors of clergy sex abuse want accountability following priest released on house arrest
“The release of a priest convicted of molesting a teenage boy is raising questions for the judicial system and the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Guidry is out on bail tonight (Apr. 27). One-year-ago this week, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended, after pleading guilty to molestation of a juvenile(link is external). According to court records, Guidry’s defense counsel, Jane Hogan, requested an emergency appeal hearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” By Chris Welty, KATC-TV3 News

MAINE

Maine high court upholds sex crime convictions of defrocked priest
“The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday (Apr. 23) upheld all but one of the 11 convictions of a former priest who is serving 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting a boy(link is external) during multiple vacations to Maine in the 1980s. Ronald Paquin, now 77, was found guilty in 2018 of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy. A judge sentenced him last year to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended.” By Matt Byrne, Portland Press Herald

MISSOURI

Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese releases investigation into priest with many ties to the Ozarks
“The Springfield-Cape-Girardeau Diocese reports a review board determined inappropriate physical/sexual misconduct involving a priest(link is external). Father Gary Carr became an ordained priest in 1982. He then served at several churches and schools in the diocese, including in Springfield, Monett and West Plains. The allegations involve a male student between the ages of 10-13. The report has been forwarded to the Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in southeast Missouri. This is only a report from the diocese. Police have not arrested Father Carr.” By KY3-TV News

MONTANA

Montana sees flurry of child sex abuse lawsuits as deadline approaches
“The one-year window Montana lawmakers opened to give child sex abuse survivors a chance to bring old claims is closing soon(link is external), and a flurry of lawsuits is hitting the courts. Adults who were abused as children have until May 6 to bring claims otherwise barred by the statute of limitations. The Montana Legislature created the window in 2019,” By Phoebe Tollefson, Helena Independent Record

NEW JERSEY

‘Prolific pedophile’ priest dies in News Jersey nursing home
“A pedophile priest who was defrocked in New Jersey after admitting abusing a dozen children(link is external) has died in a nursing home, the diocese confirmed to The Post. James Hanley — who abused young parishioners in Mendham and Pompton Plains over the course of 14 years — died last week, the diocese’s attorney, Kenneth Mullaney, confirmed.” By Lee Brown, New York Post

NEW YORK

Buffalo seeks halt to outstanding sex abuse lawsuits
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has taken legal action seeking to stop all outstanding clergy sexual abuse lawsuits(link is external) while it navigates bankruptcy proceedings in federal court. The diocese filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court on Saturday (May 2) seeking an injunction on lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act. About 250 lawsuits have been filed against the diocese since August, when the act gave victims one year to pursue even decades-old allegations of abuse.” By Associated Press

23 suspended Catholic priests to lose their pay and health insurance
“In the last few days, 23 suspended priests have been contacted by senior leadership of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and told they lose their pay and health insurance on Friday (Apr. 24). These are men who have ‘substantiated’ allegations of sexual abuse(link is external). They remain priests, but can’t hold themselves out as priests, are not allowed to say Mass publicly or wear clerical garb.” By Mike Desmond, WBFO-FM National Public Radio

Accused priests cannot be left ‘destitute’
“The Diocese of Buffalo clarified on Friday (May 1) that priests accused of sexual abuse cannot be left ‘destitute(link is external),’ even as the diocese acts to withdraw financial support payments. The diocese had announced earlier this week that 23 priests “with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse” would no longer receive financial assistance or health benefits from the Diocese of Buffalo as of May 1. However, the diocese said that pension plans would not be affected by the decision.” By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency

OHIO

Diocese of Toledo names seven deceased priests accused of sexual abuse
“The Diocese of Toledo on Wednesday (Apr. 29) released the names of seven deceased clerics who are credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). In each case an accuser had come forward after the cleric had died. The Diocesan Review Board considered their cases this year and last year. The diocese for years declined to name or consider allegations against clerics in such cases ‘as they can neither defend themselves against the accusation nor possibly be a future threat to anyone if the allegation were true,’ according to an explanation the diocese provided for years on its website.” By Nicki Gorny, The Blade

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia Archdiocese committed to paying $130 million to sex abuse victims
“In a profound letter to parishioners, the newly installed Archbishop of Philadelphia, Nelson Perez, addressed claims of prior priest sex abuse of children head-on(link is external), saying the archdiocese is committed to paying about $130 million in reparations. When new Archbishop Perez came to Philadelphia from Cleveland a few months ago, he inherited a mess stemming from the priest sex abuse scandal. But on Tuesday (May 5), he says in a letter that he deeply regrets the pain and suffering of survivors and any decisions that failed to protect them.” By Dann Cuellar, WPVI-TV6 News

TEXAS

Dallas priest accused of abuse removed from ministry
“The Diocese of Dallas has removed a priest from the ministry after sexual abuse allegations(link is external) arose in the Colombian archdiocese where he formerly served. Father Oscar Mora was among 19 priests suspended last month by the Catholic Archdiocese of Villavicencio after the allegation arose earlier this year, The Dallas Morning News reported Monday (Apr. 27).” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

WISCONSIN

Waukesha County DA will not pursue new charges against priest accused of sex assault
“The Waukesha County District Attorney will not pursue new charges against a priest accused of sexual assault of a teenage girl(link is external). Father Charles Hanel was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in December 2017 during confession at Queen of Apostles Church.” By FOX6 News

AUSTRALIA

On the right track, work still to be done for Christian Brothers
“The audit, by the Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, found that the Christian Brothers had either implemented or was substantially progressed in the implementation of 91 (89 per cent) out of the 102 indicators(link is external) relevant to the province under the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards. CPSL chief executive Sheree Limbrick said that on the back of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, CPSL is auditing Church organizations across Australia to make sure they have sound and robust processes in place to keep children safe.” By CathNews.com

Notorious pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale is almost certain to die in jail
“Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale is likely to die in jail as he faces more sexual abuse charges(link is external). The 85-year-old will be heard on May 14 for 10 indecent assault charges and four buggery charges in Victoria between 1973 and 1979 to further his time behind bars. The charges will likely extend his time behind bars beyond 2022, his earliest release date. Ridsdale is suffering chronic health problems including heart conditions, arthritis, bowel problems and high blood pressure.” By Australian Associated Press and Jackson Barron for Daily Mail Australia

After 26 years, Eileen Piper has finally won an apology from the Catholic Church for her daughter’s abuse
“It’s taken 26 years, reams of legal documents and many tears, but Eileen Piper has done what she set out to do — cleared the name of her daughter, Stephanie, who was abused by a Catholic priest in the 1970s(link is external). In December, Mrs Piper, 95, received a written apology from Melbourne’s Archbishop, Peter Comensoli, and the Pallotine order of priests which, for years, had denied the crimes of Father Gerard Mulvale.” By Karen Percy, ABC News

‘The Catholic Church should close the Christian Brothers down’
“A McGowan Government minister and former student of CBC Fremantle has publicly criticized the Christian Brothers for a lack of care towards the victims of child sexual abuse(link is external). Dave Kelly, the MLA for Bassendean, attended CBC Fremantle in the 1970s from grade 4 to grade 12. Today on Mornings with Gareth Parker he has revealed his disgust with the Christian Brothers for failing to reckon with their shameful past in dealing with the legacy of child sexual abuse.” By Gareth Parker, 6PRNews

CANADA

Supreme Court says Basilian Fathers responsible for $2.5M in damages to sexual abuse victim Rod MacLeod
“Rod MacLeod, the victim of a pedophile priest in the 1960s at a Sudbury high school, said he hopes his latest legal victory will inspire other sexual abuse victims to come forward(link is external) and ‘seek justice through the court.’ MacLeod made the comments on April 30 when the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the Basilian Fathers of Toronto’s bid for a further appeal after they were held responsible when one of their priests was convicted in 2011 of abusing 17 students at schools over a 38-year period.” By SooToday.com

Supreme Court rejects Catholic Church appeal to reduce damages in sex abuse case
“The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Catholic teaching order concerning damages awarded to a former Sudbury high school student. Lawyer Rob Talach says Father Hodgson Marshall was convicted of sexually abusing his client(link is external), Rod MacLeod, who was a student at St. Charles College from 1963-1967. In 2011, Marshall was ultimately convicted of abusing 17 young people over his 38-year career. He served two years in federal prison and died in 2014.” By CBC News

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


March 27, 2020

TOP STORIES

The American parish today
“A few years ago Commonweal published a special issue on parishes in the U.S. We sent out correspondents to report on what they encountered … These dispatches provided an interesting, eclectic account of what it meant to worship in different parishes in different parts of the U.s.. At the same time, such an approach was unable to take the full measure of the changes remaking the U.S. Catholic Church(link is external)—most of all the significant changes in demographics and geography, set against the backdrop of declining vocations and broader trends in religious disaffiliation—and what they meant for local communities of Catholics.” By The Editors, Commonweal

Reporting system to record abuse complaints against bishops begins
“A reporting system accepting sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. bishops and eparchs is in place(link is external). Called the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, the system became operational March 16. The mechanism incorporates a website and a toll-free telephone number through which individuals can file reports regarding a bishop. The website is ReportBishopAbuse.org. Calls can be placed at (800) 276-1562.” By Dennis Sadowsky, Catholic News Service, in Catholic Standard

Retrial of U.S. Catholic official delayed over virus concerns
“The retrial of the only church official who has ever gone to prison in the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal was delayed Monday (Mar. 16) because of the coronavirus outbreak(link is external). The retrial of Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese, had been to start Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court but was put on hold until January amid court shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the pandemic.” By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press

Theologian says clerical sexual abuse ‘always about abuse of power’
“Karlijn Demasure taught religion at a secondary school for girls in Belgium when she first came across child abuse. It turned out a girl was sexually abused at home and no one at the school knew exactly what to do(link is external). ‘The psychiatrist associated with the school was also unable to help us,’ said Demasure. ‘Should we address the father that we knew about it and that it shouldn’t be happening? Should we send the girl to therapy? Nobody knew. This episode made me decide to go back to university for further study, and to specialize as a theologian in this field. We must help these children.’” By Joke Heikens, Katholiek Nieuwsblad, on Cruxnow.com

Court-appointed official says Vatican failing on accountability in Nienstedt case
“A court-appointed official for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is alleging that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops is failing to comply with new protocols for bishop accountability(link is external) created by Pope Francis with regard to a potential investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt. Nienstedt led the archdiocese from 2008 until resigning under fire in 2015 after charges of failing to protect children from sexual abuse. In addition to allegations that he actively covered up for abusive priests, Nienstedt has been the subject of investigations regarding his own misconduct.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Post-reformation theology of the priesthood influenced abuse crisis, author says
“My (Clare McGrath-Merkle, OCDS, DPhil,) work has been focused mainly on the theology of the priesthood and its possible role, if any, in the crisis of sexual abuse and cover-up(link is external). The causes of the crisis are, of course, varied, but I have wanted to try to understand how this theology might have somehow contributed to a clerical identity prone to the abuse of power.” By Charles C. Camosy, Cruxnow.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

Priest chaplain at Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse had abuse record
“In January, Lindsey Faust and her partner visited the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky, for a mini vacation. Faust was a former volunteer with Loretto Volunteers and shared a rapport with the sisters and community members. It was almost like home to her. During their stay, Faust’s partner, out of curiosity, inquired about the priest who lived there, celebrating daily Mass. It was then that a community member revealed details about Fr. J. Irvin Mouser that no volunteer knew. Mouser, a priest from the Archdiocese of Louisville, was removed from public ministry in 2002 on charges of child sex abuse(link is external).” By Sarah Salvadore, National Catholic Reporter

Erie, other dioceses unveil system to report bishops
“The creation of the nationwide Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service grew out of the clergy abuse crisis. Roman Catholic dioceses nationwide have launched a system to report claims of abuse against bishops(link is external), the Catholic Diocese of Erie announced on Tuesday (Mar. 17). The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service, which started operating on Monday, grew out of a document called ‘Vox estis lux mundi,’ or ‘You Are the Light of the World,’ which Pope Francis issued in May 2019 after an international meeting of bishops in Rome in February 2019 to address clergy sexual abuse.” By Erie Times-News Staff

You’ll need a strong stomach to digest Revelation’s insights into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church
“Despite an extensive royal commission, scores of criminal trials and excellent books such as Louise Milligan’s Cardinal and David Marr’s The Prince, there are still some unanswered questions about child sexual abuse in the now-tattered narrative of the Catholic church in Australia(link is external). These include: why did these priests do such horrible things? How did they justify their crimes to themselves and to God? What kind of conversations may they have had with, say, their archbishop or monsignor, once they were rumbled by a parent or teacher or victim?” By Brigid Delaney, The Guardian

POPE FRANCIS

What lies ahead for Pope Francis as he enters the eighth year of his pontificate
Today (Mar. 13) is the seventh anniversary of the election of Pope Francis(link is external). It is a holiday in the Vatican, but it takes place under the most extraordinary circumstances dominated by the coronavirus pandemic that began in China and then spread worldwide, infecting some 138,000 people in at least 117 countries. So far it has caused the deaths of more than 5,000 people, including more than 1,200 in Italy.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal Pell’s lawyers move quickly to file documents
“Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell have already filed supplementary material with the High Court amid hopes of a quick decision in his appeal(link is external). The cardinal’s legal team was asked to file a short note on the evidentiary relationship between the two separate incidents of abuse of which he was convicted. The note was filed on Friday (Mar. 13) night following the second and final day of his appeal. Sources close to the case doubt the issue will impact the decision in any significant way.” By CathNews.com

PRIESTS

U.S. Hispanic Catholics are future, but priest numbers are dismal
“Maria Chavira, a senior administrator in the Diocese of Phoenix, says Spanish-speaking Catholic parishes in her area are ‘bursting at the seams(link is external)’ and celebrates the emergence of Hispanics as the largest ethnic component of the church nationwide. Throughout the Southwest, where the surge has been dramatic, Roman Catholic leaders are excited by the possibilities — and well aware of daunting challenges.” By David Crary, Associated Press, in The Island Packet

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Emerging communities: Religious life is changing, but changing to what?
“At almost every national gathering of sisters in the United States in recent years, the speakers say, ‘Religious life is changing.’ However, no one knows what it is changing to(link is external). There might be a way to get a snapshot of what is to come. In 2017, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University published the third edition of a directory, ‘Emerging U.S. Communities of Consecrated Life since Vatican II,’ that lists each operating religious community in the United States that was formed since 1965, the year the Second Vatican Council ended.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

Advocate says quest for female deacons not over, despite silence in pope’s Amazon document
“There’s arguably no one in the United States that has championed the cause of women deacons more the Phyllis Zagano(link is external) – a senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University – who was tapped by Pope Francis in 2016 to serve on the Vatican commission to study the historical evidence as to whether there were women deacons in the early Church. While many had expected that Pope Francis would green light the proposal to ordain women as deacons in the Amazon after last October’s Synod on the region, instead the pope has said that he would reconstitute a new commission to study the issue further.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Former Rapid City priest convicted on 65 counts in theft, wire fraud and money laundering scheme
“A formerly ordained priest of the Catholic Diocese in Rapid City, South Dakota, was found guilty by a federal jury of wire fraud, nine counts of money laundering, transportation of stolen money, and making and subscribing a false tax return(link is external). During the trial, evidence was shown that Marcin Stanislaw Garbacz, 41, while employed as a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, arranged a plan to steal money from that was collected from parishioners from various churches.” By NewsCenter1.tv

CHILD PROTECTION

Child protection pioneer McChesney to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal
“Kathleen McChesney, a leading trailblazer in the fight against clergy sexual abuse, will receive the highest honor in the U.S. Catholic Church(link is external). On Sunday (Mar. 22), the University of Notre Dame announced that McChesney, who worked for decades in law enforcement before being tapped to establish and lead the Office of Child Protection for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will be awarded the 2020 Laetare Medal, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic award.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CLERICALISM

Top anti-abuse expert says ‘paternalistic’ is worse than clericalism
“German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s leading experts in child protection, has said that more dangerous than clericalism in the clerical abuse crisis is a ‘paternalistic’ attitude within the Church(link is external) that both devalues laypeople and puts clergy on a pedestal. While clericalism has become a hot-button issue under Pope Francis and while it certainly contributes to the problem of abuse, ‘What I think is a deeper problem is the paternalistic attitude that exists, said German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner in an interview with Crux.” By Elise Ann Allen, Curxnow.com

VOICES

To heal the church from the sex abuse crisis, we need apologies, not just policies
“The day after New Year’s my husband and I packed up our six children and drove to the Encounter Conference, in Toledo, Ohio, where 3,000 Catholics gathered for three days of inspiring talks, Eucharistic adoration and Mass. I’ll admit it: I limped into the Encounter. Since the summer of 2018, the revelations of grave sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy in the highest echelons of the church hierarchy has left me devastated and grieving(link is external).” By Colleen Duggan, America: The Jesuit Review

Editorial: How do women convince a male clerical culture to change?
“Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias had to know when he declared that he had undergone a conversion and was now an advocate for women seeking leadership roles in the global church(link is external) that those words would not be the last on the subject. Gracias made his comments during a Feb. 21 interview with NCR’s Vatican correspondent, Joshua McElwee. Gracias is not just any cardinal. The archbishop of Mumbai, he is also president of the Indian bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Bill advances that aims to deliver justice for adults abused as children
“After a couple of failed attempts in recent years, Georgia lawmakers are again advancing legislation to allow adults who were victims of sexual abuse more time to sue organizations that employed their abuser(link is external). This latest version of the Hidden Predator Act passed the House late last week and its fate is now in the state Senate. Its author, Warner Robins Republican Heath Clark, said the bill raises the age a victim can bring a civil suit for child sexual abuse from 23 to 38 years and expands the amount of time a victim can bring suit from two years after becoming aware of the abuse to four years.” By Ross Williams, Georgia Recorder

Shaw: Abuse victims should be able to take civil action
“It is time for the North Dakota Legislature to open a new window, so victims of sexual abuse can seek civil action against their abusers(link is external). Many of the perpetrators were or are Catholic priests. Many of the victims were children. They were frightened, ashamed and traumatized. By the time they realized the seriousness of the offenses against them or had the courage to come forward, the statute of limitations had expired for them to take legal action.” By Jim Shaw, The Dickinson Press

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Priest on PBS special offers frank accounting of past, hope for future
“If you tune in to the PBS special ‘Inside the Vatican,’ slated to air 9-11 p.m. EDT April 28, you’ll have to wait more than an hour and a half to see him, and to hear what he has to say. But German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner’s words are a necessary tonic, even if it’s sonic castor oil to some(link is external). Father Zollner wears many hats.” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, in Catholic Courier

The Catholic Church hires ‘fixers’ to cover up sexual abuse – now they’re speaking out
“As survivors of child sex abuse continue speak out against the priests that attacked them, the Catholic Church continues to hide credible accused priests(link is external), allowing them to live, shop, walk, and freely roam communities throughout the US. But the communities the Catholic Church have chosen to set up these places of respite, where hundreds of priests die peacefully, without ever facing criminal charges, are carefully chosen. One former monk says his main task while employed by the church was to cover up and displace child molesting priests.” By Mick S. Grewal, The Legal Examiner

CONNECTICUT

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case to resume later this month
“The case of a former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys(link is external) is scheduled to resume in two weeks. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges. The warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest alleges that he groomed two boys over the course of four years, and sexually abused one of them over the same period of time.” By Kendra Baker, The Register Citizen

FLORIDA

Diocese finds 1976 sexual abuse allegations against former St. Augustine priest ‘credible’
“A retired St. Augustine Catholic priest was accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external) 44 years ago in a recent complaint, the Diocese of St. Augustine announced in a statement Monday (Mar. 23). Father John H. Dux, a former clergyman at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine, was immediately suspended indefinitely in May 2019 after the alleged victim’s attorney sent the Diocese a copy of the complaint.” By Matt Bruce, The St. Augustine Record

IOWA

Diocese of Des Moines investigating priest accused of sexual misconduct
“A Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Des Moines after allegations of sexual misconduct in the 1990s(link is external) surfaced. The Rev. Robert ‘Bud’ Grant was placed on leave March 4, the diocese said Wednesday (Mar. 18) morning. A complaint about sexual misconduct was made to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office last fall, the diocese said. The complaint involves an incident that allegedly occurred in the early 1990s, according to the diocese.” By Philip Joens, Des Moines Register

LOUISIANA

Archdiocese paid settlements for priest accused of sex, would not answer questions about bankruptcy, report says
“A New Orleans Archdiocese attorney said Wednesday (Mar. 11) the church paid out four financial settlements in cases involving former priest Lawrence Hecker, who is accused of sexually molesting children(link is external). According to The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, attorney Dirk Wegmann also said in court the church found out about at least one abuse allegation against Hecker in 1988. That is 14 years before he was removed from public ministry.” By WVUE-TV8 News

MICHIGAN

Former priest returns to Michigan to face additional sex abuse charges
“A former Michigan priest who relocated to New Mexico has returned to the state to face additional charges for allegedly sexually abusing children(link is external) decades ago. Gary Allen Jacobs was formally arraigned late Tuesday in Ontonagon County on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.” By WWJNewsRadio.radio.com

MINNESOTA

Bankruptcy judge approves New Ulm Diocese’s clergy sexual abuse settlement
“Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel’s final approval clears the way for the 93 clergy abuse survivors to begin receiving compensation under the settlement(link is external). It also marks the end of a three-year bankruptcy process for the diocese. The diocese also has committed to 17 child protection protocols. In a statement, Bishop John LeVoir of New Ulm apologized for the harm abuse survivors endured and said he knows the settlement can’t make amends for all that was taken from them.” By Joe Ruff, The Catholic Spirit

NEW MEXICO

Lawyer: Archdiocese moved assets before bankruptcy filing
“A creditors committee of clergy abuse survivors believes the Archdiocese of Santa Fe moved assets to hinder creditors before it filed for bankruptcy(link is external) protection, a lawyer said. Attorney James Stang told a federal judge Monday that the committee may seek standing in the case to challenge the movement of assets, the Albuquerque Journal reports.” By Associated Press

NEW YORK

High-ranking Buffalo Diocese priest accused of misconduct
“An allegation of sexual misconduct against one of the region’s most high-profile priests(link is external) led to another shakeup in the Diocese of Buffalo on Saturday (Mar. 21). The Rev. Peter J. Karalus, one of the closest aides to acting Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, was placed by the bishop on administrative leave while an independent investigator looks into the allegation made against Karalus, the Buffalo Diocese announced Saturday.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Abuse plaintiff calls committee’s work ‘awesome responsibility’ to uncover the truth
“Richard Brownell recalled watching a 1993 television newscast in which the Rev. Bernard ‘Corky’ Mach, a popular Catholic priest assigned to a Lockport parish at the time, tearfully denied molesting a 14-year-old boy. Brownell immediately turned to his wife during the newscast and said the priest was lying. He told her the Rev. John Aurelio had sexually assaulted him when he was 11 or 12 years old(link is external), and Aurelio was a close friend of Mach. It was the first time he had told anyone about the abuse.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Judge orders Buffalo Diocese to release secret files for two ‘notorious’ priests
“Two weeks before the Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy, a state judge ruled that the diocese must turn over the ‘secret files’ of two of its most ‘notorious’ pedophile priests(link is external). But most Catholics — and by extension, dozens of the priests’ alleged victims — are still barred from seeing the files because of conditions the judge placed on their disclosure. State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Chimes ruled Feb. 13 that after months of fighting their release, lawyers for the diocese must disclose the personnel files of Fr. Norbert F. Orsolits and Fr. William F.J. White.” By Charlie Sprecht, WKBW-TV7 News

Trustee in Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy appoints seven abuse victims to creditors committee
“A trustee for the federal bankruptcy court has selected seven people suing the Buffalo Diocese over clergy sexual abuse to serve on a creditors committee(link is external) that will investigate the diocese’s finances and negotiate a bankruptcy settlement. U.S. Trustee William K. Harrington interviewed at least 20 people for seven spots on the committee, which will represent all unsecured creditors and play a major role in formulating a reorganization plan for the diocese.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota priest says he’s not sorry for sexually abusing two kids, but regrets the emotional trauma
“A disgraced former North Dakota priest said he’s not remorseful for sexual assaults he carried out on young children(link is external) decades ago. New documents released following an investigation into more than 50 Catholic Clergy from the Fargo and Bismarck Dioceses have named 53 priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, including one Martin Cullen.” By Akshay Pai, MEAWW.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Prosecutors file notice of appeal of ruling in abuse case
“Prosecutors have filed a notice of appeal of a western Pennsylvania judge’s ruling throwing out the conviction of a retired Roman Catholic priest accused of having assaulted a boy(link is external) almost two decades ago. A spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney’s office said Monday that the brief setting out reasons for the appeal to Superior Court in the case of the Rev. Hugh Lang will be filed at a later date.” By Associated Press

Msgr. Lynn on trial again for covering up clergy sexual abuse
“More than three years after his release from state prison, Monsignor William Lynn is scheduled to face a familiar, but unwelcome sight: a Philadelphia jury(link is external). Lynn, the first U.S. Catholic Church official to be convicted of covering up clergy sex abuse, will also face familiar allegations next week, when the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office begins retrying the 69-year-old on one felony count of child endangerment.” By Aaron Moselle, WHYY-FM National Public Radio

Victims expect more dioceses to declare bankruptcy
“Adult survivors of priest abuse across Pennsylvania expect that other dioceses will follow the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and declare bankruptcy to force victims tons seek damages through bankruptcy court rather than civil court(link is external). Mary McHale, a Reading women involved with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said ‘I think it’s only a matter of time’ before other dioceses in Pennsylvania declare bankruptcy, a move announced by the Harrisburg diocese in mid-February.” By John Finnerty, The Tribune-Democrat

VIRGINIA

Former Purcellville Church Friar Indicted in 1985 Sexual Abuse Case”

“Attorney General Mark R. Herring today (Mar. 16) announced former clergyman Scott Asalone, 63, of Asbury Park, NJ, was indicted on one felony count of carnal knowledge of a minor between 13 and 15 years old(link is external). The indictment is related to alleged sexual contact by Asalone in 1985, while he was a friar assigned to St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville involving a former parishioner in 1985.” By LoudounNow.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Councilmember David Grosso was a childhood victim of indicted former Catholic priest
“At-Large Councilmember David Grosso revealed in an emailed statement today (Mar. 17) that he was sexually assaulted as a minor by a former Virginia priest(link is external) who was recently indicted for the alleged crime. Scott Asalone, 63, was arrested March 12 in New Jersey and is now charged with sexually assaulting a minor between the ages of 13 and 15, according to a news release from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Asalone will be tried in Loudoun County Circuit Court and is among the 50 priests the Virginia dioceses said had been credibly accused of sexual abuse between 1974 and 2007.” By Mitch Ryals, Washington City Paper

WEST VIRGINIA

Lay Catholic group presses West Virginia Diocese for action on Bransfield
“A group called Lay Catholic Voices for Change has sent a letter to Bishop Mark Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, asking that the diocese investigate charges of sex abuse of minors by former Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). The letter also asked that Bransfield be ordered not to use the title bishop emeritus to describe himself.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

WYOMING

Police’s sex abuse investigation into retired Cheyenne bishop finishes
“Cheyenne police’s follow-up investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by a retired Catholic leader in Wyoming concluded last week(link is external), right around the time that another alleged victim of the clergyman came forward in Missouri. The investigation into retired Bishop Joseph Hart will turn 2 years old in April. Cheyenne police have said they began investigating in spring 2018, after the Diocese of Cheyenne launched its own investigation into Hart and concluded he’d sexually abused at least two then-adolescents in the 1970s and 80s. Since then, four more victims have been identified in Wyoming alone.” By Seth Clayman, Casper Star Tribune

AUSTRALIA

Convicted pedophile Bernard McGrath abused dozens of children. The Catholic Church failed to report his offending
“Former brother of St John of God, Bernard McGrath, will be eligible for parole in December 2044. McGrath, who is serving two prison sentences in NSW for sex crimes against children, says his religious order and the Catholic Church covered up his offending at schools in Australia and New Zealand(link is external). In the early 1990s, after decades as a sex offender, new reports emerged about McGrath’s abuse of children at schools and a residential program he’d run for street kids in Christchurch, New Zealand.” By Sarah Ferguson, ABC News

Convicted pedophile Vincent Ryan confessed to a priest—then he continued abusing children
“Vincent Ryan is a Catholic priest and a aedophile, convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 children. In Australia’s first television interview with a convicted clerical sex abuser, Ryan said there was no reason why he should not remain a priest(link is external). ‘It’s a duty. I’ve committed myself to it,’ he said. ‘It’d have to be a very serious reason, unless I’m stopped by authority, for me to make that decision and at this moment I don’t see it.’” By Sarah Ferguson, ABC News

CANADA

Clergy sex abuse victim: ‘My name is Barbara Erlandson and I am sharing my story’
“An Ottawa woman who was sexually abused by Rev. Barry McGrory(link is external) in the mid-1970s says a senior church official made her feel that she was to blame for the crime. Barbara Erlandson says she met in 1977 with then Bishop John Beahan, one of the most powerful figures in the Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, to relate her story of abuse.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

FRANCE

Defrocked French priest jailed for abusing scouts over 20-year period
“A defrocked French Catholic priest has been sentenced to five years in jail for sexually abusing scouts(link is external) in his care several decades ago, ending a case in which it was claimed his superiors shielded him from prosecution. After survivors testified about the abuse during his trial in Lyon, Bernard Preynat, 75, confessed in January to “caresses” he knew were forbidden.” By Agence France-Presse in Lyon

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest from the Fens steps down following historic child sex abuse claims
“A statement released by Bishop Alan Hopes and the Diocese of East Anglia on Friday (March 20) explains Father Michael Ryan had recently been accused of the non-recent sexual abuse of children(link is external). It says he voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities while the investigation is ongoing and that the accusations have been reported to the relevant authorities, including police.” By Cambridge Times

‘Those told of abuse must report it,’ says Workington MP
Any person in a position of responsibility who is told about the sexual abuse of a child should report it to the police(link is external), says Workington MP Mark Jenkinson. The politician spoke out after the News & Star reported on the cases of two Allerdale men whose abusers were clergymen – one with the Catholic Church and the other with the Church of England – and both were allowed to continue working after they confessed their paedophilia. Neither was reported to the police by their church bosses.” By Phil Coleman, News & Star

INDIA

Court dismisses discharge petition filed by Bishop Franco in rape case
“In a major setback to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, former head of the Latin Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Kottayam, on Monday (Mar. 16) dismissed the discharge petition filed by him in connection with the rape case registered against him(link is external) by the Kuravilangad police. The judge G Gopakumar directed bishop Mulakkal to face the trial in the case, which was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a Catholic nun of the same diocese.” By The Indian Express

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Mar. 14, 2020

TOP STORIES

Vatican sends top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico
“The Vatican is sending its top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico(link is external) on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the Catholic hierarchy in the world’s second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up. Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu teamed up in 2018 to investigate the Chilean church and its wretched record of protecting pedophile priests — a bombshell expose that resulted in every active Chilean bishop offering to resign.” By Nicole Winfield and Maria Verza, Associated Press

Papal task force to help bishops, religious write, revise abuse guidelines
“Pope Francis has set up a task force of qualified experts and canon lawyers to help bishops’ conferences and congregations of men and women religious with drawing up or revising guidelines for the protection of minors(link is external). The Vatican will also be releasing — at an ‘imminent,’ but unspecified date — a handbook or vademecum, prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to help bishops and religious superiors clearly understand their responsibilities and the procedures for handling allegations of abuse.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

L’Arche founder’s printed legacy damaged in sex-abuse report
“Revelations that Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, sexually abused at least six women(link is external) continues to reverberate throughout the Roman Catholic and wider church world. Vanier, who died in 2019 at age 90, wrote 30 books. Christian bookstores and publishers are among those dealing with the fallout of last month’s report on Vanier’s ‘manipulative sexual relationships.’ In Winnipeg, Stephanchew’s Church Goods took the only book by Vanier in the store off its shelves.” By John Longhurst, Winnipeg Free Press

West Virginia Catholics turn to ‘restorative justice’ I wake of bishop revelations
“More than one hundred West Virginians ranging from victim-survivors to key diocesan officials gathered at Wheeling University last week to learn how restorative justice practices might bring healing to their scandal-plagued Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston(link is external). Following Bishop Michael Bransfield’s resignation in September of 2018, West Virginians gradually learned about extensive allegations of sexual harassment and financial abuse during his thirteen-year tenure … Against that backdrop, participants at last week’s conference explored the theological and biblical foundations for the use of restorative justice.” By Nick Mayrand, Cruxnow.com

Dozens of Catholic priests credibly accused of abuse found work abroad, some with the Church’s blessing
“The Rev. Jose Antonio Pinal, a young priest from Mexico, arrived at his first parish in rural Northern California in 1980, fresh out of seminary … Thirty years later, in the spring of 2019, the Diocese of Sacramento put Pinal’s name on its list of credibly accused priests. The list had five allegations of sexual abuse against Pinal dating to the late 1980s. Pinal had ‘fled to Mexico,’ according to the list, and the diocese had prohibited him from performing priestly work in public in the 20 counties that make up the diocese. But an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle shows the Catholic Church allowed or aided dozens of priests — including Pinal — to serve abroad as priests after being credibly accused of abuse in the United States(link is external).” By Katie Zavadski, Topher Sanders, ProPublica, and Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle

ACCOUNTABILITY

A year later, Catholic Church checks progress on abuse
“Since Pope Francis convened a historic summit at the Vatican one year ago to address clergy sex abuse and accountability, much has been done, but advocates say more is needed(link is external). Dozens of experts, abuse survivors and their advocates came to Rome the same week as the summit’s anniversary to emphatically reiterate the need to never let ignorance, complacency or denial ever take hold again and to make the Church safe for everyone.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in Arkansas Catholic

Pope lets French cardinal embroiled in abuse cover-up resign
“Pope Francis on Friday (Mar. 6) accepted the resignation of a French cardinal who was convicted and then acquitted of covering up for a pedophile priest(link is external) in a case that fueled a reckoning over clergy sexual abuse in France. Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 69, had offered to resign when the Lyon court in March 2019 first convicted him and gave him a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report the predator priest to police.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on WSLS-TV10 News

Leading Catholic figure Francis Sullivan calling for changes after sex abuse crisis
“LEADING Catholic figure Francis Sullivan has criticized Church authorities for a ‘glaring lack of moral leadership’ over the child sex abuse crisis(link is external) and has called for the Church to change its ‘terms of engagement’ if it is to remain relevant and engaged in Australia. ‘Unless we break the shackles of entitlement and cronyism, become inclusive and more representative in our decision-making we risk losing any claim to renewal and reform,’ Mr Sullivan, former chief executive officer of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, told the biennial Catholic Social Services national conference in Melbourne on February 27.” By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

Turning the abuse crisis discussion to deeper themes
“Two Catholic leaders recently turned the discussion about the crisis in the church away from a focus on institutional change to the less measurable work of transformation(link is external), the significance of relationships and the need for members of the hierarchy to confront that culture’s past. Sr. Carol Zinn, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia and executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, widely considered one of the most significant forces in revealing the truth of the sex abuse crisis, advanced their ideas in separate interviews.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Vanier abuse revelations prompt Catholic soul-searching
“When news went public last week that Jean Vanier, the renowned Canadian theologian who transformed the way the world views the disabled, had sexually abused several women seeking his spiritual counsel, the revelations provoked not just shock, but also serious reflection(link is external). Given that the news was so unexpected from a figure such as Vanier, many Catholic experts and admirers pondered deep questions, such as just how widespread this form of manipulative abuse of adults is within the Catholic Church; the speed at which such towering figures as Vanier are popularly declared as saints; as well as the complex intersection of sin and virtue, as Vanier is someone who clearly exhibited both deviance and inspiration.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com, in Angelus

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis’ diplomatic triumph with U.S. bishops
“For some time, a narrative has developed among Catholic pundits and observers suggesting that Pope Francis and the bishops of the United States do not get along with each other(link is external). While much of that narrative has been a creation of media spin, relationships between the U.S. bishops and the Holy See did, in fact, decline in recent years amid the real tension occasioned by the McCarrick scandal.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

Father James Alison on how Pope Francis is changing the church
“Imagine picking up the phone only to hear Pope Francis’ voice on the other line. It seems almost absurd, yet this is what happened to me a couple of years ago. After a senior member of the Brazilian church hierarchy sought to have me forcibly laicized (which I have written about in further detail elsewhere), Pope Francis called me to confirm my vocation to the priesthood(link is external).” By James Alison, U.S. Catholic

CARDINALS

Cupich on new Catholic Church abuse protection task force: ‘regaining trust has to begin with a profound sense of responsibility
“In their first interview since Pope Francis named them among the leaders of a new worldwide task force on sexual abuse protections(link is external), Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Rev. Hans Zollner this week sketched out how they plan to help Catholic leaders across the world comply with new protection guidelines. The task force was created by Francis to help bishops write new local guidelines to adhere to universal church rules issued last year.” By Javonte Anderson, Chicago Tribune

CARDINAL PELL

The word is George Pell will walk free … but first the high court must have its say
“The word around the bars is: George Pell will walk free. These barristers don’t have a heads up. They’re only talking among themselves. But those who have followed this prosecution as it has made its slow and dramatic way to the high court must face the possibility that the cardinal is about to be acquitted(link is external). Historic child sex assaults make difficult cases. The facts are frequently bizarre. So often there is no corroborating evidence and the word of the accuser is simply pitted against the denials of the accused. These trials test the criminal law.” By David Marr, The Guardian

BISHOPS

Philippine bishops say abuse of women is an ‘affront to God’
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has highlighted the value of women, noting that abuse of women is ‘an affront to God(link is external).’ ‘God made man and woman according to his own image and likeness. Every offense against the dignity of women is a direct offense against God himself,’[ said Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan, chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on Women.” By Catholic News Agency

PRIESTS

Study finds more than 50 accused priests active outside U.S.
“A new analysis of diocesan lists of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse in the United States finds that more than 50 such clerics have been able to continue in ministry in another country(link is external), including work with minors, suggesting global gaps in the Church’s response to the abuse crisis. The findings, published jointly last week by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle, is a follow-up to an investigative effort commenced last year and published in January that includes the launch of an independent database listing nearly 6,000 priests accused of abuse in America.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Whistle-blower priest seeks lifting of suspension imposed by disgraced bishop
“As Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, the temporary leader of the Diocese of Buffalo, considers whether to reinstate a whistleblower priest, further questions have emerged(link is external) about both whistleblower protections and potential conflicts of interest regarding the priest in question. Father Ryszard Biernat last year secretly recorded private conversations with Bishop Richard Malone in which the now disgraced bishop raised serious questions about his handling of abuse cases and diocesan personnel matters – including a matter involving Biernat himself.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN DEACONS

Women deacons possible after ‘Synodal Way,’ says German bishops’ chairman
“The new chairman of the German bishops’ conference has said that calling for the ordination of women could be a conclusion of the two-year ‘synodal way(link is external)’ being undertaken by the Church in Germany. Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg said in a radio interview Monday (Mar. 9) for International Women’s Day that such a conclusion would require Roman approval.” By Bishop Georg Bötzing of Limburg, Catholic San Francisco

What we can learn from the women deacons of the early Eastern Christian church
“The earliest period of Christianity flourished with great attention to the members of the community, with great care shown for women in the church(link is external). The New Testament demonstrates concern for the widows as well as the general well-being of women. The nascent Christian community worked assiduously to continue to spread the message of Jesus Christ and to develop ways of continuing to realize His mystery in their midst.” By Sean Salai, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Catholic women seek changes in policies, practices of church
“On International Women’s Day on Sunday (Mar. 8), women have demanded equality in the Catholic Church of India(link is external). In a memorandum submitted to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and advisor to Pope Francis, women have called for a prophetic church where their voices count, and demanded respect from the clergy in their communication.” By Jyoti Shelar, The Hindu

Germany: women demand more sway in Catholic Church
“Catholic women in Germany have intensified their demand for more sway in the church(link is external) as leaders met on Tuesday to elect a new leader of the Catholic Church in Germany. Women’s rights advocates on Monday (Mar. 2) had presented church leaders at the German Bishops Conference —the governing body of the Catholic Church in Germany — with a petition with over 130,000 signatures calling for more women in leadership roles. More than 50 women also gathered outside the cathedral in the western city of Mainz, where the conference is taking place, to show their support for the movement coined ‘Maria 2.0.’ By Deutsche-Welle

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Clergy and laity share ‘co-responsibility’ if Church, bishop says
“Caggiano recounted this story at a session of the ‘Called and Co-Responsible: Exploring Co-Responsibility for the Mission of the Church’ conference, hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame on March 4-6. The three-day event is part of a series of programs hosted by Notre Dame as a response to the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Church(link is external). The talks at the event addressed different facets of “co-responsibility,” a phrase Pope Benedict XVI favored over “collaboration” to describe the relationship between laity and the clergy.” By Jack Lyons, Cruxnow.com

VATICAN

Who’s missing on the Vatican’s new abuse task force?
“Recently the Vatican announced Pope Francis has created a task force to help bishops’ conferences around the world address the clerical sex abuse crisis. The lineup is impressive, but much like a high-profile February 2019 summit on child protection, laypeople — women in particular — are the missing link(link is external). The eight-man lineup for the task force includes seven clerics, two of whom are regarded by all sides as part of the solution to the abuse crisis: Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, once the Vatican’s top prosecutor on priestly abuse of minors; and German Father Hans Zollner, SJ, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and director of the Center for Child Protection of Rome’s Gregorian University.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com, on AngelusNews.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Jury gets case of former Rapid City priest
“The trial of a former Rapid City Catholic priest accused of stealing from church collections is now in the hands of the jury(link is external). The jury got the case of 41-year old Marcin Garbacz after closing arguments Monday morning (Mar. 9). Garbacz is facing a total of 65 charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, transportation of stolen money and filing a false tax return. In his closing statement Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson told the jury that they believe Garbacz stole nearly $260,000 from parishes in the Rapid City Diocese, depositing the money in his bank account, then taking that money across state lines when he moved to Missouri and didn’t declare the money on his tax return.” By Jack Caudill, KOTA-TV News

CHILD PROTECTION

No system ‘will ever by perfect’ but Church abuse prevention is improving
“According to one of the lay members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, it would be ‘naïve’ to think that every case of abuse can be prevented(link is external), though much can be done to greatly reduce the number of cases and stop repeat offenders. ‘If we would expect that with all the guidelines we have in place we can prevent abuse 100 percent, we would be naïve,’ said Dr. Myriam Wijlens of the Netherlands. ‘We cannot prevent it in the Church in as much as we cannot prevent it in the Scouts or sports. No system will ever be perfect.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

The Protection of Minors meeting a year on: an Irish perspective
“It’s been a year since Church leaders, abuse survivors and experts came to the Vatican for an unprecedented summit entitled the ‘Protection of Minors in the Church.(link is external)’ The meeting provided the opportunity to listen to victims, raise awareness, develop new norms and procedures, and share good practices. It also focused on three key themes: responsibility, accountability and transparency.” By Lydia O’Kane, Vatican News

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Argentina’s Catholic numbers in sharp decline, following Latin American trend
“A recent national survey reports that the number of Catholics in Argentina is declining while the proportion of people without a religion is increasing(link is external), but analysts consider that the still-high percentage of people who believe in God—82 percent—is a sign that the church has an opportunity to prevent further losses in the South American country … Juan Cruz Esquivel is a professor at the University of Buenos Aires and a Conicet researcher. He was part of the team that conducted the study. ‘The 1960 census showed that Catholics represented 90 percent of the population in Argentina,’ he said, noting the figure dropped by almost 14 percentage points by 2008, “a period of 48 years,’ and experienced another 14 percentage-point drop by 2019, this time over a period of only 11 years.” By Eduardo Campos Lima, America: The Jesuit Review

VOICES

Leadership Roundtable brings a dose of reality to the church
“No event planner could have orchestrated a scene that better explains the state of the church in the United States at this moment than the recent tableau that unfolded in a large ballroom in the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Leadership Roundtable, more than 260 people gathered in small groups at, appropriately enough, round tables for a by-invitation only discussion of some of the weightiest questions facing the U.S. church in the 21st century … Here in this kind of synodal space of the future, no one, not even the papal representative, voiced a public objection to the prevailing motivation for the gathering: the church is in crisis and needs help.(link is external)” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Healing the scars of scandal
“This Lent, perhaps more than ever, the critically wounded Catholic Church is being called to more deeply examine its dark side(link is external). The process of repentance and reform is both individual and communal, but time has taught us that the road to conversion also needs to be collaborative. All of us — including clergy, seminarians, sisters and brothers, and the laity — need to examine the church’s past and envision its future together and use our gifts to breathe life into a gasping institution.” By Pat McDonough, Newsday

Fully reckon with the harm caused to victims of childhood sexual abuse
“The Catholic prayer known as the ‘Act of Contrition’ is prayed when seeking forgiveness. The prayer says nothing about shielding oneself from the consequences of one’s sins. It’s a simple and penitential plea, an acceptance of responsibility and a resolution to do better. If only that had been the guiding principle of the Roman Catholic Church in its handling of priestly sexual abuse of children(link is external).” By The Sentinel-Journal Editorial Board

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Lawmakers hear testimony on ending the Statute of Limitations on sex assault
“Victims of childhood sexual abuse urged lawmakers Tuesday (Mar.3) to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual abuse(link is external). Children with that traumatic experience need time to heal before disclosing what happened and that is often longer than the current time limit for prosecution of 22 years, said Catherine Devine, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney. ‘Closing the courthouse door on an arbitrary time limit does not change prosecution,’ Devine told the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.” By Garry Rayno, InDepthNH.org

Outlier South Dakota Legislature again fails to protect children
“The South Dakota Legislature has again had the chance to vote to open the statute of limitation for survivors of child sexual abuse. The politicians again have voted it down(link is external), unlike 14 other states in the country. This is nothing new. They went so far in 2010 as to pass one of the most restrictive laws for survivors in the country. They do this despite examples of ongoing abuse such as at the St Paul’s Mission School. When will the South Dakota Legislature start protecting the children, not the predators?” By Mike Bryant, The Legal Examiner

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Walking with ‘suffering Christ’ means standing with victims, priest says
“Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the world’s leading experts on safeguarding minors, said the church is suffering ‘institutional trauma’ from clerical sexual abuse(link is external), trauma that it must learn to integrate into its theology and understanding of salvation if it is to overcome it. He visited the Archdiocese of Chicago March 1-3 to speak with seminarians, clergy and members of religious congregations on ‘The Present Status of Safeguarding in the Church,’ which also was the topic of his March 2 DePaul University talk.” By Michelle Martin, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Survey of sex abuse victims hopes to dispel myths about survivors
“A survivor of sexual abuse is conducting what she believes is the first broad survey of victims of sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church(link is external), with the hopes that the information will clarify and counteract common misperceptions about the survivor community. Among those myths: that all the victims are male and were abused by priests.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Notre Dame Forum examines Catholic laity’s role in responding to sex abuse crisis
“The 2019-20 Notre Dame Forum series, ‘Rebuild My Church: Crisis and Response,’ continues March 4-6 with a look at the relationship between clergy and laity in addressing the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis(link is external). Called & Co-responsible will be an academic and pastoral conference hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. Drawing upon Pope Benedict’s 2012 speech, the conference will address questions about the nature of leadership in the Church, and how lay people are not to be merely collaborators with the clergy, but are rather truly co-responsible for the Church’s being and activity.” By Anna Bradley, Notre Dame News

ILLINOIS

Accused priest in Rock Island sues Peoria Diocese: ‘I am innocent’
“Sometimes, John Onderko celebrates Mass alone in his home in Rock Island. Other times, he hears confessions from people who knew him from the old days, before he was barred from priestly duties by the Roman Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations(link is external). A priest for 58 years, Onderko served from June 1981 through June 1993 at St. Mary’s in Moline, then was reassigned to LaSalle, Ill., and served at numerous other parishes in Illinois. Onderko, 83, no longer can publicly represent himself as a priest or engage in any priestly functions. Yet he maintains his innocence.” By Linda Cook, Quad City Times

LOUISIANA

Times-Picayune, three TV stations seek unsealing of records on accused predator priest
“The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and the city’s three leading television news outlets filed a motion Monday (Mar. 9) asking a judge to publicly release court records detailing the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ handling of a retired priest who stands accused of being a serial child molester(link is external). Attorneys for an alleged victim suing both the priest, Lawrence Hecker, and the archdiocese already have the documents in question, but the archdiocese has claimed the records are confidential and subject to a protective order preventing their release.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com

Retired New Orleans priest likened in court docs to notorious Boston clerical abuser
“A trove of still-hidden church documents show a retired New Orleans priest was ‘a serial pedophile’ who abused children for decades(link is external) and was never reported to all relevant law enforcement authorities by Archdiocese of New Orleans officials, according to allegations in a court filing Monday (Mar. 2) by attorneys representing a person claiming to be one of the priest’s victims.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com

MICHIGAN

Former Michigan priest charged with additional child sexual abuse charges
“A former Catholic priest who allegedly abused his power to sexually abuse children while working in the Upper Peninsula was arraigned on more criminal sexual conduct charges(link is external) on Tuesday, March 10. Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, was arraigned on two additional criminal sexual conduct cases that he reportedly committed in the early 1980s while serving as a priest under the Catholic Diocese of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Attorney General announced.” By Justine Lofton, MLive.com

MINNESOTA

Court approves $34 million clergy abuse settlement with New Ulm Diocese
“After tearful testimony by several survivors of clergy sexual abuse and a heartfelt apology from Bishop John LeVoir, the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and area churches won approval Tuesday (Mar. 10) of a $34 million settlement with nearly 100 claimants(link is external). Just as important to the victims: The diocese agreed to adopt 17 protocols designed to protect children from abuse and to turn over its files on credibly accused priests.” By Dan Browning, Star Tribune

MISSOURI

Witness testifies, third allegation presented against retired Catholic priest
“One witness took the stand and publicly testified to his allegations of being sexually assaulted by retired Catholic priest Fred Lutz(link is external) at a bond hearing Monday. The retired priest was arrested Feb. 19 at his home in Springfield, Missouri, and charged with the unclassified felony of forcible sodomy, two class C felony counts of second-degree statutory sodomy and one class C felony count of sexual abuse.” By Ben Matthews, Southeast Missourian

NEW JERSEY

Priest sexually abused me for years and N.J. diocese knew he was a danger, woman says in suit
“A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden accusing a priest of sexually abused her(link is external) decades ago when she was a child while church officials allowed it to happen. Patricia Cahill, 67, of Bergen County, claims the Rev. Daniel Francis Marks Millard, sexually abused her from 1957 to 1965, according to the suit, filed Feb. 4 in Camden County Superior Court.” By Anthony G. Attrino, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Buffalo’s Bishop Edward Grosz
“Pope Francis Monday (Mar. 2) accepted the resignation of Bishop Edward Grosz, the auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, who has been accused of mishandling a sex abuse allegation(link is external). Grosz, who turned 75 on February 16, offered his resignation at the age required by canon law. The Vatican’s March 2 announcement accepting Grosz’s resignation did not indicate whether it will conduct any investigation into the allegation against the bishop.” By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

Buffalo Roman Catholic Diocese seeks bankruptcy protection
“The embattled Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday (Feb. 28), taking another major step in its effort to recover from a clergy misconduct scandal that’s been the basis for hundreds of lawsuits(link is external), Vatican intervention and the resignation of its bishop. With its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the western New York diocese became the second in the state to file for Chapter 11 reorganization, and one of more than 20 dioceses to seek bankruptcy protection nationwide. Most recently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed Feb. 19.” By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, in Citrus County Chronicle

New strategy includes suing parishes to get around Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy
“South Buffalo resident Dennis Archilla filed a childhood sex abuse lawsuit in September to expose the Buffalo Diocese for protecting a pedophile priest. ‘I wanted the public to know just how deep the deception is in the Catholic Church(link is external),’ Archilla said. Archilla believes that deception continued when the diocese on Friday (Feb. 28) filed for bankruptcy – effectively bringing his and more than 250 other Child Victims Act lawsuits to a grinding halt.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte Diocese adds two new names to list of clergy ‘credibly accuses’ of abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has made additions to a list of clergy it considers credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The diocese initally published a list in late December that included 14 former clergy members and 23 clergy members who were assigned here but were accused elsewhere. The update on the diocese’s website includes two new names.” By Sarah Delia, WFAE-FM Public Radio

NORTH DAKOTA

Ex-Fargo priest says he isn’t remorseful for sexually abusing kids
“A former Fargo priest says he is not remorseful for sexual assault incidents(link is external) that happened dozens of years ago. New documents revealed his name, Martin Cullen, as well as 52 other North Dakota Catholic priests who were moved to other churches after being accused of sexually abusing minors. Three lawyers held a press conference in Fargo on Thursday (Mar. 5) stating they are making it their business to change state laws for victims of sexual abuse.” By Joshua Peguero, Valley News Live

Lawyers demand North Dakota Catholic dioceses ‘end cover-up of clergy abuse,’ release files
“Lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clerics released a report detailing the assignments of priests the church has identified as having been accused of sexual abuse and demanded the public release of church files(link is external). The lawyers provided information about the church assignments of 53 priests, deacons and others who face substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in a news conference on Wednesday, March 4. The Catholic dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck had released the names of the priests and others in January, but did not share details about which parishes they had served.” By Patrick Springer, Inforum.com

OHIO

Why aren’t Ohio officials investigating Catholic sex abuse cases
“A year after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released its list of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse, some survivors and advocates still are pressing Ohio officials to take action. The list, one of many released by dioceses across the country, was spurred in part by a state grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, released in August 2018. But when asked why Ohio doesn’t investigate the issue, state officials point to a home-rule law stating that county prosecutors must request such an investigation before the attorney general can initiate it.” By Danae King, The Columbus Dispatch

Strongsville priest awaiting indictment by federal grand jury
“Strongsville priest Robert McWilliams is now in the custody of the U.S. Marshals as he waits indictment from a federal grand jury on child sex crime charges(link is external). McWilliams, 39, who was previously a seminarian at St. Helen’s Catholic Church in Newbury Township appeared in federal court Feb. 27 where court records show he waived a preliminary hearing on charges of child pornography, child exploitation and juvenile sex trafficking.” By Andrew Cass, The News-Herald

PENNSYLVANIA

Rev. Hugh Lang’s abuse conviction overturned by judge
“A judge on Monday (Mar. 9) morning tossed out the conviction and sentencing of the Rev. Hugh Lang, arguing that the Catholic priest received an unfair trial(link is external) last year when he was convicted on charges he sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy in 2001. ‘I’m going to grant a new trial,’ said Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani, who took over the case from Judge Mark Tranquilli, who presided over the trial last year.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Monsignor Willian Lynn back in court prepping for retrial for allegedly covering up clergy sex abuse reports
“Monsignor William Lynn was back before a Philadelphia judge on Monday (Mar. 2). The former archdiocesan official is prepping for his retrial in two weeks. Lynn and lawyers won’t comment because of a gag order. Prosecutors are arguing pretrial motions to get certain evidence admitted, including grand jury testimony and testimony from his first trial. Lynn was the first highest ranking church official convicted of covering up reports of clergy sex abuse(link is external).” By Philadelphia CBS3 Staff

Allentown Diocese says earlier accusation against now jailed priest was ‘unfounded.’ Prosecutors disagree.
“In May 2016 a 15-year-old girl told someone that the Rev. Kevin Lonergan had touched her inappropriately(link is external). The allegation triggered investigations by the Northampton County Children, Youth and Families Division, Forks Township police, and the district attorney’s office. Lonergan was suspended during the investigation, and the Allentown Catholic Diocese said Monday that it reinstated him a few months later because Children and Youth determined the accusation was ‘unfounded.’” By Peter Hall, Daniel Patrick Sheehan and Sarah M. Wojcik, The Morning Call

Harrisburg Diocese files for reorganization under Chapter 11 of Bankruptcy Code
“Bishop Ronald W. Gainer said Feb. 19 the restructuring process provided for by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will allow the Diocese of Harrisburg to lay a foundation to build upon and secure its future(link is external). ‘Our diocese has had to come to terms with the harsh reality that we no longer have the funds to meet our current obligations,’ the bishop said at a news conference to announce the diocese has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.” By Rachel Bryson, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

RHODE ISLAND

An explosive new clergy abuse lawsuit is filed as the Rhode Island Attorney General reviews the Providence Diocese’s records
“As an explosive allegation of clergy sexual abuse(link is external) in Rhode Island emerged in a lawsuit filed Thursday (Feb. 28), state prosecutors said they are conducting an exhaustive review of more than 100,000 documents related to the sexual abuse of children that have been turned over by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. The attorney general’s office is examining files going back 70 years to determine whether any of the cases warrant criminal charges — and whether there are any credibly accused clergy still in the ministry.” By Amanda Milkovits, The Boston Globe

TENNESSEE

Catholic diocese releases list of 20 priests ‘credibly accused’ of child sexual abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Memphis has released a list of priests accused of child sexual abuse during their time in Memphis and West Tennessee. The list of ‘credibly accused’ priests spans more than 50 years and was compiled at the request of Bishop David Talley shortly after he became leader of the Diocese that covers West Tennessee including Memphis.” By Bill Dries, Daily Memphian

WEST VIRGINIA

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston expanding safety, background program
“In a mission to increase safety and reduce risk in Catholic schools and parishes, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is expanding its Safe Environment Program(link is external). Bishop Mark Brennan and the diocese announced changes to the program on Thursday (Mar. 5). This comes 16 months after the diocese released the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, and follows former Bishop Michael Bransfield stepping down amidst sexual harassment allegations.” By MetroNews Staff

WISCONSIN

Priest accused of sex abuse cleared by Madison Diocese
“The Catholic Diocese of Madison has deemed allegations of sexual misconduct against the Rev. William A. Nolan not credible(link is external). Nolan served in several southern Wisconsin parishes. ‘In the coming days, Fr. Nolan will be reinstated to his previous status as a retired priest of the Diocese of Madison in good standing,’ according to a news release from diocese communications director Brent M. King.” By Frank Schultz, GazetteXtra

AUSTRALIA

Broome bishop Christopher Saunders stands down over serious allegations
“One of Australia’s highest-ranking Catholics has voluntarily stood aside amid serious allegations(link is external). On Wednesday (Mar. 11) afternoon the Catholic Church issued a statement saying Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders, 70, had stepped aside from the administration of the diocese and Monsignor Paul Boyers had been appointed to take care of the day to day running of the parish.” By Marta Pascual Juanola, WAToday

ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson on making Revelation and coming face-to-face with two of the Catholic Church’s worst serial pedophiles
“Sarah Ferguson spends her working life wading through murky waters, tackling difficult, confronting and harrowing stories but none has tested her like the project that consumed her for the past year: Revelation — a three-part documentary investigation into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church(link is external), in which she comes face to face with two of Australia’s most notorious serial paedophiles. ‘I’m used to intense projects but this one has been more intense and more challenging than anything I have ever done,’ says Ferguson. ‘Throughout the long-running scandal of clerical abuse in Australia, there was one voice we hadn’t heard and that was the perpetrators.’” By Natasha Johnson, ABC

BRAZIL

Sao Paulo Archdiocese creates commission to investigate abuse
“The Archdiocese of Sao Paulo announced the creation of a commission to investigate allegations of sexual abuse linked to the Catholic Church(link is external). Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Sao Paulo said the measure follows Pope Francis’ May 2019 document establishing new procedures for reporting abuse and violence within the Catholic Church. He said the commission will not only receive reports of sexual abuse committed by clergy and religious, but it will look at all areas of the church’s life in order to prevent abuse.” By Lise Alves, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

CANADA

Survivors irritated: IDs of most Canadian bishops protection committee members secret
“The Canadian bishops’ Standing Committee for the Responsible Ministry and Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons met for the first time in January, but the fact that the identities of the majority of its members is kept secret irritates victims(link is external), who see a lack of transparency. Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, British Columbia, chairman of the Standing Committee, said it was clear ‘from our first meeting that they are eager to work and bring forward real change to prevent abuse from ever occurring, as well as to assume their critical role as advocates for the healing of victims-survivors.’” By Franois Gloutnay, Catholic News Service, Cruxnow.com

‘I keep asking why,’ victim tell scourt during Barry McGrory sentencing hearing
“The victim of a Catholic priest’s sexual abuse(link is external) says the incident caused him to lose his desire to be a priest, his faith in God, and his trust in the church. In a victim impact statement read at the sentencing hearing of defrocked priest Barry McGrory, the man, now an adult, said the betrayal has affected every aspect of his life. ‘The worst thing is I lost my faith for a long time: I felt so terrible without God in my life,’ he said in the written statement, read in court.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

GERMANY

German bishops approve guidelines for abuse case payments
“Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday (Mar. 5) approved new guidelines that likely will provide for payments ranging up to about 50,000 euros ($55,700) each for victims of sexual abuse by clergy(link is external). The church has been shaken in recent years by scandals in several countries, including Germany. A church-commissioned report in 2018 concluded that at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014 — more than half of them 13 or younger and nearly a third of them altar boys. A top bishop has apologized for the abuse.” By Associated Press

GUAM

‘A fugitive from justice’: concerned Catholics back move to laicize priest over abuse
“Concerned Catholics of Guam, which helped lead efforts to expose Guam’s clergy sex abuse of minors, backs the Archdiocese of Agana’s move to laicize Father Adrian Cristobal over alleged sexual abuse of multiple minors(link is external). ‘Father Adrian is a fugitive from justice, living outside of Guam, in an unknown location. Obviously, he is afraid to face his accusers for the alleged sexual abuse of children,’ Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan said.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Vatican dismisses Indian priest jailed for rape
“A diocese in southern India has announced completion of the process of laicization of a priest who is serving a 20-year jail term for raping and impregnating a minor girl three years ago(link is external). The laicization of Father Robin Vadakkumcherry has been completed with his acceptance of the Vatican’s dismissal decree and by informing the Vatican of his acceptance on March 1.” By Kochi, UCANews.com

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Feb. 28, 2020

TOP STORIES

Amazon Catholics pledge to press on after Pope says no to married priests
“Catholic communities across the Amazon said they would keep pushing for married men to be allowed to celebrate Mass in the remote rainforest region(link is external), after a papal decision on Wednesday (Feb. 12) blocked their path to the priesthood. In one of the most significant decisions of his papacy, Pope Francis on Wednesday dismissed the proposal designed to ease an acute scarcity of priests in the Amazon, where the Roman Catholic Church faces growing competition from Evangelical Christian faiths.” By Gabriel Stargardter and Maria Cervantes, Reuters

Defrocked priest appeals conviction for sex crimes in Maine
“A former Catholic priest is appealing his conviction for sexually abusing a young boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s(link is external). Ronald Paquin, now 77, was found guilty in 2018 of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy. A judge sentenced him last year to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended. Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse.” By Megan Gray, Portland Press Herald

Cardinal McCarrick secretly gave nearly $1 million to group led by cleric accused of sexual misconduct
“In the years before his removal from ministry, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick secretly gave nearly $1 million to a controversial group of Catholic missionaries and supported leniency for its founder after the Vatican punished him for sexual wrongdoing(link is external), internal church documents show. From 2004 to 2017, McCarrick sent the Institute of the Incarnate Word dozens of checks — some as large as $50,000 — from a charitable account he controlled at the Archdiocese of Washington, according to ledgers obtained by The Washington Post.” By Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow, Jr., The Washington Post

Survivor advocacy group accuses pope of cherry-picking abuse reforms
“As the one-year mark of Pope Francis’s landmark summit on child protection approaches, survivors of clerical abuse are arguing that the pope, while taking positive steps, is inconsistent in his response to the problem(link is external). Survivors have also called for the publication of the report on the Vatican’s lengthy investigation into former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and criticized Francis for apparently backing out of a commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to the issue.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

Pennsylvania diocese, facing more abuse claims, files for bankruptcy
“The Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday (Feb. 19), becoming the latest Roman Catholic diocese to seek protection from creditors as it faces tens of millions of dollars in outstanding claims from people who were sexually abused by clergy members(link is external). The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing came nearly two years after a devastating state grand jury report found that bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement agencies not to investigate it.” By Michael Levenson, The New York Times

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

Pssst! Have you ever clicked that little link above, the one that says “read the rest of this issue”? You should … You will find links for just about everything going on in our Catholic world that pertains to VOTF’s mission and goals. This week, in addition to the top stories, you will find links on accountability, Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell, various bishops and priests, women in the Church, church finances (a bunch), celibacy and married priests, lay voices … go ahead, click the link!

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


February 14, 2020

TOP STORIES

Pope Francis sets aside proposal on married priests
“Pope Francis has for now rejected a landmark proposal by bishops to allow the ordination of married men in remote areas(link is external), a potentially momentous change that conservatives had warned would set the Roman Catholic Church on a slippery slope toward lifting priestly celibacy and weakening church traditions. Francis’ decision, in a papal letter made public on Wednesday (Feb. 12), surprised many given the openness he had displayed on the subject and his frequently expressed desire for a more collegial and less top-down church.” By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

Nonprofit created for Diocese of Fort Worth donations to avoid bishop intervention
“Those who spearheaded a petition asking for Bishop Michael Olson’s removal have formed a nonprofit organization to financially support Diocese of Fort Worth parishes, clergy and charities(link is external) without the intervention of the bishop. ‘We don’t trust where the bishop is spending money, but we still want the church to exist,’ said Stephen Knobbe, a founding member of the Laity in Unity Foundation.Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the diocese, said the bishop could not comment on the foundation because he had not been made aware of it.” By Nichole Manna, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about our database of credibly accused priests. Here are a few answers
“We published a database in Januaryof Catholic clergy who have been deemed ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse or misconduct(link is external) by nearly 180 dioceses and religious orders around the country. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have searched the database.A number of those people have reached out with questions about the project. Many have shared personal stories as survivors of abuse. And although the officially released lists total more than 5,800 unique names, dozens of people have written in to suggest names of clergy who they believe have been left off. We’re glad to hear from readers, and we wanted to provide answers to several of the most common questions we’ve received.”By Ellis Simani, Pro Publica

Landmark priest abuse retrial now missing its key witness
“The first US church official ever imprisoned over priest abuse complaints(link is external) will soon be retried in court without a single victim. A landmark 2011 case first began the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, 69, who was eventually convicted of ‘felony child endangerment’ for his time working as a secretary for the clergy at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”By Allie Miller, Philly Voice

Suzanne Healy named chair of U.S. Bishops’ National Review Board
“Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has appointed Mrs. Suzanne Healy, the former Victims Assistance Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as the next chair of the National Review Board(link is external). Mrs. Healy succeeds Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., who concludes his term as chair after the bishops’ June 2020 meeting.The National Review Board advises the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and works closely with the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection in accordance with the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which the bishops adopted in 2002.” By U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

States use Catholic clergy abuse lists to screen applicants
“In the wake of revelations that scores of Roman Catholic priests and religious workers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living unsupervised in communities across the country, state officials face a quandary: Should they screen former clergy members who seek licenses for jobs that put them in contact with children(link is external)? And, if so, how? An Associated Press investigation last fall found nearly 200 accused clergy members had been granted teaching, mental health or social work licenses, with roughly six dozen still holding valid licenses to work in those fields in 2019.” By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer, The Associated Press

Abuse victim advocates, laity suffer from ‘vicarious trauma’
“The past two decades have been traumatic ones for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and for the Catholic Church as whole. Waves of scandals, financial crises and closures of parishes and schools have battered the faithful, leaving many discouraged and disgusted(link is external). In particular, the ongoing clerical sexual abuse crisis has profoundly wounded scores of victims within the archdiocese, while also scarring loved ones, counselors, advocates and rank-and-file Catholics.” By Gina Christian, CatholicPhilly.com

Martinsville priest refuces to sign order to silence from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond
“That truce reached last week in a dispute between a Martinsville priest and a Richmond bishop that preserved the priest’s job now appears to have been short-lived. About 24 hours after that meeting last Wednesday (Feb.5), Father Mark White, priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount, was visited in Rocky Mount by officials of the Diocese of Richmond and again was threatened with the loss of his position(link is external).” By Bill Wyatt, Martinsville Bulletin

ACCOUNTABILITY

Why Catholics should welcome ProPublica’s clergy sex abuse database
“On Jan. 28, the nonprofit news organization ProPublica published a report headlined ‘Catholic Leaders Promised Transparency about Child Abuse. They Haven’t Delivered.” This report contains the names of the 5,800 priests and deacons who have been publicly identified by the bishops or superiors of 174 dioceses and religious orders as having had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor made against them in recent decades(link is external). In other words, ProPublica has created the only ‘List of Lists’ of Catholic clergy abusers in the United States.” By Kathleen McChesney, America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic investigations remain shrouded in secrecy
“Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone resignedin December 2019 after intense public criticism for his handling of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.His departure came three months after the Vatican announced what’s called an ‘apostolic visitation’ into Malone’s diocese, or region.In my research on clergy sexual abuse, I’ve learned that these investigations are still shrouded in secrecy(link is external).” By Brian J. Clites, Case Western Reserve University, in The Salt Lake Tribune

Should clergy in Utah be required to report confessed child abuse? Catholic Church opposes bill
“In the 2019 fiscal year, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services received 42,428 reports of child abuse or neglect, according to their annual report. Of that number, 21,401 were accepted for formal assessment by Child Protective Services and 10,828 confirmed child victims were found.All of those numbers were up from 2018, according to the same report … But what if there were a way to help even more children? One lawmaker hopes to do just that by making amendments to Utah’s child abuse reporting laws, eliminating exemptions for clergy including priests, rabbis and other religious leaders from reporting child abuse(link is external).” By Holie Reina, St. George News

CARDINALS

French cardinal to offer resignation again to Pope Francis despite acquittal over sex abuse cover-up
A cardinal in France says he will again offer his resignation to Pope Francis – despite being acquitted over a sex abuse cover-up(link is external). Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, was convicted last March and given a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report an abusive priest to police.Pope Francis refused Barbarin’s first offer to quit, saying he wanted to wait until the appeals process is complete.Barbarin was acquitted on appeal on Thursday (Jan. 30).”By Euronews with Agence France-Press and Associated Press

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

McCarrick report: questions needing answers
“The Vatican is getting ready to release a report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was found to have sexually abused minors and slept with seminarians(link is external). The report, mandated by Pope Francis, will need to be detailed and comprehensive if it is going to satisfy the public’s demand for more transparency in the church.Few scandals have rocked the Catholic Church like the story of McCarrick’s sexual abuse of minors and seminarians.”By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Parolin: on McCarrick report release, Pope Francis has ‘final word’
“Pope Francis will make the final decision on when to publish a highly-anticipated report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external), the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Thursday. ‘I think that [the report] will come out soon, I cannot tell you exactly when,’ Parolin told a small group of journalists on February 6. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on holiness, the cardinal said “we are trying to speed up the time to arrive” at the publication of the report on the Vatican’s internal investigation into the disgraced former cardinal. Parolin did confirm that he expects the document to be released ‘in the near future.’” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency in Catholic Herald

BISHOPS

Polish bishop investigated over sex abuse allegations
“The Catholic Church is investigating claims that a bishop in Poland sexually abused a young girl(link is external) decades ago, the clergyman confirmed on Monday (Feb. 10). Jan Szkodon, a bishop in the southern city of Krakow, said in a statement that the Vatican had told him of the inquiry, adding that the accusations were ‘false and harmful’ — though he gave no further detail. The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper carries claims that he molested a 15-year-old girl in 1998.” By Agence France-Presse on VOANews.com

Catholic Church orders more inquiry into Minnesota bishpop
“Roman Catholic Church leaders in Rome authorized more investigation into claims that a northern Minnesota bishop interfered with past investigations into clerical sexual misconduct with children(link is external), the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Tuesday (Feb. 5).The investigation into Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner began in September and was the first known of its kind under a new Vatican protocol designed to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.” By The Associated Press on Minnesota Public Radio News

Catholic bishops’ lists of ‘credibly accused priests’ is not what it appears to be
“A fascinating story has just come out showing how deceitful and self-serving Catholic bishops are when it comes to their lists of ‘credibly accused’ child molesting clerics(link is external). In short, it shows that most bishops provide inadequate and inaccurate information about these predator priests. Why? Well, Mary Gautier, a Catholic researcher at a Catholic school, wants us to believe that one reason is that ‘smaller dioceses with limited budgets’ supposedly ‘lacking the money or staff to dig through their archives.’ That’s bunk.” By AdamHorowitzLaw.com

PRIESTS

Peace be with you
“Martinsville priest Father Mark White’s popular blog has drawn lots of readers and the scorn of leaders of the Richmond Diocese because of his criticism of the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse cases. But his voice and his words have been silenced. This week he could be out of a job … That announcement, though, was only a byproduct of a much more troubling announcement that same month that has started a process that could threaten the appointment of a third priest in Martinsville, one whose only contribution to the sex scandal were his widely consumed comments about how badly he thought the church was handling(link is external) it.”By Bill Wyatt, Martinsville Bulletin

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Presence is vital to recruit younger women for consecrated life, congregations say
“An event in a Toronto pub eventually prompted a woman in her 30s to discern a call to religious life. A vocations director describes herself as ‘a ‘talent scout’ for God and my congregation. One community hired a 33-year-old married woman as a vocation coordinator because of her theology background and her familiarity with social media.These were among the more than 50 responses to Global Sisters Report’s invitation to share how congregations are reaching out to younger women(link is external)and about new members under age 40 who have joined their community in the past five years.” By Gail DeGeorge, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Professing faith: Impact of women in the Catholic Church is significant
“Today’s article takes another form. Yours truly was contacted by a young lady doing a research project on the role of women in the Catholic Church(link is external) and provided a series of questions. Herewith are my replies to some of them. I hasten to say that the following are my own opinions and not necessarily those of the Diocese of San Bernardino, of which I am a part.” By Gregory Elder, Redlands Daily Facts

CHURCH FINANCES

Diocese releases audited financial statements
“In the continued practice of full transparency, the Diocese of Bridgeport has released its Consolidated Financial Statements for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2019… Hanlon (Michael Hanlon, CPA, chief financial officer of the diocese) said he was again pleased to learn that the diocese of Bridgeport ranked again near the top of a recently released Voice of the Faithful nationwide annual report on diocesan financial transparency(link is external) practices and policies. The VOTF study reviewed the financial transparency and accountability of 145 dioceses and 32 archdioceses by analyzing transparency practices and policies. On a scale of 0-100, the Diocese of Bridgeport received a score of 92 for its policies and disclosures toward financial transparency.” On BridgeportDiocese.org

Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo bankruptcy imminent
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo faces near certain bankruptcy after posting a $5 million loss in 2019(link is external), and with a barrage of lawsuits from the clergy misconduct scandal still pending, according to a financial report released Thursday (Jan. 30). ‘In response to the magnitude of the number of claims, lawsuits and alleged damages, the (Central Administrative Offices) has determined that a filing of a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code is imminent,’ the diocese’s 2019 financial report said.” By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, in The Washington Times

Woman steals more than $250,000 from Del City Catholic church, police say
“An arrest warrant has been filed for a woman after police said she embezzled $253,000 from St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church(link is external) in Del City. According to police, personnel at the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City found discrepancies in the church’s payroll.The suspect, Darla Bralley, was an administrative assistant and bookkeeper at the church and, according to police, had been overpaying herself.”By Melissa Scavelli, FOX-TV25 News

CLERICALISM

Clericalism cited as root of sex abuse crisis
“In a Jan. 29 talk at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner said that clericalism is the root cause of the damage done to the church(link is external) and called out past systemic failure in reporting, punishing and stopping abuse. ‘There is general mistrust and suspicion on cardinals and bishops. This is not just happening in U.S. and Australia — the level of trust on bishops is below zero. And this has devastated an institution that is built on trust and faith,’ he said.” By Sarah Salvadore, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Germany’s synodal assembly draws praise, criticism from participants
“The first synodal assembly on the future of the Catholic Church in Germany(link is external) drew both praise and some criticism, with many of the 230 participants lauding what they called a special atmosphere in the debates on key reforms.Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said the spirit of the talks had been “positive and encouraging” and referred to the synodal path process as a “spiritual experiment,” reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

VOICES

‘Querida Amazonia’ shows how Francis is looking for deeper change
“Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia is a multifaceted document. I would like to look at what I found the most striking aspect of the text, its ecclesiological significance(link is external). Many NCR readers will be disappointed that the pope did not move forward on either ordaining viri probati to the priesthood, older deacons who could then preside at Eucharist and absolve sins in the sacrament of penance, or ordaining women deacons. Certainly, the final document of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon last October invited him to address both these issues. Why didn’t he? I think the pope is looking for a deeper change.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

For healing, Catholic Church must open sexual-abuse scandal records
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission model recently proposed for the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle offers a path of healing in the aftermath of the sexual-abuse scandal perpetrated by clergy and officials of the church(link is external). We are part of a much broader group of concerned Catholics, abuse survivors and current and former clergy who have been meeting the last year and a half in various parishes seeking accountability and healing.” By John McKay, Terrence Carroll and Colleen Kinerk, The Seattle Times

Time for the Buffalo Diocese to confess
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo faces many agonizing questions, two of which are how best to handle the tsunami of sexual abuse allegations against its priests and how to reclaim the support of parishioners who have stopped giving as a result of the revelations.Both factors are leading the church toward a decision to seek protectionin federal bankruptcy court. Both factors also share a solution: Don’t hide(link is external).” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Catholic Church’s handling of abuse cases betrays core values
“I applaud California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his decision to investigate the Catholic Church in California (State opens investigation into San Jose, Oakland Dioceses’ handling of sex abuse allegations). I am a clergy abuse survivor and still a practicing Catholic, but I have been fighting for this type of investigation for more than 20 years(link is external).As a child, I suffered abuse at the hands of Father Joseph Pritchard, formerly of Saint Martin of Tours Parish. My case was first reported to the San Jose diocese by Monsignor Michael McKiernan in 2000.” By John Salberg, The Mercury News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Senate passes bill extending sex crimes statute of limitations
“A bill that would have done away with the statute of limitations for certain child sex abuse crimes is making headway in the 2020(link is external) Indiana General Assembly. But some advocates are disappointed in how the bill has panned out. Indiana Senate Bill 109, proposed by Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, initially aimed to extend the amount of time survivors have to bring criminal charges against their abusers. Under current state law, Hoosiers who were sexually abused as children have until age 31 to criminally prosecute those who harmed them.” By Katie Stancombe, The Indiana Lawyer

Lawmakers seek to close gap in statute of limitations for sex crimes against children
“Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would close a gap in the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children(link is external).According to the current law, cases must be brought to a judge within six years if the victim is between the ages of 13 and 17. There is no time limit for a case to be prosecuted if the child is under the age of 13. ‘I feel really bad for the victims. I feel bad that we would set a time limit, a timer, on those crimes at all,’ said Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana).”By Ryan Laughlin, KOB-TV4 News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

The survival of David Clohessy
“On June 13, 2002, David Clohessy stepped into the light of history. A former altar boy in a rural Catholic church in Moberly, Missouri, he stood at a podium in a massive hotel ballroom in Dallas — and staring back at him from row up upon row of tables, packed into the room ten-deep, were some 280 Catholic bishops. Many in that audience were already familiar with Clohessy as the national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests(link is external), or SNAP, the country’s longest-active support group for victims of clergy abuse. Clohessy had spent years trying to grab the bishops’ attention.” By Danny Wicentowski, Riverfront Times

Victim-survivor says affirmation, sharing his story a pathway to healing
“Michael Callaghan’s healing from clergy sexual abuse(link is external) took a big step forward after he saw the movie ‘Spotlight’ in 2015. The Academy Award-winning fact-based drama detailing the clerical abuse scandal in Boston moved Callaghan deeply and continues to drive him to help the healing process in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.” By Catholic News Service in Catholic Sentinel

Church damaged by abuse, ‘but more damage done to people,’ says abuse expert
“Almost 200 people filled the Driscoll Hall Auditorium on Villanova University’s campus Jan. 29 looking to deepen their understanding about global perspectives on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church(link is external). The evening event was the third conference in the four-part series of discussions … It featured Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors … ‘Much damage has been done to the church’ due to clergy sexual abuse, said Zollner, ‘but more damage has been done to human beings.’” By Gia Myers, Cruxnow.com

Lawmakers push for extension of Child Victims Act window
“More than 1,300 civil suits have been filed since the one-year look-back window for the Child Victim’s Act took effect last August. Now, there is a push in Albany to extend the window for another year(link is external).The current look-back window for victims to file civil claims on old cases expires on August 14. That means as of that date, past instances of sexual abuse against a minor cannot have any civil litigation, unless it is within the statute of limitations. New instances of abuse can have civil suits brought up to the age of 55.”By Mike Baggerman, WREN-AM

Most Utahns, LDS or otherwise, support a clergy confession bill
“No matter their faith affiliation, Utahns overwhelmingly support legislation that would require clergy to report child abuse — even if the information is divulged during a religious confession(link is external), a new poll shows.Most Catholics, Protestants and members of the state’s predominant faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, back a full-reporting requirement, according to a Salt Lake Tribune survey conducted by Suffolk University.”By Kathy Stephenson, The Salt Lake Tribune

ALASKA

Sex abuse victims’ advocates call Anchorage Archdiocese’s report too little, too late
“None of the Catholic priests reported to have been involved in sexual misconduct in a 50-year review of records released last month by the Anchorage Archdiocese was ever convicted of a crime. There is also no indication the report has prompted any new criminal investigations(link is external) since its release. The report, made public Jan. 16, is based on an independent commission’s review of the church’s records. It lists 14 employees of the Anchorage Archdiocese, 13 of whom it says engaged in sexual misconduct with minors or vulnerable adults and one who was caught viewing child pornography.” By Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media

CALIFORNIA

After suspending priest, Fresno Catholic diocese is sued over his 2002 abuse case
“A now-suspended priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is the subject of a new lawsuit centering on allegations of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl(link is external) in the early 2000s. Los Angeles attorney Paul Mones filed a lawsuit against the Diocese and two of its churches alleging they were negligent in supervising Father Miguel Flores and failing to warn about his potential actions, given prior knowledge.” By Alex Tavlian, The Sun

East Bay priest asked to leave school as police investigate sex-misconduct claims
“A priest already removed from an Alameda County parish and at the center of an investigation by Alameda police over possible sexual misconduct(link is external) will no longer be allowed to live at a Pleasant Hill rectory, according to police and officials with the Catholic Diocese of Oakland.Rev. George Alengadan had been staying at Christ the King Catholic School in Pleasant Hill since first leaving St. Joseph Basilica in Alameda in December. He was removed from that parish after Alameda police opened an investigation into him regarding possible sexual misconduct.”By Rick Hurd, East Bay Times

Man alleging molestation by a priest says Diocese of Orange officials tried to intimidate him
“A man who has alleged in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Orange that he was molested by a Roman Catholic priest when he was 6 years old(link is external) in 1994 said Monday (Feb. 3) that Diocese officials have attempted to ‘intimidate’ him.Last week, a judge cleared the way for the public identification of the priest, Father Edward Poettgen, who was most recently assigned to St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. The man suing him held a news conference Monday from the offices of his attorneys to say the Diocese has treated him ‘like an enemy of the church.’”By The Orange County Register

L.A. Archdiocese settles priest abuse case for $1.9 million
“The kids in the parish knew him only as Father Larry.That’s how he was known to one boy, referred to in court documents as John BR Doe, while he was an altar boy at San Gabriel Mission Church in 1982-84, years during which the priest sexually abused him(link is external), he said, from ages 9 to 11.As a teen, Doe told church officials what he’d suffered. Years later, he would learn that Father Larry — Lawrence Lovell — had been convicted of child molestation in 2003and sentenced to 14 years in prison. And he would find a redacted version of his own account on the internet, detailing the abuse he said Lovell enacted when he was a child.” By Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times

COLORADO

Colorado’s Catholic priest abuse reparations program received 78 claims, has already paid out more than $1 million
“Colorado’s reparations program for people abused by Catholic priests when they were children has already paid out more than $1 million to nine of the 78 people(link is external) who submitted claims by Friday’s (Jan. 31) filing deadline.Another $500,000 in payments are due to four other victims and more than 60 cases still are being reviewed, said Camille Biros, one of the independent administrators of the reparations program.”By Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun

In Colorado, some Catholic clergy sexual abuse victims are excluded from reparations
“Terry Schippers has been trying to come to terms with the years of sexual abuse he allegedly experienced by a Catholic friar(link is external). Colorado’s Catholic Church has a reparations fund for abuse victims but Schippers is ineligible for compensation.Andrew Kenney of Colorado Public Radio reports.”By Andrew Kenney, Colorado Public Radio

ILLINOIS

Sexual abuse reports from Illinois’ Catholic dioceses are still missing a log of data
“While researching a bit of context to introduce this week’s newsletter, I came across a column from May 2019 written by Chicago Sun-Times journalist Laura Washington. In it, she writes about the horror she felt as she sat in the pews of her church earlier that year while a representative of the Archdiocese of Chicagoinformed the congregation that its ‘beloved pastor’ had been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1979(link is external), when he was at another parish.”By Logan Jaffe, Pro Publica Illinois

Former Texas priest charged with sexually assaulting child arrested at St. Louis-area Catholic Facility
“A former Dallas-area priest charged with sexually assaulting a child(link is external) was arrested Wednesday (Jan. 29) at a Catholic facility here housing disgraced clergy, including those accused of sexual abuse.Missouri and Dallas authorities confirmed the arrest Wednesday of Richard Thomas Brown, 78, on \ a warrant issued Tuesday by Dallas police on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child in North Texas in 1989.”By NassimBenchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

MICHIGAN

Catholic priest from Burton, Flushing parishes heading to trial on sex charges
“A former Catholic priest is facing trial on sex charges dating back to his work at parishes in Burton and Flushing in the 1980s to 2000s. Vincent DeLorenzo is facing three counts of first-degree and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct(link is external) from 1995 to 2000 in one case and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct from 1987 in the second case.” By WJRT-Tv12 News

MINNESOTA

Crookston bishop faces further investigation, loses authority to handle sex abuse allegations
“The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has been cleared by Catholic Church leadership to continue its probe into the Crookston bishop’s alleged cover-ups of clerical sexual abuse(link is external). The Congregation for Bishops in Rome authorized Archbishop Bernard Hebda to proceed with further investigation into Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who has been under investigation since September, according to a Tuesday, Feb. 4, statement from the Catholic Diocese of Crookston.” By Alex Derosier, West Central Tribune

Victim-survivor says ‘ripple effects’ of clergy sex abuse ‘go on and on’
“For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending(link is external). ‘It’s like a stone in a pond,’ he said, ‘the hole disappears, but the ripple effects go on and on.’ The director of the southwest Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Meuers described the anger he lived with for years — and the help he received through therapy.”By Joe Ruff, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

NEW JERSEY

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’: major deadline looms for victims of clergy abuse in New Jersey
“A big deadline is looming for victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey. Acompensation fund for victims of sexual abuse is about to close down its registration(link is external), making it one less option for victims seeking justice. ‘This priest came into my life, he was stationed in our parish,” Mark Crawford said.For most of Crawford’s teenage years, he was manipulated and sexually abused by a Catholic priest.” By Cleve Bryan, CBS-TV3 News

NEW MEXICO

Ex-Catholic priest acquitted of abuse charges in New Mexico
“A jury has acquitted a former priest(link is external) of charges he sexually abused a first-grade student more than 30 years ago. Marvin Archuleta, 82, was cleared of both charges including criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and attempting to commit kidnapping.” By Associated Press

NEW YORK

Ex-FBI director to probe sex abuse claims against Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio
“The New York Archdiocese has hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to probe sex abuse allegations against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, according to a new report.

DiMarzio, 75, is accused of repeatedly molesting Mark Matzek when he was an altar boy and student at St. Nicholas Church and School in Jersey City in the 1970s, according to Matzek’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian.” By Sara Dorn, New York Post

Albany-area priest on administrative leave following allegations
“Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said Saturday (Feb. 8) he has placed a priest who retired from active ministry in 2008 on administrative leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) in the 1960s and 70s.” By Rick Karlin, Albany Times Union

Syracuse Diocese reinstates priest accused of abuse after review
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has reinstated a priest who was accused of sexually abusing a boy in the early 1980s(link is external). Rev. Paul Angelicchio went on voluntary leave in November while a diocese review board investigated the person’s allegation of abuse.” By Patrick Lohmann on Syracuse.com

OHIO

Toledo Diocese quietly updates accused clergy list, includes new name
“The Diocese of Toledo quietly updated its list last year of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) amid calls for transparency in a rekindled sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.The update included a new name: Paul Knapp, a religious order priest who served as the associate pastor of St. Gerard Parish in Lima, Ohio, between 1981 and 1983.” By Nicki Gorny, The Blade

OKLAHOMA

Catholic Church is in a tough position in confronting a use scandal
“…More than 33 years later, I told Nan the stunning news: The retired Leven had been suspended from the priesthood because an Archdiocesan investigation found two ‘substantiated’ allegations of abuse against minors(link is external).My mind raced …”By Joe Hight, The Journal Record

PENNSYLVANIA

Clergy sex abuse class action lawsuit against Pittsburgh diocese seeks to add Greensburg, others
“Lawyers in a class action suit trying to force the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to open its clergy abuse archives(link is external) expanded their campaign to include the Greensburg, Harrisburg and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses as well as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The move comes one month after Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Ward ruled the lawsuit could move forward with regard to the Pittsburgh diocese.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Retired priest, 89, sentenced for sexual assault of boy
“Following an emotional hearing, a judge on Thursday (Feb. 6) sentenced a retired Catholic priest to a jail term of nine to nearly 24 months over his conviction last year for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy(link is external) in 2001. But the priest walked free for at least another month due to a last-minute legal plot twist, complicated by a sudden turnover in two of the key players in his November trial, his own defense lawyer and the judge.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In Philly, $39 million in clergy-abuse payouts so far – about $215,000 per damaged life
“At first, the number seems huge: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has paid out nearly $39 million to 181 sexual-abuse victims through the compensation fund it opened last year. Wow, you might think to yourself. Finally, the institution whose leaders allowed generations of children to be destroyed by the sexual depravity of countless priests while bishops and monsignors helped cover it up, is paying up from the treasury it so immorally had fought to protect. But don’t be fooled(link is external). This is a mammoth number only when you consider how difficult victims have found securing just compensation in one of the nation’s largest Catholic dioceses thanks to resistance by the church itself. Accountability has arrived, yes. But at discount rates.” By Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

New report shows church response to abuse remains inconsistent, insufficient
“Many Roman Catholic dioceses are now releasing the names of priests who have had credible allegations of child sexual abuse brought against them.That’s the good news.The bad news is that those lists are often ‘inconsistent, incomplete and omit key details(link is external),’ according to a report out this week from ProPublica, a nonprofit watchdog news agency, and the Houston Chronicle.” By Chip Minemyer, The Tribune-Democrat

RHODE ISLAND

Attorney general to release report on clergy abuse claims
“Rhode Island’s attorney general said Feb.6 he expects to release a public report later this year with findings from his review of allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics(link is external) in the state. Democrat Peter Neronha continues to review the allegations to figure out what happened, what the response was and whether anyone can be held responsible in Rhode Island, one of the most heavily Catholic states. ” By Jennifer McDermott, The Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

SOUTH DAKOTA

House bill removes statute of limitations that could revive sex abuse claims
“South Dakota lawmakers will hear a bill that strips the statute of limitations for adults who bring lawsuits on sexual abuse they experienced as children(link is external). Similar bills have failed in the past. It’s been 10 years since state lawmakers placed a statute of limitations on child sex crimes. It says anyone over the age of forty can only recover damages from any person or entity that perpetrated the sexual abuse act. Since then, one group of Native women has been trying to overturn that statute of limitations. They are trying again this year.” By Lee Strubinger, South Dakota Public Radio

TEXAS

Lawsuit says Dallas diocese did not protect young girl from priest’s abuse
“Richard Thomas Brown, who in the 1980s was assigned as an assistant pastor at Holy Family of Nazareth in Irving, repeatedly sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl from the parish(link is external), according to a lawsuit filed Thursday (JaSn. 30).One day, Brown took the girl out of Sunday school class and molested her in the rectory – the priest’s residence, where most of the assaults took place, according to the lawsuit.” By Cavid Tarrant, The Dallas Morning News

State of Texas: the accused one year later
“Texas’ 15 Catholic dioceses released names of 286 clergy — priests, deacons and brothers — credibly accused of child sex abuse(link is external) one year ago Friday (Feb. 1). Our extensive analysis of Catholic directories obtained through a source found that there are at least 332 Catholic clergy members, mostly priests, accused of child sex abuse in Texas.That’s almost 50 more names than what was publicly released in 2019. Moreover, the church’s list was incomplete, with some clergy members still being shuffled within the church.”By Anthony Cave, KXAN-TV News

People continue to ask Texas AG’s office to investigate clergy sexual abuse
“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office is being pressed by citizens to investigate clergy sexual abuse, although his office has said it cannot began an examination on its own,KXAN reported.The TV station’s open records request shows that a dozen people have asked the AG’s office to launch an investigation since Catholic dioceses across the state released lists on Jan. 31, 2019, of priests accused of abuse.”By The Texas Monitor Staff

WASHINGTON

Longtime Seattle police victim advocate was accused of child sex abuse while he was a priest
Before Garry Boulden was a victim advocate with the Seattle Police Department — guiding victims and their families through the aftermath of tragedies — he was a Catholic priest in Spokane, where he was accused of molesting a child(link is external) … Boulden is one of thousands of clergy members on dioceses’ lists across the country — that number includes 81 on Seattle’s, 30 on Spokane’s and 21 on Yakima’s — many of whom were never criminally prosecuted. An Associated Press investigation last year found that hundreds are working with vulnerable groups like children and sexual-assault survivors.” By Asia Fields, The Seattle Times

WISCONSIN

Diocese of La Crosse releases names of accused clergy
“Another Catholic Diocese in Wisconsin has released the names of clergy facing substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external). The list includes 25 clergies, nine of which at one point, served at a parish in Stevens Point … The Diocese of La Crosse, which serves nearly 200,000 Catholics and includes Portage County, released the public list on Jan. 18. The Diocese of La Crosse states that an allegation is deemed to be substantiated “if it has been sufficiently confirmed so as to believe that abuse occurred,” meaning, allegations on the list are not derived through a legal process.” By Nathan Dorn, The Pointer, University of Wisconsin

AUSTRALIA

National Redress Scheme: Sex abuse survivors say victims are dying before receiving compensation
“It has been more than 18 months since the National Redress Scheme was introduced as a way of compensating survivors of clergy child abuse. But those who were supposed to benefit from it have labelled it ‘appalling(link is external)’ with some saying that many people are dying before receiving any compensation. Roy Janetzki, 74, said he spent his teenage years in four orphanages, where he endured physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the hands of four clergymen, including Catholic priests and brothers.” By Samantha Dawes, ABC Riverland

Catholic Church continues to silence alleged victims of child sexual abuse
“A Catholic priest from the Lismore diocese in Northern New South Wales is fighting the church over sexual abuse he allegedly suffered as a 12-year old altar boy.The case is believed to be the first involving a priest suing the church for historical child sexual abuse.The Catholic Church is seeking a permanent stay to stop proceedings being brought against it … But many see this as just another attempt by the Church to silence a complainant(link is external) so that details of the alleged incidents are never heard, at a time the institution claims to be working towards transparency andaccountability, and doing right by those it has wronged.”By SydneyCriminalLawyers.com

CANADA

#MenToo gains support in Ontario where male sexual
“There’s a growing trend in Ontario.Men are speaking out about the sexual abuse they have suffered and demanding resources, or setting up their own groups, to access support.”We call it the MenToo movement,” said Bob McCabe, a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest(link is external).The abuse started in 1963 when McCabe was 11. He didn’t tell anyone about it for 29 years, when he finally told his mother. It took another two decades for McCabe to speak out publicly and take legal action against his perpetrator.” By Kerry McKee, CBC News

CHILE

Pope Francis fills two episcopal vacancies in Chile left by sex abuse scandal
“Pope Francis on Wednesday (Feb. 5) appointed bishops to the dioceses of Osorno and San Bartolomé de Chillán, both of which had been left vacant in 2018 amid the sex abuse scandal of the Church in Chile(link is external). On Feb. 5 Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo was named Bishop of Osorno, and Father Sergio Hernán Pérez de Arce Arriagada, was named Bishop of San Bartolomé de Chillán. Both had been serving as apostolic administrators of their new respective sees.” By Catholic News Agency in National Catholic Register

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Audit of Scottish dioceses says safeguarding vision ‘has yet to be fully realized’
“An audit of the safeguarding standards of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh found it had ‘clearer and more transparent structures and processes,’ but noted more work is needed in ‘rebuilding trust(link is external).’ The audit was commissioned from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)/Children in Scotland (CiS) by the Catholic Church in Scotland with the aim of supporting safeguarding improvements.”By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

POLAND

Broken icons: abuse in Poland’s Catholic Church
“The toppling of Jankowski (’sstatue) was a step towards forcing the government and clergy to reckon with the problem of child abuse in the Church(link is external). But what really forced everyone to take notice was the 2019 documentary Tell No One. The film shows victims who are now adults confronting elderly priests about the abuse they suffered decades earlier, and details how priests accused of paedophilia were transferred to other parishes where they could continue working with children.”By Madeline Roache, NewHumanist.org.uk

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


January 31, 2020

TOP STORIES

New database of abusive clergy will ‘put pressure’ on bishops to improve transparency
“A new, independent database listing nearly 6,000 priests accused of abuse was launched this week(link is external), marking what some observers say is a sign of a new era of transparency in the Catholic Church and others labeling it the “privatization of justice” after years of church leaders blocking such efforts. The database, which was activated on Monday (Jan. 27), was a yearlong effort by ProPublica, ‘a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.’ The launch comes after the 2018 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which sent shock waves through the U.S. Church as it chronicled seven decades of abuse of more than 1,000 victims at the hands of 300 priests.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Vatican orders sex abuse investigation of Brooklyn bishop
“The Vatican has ordered an investigation of a sexual abuse allegation against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio(link is external), who was previously named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York received instructions on Jan. 7 to begin an investigation of allegations that DiMarzio molested a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey in the mid-1970s, according to a statement released over the weekend (Jan. 18) by Dolan’s spokesman Joseph Zwilling.” By Associated Press

10 years after Vatican reform, Legion in new abuse crisis
“The administrator of the elite Catholic school in Cancun, Mexico, used to take the girls out of class and send them to the chapel, where the priest from the Legion of Christ religious order would sexually abuse them(link is external). ‘As some were reading the Bible, he would rape the others in front of them, little girls aged 6 to 8 or 9,’ said one of his victims, Ana Lucia Salazar, now a 36-year-old Mexican television host and mother of three. ‘Afterward, nothing was the same, nothing went back to the way it was,’ she said through tears at her home in Mexico City.” By Maria Verza and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Rome summit to examine clerical sex abuse
“Rome is to host a summit examining how the clerical sexual abuse crisis is forcing the Church to go back to its core mission and re-think its model of the priesthood(link is external). The gathering of around 90 theologians from across the world, hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, will look at the ecclesiological impact of abuse, in a way that is not simply legal, or procedural. The 11-14 March meeting is to look clericalism, ecclesial reform and rediscovering the mission of Jesus in Church structures.” By Christopher Lamb, The tablet

Appeals court acquits French cardinal of sex abuse cover-up
“A French appeals court on Thursday (Jan. 30) acquitted a French cardinal of covering up the sexual abuse of minors in his flock(link is external). The appeals court in the southeastern French city of Lyon gave no explanation on Thursday for its ruling. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, had been convicted in March and given a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the cardinal’s decision to resign until the appeals process is complete.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

Catholic leaders promised transparency about child abuse. They haven’t delivered
“Over the last year and a half, the majority of U.S. dioceses, as well as nearly two dozen religious orders, have released lists of abusers currently or formerly in their ranks. The revelations were no coincidence: They were spurred by a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report, which named hundreds of priests as part of a statewide clergy abuse investigation. Nationwide, the names of more than 5,800 clergy members have been released so far, representing the most comprehensive step toward transparency yet by a Catholic Church dogged by its long history of denying and burying abuse by priests. But even as bishops have dedicated these lists to abuse victims and depicted the disclosures as a public acknowledgement of victims’ suffering, it has become clear that numerous alleged abusers have been omitted and that there is no standard for determining who each diocese considers credibly accused(link is external).” By Lexi Churchill, Ellis Simani and Topher Sanders, Pro Publica

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis remakes the American hierarchy, one bishop at a time
“As archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput was not afraid to take a different line from the pope on issues facing the church. In 2016, after Pope Francis opened the possibility of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, Chaput added a stipulation: In his diocese, such couples who wanted to receive the Eucharist would have to abstain from sex … A Catholic bishop, even one who disagrees with a new pope, cannot just be fired and replaced. The pope must wait until the bishop reaches retirement at 75 years of age before appointing a successor. But if change is slow, the direction is clear, and Francis, like popes before him, is slowly filling the American hierarchy with bishops who reflect his values and priorities(link is external).” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

BISHOPS

Pope Francis replaces conservative archbishop of Philadelphia
“Pope Francis sought to shift the ideological balance of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States on Thursday, replacing one of his most prominent conservative critics as the archbishop of Philadelphia(link is external). Pope Francis announced in a statement that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia was retiring, and that Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland, a former Philadelphian and relative newcomer to the national scene, would assume the role.” By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

CARA study finds bishops are satisfied with their life and ministry
“Catholics may be surprised to learn that many U.S. bishops describe their lives as both all-consuming and satisfying, a priest-researcher said(link is external). ‘These are guys who generally get up very, very early in the morning, pray about two hours every day and work about 10 hours a day,’ Father Stephen Fichter, a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, which conducted the survey. ‘(They) just really do some interesting things and there are a lot of difficulties that they’re dealing with all the time.’” By Susan Klemond, Catholic News Service, The Pilot

PRIESTS

Priests in group shut down by Vatican accused of sex abuse
“Nine priests and brothers of a Catholic group recently shut down by the Vatican are under investigation by Italian authorities for allegedly sexually abusing two brothers(link is external), officials and news reports said Wednesday (Jan. 29). Prato Bishop Giovanni Nerbini confirmed that Prato criminal prosecutors had opened an investigation after he reported the case to police against members of the Disciples of the Annunciation community. He pledged the church’s cooperation with the investigation.” By Associated Press in The New York Times

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican women’s magazine blames drip in nuns on abuses
“The Vatican women’s magazine is blaming the drastic drop in the number of nuns worldwide in part on their wretched working conditions and the sexual abuse and abuses of power(link is external) they suffer at the hands of priests and their own superiors. Women Church World dedicated its February issue to the burnout, trauma and exploitation experienced by religious sisters and how the church is realizing it must change its ways if it wants to attract new vocations.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Woman’s place at Pope Francis’ right hand
“Pope Francis opened 2020 with a strong call to acknowledge the dignity of women, end violence against them and stop the exploitation of women’s bodies(link is external). His homily on January 1 was not generic: it referenced prostitution, rape, coerced abortion, pornography and even advertising. The Pope called for the involvement of women in decision-making processes in civil society, specifically when it comes to promoting peace.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Scottish Catholic Observer

CHURCH FINANCES

Priest sued over church’s missing $500,000
“The Church has launched legal action against a priest accused of stealing almost $500,000 from his Perth parish(link is external) as it seeks to recoup the missing money. Fr Joe Walsh, who led the parish of Subiaco in Perth’s western suburbs, was charged by police last year with stealing and is due to appear in court tomorrow to determine a date for his criminal trial. Documents filed in the West Australian Supreme Court show the Perth Archdiocese was seeking details of amounts held by Fr Walsh in four NAB accounts and a term deposit, as well as money tied up in Perth-based property investment group Primewest.” Paul Garvey, The Australian, on CathNews.com

Dioceses come under scrutiny as they change legal structures
“As dioceses across the country continue to face multi-million dollar payouts related to clerical sex abuse, some bishops have relied on advice from lawyers to reconfigure the property of their dioceses into charitable trusts(link is external). The practice – which has been implemented by several dioceses after the clerical sex abuse revelations of the early 2000s – creates significantly different outcomes for dioceses and abuse victims in the case of bankruptcies.” By Jack Lyons, Cruxnow.com

Vatican rejoins financial intelligence network after raid
“A global network of financial intelligence units has readmitted the Holy See after a two-month suspension(link is external) sparked by a Vatican police raid on the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency. The Holy See said Thursday (Jan. 23) that the Egmont Group had revoked its suspension after Vatican prosecutors signed a memorandum of understanding about the treatment of confidential documents that were seized in the raid.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Sex and the (Vatican) City: a brief history of clerical celibacy
“In a scene that wouldn’t be amiss in Netflix’s The Two Popes, a standoff between the current Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI, is playing out across the world. The pontifical sticking point is the sexual relations of priests(link is external) – or, lack thereof. In his forthcoming book, From the Depths of Our Hearts, the Pope Emeritus and his co-author, Cardinal Robert Sarah, issue a warning against relaxing the rules on Catholic priesthood as the rainforest runs dry of priests in some remote South American areas.” By History Extra

Cardinal at center of two popes storm doubles down on celibacy
“A Vatican cardinal at the center of a storm over a book about celibacy and the Catholic priesthood is denouncing the ‘brutality’ of criticism directed at him and hiSs collaborator, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. In an interview with Italian daily newspaper Il Foglio published Saturday (Jan. 25), Cardinal Robert Sarah doubled down on his argument in the book, ‘From the Depths of Our Hearts,’ that the Catholic priesthood is incompatible with marriage(link is external).” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Roman Catholic priests have been celibate for a thousand years – but this could change
“For almost a thousand years, Roman Catholic priests have been required to be celibate. But this age-old practice is now under fire(link is external), with the suggestion that the rules should be relaxed for the Latin American Catholic church. In response to such rumblings, a new book sets out a vigorous defense of priestly celibacy against the ‘fashionable errors’ of its detractors. The book is particularly notable for being described as co-authored by Cardinal Robert Sarah and the former pope, Benedict XVI, who since his resignation in 2013 has avoided public intervention in the time of his successor, Pope Francis.” By Helen Parish, The Conversation

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Germany’s synodal assembly a step to rebuilding church’s credibility
“Catholic leaders in Germany have compiled responses from lay Catholics in areas related to who holds power in the church, sexual morals, the role of priests and the place of women in church offices in preparation for an upcoming synodal assembly(link is external) to debate church reforms. More than 940 suggestions and questions had been submitted by early January in advance of the Jan. 30-Feb. 1 assembly in Frankfurt, reported KNA, the German Catholic news agency.” By Catholic News Service

As Dutch parishes close, some Catholics just quit going to church
“A Dutch Catholic newspaper warned churches will continue to close in the Netherlands, where half of all Catholic parishes have already been dissolved amid plummeting church participation(link is external). ‘It’s never good to panic, but there are grave concerns about the way things are going here,’ said Peter Doorakkers, an editor at the Katholiek Nieuwsblad weekly. ‘It’s been hoped people would draw the obvious conclusion — that if you want your church to stay open, you don’t just need to support it financially, you also have to attend it more. But if you look at the numbers at Mass now and average ages, it’s obvious more churches will close in the near future.’” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

VOICES

Editorial: Dolan investigating DiMarzio points up flaws in ‘Vos Estis’
“We have long held unabashed admiration for Pope Francis. But events keep raising issues about the shortcomings of Vos Estis Lux Mundi, his signature intervention to address the church’s sex abuse crisis(link is external). Latest case in point: According to press reports and statements from the dioceses involved, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, under Vos Estis provisions, is investigating Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, his neighbor across the East River. DiMarzio has been publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back 45 years to a parish in Jersey City, when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey … Our problem is with making Dolan responsible for leading an inquiry.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold.
“Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons … Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church(link is external), where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents.” By Celia Viggo Wexler, NBC News

Requiring clergy to report abuse is a thorny issue, but protecting kids makes it worth it
“Rep. Angela Romero’s inbox has been a busy, hostile place for a few weeks. Since the Catholic League issued a call to action to its members about a week ago, Romero estimates she has received somewhere between 400 and 600 emails. A sampling: ‘You are doing the work of Satan and will not prevail.’ ‘Disgusting anti-Christian politicians like you … attack Christianity relentlessly.’ It goes on from there. She incurred the unholy wrath by sponsoring legislation that would require members of the clergy to notify law enforcement when they receive information about child abuse or neglect— even if it happens in a religious confession(link is external).” By Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune

Why do child sex abuse victims in Missouri have only 10 years to file civil lawsuits?
“An outdated Missouri law limits civil claims arising from sexual abuse offenses committed against children to a 10-year window(link is external). House Bill 1411 would finally lift the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits in child sexual abuse cases. The measure, which is sponsored by state Rep. Sheila Solon, a St. Joseph Republican, is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday (Jan. 21). In 2018, Missouri lawmakers removed the statute of limitations for criminal child sex abuse offenses. Just as a time limit for criminal charges was misguided, so, too, is imposing an expiration date limiting survivors’ ability to seek justice through civil lawsuits.” By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Theologians to examine Church response to abuse
“The Center for Child Protection at Gregorian University in Rome and Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, an international network of moral theologians, will host the March 11-14 theological ‘laboratory.’ The organizers, including professors James Keenan SJ from Boston College and Hans Zollner SJ from the Centre for Child Protection, have invited more than 70 ecclesiologists and ethicists. The meeting has been called a ‘laboratory’ to emphasize active engagement of all participants in advancing theological thought, reflection and leadership in response to the crisis(link is external), with a view to supporting the global Church in its response.” By CathNews.com

ALASKA

Archdiocese commission accuses 14 Southcentral Alaska clergy and church employees of sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of Anchorage for the first time has named 14 Southcentral Catholic clergy members accused by church investigators of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults(link is external). The report released Thursday (Jan. 23) is the result of a 15-month investigation by an independent church commission into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, church employees and volunteers over a 54-year period.” By Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News

CALIFORNIA

Anaheim priest named in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse
“A judge today (Jan. 29) cleared the way for the public identification of a Roman Catholic priest named in a lawsuit alleging he molested a 6-year-old boy(link is external) at a Catholic school in Stanton in 1994. Father Edward Poettgen had previously been listed anonymously in the lawsuit filed in June. An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled today that the plaintiff could publicly identify the priest.” By KFIAM640.com

First Catholic diocese child sex abuse case settled since passing of new law
“A California Catholic Diocese on Tuesday (Jan. 28) settled the first child sexual abuse case since the passing of the Child Victims Act(link is external) back in September 2019. Attorneys representing Richard Barrios, 47, allegedly abused as a child by convicted pedophile priest Lawrence Lovell, announced a $1.9 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Lawrence Lovell and the Claretian Missionaries. In the lawsuit, Barrios alleged that he was sexually abused by Father Lawrence Lovell throughout a two-year period from 1982 through 1984 when the victim was 9 to 11 years old.” By 23ABC Digital Staff

COLORADO

Even if Colorado gives child sex assault victims unlimited time to sue, it may be too late for those already abused
“Colorado lawmakers plan to bring legislation this year that would give child sexual assault victims unlimited time to sue their abusers and the institutions that protect the predators(link is external). But for people abused in the past—including the more than 150 victims of Catholic priests identified in a recently released report on sexual misconduct in Colorado — the change may be coming too late.” By Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun

FLORIDA

Priest child sex abuse laws continue to change in Florida
“At a 2018 press conference, then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a statewide investigation into child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests(link is external) saying, ‘Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the Church and a threat to society,’ Shortly before the investigation was announced 15 victims had already contacted authorities. Now after more than a year victims are continuing to come forward yet the state has been tight lipped about the number of tips reported through the statewide hotline.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

LOUISIANA

One year after releasing names of abusive priests, Baton Rouge Diocese adds two more
“At the one-year anniversary of releasing a list of clergymen credibly accused of abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has added two more priests who served in Ponchatoula to their list of those with credible claims against them(link is external). Diocesan officials announced Wednesday morning that they were adding two priests from religious orders who served in the diocese to their list, which has grown since its initial release a year ago. The additions of the Rev. Richard Raphael Archer, a Dominican friar, and Rev. Lawrence Dark, a Congregation of the Holy Cross priest, bring the total of Catholic clergy members who worked in and around Baton Rouge and were credibly accused of abuse to 45.” By Andrea Gallo, The Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Victims’ lawyer releases credibly accused clergy list for Fall River Diocese
“The Diocese of Fall River is being pressured to release a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external). On Tuesday (Jan. 21), Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, released his own list of nine priests and one Catholic Church employee within the Diocese of Fall River that he says have been ‘accused of sexually abusing one minor in which this office has successfully brought child abuse claims against.’” By Kiernan Dunlop, South Coast Today

Diocese of Fall River suspends retired Catholic priests James Buckley, Edward Byington over claims of child sex abuse
“Two retired Catholic priests were suspended from the ministry over allegations they sexually abused children(link is external) decades ago, the Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday (Jan. 19). The suspended priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, are not assigned to a parish but have assisted with masses at various churches since their retirements in the 2000s, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.” By Jackson Cote, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Clergyman sentenced to jail after restraining teenager
“The second priest to be convicted through Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation was sentenced on Monday (Jan. 27) to jail time after he pleaded guilty to holding a teenage boy against his will(link is external) in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013. The Rev. Brian Stanley was sentenced to 60 days in Allegan County Jail, with credit for two days served, five years’ probation and must register as a sex offender for 15 years.” By Oakland County Legal News

MINNESOTA

Tuesday’s hearing ends civil action between Ramsey County and archdiocese
“Officials in Ramsey County and the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis go to court Tuesday (Jan. 28) to mark the end of a nearly four-year civil case(link is external). In 2016, Ramsey County prosecutor John Choi dropped criminal sexual abuse charges against the church. The church was allowed to admit guilt and institute a plan, overseen by Choi’s office, to ensure children’s safety.” By WCCO Radio Newsroom

Archdiocese to hold conference for clergy abuse survivors
“The daylong conference in Lake Elmo, east of St. Paul, will include Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi providing an update on the impetus for the conference: The settlement of civil charges filed by the county in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest(link is external). “Mr. Choi always felt restorative justice should be part of the archdiocese taking accountability for its actions and providing a means of healing for the community,” said Stephanie Wiersma, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who will participate in the conference and has been involved in the case since the beginning.” By Joe Ruff, The Catholic Spirit

NEW JERSEY

Catholic fund has paid out million to N.J. priest sex abuse victims. Friday is the last day to apply.
“More than 500 people have applied to receive cash settlements from a new Catholic Church fund created to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey(link is external), said the program’s managers who plan to accept the last new applications Friday (Jan. 31) … As of early this month, the program has paid out more than $10 million in settlements to New Jersey victims, though only 86 of the 552 applications had been decided, said Camille Biros, co-administrator of the fund.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

New lawsuits against Newark Archdiocese accuse former Rutherford priest of sex assault
“A pair of lawsuits filed under new state law have been filed against the Archdiocese of Newark by men saying they were sexually abused nearly four decades ago by a late Catholic priest(link is external). The men accuse the church of failing to protect them from the Rev. David Ernst, who was assigned to Saint Mary’s in Rutherford and taught at Our Lady Help of Christians parochial school in East Orange.” By Valerie Musson, Dsily Voice

New Jersey Catholic school priest suspended during sexual abuse investigation
“A Catholic priest assigned as chaplain at Oratory Catholic Preparatory School in Summit has been placed on leave pending investigations(link is external) by Union County authorities, and school and church officials said. Rev. Salvatore DiStefano is currently on administrative leave as the Union County Prosecutor’s Office investigates ‘complaints issued in the past several days,’ Maria Margiotta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark, said in a statement.” By Katie Kausch, NJ Advance Media, on nj.com

NEW MEXICO

Former priest accused of sex crimes heads to trial
“Jury selection is set to begin Wednesday (Jan. 29) in the trial of an ex-priest accused of raping a first grader at a parochial school in Santa Fe County(link is external) in the late 1980s. Marvin Archuleta’s criminal trial is the first to come out of state Attorney General Hector Balderas’ ongoing investigation into claims of child sex abuse in Roman Catholic churches throughout New Mexico. The state intends to bring Thomas P. Doyle of Virginia, a national expert on clergy sex abuse, to testify in the case, according to a witness list.” By Phaedra Haywood, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Court papers: put retired Bishop Matthew Clark on the stand for questioning in abuse cases
“He wants to be identified only by his initials, the same identity he uses in the lawsuit he filed against the Catholic Diocese of Rochester. ‘The victims need to know. We have a right to know,’ he said about new developments in the case. Attorneys for child sexual assault victims are asking a judge to put retired Bishop Matthew Clark on the stand(link is external). He ran the diocese for 33 years.” By Jane Flasch, WHAM-TV13 News

Three victims come forward with allegations of child sex abuse against priest
“Three new victims are coming forward with allegations of child sex abuse against a Catholic priest(link is external) who previously pleaded guilty to forming a sex club and molesting dozens of children. Convicted child molester Father Edward Pipala is once again at the center of a child sex abuse scandal and alleged church cover-up. ‘For decades, he was given license and permission by the Archdiocese and top officials to continue one of the most predatory paths we’ve seen,’ says attorney Jeff Anderson.” By News12 Westchester

OHIO

Ohio priest pleads not guilty to child-porn related charges
“An Ohio Catholic priest pleaded not guilty to 21 child pornography-related counts(link is external) in a Cleveland courtroom on Wednesday (Jan. 22). The Rev. Robert McWilliams, 39, was indicted last week by a Cuyahoga County grand jury. He was arrested last month at a parish in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville after the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched his living space using a warrant from neighboring Geauga County.” By Associated Press in The Washington Times

Columbus bishop creates task force, hires attorney to tackle allegations
“Bishop Robert Brennan, of the Diocese of Columbus, has started a task force to look into diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse of minors by priests(link is external). The diocese has also hired a local law firm to look into its records and see if more priests should be added to a list of 50 clergy members who have been accused thus far. Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan says he wants to look at the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members with ‘new eyes.’” By Danae King, The Columbus Dispatch

OKLAHOMA

Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list
“Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday (Jan. 21) the addition of a now-retired Oklahoma City priest who served in churches across the state to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor(link is external). According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Marvin Leven, 94, that started when the victim was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.” By Kaylee Douglas, KFOR-TV4 News

TENNESSEE

Documents contradict Knoxville diocese’s timeline of knowing about sexual abuse allegations against priests and teacher
“After months of publicly discrediting and denying sexual abuse allegations against prominent priests and a diocesan employee(link is external), documents obtained by the Times Free Press suggest the Diocese of Knoxville may have known about those allegations for almost a year before suspending the accused employee.” Wyatt Massey, Chattanooga Times Free Press

TEXAS

Ex-Dallas-area Catholic priest accused of molesting a child
“A 78-year-old former Roman Catholic priest whose whereabouts remain unknown has been accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child(link is external) while serving as a priest in North Texas, according to a police affidavit. Dallas police obtained a warrant Tuesday for the arrest of Richard Thomas Brown, a priest who served at five North Texas churches before he was removed in 2002 and recently defrocked. The affidavit accused Brown of sexually molesting a child on July 5, 1989.” By Associated Press in Washington Times

Corpus Christi priests accused of credible abuse file appeal in defamation case
“A lawyer is arguing retired Corpus Christi priests were wrongly included in a list of clergy ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external),’ especially when one was exonerated multiple times. In an Appellants’ brief submitted Monday to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, attorney Andrew M. Greenwell argues retired priests Michael Heras and John Feminelli were included in a Diocese of Corpus Christi list of priests ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.’” By Alexandria Rodriguez, Caller Times

WASHINGTON

Prominent Catholics together call for review of Seattle Archdiocese’s secret clergy abuse files
“A group of prominent Catholics announced Tuesday (Jan. 28) that it’s pursuing a ‘lay-led,’ independent review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s secret clergy files(link is external) to fully expose the breadth and depth of the church’s sexual abuses in Western Washington and find a path forward for healing the damage caused to generations of the religion’s followers.” By Lewis Kamb, Seattle Times

WISCONSIN

La Crosse Diocese names 25 former priests who abused children
“At least 25 priests who served in the Diocese of La Crosse over the past several decades sexually assaulted children(link is external), the diocese disclosed Saturday (Jan. 18). The disclosure, posted at 4 p.m. on the diocese website at diolc.org, brings the total number of Catholic priests with substantiated accusations of sexual abuse in Wisconsin to nearly 160. The La Crosse diocese serves nearly 200,000 Catholics in counties across central and western Wisconsin, including those in Marathon, Portage and Wood counties.” By Laura Schulte, Wausau Daily Herald

AUSTRALIA

Catholic Church attempts to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse
“The Catholic church is attempting to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse because he took too long to come forward(link is external), prompting criticism that it has learned nothing from the royal commission. The Lismore diocese plans to seek a permanent stay in the New South Wales supreme court to prevent one of its priests from suing for abuse he suffered as a 12-year-old altar boy. Court documents allege the altar boy was abused in the 1960s by Clarence “David” Anderson, a now-dead priest.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Christian Brothers child sex abuse survivor John Lawrence said attacker made him feel ‘worthless’
“An elderly man who was sexually abused by the Christian Brothers as a child(link is external) has described the pain and fear he experienced being repeatedly raped as a nine-year-old boy at a group home for vulnerable children. Perth man John Thomas Lawrence, 75, has become the first child sex abuse survivor to testify about his ordeal in court since Western Australia removed time limits on such cases being heard.” By Eliza Borrello, ABC News

Religious privilege: priest confessed to child abuse 1,500 times
“Father Michael McArdle wrote in a 2004 affidavit that he made confessions of child abuse 1,500 times over 25 years(link is external). Each time, he walked out of the confessional booth with his sins absolved. Rockhampton Bishop Brian Heenan barred McArdle from contact with children in 1996 after hearing allegations from victims. Although McArdle never denied the allegations, Heenan failed to contact the police.” By Destiny Rogers, qnews.com.au

CHILE

Catholic clergy abuse victim leads drive to shakeup establishment politics in Chile
“James Hamilton, a doctor who was one of the first people in Chile to come forward claiming he was the victim of child sexual abuse by clergy(link is external), has called his party Dignity. The name is a reference to the public square in the Chilean capital where protesters have gathered over the past three months to denounce inequality and high living costs. Hamilton is seeking to unite his countrymen around “principles” rather than ideologies of left and right.” By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda, Reuters

FRANCE

French trial exposes how church covered for predator priest
“One of the first people to notice Bernard Preynat’s unhealthy obsession for young boys was the supervisor at the seminary where, still a teen, the future priest started training for his career in the church. ‘At 14, 15 years old, I became interested in the youngest boys and the supervisor summoned me to tell me that I was abnormal and sick,’ the self-confessed child abuser said at his trial in France this past week. ‘I explained this to the bishop.’ And yet, after a two-year church-imposed course of psychotherapy, Preynat was still ordained into the priesthood(link is external).” By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Associated Press

GERMANY

On abuse-scandal efforts, German bishops urge patience
“German bishops urged patience toward their efforts to deal with the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Germany(link is external). The German Catholic news agency KNA reported the bishops, meeting in Wurzburg, said the plans that resulted from the latest investigations needed time. Their appeal came 10 years since the first revelations of the abuse emerged. ‘We need this time and we hope for understanding; we will not be absolving ourselves from the responsibility,’ they said Jan. 28.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

GUAM

‘Greatest measure of justice’: $21M for survivors, other claimants in Archdiocese plan
“Guam’s clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants may be able to receive some $21 million in restitution(link is external) from the Archdiocese of Agana, if the church’s reorganization plan to solve its bankruptcy gets court approval. This is the first public disclosure of the amount the archdiocese and its insurers plan to pay claimants, including those allegedly molested and raped by bishops, priests and other clergy dating back to the 1950s.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News

SLOVENIA

Catholic group calls on Ljubljana archbishop to resign over inaction on multiple rape allegations against priests
“A Catholic civil society group dedicated to fighting sexual abuse in the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church has called for the resignation of Slovenia’s most senior cleric, Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore, due to the church’s persistent failure to tackle sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy(link is external). The church keeps adopting and updating recommendations on how church workers should deal with allegations of sexual abuse, but ‘everything remains dead ink on paper,’ said Igor Vovk, a senior member of the Dovolj.je (It’s Enough) group and director of the Catholic pro-life NGO Zavod Iskreni.” By Total Slovenia News

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