Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


December 10, 2019

TOP STORIES

Buffalo bishop resigns after scandal over secret list of abusive priests
“First, a whistle-blower revealed that Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo had kept files about abusive priests that he hid from the public. Then leaked recordings showed that he was reluctant to remove a parish priest whom he called a ‘sick puppy.’ On Wednesday (Dec. 4), after months of pressure from priests and lay leaders, the Vatican said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Bishop Malone, effective immediately(link is external). Since the Vatican did not specify the reasons behind the resignation, it was unclear whether Bishop Malone had been forced to quit.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Legal reckoning: new abuse suits could cost church over $4B
“At the end of another long day trying to sign up new clients accusing the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse(link is external), lawyer Adam Slater gazes out the window of his high-rise Manhattan office at one of the great symbols of the church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ‘I wonder how much that’s worth?’ he muses. Across the country, attorneys like Slater are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades.” By Bernard Condon and Jim Mustian, Associated Press, in Time

Argentine court finds two Catholic priests guilty of sexually assaulting deaf children; first convictions in long-alleged abuse
“An Argentine court on Monday Nov. 25) found two priests and a lay worker guilty of the sexual abuse and rape of 10 former students of a Catholic institute for the deaf(link is external), the first legal victory for a string of hearing-impaired victims stretching from Italy to the Andes whose denunciations against one of the clerics to church officials including Pope Francis went unheeded for years. The landmark verdict related to the Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the western Argentine city of Luján de Cuyo is the latest stain on the church’s handling of sex abuse cases in Francis’s native Argentina. Argentine prosecutors last week requested an international arrest warrant for Catholic Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta—a longtime associate of the pope accused of sexually abusing two seminarians.” By Anthony Faiola, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post

Lawsuit: Church pressured victims into unfair settlements
“Two impoverished Mississippi men who say they were sexually assaulted by Franciscan missionaries filed a federal lawsuit Thursday (Nov. 21) claiming that Catholic officials pressured them into signing settlements that paid them little money and required them to remain silent(link is external) about the alleged abuse. The lawsuit, filed in New York, claims the church officials drew up the agreements a year ago to prevent the men from telling their stories or going to court — a violation of a 2002 promise by American bishops to abandon the use of nondisclosure agreements, as part of an effort to end the cover-up of sexual abuse within the church.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

Children’s rights group says ‘third wave’ of abuse scandals hitting Latin America
“A children’s rights group is warning that a ‘Third Wave’ of clerical sex abuse scandals is hitting Latin America, with revelations showing how the Catholic Church has continued to try and hide the extent of the crisis(link is external). The London-based Child Rights International Network (CRIN) released The Third Wave: Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Latin America on Nov. 20. It looks at the scale of abuse and cover-up by the Church in every Latin American country, as well as reviewing whether national laws on child sex crimes adequately protect children.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Questions of faith: exclusive survey of Catholic Church employees
“A vast survey of the Roman Catholic Church workforce in America shows the people who know best how the church is run – the employees themselves – are deeply split on key issues facing parishes across nation(link is external). The survey reveals diocesan priests are far more likely to view clergy abuse as a problem of the past, while nuns and other religious employees often consider sex abuse and misconduct to be major problems even today. And just as Pope Francis considers expanding the role of married men and women in the church, the survey highlights vivid differences in how female and male employees view a host of religious reforms under the Vatican’s consideration.” By Dan Corcoran, NBC-TV Connecticut News

ACCOUNTABILITY

Bishops need to recognize their own checkered history
“Novelist William Faulkner wrote, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ Faulkner’s insight is worth remembering in church circles as Catholics deal with the fallout from the ongoing process of bishops investigating other accused bishops(link is external). In the short time since the church formalized that process to deal with its seemingly never-ending crisis, we are finding out that it’s had, to put it mildly, its hiccups.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

German Catholic women call for change as ‘synodal path’ gets underway
But the momentum for real change — the loudest voice for a transformation of the church — comes from Catholic women(link is external) who are no longer willing to accept a subordinate role in a male-dominated church. ‘The grief that women had to endure through the power of churchmen was too great, and the hope for real change was too small,’ said Mechthild Heil in an email, noting that many women have turned their backs on the Church. Heil is the leader of the Catholic Women’s Association in Germany and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party in the Bundestag.” By Donald Snyder, National Catholic Reporter

Diocese: Bransfield should apologize and pay $792,000 restitution
“Disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield would make public apologies and pay $792,638 restitution(link is external) if he accepts a proposed ‘plan of amends’ from the Wheeling-Catholic Diocese. Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan on Tuesday outlined the penance for Bishop Michael Bransfield, whose sexual and financial activities continue to receive scrutiny.” By Brad MdElhinny, MetroNews

CARDINALS

Cardinal Cupich: how can we end clerical sex abuse and purify the church?
“One day, a man in his mid-50s came to my office and shared the painful story of being sexually abused by his pastor(link is external). He started serving Mass when he was 9 years old, and the pastor always asked him to stay afterward to tidy up the sacristy. One day the priest took him to the basement and sexually abused him. He did this every Sunday over four years … Seeing the suffering in this victim-survivor’s eyes, witnessing his courage in sharing this horrible experience with me, I knew I had to act.” By Blase J. Cupich, America: The Jesuit Review

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

NJ’s Former Top Roman Catholic Cleric Among Clergy Named in New Sex Abuse Lawsuits
“Theodore McCarrick — the now-defrocked, one-time top Roman Catholic cleric in New Jersey — is among the defendants named in dozens of lawsuits filed this week(link is external) after lawmakers eased the state’s legal bar on claims of past sexual abuse by clergy members and others in a position of trust. A lawsuit filed on behalf of 37-year-old John Bellocchio alleges that he was assaulted by McCarrick, then the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, in the vestry of Hackensack’s St. Francis of Assisi Church in the mid-1990s, when he was a 14-year-old altar server.” By Brenda Flanagan, NJTV News

Pennsylvania, New Jersey bishops ask Vatican for McCarrick report
“The bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey discussed sexual abuse with Pope Francis in a Thanksgiving Day meeting, according to Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, who was present at the meeting. The gathering was a central part of the bishops’ ‘ad limina’ visit, during which the bishops also asked the Vatican to release the results of its investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick(link is external), who had served in two New Jersey dioceses before being named archbishop of Washington and a cardinal, then was dismissed from the clerical state when the Vatican determined he had abused minors.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

Adrift & alone
“The 2019 fall gathering of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore lacked the drama of last year’s meeting, where a breakdown in communications between the USCCB and Rome on addressing the sex-abuse crisis was visible for all to see (an embarrassment for which the official explanation contradicts the well-documented history). This time around, the bishops avoided major public missteps(link is external) and everything appeared to go according to plan.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Sex abuse claim dismissed by church foreshadowed years of allegations against W.Va. bishop
“Michael J. Bransfield was just a couple of years into his tenure as West Virginia’s bishop in 2007 when one of his former students called a church sexual abuse hotline(link is external). Decades earlier, at a Catholic high school, Bishop Bransfield had repeatedly summoned him from class, escorted him to a private room and fondled his buttocks and genitals, the caller said. The former student said he was a freshman when the unwanted touching began.” By The Washington Post in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Argentine bishop says he’ll return to face sex allegations
“An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis said Saturday (Nov. 23) he’ll return voluntarily to Argentina to respond to prosecutors’ accusations of sex abuse(link is external). Javier Belda Iniesta, the canon law lawyer for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta issued a statement that the monsignor would arrive in Argentina on Tuesday (Nov. 25) and would fully cooperate with authorities. Zanchetta has been formally accused of ‘aggravated continuous sexual abuse’ of two seminarians, charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He has denied the charges.” By Associated Press

The failed leadership of U.S. bishops is clear
“What a mess. It doesn’t take an ecclesiologist to arrive at that conclusion about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after witnessing its dysfunction during the group’s recent meeting in Baltimore. If there is an upside to the proceedings, it is that neither the bishops nor the faithful need any longer pretend that the church is being led competently or that the bishops are acting in unity(link is external). What has become clear is that too many of the bishops still are captives of the political culture wars; that the conference as a whole has been drained of authority and credibility because of the ongoing sexual abuse scandal; and that the bishops have been frozen in place by their inability to collectively and honestly examine the secretive, privileged culture that was the pathway to the current mess.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

PRIESTS

Fallen priests: should we hear their stories
“Speaking about the church’s sex-abuse scandal at a September conference on the ‘Catholic Imagination’ at Loyola University in Chicago, the essayist Richard Rodriguez said a very brave thing(link is external). ‘What do we know about these priests? We know nothing about the burden of these fallen priests,’ Rodriguez said, according to articles in the National Catholic Reporter. ‘We don’t know their stories. What do they think they were doing? … We have no idea who they were, or what they suffered…. Our imaginations have gone dull.’” By Paul Baumann, Commonweal

WOMEN DEACONS

Possibility of female deacons gives some Catholic hope
“There are many roles open to women in the Catholic Church today, said (St. Louis University professor of theology Rev. David) Meconi, including campus chaplain and Eucharistic minister. (Eucharistic ministers serve Communion but do not consecrate the bread and wine themselves.) Still, he believes restricting ordination to men is an essential part of the faith(link is external).” By Shahla Farzan, National Public Radio

VATICAN

Vatican still refusing to expel priests condemned in Provolo case
“This week’s convictions of priests Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi for the sexual abuse of minors at the Antonio Próvolo Institute in Mendoza exposes yet another failure by the Vatican to act and respond to judicial sentences against members of the Catholic Church(link is external). In a historic judgment, both priests were convicted for the repeated rape and abuse of deaf students at the school in Luján de Cuyo. Corbacho received 45 years in prison for his crimes and Corradi received 42 years. The institution’s former gardener, Armando Gómez, was given 18 years behind bars.” By Mariana Sarramea, Buenos Aires Times

Vatican accused of harboring bishop in sex abuse claims
“The Vatican has been accused of harboring a bishop wanted for alleged sex abuse offences, as Pope Francis railed against the evils of sexual exploitation on a visit to Thailand. Prosecutors in Argentina have issued an international arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is accused of sexually abusing young trainee priests(link is external), known as seminarians. He denies the charges. Bishop Zanchetta, 55, who is close to his fellow Argentine Pope Francis, lives in the Vatican.” By Ruth Sax, Premiere.org.uk

Vatican charity knew in 2017 of pedophilia concerns about Central African Republic director
“The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year(link is external). CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week (Nov. 25), reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.” By Associated Press in Los Angeles Times

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican officials: Swiss bank suspected of money laundering led to Pell conflict
“The Holy See’s relationship with a disreputable Swiss bank triggered an internal dispute(link is external) between the Secretariat of State and Vatican financial authorities. At the center of the conflict was a multimillion-dollar line of credit used to fund a controversial investment in London property speculation. Sources inside the Vatican’s Prefecture for the Economy confirmed to CNA that a substantial part of the $200 million used to finance the Secretariat of State’s purchase of a luxury development at 60 Sloane Avenue came through credit extended by BSI, a Swiss bank with a long track record of violating money-laundering and fraud safeguards in its dealings with sovereign wealth funds.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

Study shows 65% of U.S. dioceses post audited financial reports online, but 27% post no financial information
“Voice of the Faithful has completed its third annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency(link is external) and concluded that, although a majority of dioceses have made a commitment to financial transparency, a sizable minority share little or no verifiable financial information with their members.” By Voice of the Faithful in Longview News-Journal

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

German Catholics’ celibacy debate could lead to schism with Vatican
“German Catholics are meeting to debate what remain taboo subjects for many in the church — lifting celibacy policies and whether to allow women to play bigger roles in ecclesiastical life(link is external). The German Bishops Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics will start a two-year process of reckoning and reform on Sunday (Dec. 1), the first day of Advent. The meeting comes in response to damning revelations of sexual abuse in the church.” By Ivana Kottasova, CNN

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

German Catholic Church debates sexuality, celibacy and women’s roles
“The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has a split identity(link is external). At home, attendance is falling and many Germans say they regard the church’s teaching on social issues as hopelessly out of touch. But globally, the German church is one of the most powerful — and liberal — regions of the Catholic world, a player whose wealth and theological influence are now creating a challenge for the entire church.” By Liam Stack, The New York Times

VOICES

Viewpoints: healing reconciliation, reform: a path forward for he diocese of Buffalo
“Last December, the Movement to Restore Trust empaneled six working groups involving about 150 Catholics who developed a series of reports and recommendations for reform in the Diocese of Buffalo. These reports were released to the public this past July. The Movement was working with the diocese on the early stages of implementation of various reforms when it determined in early September that it did not believe that it could make further progress on its reform agenda while Bishop Richard J. Malone remained in office(link is external). The Movement called for the bishop’s resignation on Sept. 5. He has refused to resign.” By John J. Hurley, Special to The Buffalo News

Our View: State falls short on abuse reform
“The 2018 release of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report exposing decades of Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse offered state lawmakers the opportunity to level a gross imbalance of power and speed justice to damaged victims. They failed to deliver in full(link is external). Landmark legislation guaranteed to protect future victims is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to be signed into law … But when it comes to the grand jury recommendation that victims be given a time window to sue the church retroactively, those victims who want to confront their abusers independently and transparently in a court of law again must wait.” By GoErie.com Editorial Board

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Ohio House GOP leader ‘open’ to statute of limitations reform after I-Team report on Catholic church

“The author of a 2006 bill that reformed Ohio’s civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse wants to revise the law again after reviewing materials uncovered in the I-Team’s three-month investigation of the Catholic Church(link is external). Rep. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Green Township, said he would like to encourage more public disclosure in the church and correct problems a Columbus judge cited in 2010. As majority floor leader, Seitz sets the Republican agenda in the House.” By Dan Monk, WCOP-TV9 News

How some sex abuse victims are finding different ways to sue clergy in Pennsylvania
“The #MeToo movement and revelations around child sexual abuse have prompted lawmakers across the U.S. to extend the window to sue for old sexual assaults(link is external). Pennsylvania’s Legislature just passed a bill that would move forward a constitutional amendment that allows these suits. But that process can take years. From member station WHYY, Laura Benshoff reports on a group of victims who are not waiting for that to happen to sue the Catholic Church.” By Laura Benshoff, Blue Ridge Public Radio

Pennsylvanians get more time on sex abuse charges, suits
“The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday (Nov. 21) giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges(link is external). The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.” By Mark Scolforo, The Morning Call

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Advocacy group urges changes to Catholic abuse review boards
“The bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Roman Catholic diocese, who was recently appointed chairman-elect of the U.S. Catholic church’s national committee for protecting abuse victims, should lead an effort to change boards that review abuse allegations(link is external) to make them more transparent, inclusive and willing to publicly identify predator priests, an advocacy group said Friday (Nov. 15).” By Margaret Stafford, Associated Press

Clergy abuse reparations are closure for some victims, resurface trauma for others
“For some, these payments provided a kind of closure, after years of ‘howling into the wind(link is external),’ as 67-year-old John Quinn put it. He first came forward two decades ago with allegations of sexual assault by a Philadelphia priest and said he considered waiting to sue. Instead, he received $250,000 from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Independent Reparations and Reconciliation Program in February. ‘I’m a man of my word; I signed it and I said I wasn’t going to go after them anymore,’ said Quinn. Still, doubts and questions persist, he said. ‘I get stressed, I get depressed, I get what-ifs … what if it didn’t happen this way, where would I be?’” By Laura Benshoff, National Public Radio

Pennsylvanians to get more time on sex abuse charges, suits
“The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday (Nov. 21) giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges(link is external). The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press

CALIFORNIA

Pedophile priests operated at this Bay Area school for decades. This is the Catholic order that covered up their abuse
“Two boys, born into deeply religious families, both sent to Catholic school, and both abused by the very priests and teachers meant to protect them(link is external). George Stein and Joey Piscitelli grew up a decade apart, but they are connected by their abuse at the hands of priests and brothers from a Catholic order founded to help and support vulnerable children. Their experiences reveal a pattern of abuse and cover-up going back more than half a century.” By Nima Elbagir,Barbara Arvanitidis, Katie Polglase,Bryony Jones and Alex Platt, CNN

Pinay filmmaker sues LA’s Catholic archdiocese over childhood sexual assault by Filipino priest
“A Filipina American filmmaker from Hollywood is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles over sexual assault she experienced as a child by a Filipino priest(link is external).  The suit is said to be the first civil lawsuit against the nation’s largest Catholic diocese since California passed a law giving childhood sexual assault survivors more time to file civil lawsuits.” By Rae Ann Varona, Asian Journal

MICHIGAN

Former Coloma, Michigan, priest pleads guilty to a felony after clergy abuse investigation
“Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel said a 57-year-old Coloma priest pleaded guilty to felony charges Wednesday(link is external) (Nov. 20). The Rev. Brian Stanley pleaded guilty to attempted false imprisonment during a pretrial conference in an Allegan County Circuit Court. Stanley faces five years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years. ‘Mr. Stanley’s decision to plead guilty to attempted false imprisonment ensures that he will be held accountable for the pain and suffering he has caused,’ Nessel said in a written statement on the pleading.” By WWMT-TV3 News

NEW JERSEY

New accusers file suits alleging sex abuse by defrocked Paterson Diocese priest
“At least two new accusers came forward this week(link is external) (Dec.4) to file sex abuse lawsuits naming a now-defrocked Paterson Diocese priest, James T. Hanley, who has admitted to abusing children and was at the center of the 2002 Catholic Church scandal in New Jersey related to an alleged cover-up of sex abuse by some bishops.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

New sex abuse lawsuits roll in as New Jersey law takes effect
“Three years ago Sunday (Dec. 1), Carolyn Fortney woke up in a hospital. She had tried to end her life, she said, because of sexual abuse she endured from a priest decades ago(link is external). Her sisters were with her then, and three were next to her Monday (Dec. 2) in Newark, when the family announced a new lawsuit against Newark’s Archdiocese. ‘Did they know he was a pedophile, prior to moving him to PA?’ asked Lara Fortney-McKeever, one of Carolyn’s sisters who said she was also abused in Pennsylvania by the same priest.” By Blake Nelson, New Jersey Advance Media for NJ.com

New accuser names former Cardinal McCarrick as dozens of lawsuits are filed un New Jersey law
“The first wave of lawsuits was filed Sunday (Dec. 1) under a new state law(link is external) that opened the way for perhaps hundreds of people to bring sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and other institutions. They included a new accuser saying in court papers that he was abused as a child growing up in Hackensack by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, once one of the most powerful leaders in the U.S. Catholic Church. McCarrick was defrocked earlier this year amid allegations that he sexually abused minors and harassed adult seminarians.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

Diocese of Metuchen addresses indictment, alleged crimes predating accused’s tenure as priest
“The former pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Middlesex, Fr. Patrick J. Kuffner, identified on the list of names of clergy currently under investigation(link is external) by civil authorities as released by the Diocese of Metuchen in February of this year, was arrested Nov. 20 by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department on three counts of sexual assault of a minor that date back more than three decades to when he was a layperson and while in Massachusetts.” By Diocese of Metuchen

NEW YORK

Sexual abuse and its widespread damage
“During the last two decades, we have learned more about sexual abuse than we ever expected or wished to know. The suffering that victims and their families endured has been twofold(link is external) — the abuse itself and the trauma of being silenced or ignored. Much has changed in the church since the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the Dallas Charter) in June 2002, but the pain continues.” Editorial by The Tablet, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn

NORTH CAROLINA

Reporter Sarah Delia talks about ‘The List,’ a new investigative series from WFAE
“Most Catholic dioceses in the country have released a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. The diocese of Charlotte has not released a list(link is external), but its bishop has said he’s committed to doing so by the end of the year. In the meantime, WFAE’s Sarah Delia has been learning how such a list is compiled, what it means, and how victims of clergy continue to deal with the abuse they suffered.” By Sarah Delia, WFAE-RF National Public Radio

More ‘credible’ sexual misconduct claims found against former Belmont Abbey leader
“Belmont Abbey College announced late Tuesday (Nov. 26) that four more claims of sexual misconduct have been found ‘credible’(link is external) against one of the school’s former top officials. The findings involve Monsignor Mauricio West, who was most recently the vicar general and chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. He stepped down from those roles in March after an initial claim of sexual misconduct against him – concerning an incident in the mid-1980s – was found to be credible by authorities with the diocese.” By Michael Barrett, Gaston Gazette

OHIO

These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State
“The Diocese of Covington suspended the Rev. Jack Goeke from ministry in 1994 after two women accused him of sexually abusing them while they were as young as 11(link is external). More than two decades later, local Catholic Church and community leaders participated in a celebration to honor Goeke. A Facebook photo from June 2018 shows a smiling Goeke at a groundbreaking ceremony for a legacy house honoring his quarter-century of work at Housing Opportunities for Northern Kentucky, a nonprofit that renovates and builds homes for low-income families.” By Paula Christian, Craig Cheatham and Don Monk

OKLAHOMA

Internal investigation clears Tulsa priest of sexual abuse allegations
“A Tulsa Roman Catholic priest is being allowed to return to work after officials with the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma say an internal investigation failed to substantiate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). The diocese on Tuesday announced that the Rev. Joe Townsend is no longer on administrative leave and could be considered for a pastoral assignment next year.” By KFOR-TV4 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania’s clergy abuse hotline received 1,900 calls since grand jury report
“Nearly one year after a landmark grand jury report revealed accusations of sexual abuse against more than 300 priests across Pennsylvania, the state‘s clergy abuse hotline is still ringing. The hotline has received 1,862 calls since being instituted last August(link is external), according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The majority of the calls, roughly 90 percent, were related to allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church. The remaining calls were related to institutions or individuals outside the Catholic church.” By Hoback Herald

Survivors conflicted about compromise to change Pennsylvania sex abuse law
“When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes. Some sexual-abuse survivors and victim advocates felt conflicted by the compromise package(link is external): Missing was a cornerstone of the recommendations by last year’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse inside six of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses. That recommendation was for a two-year window in state law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue over claims that are past Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.” By Marc Levy, Associated Press, in The Morning Call

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Catholic priest Urbano Vasquez gets 15 years for sexual abuse of children
“A Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two children(link is external) at a DC church. The Washington Post reports that most of the more than 80 people who filled the courtroom Friday were supporters of 47-year-old Urbano Vazquez, providing a visual representation of how this case has divided his former parish.” By Associated Press on WJZ-TV13 News

WYOMING

Gordon says he’ll talk to AG about priest abuse in Wyoming
“Gov. Mark Gordon said he would talk with Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill about investigating sexual abuse by priests in the Equality State, in the wake of other states launching their own inquiries(link is external) into the history of abuse by Catholic clergymen. ‘My sense is I probably will, now that you bring it up, probably ask Attorney General Hill her point of view of where the state’s role should be,’ Gordon said during a wide-ranging interview with the Star-Tribune on Tuesday (Dec. 3). ‘Those are horrific cases. Horrific cases.’” By Seth Klamann, Caspar Star Tribune

Police say no plans to look into investigation into bishop, despite criticism from victim’s family
“There doesn’t appear to be much interest at looking back to 2002. Cheyenne police say they have no plans to reexamine that year’s most high-profile sexual abuse investigation(link is external). In April 2002, recently retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in Cheyenne in the 1970s. The Cheyenne police investigation that followed lasted two months before the allegation was declared unfounded because of a lack of victim cooperation.” By Seth Klaman, Caspar Start Tribune

AFRICA

How a Catholic order dedicated to protecting children failed them
“A pedophile priest was sent to work for an aid organization helping vulnerable families in an African country, even though his Catholic order knew he had been convicted of abusing children years earlier in Europe(link is external), a CNN investigation has found. Father Luk Delft is accused of abusing at least two other boys in the Central African Republic (CAR) while in a key role at Caritas, a leading Catholic charity.” By Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, Katie Polglase, Bryony Jones and Alex Platt, CNN, on WRAL.com

ARGENTINA

Argentine prosecutor calls for international arrest of bishop accused of sex abuse
“An Argentine criminal prosecutor has requested the arrest of a Roman Catholic bishop after officials said he ignored repeated calls and emails relating to an investigation of sex abuse allegations against him(link is external). The prosecutor in charge of gender violence and sex crimes for Oran, in the northern province of Salta, called for the arrest of Gustavo Zanchetta. The official request would need to be made by an Argentine judge, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said on Thursday (Nov. 21).” By Cassandra Garrison, reuters, on WTVBAM.com

AUSTRALIA

States agree on uniform mandatory reporting laws
“A federal and state agreement to standardize laws making it mandatory for priests to report child sexual abuse revealed during confession(link is external) is ‘counter-productive and unjust,’ Archbishop Mark Coleridge said. The state and federal attorneys-general agreed to three principles for the laws at a meeting in Adelaide on Friday (Nov. 29). The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president said that while the Church supports nationally consistent mandatory reporting regimes and reportable conduct schemes that include ministers of religion as mandatory reporters, it does not consider the removal of legal protections for the sacramental seal of confession to be ‘helpful or necessary.’” By CathNews.com

CANADA

36 cases of abuse by Catholic priests uncovered in B.C.
“A file review of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy within the Archdiocese of Vancouver has uncovered 36 cases, most of them involving minors(link is external). A report released Friday (Nov. 22) says Archbishop Michael Miller appointed a committee last year to conduct the review following the disclosure of global sexual abuse by clergy. ‘This past year, guided by divine providence, we have studied and learned more than ever before about the pain suffered by you, victims/survivors of clerical sexual abuse in our Archdiocese,’ Miller says in a pastoral letter preceding the report.” By Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press, on HuffingtonPost.ca

Judge to investigate Montreal archdiocese’s handling of priest’s sexual abuse
“Montreal’s archdiocese enlisted a former Quebec Superior Court justice on Monday (Nov. 25) to investigate the case of a priest found guilty of sexually abusing two boys(link is external). Pepita G. Capriolo will conduct the investigation into Rev. Brian Boucher, a Catholic priest who was sentenced in March to eight years behind bars.” By The Canadian Press

FRANCE

French cardinal’s career at stake in sex abuse case
“A French cardinal said Thursday (Nov. 28) he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children(link is external), speaking at an appeals court hearing that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after his original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.” By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Associated Press

GUAM

Guam Catholic Church enters bankruptcy amid sex abuse claims
“Guam‘s Catholic Church filed for bankruptcy Wednesday (Nov. 20), a move that will allow the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of child sexual abuse lawsuits and enter settlement negotiations(link is external). Ford Elsaesser, an attorney representing the church, said the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition was filed with federal court in Guam. The church faces multimillion-dollar lawsuits for sexual abuse from about 190 accusers. Elsaesser couldn‘t put a figure on the dollar amount the church is hoping to raise for its settlement. But it said its current assets are valued at $22.9 million with liabilities of $45.6 million. The church also plans to sell non-essential real estate and add the proceeds to the settlement fund.” By Stock Daily Dish

INDIA

Catholic priest arrested for allegedly making schoolgirls view porn
“An elderly Catholic priest, who worked as a correspondent of a school in Coimbatore, was arrested on Thursday (Nov. 21) for allegedly sexually harassing students of the institution(link is external). The priest, Maria Antony Raj, was reported to be around 60 years of age. Raj had been the correspondent of the St Mary’s High School in the Gandhipuram area of Coimbatore for over a year. The Hindu reported Raj allegedly forced ‘at least’ five girls of the school to open lewd content on his mobile phone on multiple occasions.” By The Week

MEXICO

Victim ignored by bishop today pushes Mexican Church on reform
“From the time she was 10 until she turned 17, Maria says she was sexually abused by a priest in San Ambrosio in the Mexican state of Sonora(link is external). Years after the local bishop refused to investigate her allegations, her abuser was finally removed from the clerical state. For the past two years, she’s been asked by several abuse prevention experts to share her story, including before several hundred South American bishops.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

In 10 years, 550 sexual abuse complaints against Catholic Church
“Mexico has had the highest number of sexual abuse complaints against members of the Catholic clergy in Latin America(link is external) over the last decade. According to the Child Rights International Network (CRIN), there have been 550 complaints from 2008 to February of this year against priests and other workers in the Catholic Church. In the last nine years, 152 priests have been suspended from their duties for presumed sexual abuse.” By Mexico Daily News

Priest abused by head of Catholic order abused at least eight girls aged 6-11
“A priest abused as a teenager by the founder of the Legion of Christ Catholic order himself went on to abuse children in at least two cities(link is external) in Mexico. Fernando Martínez Suárez admitted to having sexually abused at least eight girls aged 6 to 11 between 1990 and 1993 at the Cumbres Catholic Institutes in Mexico City and Cancún.” By Mexico News Daily

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Nov. 26, 2019

TOP STORIES

Church sex-abuse boards often undermine victims, help clergy
“Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards. These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry. But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments(link is external). Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.” By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press

Does the Church get it on sex abuse? Classic Catholic reply is, ‘sic et non’
“Since last summer’s twin eruptions of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and the scandals surrounding ex-cardinal and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, many Catholics have found themselves wondering if anything’s truly changed in the Church vis-à-vis the clerical abuse scandals. After decades of crisis and repeated vows of reform, they ask, is it possible the Church still doesn’t get it?(link is external)” By John L. Allen, Curxnow.com

Catholic bishops’ new anti-abuse hotline to be ready soon
“A new national hotline to report sexual misconduct accusations against Catholic bishops in the U.S. could be operating by the end of February(link is external), three months ahead of the deadline set by Pope Francis. That forecast came Wednesday (Nov.13) from Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as the bishops concluded a three-day national assembly. The early start-up date would require all of the nearly 200 dioceses to be ready; church officials sounded optimistic that would happen.” By David Crary and Regina Garcia Cano, Associated Press

Cardinal Pell granted final appeal of conviction on sexual abuse charges
“Australia’s highest court has granted Cardinal George Pell leave to appeal his landmark conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys(link is external) in the 1990s, setting the stage for a new round of hearings next year to evaluate the historical conduct of the Vatican’s former No. 3 official. The High Court of Australia announced the decision to allow the cardinal a final appeal the morning of Nov. 13 in Canberra. Pell, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March, will remain in jail pending the court’s decision on his appeal, expected to come in 2020.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church files to challenge law protecting sex abuse victims
“A Long Island Catholic diocese is suing to overturn the Child Victims Act(link is external), claiming the new law that protects sex abuse survivors, many of whom suffered at the hands of the church, is unconstitutional. The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed papers Tuesday in Nassau County Supreme Court against the act, which changed the statute of limitations for child sex crimes and opened up a year-long window where any child sex abuse victim can file a claim against their abuser, regardless of when the alleged crime happened.” By Gabrielle Fonrouge, New York Post

U.S. bishops elect L.A.’s Archbishop José Gomez as president
“Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles was elected by an overwhelming majority Tuesday (Nov. 12) to be the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops(link is external). Archbishop Gomez, born in Mexico and a naturalized U.S. citizen, is the first Latino elected to head the conference. Bishops meeting in Baltimore this week for their annual fall gathering also elected Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit as vice president. The vice presidential election, which requires a simple majority of those bishops voting, took three ballots, with Archbishop Vigneron receiving the most votes on each ballot.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Child sex abuse inquiry: Catholic Church ‘shocked to core by evil of clergy’
“The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has told an inquiry the Church was ‘shocked to the core’ by child sexual abuse(link is external) perpetrated by members of the clergy. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said the community had struggled to cope with ‘the presence of evil embodied in its members.’” By BBC News

Catholic bishops’ agenda: immigrants, gun deaths, sex abuse
“US Catholic bishops received a challenging to-do list Monday (Nov. 11) as they opened their national assembly — notably to support immigrants and refugees, extend the campaign to curtail clergy sex abuse and work harder to combat gun violence(link is external). They also were urged by Pope Francis’ envoy to be more vigorous in promoting sometimes-divisive segments of the pope’s agenda. ‘The pope has emphasized certain themes: Mercy, closeness to the people… a spirit of hospitality toward migrants, and dialogue with those of other cultures and religions,’ Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio, told the bishops as they opened a three-day meeting. ‘Do you believe these are gradually becoming part of the mindset of your clergy and your people?’” By David Crary and Regina Garcia Cano

ACCOUNTABILITY

Pennsylvania moves closer to overhauling child sex crimes after Senate passes ‘historic’ reforms
“Pennsylvania on Wednesday (Nov. 20) took one step closer to joining the ranks of states that have overhauled child sex crime laws(link is external). The state Senate approved measures that would open a pathway for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek legal recourse. By an overwhelming majority vote, the Senate passed two House measures that will broadly reform the statute of limitations and address the recommendations made by the scathing 2018 grand jury report into clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church statewide.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden?
Overview: What did WCPO I-Team find in investigation into sexual abuse in Catholic Church?(link is external)

Part 1: Could priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse be walking among us – without our knowledge?(link is external)

Part 2: Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden? (link is external)Part(link is external)

Part 3: Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility(link is external)

Part 4: These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State(link is external)

By Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

Pope’s point man on abuse to U.S. Church: be prepared for new revelations
“One of Pope Francis’s closest allies in fighting clergy sex abuse praised the American church for going ‘a step further’ than the Vatican’s new global guidelines for bishop accountability by requiring a third-party reporting system, which is set to take effect next year … At the same time, in remarks at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday (Nov. 13), (Archbishop Charles) Scicluna warned that Americans must be prepared for further revelations similar to those in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report(link is external), which chronicled decades of past abuse of minors at the hands of clergy, particularly as numerous states are undergoing their own similar investigations. By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Making ministry whole
“In a recent Commonweal article, my Dominican brother Michael Sweeney presented an excellent overview of the ‘paradigmatic clericalism’ that has marked Catholicism since at least the Council of Trent(link is external). This has persisted despite the theological shift that took place at Vatican II, which included such landmark developments as the emergence of ‘lay ecclesial ministry’ and the creation of the permanent diaconate. While these were important steps forward, much of the council’s promise to empower the laity remains unrealized. There are other post-conciliar developments, however, that may prove to be far more significant in declericalizing the church.” By Fr. Charles Bouchard, O.P., Commonweal

POPE FRANCIS

Pope taps fellow Jesuit as Vatican’s finance minister
“Pope Francis on Thursday (Nov. 14) appointed a fellow Jesuit to be the Vatican’s finance minister(link is external), filling a crucial position left vacant for more than two years after Cardinal George Pell left Rome to stand trial on sex abuse charges in his native Australia. The appointment of the Rev. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, a 60-year-old Spanish economist, came one day after Australia’s Supreme Court agreed to hear Pell’s appeal of his conviction for molesting two choirboys in the 1990s. Pell denies the charges.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

McCARRICK INVESTIGATION

O’Malley: Vatican may ‘soon’ release details of McCarrick investigation
“In a brief presentation Nov. 11 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told the bishops gathered in Baltimore the Vatican may publish what it knows about the ascent to power of now-disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick by Christmas(link is external), or perhaps the New Year. McCarrick was dismissed by the Vatican from the clerical state in February following an investigation of accusations that he had abused children early on in his career of more than 60 years as a cleric, and that he also had abused seminarians as a bishop.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

BISHOPS

French bishops back payments to sex abuse victims
“French bishops voted on Saturday (Nov. 16) in favor of a plan to offer payments to people who were sexually abused as children by members of the Catholic clergy(link is external). The French bishops conference said in a statement that each bishop would get in touch with victims they knew of to offer a ‘single lump sum of money.’ It added that neither the French legal system nor the Church required the payment of the money, and it was not intended to be a reparation.” By Reuters, in The New York Times

Bishop who investigated sex abuse accused of sex abuse
“A Roman Catholic bishop named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo, New York, has himself been accused of sexual abuse of a child(link is external), an attorney for the alleged victim notified the church this week. The attorney informed Catholic officials in New Jersey that he is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of a client who says he was molested by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in the mid-1970s, when DiMarzio was a parish priest in Jersey City. DiMarzio said there is no truth to the accusation.” By Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

U.S. bishops: consensus by bromides
“As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its plenary this morning (Nov. 11), and always they begin with morning prayer, the bishops had scarcely finished the Benedictus when Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, approached one of the microphones to urge the bishops to focus on the defense of the deposit of faith(link is external). Looking around the room, I did not see any posters that read ‘Down with the Nicene Creed’ nor witness any bishops whispering against the hypostatic union. What was he talking about? The poor man has bought into the nonsense emanating from LifeSiteNews and EWTN, from Cardinal Raymond Burke and Kazakhstan Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the idea that Pope Francis is indifferent or even hostile to orthodoxy. It is bunk, of course, but bunk with a currency in certain well-funded conservative sectors of the church in the United States.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops’ priorities and plans: a nothing burger
“The U.S. bishops seem determined to turn their conference, once the model for other countries, into a nothing burger(link is external). Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron presented the 2021-2024 ‘Priorities and Plans’ and the consultation among the bishops that led to their formulation. The first item is ‘Evangelization: Form a joyful band of missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.’ The items under this heading were not earth-shattering, and they lacked the Holy Father’s heartfelt way of discussing evangelization. They were unobjectionable but nothing more.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Embattled Buffalo bishop in Rome next week for ad limina visit
“Buffalo’s embattled bishop, Richard Malone, will be in Rome next week(link is external) (Nov. 11) as part of the New York region’s scheduled meetings with Vatican officials. Crux confirmed with Kathy Spangler, a spokesperson for the diocese, on Wednesday (Nov. 6) that Malone will be in attendance. The meetings, known as the ad limina visits, are part of the regularly scheduled meetings between bishops and officials from the Roman Curia.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Mexican prelate says bishops should admit moving predators was a mistake
“A Mexican archbishop has said it’s time for prelates to own up to the mistakes they’ve made handling clerical sexual abuse cases(link is external), including what he euphemistically called the “geographical solution” of simply moving predators from one assignment to another without addressing their behavor. “We bishops need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past: we weren’t conscious of the seriousness of the issue, and the solutions we gave weren’t the right ones,” said Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera, of Monterrey, president of the Mexican bishops’ conference.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Most priests accused of sexually abusing children were never sent to prison. Here’s why.
“The Catholic Church has been under scrutiny from survivors, victims’ advocates and, in some cases, law enforcement, since early 2002, when the sex abuse crisis that involved church administration covering for thousands of priests first became public knowledge. In the last two decades, there’s been major church reform, including the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which established guidelines for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Meanwhile, dioceses across the country have released lists of credibly accused priests, many of whom are deceased. Most of these men have never faced criminal prosecution, often because of statute of limitation laws(link is external) that advocates across the country are trying to change. And some claim they have been wrongly accused.” By Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY

VATICAN

President of Vatican’s financial watchdog agency resigns in apparent surprise
“The head of the Vatican’s financial watchdog authority will be leaving his post by the end of the month(link is external), the city-state said in an unexpected Nov. 18 announcement adding to a months-long saga that has brought to light new questions about the Vatican’s economic controls. René Brülhart, a Swiss lawyer and former head of Liechtenstein’s financial intelligence unit, has led the agency, formally known as the Financial Information Authority (AIF), since 2014.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican youth seminary scandal grows with new abuse claims
“A scandal over alleged sexual molestation and abuse at the Vatican’s youth seminary is growing(link is external), with more former papal altar boys alleging inappropriate behavior by priests inside the Vatican walls. Le Iene, an Italian investigative television program, plans to air the new allegations Sunday; the show provided the broadcast to The Associated Press ahead of time. The Vatican announced in September that its criminal prosecutor was seeking to indict a former senior seminarian and the then-rector of the St. Pius X seminary on sexual abuse charges.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

CHURCH FINANCES

Four Twin Cities women charged in scheme to steal more than $680,000 meant for Catholic Charities homeless
“Federal authorities have charged four more people in an elaborate scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Catholic Charities(link is external). The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday (Nov. 12) that they’ve charged four women with conspiracy to commit wire fraud to obtain more than $680,000 in charitable funds meant to help homeless people. The case is related to one that broke earlier this year when the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged five people with defrauding the nonprofit.” By Mary Lynn Smith, Star Tribune

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Almost nine in ten believe Catholic priests should be able to marry
“In a recent poll on IrishCentral, readers decided by an overwhelming majority that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry(link is external). In total, 320 of you voted with 87.5% saying that yes, priests should be allowed to marry within the Catholic Church. Voting against were 9.06% while 3.44% were unsure.” By IrishCentral

VOICES

Will Pennsylvania legislators leave victims of priest sex abuse out in the cold?
“And what have legislative leaders, especially Sen. Joseph Scarnati, offered to these victims? The short answer is – essentially nothing(link is external). No window to identify hidden predators, and the ruse of an unlikely constitutional amendment. Fifteen years of offensive foot dragging, especially alarming given the risk to so many children. And what do they offer? A long, narrow and crooked road to justice, one treacherous path covered in thin ice of electoral instability and legislative uncertainty. A challenging road to nowhere.” By Kathryn Robb and Marci Hamilton

Editorial: May the Church embrace true transparency
“A variety of potentially divisive issues, ranging from immigration to gun control, were discussed by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops during a national meeting in Baltimore last week. Dealing with the elephant in the room ought to be at the top of their agenda(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is archbishop of the Galveston-Houston diocese, is ending a three-year term as head of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops. Much of his time in the post has been dominated by controversy over the church’s handling of predator priests — and those with even higher positions in the church.” By The Winchester Star Editorial Board

Synodality isn’t just an option, it’s the only way to be church
“Last week, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy delivered the 2019 MacTaggert Lecture at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. In a manner in keeping with his typical erudite yet accessible articulation of church teaching and recognition of the pressing signs of our times, McElroy made a case for a broader embrace of what he called ‘the type of synodal pathway that the church in the Amazon has been undergoing(link is external).’ Drawing on his own experience as a participant in the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region last month and having overseen a local synodal process in the San Diego Diocese, McElroy identified four ecclesial characteristics that result from a more-synodal existence …” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

The Editors: Evangelization, polarization and accountability among the most pressing issues for the U.S. church
“The bishops of the United States are wending their way to Rome in different groups over the next four months for their ad limina apostolorum(link is external) visits with Pope Francis and other Vatican officials. The visits, held every five years, allow bishops the chance to voice their specific concerns about their dioceses—and to get feedback from the Vatican as well. There are myriad issues that need discussion, including the ongoing sexual abuse crisis and the continued exodus of U.S. Catholics from the church. But the visits are short, and both the bishops and the pope necessarily have to choose among the other issues they want to discuss.” By The Editors, America: The Jesuit Review

Georgetown University issues report on sex abuse, makes recommendations
“In order to best address the twin crises of clergy sexual abuse and leadership failure(link is external), a report released Nov. 4 by Georgetown University recommends placing victim-survivors at the center of the response and confronting clericalism. The report titled, ‘Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation: Lessons, Directions, and Paths Forward,’ was created by Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. It reflects and summarizes key ideas and proposals from a June 14-15 national convening here of more than 50 mostly lay Catholic leaders from across the United States.” By Jesse Remedios, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

How Vermont’s Catholic Church stashed away a half-billion dollars in assets
“When Vermont’s Catholic Church recently came clean about its half-century-long history of child sex abuse claims against 10% of its clergy, many wondered how much money the state’s largest religious denomination had on hand to deal with a potential new wave of lawsuits. The statewide Diocese of Burlington’s latest public financial statement lists $16 million in unrestricted net assets. But that figure doesn’t include an estimated $500 million in property that church leaders stashed into trusts more than a decade ago to protect those assets from priest abuse settlements(link is external).” By Kevin O’Connor, VTDigger.com

Pope appoints Jesuit priest as Prefect of Secretariat for Economy
“The Holy Father has appointed Father Juan Antonio Guerrero as the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See(link is external). Currently, the 60-year-old Jesuit, Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, is the Father General’s Delegate for Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works. He is also a General Councillor. ‘As a Jesuit, it is a joy to receive a mission directly from the Pope. It is a privileged way to realize my vocation,’ said Father Guerrero.” By Vatican News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility
“Christy Miller doesn’t want the Catholic Church’s money. She just wants the church to pay. ‘It was never about the money for me. It was about justice(link is external),’ she said. ‘If it hits their pocketbook, they’re more apt to change. That’s why the money plays a role.’ Miller sued the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2003, alleging her high school religion teacher, the Rev. Thomas Brunner, sexually abused her for two years in the mid 1980s.” By Dan Monk, Paula Christian and Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

Victims of Catholic Church sex abuse want statute of limitations to be dropped
“An attorney who represents victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests called on Colorado legislators to drop the statute of limitations(link is external) on such crimes on Wednesday (Nov. 13). Jeff Anderson also presented names and photos of around 100 priests who served in Colorado who have been accused sex abuse. One name on the list was now-former Jesuit Father Patrick O’Liddy. CBS4 featured him in a news story several years ago.” By Rick Sallinger, CBS-TV4 Denver

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic priest arrested after 11-year-old girl allegedly records herself being molested
“An 11-year-old Italian girl has been hailed as a hero after using her cell phone to document the alleged sexual abuse inflicted on her by a Catholic priest(link is external). Father Michele Mottola, 59, was arrested this week in Trentola Ducenta, near Naples, after audio recordings said to be of him and the girl were given to local press. The bishop of Aversa, Angello Spinillo, was made aware of the allegations as early as May 2018 and suspended Mottola at the time, as well as reporting the allegations to the Public Prosecutor of the Commissariat of Aversa. However, no further action was taken against the priest.” By Tareq Haddad, Newsweek

Sex abuse prevention expert says ‘no simple answers to complex problems’
“Last week, Father Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit who is a member of Pope Francis’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, showed an uncharacteristic moment of impatience during a Q&A when he was asked by a priest why he wasn’t focusing on homosexuality as the real cause of clerical sex abuse … In an interview following the event, he explained that he was a bit under the weather so he was off his game somewhat, however, he stood by the core of his response to the priest: ‘There are things that you can repeat over and over again and people don’t get it.(link is external) As I said in my response to him, it’s the same when people repeat over and over again that it is celibacy that causes the abuse.’” By Shannon Levitt and Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Expert says some Latin American churches are doing ‘nothing’ about abuse
“When the Boston Globe released a shocking series of news stories about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the city of Boston in 2002, Father Daniel Portillo was a seminarian(link is external). When Mexican Father Marcial Maciel, the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ who was found to have abused minors, died in 2005, Portillo was in Rome and saw how some members of the order founded by the late priest still labeled him a saint.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Abuse crisis shows need for holiness, renewal in church, priests say
“Four Catholic priests who serve in various ministries and are on the front lines facing the aftershocks of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church gave their perspective on helping the church address the problem(link is external). They participated in an Oct. 29 panel discussion sponsored by the Catholic Project, an initiative of The Catholic University of America. The event was held at the university’s Heritage Hall.” By Mark Zimmerman, Catholic News Service

LatAm activitsts aim to press beyond ‘cosmetic actions’ on sex abuse crisis
“Three years after a national congress regarding the sexual abuse of minors, the Pontifical University of Mexico in Mexico City is again hosting a conference discussing sex abuse in the continent’s Catholic communities(link is external). ‘The Latin American Church cannot expect significant change if we continue with the same things we’ve been doing,’ said conference organizer Father Daniel Portillo Trevizo, Director of the Center of Investigation and Interdisciplinary Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME).” By Shannon Levitt, Chruxnow.com

COLORADO

Law firm releases report naming Colorado Catholic clerics accused of sexual abuse
“A law firm that has published more than two dozen reports about sexual abuse in the Catholic church released a report Wednesday (Nov. 13) that includes information about 102 clerics who are accused of child sexual abuse and worked within the Archdiocese of Denver(link is external), and the dioceses of Pueblo and Colorado Springs. The report from Jeff Anderson and Associates includes 95 names. Seven priests in the report are unidentified. It comes on the heels of an independent review from former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, which named 43 Catholic priests who were accused of sexually abusing children in those same three dioceses.” By Janet Oravetz and Marc Sallinger, 9News.com

KANSAS

Prosecutors: Kansas City Kansas priest in child sex case to get new trial date after jury deadlocks
“The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office intends to bring a new trial against a Kansas City, Kansas, Roman Catholic priest accused of child molestation(link is external). The trial against the Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, will likely be scheduled in April and held in May, Jonathan Carter, the office’s spokesman, told The Star on Wednesday. Kallal faces two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. His original trial, held in September, ended in mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict.” By Katie Bernard, The Kansas City Star

KENTUCKY

Covington Diocese to review priest files amid I-Team investigation into abuse in Catholic Church
“The Diocese of Covington hired two former FBI agents to review its records on priests over the past 59 years to determine if all allegations of child sexual abuse have been reported to authorities(link is external). A diocese spokeswoman announced the independent review on Tuesday, just days before the WCPO I-Team is scheduled to publish and air a three-month investigation into how local Catholic Church leaders handle allegations of priest sexual abuse.” By Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

LOUISIANA

New molestation suit accuses Jesuuit of using parent, alumni donations to pay abuse settlements
“A former Jesuit High School student who says he was raped by a predator janitor on the school’s campus(link is external) in the 1970s alleges in a new lawsuit that Jesuit officials have used millions of dollars in parent and alumni money to cover abuse-related settlements. The 19-page suit is the latest in a series of complaints attributing acts of sexual abuse to Peter Modica, a former minor league baseball player who got a job on Jesuit’s groundskeeping staff despite having previously pleaded guilty to molesting two teenagers.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

Catholics form new group to fight for transparency and disclosure of secret records
“They call themselves Catholics of Louisiana for Church Reform. They are convinced the future of the church depends on total transparency concerning the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up(link is external). Despite the release of lists of credibly accused clergy, victims and their advocates have challenged the completeness and accuracy of the information made public in Southwest Louisiana and beyond. Luke Jones founded Catholics of Louisiana for Church Reform.” By KPLC-TV7 News

MARYLAND

Survivors of clergy sex abuse call for Church to release names of leaders accused of abuse
“Survivors of clergy sex abuse and their supporters are outlining their requests for Catholic Church leaders ahead of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which began Monday (Nov. 11) in Baltimore. Among the changes victims want to see are archdioceses nationwide releasing the names of clergy and anyone in the church who has been accused of abuse(link is external).” By Rachel Menitoff, WJZ-TV13 News

MICHIGAN

Priest sentenced in AG’s clergy abuse investigation
“One of six Catholic priests charged in an investigation by the attorney general’s office received his sentence Wednesday(link is external) (Nov. 20). Patrick Casey, 56, will serve 45 days in jail, one year of probation and have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in October.” By FOX17Online.com

MINNESOTA

Sexually abused as a child, Minnesota priest feels revictimized by attorney’s disclosure
“Like any other Sunday, the Rev. Joseph Richards led Mass on Nov. 10 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fertile, a northwest Minnesota town in Polk County with almost 850 residents. But this was the first Sunday Richards would address the congregation since it was revealed he was sexually abused as a child by his great-uncle(link is external). It was also disclosed that he sought help after having sexual fantasies about children and that he admitted to inappropriately touching a 5-year-old when he was 14.” By April Baumgarten, Forum News Service, Duluth News Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Two new lawsuits accuse Jesuit priests of sexual abuse”
Allegations of clergy sexual molestation of children struck at the heart of a Downtown Albuquerque church Friday(link is external) (Nov. 15) with the filing of two lawsuits claiming abuse by three Jesuit priests who once ministered there – one as recently as 2011. In one of the two cases, the alleged victim, now 25 years old, contends he was sexually abused eight years ago at Immaculate Conception Church in Albuquerque. His lawyer says he is one of the youngest survivors to come forward in recent years.” By Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal

NEW YORK

Outspoken gay Catholic priest Bernard Lynch accused of late-’70s sexual abuse of teen student at Bronx school
“An outspoken, internationally-known gay Catholic priest renowned for his work among New York’s AIDS patients in the 1980s was accused in a Wednesday (Nov. 20) lawsuit of sexually assaulting a teen student at a Bronx school four decades ago(link is external). The anonymous plaintiff, then a 16-year-old at Mount St. Michael Academy, alleged the sexual abuse occurred in 1978-79 when Father Bernard Lynch served as the school’s campus chaplain. Lynch was tried and acquitted of abusing a different student from the same school after a 1989 Bronx trial.” By Larry McShane, New York Daily News

Victims to share stories of impacts of childhood sex abuse
“‘Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors(link is external)’ will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 14) in the parish center of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse will discuss how the abuse has affected them over their lifetimes. The event is being organized by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who said they were sexually abused as minors by priests in the Buffalo Diocese.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Lawsuit accuses priest of sexually abusing St. Sylvester’s student in 1960s
“A lawsuit accuses a priest who was a prominent member of the Augustinian Order on Staten Island of sexually abusing a child(link is external) at St. Sylvester’s R.C. Church in Concord in the 1960s. The Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed by Jeff Anderson & Associates on Aug. 14 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of an anonymous alleged victim identified only as ARK63 DOE. Named as defendants in the lawsuits are the Archdiocese of New York, the Augustinian Order and related entities, including the former Augustinian Academy on Grymes Hill, and St. Sylvester’s Parish.” By Maura Brunlund, SILive.com

Retired State Supreme Court judge has strong words for Bishop Malone
“Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone is on his way to Rome for a face-to-face meeting with Pope Francis. It’s part of a regular visit to the Vatican by New York State’s Catholic bishops, but this time the visit comes on the heels of a massive sexual abuse scandal exposed in part by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team over the last two years(link is external). Now, a state judge is taking the rare step of speaking out against a sitting bishop.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

OHIO

Covington Diocese hires ex-FBI agents to perform independent priest sex abuse review
“The Diocese of Covington has hired two former FBI agents to independently review its priest files with an eye toward any potential sex abuse(link is external), according to an article in a Diocese-run publication. In August, Rev. David Glockner was removed from his ministry within the Diocese of Covington at Holy Redeemer Parish in Vanceburg, Kentucky. The 84-year-old priest was accused of inappropriately touching two high school girls, according to an Aug. 8 Enquirer article.” By Chris Mayhew, Cincinnati Enquirer

PENNSYLVANIA

Former altar boys sue Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese over alleged sexual abuse
“Two men who were formerly altar boys at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in McDonald, filed a 28-page lawsuit on Tuesday (Nov. 19), alleging sexual abuse by a priest at the church in the 1980(link is external)s. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, current bishop David Zubik and St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. An attorney for the men writes the abuse began in the early 80s, with his clients joining St. Alphonsus Catholic School when they were 11 and 13 years old. Both soon became altar boys.” By Nick Matoney, WTAE-TV4 News

Lawyer for priest on trial says difference cleric abused the victim
“The trial for a retired Catholic priest on sexual abuse charges began with dramatic testimony and a contentious cross-examination(link is external) Wednesday (Nov. 6) after the priest refused a prosecutor’s plea-bargain offer and his defense attorney suggested a different, now-deceased priest is to blame. The Rev. Hugh Lang, 88, a former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, faces eight counts related to an alleged assault on an 11-year-old boy in 2001 at St. Therese Parish in Munhall, where Father Lang was a priest at the time.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VERMONT

Why survivors advocates, accused ex-priest find fault with Catholic Church’s abuser list
“An ex-priest in an Upstate New York diocese left the priesthood in 2000 after serving in various parishes for nearly a decade. Eighteen years later, the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg included the man’s name, James Larche, on a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). Larche moved to Vermont in 2012 and got a job as a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center where he’s worked without incident ever since.” By Isaac Fornarola, Burlington Free Press

WISCONSIN
‘I was such a little kid’: as Wisconsin Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse grows, the trauma lingers
“When she was 7, Patty Gallagher was chosen to bring the priest who served her parish and school in Monona, Wisconsin, his daily milk. The Rev. Lawrence Trainor was practically a member of the family. He came over for dinner and visited the family cottage. Gallagher’s father and Trainor played cards and drank together. Trainor, a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, ingratiated himself with her parents. And then, Gallagher said, he ‘raped me in every way possible(link is external).’” By Erica Jones, Wisconsin Watch

Sentencing concludes long road to justice
“Thomas Ericksen, a former priest of the Diocese of Superior, was sentenced Sept. 26 in Sawyer County Circuit Court to the maximum 30 years in prison for molesting boys while serving in diocesan parishes decades ago. Although the church long ago settled the question of Ericksen’s fitness for the priesthood – he was removed from ministry in 1983, began a counseling program in the Twin Cities and was permanently removed from the priesthood through laicization in 1988 – Catholics may still have questions(link is external).” By Anita Draper, Catholic Herald of the Diocese of Superior

CANADA

Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver aware of 36 cases of clergy sex abuse since 1950s, CBC learns
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver was aware of 36 cases of abuse by clergy under its jurisdiction, including 26 involving children(link is external), results of an internal review of cases of clergy sexual abuse obtained by CBC’s The Fifth Estate show. The review, commissioned in 2018 by Archbishop Michael Miller, examined church files dating back to the 1950s. No Catholic entity in this country has ever made this kind of information public before. The Vancouver review also found three of their priests had fathered children.” By Laura Clementson and Gillian Findlay, CBC News

FRANCE

French bishops approve payments for church sex abuse victims
“French bishops on Saturday (Nov. 9) approved plans to financially compensate people abused sexually within the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). Any person recognized by their bishop as a victim will be eligible to receive money, they said, and the church will appeal for donations to foot the bill. Bishops also voted to allocate 5 million euros ($5.5 million) to an independent commission examining church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts.” By Claire Parker, The Associated Press

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Brothers of Stain John denounce sexually abusive founder
“The Brothers of Saint John, a Catholic movement launched in France in 1975, have officially renounced their sexually abusive founder Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe(link is external) and pledged to revise their rules without reference to him. A general chapter held near Lyon concluded the community could no longer recognise the Dominican priest as its inspiration.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Nov. 8, 2019

TOP STORIES

USCCB president disinvites Bishop Bransfield from fall assembly
“Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in consultation with the members of the USCCB Administrative Committee, has taken the highly unusual step of disinviting a fellow bishop from the conference’s fall general assembly(link is external). The decision affects Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, retired bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, who left his position in September 2018 under a cloud of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

Catholic bishops back ordination of married men as priests in Amazon region, a milestone
“ A summit of Roman Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican recommended on Saturday (Oct. 26) that Pope Francis allow the ordination of married men as priests in the Amazon region(link is external), which would lift a roughly 1,000-year-old restriction and potentially revolutionize the priesthood. It is the first time a grouping of bishops convened by a pope has endorsed such a historic change to the tradition of a celibate priesthood. The proposal is limited to remote areas of South America where there is a scarcity of priests but could set a precedent for easing the restriction on married priests throughout the world.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Synod calls for more church roles for women but stops short of diaconate
“Members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon asked that women be given leadership roles in the Catholic Church, although they stopped short of calling for women deacons(link is external). In the Amazon, like in the rest of the world, the essential roles women play within the family, the community and the church should be valued and recognized officially, members of the synod said in their final document.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Illinois chief justice distrusts church hierarchy to police itself on abuse
Don’t count on the bishops to clean up sex abuse in the church(link is external), Anne Burke told the annual gathering of Voice of the Faithful here Oct. 19. Burke, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and a justice of the court’s First Judicial District, formerly served as interim chair of the National Review Board for the U.S. bishops’ conference; she last addressed Voice of the Faithful in 2012. At that time, she saw reason for optimism that the bishops were willing to address the sex abuse crisis.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Voice of the Faithful surveys U.S. dioceses’ financial transparency
“Catholics in the icy north of Anchorage, Alaska, know the warmth of financial transparency in their local church, while Catholics in tropical St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, are getting the cold shoulder. Those two dioceses represent the polar opposites of this year’s financial transparency survey of American dioceses compiled by Voice of the Faithful(link is external). The Anchorage Archdiocese rated a perfect 100 score, while the St. Thomas Diocese rated the lowest, at 14 points. A total of 177 dioceses were rated. This is the third year of studies on financial transparency compiled by Voice of the Faithful …” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

A New York diocese filed for bankruptcy, Will others follow?
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection under the weight of new sexual misconduct lawsuits, but lawyers and church leaders say it may not be the last(link is external). All eight of the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses face financial pressures as a result of the state’s new Child Victims Act, which temporarily set aside the usual statute of limitations for lawsuits to give victims of childhood sexual abuse a year to pursue even decades-old claims. More than 400 cases have been brought against the dioceses since Aug. 14, when the law’s one-year “look back” period for such suits began.” By Carolyn Thompson, The Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Church admits liability in child abuse case
“The Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a child(link is external) by pedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case that could open the floodgates for survivors seeking compensation. After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending before the nine-year-old boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake, in western Victoria in 1982, lawyers for the Church on Friday (Nov. 1) accepted an amended statement of claim from the survivor in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.” By CathNews.com

Pope accepts resignation of New York City bishop accused of abuse
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York City bishop after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy(link is external) in the 1980s. Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik is the latest head to roll in the ongoing abuse scandal. The Vatican announced his resignation had been accepted Thursday (Oct. 10). For decades the Vatican turned a blind eye to bishops and cardinals who abused minors and adults or covered up the crimes.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

For the editor behind The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation, Colorado’s clergy abuse report is ‘eerily similar’
“It’s a group no one wants to be a part of: communities scarred by abuse in Catholic Churches(link is external). With the Attorney General’s office’s report, Colorado now has at least a partial accounting of child sexual abuse in the state’s three dioceses. The independent inquiry revealed that priests abused, at minimum, 166 children in Colorado over 70 years. The Centennial State is far from the first community that has already been down this path. A prominent one is Boston, where in 2002, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation revealed widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston and an ensuing cover-up by church leaders.” By Avery Lill, Colorado Public Radio

Catholic group calls on more diocese restructure following latest Bransfield report
“West Virginia Catholics are once again stunned by news about former Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). The Washington Post recently reported that Bransfield took millions of dollars from church-owned Wheeling Hospital for the bishop’s fund. Mark Switzer, part of the Lay Catholics for Change said on Wednesday’s (Oct. 30) MetroNews ‘Talkline’ the reaction of church members has been much of the same with the most recent report.” By WVMetroNews.com

French bishops plan to open plenary meetings to lay participation
“France’s Catholic bishops plan to open their plenary assembly for the first time to lay participation(link is external) following the passage of a controversial bioethics law despite mass church-backed opposition. Constance Pluviaud, media relations officer of the French Catholic bishops’ conference, said Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, conference president, ‘wants to change how our plenaries function and highlight themes common to both church and society.’ By Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Bransfield extreme, but most U.S. bishops have no meaningful spending controls
“Michael Bransfield is the poster child for runaway clericalism. The former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, represents the worst in the corrupted tradition of the priesthood over the centuries. He saw the church and its resources as his personal plaything(link is external). He saw the people of the church, both clergy and laity, as his servants. He sees himself as a feudal lord. Unlike Jesus, he did not see himself as a servant, especially to the poor … Why were there no controls? Most U.S. bishops have no meaningful controls on their spending.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican cardinal stirs controversy by saying it’s time to ‘exit’ abuse scandals
“If (Cardinal Peter) Turkson wants an exit strategy, (Marie) Collins wrote, ‘He should recommend the Church institute a transparent process of accountability(link is external) for negligent/corrupt bishops, deal with the huge backlog of abuse cases lingering in the CDF, put in place universal mandatory reporting to civil authorities…stop fighting the extension of statutes of limitations, put in place strong normative child safeguarding policies in every country, stop the use of pontifical secret in abuse trials and implement REAL zero tolerance in all cases of a guilty perpetrator.’ And this, she said, is ‘just for a start.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope’s words ‘difficult to reconcile’ with Vatican’s lack of cooperation with abuse inquiry
“It was “very disappointing” the Vatican failed to give testimony during an investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales(link is external), according to the lead counsel to the inquiry. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the bishops’ conference’s response to the sex abuse crisis is taking place Oct. 28 – Nov. 8, and there has been frustration with the lack response from the Holy See to requests for information.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis criticized by child sex abuse inquiry after Vatican refuses to send crucial evidence
“The Pope has been criticized by the government-ordered child sex abuse inquiry after the Vatican refused to provide crucial evidence(link is external). The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has repeatedly asked the Holy See about whether officials in Rome assisted convicted pedophile Laurence Soper while he was fugitive monk wanted in Britain for child abuse offences.” By Gabriella Swerling, The Telegraph

CARDINALS

English cardinal admits ‘extent of failures’ on abuse ahead of inquiry
“Cardinal Vincent Nichols has issued a statement admitting to ‘failures’ on handling abuse by church officials(link is external) ahead of a government-established inquiry into sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established by the British Home Office – which oversees similar areas as the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security – in 2014. It is independent and does not answer to the government.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal’s legal team objects to prosecutor’s response
“Cardinal George Pell’s legal team has accused the state’s top prosecutor of failing to properly respond to his High Court appeal bid(link is external). Cardinal Pell is fighting to overturn his convictions for the abuse of two choirboys and has lodged an application with the High Court seeking special leave to appeal. He has argued the Victorian Court of Appeal was wrong to dismiss his appeal in a 2-1 majority decision.” By CathNews.com

Australian prosecutors argue no grounds for ex-Vatican treasurer’s final sex crimes appeal
“Prosecutors have urged Australia’s High Court to refuse to hear a final appeal by former Vatican treasurer George Pell(link is external) against his convictions for sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in the late 1990s. In opposing arguments put by Pell’s lawyers to Australia’s highest court, prosecutors said there was no error in the approach taken by the Victorian state Court of Appeal.” By Reuters

BISHOPS

What the U.S. bishops can learn from the Amazon synod
“As the U.S. bishops gather for their annual meeting in Baltimore next week (Nov. 11), they might take a page from the Vatican’s recently ended synod on the Amazon region(link is external). There are six major differences between the synod, which met in Rome Oct. 6-27, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ three-day meeting, which starts Nov. 11.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Financial records reveal questionable decisions about bishops fund within Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
“Michael Bransfield’s salary as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston spiked sharply in 2016 — just more than a year after he created his own nonprofit Bishops Fund Inc. to channel money to various West Virginia projects(link is external). Bransfield’s pay increased nearly 60 percent to $215,571 after the Bishops Fund completed its first full year. At the end of 2016, the fund held more than $7.5 million in assets, according to IRS records that were filed by the organization.” By Mike Jones, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

U.S. bishops set to begin their ‘ad limina’ visits to Rome
“The bishops of every diocese in the United States have prepared detailed reports on the life of the Catholic Church in their dioceses(link is external) and have made or are making reservations to fly to Rome. The U.S. bishops’ visits ad limina apostolorum – to the threshold of the apostles – begin Nov. 4 with a group from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Upcoming bishops’ meeting reflects current state of U.S. church
“Two weeks from today, the U.S. bishops will gather in Baltimore for their annual plenary meeting and, in a sense, the gathering is a metaphor for the situation of the Catholic Church in our nation at this moment in time(link is external). The meeting, like the church, is traditional, but no one knows what to expect, it will largely be ignored by mainstream society, and it is difficult to feel much confidence in the current leadership. The biggest challenge is to get back to a sense of normalcy without downplaying the still potentially explosive issue of clergy sex abuse.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican still investigating claims against former bishop
“The Vatican’s ‘administrative penal process’ into former Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart — which could see the cleric removed from the priesthood — has yet to resolve(link is external), the church said Tuesday (Oct. 22), and investigations in Kansas City are on hold until the process in Rome finishes. Current Wyoming Bishop Steven Biegler announced in June that Hart, who has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 10 men, would face adjudication by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The body was first formed to safeguard church doctrine and to investigate heretics nearly 500 years ago.” By Seth Klamann, Caspar Star-Telegram

Tainted Kerala bishop faces fresh harassment charges
“A nun, who had filed a rape case against Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is out on bail, approached the national and state Women’s Commissions and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), alleging that the priest and his supporters harassed her through various online platforms(link is external). ‘Attempts to intimidate and defame me and my colleagues through the social media were made by the bishop and his followers. False statements, imputations and fabricated stories tarnishing our reputation and character are being systematically spread through the YouTube channel, Christian Times, run by Bishop Franco and his aides,’ the complaint said.” By A.M. Abdussalam and Ashraf Padanna, Gulf Today

Synod appears to be moving toward ordination for married men in Amazon
“The synod of bishops meeting in Rome appears to be moving toward recommending the ordination of married men in the Amazon region(link is external). While no one can predict what the bishops will do, one Brazilian bishop recently estimated that two-thirds of the bishops at the synod will support ordaining ‘viri probati’ — a church phrase meaning ‘married men of proven virtue.’ Another participant told Religion News Service that only a couple of the 185 bishops spoke against the idea during the first week of the synod.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

PRIESTS

Nouwen a witness to committed priestly ministry
“Today’s priesthood stands on shaky ground. Just who and what is a Catholic priest?(link is external) Since the Second Vatican Council, priests have struggled to come to terms with the implications of the council’s focus on baptism as the central, core and foundational sacrament of the Christian life. The ordained priest, like all the faithful, is called by his baptismal incorporation in the Christian family to discipleship and witness to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. And he meets this call not as one set apart, but as a servant leader embedded in the very heart of the Christian community.” By Donald Cozzens, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Indian nun appeals to Vatican after dismissed following protests of bishop accused or rape
“A religious dismissed from her congregation after she took part in protests against a bishop accused of raping a different nun(link is external) has appealed the decision to the Vatican’s highest court of appeal. Sister Lucy Kalapura has asked the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura to allow her to present her case in person; she has also requested a personal audience with Pope Francis.” By Nirmala Carvalho, Cruxnow.com

Women religious should have vote at synod, theologian says
“While the Catholic Church has made strides to include the voice of women, especially in the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, women should be included among synod voting members and in church leadership positions, a German theologian said(link is external). Medical Mission Sister Birgit Weiler, a member of the Peruvian bishops’ pastoral ministry for the care of creation, told journalists at a Vatican news briefing Oct. 11 that such changes would allow the Church to become ‘a community of sisters and brothers, sharing faith, discerning together.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

WOMEN DEACONS

On Catholic women deacons, San Diego’s McElroy is ‘in favor of it’
“San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said he supports allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic Church(link is external), in what appears as the first such public disclosure of a U.S. prelate since Pope Francis reopened consideration of the history of women’s diaconal ordination in 2016. In an NCR interview Oct. 27, McElroy said he hoped the pope’s surprise decision at the end of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon to reconvene the Vatican’s study commission on women deacons would lead to ‘a conclusion that it is not prohibited to ordain women to the diaconate.’” By Joshua J. McElroy, National Catholic Reporter

Fordham symposium discusses possibilities of women deacons
“As the synod for the Amazon was entering its final week in Rome, scholars Phyllis Zagano, Meghan Clark and George Demacopoulos discussed the importance and need for women deacons(link is external), especially in the Amazon, at an Oct. 22 symposium at Fordham University here. Zagano, a member of the papal Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate(link is external), said that the issue had also been discussed in previous synods. She recalled meeting women religious from around the world who were performing baptisms due to lack of priests. They didn’t want to be ordained for power, rather to prevent people from going ‘next door to the Pentecostals.’” By Sarah Salvadore, National Catholic Reporter

Support for women deacons ‘substantial’ at synod, says Brazilian bishop
“A sizeable group among the 185 Catholic prelates at the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops for the Amazon approve of ordaining women as deacons in order to address a lack of ministers across the nine-nation region(link is external), said one of the participating bishops. ‘There’s a lot of support for it,’ Bishop Derek Byrne told NCR in an Oct. 17 interview. “’Especially from bishops who are in this situation and who find that they just can’t serve their people.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Catholic bishops agree: anything but a woman
“The modern Catholic Church is beset with serious problems. Among them is that not enough men want to be priests(link is external). Over the past three weeks, 184 bishops gathered at a Vatican summit to seek solutions for the Amazon region in particular, singled out because of myriad crises it is facing, including environmental devastation, violence and a shortage of priests to serve the needs of the faithful there. The bishops’ solution: Do anything other than ordaining women as priests.” By Sara McDougall, The New York Times

Women of the Church takes stock of Catholic chaos, urges women’s leadership
“Catholic women in the United States gathered to urge greater leadership roles for women in the church(link is external), even as bishops were discussing the possibility of women deacons at a synod in Rome. Organizers of the second Women of the Church conference could not have known that the diaconate for women, as well as the possibility of ordaining some married men, would be making headlines from the Synod on the Amazon at the same time they were meeting, Oct. 18-20, at St. Mary’s College here.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Conference hears how women’s voices can help strengthen Catholic Church
“The Church needs the voices of women wherever important decisions are made – and it needs their voices now more than ever(link is external), speakers said during the three-day Women of the Church Conference. The national conference, held Oct. 18 to 20 at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, drew 150 women of all ages – from college students to elderly religious – and a handful of supportive men.” By Marnie McAllister, Cruxnow.com

Amazon synod: bishops vote on women deacons
“A proposal to ordain women deacons has made it into the final document of the Amazon synod(link is external) which bishops will vote on at the end of this week, The Tablet has learnt. Church sources say the possibility of a female diaconate will be among the final proposals in the text, making it the first time that such a move has made it into a synod final document.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Bishop highlights need for lay ministries in Amazon
Lay men and women involved in ministry have been fundamental(link is external) in spreading the Gospel and furthering the Catholic Church’s mission in the Amazon, a Brazilian bishop said. Bishop Wilmar Santin of Itaituba, told journalists at a Vatican press briefing Oct. 10 that the formation of ‘ministers of the word’ among the Munduruku indigenous community in his prelature helped advance the church’s mission and presence.” By Junno arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Vatican’s investigation of Buffalo Diocese finishes first week with 30 interviews
“The Diocese of Brooklyn has issued a statement, saying Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio visited Buffalo earlier this week (Oct. 11) and interviewed 30 people as part of his Apostolic Visitation. Bishop DiMarzio is investigating the Buffalo Catholic Diocese’s handling of sexual abuse cases(link is external). Movement to Restore Trust leader John Hurley said he was surprised the bishop had not contacted anyone from MRT, making him wonder about the nature of the investigation.” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM Buffalo’s NPR News Station

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican cash crisis: Sex abuse scandals are ‘driving away donations and have lost the Holy See €44m in a year’
“The Vatican is rapidly losing money with donations plummeting as sex abuse scandals damage the Catholic Church’s reputation(link is external), according to a new book. Gianluigi Nuzzi writes that the Vatican lost nearly €44million (£38million) last year while its property empire made a loss for the first time. The Italian journalist, whom the Vatican attempted to put on trial for publishing leaked secrets in 2016, said attempted reforms by Pope Francis were being ‘anaesthetised, blocked and sabotaged’ by Vatican insiders.” By Tim Stickings for MailOnline.com

Leaked documents detail $200 million Vatican deal for swanky London property
“Against the backdrop of a Synod of Bishops on the Amazon dedicated to the defense of some of the world’s most impoverished people, the Vatican finds itself rocked by yet another financial scandal(link is external) after publication Sunday (Oct. 20) of seamy details about a $200 million purchase of a swanky 183,000-square-foot apartment building in the Chelsea district of London. ‘Hundreds of millions of Euro destined for the least and the poor are still administered opaquely and with no transparency, as if the Vatican were a merchant bank in an offshore country,’ the report claims.” By John L. Allen, The Tablet

CHILD PROTECTION

Church continues to strengthen child safety practices
“The Church has made significant progress in responding to the royal commission into child sexual abuse(link is external), Archbishop Mark Coleridge said today (Oct. 22) on the anniversary of the National Apology to survivors and victims. On October 22 last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and then-opposition leader Bill Shorten delivered apologies on behalf of the Australian people to those who were sexually abused as children. They followed the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, published in December 2017.” By CathNews.com

CLERICALISM

Reflections on the dangers of clericalism in the Church
“What is clericalism and how is it such a danger in our Church? There are many definitions of clericalism and yet they all come back to a basic reality. Clericalism is a culture and expectation that ordained ministers are better than and should rule over everyone else among the People of God. As Pope Francis said, this diminishes and undervalues the baptismal grace of our people. In doing so, it also downplays the equal dignity of every human being made in the image and likeness of God. Clericalism leads to many dangers in the Church and in the lives of all people, clergy and laity(link is external).” By Louis Arceneaux, CM, Famvin.org

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Dissenting note struck on married priests as solution for the Amazon
“For the first time in one of the Vatican’s daily news briefings during the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, a dissenting voice was struck Wednesday (Oct. 16) about the idea of ordaining married men to solve priest shortages in the region.(link is external) ‘I don’t see celibacy as the main problem’ in attracting young men to the priesthood, said Bishop Wellington Tadeu de Queiroz Vieira of Cristalândia in Brazil, emphasizing that nobody had appointed him a spokesman for the synod but nevertheless saying, ‘I think there are many who share my views.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope’s path to allow married priests for Amazon straightforward, say canon lawyers
“If the prelates attending the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops for the Amazon ask that Pope Francis allow the ordination of married men(link is external) to address a lack of Catholic ministers across the nine-nation region, the path for implementing such a proposal is fairly straightforward, say four eminent canon lawyers. Although the canonists have slightly different ideas about the concrete method the pope could use to allow for married priests on a regional basis, they agree that the way forward is relatively easy, as celibacy is only a practice of the church and not a revealed dogma.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

As U.S. ‘nones’ increase, we must start asking different questions
“Nearly nine years ago, I covered a full day symposium at Fordham University called ‘Lost? Twenty-somethings and the Church,’ sponsored by the university’s Center on Religion and Culture. The event was primarily concerned with three questions: Have young adult Catholics lost their way? Has the church lost twenty-somethings? And, if so, how do we get them back?(link is external) Those inquiries were apparently so urgent that the center had to open up a second auditorium and livestream the program to accommodate the overwhelming number of registrants.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

As lay ministers flourish, overworked ministers struggle with burnout
“Sue Antoinette, a retired youth minister in Cincinnati, spent her career being attentive to others’ needs. But she didn’t always receive the same in return. Because Antoinette worked with kids, she found that people tended to take her work less seriously. She even remembers a time when a priest patted her on the head. In 2005 lay ministers working in parish settings outnumbered diocesan priests for the first time in the United States(link is external), according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.” By Teresa Coda, U.S. Catholic

VOICES

West Virginia Catholics confronting Bransfield scandal
“Most Christians know well a verse in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that comes to mind when the collection plate is passed: ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ But many congregants of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston find themselves somewhat reluctant tithers these days because of the scandal surrounding former Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external).” By Hoppy Kercheval, WVMetroNews.com

Married priests and women deacons: It’s about law, not doctrine
“The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region discussed two new-old ideas during its October Rome meeting: married priests and women deacons(link is external). News flash: It’s about law, not doctrine. The custom of ordaining only celibate men as priests and the refusal to restore women to the ordained diaconate are practices rooted in legal, not doctrinal determinations. Each is what canon lawyers call a ‘merely ecclesiastical law.’” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Money shapes the U.S. Catholic narrative
The Catholic Church in the United States is for sale(link is external). In quiet investments over a period of decades, wealthy entrepreneurs and flush nonprofits have supplanted elements of church life that once were the province of official church organizations. Church leaders have watched as individuals and groups with substantial resources became the voice of the church in the public square, fashioning a Catholic narrative for the wider culture.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

A tale of two synods: putting the people of God first, 14 years later
What a difference prioritizing the people of God makes!(link is external) At this writing, a majority of the small group reports from the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon are discussing ordaining married men and women deacons. Ten of 12 small groups discussed married priests while seven of 12 reference female deacons with four recommending ordination and three others suggesting the need for further study. According to Bishop Derek Byrne of the Diocese of Primavera do Leste-Paranatinga, Brazil, among the synod’s 185 prelates there is ‘substantial support’ for ordaining women deacons.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Justice shouldn’t have an expiration date
“Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may soon win the right to prosecute their cases in court no matter how long ago their trauma occurred(link is external). Pennsylvania’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a forum on Oct. 2 to debate whether or not to eliminate the state’s statute of limitations — a law set that restricts how long an alleged victim has to bring a case to court — for sexual abuse civil cases.” By Grace McGuinness, The Pitt News

CHURCH FINANCES

Johnson County Catholic priest pleads no contest to stealing over $42,000 from church
“A Johnson County Catholic priest accused of stealing more than $42,000 from his Gardner parish pleaded no contest to felony theft(link is external) Friday (Oct. 25). The Rev. Joseph Cramer’s trial was set to start on Monday (Oct. 28) before he pleaded. He was originally charged with one count of theft and two counts of computer crime. The computer crime charges were dropped Friday. Cramer, 68, was charged in May 2018 after he was placed on leave from Divine Mercy Parish months earlier for ‘financial irregularities.’” By Katie Bernard, The Kansas City Star

Contributions to Catholic Church plunge amid sex abuse crisis as Vatican ‘faces default’ over financial failings
“Worldwide donations to the Catholic Church have plunged in the wake of sex abuse scandals that have eroded faith in the Vatican(link is external), a new book claims. The Church’s finances are in such a dire state – a result of a toxic mix of incompetence, internal wrangling and corruption – that the Vatican risks a default by 2023, according to the expose.” By Nick Squires, The Telegraph

Can the Vatican Bank be reformed? After the latest raid, doubters multiply
“Earlier this month, gendarmes raided the offices of the offices providing oversight to the Vatican Bank in search of ‘documents and electronic devices,’ a move casting doubt on the six-year reform process for what must be the world’s most mysterious and high-profile small bank(link is external). Information about the raids trickles out daily. The latest investigation was triggered by a series of wire transfers connected to paying off the mortgage on a building in London’s tony Sloane Square neighborhood. That the London building was partially owned by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State raised the suspicions of investigators.” By Eric J. Lyman, Fortune

Cardinal Becciu at center of Vatican financial investigation
“The recent raid of Vatican offices is connected to an investigation into charges that Vatican money financed the development of luxury properties in London(link is external), and led to a windfall for the Vatican’s investment managers, according to an October 14 report from Financial Times. According to Financial Times, Vatican police and prosecutors are investigating the possibility of improprieties in a 2014 $200 million investment made through Athena Capital, a Luxembourg investment fund, which financed a stake in the development of a luxury apartment project in London.” By Ed Condon and J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency, in Catholic Herald

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

California governor signs legislation giving huge victory to childhood sex abuse survivors
“California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that will provide a 3-year window for old sexual abuse cases(link is external) previously barred by the current statute of limitations. This means that previously barred survivors can bring abuse lawsuits against the institutions that aided and abetted the perpetrators. In anticipation of the Governor’s signing six of the 12 California Catholic dioceses have introduced a compensation program hoped to stem the tide of future lawsuits.” By Joseph H. Saunder, The Legal Examiner

Advocates rally for change to statute of limitations laws for victims of sexual abuse, investigation into abuse by Catholic priests
“A group that provides resources to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is demanding the Louisiana Attorney General’s office launch an official investigation(link is external). The group is called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  “I was abused at Jesuit High School in New Orleans as well by a priest and a janitor,” said Richard Windmann. Windmann is vocal as to what he allegedly happened to him on the Jesuit High School campus in the 70′s.” By Kiran Chawla, WAFB-TV9 News

‘I am not going to take their hush money’: clergy sexual abuse victim calls for statute of limitations reform
“A victim of the first priest sentenced to prison time as a result of the state Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse says statute of limitations reform is necessary. Disgraced retired priest, Fr. John Sweeney, of the Diocese of Greensburg, was sentenced nearly a year ago to 11½ months to five years in prison. Now, one of his victims, who Sweeney admitted to abusing, is calling for changes to the statute of limitations process(link is external).” By KDKA-TV2 News

Survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic priests call for Colorado statute of limitations reform
“Survivors of child sex abuse by Catholic priests are calling for reforms to Colorado’s statute of limitations(link is external) for such crimes in the wake of a damning report detailing decades of sexual abuse and cover-up in the church. Such reforms could allow survivors to use lawsuits to expose more child sex abuse than was included in the 263-page report.” By Forest Wilson, The Colorado Independent

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Church urged to boost response to needs of clergy sexual abuse survivors
“A Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse pleaded for Catholic Church leaders to follow the example of a Wyoming bishop who continues to seek justice and answers for other survivors(link is external). Juan Carlos Cruz expressed support for the work of Bishop Steven R. Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, during a panel discussion at Georgetown University Nov. 4, saying the prelate’s efforts to resolve questions surrounding a retired predecessor’s alleged abuse demonstrates that someone within the church cares enough to raise up the needs of survivors.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

‘By the Grace of God’ explores the church’s unimaginable betrayal of child victims of sexual abuse
For a member of the clergy to sexually violate a child is one of the most stark and cruel betrayals imaginable(link is external). That an institution would prevaricate and dissemble about these betrayals rather than take immediate, decisive action to pursue justice and provide restitution creates a greater betrayal. After years of such actions, betrayal reaches a near-unimaginable level. And yet, we don’t have to imagine. In the Roman Catholic Church, these violations have been rife, and the stories behind them are appalling.” By Glenn Kenn, The New York Times, in Minneapolis Star Tribune

Accused of sexual abuse, a priest left Colorado for a safe haven: San Diego
“In 1953, the Rev. Walter Buetzler was accused of molesting a fifth-grade boy after hearing the child’s confession(link is external) at St. Joseph Parish in Monte Vista, Colo. After the boy’s father complained to the parish council and later to the Diocese of Pueblo’s bishop, Buetzler left the state. He quickly secured a new job: professor of classical languages at the San Diego College for Men, then part of the University of San Diego.” By Peter Rowe, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Irish ex-priest who raped a abused at least 25 kids in California is arrested in Portugal for child pornography
“A pedophile Irish ex-priest who raped and abused at least 25 children(link is external) in California, has reportedly been arrested on the Algarve. Portuguese police sources confirmed on Thursday (Oct. 24) Oliver O’Grady, 74, the subject of a 2006 documentary film called Deliver Us from Evil, was the man they had arrested.” By Gerard Couzens, Daily Mail

What is owed to victims of abuse in the Catholic Church? That’s up to Kenneth Feinberg to decide.
“It’s a difficult job, but one attorney Kenneth Feinberg has taken on — again and again. After 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Aurora Theater shooting, Feinberg has been responsible for deciding how much money is owed to victims(link is external) of those tragedies and others. By his own admission they aren’t easy decisions. ‘This is a judgment that one has to make based on the credibility of the claim, the nature and scope of the abuse and the damage suffered by the victim,’ Feinberg said.” By Anthony Cotton, Andrea Dukakis, and Alex Scoville

Insurance firm sues Buffalo Diocese to avoid paying for sex abuse claims
“A Chicago-based insurance company has launched an opening salvo in what are expected to be bruising legal battles between the Buffalo Diocese and its insurers over payouts on clergy sex abuse claims under the Child Victims Act and the legal costs of defending the diocese against the claims. Continental Insurance Company is arguing in court papers that insurance policies it may have issued to the diocese more than 40 years ago don’t apply to childhood sex abuse(link is external) lawsuits being filed now against the diocese.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Orsolits abused kids after Buffalo Diocese’s cover-up of assault, lawsuits say
“The Buffalo Diocese removed the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits from a South Buffalo Catholic parish in 1968, shortly after parents complained that Orsolits had molested a 14-year-old boy in the back seat of his car at a drive-in theater. But Orsolits quickly wound up in another Buffalo parish(link is external). And he went on to molest other boys across Western New York, according to several lawsuits filed over the past two months.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

ARIZONA

Tucson bishop responds to Oklahoma City Archdiocese abuse report
“Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Tucson Diocese has responded to a recent report involving clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City(link is external). Weisenburger served as Vicar General in Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2012, and helped investigate claims of misconduct. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City received a letter from a former resident of Oklahoma regarding abuse by a priest in August of 2018, according to our Oklahoma City sister station, KFOR-TV. The church announced they would review and report all similar allegations.” By KVOA-TV4 News

ARKANSAS

New sexual abuse survivors group forms in Arkansas
“A new support group for survivors of abuse will soon be available to people of any faith through the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock(link is external). The Maria Goretti Network will hold the first meeting of its Arkansas chapter at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway in November. Miguel Prats, a sexual abuse survivor, co-founded the Texas-based nonprofit with the Rev. Gavin Vavarek in 2004.” By Francisca Jones, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

CALIFORNIA

Sacramenyto Catholic Diocese helped accused priest obtain clergy position in Mexico, lawsuit claims
“A new lawsuit filed on Tuesday (Oct. 15) claims the Catholic Church’s Sacramento diocese assisted one of its priests in obtaining a new position with a parish in Mexico after sexual abuse accusations in Northern California(link is external) in the 1980s. The lawsuit includes a letter allegedly written by Diocese of Sacramento attorney Louis N. Desmond and indicates that former Bishop Francis A. Quinn approved a request by Priest Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos to begin working in Mexico.” By Bob Moffitt, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, Calif.

COLORADO

Colorado releases new report on Catholic sex abuse in state
“Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has unveiled a new independent report detailing allegations of sex abuse(link is external) against at least 166 children by 43 Roman Catholic priests over the course of 70 years. Weiser announced the more than 250-page report during a news conference on Wednesday (Oct. 23), describing the documented abuse of children by Catholic priests going back decades as ‘unimaginable.’” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

CONNECTICUT

Demonstrators demand accountability for Catholic clergy sex crimes
“A small group of demonstrators stood outside the Cathedral of Saint Patrick(link is external) on Sunday (Nov. 3) to mark All Survivors’ Day, which recognizes survivors of sexual abuse. As men and women in military dress exited the Cathedral following the 28th annual Red, White & Blue Mass’s reception, they strode past the group of demonstrators, which fluctuated between four and eight survivors and their supporters.” By Sten Spinella, The Day

FLORIDA

Diocese of Venice faces second suit alleging priest sexually assaulted female parishioners
“The Diocese of Venice is facing its second $15 million suit this month(link is external), alleging that the Rev. Nicholas McLoughlin, 77, formerly of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park, sexually assaulted a female parishioner. Both suits were filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Adam Horowitz.” By Earle Kimel, Herald-Tribune

IDAHO

Catholic church updates list of credibly accused priests
“Catholic church leaders in Idaho have updated their list of priests the church says were credibly accused of child sex abuse since the 1950s(link is external) to include more details about where the clergy served when the incidents occurred. The known allegations of child sex abuse involve 15 priests and one deacon, and they span the state geographically, including parishes in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Caldwell, McCall, Moscow, Soda Springs, Kamiah, Aberdeen, DeSmet, Wallace, St. Maries and Kellogg.” By Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, in National Catholic Reporter

Credible allegations of child sexual abuse against six former priests, one deacon in Boise Diocese
“Since the 1950s, there have been six priests and one deacon that have credible allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) while assigned or associated with the Diocese of Boise, according to a list released by the Diocese. Incidents date back to 1950, with some as recent as 2018. The Diocese said the incidents are dated to the approximate time that they happened. The list also includes the years that the abuse was reported to the church.” By KTVB-TV7 News

Catholic Church strips Boise priest of title, cuts ties with sex offender
“The Vatican has formally cut ties with W. Thomas Faucher, a former Boise priest who pleaded guilty last year to some of the most violent, depraved child pornography seen in recent Ada County history(link is external). Faucher, 74, pleaded guilty to five felonies and was sentenced in December to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.” By Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesmen

ILLINOIS

Joliet Diocese is sued over Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a man who has a disability at residential center in Kankakee
“The Diocese of Joliet is facing a lawsuit in connection to a priest who is accused of sexually assaulting a man who has a disability(link is external) while visiting a Kankakee development center to minister to residents there. Richard Jacklin, 67, was criminally charged in 2017 after a nurse reported walking in on Jacklin performing a sex act on a 39-year-old man who was living at the Shapiro Developmental Center, prosecutors said. The center provides housing and care for people with intellectual disabilities. The man is paralyzed and has an intellectual disability.” By Madeline Buckley, Chicago Tribune

INDIANA

Suspended Indianapolis priest charged with sex crimes
“A suspended Catholic priest in Indiana is facing charges alleging he sexually abused a child in 2016(link is external). The Rev. David Marcotte of Indianapolis is charged in suburban Hamilton County with child solicitation, vicarious sexual gratification and dissemination of matter harmful to minors. The Indianapolis Archdiocese suspended the 32-year-old Marcotte from public ministry in February after its victim assistance coordinator learned of the abuse allegations.” By Associated Press

IOWA

Ex-N’West Iowa priest accused of sex abuse
“A Catholic priest with N’West Iowa ties who died in May has been accused of sexual abuse(link is external). In a 13-page civil complaint filed on Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Woodbury County District Court in Sioux City against the Diocese of Sioux City, 60-year-old Samuel Heinrichs accused the Rev. Dale Koster of physically and sexually abusing him when he was about 10 years old.” By Mark Mahoney, NWestIowa.com

KENTUCKY

Allegations against Catholic priest lead to his resignation
“A Catholic priest in Kentucky has resigned as pastor of a church following allegations of inappropriate contact made by two men(link is external). The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that in a letter Tuesday (Oct. 15), Bishop John Stowe accepted the resignation of the Rev. Alan Carter as pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Danville. Catholic Diocese of Lexington communications director Don Clemmer says Carter was removed as vocations director of the diocese last month following the first allegation, which Clemmer says dates back to when Carter was ordained seven years ago.” By Associated Press on WKYT-TV News

MASSACHUSETTS

Two Fall River Diocese priests placed on leave over alleged misconduct
“Two Massachusetts priests have been placed on administrative leave(link is external), according to a statement from Fall River’s Catholic Diocese. Father Richard E. Degagne, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Easton, and Father Daniel W. Lacroix, co-pastor of St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes in New Bedford, have been placed on leave because of alleged misconduct that is said to have occurred decades ago.” By Mike Manzoni, NBC-TV10 News

Msgr Francis Strahan placed on leave after allegation of abuse
“The Archdiocese of Boston announced Oct. 25 that it has placed Msgr. Francis V. Strahan, the pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Framingham, on administrative leave after receiving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). Msgr. Strahan has served as pastor of St. Bridget’s since 1983 and was named a monsignor by Pope John Paull II in 1998. Earlier this year, he celebrated his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination.” By Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot

Springfield diocese looking to hire clergy sexual abuse investigator
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is seeking to hire a new investigator to look into reports of clergy sexual abuse of minors for the Diocesan Review Board(link is external). Jeffrey L. Trant, who was recently appointed to lead the diocese’s newly designated Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance that oversees such allegations, said the person hired will succeed the first person to hold the position, retired State Policer Officer Kevin Murphy. An active search for his successor is underway.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican

MICHIGAN

Diocese of Lansing releases report on priest accused of sexual misconduct
“The Diocese of Lansing admits it did not properly handle allegations of sexual misconduct made against a priest in 1990(link is external). The Diocese released the results of an external review into two allegations against Fr. Pat Egan. Egan was banned from the Diocese in March following an internal investigation. Egan is a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster in England. He’d been serving as an extern priest for the Lansing Diocese since 1983, living off-and-on in Ann Arbor.” By WILX-TV10 News

MINNESOTA

Judge approves $40 million settlement with Duluth Diocese
“A judge’s approval of a nearly $40 million settlement with the Diocese of Duluth(link is external) was welcome news to the tearful survivors of clergy sexual abuse who crammed into a federal courtroom here Monday (Oct. 21). It meant their suffering was recognized. It meant the church was being held accountable. ‘It means that perhaps they’re going to start keeping an eye on these people,’ said Eugene Saumer, 80, who described struggling throughout his life with the memories of being abused while he temporarily lived in a Catholic orphanage at age 9.” By Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune

NEW YORK

Suit claims retired Albany bishop told sex abuse victim to ‘forget about it’
“A newly filed lawsuit claims retired Bishop Howard Hubbard told a teenage boy more than 60 years ago that he should ‘forget about’ alleged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of another priest(link is external) who had what Hubbard allegedly described as ‘a moment of weakness.’ The suit, filed Monday (Nov. 4) in state Supreme Court in Albany, claims Father Edward Leroux groomed and abused a 16-year-old boy in the summer of 1956 while the teenager was working weekends at the Jesuit Retreat House in Glenmont.” By Cayla Harris, Albany Times Union

Buffalo diocese investigation ends, DiMarzio will send report to Vatican
“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has completed his Apostolic Visitation of the Diocese of Buffalo. A statement released by DiMarzio’s own Diocese of Brooklyn on Thursday (Oct. 31) confirmed that the visitation had concluded(link is external) and he will submit a report to the Holy See. The bishop offered no comment on his findings in the scandal-hit Buffalo diocese. The visitation, a canonical inspection and fact-finding mission, was ordered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet of the Congregation of Bishops in Rome, the Vatican department responsible for overseeing the personal and administrative conduct of bishops.” By Catholic News Agency

Plantiffs claiming sexual abuse from the 1960s file civil suits against Diocese of Rockville Centre
“A total of five lawsuits were filed Tuesday (Oct.22) against the Diocese of Rockville Centre alleging priest sex abuse(link is external) from decades ago. Sheryn Silvestre and Joanne Jack made the allegations in February that they were abused by staff at St. Agnes Parish in the 1960s. Joanne’s brother, Alexander, has now joined the case, alleging that he too was sexually abused.” By News12 Long Island

In bad faith: child sex abuse and the Catholic Church
“They say that Father John Paddack – who was ordained in 1984 and had been ministering in New York until he was suspended in July – molested them during confession and counselling sessions(link is external) in different Catholic schools across the city. The men allege years of abuse by Paddack, sparking the latest revelations in a decades-old scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church to its foundation.” By Faultlines on Aljazeera.com

Man relives past abuse by Plattsburg priest
“The day M.G. turned 23, he lost the chance to sue his childhood abuser. Now, nearly three decades later, the Child Victims Act has returned his voice(link is external). Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation earlier this year, loosening up some state regulations surrounding child sexual abuse claims. A key piece of the act was its one-year revival period, which beginning mid-August temporarily lifted New York’s statute of limitations on such cases, allowing victims of any age to step forward.” By Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Former pastor in area accused of child sex abuse
A longtime area Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of child abuse(link is external) from years ago. Monsignor Edward Weber, the director of Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, is one of four priests in the Archdiocese of New York to be placed on leave following new allegations, said an article in the Catholic New York, the archdiocese’s newspaper.” By Kathy Reakes, White Plains Daily Voice

Four archdiocese priests on leave amid new church sex abuse accusations
“As the sun shines down on Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, N.Y., a cloud of suspicion hovers over its parish priest and three other priests in the New York archdiocese(link is external) now facing allegations of abusing children several decades ago. The four clergy of the Archdiocese of New York have been accused of abuse with minors, cases not included in the special investigation released two weeks ago.” By CBS-TV News New York

Diocese’s insurer: If you conceal abuse, we don’t have to pay
“The Diocese of Buffalo’s insurance company is arguing in court that it is not liable for sex abuse judgments because the diocese concealed the abuse for decades(link is external). In documents recently filed in state court, Continental Insurance Company — whose predecessor insured the diocese for much of the 1970s — says that its policy only covers ‘accidents’ which are reported in a timely manner to the insurer.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

NORTH CAROLINA

List of Catholic priests in western North Carolina accused of sexual abuse to come in December
“The Catholic Church in western North Carolina is conducting a review of personnel documents going back to the creation of the diocese in 1972 to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The plan is to release the list by December. On Wednesday (Oct. 23), the Rev. Patrick Winslow, the vicar general and chancellor for the Diocese of Charlotte, came to St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory to discuss the review process.” By Megan Suggs, Record & Landmark

Former mountain priest pleads guilty to child sex charges, survivor forgives
“A former mountain priest is sentenced to a dozen years in prison(link is external). 78-year-old Howard White pleaded guilty to multiple child sex abuse charges during his tenure at Waynesville’s Grace Church in the Mountains. White was rector at the church from 1984 until 2006.” By WLOS-TV13 News

Five clergy who worked in Charlotte Diocese on list of allegation of abuse
“Five clergy who worked in the Charlotte Diocese were named on a list of credible allegations of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult(link is external). The list was put together by Glenmary, which is a Catholic religious institute of priests and brothers. It put together the list of 11 names where it found credibleallegations of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.” By Allison Latos, WSOC-TV9 News

OHIO

1,300 people sign petition for Pope to intervene in Father Drew scandal
“A Cincinnati organization recently began a petition asking for the Pope to intervene in the scandal surrounding a former Cincinnati pastor. Father Geoffrey Drew(link is external), 57, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape. He is held in lieu of $5 million bond at the Hamilton County jail. Monday (Oct. 28), the organization Concerned Catholics announced a petition with nearly 1,300 signatures that made its way to Vatican City asking Pope Francis to investigate ‘Archdiocesan commitment to the Decree of Child Protection.’” By Sarah Hager, Fox19Now.com

Toledo Diocese rules Catholic priest accused of sex abuse unfit for duty
“The Diocese of Toledo has unanimously decided that Father Nelson Beaver is not suitable for priestly ministry. The decision was announced today. Father Beaver was put on administrative leave in October of 2018 after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) dating back over 25 years. Three additional allegations linked to the sexual abuse of a minor were also made and according to the diocese, substantiated against Father Beaver.” By ABC-TV13 News

OKLAHOMA

Church report provides lesson on transparency
“With its approach to determining which of its priests may have committed sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City impressed even a group that’s been one of the Catholic Church’s most vocal critics(link is external) throughout the clergy abuse scandal. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the archdiocese’s report ‘goes into much greater detail than most other reports commissioned by church officials.’” By The Oklahoman Editorial Board

PENNSYLVANIA

Greensburg Diocese paid $4.35 million in sexual abuse claims
“The Greensburg Catholic Diocese paid $4.35 million to settle claims with 57 adults who suffered child sexual abuse at the hands of clergy(link is external), church officials announced Thursday (Oct. 17). Greensburg was among five Pennsylvania dioceses and one archdiocese that established compensation funds for survivors of clergy child sexual abuse following last year’s release of a statewide grand jury report detailing allegations of abuse against 301 priests over seven decades.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims
“Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church. To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims(link is external).” By Emily Opilo, The Morning Call

Lehigh County priest removed from ministry following allegations of sexually abusing a minor
“Authorities are investigating allegations that a Lehigh County priest sexually abused a minor(link is external).

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry services. Potts is accused of sexually abused a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday. Potts owas the pastor at St. George Parish in Shenandoah during the time of the alleged abuses.” By Virginia Streva, PhyllyVoice.com

Woman sues Greensburg diocese, bishops, claiming sexual assaults by pries in 1970s
“A woman has sued the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, along with its current and most recent bishops, alleging in graphic terms that she was sexually abused by her parish priest dozens of times while a child(link is external) in the 1970s. The suit, filed Wednesday in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court, accuses the late Rev. George R. Pierce of “grotesquely abusing” and sexually assaulting the woman in various ways, starting when she was 10 or 11 years old and lasting until she turned 15.” By Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TEXAS

Jesuit Prep sued again over sex abuse, this time involving a priest and coach
“A fourth former student at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has filed a lawsuit alleging he was abused by priests(link is external) when he was a student there. The plaintiff, a Dallas lawyer in his 50s, filed the lawsuit this month against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, among others, saying he was sexually abused in the early 1980s by two Jesuit Prep priests.” By Jennifer Emily, The Dallas Morning News

Jury finds former priest not guilty of sexual abuse charges
“A Parmer County jury found Peter Wafula, the former priest accused of sexual abuse of a child, not guilty today(link is external) (Oct. 23). The courtroom heard the closing statements today before the jury went into deliberations. During the closing statements, the defense told the courtroom, ‘There is no greater crime on earth than to convict an innocent man.’ On the other hand, the prosecution said, ‘A person who knows he should never be alone with a child has him alone in a place where he has control.’” By Kaitlin Johnson and Arianna Martinez, KFDA-TV10 News

VIRGINIA

Virginia priest admits to having contact with child in ’90s, diocese says
“A Catholic priest at a Northern Virginia church admitted he had sexual contact with a minor at another church and has stepped down(link is external) from his position as pastor, according to a letter from the Diocese of Arlington. Father Christopher Mould was the pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton. Mould told Bishop Michael Burbidge on Tuesday (Oct. 15) the sexual contact happened ‘on one occasion’ when he was parochial vicar at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Reston from 1992 to 1995, Burbidge said in the letter to parishioners.” By Gina Cook, NBC-TV4 News

WYOMING

Wyoming sex abuse queries lacked victim cooperation
“Two Catholic Church officials who succeeded a Wyoming bishop accused of sexual abuse(link is external) say a lack of victim cooperation hampered the investigations. The Casper Star-Tribune reports at least 16 men said they were abused by former Bishop Joseph Hart, who retired in 2001.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Extra jail time for rapist ex-priest who assaulted boy at summer camp
“A former Catholic priest who was jailed for raping a boy at a notorious Victorian boarding school(link is external) will spend more time in prison for sexually assaulting another child. Michael Aulsebrook, a one-time deputy principal at Salesian College Rupertswood, is in prison after he was last year found guilty of raping an 11-year-old boarding student at the Sunbury school in 1988.” By Adam Cooper, The Sydney Morning Herald

CANADA

Historic judgement against Basilian Fathers means easier road to justice for all abuse victims
“Rob Talach has been battling the Catholic Church for a long time(link is external). He has earned the monicker the Priest Hunter, and in his career at Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers, he has launched 395 suits against the church. But an award of punitive damages and one for loss of income in the case of Rod MacLeod, a former student at St. Charles College in the 1960s, has set a new standard, Talach said in an interview with Sudbury.com.” By Darren MacDonald, Sudbury.com

Catholic diocese admits liability in sex assaults
“The Catholic diocese in Kamloops is admitting liability at the civil trial involving a priest accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a school teacher(link is external) more than 40 years ago. On Wednesday (Oct. 9), John Hogg, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, made the admission of vicarious liability by the defendant diocese for the conduct of Rev. Erlindo Molon, the priest in question.” By Keith Fraser, Vancouver Sun, on TimesColonist.com

EL SALVADOR

El Salvador archbishop apologizes over priest sex abuse cases
“El Salvador’s top Roman Catholic cleric apologized Sunday (Nov. 3) for the alleged sexual abuse by a priest of an unidentified minor 25 years ago(link is external). ‘We have apologized to the victim and now I am repeating it publicly, and we also ask for forgiveness from the community for the scandal that this has caused,’ San Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas said in a news conference after celebrating Mass.” By The Associated Press on ABCNews.go.com

FRANCE

Francois Ozon on dramatizing the biggest abuse scandal to hit the French Catholic Church
“For most film directors, the nail-biting action unfolds on screen. Not, however, for François Ozon. The theatrics over his latest film played out in the French courts as he fought a last-minute attempt to stop it being released and found himself at the center of a legal and national controversy. Today, Ozon can almost but not quite laugh about his starring role in the off-screen drama that earlier this year came perilously close to having his €5.9m (£5.2m) film By the Grace of God – the story of a real-life scandal involving a pedophile priest(link is external) – canned.” By Kim Willsher, The Guardian

French abuse victims urge Vatican to have archdiocese pay compensation
“Victims of sexual abuse by a Lyon priest have urged the Vatican to recognize the responsibility of his archdiocese in the affair(link is external), which could open the door to compensation payments by the Church. About 15 of them sent their demand to the Vatican after the admitted abuser, Bernard Preynat, was removed from the clerical state in July. The archdiocesan court said at the time that he could now concentrate on considering the financial demands of his victims.” By Tom Heneghan, Reuters, in The Tablet

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic priest planned to sexually abuse 2-yesr-old boy
“A Catholic priest is being jailed for more than three years after police say he planned to sexually abuse a 2-year-old boy(link is external). BBC News reports Matthew Jolley, 32, admitted to trying to arrange for sexual activity with a child in the United Kingdom. According to Metro, Jolley told an undercover Cheshire police officer — who he thought was a 36-year-old man — that he was sexually attracted to children. Through messages on the Grindr dating app, the newspaper said Jolley revealed he would be interested in meeting up with the fictitious man’s 2-year-old son and proceeded to send an indecent picture of himself.” By BBC News on WTSP-TV10 News

GUAM

Guam clergy sex abuse survivors may receive payments in 2020
“Officials say Guam’s clergy sex abuse survivors could begin receiving compensation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in the first half of 2020(link is external). The Pacific Daily News reported a U.S. District Court judge has given the archdiocese more time to calculate payment amounts to nearly 280 clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants. Officials say victims and church officials are scheduled to go into mediation Oct. 30, with a church reorganization plan to follow.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

INDIA

Mysuru priests accuse bishop of sexual misconduct, corruption, shoot letter to Pope Francis
“A group of 37 priests from the Mysuru Diocese has written a letter to Pope Francis requesting his urgent intervention in the affairs of the Bishop of Mysuru KA William. The priests have demanded that the Bishop be removed(link is external) over his alleged involvement in criminal offences, misappropriation of funds and sexual misconduct. The Bishop has also been accused of practising factionalism, favouritism and also getting married.” By Nolan Pinto, India Today

NEW ZEALAND

The Church’s procedures to deal with complaints against bishops
“Pope Francis published his motu proprio ‘You are the Light of the World’ (Vos Estis Lux Mundi) on May 10, 2019. A ‘motu proprio’ is a legislative document Popes use, meaning ‘at my own initiative.’ This motu proprio introduces mandatory reporting within the Church for cases of sexual abuse(link is external). As well, Vos Estis Lux Mundi outlines the procedures to deal with complaints of sexual abuse by bishops, or failures of bishops and religious leaders to deal properly with complaints in either canon or civil law.” By NZCatholic.org

Man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable for abuse
“One drunken night in 2013 in Melbourne, Marc wrote an email to the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He was drunk a lot back then. ‘I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you,’ he said. Not now, now he’s dry. He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn’t remember sending the email. ‘The first line, and this was five years ago, was, ‘If there’s ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence(link is external).’” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

PHILIPPINES

U.S. priest who gave out gifts in Philippines accused of abuse
“The American priest‘s voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village(link is external). ‘I should have known better than trying to just have a life,’ the priest said in the November 2018 call. ‘Happy days are gone. It‘s all over.’” By Tim Sullivan, Associated Press, in Casper Courier

POLAND

Polish court orders compensation for 1980s victim of pedophile priest
“The appeals court in the northern city of Gdansk ordered the accused priest, his former parish and diocese to pay 400,000 zlotys (92,500 euros) to Marek Mielewczyk, 50, the victim of sexual abuse(link is external) from 1982-87. ‘Sexually abusing minors unaware of the criminal nature of the acts perpetrated on them is to treat others in a humiliating and inhumane manner, which is the same as torture,’ judge Dorota Gierczak said, according to the PAP news agency on Tuesday, October 8. The judge said the statute of limitation did not apply because it involved ‘acts incompatible with the rules of society.’” By Agence France-Presse on Rappler.com

UKRAINE

Ukrainian Catholic Church urges victims of abuse to not be silent
“Victims of violence need consolation, healing and justice, the Ukrainian Catholic Church said in a pastoral letter on safeguarding. Reaffirming a commitment to preventing and fighting ‘any manifestation of violence in our church structures(link is external),’ the bishops urged anyone who may have experienced or witnessed abuse in any forms or its cover-up, to not be silent.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Sept. 27, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

CARDINALS

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

CARDINAL PELL

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

CHILD PROTECTION

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VOICES

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

COLORADO

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

ILLINOIS

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

KANSAS

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

LOUISIANA

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

MICHIGAN

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

MISSOURI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

OHIO

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

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

WISCONSIN

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

CANADA

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

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

FRANCE

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

INDIA

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

PANAMA

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


September 13, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

CARDINALS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

CLERICALISM

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

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

VOICES

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CONNECTICUT

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

MISSOURI

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

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHIO

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

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

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

TENNESSEE

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

VERMONT

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

WISCONSIN

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

WYOMING

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CANADA

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

FRANCE

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

HUNGARY

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

PHILIPPINES

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


September 2, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

CARDINAL PELL

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

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

VATICAN

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

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

ALASKA

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

ARKANSAS

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

ILLINOIS

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

KANSAS

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

MICHIGAN

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

MINNESOTA

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

MISSOURI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

OHIO

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

SOUTH CAROLINA

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

TEXAS

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

VERMONT

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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

WISCONSIN

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

WYOMING

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CHILE

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

COSTA RICA

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

GUAM

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

INDIA

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


August 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

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

LAITY& THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

CLERICALISM

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

COLORADO

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

DELAWARE

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

LOUISIANA

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

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

MINNESOTA

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

MISSISSIPPI

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

MISSOURI

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

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

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

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

NEW HAMPSHIRE

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

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

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

OHIO

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

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

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

SOUTH CAROLINA

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

TENNESSEE

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

VERMONT

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

VIRGINIA

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

WYOMING

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

ARGENTINA

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CHILE

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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