Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


February 8, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

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

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

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

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

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

CONNECTICUT

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

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

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

IDAHO

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

KANSAS

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

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

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

LOUISIANA

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

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MINNESOTA

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

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

MISSISSIPPI

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

MISSOURI

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

TEXAS

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

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

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

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

WISCONSIN

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

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

EAST TIMOR

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

GERMANY

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

GUAM

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

INDIA

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

 January 25, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

CARDINALS

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

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

VATICAN

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

CHILD PROTECTION

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

VATICAN II

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

VOICES

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

CONNECTICUT

Hartford Archdiocese identifies 48 priests accused of sexual abuse

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

IOWA

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

LOUISIANA

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

MAINE

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

MARYLAND

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

MISSISSIPPI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEXAS

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

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

VERMONT

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

WISCONSIN

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

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

CHILE

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

FRANCE

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

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

GUAM

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

 January 11, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

TOP STORIES

Cardinal Pell, top advisor to Pope Francis, found guilty of ‘historical sexual offenses’
“An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of ‘historical child sexual offenses(link is external)’ that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope cuts two cardinals from cabinet named in abuse scandal
Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his informal cabinet after they were implicated in the Catholic Church’s sex abuse and cover-up scandal(link is external), shedding embarrassing advisers ahead of a high-stakes Vatican summit on abuse early next year. The Vatican said Wednesday (dec. 12) that Francis in October had written to Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz and Australian Cardinal George Pell thanking them for their five years of service on the so-called Group of Nine, or C-9.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Analysis: On sexual abuse, what will U.S. bishops, and the pope, do next?
“Bishop Frank Rodimer and Fr. Peter Osinski were friends. Osinski was a priest in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey. Rodimer was Bishop of Paterson, a nearby diocese, from 1978 until 2004. For years the men rented a beach house together each summer on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, south of Seaside and north of Atlantic City. There, for seven years in the 1980s, Osinski molested a young boy. The first year it happened, the boy was seven … These are unpredictable times in the life of the Church(link is external), shaped by events with little precedent. But four points seem clear about the months to come …” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

Analysis: How sexual misconduct reforms might begin in U.S. dioceses
“Before it began, many U.S. bishops expected their November general assembly in Baltimore to produce something tangible – a new policy, structure, or system – that would help them reassure Catholics that they were responding to months of sexual abuse scandals breaking across the Church … Some U.S. bishops have told CNA they now realize that if they want to initiate new reforms, they’ll have to do so in their own dioceses(link is external), using the ordinary prerogatives of a diocesan bishop.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Service

Bankruptcy filing provides rare window into diocese finances
“New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent months on lawyers to fight claims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) and to prepare for a potentially lengthy battle in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s petition for reorganization provides a rare look into the finances of a religious organization that for decades has been wrestling with the financial and social consequences of a scandal that rocked churches across the country.” By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules priests names to remain secret in grand jury abuse case
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will not make public the blacked-out names of priests implicated in a grand jury report on child sex abuse(link is external), ruling that keeping them secret is the only way to ensure their constitutional due process rights will be upheld. The majority opinion, issued Monday (Dec. 3), involved 11 clerics who challenged the validity of a report that labeled 301 clergymen as ‘predatory priests’ who abused more than 1,000 children in six Catholic dioceses, including Allentown.” By Steve Esack and Peter Hall, The Morning Call

Vatican appears likely to empower archbishops on abuse claims against bishops
“One of the proposals made at last month’s meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops for investigating future allegations of misconduct by prelates appears likely to receive Vatican approval, according to several eminent canon lawyers and theologians. The suggestion to empower the nation’s metropolitan archbishops to examine accusations made against bishops(link is external) in their regions of the country corresponds both with the way the church handled such issues in earlier centuries and the current Code of Canon Law, they say. Nicholas Cafardi, a respected civil and canon lawyer, noted that the current version of the code already says the Vatican can give archbishops ‘special functions and power’ in their regions ‘where circumstances demand it.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic dioceses spending millions in legal fees amid sex abuse investigations
“Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses began to ante up legal fees in the wake of a statewide grand jury long before last summer, when the panel released its scathing report detailing allegations of rampant clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups … Margaret Roylance, of Voice of the Faithful, said the group was prompted to begin conducting transparency audits(link is external) of financial reports of the nation’s dioceses in 2017 by concerns about where church funds are going in the wake of sexual abuse scandals and the establishment of settlement funds to compensate victims.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

FBI engaged in wide-ranging probe of clergy sex abuse in Buffalo Diocese
“Mark Lynch says he was molested by a priest when he was 13. The abuse happened 50 years ago, well beyond when a sex crime could be prosecuted. But the FBI wanted to know more(link is external), anyway. Lynch said two federal agents visited him at his Youngstown home about a month ago, armed with questions about the abuse and the Buffalo Diocese’s response to his allegations against the Rev. Joseph Schuster.” By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Australian archbishop cleared of child sex abuse cover-up
“An Australian appeal court on Thursday (Dec. 6) overturned a conviction against the most senior Catholic cleric ever found guilty of covering up child sex abuse(link is external). New South Wales state District Court Judge Roy Ellis upheld former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s appeal against his May conviction in a lower court for concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the 1970s. Ellis found there was reasonable doubt that the 68-year-old cleric had committed the crime, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.” By Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Names of 11 clergy shielded from grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church
“Eleven Roman Catholic clergy won a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision Monday (Dec. 3) to keep their names and other information out of a grand jury report(link is external) issued earlier this year into decades of sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests. The 6-1 court majority said keeping the names and other information secret was, at this point, the only way to protect the priests’ right to reputation under the state constitution.” By Associated Press, on NBC News

Can Baltimore’s archbishop bring accountability to West Virginia’s Catholic Church
“Pope Francis in late August appointed Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori to lead an investigation into the alleged ‘sexual harassment of adults(link is external)’ by former Catholic bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which comprises all of West Virginia. However, Archbishop Lori’s own record and actions seem to demonstrate a church ‘protectionism’ that comes at the expense of transparency and accountability.” By Vincent DeGeorge, The Baltimore Sun

If bishops fail to reform church, someone else will. Houston may be proof
“This week in Houston, state prosecutors investigating a case of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest searched the offices of the local archdiocese. They were seeking employment and disciplinary records for Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who stands accused by two people of fondling them(link is external) two decades ago when they were teenagers. ‘This is not a search warrant against the Catholic Church,’ said Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, who is leading the investigation. The archdiocese says it has been cooperating, and was quick to contend that this was not a raid.” By Cynthia M. Allen, Star-Telegram

Cardinal DiNardo’s office raided by prosecutors in abuse case
Prosecutors investigating a sexual abuse case against a Houston-area priest searched the offices Wednesday (Nov. 28) of the local archdiocese(link is external), which is led by the cardinal who is heading the Roman Catholic Church’s response in the U.S. to sexual misconduct. The intensifying investigation has raised questions about how Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and his staff dealt with complaints against Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, who is accused by two people of fondling them two decades ago when they were teenagers.” By Normaan Merchant, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review

Tasmanian government acts to ‘lift veil’ on confesson
“The Tasmanian Liberal Government has introduced a bill to Parliament that will make it mandatory for people in religious ministry to report child abuse or face criminal charges. The bill will also allow for the use of more pre-recorded testimony in court for victims of child sexual abuse, ensure victims will not have to give evidence twice at a trial, when it is possible, and for their evidence to be taken earlier to avoid the risk of retraumatisation.” By CathNews

Pennsylvania Attorney General: Senate Judiciary Committee should investigate clergy abuse
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro lobbied Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), projected by many to be the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to investigate abuse by members of the Catholic Church(link is external). “I hope Chairman @LindseyGrahamSC focuses @senjudiciary on clergy abuse. It is a national issue and deserves attention. I’ll assist in any way the Chairman deems appropriate,’ he tweeted Saturday (Nov. 24).” By Tal Axelrod, The Hill

Greensburg and Erie dioceses release financial statements as a result of grand jury report
“Donna Doucette, Executive Director of Voice of the Faithful joined Robert Mangino to talk about the Greensburg and Erie Dioceses releasing their financial statements as a result of the grand jury report; together they have totaled 5 million dollars in legal fees. Donna Doucette says this is probably just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cost.  The Pittsburgh Diocese has yet to release their financial statements.” By Robert Morlino, KDKA-AM Afternoon News

VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

A reality check on expectations for February child abuse summit
“Under any circumstances, the announcement in September that Pope Francis plans to convene a summit Feb. 21-24 for all the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world, along with the Vatican’s senior leadership, to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Church would have been big news(link is external) … Before expectations spiral completely out of control, however, it’s important to say this out loud: For all kinds of reasons, this is not going to be Yalta on sex abuse, and to hope that it will be is a fool’s errand.” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

Finding hope and healing in the face of the abuse crisis
“In February of next year, Pope Francis will meet with presidents of episcopal conferences throughout the world to talk about the Catholic Church’s response to clerical abuse. The U.S. bishops met in November of this year and discussed the same topic. In many dioceses, parishes have been or will be hosting listening sessions for concerned parishioners. All these meetings are meant in some way to address the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The current round of gatherings and news coverage strikes many people as sadly familiar—a replay of what happened in the early 2000s. But this is different(link is external).” By Louis J. Cameli, America: The Jesuit Review

Will the Vatican’s sexual abuse summit make a difference?
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican,’ Gerry and I take a look at the newly announced committee that will plan the Vatican’s upcoming, high-stakes summit on sexual abuse(link is external). One committee member, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India, told Crux in October that the meeting ‘will be successful, or it will be a disaster for the Church. So, can it succeed in creating lasting change?” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

Rome event challenges key Indian prelate’s record on sex abuse
“One of the organizers appointed by Pope Francis to plan a February 21-24 summit at the Vatican on sexual abuse of vulnerable people(link is external) has been accused of covering up abuse in his own archdiocese in India by one of his former collaborators. ‘My bishop is among the organizers, which left me perplexed,’ said Indian-born Virginia Saldanha, a former director of the women’s commission of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, ‘What is he going to do? Come up with more cover-up ideas?’” By Claire Giangrave and Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Juan Carlos Cruz: the survivor who changed the pope’s mind on sex abuse
“‘The church has to change that paradigm, that way of thinking that survivors are enemies of the church and want to destroy the church,’ said Juan Carlos Cruz. ‘It’s quite the opposite. There’s a lot of people that have been destroyed by the church and others that have been wronged in the worst way(link is external) by the church and yet they still want to move forward and call themselves Catholics.’ Juan Carlos has been advocating for survivors for years, since he publicly disclosed that as a child he was abused by the notorious predator Fernando Karadima, a Chilean Catholic priest.” By Ashley McKinless, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

As investigation hits home diocese, can Cardinal DiNardo continue to lead on the abuse crisis?
“Investigators for the district attorney of Montgomery County in Texas executed a search warrant seeking records pertaining to the handling of instances of alleged clerical abuse(link is external) at the offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Nov. 28. The spectacle of dozens of Texas Rangers and other local law enforcement swarming the Houston chancery offered the latest unprecedented moment as the church in the United States grapples with the ongoing crisis of the clerical abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The archdiocese is headed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the person leading the U.S. bishops’ response to the crisis.” By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

Australian archbishop cleared of child sex abuse cover-up
“An Australian appeal court on Thursday (Dec. 6) overturned a conviction against the most senior Catholic cleric ever found guilty of covering up child sex abuse(link is external). New South Wales state District Court Judge Roy Ellis upheld former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s appeal against his May conviction in a lower court for concealing the sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest in the 1970s. Ellis found there was reasonable doubt that the 68-year-old cleric had committed the crime, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Experts question whether bishops really need a new code of conduct
“In the effort to tackle clerical sexual abuse, one step slotted for adoption by the U.S. bishops in their fall meeting was a new code of conduct for bishops, which would specifically address the issue of accountability not just for the crime but the cover-up. Yet some experts dispute the need for a new code(link is external), saying the guidelines written out for all clergy in the 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People are valid for bishops too, if they are applied.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Some Catholics demand bishops resignation, others beg him to stay during emotional listening session
“Voices searing with anger and cracking with grief rang out for nearly two hours Monday (Dec. 3) night as Catholics and others spoke on revelations of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup in the Catholic Church(link is external). More than 200 people gathered at St. Thomas A’Becket Church in Jefferson Hills, where Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik sat in a wooden chair at the front of the modern sanctuary, hands folded, as several speakers called on him to resign and denounced his handling of abuse cases. Others called on him to stay and be part of the healing.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Madison bishop’s passing kicks off lengthy replacement process
“The death of Madison’s bishop means the Catholic Church must soon begin the lengthy process of selecting a new bishop for the diocese(link is external) of around 200,000 parishioners — a process that ultimately ends with the pope. Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, 71, died Saturday after suffering an apparent heart attack during a planned procedure at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison earlier in the week. He was the fourth bishop of Madison. Tim Cavanaugh, a canonist for the Madison Diocese, said Morlino’s death leaves a lot of roles left unfilled.” By Phoebe Petrovic, Wisconsin Public Radio

Memphis under Holley offers object lesson for new bishops everywhere
“Inside the vestibule of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the wall where the traditional portrait of the sitting bishop would be affixed now stands empty. Just over two years ago, Bishop Martin Holley was installed as the new head of the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll, promising priests that he would be ‘a father and a pastor who serves,’ and vowing to ‘learn from and share with these sons of Christ.’ What began as a high note for Memphis’s clergy now has many of them singing the blues(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Bishop: Naming Syracuse priests accused of sexual assault was ‘important’
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has named 57 priests accused of sexual abuse since 1950 who have been either removed from the ministry or have died(link is external). ‘We went through files and looked at them and made a determination that these priests have credible allegations against them,’ said Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. Cunningham says release of these names was voluntary, despite a lawsuit demanding New York dioceses publicize the names.” By Courtney Carter, Spectrum News

PRIESTS

Priests’ group urges reform in open letter to bishops
“The Association of Catholic Priests (APC) has written an open letter to the bishops, urging them to convene a national assembly to address the crisis facing Catholicism in Ireland(link is external) and to consider reforms. Stressing ‘what we can’t afford to do is do nothing,’ the APC, which represents 1,000 priests, says ‘it is clear to everyone, now, that we are at crisis point, entering a post-Catholic Ireland.’” By T.P. O’Mahony, Irish Examiner

Priest’s View: Bishops, chancery officials who failed children can step aside
“There continues to be much anger and outrage and shame and sadness in the Catholic Church over the abuse scandals and especially over the coverups by the bishops. Most agree now that the root cause of our troubles is the failure of the bishops’ leadership(link is external). Bishops and chancery officials who should have stopped the pain and suffering of children decided to protect themselves instead. Some chancery officials even advanced up the ecclesial ladder, even though they were involved in the coverups. When confronted with the crisis, the bishops acted as if they were the victims and not the abused children.” By Fr. William Fider, Duluth News Tribune

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican investigates after nuns report sex abuse by priests
“The Vatican has launched an investigation into a small Chilean religious order of nuns after some sisters denounced sexual abuse at the hands of priests(link is external) and mistreatment by their superiors, a turning point that shows the Holy See is now willing to investigate allegations of sexual violence against nuns. The scandal at the Institute of the Good Samaritan was revealed publicly in an investigative report by Chilean national television earlier this year at the height of outrage over how Chilean Catholic hierarchy covered up decades of sexual abuse of children by priests.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

CHILD PROTECTION

National safeguarding standards set for release
“Catholic Professional Standards Ltd is set to publish the first edition of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards by the end of the year(link is external). CPSL has released its 2017-18 Annual Report, which marks the first full year of operation of the company since the appointment of inaugural chief executive officer, Sheree Limbrick, in July 2017. Speaking shortly after the release of the report, Ms Limbrick said she is committed to doing what she can to ensure the lessons from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse remain a live issue for the leadership of the Church in Australia.” By CathNews.com

CLERICALISM

Clericalism is ugly perversion, pope tells seminarians
“Priests must always keep in mind that their mission is to serve others and not claim superiority over the people entrusted to their care, Pope Francis said. Meeting with seminarians from the Sicilian coastal city of Agrigento Nov. 24, the pope told them that priests must never forget their roots and that God chose them from among their people to serve. ‘Clericalism, my dear ones, is our ugliest perversion(link is external). The Lord wants you to be shepherds; shepherds of the people, not clerics of the state,’ he said.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Connecticut bishop appoints laywoman to lead parish
“Less than two months after serving as delegate in the Bishops Synod on Youth which called women’s leadership within the Church ‘a duty of justice,’ Bishop Frank Caggiano has established a new leadership model in a Connecticut parish, appointing a woman to serve as parish life coordinator. The appointment of Dr. Eleanor W. Sauers, which was announced on Sunday (Dec. 9) in a letter to parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Fairfield, Connecticut, grants Sauers decision-making authority over a team of priests who will be responsible for sacramental ministry(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Brazil cardinal rues lack of priests in Amazon but avoids ‘viri probati’
“One of the most compelling voices for the Catholic Church in Latin America, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, believes a lack of priests and access to the sacraments for Christians in the Amazon often leaves many communities in the mammoth region ‘isolated’ and ‘weakened(link is external).’ That reality, according to the retired Archbishop of São Paulo, can’t help but be a major issue that a special Synod of Bishops for the Amazon called by Pope Francis will have to address in October 2019.” By Filipe Domingues, Cruxnow.com

Three already-merged Philadelphia Catholic churches set to close
“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced three churches that previously merged with other parishes will close after the new year(link is external). The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Archbishop Charles Chaput said Sunday (Dec. 2) Our Lady of the Holy Souls, Saint Stanislaus Kostka and Saint Leo church will no longer serve as worship sites after Jan. 7.” By NBC10-TV News

Why are we at each others’ throats? Healing polarization in our church
“People say our society is getting increasingly polarized, but is it true? We have heard the rhetoric and the vitriol, but is this just what improves ratings? If it bleeds, it leads? Is this so-called ‘culture war’ really just fought among leaders and the media or is polarization a fact that touches the rest of us? Further, is this polarization also happening among American Catholics?(link is external) If so, how can we heal? Lots of questions — let’s look at some answers.” By Maureen K. Day, National Catholic Reporter

America’s epidemic of empty churches
“Many of our nation’s churches can no longer afford to maintain their structures—6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America(link is external)—and that number will likely grow. Though more than 70 percent of our citizens still claim to be Christian, congregational participation is less central to many Americans’ faith than it once was. Most denominations are declining as a share of the overall population, and donations to congregations have been falling for decades. Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated Americans, nicknamed the ‘nones,’ are growing as a share of the U.S. population.” By Jonathan Merritt, The Atlantic

Bridgeport-area Catholics brace for changes to neighborhood parishes, schools as archdiocese reorganizes
“Parishioners from nine Catholic churches and schools in Bridgeport, Canaryville and Chinatown are expected to learn Wednesday (Nov. 28) the fate of their houses of worship(link is external). A meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Barbara Parish, 2859 S. Throop St., where parishioners are expected to hear the details of the reorganization approved by Archdiocese of Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich.” By Elvia Malagon, Chicago Tribune

VOICES

U.S. Catholic Church marred by allegations of abuse, claims of cover-up
“2018 will no doubt be remembered as a dark time for the U.S. Catholic Church. Catholics felt betrayed by church leaders accused of sexual misconduct and cover-up(link is external)revealed this summer and this cloud still hung over the church at the year’s end. In June, allegations were made against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, accused of sexually abusing a minor almost 50 years ago and having sexual contact with seminarians while he was a bishop in New Jersey …” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Commentary: Blame lies, secrecy and unchecked power, not gay priests
“This past summer’s credible allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have fundamentally altered the way Catholics are talking about the abuse crisi(link is external)s. In the wake of the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposé (memorialized in the important and painful film, Spotlight), the conversation revolved around the most shocking tales of abuse – namely, of priests sexually molesting children. And indeed, it’s the allegation that ‘Uncle Ted’ sexually assaulted a minor that finally brought his story into its own recent spotlight.” By Brandon R. Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune

Pedophilia victims deserve justice
“In a quarter-page advertisement in this newspaper on Nov. 29, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence encouraged alleged priest pedophilia victims to come forward. Those ongoing scandals underscore widespread disgust for historically unpunished, unspeakable crimes against children(link is external). Adult survivors of rectory or home seductions — sometimes with parents nearby, unaware of the horrors their children suffered — deserve justice, and courts need laws to dispense it. Warwick Attorney Carl DeLuca estimates about 450 victims sought his help: his office alone settled at least 65 civil cases against the Diocese of Providence.” Commentary by Mary Ann Sorrentino, Providence Journal

Catholic Church has work ahead to rebuild trust
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s decision to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is the latest twist in a long and often sordid story of individual abuse against children(link is external), protected by one of the most powerful institutions in New Mexico. That the bankruptcy announcement came just before Advent, the beginning of the church liturgical year — the countdown to the birth of a savior, the light of the world — brings an ironic touch to the whole proceeding.” By The New Mexican Editorial Board

Why I left the church, and what I’m hearing about it
“After so many years of trying to “stay and fight” for the Catholic Church as it should be, the day finally came when walking away wasn’t so much a decision as an acknowledgement(link is external) of reality: I just couldn’t continue to help prop up an institution that I’ve loved my whole life, but that’s run by men who, after all this time, are dithering still in response to the devastation done by child abusers in collars. Staying ‘because it’s our church, too’ had come to feel like complicity by another name. And even staying for the Eucharist made me wonder at what point I had to stop letting the hierarchy use the real presence to excuse the inexcusable. Does Jesus ever feel he’s being held hostage?” By Melinda Henneberger, National Catholic Reporter

It’s time for Catholics to demand this from the church
“We all regret some decisions in life; for me, it was my choice not to learn Spanish. So, in my search to find the one word that could capture the essence of Pope Francis, it is with much irony that the language of Spain would give me the most appropriate one: Dictablanda! For those like me who ‘no hablo espanol,’ Dictablanda is a Spanish pun for a benevolent dictator. It is also the description that best suits our Holy Father and the Roman Curia(link is external). In this instance, it is not a funny pun.” By Paul Snyder, CNN

Commentary: why the ‘Catholic Church’ is different than the ‘Catholic hierarchy’
“It is time to stop using the term ‘Catholic Church’ as a synonym for ‘Catholic hierarchy(link is external).’ We all do it. ‘The church teaches such and such.’ ‘The church lobbied against gay marriage.’ ‘The church failed to protect children.’ ‘The church is homophobic and sexist.’ ‘The church is authoritarian.’ ‘I hate the church.’ The word ‘church’ has multiple meanings. One theologian counted more than a dozen ways ‘church’ was used in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, referring to everything from a building to the Mystical Body of Christ.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in The Salt Lake Tribune

Weigel sustains intellectual whiplash under Francis’ pontificate
“If irony were gold, Weigel would be a rich man in this pontificate of Francis. But this kind of intellectual—and moral—whiplash is unbecoming and unserious. If he has had a conversion, let him explain his conversion. Otherwise, his writings are mere evidence of hypocrisy. The ever-shrinking, increasingly unhinged crowd at First Things may still look to him for guidance but Weigel is not precisely unhinged. He appears to be flailing about, clearly disconnected, not clear how to reconnect. The ‘evangelical Catholicism’ he said the church needed has arrived with Pope Francis(link is external), and it is about the poor not contraception, about witness not entrenchment, about engaging the culture not denouncing it—in short, not what he was expecting.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic priest Father Joe Walsh charged with stealing $250,000 from Subiaco church
“Father Joe Walsh allegedly stole the funds between 2014 and 2017(link is external) while he was the parish priest at St Joseph’s church in Subiaco. The 66-year-old from Hamilton Hill appeared briefly in Perth Magistrates Court this morning ( Dec. 12) and was not required to plead to six charges of stealing. He was released on bail until his next scheduled court appearance in February.” By James Carmody and Joanna Menagh, Australia Broadcasting Company

Abuse scandal has cost Altoona-Johnstown diocese $21.5 million, bishop says
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has made what could be considered its most in-depth public statement concerning clerical child sexual abuse within its organization(link is external), since the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General issued a grand jury report in 2016 outlining an alleged systemic effort to protect predator priests within its ranks. A Dec. 10 edition of The Catholic Register, the diocese’s official publication, included multiple stories about the subject, a ‘special message’ from Bishop Mark Bartchak and a chart showing that the expense of the scandal cost the diocese $21,491,052 from July 1, 1999, until Dec. 1, 2018.” By Dave Sutor, The Daily Item

Nuns misappropriated $500K in school funds, spending some on gambling and trips, Catholic church says
Two nuns at a Catholic church in Southern California are suspected of embezzling up to $500,000 in school funds(link is external), allegedly using some of the money to go on trips and gamble at casinos, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told ABC News. The nuns, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, had been ‘involved in the personal use of a substantial amount’ of school funds ‘over a period of years,’ Monsignor Michael Meyers, pastor for the St. James Catholic School in Redondo Beach, wrote in a letter to parents on Nov. 28.” By Julia Jacobo, Clayton Sandell and Matthew Fuhrman, ABC News

Bankruptcy filing for Santa Fe archdiocese, led by Utah’s former Catholic leader John Wester, provides peek at church finances
“New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent months on lawyers to fight claims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) and to prepare for a potentially lengthy battle in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s petition for reorganization provides a rare look into the finances of a religious organization that for decades has been wrestling with the financial and social consequences of a scandal that rocked churches across the country.” By Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press, in The Salt Lake Tribune

Buffalo Diocese has a $48 million surplus as it prepares to pay victims
“Victims of sexual abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo have been coming forward since March, when the diocese announced it would pay voluntary settlements to those who were abused(link is external). While the bishop plans to sell his Oakland Place mansion to help pay those victims, internal church documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show he will need much more money than the sale of the mansion — assessed at nearly $2 million — is likely to bring in. But the church appears to have plenty of money in the bank.” By Charlie Spect, WKBW-TV

‘We don’t want these coverups anymore.’ Parishioners speak out after informant priest reassigned
“A second priest has been identified as an informant against a fellow priest accused of scamming parishioners(link is external). Now, he’s being moved by the Catholic Diocese of Jackson from the Starkville parish he tried to protect. Sunday morning, the Rev. Rusty Vincent announced he was being reassigned from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville. He will be moved to Vicksburg in January. A priest from Madison, the Rev. Jason Johnston, will take over pastoral duties at St. Joe.” By Sarah Fowler, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

‘It happened everywhere’: How Pennsylvania upended deep history of priest abuse across nation
“The investigation by the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury wasn’t the first into the epidemic of child sexual abuse among Catholic priests. It wasn’t even the first to be done in Pennsylvania, following investigations of the Philadelphia archdiocese and the Altoona-Johnstown diocese. But its scope was unprecedented(link is external). ‘We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this,’ the nearly 900-page report begins.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Two Jesuit provinces release 153 names of accused abusers
“Two Roman Catholic Jesuit provinces that cover nearly half the U.S. released the names Friday (Dec. 7) of more than 150 priests and other ministry leaders who were found to have ‘credible allegations’ of sexual abuse(link is external) made against them dating to the 1950s … Jesuits West found credible allegations against 111 priests, brothers or priests in training who were connected to it dating back to 1950. Hours earlier, the Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province, which covers 13 states along with Puerto Rico and the Central American country of Belize, released the names of 42 men who had ties to the province going back to 1955.” By Jim Salter, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic Church facing multiple abuse scandals
Where will the abuse scandal turn next?(link is external) Peter Isley from ECAglobal.org, Ending Clergy Abuse, talks to Brent on the Day.” By Deutschel Welle on DW.com

Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse
“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories(link is external)during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence. Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear … American Barbara Dorris … German Doris Wagner ….” By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter

‘Time to put a stop to this’: why a Catholic prosecutor who witnessed abuse took on his own church
“The suspicious looks were one thing, but the whispers are what David Hickton remembers from the Sunday mornings two years ago when he would rise from his pew at SS. Simon & Jude to receive Holy Communion. ‘I could hear the ‘tsk, tsk, tsk’ while I was going up the aisle,’ he says. ‘Others were muttering, ‘Of all the nerve!’’ Hickton – then the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania known for his landmark indictment in 2014 of Chinese military hackers for stealing trade secrets from state institutions such as U.S. Steel – had just revealed his new target: the Catholic Church(link is external).” By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

Hiding behind God
“Tim Bendig was repeatedly abused by Catholic priest Anthony Cipolla(link is external) from 1982 to 1986. That came after the Catholic Church declined to remove Cipolla from the priesthood for the abuse of two brothers in the 1970s. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently followed Mr. Bendig as he returned to the vacant rectory and church, St. Canice, where his life changed forever 36 years ago. ‘That’s the room,’ said a shaken Tim Bendig. He was pointing at the bedroom on the second floor in the former St. Canice Church rectory where he was first sexually abused 36 years ago by a Catholic priest, Anthony Cipolla.” By Sean D. Hamill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

‘It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It just means it hasn’t been discovered’: Reporters spend years chasing down Catholic sex scandals
“When the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, released the names of 71 clergy members accused of sexual abuse, York Daily Record investigative reporter Brandie Kessler immediately thought of Todd Frey. Kessler has stayed in touch with Frey since 2016, when he told her that a priest named Guy Marsico had abused him as a young teenager(link is external) at a church in York. Marsico’s name on the list gave Kessler the chance to ask Frey something she had asked several times before — whether he would be willing to put his story on the record. This time, he said yes.” By Tiffany Stevens, Poynter.com

ALABAMA

DA urges victims of priest abuse to come forward, so she can prosecute
“Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich is urging victims of priest and clergy abuse to come forward so she can prosecute(link is external). The Archdiocese of Mobile Thursday (Dec. 6) released the names of 29 priests and deacons who have been ‘credibly accused’ since 1950 … She’s also asking anyone with evidence to come forward. Rich says there’s no statute of limitations on any sex offense if the victim is under 16, regardless if it involves force or serious injury.” By Chis Best, WKRG-TV5 News

CALIFORNIA

California victim activists release their own list of accused priests as more are identified
Dozens more Catholic priests who served in Southern California have been accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), according to two reports issued Thursday (Nov. 6). Advocates for survivors of child sex abuse compiled a list of 72 priests they say served in the Diocese of Orange and have been accused of abuse. That’s many more than the 14 such clerics listed by the diocese in 2016. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Thursday updated its tally of accused priests for the first time in a decade, adding 54 more for a total of 323 clerics accused in such incidents.” By Associated Press in America: The Jesuit Review

Dozens more California priests accused of child abuse
Dozens more Catholic priests who served in Southern California have been accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), according to two reports issued Thursday (Dec. 6). Advocates for survivors of child sex abuse compiled a list of 72 priests they say served in the Diocese of Orange and have been accused of abuse. That’s many more than the 14 such clerics listed by the diocese in 2016.” By Associated Press in Lompoc Record

Los Angeles diocese adds new names to list of accused priests
“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles Dec. 6 released an updated list of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), with the report showing two cases of alleged abuse of current minors in the archdiocese since 2008. The two cases were made public at the time the allegations were first received. Upon receiving the accusations, the archdiocese removed the two priests, Juan Cano and Jose Luis Cuevas, from ministry and reported them to law enforcement. Following separate investigations by police and by an Archdiocesan oversight board, the men were permanently removed from ministry.” By Pablo Kay, America: The Jesuit Review

Sex abuse cases cost San Francisco Catholic Church $87 million in settlements
“The Catholic diocese in San Francisco has settled roughly $87 million worth of sex abuse cases against priests and others associated with the church(link is external), mostly in the last 15 years, according to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The archbishop divulged the eye-popping figure during a series of town hall meetings held to address the sexual abuse of minors in the local Catholic Church on the heels of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania that found hundreds of priest had molested at least 1,000 children in that region.” By Michael Barba, San Francisco Examiner

COLORADO

‘Forgiveness is a decision’: Abuse survivor shares journey of healing and faith
“Growing up, Pat was a strong Catholic with a deep passion for her faith. ‘I knew all of the responses before Vatican II,’ she said. ‘I knew all of the altar boy responses in Latin. I even knew what they meant.’ That foundation of faith has carried Pat through a remarkable journey of strength and forgiveness(link is external). She’s remained in the Church her entire life — despite the abuse she suffered at the hands of a priest at just five years old.” By Moira Cullings, DenverCatholic.com

CONNECTICUT

Norwich Diocese faces 20 new lawsuits for alleged abuse at Mt. St. John facility for troubled teens
“he Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich is facing 20 lawsuits filed this week (Nov. 28) alleging abuse of teenage students(link is external) at The Academy at Mount Saint John, a Deep River residential treatment center, in the 1990s. The lawsuits were filed by Hartford attorney Patrick Tomasiewicz, alleging students were abuse at the hands of at least four staff members, although the majority of the allegations were against two now-deceased brothers.” By Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant

Norwich diocese sued by 24 men who say they were sexually assaulted
“Twenty-four men, who say they were sexually assaulted as teenage boys(link is external) by the late Brother K. Paul McGlade and others, have filed lawsuits against the Diocese of Norwich and former Bishop Daniel Reilly. Some of the suits, in which the men allege they were fondled, sodomized and raped while attending the diocesan-run Academy at Mount Saint John in Deep River from 1986 to 1996, are slated for trial in 2019. Each of the boys, who ranged in age from 11 to 15, had been placed at the now defunct school by the state Department of Children and Families or the state court system. DCF is not a defendant in the lawsuits.” By Joe Wojtas, The Day

ILLINOIS

Diocese discloses names of priests who sexually abused minors
“The Diocese of Springfield (Illinois) on Thursday (Nov. 6) afternoon, in response to a review by the Illinois Attorney General’s office, released the names of 19 priests — including a former bishop — that it confirmed were the subjects of substantiated charges of sexually abusing children(link is external). Though individual priests may have been identified over the years, the Springfield Diocese confirmed that this is the first comprehensive list of abuse cases it has ever released.” By Brenden Moore, The State Journal-Register

10 names added to list of clergy with ‘substantiated’ sex misconduct allegations
“At a closed-door gathering in August with young men studying to be priests at the Catholic church’s seminary in Mundelein, Cardinal Blase Cupich boasted that the Archdiocese of Chicago’s ‘record’ on sex abuse is ‘clean(link is external).’ ‘We are not what happened’ in Pennsylvania, Cupich said, referring to a grand jury report that recently had been released in that state, showing decades of priests raping children and bishops covering up … But Wednesday (Nov. 28) night the archdiocese made public the names of 10 more former priests and deacons — some now dead — against whom ‘substantiated allegations’ had been found they engaged in sexual misconduct with minors.” By Robert Herguth, Chicago Sun Times

LOUISIANA

Jesuit high school president: release of clergy abuse list shows spirit of reconciliation, transparency
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans’ decision Friday (Dec. 2) to release a list of 57 area clergy members ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors(link is external) was met with support from the leader of Jesuit High School, who said the release was done in the spirit of reconciliation and transparency. Four people named on the list were at one time employed by the Mid-City high school, including a former president of the school.” By Jonathan Bullington, NOLA.com

Quest for facts in clergy abuse allegation leaves indelible question marks
“As it grapples with clergy abuse, the Church needs to be transparent for the sake of survivors and for justice(link is external). That transparency, however, comes with side effects. It carries with it disenchantment for many Catholics who have trusted priests embroiled in what New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond has called the church’s now-exposed ‘family sin.’” By Kim Chatelain, The Times-Picayne on NOLA.com

MAINE

Trial begins in Maine for ex-priest facing sex abuse charges
“A 74-year-old former Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to raping an altar boy in Massachusetts(link is external) went on trial Monday (Nov. 26) for allegedly assaulting two boys in Maine in the 1980s. Ronald Paquin, who was defrocked in 2004, is charged with assaulting the boys between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport, Maine, when the victims were 14 or younger. Court documents indicate one of them was “substantially impaired” by drugs during the assault.” By Associated Press

MISSOURI

Church, Hawley slow to eject sex abusers
“Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the Jefferson City Diocese and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley are not doing enough to investigate and raise awareness of sex abuse by clergy(link is external). Bishop W. Shawn McKnight released in November a list of 33 names of Jefferson City Diocese clergy that had been ‘credibly accused’ of illicit sexual acts involving minors. The list came during a listening tour regarding the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and on the heels of an announced investigation by Hawley.” By Pat Pratt, Columbia Daily Tribune

Advocates for priest abuse survivors says three priest names are missing
“Thursday (Nov. 29) an advocate group for priest abuse survivors called out priests who were left off a recent Jefferson City Diocese ‘credibly accused list(link is external).’ SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, met outside of the Cathedral of St. Joseph to voice their concerns about the list. ‘We are here today because we are concerned, in particular, about three credibly accused child molesting priests who spent time in Mid-Missouri,’ David Clohessy, SNAP St. Louis volunteer, said.” By Mercedes Mackay, KOMU-TV News

After criticism of priest sex abuse investigation, Attorney General Hawley tweets ‘this is false’
“Angered by a column in a Missouri newspaper that said he wasn’t doing enough to investigate clergy sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church(link is external), Attorney General Josh Hawley on Tuesday (Nov. 27) took to social media. ‘We are seeking court orders to acquire information needed from the dioceses to ensure a full, thorough, and independent investigation,’ Hawley said in a tweet just before noon.” By July L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

NEBRASKA

Omaha archdiocese disclosure reveals clergy sex abuse secrets it hid for decades
“What the Omaha Archdiocese long sought to keep hidden, it is now shouting from the rooftops. When it disclosed last month that 38 clergymen had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse or misconduct, some of the names were familiar — notorious priests who already had been defrocked or jailed. But others — more than half — had been kept secret(link is external) until last week, even though some of the reports of alleged abuse dated back decades.” By Christopher Burbach, Omaha World Herald

Some churches talk about archdiocese sexual misconduct report at Mass
“Some churches in the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha used time before and during Mass on Sunday (Dec. 2) to react to the recent revelation of 38 past clergy members being accused of sexual misdeeds with minors(link is external). The archdiocese announced Friday that ‘substantiated claims of sexual abuse of, or sexual misconduct with, a minor’ had been made against 34 priests and four deacons on a list it provided to Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who had asked for the information.” By Norfolk Daily News

NEW MEXICO

New legal troubles for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe
“Seven years after he murdered a female parishioner in Texas in 1960, Father John Feit found refuge in Jemez Springs, where he was a supervisor at the Servants of the Paraclete center for Catholic priests with psychosexual problems. According to a new lawsuit, Feit documented an agreement with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1967 to supply pedophile priests to New Mexico parishes(link is external) without telling parishioners or other working priests in the archdiocese about the potential danger to local children.” By Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal

Diocese of Las Cruces releases names of credibly accused priests
“Last month, the Diocese of Las Cruces published the names of 28 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors(link is external) and have served within the geographical boundary of the diocese. Among these are several priests who served in churches in Grant County, mostly during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The last priest served in 1990. In addition to the names, the list also includes, if known, the dates of the alleged incidents, the date they were reported to the diocese, the status of the accused and the date and location of their assignments in the diocese.” By Christine Steele, Silver City Daily Press

New Mexico archdiocese to file bankruptcy over sex abuse
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Thursday (Nov. 29) it will soon be filing for bankruptcy protection, as the Catholic church in New Mexico has settled numerous claims of sexual abuse by clergy(link is external) over the years and is close to depleting its reserves. About 20 dioceses and other religious orders around the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of clergy sex abuse claims, according to lawyers representing the archdiocese. Archbishop John Wester said he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point and he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims.” By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

NEW YORK

Geneva priest removed from ministry by bishop
“The Rev. Erick Viloria, parochial vicar in Our Lady of Peace Parish since June, has been removed from public ministry(link is external). Viloria’s removal, and that of the Rev. Thomas Valenti, was announced Sunday (Dec. 9) by Bishop Salvatore Matano, the Diocese of Rochester leader. The decision followed an independent investigation, review and recommendation from the Diocesan Review Board.” By David L. Shaw, Finger Lakes Times

Rochester Catholic Diocese removes two priests from public ministry
“The Rochester Catholic Diocese says that two priests have been removed from public ministry by Bishop Salvatore Matano after allegations of misconduct(link is external). According to a statement posted on the diocese’s website, the actions follow an independent investigation and a recommendation from a review board which includes lay professionals in law, child protection, law enforcement and psychology.” By Randy Gorbman, WXXI-AM News

Former altar girl says she was abused for years at Brooklyn Catholic church
“A former altar girl at a Brooklyn church says she was the victim of sexual abuse for years(link is external), police sources told The Post on Sunday (Dec. 9). The 17-year-old told cops on Saturday that a custodian at Holy Innocents Church in Flatbush groped her while she served as an altar girl between 2013 and 2015. She would have been between 12 and 15 years old when the abuse took place.” By Tina Moore, Sydney Denmark and Tamar Lapin, New York Post

Buffalo diocese offers abuse victims $10,000 to $360,000 to settle claims
“The Buffalo Diocese so far has offered as much as $360,000 and as little as $10,000 to settle molestation claims against some of its priests(link is external). Attorneys who represent victims of childhood sex abuse said they recently received compensation offers for 19 clients, ranging from $10,000 to $360,000. They are the first award offers since the diocese announced the program in March. ‘It’s never enough money to fully acknowledge this level of harm,’ said attorney J. Michael Reck. ‘It certainly isn’t full justice for what happened.’” By Todd Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Syracuse diocese releases list of 57 sexually abusive priests
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse today (Dec. 3) released a list of 57 priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them(link is external). The list includes 38 deceased priests. Nineteen priests are still alive. All of the living priests were previously removed from ministry, the diocese said. No active priests have credible accusations of child sexual abuse against them, according to the diocese and Onondaga County district attorney.” By Julie McMahon, Syracuse.com

Movement to restore trust in Buffalo’s Catholic diocese begins taking action
“The present structure of the Catholic Church took some real hits Wednesday (Nov. 28) night, as the sex abuse crisis was scrutinized before a large crowd(link is external) at Canisius College’s Montante Center and in cyberspace. A group of prominent local Catholics organized the meeting, under the general title of the Movement to Restore Trust. Moderated by Canisius President John Hurley, the panelists were two priests, a nun and a nationally prominent lay Catholic leader.” By Mike Desmond, WBFO-FM, Buffalo’s NPR Station

Buffalo priest allegedly forced teen into sex acts at gunpoint
“A Buffalo priest pointed a gun to a teenage boy’s head to force him into sex acts(link is external)— and the ‘sick behavior’ turned him on, according to the alleged victim’s lawyer. The disturbing allegations were lodged against Rev. Michael Freeman, who died in 2010 at age 63. The alleged victim, now 48, said Freeman would hold a silver .38-caliber revolver to his head to get him to comply in the 1980s.” By Lia Eustachewich, New York Post

OHIO

Former Fisher Catholic nun accused of sexually abusing student
“A nun who once taught at Fisher Catholic High School in Lancaster has been accused of sexually abusing a student 36 years ago(link is external), according to a police report. Sister Lisa Zuccarelli, who belongs to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, was removed from her ministry, restricted from unsupervised contact with former students and minors, and was sent to a psychological center for clergy for assessment after the allegation came to light, the Columbus-based Dominican Sisters of Peace said in a news release. Details about when the abuse occurred weren’t given.” By Danae King, The Columbus Dispatch

Catholic priest sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexual misconduct
“A Catholic priest with the Diocese of Steubenville is headed to prison for 12 years for sexual battery charges involving a teenage member of his parish(link is external). The church is in Athens County, Ohio. Henry Christopher Foxhoven pleaded guilty to the charges in Athens County Court Tuesday (Nov. 27) morning. The sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors who believe justice was served in this case.” By Gil McClanahan and Jeff Morris, FOX11 Eyewitness News

PENNSYLVANIA

For some, Catholic church’s victim program made priest abuse trauma even worse
“Mary Handler remembers some of the details so vividly that it’s like it happened yesterday(link is external) instead of decades ago. She was 5-½ years old, sitting in the backseat of her family’s car. Family cars in the 1950s were big — and felt exceptionally so to a child. Handler remembers it was dark out, her mother was in the front seat holding a baby and her father was driving.” By Brandie Kessler, York Daily Record

Retired state police captain to oversee Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg’s youth protection programs
“A retired Captain who successfully ran the Megan’s Law Section of the Pennsylvania State Police will run the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg’s Safe Environment program(link is external). Retired Capt. Janet A. McNeal, through her firm Law and Grace Consulting, will review the Diocese’s current youth protection programs, develop programs and policies to make any needed improvements and will serve as our Safe Environment Coordinator.” By FOX43 Newsroom

‘Prayer and penance’: More than 78 predator priests in Pennsylvania still paid by Catholic church
“Decades after their crimes were reported and largely ignored, more than 78 priests accused of child sex abuse are still collecting paychecks and pensions from Pennsylvania dioceses(link is external). Each of those priests has been removed from ministry by Pennsylvania bishops, but the pope himself needs to sign off on all clerics being removed from the priesthood and the payroll. That process is formally known as laicization, and it can take years or decades, if it happens at all.” By Candy Woodhall, York Daily Record

Catholic Church of South Carolina to release names of clergy who sexually abused children
“The Diocese of Charleston, the governing body of all of South Carolina’s Catholic churches, will release the names of all priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1950(link is external). On Friday (Dec. 7), Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, head of the Charleston diocese, made the announcement, saying he plans to release the list by mid-February 2019.” By David Travis Bland, The State

SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota priest looks for answers after assistant arrested
“Brian Christensen is on his way to jail again. A clerical collar around his thin neck, rosary dangling from the rearview mirror, the priest sets out on the same trip he has taken almost every day that week. First was Monday (Nov. 26) afternoon, when he followed the detectives down this road, then up to the third floor of the police department, where he waited outside the interrogation room. On Wednesday , he went to the preliminary hearing, where the felony charges were announced: two counts of sexual contact with a 13-year-old(link is external).” By The Washington Post in The Daily Republic

VERMONT

Burlington Roman Catholic Diocese target of lawsuit accusing ex-priest of sexual abuse
“A man who says he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest(link is external) serving at St. Ann Catholic Church in Milton has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington alleging negligence, fraud, and ‘outrageous conduct.’ The man is asking for in excess of $75,000 in damages, in addition to any other damages deemed appropriate by a jury.” By Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Virginia priest accused of ‘inappropriate contact’ with minor, adults
“A Catholic priest in Purcellville, Virginia, is accused of inappropriate contact with a minor and adults(link is external), the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office says. The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has placed Father Ronald S. Escalante on leave pending an investigation by the sheriff’s office. The Saint Francis de Sales Church priest is accused of ‘boundary violations involving a minor and adults’ that go against its clergy code of conduct, according to a press release from the diocese.” By Associated Press on NBC4 Washington

WASHINGTON

Bellarmine releases names of 23 priests and brothers accused of sexual abuse
“Bellarmine Preparatory School released on Friday (Dec. 9) the names of 23 Catholic priests and brothers suspected of sexually abusing a minor or vulnerable adult(link is external). The names come from a master list of 111 suspected offenders released by Jesuits West Province, which includes the Jesuit high school at 2300 S. Washington St. in Tacoma.” By KIRO-TV7

WEST VIRGINIA

Diocese releases names of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of minors
“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has released the names of clergy it said have been ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors(link is external).’ A news release from the diocese said the list dates back to about 1950, which is the period for which there are reasonably reliable files. More than 2,000 files were reviewed, containing tens of thousands of documents.” By WTOV-TV9 News

WISCONSIN

Former priest accused of molesting young boys held on $500K bond
“A former Catholic priest accused of molesting at least three northern Wisconsin boys(link is external) is being held on a $500,000 bond. Thomas Ericksen, 71, is being held at the Sawyer County jail in Hayward after being extradited to Wisconsin from Minneapolis late last week, according to online court records. The former priest was accused of assaulting at least three boys between June 1982 and April 1983, during his time at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the Sawyer County village of Winter.” By Laura Schulte, Wausau Daily Herald

WYOMING

Diocese to release list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Diocese of Cheyenne is compiling a list of priests, bishops and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse since 1950(link is external), Bishop Steven Biegler announced this week (Dec. 11), signaling that the Wyoming diocese is joining a wave of public self-examinations by dioceses across the country. ‘The Diocese should have a current master list so it can be confident that it has applied the current standards to all living credibly accused offenders — and especially the standards of zero tolerance — in all situations,’ Biegler wrote in a column in the December issue of the Wyoming Catholic Register.” By Seth Klaman, Casper Star-Tribune, in Gillette News Record, via Wyoming News Exchange

AFRICA

Church sex abuse survivors group launched in South Africa
“A young woman who accused popular Nigerian Pastor Timothy Omotoso of rape – in a case that has captivated South Africa – has launched a foundation aimed at helping women and children who have been victims of sexual assault in ‘sacred spaces’(link is external)like churches. In October, Cheryl Zondi, 22, gave a graphic testimony of the alleged abuse, which she said started when she was 14 years old.” By Pumza Fihlani, BBC New, Johannesburg

Kenya Catholic bishops commit to protect children from abuses
Kenyan bishops committed to safeguard and protect children from abuses(link is external) and said the violence and evil directed at the minors and vulnerable people were signs of a morally sick society. At a Nov. 27 media briefing following their general assembly in Isiolo, the bishops also addressed other issues, including the plight of small-holder farmers, political integrity and ethics, and the fight against corruption.” By Fredrick Nzwili, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

AUSTRALIA

Catholic Church reverses approach to redress scheme
“In a major backflip, the Catholic Church has announced its entities will enter the National Redress Scheme individually and not as a single church entity(link is external) as originally planned. The Church says its commitment to the scheme is unwavering. But survivors and their lawyers now fear lengthy delays in getting redress payments from the Church.” By Samantha Donovan, Australia Broadcasting Company

Former Catholic archbishop Philip Wilson wins appeal, has conviction overturned
“Former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson is a free man after winning an appeal against his landmark conviction for failing to report child sex allegations(link is external) about a priest to police. Judge Roy Ellis was asked to consider if prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt that Wilson, 68, failed to disclose allegations about priest Jim Fletcher between 2004 and 2006 after police charged Fletcher with crimes against a Hunter boy in the 1990s.” By The Sydney Morning Herald

CANADA

Victims abused by priests in New Brunswich waiting years for compensation
“Victims of abuse by Catholic priests in New Brunswick have been waiting almost three years for compensation after reaching out-of-court settlements(link is external), and there is no sign the money will arrive anytime soon. CBC News has learned as many as 29 sexual abuse victims have reached tentative settlements in their civil lawsuits against the archdiocese of Moncton, N.B. These are men who did not participate in the conciliation process led by the archdiocese between 2012 and 2014, but rather chose to sue the church on their own.” By Gabrielle Fahmy, CBC.ca

CHILE

Chilean prosecutors probe rural Catholic diocese for evidence in abuse case
“The offices of the Roman Catholic diocese in Chillan, a small agricultural city in southern Chile, recently had some unusual and unexpected visitors: Chilean prosecutor Emiliano Arias and 10 armed police officers(link is external) … After exchanging a few words with nervous church staff and explaining his mission, Arias and police immediately began going over personnel records stored in file cabinets along one wall in the next office.” By Jorge Poblete and Chris Kraul, The San Diego Union-Tribune

GERMANY

German prosecutors launch crackdown on church sex abuse

“German police and prosecutors are launching investigations into clergy sexual abuse following the Sept. 12 leak of a report containing evidence of 3,700 alleged child sex abuse cases(link is external) in the Catholic Church over a 68-year-period. Authorities in Cologne, Passau and Gorlitz have publicly initiated criminal proceedings following the release of the report, according to Welt news. Six law professors filed criminal complaints against all 27 dioceses in October. A further 20 public prosecutors nationwide are currently examining evidence against church officials in Germany’s 27 Catholic dioceses.” By Zita Ballinger Fietcher, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Former Liverpool Catholic priest guilty of abusing young boys decades ago
“A former Liverpool parish priest has been found guilty of a series of sickening sex attacks(link is external) on young boys decades ago. Father Francis William Simpson, now 71, had been parish priest at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Kirkstone Road West, Litherland, before moving to Chorley in 2016. On Friday (Dec. 7) a jury at Bolton Crown Court convicted him of nine counts of indecent assault following a 10 day trial.” By Jonathan Humphries, Liverpool Echo

Former altar boy sues church over rapes by priest
“Jim Lawn told the BBC he was repeatedly raped and beaten over a two-year period(link is external)in the 1970s by Father John Gowans at St Patrick’s RC Church in Dumbarton. Mr Lawn, 54, said that when he initially approached the church about the abuse almost a decade ago it ignored him. The Catholic Church said its response to him had been ‘simply unacceptable.’” By Lucy Adams, BBC News

Re-opened sex abuse case against Catholic church ‘continuation of my fight’: survivor
“When she accepted a civil settlement from the Roman Catholic Church 18 years ago, Irene Deschenes was defeated. ‘We are tired, we want closure and are hesitant to believe we can or will get justice from the court process(link is external),’ she wrote in an email to her lawyer before accepting the terms in 2000. What Deschenes, the Catholic Diocese of London and disgraced ex-priest Charles Sylvestre wouldn’t know is that settlement would send Deschenes on a determined course to expose the abusive Sylvestre and hold the church accountable.” By Jane Sims, The London Free Press

PHILIPPINES

American priest arrested I Philippines for sexual abuse
“An American priest was arrested in the Philippines Wednesday (Dec.5), amid allegations that he sexually assaulted dozens of boys over a period of decades(link is external). The priest, Fr. Kenneth Hendricks, was arrested Dec. 5 inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Naval, Biliran, a province in the eastern part of the Phillippines. Hendricks, 78, has been in ministry in the region for nearly 40 years.” By Catholic News Agency

POLAND

Poland comes to grips with Catholic clergy’s sexual assault
“Staunchly Catholic Poland has been slow to address the problem of sexual assaults on children by clergy(link is external) — and the pressure is now mounting. Bishops plan to present a report in 2019. Monika Sieradzka reports from Warsaw. On a map of Poland, Marek Lisinski marks the places where sexual abuse by priests by Catholic clergy has been reported. In several dozen cases, the perpetrators have been prosecuted. Lisinski has an archive filled with many more statements from victims.” By Deutsche Welle

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TOP STORIES

Feds open clergy abuse probe in Pennsylvania
“The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania(link is external), using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe. The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.” By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker

Facing scandal and division, U.S. Catholic bishops to hold unprecedented retreat
“The Catholic bishops of the U.S. announced Oct. 23 that at the behest of Pope Francis they will meet for a weeklong retreat in Chicago in January. The unprecedented move reflects the depth of the crisis they are facing with the sexual abuse scandal(link is external) and the long-standing divisions within their ranks over the broader direction of American Catholicism. The pope is even sending an elderly and revered Franciscan priest, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the title of Preacher of the Papal Household, to lead the retreat — just as he does each year at Lent for the pontiff and the Roman Curia.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Voice of the Faithful convenes to discuss church reform in abuse, finances
“While held amidst crisis, the date for the Voice of the Faithful conference here (Providence, R.I.) Oct. 6 couldn’t have been better. ‘Who knew how timely this would be?’ Mary Pat Fox, the group’s president, said in welcoming some 300 participants. Voice of the Faithful, founded in 2002 in the wake of the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal disclosures, is dedicated to reforming the church’s response to that issue as well as to finances. ‘We have found ourselves in another Earth-shattering moment(link is external),’ said Fox, noting the onslaught of news about sex abuse and cover-ups revealed this year in Chile, via the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and accusations lodged against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. ‘Our trust is broken. We have been betrayed,’ she said.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church’s biggest crisis since the reformation
“The Catholic Church is facing its most serious crisis in 500 years(link is external). In these last few months, a new wave of clerical sexual abuse revelations left the world in shock. From Australia to Chile to Germany to the United States, horrifying reports revealed thousands of cases of child molestation by members of the clergy. One U.S. grand jury report documented 1,000 children abused by 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania alone over seven decades.” By Massimo Faggioli in Foreign Affairs

Cupich says bishops must cede authority, allow lay oversight of accusations
“Individual Catholic bishops across the United States must renounce some of the supreme authority they have over their dioceses(link is external) to allow for the creation of a new national body to investigate misconduct allegations, Chicago Cardinal Cupich said. When the U.S. bishops meet in November to consider the continuing clergy sexual abuse crisis, Cupich said the prelates ‘have to be very clear about an accountability procedure for accusations about bishops.’” By Joshua J. McElwee and Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid abuse cover-up scandal
“Pope Francis accepted the resignation Friday (Oct. 12) of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl(link is external) after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals and lost the support of many in his flock. But in a letter released by Wuerl’s office, Francis praised his longtime ally and suggested Wuerl had unfairly become a scapegoat, having made some ‘mistakes’ in handling sex abuse cases, but not having covered them up.” By David Crary and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

O’Malley broadens review of sexual misconduct allegations at seminaries; hires outside law firm
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley is expanding a review of sexual misconduct allegations at a Brighton seminary to include two other seminaries(link is external), and he’s bringing in a new team of investigators with no current ties to the Boston Archdiocese, he said Thursday (Oct. 11) … Former US Attorney Donald K. Stern will lead a group of investigators from the firm of Yurko, Salvesen & Remz in a review of the allegations that surfaced over the summer regarding St. John’s Seminary, as well as a probe of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston and Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill.” By Travis Anderson, The Boston Globe

Cardinal O’Malley asks Vatican to review reports on Buffalo sex abuse
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley wants Vatican officials to read a series of investigative reports chronicling alleged mismanagement in the Diocese of Buffalo(link is external), where Bishop Richard Malone, a former auxiliary bishop in Boston, is facing calls to step down over his handling cases of clergy sexual abuse. An investigative reporter for WKBW, Charlie Specht, sent his three-part series about Bishop Malone to Cardinal O’Malley, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Victims of Catholic priest sex abuse file lawsuit again Vatican
Holding the Pope accountable for the actions of his priests(link is external); that is what a new lawsuit intends to do on behalf of two priest abuse survivors. The legal action is aimed at stopping the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests by forcing the Vatican to reveal everything it has on the subject. ‘The real problem is at the top,’ Attorney Jeff Anderson said. ‘It is at the Vatican. It is at the Pope. The present Pope and the past Popes.’” By Haaziq Madyun, KRON-TV News

Bridgeport prelate says accountability key for bishops’ fall summit
“Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has become one of the most closely watched American prelates at a time when the Church in the United States is in full crisis mode(link is external), making it perhaps unsurprising that he was the first bishop to raise the issue of clerical sex abuse during this month’s Vatican summit on young people. His name is now often rumored as a potential replacement for Cardinal Donald Wuerl in Washington, D.C. or for Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia when he reaches retirement age next year.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Chile survivors win lawsuit accusing two cardinals of cover-up
“In a decision being hailed as historic, three Chilean survivors of the country’s most infamous pedophile priest reportedly have won a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santiago. The court found two Catholic cardinals guilty of covering up for Fernando Karadima(link is external). The court’s decision hasn’t yet been made official, but it was published on Sunday (Oct. 21) by local newspaper La Tercera, and the three survivors who were suing the archdiocese quickly released a statement celebrating the decision.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Panel confronts abuse crisis, urging care for victims, higher ed reform
“Calls for radical structural reform, a more pastoral understanding of clerical sex abuse, and an informed-rather-than-emotional approach to the church’s sex abuse(link is external)and authority crises were issued by panelists during an Oct. 9 public discussion at Santa Clara University. Titled ‘The Catholic Church and the Catastrophe of Clergy Sexual Abuse,’ the live-streamed event packed the auditorium of the Jesuit university’s de Saisset Museum with a cross-section of students and community members and drew significant Bay Area media attention. Fr. Brendan McGuire, first of the four panelists to present, recounted his own sexual abuse at the age of 18 nearly 35 years ago by a priest he knew well.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Long relegated to counseling and therapy, the clergy sex abuse crisis is now a matter for federal authorities
“The Catholic Church has historically responded to the crisis of the sexual abuse of children by priests as a pastoral challenge(link is external). Victim after victim has been offered counseling and therapeutic services. Priests too were sent off to counseling and, in time, returned to ministry. To this day, hundreds of victims have letters from bishops expressing regrets over the moral failings of priests. Indeed, few clerics or church officials in the U.S. Catholic Church have met with adjudication or criminal convictions. Much has changed.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Catholic Church must reform canon law in wake of child sex abuse royal commission
“So, has the Australian Catholic Church ‘rejected mandatory reporting,’ as Al Jazeera published? Or did The Hindu get it right with their headline: ‘Australian Catholic leaders vow to end abuse cover-up’? The devil is, as always, in the detail. And there is a lot of detail.(link is external) The joint response from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), which represents nuns, sisters and brothers, monks and friars, says bishops and religious leaders accept most of the recommendations of the royal commission.” By Noel Debien, ABC News Australia

Federal prosecutors could tap several powerful laws to investigate clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania
“Coming one day after the General Assembly failed to advance a statute of limitations reform bill, news that the federal government had launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in Pennsylvania served to advocates a reminder that their fight is not over. ‘I’m not surprised. What was in this latest grand jury report was horrific,’ said Rep. Mark Rozzi, the Berks County Democrat who led the effort to enact a retroactive window into reform legislation.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

The Catholic sex abuse scandal takes down a cardinal
“On Friday (Oct. 12), Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl(link is external), the head of the Archdiocese of Washington. Wuerl submitted his letter of resignation three years ago, when he turned 75, as is customary for bishops. But in September, Wuerl traveled to Rome to urge the pope to finally accept it because of growing accusations over his role in handling sexual-abuse allegations in the Church. It’s the first major American resignation to result from this round of the Church’s sex-abuse crisis.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

Cardinal expands seminary review, brings in outside firm
“Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced in an Oct. 11 statement that he has engaged an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry into conduct and culture at St. John’s Seminary(link is external) as well as expand the scope of the inquiry to include all three seminaries sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston. In August, two former seminarians at St. John’s posted on social media websites, including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page, saying that they had ‘witnessed and experienced activities that are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood.’” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot

McCARRICK CASE

Clerical cronyism and secrecy shielded McCarrick and others
“Two months into the sex abuse scandal that forced Theodore McCarrick to renounce his cardinal’s red hat(link is external) and withdraw to a Capuchin friary in Kansas, Catholics are still asking, ‘How did this happen?’ How does someone like McCarrick advance to the pinnacle of Catholic power and stay there for so long when he carries so much baggage of crime and sin? Was there no vetting? Were there no background checks? Was someone protecting him?” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

The Pope ignores the damage as another prelate falls
“In his letter on Friday accepting the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Catholic archbishop of Washington, Pope Francis praised the departing prelate for his ‘nobility’ in not trying to defend ‘mistakes’ in his handling of sexual-abuse allegations. The pope misses the point.(link is external) The archbishop may not be as culpable as other bishops who more systematically covered up sexual predation, and in at least one case he took action that was initially thwarted by the Vatican. But a devastatingly detailed grand jury report on widespread child sex abuse in Pennsylvania churches showed that Cardinal Wuerl, as bishop of Pittsburgh, was immersed in a clerical culture that hid pedophilic crimes behind euphemisms, conducted unprofessional investigations and evaluations of accused priests, kept acknowledged cases of sex abuse secret from parish communities and avoided reporting the abuse to police.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

Pope expels two Chilean bishops from the priesthood over sex abuse
“In an extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, move, Pope Francis on Saturday (Oct. 13) imposed what’s tantamount to the Church’s version of capital punishment on two retired Chilean bishops accused of sexual abuse of minors, expelling them from the priesthood(link is external). In the case of Archbishop Francisco Cox, it’s a day some of his earliest victims have been awaiting for more than 40 years. The pope also removed from the clerical state the bishop emeritus of Iquique, Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, who retired from his position in 2012 at the age of 47.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Abuse scandal isn’t the only chapter in Donald Wuerl’s story
“Make no mistake: Cardinal Donald Wuerl resigned today (Oct. 12) because of allegations of mishandling cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external), and if he were to die tomorrow, his role in the abuse scandals would be how his obituary opened. However fair that linkage may be, it doesn’t matter. His resignation at this time, and under these circumstances, effectively sets it in cement.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

Irish primate says Vigano ‘hijacked’ World Meeting of Families
“While Ireland has long enjoyed a privileged place on the global Catholic map, the past few months have been particularly demanding for Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh(link is external)-largely due to the fact that the successor of Saint Patrick has been spending a lot of time with the successor of Saint Peter.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

BISHOPS

Response to sexual abuse crisis tops agenda for USCCB fall assembly
“The firestorm surrounding the clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external) and the way some bishops handled allegations of abuse against priests will be an important part of the agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly. The bishops have had to deal with seemingly endless revelations of allegations of abusive clergy since June, most of which referred to long-past incidents. New reports from media outlets also were expected as the Nov. 12-14 assembly in Baltimore approaches.” By Dennis Sadowski, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis removes Bishop Holley as head of Memphis diocese
“Pope Francis Wednesday (Oct. 24) removed Bishop Martin D. Holley from the pastoral government of the Diocese of Memphis(link is external) and appointed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville to oversee the diocese until further notice … The removal follows a Vatican investigation into the Diocese of Memphis in June to address concerns about major changes Bishop Holley, 63, had made. Among these was the reassignment of up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, according to local media reports.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, in The Pilot

Catholic bishops promising to fix sex abuse problem face cover-up accusations
“As Catholic bishops try to reassure the flock that the church is finally confronting the scourge of sexual abuse by priests(link is external), it has fallen to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, the president of the American bishops conference, to lead the effort. ‘I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures,’ said Cardinal DiNardo, in one of the many statements he has issued on sexual abuse in recent weeks. ‘It will take work to rebuild that trust.’” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Catholic clergy should elect its own bishops
“The recent revelations of corruption, abuse and neglect within the Catholic Church hierarchy have been a trial for every American Catholic. Abuse victims and their families have suffered unspeakably(link is external). Next to them, the greatest sufferers have surely been our innocent American clergymen, who bear the brunt of the shame, contempt, and anger directed at the church every day. A great majority of our clergymen share our outrage at clerical abuse. Priests all suffer for the sins of their brothers. Married deacons see their own children and grandchildren in the faces of the victims.” By Daniel E. Burns, The New York Times

Second deacon urges Buffalo bishop to resign over clergy abuse
“A Catholic church deacon who said he was molested by a priest as a teenager(link is external) has become the second cleric to call for Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign over his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations. Paul C. Emerson, a deacon at St. Joseph University Church in Buffalo, said in an interview with The News that Malone is complicit in a cover-up of the abuse and needs to step down for healing in the diocese to begin. ‘I think he should resign,’ said Emerson. ‘The guy has lost the confidence of a great number of people, people that need to trust their bishop.’” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

U.S. bishops must recapture spirit of collegial governance
“The Vatican announced last weekend (Oct. 6) that Pope Francis has ordered an internal investigation of all files related to the case of the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The statement clearly indicated that the pope recognized the need to cross the bridge that was deemed too far in 2002(link is external): Bishops will now be held accountable just as other clergy. For us Americans, weeks are an eternity, and so the recent accusation that the Vatican was ‘stonewalling’ requests by the brave U.S. bishops to get to the bottom of the McCarrick scandal seemed credible. In fact, the Vatican moves at its own pace.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Priest shortage forces parishes to alternate Sunday Mass
“People have worshipped at the site of the Catholic Church in Boho in County Fermanagh for more than 1,500 years. The Church of the Sacred Heart stands on the site of an early Christian monastery or nunnery where St Faber worked in the sixth century. In the graveyard stands a carved tenth century Celtic cross. But the continuous tradition of Christian worship in this parish has now been impacted by the shortage of priests(link is external). For the first time anyone here can remember, two weeks ago there was no Mass on Sunday.” By Julian Fowler, BBC News, Northern Ireland

Want to address priest sexual abuse? The Catholic Church needs to overhaul its seminaries
“Although clergy sexual abuse scandals aren’t new, the ones that have rocked the Catholic Church this summer revolved around a group seldom focused on before: seminarians … Many Catholics share a heightened, even unprecedented, level of concern(link is external) for the well-being of Catholic seminarians. They rightly wonder, as well, whether our seminaries can not only screen out potential sexual predators, but also rise to the challenge of preparing for life and ministry men who are emotionally mature, and psychologically and sexually healthy. This requires training for contemporary American society.” By Rev. Thomas V. Berg, The Washington Post

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

At the synod of bishops, three modes of listening to the young
“One of the buzzwords at the synod of Catholic bishops on young people is ‘listening.’ In the film ‘Casablanca,’ a kiss may be just a kiss, but in the Catholic Church, listening is never just listening. The bishops, who were called to Rome for this month-long meeting to discuss the church’s outreach to the young, have been urged by Pope Francis to listen to one another and especially to young people(link is external) … Not everyone, however, means the same thing when using the word “’listening.’ The word is being used in at least three different ways at the synod.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Catholic teaching on conscience is (again) topic of discussion at Synod
“Cardinals, bishops, priests and laypeople meeting in Rome to discuss how the church relates to young people appear to believe Catholic teaching on conscience deserves more attention(link is external). A round of reports from the synod’s working groups was released on Tuesday (Oct. 16), and some of the English-language groups suggested that young people will benefit from understanding Catholic teaching on conscience, while others seemed to worry that individual believers could be encouraged to rely on their own consciences even if they are at odds with church teaching.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Servant leadership: how the Synod on Young People is changing the hierarchy
“Here at the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, it’s been impossible to ignore the news that continues to rattle the church(link is external) … Still, even as those gathered in Rome absorb these latest developments, the reports from the Synod hall have largely been positive. A Panamanian bishop has described the atmosphere as one of ‘alegría,’ that is, of joy.” By Griffin Oleynick

Anti-abuse pioneer expects Synod of Bishops to take a stand
“As bishops take part in a summit on young people this month at the Vatican, an expert on clerical sexual abuse said Monday (Oct. 15) that he’s confident the question of abuse in the Church will be a part of the document to emerge from the gathering(link is external). ‘I have met a good number of participants at the synod, and I have talked to a good number of participants before it started, and they all told me that they would bring it up and they have brought it up. It has become a very important area of discussion, as I am informed,’ said German Father Hans Zollner, President of The Center for Child Protection (CCP) at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By Claire Giangravé, Cruxnow.com

The highs, the lows and the distractions of the Vatican Synod on Young People
“As the Catholic church’s month-long synod on young people reaches its halfway point here, there has been more excitement outside the synodal hall than inside(link is external). While Catholic bishops from around the world huddle at the Vatican to talk about young people, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un invited the pope for a visit, spurring a debate about how the pope should respond: Can the pope visit a dictator who has no respect for religious freedom? Will he, like President Trump, take the risk of a spur-of-the-moment visit, or will he delay the visit until his diplomats carefully prepare for the meeting?” By Religion News Service

Petition urges women’s votes at synod, but Dutch bishop disagrees”
“Although women’s voices are welcome and included at the ongoing Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome, women should not be allowed to vote during its deliberations, a Dutch bishop said. “This is a bishops’ synod,’ said Dutch Auxiliary Bishop Everard de Jong. ‘We have to listen to women, but there are no women bishops(link is external). We don’t have women cardinals. We have to live with that.’ De Jong, an auxiliary for the diocese of Roermond, Netherlands, spoke at a midday press conference Oct. 12, just hours after 10 organizations launched a petition calling for religious women superiors ‘to work and vote as equals alongside their brothers in Christ at meetings of the Synod of Bishops.’” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

After early votes, it’s clear Pope Francis has ‘his’ Synod of Bishops
“A Synod of Bishops is often described as the ‘Congress of the Catholic Church,’ with the College of Cardinals being the Catholic Senate. Both comparisons are terribly inexact, beginning with the fact that neither Catholic body holds any real power because it’s all in the hands of the pope(link is external). Yet there are certainly parallels, beginning with the fact that a synod, like the House of Representatives, has some procedural quirks that can shape outcomes. One is the sequence in which elections inside the synod are held.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Bishops, sisters discuss declining numbers of U.S. women religious
“The precipitous decline in the number of women in religious life(link is external) and what it means to the church has people thinking about how to prepare for the future. Their actions stem from data gathered by the National Religious Retirement Office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that projects an estimated 300 women’s religious institutes will likely phase out of existence in the next decade. The estimate is fueled by the fact that the overall number of women religious has declined by 75 percent since 1965 with no change in the trend expected.” By Dan Stockman, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

CHILD PROTECTION

Clergy of the Archdiocese of Washington credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors
Listing of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1948(link is external)By Archdiocese of Washington

CLERICALISM

Pope tells Jesuits clericalism a ‘perversion’ in the church
“Speaking to his brother Jesuits in Lithuania last month, Pope Francis solicited their support in moving forward the work of the Second Vatican Council. ‘I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church,’ he told 28 Jesuits during a private meeting during his trip to the Baltics. ‘I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism(link is external)…I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Issue of married Catholic priests gains traction under pope
“As the Vatican copes with the growing clergy sex abuse scandal and declining number of priests worldwide, it is laying the groundwork to open formal debate on an issue that has long been taboo: opening up the priesthood to married men in parts of the world where clergy are scarce(link is external). Pope Francis has convened a meeting of South American bishops next year focusing on the plight of the church in the Amazon, a vast territory served by far too few priests. During that synod, the question of ordaining married men of proven virtue — so-called ‘viri probati’ — is expected to figure on the agenda.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Editorial: ‘Knock, knock. Who’s there? More than half the church!’
“‘Knock, knock. Who’s there? More than half the church!’ There is a sense of inevitability to the point behind the chant that grabbed global attention when it was shouted out during a peaceful protest at the Vatican Oct. 3 as bishops and cardinals made their way to the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on young people. Organized by the Women’s Ordination Conference, the protest highlighted the fact that no women were permitted to vote at the synod sessions(link is external) … It’s a catchy meter. Speaking of women, as it does, it’s true. Visit any church, anywhere, any Sunday. No one needs a scientific survey to accept the claim.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Listening sessions bring out debate on church’s direction
Tense listening sessions in the archdiocese on the clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external)continued, as Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone met with several dozen Catholics at St. Mary’s Cathedral Oct. 17 and St. Stephen Church Oct. 18. The archbishop reviewed the child protection policies in place, along with a 30 year review of recent cases of clergy sex abuse … In total, the archdiocese has spent $87 million to settle 125 cases brought against the archdiocese for sex abuse claims against clergy and lay people … A significant concern for many was how to keep bishops accountable, with one speaker concerned that the hierarchy only seemed responsive when pressed by the government or the media. By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco

VOICES

Why the stay. Why the can’t: New York Catholics wrestle with their faith over abuse allegations
“New York City is a Roman Catholic stronghold. One out of every three residents identifies as a Catholic. And there are more than four million Catholics in the city and seven surrounding counties. So when a series of scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church unfolded in rapid-fire succession this summer, New York gasped … The revelations have forced a painful reckoning that continues to reverberate across the five boroughs(link is external), among the devout and the lapsed, young and old, newcomers and native-born. Their disparate internal struggles offer a window into the rich complexities of Catholicism in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Here are 10 of their stories.” By Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Mariana Alfaro, The New York Times

Open letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops
“Dear United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: The Catholic Church in the USA is at a defining moment(link is external). Ever since revelations of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests and a subsequent cover up by Catholic bishops shook the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, similar sordid tales have surfaced in other Catholic dioceses across the United States with regrettable regularity. Nor is this a uniquely American phenomenon, as patterns of widespread sexual abuse and ecclesiastical malfeasance have emerged in a number of countries, including Chile, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Brazil, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.  While difficult even to contemplate, this global crisis in the Church is likely to be only in the incipient stages …” By Villanova University Task Force on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church

Time doesn’t heal sexual assault if victims are silenced
“Christine Blasey Ford’s recent testimony added fuel to an already heated discussion on how we should respond to abuse allegations. Regardless of politics, pastor and author Ed Stetzer called for caution in how we speak about abuse so that we don’t harm victims(link is external) within our own communities. Research confirms that victims stay silent because of a negative community culture toward abuse and often don’t receive emotional support. According to therapist Connie Baker, herself a sexual abuse survivor, our response as a church community can make tragic situations worse or they can help with the healing process.” By Kimi Harris, Christianity Today

The Catholic Church crisis: a personal memoir
“It’s been around 15 years since my firm was retained by an order of the Catholic Church embroiled in a crisis involving charges of pedophilia and cover-up(link is external). Periodically, when new developments occur, such as the massive Pennsylvania abuse scandal(link is external) that surfaced in August, my thoughts naturally revert to that experience. Each time, I ask myself what if anything has been learned. Each time, I wonder too about the larger socio-cultural impact of this seemingly endless ordeal.” By Richard Levick, Forbes

Catholic Church must clean house on priest sex abuse
“On Oct. 8, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and other senior members of the conference just 48 hours after ordering an investigation into Vatican archives concerning former archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, who resigned in July, CBSNews.com reported … The church, from Pope Francis on down, must clean its house. Let justice be done(link is external).” By Journal Times Editorial Board

Catholic Church must expose all abusive priests
“Catholic Church officials in Texas are finally taking the right approach to the horrendous scandal of priests who sexually abused children. The only way to deal with this outrage is to fully expose it and make every effort to ensure it never happens again(link is external). To do that, however, Catholic officials in the Beaumont diocese and others in Texas need to completely follow through on this pledge so that all Texans can be confident in their findings.” By Beaumont Enterprise Editorial Board

Let U.S. Catholics arise and stand ahead of bishop presidents’ Rome summit
“In the United States, our bishops determined that the faithful should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the eucharistic prayer. Elsewhere in the world, the faithful arise and stand after the memorial acclamation. I was thinking of this when reading in NCR that Pope Francis has summoned all of the presidents of the world’s various conferences of Catholic bishops to Rome for a February meeting on clergy sexual abuse. The theme of the meeting, to be held Feb. 21-24, is the ‘protection of minors.’(link is external) As our own episcopal conference prepares to go to this meeting, I was looking to find some tangible sign of hope that we could prayerfully express as the people of God. I kept thinking of how the rest of the universal church arises after the memorial acclamation and stands in prayer. Should we not rise too?” By James Keenan, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

It’s time for churches to account for their cash says sex abuse royal commissioner
All Australian churches should be made to open their books(link is external) to account more thoroughly for their billions of dollars in assets and revenue, a member of the child abuse royal commission has said. Robert Fitzgerald AM, one of the six commissioners who oversaw the five-year royal commission, will call on Wednesday (Oct. 23) for the scrapping of special exemptions that have until now allowed half of church charities, including much of the Catholic and Anglican church networks, to avoid financial reporting to the charities watchdog, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.” By Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders, The Sydney Morning Herald

Principals stole $800,000 from El Paso Catholic school for travel, casinos
“A former principal and assistant principal of an El Paso Catholic school were arrested for allegedly taking $800,000 to fund a lavish lifestyle(link is external), El Paso police officials said Tuesday (Oct. 16). The charges stem from financial irregularities found in a 2016 Diocese of El Paso audit after the retirement of the two administrators of St. Joseph’s School in 2015.” By Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times

Providence Diocese in top half of dioceses in report on financial transparency
A Roman Catholic group that seeks accountability within the church gathered in Providence Saturday (Oct. 6) and released a score sheet on the financial transparency of every Catholic diocese in the United States(link is external). Voice of the Faithful, a non-clergy organization formed in 2002 after news reports on widespread sex abuse in the Diocese of Boston, released its second annual report on financial transparency at a conference that drew about 150 members. The organization again rated 177 Catholic dioceses based on availability of information ranging from audited financial statements to contact information for each diocesan business office and the posting of parish financial guidelines.” By Mark Reynolds, Oct. 6, 2018, Providence Journal

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

New plan would bar clergy sex abuse victims from suing Catholic Church, critics say
“On the last session day of the year for the Pennsylvania Senate, lawmakers are clashing over revisions to a bill to reform child sex crime laws(link is external) that would protect the Catholic Church from lawsuits. Some advocates have urged lawmakers to approve a window to allow clergy sex abuse victims to file civil suits, even if the abuse occurred decades ago and is beyond the statutes of limitation. But critics say a new proposal would bar victims from using that window to sue institutions, including the Catholic Church.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Scarnati: Most GOP senators see problems with bill to help clergy abuse victims
“The top Republican in the state Senate said Tuesday (Oct. 16) that the majority of GOP senators in the chamber agree with him that a pending bill designed to help older victims of child sexual abuse has serious problems and needs fixing(link is external). But Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, also said he has not formally polled his membership to see where they stand on allowing a temporary suspension in the civil statute of limitations so that victims older than 30 can sue their tormentors for decades-old abuse.” By Liz Navartil, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania attorney general calls for not statute of limitations in wake of clergy abuse report
“After the release of a grand jury report detailing some of the alleged sexual abuse of children by members of Pennsylvania’s Catholic clergy, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined advocates for victims of clergy abuse and other elected officials to call change for an end to the statute of limitations(link is external) for child sex abuse. ‘I want to be clear, we unearthed an organized criminal enterprise here in Pennsylvania, for now, they got away with some of it,’ Shapiro said while calling for Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub joined Shapiro and victim advocates to encourage the state legislature to pass reforms to the period of time allowed to pursue sexual abuse cases.” By NBC10 Staff

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

One bishop could lead the way to another bishop being the first charged for sex abuse
“The call last year from Pope Francis’ representative in Washington took the Rev. Steven Biegler by surprise. A priest in South Dakota, Biegler learned he was the choice to become the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., leading the state’s 55,000 Catholics … But as it turned out, one of his first major decisions upon arriving in Cheyenne involved saying no … Bishop Joseph Hart, 87, stands accused of multiple acts of sexual abuse(link is external) now deemed credible by both the Missouri and Wyoming dioceses that he served.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

New South Wales commits extra $127 million to abuse prevention and support
“The New South Wales Government has committed an extra $127 million to help implement key recommendations from the child sexual abuse royal commission(link is external). The new money, which brings the government’s total contribution to the redress scheme to $570 million, will mostly go towards the prevention of child sexual abuse but will also improve support for children and adult survivors.” By CathNews.com

ALASKA

Reckoning over allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church reaches Alaska
“The Alaska Department of Law will assist in an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct reported to the Archdiocese of Anchorage(link is external), ABC News has learned. On Wednesday (Oct. 24), Archbishop Paul Etienne announced the formation of an independent commission comprised of former law enforcement officials ‘to review all personnel files of clerics and religious men and women’ who have served the archdiocese since its formation in 1966.” By Pete Madden, ABC News

CALIFORNIA

Bay area: 263 Catholic priests on sex abuse accusation list
“As Bay Area Catholic leaders are increasingly under pressure to name priests accused of abusing children, a Minnesota law firm published a report Tuesday (Oct. 23) identifying 212 priests in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco dioceses accused of sexual misconduct involving kids(link is external). The report names 135 accused offenders in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 95 in the Oakland diocese and 33 in the San Jose diocese, though 51 names are duplicates because some of the priests worked in more than one Bay Area diocese. Earlier this month, the San Jose diocese released its own list of credibly accused priests that had only 15 names, which this report calls ‘deficient.’” By Matthias Gafni and Julia Prodis Sulek, The Marin Journal

San Jose bishop names 15 priests accused of child sex abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of San Jose on Thursday (Oct. 18) released the names of 15 clergy members who were known by the church to be child sex abusers(link is external). At least nine priests on the list are dead, and the rest are permanently banned from the ministry. Many of the allegations were already publicly known through lawsuits and news reports.” By Kimberly Veklerov and Ashley McBride

Fresno Catholic diocese ‘pondering’ whether to name local priests accused of sex crimes
“Bishop Armando X. Ochoa is working with a review board to determine what information the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno may release about area priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external), including the possibility of publicly identifying those priests by name. Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said Ochoa in early September raised the issue with the Fresno Diocesan Review Board.” By Yesenia Amaro, The Fresno Bee

FLORIDA

Man sues St. Petersburg Catholic diocese over alleged child sexual abuse by priest
“A former Tampa Bay resident has filed a lawsuit against two Catholic Dioceses alleging that they turned a blind eye against a priest accused of molesting children(link is external). The lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York and the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.” By Mary Stringini, ABC Action News

ILLINOIS

Peoria at center of sex-abuse suit filed against Catholic bishops and dioceses statewide
“Taking particular aim at Peoria, a lawsuit claims Catholic dioceses and bishops statewide conspired to create a decades-long public ‘nuisance’ that endangered children(link is external) by failing to release the names and files of clergy accused of sexual abuse. Filed in Cook County Circuit Court late Thursday (Oct. 19), the suit relies heavily on allegations of pedophilia by two Peoria clergy. One was removed from ministry years ago, while the other never has been publicly associated with such charges.” By Phil Luciano, Peoria Journal Star

Illinois Catholic bishops sued for conspiracy
“Illinois Catholic bishops and a number of dioceses are tied up in a lawsuit linked to sexual harassment and assault cases(link is external). Of those named in the lawsuit, is the diocese in Springfield. Three sexual abuse survivors will be speaking publicly for the first time about sexual abuse and how their reports are being handled in the dioceses of Springfield, Rockford and Peoria.” By Leslie Moreno, Fox News Illinois

List of Louisiana clergy accused of sex abuse remains mystery; financial toll gives clues to why
“Archbishop Gregory Aymond, clad in purple vestments symbolizing atonement, lay prostrate on the altar of St. Joseph Church during a special Mass of healing in August, a demonstration of contrition for the horrific acts of rape and abuse suffered by children at the hands of priests. His homily called for reflection on the sins of the Catholic Church. Standing before the faithful, he said, ‘As leaders of the church, it is time for us to repent.’ So far, that confession has translated into weeks of public apology, but not the release of a full accounting of priests and other church leaders accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) that many victims have demanded.” By Jerry Dicolo, The New Orleans Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest on list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse changed his name
“The pain of the sexual abuse(link is external) that Mark Powell says he suffered while studying at a religious order in Iowa 41 years ago, deepened after learning his abuser later became a Catholic priest. ‘Even when I was being abused I was praying the Hail Mary, I’d be praying the Our Father that it would stop,’ he told the I-Team.” By Cheryl Fiandaca, WBZ-TV News

NEW MEXICO

Federal judge orders accused pedophile priest to remain in jail
“An accused pedophile priest who was on the run(link is external) for nearly three decades has lost his fight to get out of jail. Arthur Perrault, 80, was brought back to the U.S. last month to face rape charges stemming from the 1990s. Prosecutors argued given his history he was a flight risk, and the judge ordered him to stay locked up until his trial.” By KRQE Media

NEW YORK

Fr. Joe Gatto, president of Buffalo Diocese seminary, placed on leave after misconduct allegation
“The Rev. Joseph C. Gatto, who runs the seminary for the Diocese of Buffalo, has been placed on administrative leave by the diocese, as he faces an allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external). On Thursday (Oct. 18) morning, Gatto told I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht that he is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, which prepares men for the priesthood in the Buffalo Diocese.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Malone cannot do the job as Buffalo’s bishop
“It is a sign of the Catholic church’s peril that the question of who leads the Buffalo Diocese is among the least of its worries. Any organization that countenances pedophilia among its leaders is on the road to perdition. For a church to have done it is unimaginable. Nevertheless, local leadership matters and, for the second time, a deacon has called for Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign(link is external) over his handling of credible accusations of sexual abuse by clergy. Malone, who has previously declared his intention to stay on, needs to heed the advice. He is a symbol of the church’s unwillingness to confront its culpability.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Teen sex-abuse victim uses Rockville Centre Diocese, Patchogue church
“The former music director at a Roman Catholic church in Patchogue sexually abused a teen girl repeatedly for more than a year(link is external) as church workers ignored policies put in place to protect children, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. The girl, who was 15 when the alleged abuse started in 2015, was sexually assaulted in a chapel and in a classroom at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, as well as in the music director’s car and at a motel in Patchogue, states the lawsuit, which was filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau County.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Alleged child sex-abuse ‘substantiated’ against second Staten Island pastor
“‘Credible’ child sex-abuse allegations have been made(link is external) against a second monsignor who was a pastor and Irish musician on Staten Island, according to the Archdiocese of New York. Monsignor Charles Coen is one of four monsignors and a priest “who had an allegation of sexual abuse of minors brought against them in the Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program [IRCP],” according to Catholic New York.” By Maura Grunlund, SILive.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Justice department issues subpoena to Altoona-Johnstown diocese in priest child sexual abuse probe
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown became the last of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses to confirm it had been served a subpoena as part of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged child sexual abuse and cover-ups(link is external) carried out by the Catholic Church within the commonwealth. ‘In recent days, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown received inquiries about a federal grand jury subpoena that has been acknowledged by the other dioceses of Pennsylvania,’ according to a statement emailed by Tony DeGol, Altoona-Johnstown’s secretary for communications, on Tuesday (Oct. 23).” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

‘It’s a beginning’: Catholics vent anger over sexual abuse in Greensburg
“More than two months after a landmark state grand jury report told a devastating history of sexual abuse by priests, more than 200 Catholics gathered at Greensburg’s cathedral to report back(link is external). In short, they were angry at the reports of sexual abuse by priests and the cover-ups that followed. At the first of a series of listening sessions being held throughout the Diocese of Greensburg in the coming weeks, Bishop Edward Malesic paced the center aisle of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, listening as the microphone passed from one person to another, each angered over the reports of abuse, but often for different reasons.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburg Post-Gazette

History of priest abuse in Altoona
“To understand how wide this abuse within the Catholic Dioceses spans, you really have to look at where it all began(link is external). The first reports that stemmed a further investigation and pushed for change to the current Statute of Limitations came after allegations against priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese. The first reports of abuse publicly happened back in March of 2016.” By Emma Catalano, WTAJ-TV News

Former Erie diocese priest admits to sexual assault
“A former priest in the Diocese of Erie has admitted to sexually assaulting one boy and attempting to assault another boy(link is external), the state attorney general’s office said Wednesday. David Poulson pleaded guilty to two felony crimes – corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children – in a hearing in Jefferson County Common Court.” By Ron Southwick, PennLive.com

Catholic Church sex abuse survivors speak in Harrisburg
“Just after 10 a.m., a group of people standing in Pennsylvania’s state capitol building was given a cue: begin reading. But the words were difficult to say, especially out loud. Sentences like ‘One of the victims was as young as 13 years old(link is external),’ began spilling from their lips. Their words couldn’t be posted on Facebook or found in an adult bookstore. But they echoed down the hall outside Senate chambers.” By Jaccii Farris, WFMZ-TV News

Priest put on leave after allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, Pittsburgh diocese says
“A Diocese of Pittsburgh priest has been put on leave after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) were presented to Bishop David Zubik, the diocese announced Saturday (Oct. 13). Father Joseph Reschick, 67, who was serving as pastor of St. Rosalia Parish in Greenfield, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Father Reschick denies the allegation, but has been placed on administrative leave.” By Sam Ruland, York Daily Record

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ex-Catholic priest, 75, gets 20 years in South Carolina prison for child sex abuse
“A judge in South Carolina has sentenced a former Catholic priest to 20 years in prison for sexually molesting children(link is external). Wayland Brown, 75, was sentenced to prison Tuesday (Oct. 23) by a circuit judge in Jasper County after pleading guilty to six child sex abuse charges. Brown was originally charged with nine counts of first degree and second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor when state prosecutors indicted him in August 2017.” By Drew Tripp, ABCNews4

TEXAS

Former Catholic priest gets 20 years in child rape case
“A 76-year-old former Catholic priest who already has served jail time for molesting boys in Maryland was sentenced Tuesday (Oct. 23) to 20 years in prison in South Carolina for raping boys from a middle school(link is external) four decades ago. Wayland Yoder Brown wore his priest collar while attacking the boys, then prayed the rosary with them, Solicitor Duffie Stone said.” By Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press on MySanAntonio.com

VIRGINIA

Virginia attorney general investigating the Catholic Church, adding to growing list of state probes
“The attorney general of Virginia said Wednesday (Oct. 24) that he is investigating clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external), adding to a rapidly growing list of state investigations. Attorney General Mark R. Herring said his probe was motivated by the Pennsylvania grand jury report, issued in August, that found more than 300 ‘predator priests’ had abused more than 1,000 children in that state since 1947.” By Daniel Burke, CNN

Survivors group calls for Virginia to conduct Catholic priests’ abuse investigations
“The Archdiocese of Washington released a list Monday (Oct. 15) of 28 former priests ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.’ A group representing survivors of clergy sex abuse quickly responded(link is external) by labeling the list ‘incomplete.’ SNAP called for the attorneys general in Virginia, Maryland and Washington to begin independent investigations when it released its findings. Virginia’s Attorney General is Mark Herring.” By CNN Wire on WTKR-TV

WASHINGTON, D.C.

D.C attorney general opens inquiry into sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Washington
“D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said Tuesday (Oct. 23) that his office has begun an investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Washington(link is external), the latest in a string of state-level law enforcement officials now looking into the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse complaints. The investigation, announced by Racine at a regularly scheduled breakfast among the District’s elected officials, will bring scrutiny to Catholic leaders who have come under intense criticism in recent months.” By Peter Jamison and Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

WEST VIRGINIA

Vest Virginia Catholic Church promises full disclosure on sex scandal
“The Catholic Church sex abuse scandal is one of the great tragedies of our time, with thousands of instances where men in positions of respect and authority abused children(link is external). The scandal was made even worse by church leaders who covered up the abuses. Most recently, a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed how the Catholic Church concealed 70 years of child sexual abuses by priests. The investigation identified more than 1,000 child sex abuse victims in six Pennsylvania dioceses.” By Hoppy Kercheval, MetroNews.com

AUSTRALIA

Former Catholic priest faces fresh allegations of assaulting boy
“A former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting multiple girls and boys(link is external) in Perth has been charged with another offence. Patrick Holmes, 83, originally faced 15 charges of child abuse over a 25 year period, but another charge involving the indecent assault of a young boy now brings his total charges to 16.” By Laura Hedges, Daily Mail Australia

Redress scheme amended after survivor outcry
“Child sexual abuse survivors will no longer be forced to disclose the impact of the abuse(link is external) to the institutions involved in order to join a national redress scheme. The federal government says it will ‘fine tune’ an application form for joining the scheme, so applicants can choose whether or not share an impact statement with the institution in which they were abused.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Oblate religious order covered up decades of sexual abuse of First Nations children, victims allege
“‘He’d let us drive. He knew how to do everything. We were impressed to see a priest act that way,’ recalls Jason Petiquay. Petiquay was 11 when he was sexually abused by Raynald Couture, an Oblate missionary(link is external) who worked in Wemotaci, Que., from 1981 to 1991. The Atikamekw community was one of many remote First Nations communities in Quebec where priests belonging to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate were spiritual leaders and authority figures for generations.” By CBC News on ca.news.yarhoo.com

Calgary priest faces allegations of sexual misconduct; bishop outlines new abuse protocol
“As Calgary’s Catholic bishop outlined steps being taken to prevent sexual abuse Wednesday (Oct. 10), officials said the diocese is facing allegations of sexual misconduct involving a Calgary priest(link is external). According to the diocese, the allegations involving a minor and an adult stem from the priest’s time at a Vancouver parish. The priest has been suspended in Calgary as the investigation in Vancouver takes place. Bishop William McGrattan said the allegations were announced in parishes in Vancouver, Edmonton and three in Calgary over the weekend.” By Yolanda Cole, Calgary Herald

CHILE

Chile abuse survivors say pope’s iron fist offers glimmer of hope
“For survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Chile, much about the Church’s response from Pope Francis and others in the hierarchy strikes them as too slow, too ambiguous, and too little. They say a recent case in which the pontiff acted with more of an iron fist, however, offered a glimmer of hope(link is external). ‘I can say that this is a small door of hope for victims and survivors who still haven’t been able to recognize their pain, who cannot speak or even comprehend the suffering they were put through,’ said Abel Soto, a man who was abused by former Archbishop Francisco Cox of Chile, who was expelled from the priesthood by Francis last week.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Government inquiry documents abuse at Catholic orphanages in Scotland
“A new report published Thursday (Oct. 5) in Scotland shows that children suffered abuse at two children’s care homes run by a Catholic religious order(link is external), both of which have been closed for decades. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) said that the two children’s facilities run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul – Smyllum Park in Lanark and Bellevue House in Rutherglen – were ‘places of fear, coercive control, threat, excessive discipline and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, where they found no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort.’” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

GUAM

Another Catholic priest accused of abuse in Guam
“A lawsuit filed on Guam has accused another Catholic priest of child sex abuse in the 1970s. The 5-million dollar lawsuit alleges that Father George Maddock abused the 9-year-old altar boy while swimming. This is the first lawsuit against Father Maddock, who died recently in New York. But several other priests on Guam – including former Archbishop Anothony Apuron – face nearly 200 lawsuits alleging abuse and a subsequent cover-up.” By Radio New Zealand

INDIA

Telangana priest held in U.S. for sexual abuse of minor
“A Catholic priest from Telangana, preaching in Rapid City diocese in South Dakota state, was arrested in the United States for sexual contact with a minor(link is external). Thirty-eight-year-old John Praveen, also known as John Praveen Kumar Itukulapati, was arrested on Tuesday (Oct. 16) (Wednesday in India). He has been charged with two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16, a class 3 felony which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $30,000 on each count.” By MSN.com

NEW ZEALAND

Police investigating former Catholic priest
“An ex-Catholic priest living in Asia who was nicknamed ‘the Phantom Feeler’ by boys at a leading Wellington Catholic school is being investigated by police(link is external). A witness to the priest allegedly groping boys in the 1970s said the Church and school must do more to uncover the extent of Father AM Donnelly’s alleged crimes. Police recently interviewed two men in their 50s who said they saw the dormitory master groping a boy under the sheets one night in a dorm at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, in 1974.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

POLAND

Poland’s ruling party pressures cinemas to stop showing blockbuster film about Catholic Church abuse
“A new film exposing the ills of the Catholic Church(link is external) has proved a surprise hit in Poland and become a target of the Right-wing government. Kler (‘Clergy’) has drawn 3 million viewers in just two weeks, becoming one of the country’s biggest box office successes. The film has been praised for its handling of clerical child abuse, a major taboo in the deeply Catholic country.” By Dariusz Kalan, The Telegraph

SPAIN

How the Spanish Catholic Church has been hiding abuse cases for decades
“For decades, the Spanish Catholic Church has been keeping quiet on the majority of sexual abuse cases involving minors(link is external) of which it had knowledge or tried in its ecclesiastical courts. The facts of these incidents were not passed on to the public prosecutor, nor were sentences imposed against pedophile priests made public, apart from a handful of exceptions – most of which were forced.” By Jose Manuel Romero and Julio Nunez, El Pais

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup



TOP STORIES

Thirteen states now investigating alleged sexual abuse linked to Catholic Church
“Florida’s attorney general said Thursday (Oct. 4) she is launching an investigation of potential sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic church, making Florida at least the 13th state with an ongoing statewide probe of the church … NBC News has contacted the offices of the attorney general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and found that at least 13 states are either currently probing allegations of sexual abuse in the church or about to launch an investigation(link is external).” By Anna Thompson, Clare Duffy, Rich Gardella and Cory Dawson, NBC News

Pope orders new inquiry into abuse accusations against McCarrick
“Pope Francis has ordered a deeper investigation into the accusations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick(link is external), the Vatican said Saturday (Oct. 6), including a ‘thorough study’ of archival documents to determine how he climbed the church hierarchy despite allegations he had slept with seminarians and young priests.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Bishops’ plan to address abuse falls short on accountability
“After a horrible summer of depressing news about how the church hierarchy has mishandled the sexual abuse crisis and misled the faithful willfully and through neglect, expectations were high for the action plan the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to deliver this fall. The four points outlined are, for the most part, good beginnings. Given the intensity of feelings on this subject, probably no plan could satisfy Catholics in pews, but even with that caveat, we had hoped the plan would be stronger and more specific than what was delivered(link is external).” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Francis removes Chilean abuser Fernando Karadima from priesthood
“Pope Francis has removed notorious Chilean child sexual abuser Fernando Karadima(link is external) from the Catholic priesthood, toughening an earlier sanction of a lifetime of prayer and penance, in what the Vatican said was an invocation of the pontiff’s ‘supreme’ power in the church. By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Synod English Groups: Abuse crisis undermines church ‘in practically every way’
“Two of the four working groups for English-speaking prelates at the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on young people have spent time considering the impact of clergy abuse scandals on the global church’s credibility(link is external). In the first of three reports expected from the working groups during the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops, one of the English groups said bluntly that in the gathering’s expected final document clergy abuse ‘cannot be skimmed over tangentially in a few short sentences.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

‘Spot fires’ of reaction to abuse scandal pop up across U.S.
Grassroots reactions to the church crises of authority and sex abuse(link is external) have taken place at cathedrals, parishes, universities, public squares and pubs. Catholic News Service’s Carol Zimmerman recently pulled together a representative list of episcopal or diocesan-organized events — listening sessions, rosaries, novenas, and even a Facebook Live Q-and-A with the Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Bishop Michael Sheridan.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Franciscan University vows to stop sexual assault, but victims need convincing
“Franciscan University of Steubenville, nestled in the hills of northeast Ohio, is an institution with a reputation for traditional Catholic piety. It is a place where charismatic prayer is frequently invoked, the Rosary recited, and course descriptions across all subject areas commit to what the school describes as dynamic Catholic orthodoxy. This year, the school’s administration has made a public commitment to stop sexual violence and harassment on campus(link is external).” By Jenn Morson, National Catholic Reporter

Church leaders must face the truth of abuse, Cardinal DiNardo says
“The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference welcomed Pope Francis’ pledge to fight attempts to cover up cases of sexual abuse(link is external) and to stop offering special treatment to bishops who have committed or covered up abuse. ‘On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of Oct. 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault,’ Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said in a statement released Oct. 7 in Rome.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

At ‘authentic reform,’ conservative Catholics rally to ‘fix’ church failures
“A gathering of conservative Catholics who want ‘Authentic Reform’ in response to the church’s latest sex abuse scandals(link is external) ended with plans for a statement and a call for like-minded organizations to band together to force church leaders to act against sexually active priests and bishops, as well as those who abuse minors. While some called for changes in canon law to allow more lay oversight in church governance, others admitted that was unlikely and instead urged attendees — many of them wealthy donors — to use their moral authority as baptized Catholics to effect change by withholding donations and pressuring bishops to demand an independent Vatican investigation of the U.S. church.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope adviser says systematic reforms needed to address abuse
“One of Pope Francis’ top advisers warned Friday (Oct. 5) that the Catholic Church risks increased police and government intervention if it doesn’t address the clergy sex abuse(link is external) scandal with system-wide reforms about the way power and sexuality are expressed. German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told a conference on child protection that the church’s ‘weak excuses’ to dismiss, minimize or cover-up abuses were no longer acceptable to the faithful, and that anyone who uses them is actually complicit in the crimes of the perpetrators.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

Vatican expert urges accountability at pope’s abuse summit
“The pope’s summit early next year on preventing sex abuse should also address holding bishops accountable when they fail to protect their flocks from pedophile priests, the Vatican’s leading sex abuse expert said Monday (Oct. 8). Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna said the February summit of global church leader is the appropriate venue for discussing ‘a great expectation for more accountability’ among Catholic faithful worldwide(link is external).” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on WCJB-TV News

McCARRICK CASE

Scandal-plagued cardinal a key figure in McCarrick/Vigano saga
“As the saga surrounding allegations raised by a former papal ambassador to the U.S. that Pope Francis covered up the misconduct of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick continues, taking increasingly unprecedented twists and turns, questions still abound regarding some of the key figures involved(link is external). One of these figures is Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was accused in an Aug. 25 statement by fellow Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as the pope’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2011-2016, of ignoring repeated warnings about McCarrick.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

McCarrick case: Vatican starting to acknowledge mistakes
“Pope Francis, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and an official Vatican statement seem to be laying the groundwork for an admission that mistakes were made(link is external) in handling allegations that Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick engaged in sexual misconduct and even abuse. But they also make clear that his ordination as a bishop (of Metuchen, New Jersey), appointment as archbishop — first of Newark, New Jersey, and then Washington — and his induction into the College of Cardinals all took place during the pontificate of St. John Paul II.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Expert doubts U.S. bishops’ authority to get to bottom of McCarrick case
“As the U.S. bishops gear up for their own probe(link is external) of four dioceses after Pope Francis turned down an apostolic visitation related to ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, they face many questions, not least of which is whether there are precedents in Church law for such a review to be carried out by bishops rather than the pope.” By Elis Harris, Cruxnow.com

Vatican official reportedly pushed back on McCarrick career advances
“Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, a longtime veteran in Vatican diplomacy and service within the Roman Curia, has emerged as yet another key figure in the ongoing saga(link is external) of scandals surrounding ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

How the USCCB could pitch a Vatican-backed McCarrick probe
“Two weeks after the fact, three points seem clear about a Sept. 13 audience between Pope Francis and the leadership(link is external) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the conference president, and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the vice president.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Do Vatican officials see abuse crisis as a referendum on the Pope?
“Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta told reporters Monday (Oct. 8) that Catholics should ‘trust Pope Francis that there is going to be a solution’ to the Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external). The support of bishops from around the world, Scicluna said, means that the pope is now ‘empowered’ to do what he wants for the Church, namely, ‘to make the church a safer place.’” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

CARDINALS

Cardinal DiNardo admits mistake in handling pedophile priest
“The leading voice in the clergy sex abuse crisis, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo admitted to mishandling the case of a pedophile priest(link is external), KHOU 11 Investigates found. The case dates to DiNardo’s time in Sioux City, Iowa, years before the recent arrest of a Texas priest for indecency with a child. Although the cases are years and miles apart, the similarities are troubling – accusers claiming DiNardo did not do enough to protect them.” By Jeremy Ropaiski, KHOU-TV

‘Red Hat Report’ to ‘audit’ cardinals, ahead of next conclave
“A group of Catholics calling itself the Better Church Governance Group is gearing up to compile dossiers ‘in the manner of political opposition research’ on cardinal electors(link is external) ahead of the next conclave, the gathering that elects a new pope. Although its publicly available literature casts the effort as non-political and one that is interested in gathering and collating information, an early memo associated with the effort drew severe conclusions about one of its targets, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state and a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal DiNardo, at center of clergy abuse crisis, accused of mishandling cases in Iowa and Texas
“A U.S. cardinal at the center of the Vatican’s response to the sex abuse crisis besetting the Catholic church is being accused this month by clergy abuse survivors of mishandling cases in Iowa and Texas(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led a delegation of Catholic leaders this month to meet with Pope Francis about the crisis.” By Lee Rood, Des Moines Register

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

Archbishop Vigano issues new letter on Pope Francis and McCarrick
“Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has issued a new letter addressing his allegation(link is external)that senior prelates have been complicit in covering up alleged sex abuse by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Headed with Viganò’s episcopal motto, Scio Cui credidi (I know whom I have believed), the letter, dated Sept. 29 – the feast of St. Michael – was released Sept. 27.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Abuse survivor sues California bishops, dioceses, seeking offenders’ names
“A lawsuit against the California bishops and 11 dioceses in California, including the archdioceses of Los Angeles and San Francisco, for covering up child sexual abuse(link is external)was filed Oct. 2 by survivor Tom Emens and Jeff Anderson & Associates. Emens isn’t filing the lawsuit for money. He’s requesting the release of the names and documented histories on all clerical offenders in each diocese.” By Heather Adams, National Catholic Reporter

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Vatican’s meeting of bishops is overshadowed by abuse allegations
As clerical sex abuse scandals buffet the Catholic Church(link is external), a three-week assembly of bishops is under way in Rome on how to make the Church relevant for young people. But the assembly, known as a synod, will likely be dominated by what many analysts call Catholicism’s worst crisis since the reformation. Roughly 250 priests, bishops, cardinals and some younger laypersons are participating in the synod.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

Papal allies and friends tapped to shape synod’s conclusions
“On Wednesday (Oct. 10) the Vatican released the list of figures who will shape the concluding document(link is external) of the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, and based on the composition of the group, conservatives in the Church may feel anew that they’ve been given a cold shoulder. Elected by region, the five prelates chosen by a vote within the synod hall to draft the final document are …” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

French nun counsels Church to listen to youth first, then act
“Nearly a decade before Pope Francis launched this month’s Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment, the Church in France was already attempting to address those same concerns by combining its separate national offices for young people and vocations into one powerhouse department. At the helm of that office, up until last month, was Sister Nathalie Becquart, who during that time emerged as not only one of the most important voices in the French Church, but a globally sought-after expert on young people and, for many, proof that the Church is at its best when women are given the chance to lead(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Archbishop Scicluna does not expect ‘quick answers’ from Synod on abuse
“While the question of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy has been raised in every working group at the Synod of Bishops on young people, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor in this field, said he did not expect any ‘quick answers’ to this question to come from the synod(link is external). At a Vatican briefing on Oct. 8, the archbishop reminded reporters that ‘the synod is not about the abuse of minors, it has to deal with many other questions, too.’ He stated that ‘the proper forum’ for addressing the abuse question is the meeting with presidents of the more than 130 bishops’ conferences that Pope Francis has called for Feb. 21 to 24, 2019.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

What you need to know about the 2018 Synod on Young People
(With links to reporting by America correspondents in Rome)
“The 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment—which began Oct. 3 and will conclude Oct. 28—is the culmination of focused work that began in 2017(link is external). In a letter on Jan. 2017, Pope Francis announced the synod and presented a preparatory document. The bishops’ task for 2017 was to listen to young people. They disseminated a survey of young people’s experiences in dioceses worldwide before the synod. Additionally, a pre-synodal meeting of 300 young people from around the world was held in March 2018. The young people produced a document ‘on the state of things, their ideas, their feelings and their recommendations.’ This document, along with the synod of bishops’ Instrumentum laboris, or working document, will inform the Synod on Young People.” By the Editors at America: The Jesuit Review

Around Synod of Bishops, women press for greater space
“Women meeting around the edges of an Oct. 3-28 summit of bishops in Rome trying to press the Church, seemingly sometimes against all odds, to open up greater space for female leadership(link is external) had a consistent message: ‘We’re not giving up our dream.’ While getting more women to have a say in the Church may appear a Quixotic quest, speakers at the event insisted on making it a reality.” By Claire Giangravé, Cruxnow.com

Synod doesn’t waste time taking up abuse, LGBT issues and migration
“One day after Pope Francis kicked off this month’s Vatican summit on young people by warning against a temptation to focus on ‘abstract ideologies’ detached from the realities of young people, concrete topics ranging from sex abuse, LGBT issues, migration, and technology took center stage(link is external) on Thursday (Oct. 4).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Cloud of sex abuse scandal hangs over Vatican youth
“Pope Francis opens a month-long meeting of bishops Wednesday (Oct. 3) on engaging young Catholics as his church is again under fire for the way it covered up for priests who raped and molested young people(link is external). One American bishop suggested postponing or cancelling the synod, given the poor optics of assembling the church hierarchy to discuss a demographic harmed by the culture of concealment the same hierarchy has been accused of fostering.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in USA TODAY

Four challenges for the bishops at synod on young people
“The future of the Catholic Church is with the young, which is why Pope Francis has called bishops from all over the world to meet in Rome Oct. 3-28 for a synod on young people. If the church cannot attract and keep young people, it has no future(link is external). This is the 15th general synod since Pope Paul VI called the first one in 1967 as a way to get advice from bishops. Earlier synods have dealt with topics like the family, priesthood, the laity, evangelization, the Eucharist, religious life, and justice and peace. The process involves speeches and small group discussions and usually concludes with nonbinding recommendations.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Synod to prepare young Catholics for discernment, future
“The Synod of Bishops will meet in October to discuss teenagers and young adults in the Catholic Church(link is external) and find ways to encourage their enthusiasm and dreams, help them sift through the possibilities to serve others and resist temptations. Pope Francis will preside over the synod, which is scheduled for Oct. 3-28, and will bring together more than 300 cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay experts, including young people.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

‘Nuns on the Bus’ launch new nationwide tour ahead of midterms
“A progressive Catholic group is kicking off a new nun-led bus tour ahead of the midterm elections(link is external) that organizers say is designed to ‘hold congressional Republicans accountable for their votes’ on taxes and health care. Sister Simone Campbell, a nun and lawyer who heads the Catholic social justice lobbying group Network, launched the ‘Nuns on the Bus Tax Justice Truth Tour’ at a press conference Monday morning (Oct. 8) in Santa Monica, Calif. Organizers said the new campaign will involve 30 Catholic nuns attending 54 events in 21 states, concluding Nov. 2 outside Mar-a-Lago — President Trump’s Florida golf resort — with a ‘Fiesta for the Common Good.’” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Livestreamed panel at Santa Clara U. to examine sex abuse ‘catastrophe’
“A ‘powerful, new moment in the ongoing crisis’ of sexual abuse and authority exploitation in the Catholic Church(link is external) will be the focus of an Oct. 9 panel discussion at Santa Clara University. Titled ‘The Catholic Church and the Catastrophe of Clergy Sexual Abuse,’ the noon event at the Jesuit university’s de Saisset Museum will feature four panelists, including Thomas Plante, a former vice chair of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board on sexual abuse issues; and Fr. Brendan McGuire, a pastor in San Jose, California, who made national headlines last month when he revealed for the first time during a homily that he had been abused by a priest 35 years ago.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

California man sues Vatican for names of abusers worldwide
“A California man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is suing the Vatican, seeking the release of the names of all offenders within the church worldwide. Manny Vega, a 52-year-old former police officer and Marine, said Thursday(Oct. 4) that he’s fighting for the truth for himself and other victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests(link is external). ‘We were raped,’ Vega said. ‘It happened to me, it happened to my friends, and it happens to children all across the world, and it continues to happen at the hands of the Catholic church, whose inaction continues to damage children.’” By Amada Lee Myers and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Vatican’s handling of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct complaints reveals a log about the Catholic Church
“In November 2000, a Manhattan priest got fed up with the secrets he knew about a star archbishop(link is external) named Theodore McCarrick and decided to tell the Vatican. For years, the Rev. Boniface Ramsey had heard from seminarians that McCarrick was pressuring them to sleep in his bed … Ramsey called the Vatican’s then-U.S. ambassador, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who implored the priest to write the allegation so it could be sent up the chain in Rome. ‘Send the letter!’ Montalvo demanded, Ramsey recalls. He never heard back from Montalvo, and Ramsey has since destroyed his copy of the 2000 letter, he said.” By Michele Boorstein, The Washington Post

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Bishop McKenna open to considering married clergy
“Bathurst Bishop Michael McKenna says he is willing to seriously consider the issue of married priests but he sees the benefits of celibate clergy(link is external). ‘I’m very glad to be looking at it seriously, and looking at it seriously does mean looking deeply into it. It may be one of those areas where more latitude is given to individual bishops or perhaps national bishops’ conferences to decide on cases rather than every case having to go through Rome,’ Bishop McKenna said. However, Bishop McKenna said celibate priests were an advantage for the diocese.” By CathNews.com

‘Celibacy is not a dogma’: German Catholic Church to examine practices
“The German Catholic Church vowed Thursday (Sept. 27) a thorough look at its practices including the issue of celibacy(link is external), in a shakeup of the system following a damning child sex abuse scandal. In the latest of a series of sex assault scandals to rock the Catholic Church worldwide, the German institution this week published a study showing that at least 3,677 minors were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014.” By Agence France-Press on The Local.de

VOICES

What happened to the Catholic Church: money, sex and absolute power corrupting absolutely
“‘Lessons to be Learned from the Catholic Church,’ a study of management practices by the American Institute of Management(link is external) in the 1940s and updated in 1960 made the following recommendations: avoid nepotism; haste in some directions, delay in others; use of elderly men in staff capabilities …” By Arthur Jones, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia—and silencing would-be whistleblowers
“Widespread public shock followed the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse. In fact, as I know through my research, the Vatican and its American bishops have known about the problem of priestly pedophilia since at least the 1950s(link is external). And the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its own ranks.” By Brian Clites, Case Western Reserve University, in Greenwich Time

After decades of left v. right, is it now bishops v. everybody else?
“Moments of great crisis generally affect institutions in multiple ways, some of which are immediately evident and others that take longer to discern. Amid the clerical abuse scandals currently rocking Catholicism, it’s worth asking if one such long-term result is playing out before our eyes. To wit, are we seeing a redefinition of the traditional left/right divides in the Church(link is external) because the focus of popular complaint is no longer really teaching, one of the three traditional duties of a bishop, but rather governing?” By John L. Allen Jr. Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

What could bankruptcy look like for the Pittsburgh Diocese
“Most of the financials of Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses’ are a mystery to outsiders. As religious institutions, they don’t have to report income or spending. But bishops across the state claim changes proposed by lawmakers in Harrisburg could cause the church to take a big financial hit(link is external). Pennsylvania’s legislature is considering changes to the state’s statute of limitations law. Among the proposed amendments is a ‘civil window,’ which would allow victims of sexual abuse to sue in cases where the statute of limitations has run out.” By Virginia Alvino Young, WESA-FM, Pittsburgh NPR News Station

Churches should account for cash: royal commissioner
“A member of the child abuse royal commission is calling for Australian churches and their charities to have more financial transparency(link is external). Robert Fitzgerald AM, one of the six commissioners who oversaw the five-year royal commission, will today (Oct. 10) call for the scrapping of special exemptions that have until now allowed half of church charities, including much of the Catholic and Anglican church networks, to avoid financial reporting to the charities watchdog, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.” By CathNews.com

Winchester parishioners seek answers on finance, personnel questions
“The community of St. Mary Church held a meeting Sept. 20 to discuss matters concerning the parish’s finances and personnel(link is external) that had been made public by a Boston Globe report a few days earlier. The Boston Globe ran a story Sept. 16 about a past investigation of suspected financial impropriety at St. Mary’s and the more recent controversy over the parish’s suspension of its youth minister of 23 years, Salvatore ‘Sal’ Caraviello.” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot

The Catholic Church is rich enough to settle sex abuse cases forever
“Last week, the Diocese of Brooklyn and an after-school program settled with four people who were frequently abused as children at a Catholic Church, agreeing to pay a total of $27.5 million … Considering the unlikelihood of criminal consequences for those at the clergy’s top levels, and the fact that many of these sex abuse cases have far surpassed the statutes of limitations, the endgame seems increasingly a financial—that is, a civil liability—question(link is external). But can the Church settle with survivors forever? Will it ever, somehow, completely run out of money with which to do so … Specifics on the Church’s finances, like virtually everything else that goes on behind those holy gates, are hard to come by. Just ask Jack Ruhl.” By Alex Norcia, Vice.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Bill would extend statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse victims to file suit
“A bill sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk could give survivors of childhood sexual assault much more time — in some cases, decades — to sue(link is external) those who might have stopped their abuse. The proposed law, written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), would allow victims to file abuse claims until they are 40 years old. It would also permit those who have repressed memories of abuse to sue within five years of unearthing the cause of their trauma.” By Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

A Catholic society used dreams of a medieval life and rebellion to groom young victims of abuse
“On Dec. 18, 2001, a desperate North Carolina dad wrote a letter to the Vatican asking the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to discipline a group of priests at a Pennsylvania boys’ boarding school who he said took turns sexually abusing his teenage son(link is external). The priests were members of an organization called the Society of Saint John, the father wrote, and Bishop James Timlin, then the head of the Diocese of Scranton, had allowed them to take up residence at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania.” By Corky Siemaszke, NBC News

Church must answer abuse survivors’ thirst for justice, archbishop says
“Responding to clerical sexual abuse demands truth and justice, not just admitting a sin(link is external) was committed, said Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta. When he speaks with survivors, ‘I find a great thirst and a great hunger for justice, which I share,’ he told reporters at a synod briefing Oct. 8.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Want to end child sex abuse in the church, Pope Francis? Change canon law
“Last week (Sept. 29) Pope Francis acknowledged that the way the Church’s leadership has handled child sex abuse was driving away those who are the future of the Church: young people … The pope, rather than asking for forgiveness, or having the Church’s leadership undergo an unspecified ‘conversion,’ should focus on some basic institutional reforms. The first among those is revising the Code of Canon Law(link is external)—the legal rules by which the Church operates.” By Carolyn Warner, Newsweek

CALIFORNIA

Diocese of San Bernardino lists 34 priests accused of abuse
“A Southern California Roman Catholic diocese on Monday (Oct. 8) released a list of 34 priests who were accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), including six who were convicted of criminal charges. The Diocese of San Bernardino County listed clergy who were the subject of ‘credible allegations’ of molestation since the diocese formed in 1978, according to its website.” By CBS News

California’s Catholic bishops targeted in sex abuse lawsuit
“A man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by his parish priest said he is suing all Catholic bishops in California and the Archdiocese of Chicago(link is external), seeking to compel church officials to release records on clergy abuse. The filing Tuesday (Oct. 2) in Los Angeles by Thomas Emens claims a civil conspiracy among church officials to cover up clergy sexual assault and move offending priests to other parishes.” By The Associated Press on ReligionNews.com

San Jose bishop: ‘Deeds, not word’ needed in sex abuse claims
“San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath met with the outrage and clamor for immediate accountability of the clergy(link is external) accused of sexual abuses at the first of three scheduled listening sessions at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Palo Alto Sept. 29. McGrath said the involved clergy ‘say ‘sorry’ but it’s not enough. Deeds, not words are what we need. This is the beginning of the process.’” By Harvey Barkin, Mercury News

FLORIDA

Florida, investigating Catholic priest sex abuse, creates new tipline
“Florida is taking new steps to get people to come forward to report sex abuse by priests. Attorney General Pam Bondi launched an online portal where people can submit tips about possible sex abuse by Catholic priests(link is external) in Florida. ‘Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the church and a threat to society,’ said Attorney General Bondi.” By Gary Detman, CBS12 News

INDIANA

Two more priests linked to ‘credible’ sex abuse claims in northern Indiana
“Two more priests are being added to the list of 18 priests within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who are linked to credible claims of sexual abuse(link is external). ‘The two additional names of priests who have served in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and have been credibly accused of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor are Michael Paquet and Bruce Schutt,’ the diocese said in a news release. ‘Two more allegations have been added to the previously released name of Elden Miller.’” By Kurt Daring, WIBC-FM

INDIANA

Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese names two more priests accused of sex abuse
“Weeks after naming more than a dozen priests ‘credibly’ accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external) in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has named two more. Michael Paquet, the subject of one allegation, was ordained in 1978, removed from ministry in 2002 and dismissed from the clerical state in 2005, according to the diocese.” By Holly V. Hays, IndyStar.com

Lawsuit claims Lafayette Diocese knew about priest abusing children
“A new lawsuit claims the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette allowed one of its priests to sexually abuse children(link is external). We are combing through all the court papers, which were filed this week (Sept. 28). An anonymous victim claims he was abused by Father James Grear at a Catholic youth rally at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1982. The underaged victim – named in the suit as John Doe – also claims he confessed the alleged abuse to another priest and was told to ‘forget about the abuse, to ask God to forgive him, and not to disclose the abuse to anyone else.’” By WTHR.com Staff

MARYLAND

The Catholic Church: a history of inaction toward pedophiles
“Before The Sun moved offices last month, we were told we had to pare down what was in many cases years of accumulated notes and files — drawers full of interviews, court records, gang manifestos and whatever else we’d managed to collect and save in case we might need it again for another story, another day. I chucked two decades worth of papers to get to the goal: bringing a single box. Inside, along with personal items and performance evaluations, I put two large, white binders, each several inches thick — files from the only story I was certain wasn’t over. They contain much of what I know about John Merzbacher, the child rapist accused of terrorizing dozens of Catholic students(link is external) in Baltimore in the 1970s.” By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

Clergy sex abuse probes grow: Maryland launches investigation
“Archbishop William E. Lori has told clergy members of the Archdiocese of Baltimore that state authorities are investigating the archdiocese’s records related to the sexual abuse of children(link is external). Lori told priests and deacons in a letter Monday (Sept. 24) that the office of the Attorney General Brian Frosh has informed the archdiocese that it plans to ‘conduct an investigation and thorough review’ of the records.” By Jonathan M. Pitts, Tribune News Service

MICHIGAN

Michigan AG seizes Catholic dioceses’ records in sex abuse investigation
“Michigan authorities have seized records from every Catholic diocese in the state as part of an investigation into possible sexual abuse by clergy(link is external), the dioceses said in separate statements released Wednesday (Oct. 4). The Archdiocese of Detroit, and dioceses in Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette and Saginaw said their offices were served search warrants Wednesday morning from Attorney General Bill Schuette.” By Steve Almasy and Susannah Cullinane, CNN

MINNESOTA

As St. Paul Archdiocese bankruptcy wraps up, many call for church leaders to be held accountable
“The church bankruptcy settlement last week (Sept. 28) closed a key chapter of the often contentious relationship between clergy abuse survivors and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, but both sides acknowledged this isn’t the end(link is external). Abuse survivors are asking if action will be taken against archdiocese officials in charge during more recent abuses, including former vicar general the Rev. Kevin McDonough and former St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Judge approves Minnesota archdiocese’s $210 million settlement plan
“A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Sept. 25 approved the reorganization plan of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including a $210 million settlement for victim-survivor remuneration(link is external). During the hearing at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda gave a statement not as a lawyer, he said, but as the shepherd of the archdiocese.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, America: The Jesuit Review

MISSOURI

Retired Catholic priest who pastored several Southeast Missouri churches accused of abusing children
“A retired Catholic priest is accused of sexually abusing a child(link is external) while he was a ‘transitional deacon’ at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cape Girardeau in the early 1970s, a church official said Monday (Oct. 8). The allegation against the Rev. Fred Lutz was reported to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 2006 but not disclosed publicly until this week, said Leslie Anne Eidson, communications director for the diocese.” By Mark Bliss, Southeast Missourian

Advocates want Gov. Mike Parson to give Haley subpoena power in Catholic clergy probe
“Advocates for survivors of Catholic clergy sex abuse gathered outside the state Capitol on Wednesday (Sept. 26) urging Gov. Mike Parson to give Attorney General Josh Hawley subpoena power in his ongoing investigation of possible sex crimes within the Catholic Church(link is external). The attorney general’s office told the Post-Dispatch last week that it can gain special prosecutor status — and thus, subpoena power — with the help of either the governor or a local prosecutor who requests aid.” By Jack Suntrup, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW YORK

64 Syracuse area clergy abuse victims among 981 New Yorkers to get paid by Catholic Church
“Sixty-four Central New Yorkers are among the nearly 1,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse in New York state who plan to take settlements from the Catholic church(link is external). The victim compensation program offered through the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is nearing its conclusion after about seven months. Victims have started to receive and accept financial offers in Syracuse and across the state.” By Julie McMahon, Syracuse.com

OHIO

Cleveland Catholic Diocese to release clergy sex abuse list as nightmarish scandal deepens
“Trapped in the midst of a global public relations nightmare, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is drastically expanding its effort to publicly identify clerics who were removed from their positions because of credible sexual assault allegations(link is external). The diocese has already released the names of accused clergy from 2002 to the present, but now, local religious officials will compile a list that dates back through the 1900s.” By John Deike, WOIO-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie Catholic Diocese updates list of clergy, laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse
“The Erie Catholic Diocese has updated its list of clergy and laypersons who are credibly accused(link is external) of actions that the Diocese believes disqualifies them from working with children. Two lay persons and one priest, all of whom are deceased, have been added to the list. Another deceased priest is under investigation. All of the allegations date from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.” By Erie News Now

Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro: New information has surfaced since Catholic sex abuse report
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had no idea the flood gate he was opening(link is external) last month, when he went public with a grand jury report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse. The clergy sexual abuse hotline in the attorney general’s office has been ringing day and night for six weeks, tallying 1,181 new calls as of Thursday, he said … Shapiro said he also has fielded calls from attorneys general in 40 other states seeking to launch their own investigations. Within 10 days of the release of the Pennsylvania report, attorneys general in Missouri and Illinois launched investigations. Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette did the same. Likewise, the U.S. Justice Department has reached out to Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Pennsylvania justices to hear arguments whether to name clergy accused of sexual abuse, cover-up
“The intense and largely secret fight over whether to permanently shield the names of some Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children or concealing it will for the first time be aired in open court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday (Sept. 26) is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case that will determine whether sections of the state grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse that are now blacked out should remain redacted(link is external). Those marks shield the names of a group of former and current clergy who contend that passages about them in the report are inaccurate or unfairly harm their reputations.” By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

TEXAS

Third accuser comes forward against Houston priest
“A third person accused a Houston-area Catholic priest on Thursday (Oct. 4) of sexually touching him when he was a teenager, in a case that has brought unwelcome attention to the high-profile cardinal(link is external) leading the American church’s response to sexual abuse. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is already accused by two other people of disregarding their reports against Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, the pastor at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in the Houston suburb of Richmond. La Rosa-Lopez was arrested in September and charged with four counts of indecency with a child.” By Nomaan Merchant, Associated Pres

VERMONT

The secret results of Vermont’s investigation into sex abuse by priests
“In the wake of a recent BuzzFeed News investigation that revealed widespread abuse of children at a Catholic orphanage in Vermont(link is external), the state’s attorney general convened a task force last month to investigate, pledging to stand up for the victims of abuse. But that office undertook a previous investigation into the abuse of Vermont children by Catholic clergy, in 2002, the results of which were never released.” By Chris McDaniel, BuzzFeedNews.com

Orphanage abuse: Bishop Coyne ‘open’ to releasing survivors from NDAs
“Bishop Christopher Coyne said he would consider releasing abuse victims from nondisclosure agreements(link is external) they signed with the diocese. Some survivors of abuse at St. Joseph’s Orphanage said they signed the agreements, known as NDAs, in exchange for as little as $5,000, which they said diocese gave them to compensate for the cost of therapy.” By Nicole Higgins DeSmet, Burlington Free Press

VIRGINIA

Richmond Catholic diocese commits to independent audit of abuse allegations in letter to congregants
“The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says it will audit abuse allegations made against priests and clergy(link is external) and make their names public. In a nine-page letter sent to the region’s Catholic churches, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said the Diocesan Review Board will have some oversight but an independent party will conduct the audit. The move comes in response to a Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting sexual abuse in the Catholic church there.” By Amy Poulter, The Virginian-Pilot

WISCONSIN

Catholic diocese of Green Bay: firm to review clergy files in wake of sexual abuse crisis
“The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, with the help of a third party investigator, is launching an investigation next month into all of its priests and Deacons(link is external). A Texas-based independent investigative firm will be conducting an ‘outside review of the files of all priests and deacons who have served in the diocese,’ according to a Catholic Diocese of Green Bay news release.” By Shelby Le Duc, Green Bay Press-Gazette

WYOMING

Wyoming reopens dormant clergy sex abuse case
“Following the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse by clergy, there has been a nationwide call for action and accountability(link is external). But in many states prosecutors have run out of time to press charges. There are just a handful of states with no statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes. One of them is Wyoming, and that’s given the Diocese of Cheyenne and the police there a chance to reopen an old case.” By Tennessee Watson, National Public Radio

AFRICA

Catholic Church distances itself from explosive sex abuse claims
“The Catholic church in South Africa has distanced itself from explosive claims about child abuse which have been leveled against a priest(link is external). At a media conference held in Johannesburg on Tuesday (Oct. 9)‚ Limpopo resident William Segodisho revealed how he had allegedly been abused in the 1980s by a UK priest‚ and that the church had apparently covered up the abuse when he tried to report it.” By Graeme Hosken, TimesLive.co.za

Catholic Church in Cape Town tightens measures to prevent sexual abuse by clergy
“The Catholic Church in Cape Town says it has implemented tighter measures to prevent sexual abuse by its clergy(link is external). It has welcomed the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s approach to stopping sex predators from entering its pews. The church held a meeting last week discussing incidents of sexual abuse in Anglican parishes that made headlines earlier in 2018.” By Monique Mortlock, EWN.co.za

CANADA

Canadian bishops unanimously adopt new abuse policies
“New sexual abuse policies that Canada’s bishops have vowed to implement will focus on prevention, but will not include a mechanism to censure a bishop who commits or covers up an offence(link is external). More than 80 bishops and eparchs from across Canada pledged unanimously to implement sexual abuse document that has been six years in the making and is now set to be released.” By Deborah Gyapong, The B.C. Catholic

Ottawa priest defrocked by Vatican following abuse admissions, allegations
“An Ottawa priest who is to stand trial next year on historic sex abuse charges(link is external) has been defrocked by the Vatican. Barry McGrory, 83, is the second Ottawa priest to be dismissed from the priesthood in the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The Catholic Church calls the dismissal process ‘laicization,’ and it is considered the harshest penalty the Vatican can deliver.” By Andrew Duffy, Edmonton Sun

CHILE

Vatican investigates former Chilean archbishop
“The Vatican is investigating an accusation of abuse against a controversial Chilean archbishop(link is external), the Schonstatt Fathers confirmed. In a statement released Oct. 6, Schonstatt Father Fernando Baeza, the order’s provincial superior in Santiago, Chile, said an accusation of abuse that occurred in Germany in 2004 against retired Archbishop Francisco Jose Cox was reported in 2017.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

221 priests, eight bishops face probes for abuse and cover-up in Chile
“According to the latest count by the Chilean national prosecutor’s office, some 221 priests and 8 bishops are being investigated up and down the country on charges of sexual abuse and cover-up(link is external), all due to allegations made from the year 2000 to date. In the total is Fernando Karadima, the country’s most infamous predator priest, who was removed from the clerical state by Pope Francis on Thursday in an ‘exceptional’ decision communicated by the Vatican on Friday (Sept. 28), the same day the man who once led an impressive lay movement in Santiago was informed.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chilean Church apologizes after issuing guidelines
“The Catholic Church in Chile, which is embroiled in a widespread sexual abuse crisis, faced more criticism this week (Oct. 5) after it published guidelines for priests’ behavior(link is external) on the Santiago archdiocese’s website. Critics slammed church officials for the obvious nature of the recommendations and for not getting to the root of the abuse crisis plaguing the church internationally. The document suggested, for example, that priests should not ‘touch the genitals’ of children or sleep with or beside them. It also said priests should not photograph minors while naked because such photos could be ‘misinterpreted.’” By Siobhan O’Grady, The Washington Post

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Scottish prelate voices shame, resolve on sex abuse crisis
“With clerical abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church in all corners of the globe, Scottish Archbishop Leo Cushley said that as someone who has given his life to the institution, he’s ashamed but also convinced that the Church, especially in Scotland, is in a ‘dramatically different’ place today(link is external). Referring to scandals that have erupted in Chile, Peru and the United States, among others, Cushley said each one is a cause of concern, ‘because this is an institution that I love and that I’ve given my life to, and I’m very dismayed when I see these things.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

‘Shame and sorrow’: English bishops promise independent review of safeguarding procedures
“The bishops of England and Wales have released a statement addressing the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Church(link is external), both in the UK and abroad. They also announced an independent review of current policies and procedures for child protection and for handling complaints of sexual abuse. The statement was released Sept. 24 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales ahead of the bishops’ five-yearly ad lima visit to the Holy Father and the departments of the Roman Curia.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Allegations against priest who helped lead football team to national title in Ireland
“A Catholic priest who helped lead his county’s football team to the national championship has voluntarily and temporarily stepped aside as a pastor in Northern Ireland after ‘concerns’ were brought to his archdiocese about an alleged incident from before his ordination(link is external). Father Gerard McAleer is currently the parish priest of St. Patrick’s Church in Donaghmore in the Archdiocese of Armagh, and a longtime figure in the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

POLAND

Movie about church sexual abuse is a contentious hit in Poland
“‘Clergy,’ a new movie by the director Wojciech Smarzowski, starts with three priests drinking vodka until they can barely speak … The picture of Poland’s priesthood only goes downhill from there. The priests steal money from their congregations, spy on each other, and exploit their connections with politicians, journalists and the police. But much of ‘Clergy’ focuses on one issue: Clerical child abuse, which the movie says the church covered up. In one scene, it incorporates accountshttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/arts/poland-clergy-movie.html(link is external) from real people who say they were abused.” By Alex Marshall, The New York Times

Warsaw protest to demand investigation of pedophilia in Poland’s church
“Child sexual abuse survivor and victims’ advocate Marek Lisinski is leading a march Oct. 7 in Warsaw to protest pedophilia in Poland’s Catholic Church(link is external). Lisinski, 50, is president of Don’t Be Afraid Foundation, an organization that counsels and operates a hotline for survivors of sexual abuse. In the spring of 1981, when he was a 13-year-old altar boy, Lisinski’s life took a tragic turn. A Polish priest befriended him and exploited his troubled young life, said Lisinski in a telephone interview. Lisinski’s father had abandoned his family three years earlier, leaving his mother and grandmother to raise him in poverty.” By Donald Snyder, National Catholic Reporter

Church in Poland begins publishing sex abuse data
“In the last week, three dioceses in Poland have published their data on clerical sex abuse(link is external), saying they are trying to better understand the issue and find effective measures to stop it. On Sep. 27, the Diocese of Warsaw-Prague – located in the eastern part of greater Warsaw – said in the last 26 years twelve priests were accused of abusing minors, and that all of the cases were reported to the Vatican. It added that two of the accused were cleared of charges.” By Paulina Guzik, Cruxnow.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Over half of Dutch bishops shielded priest-abusers, according to report
“A sensational new report on sexual abuse in the Netherlands claims over half of the bishops in the country from 1945-2010 were involved in either covering up abuse or abusing children(link is external) themselves. The report appearing in NRC Handelsblad, the Netherlands’ most prestigious newspaper, charges the Dutch hierarchy had a ‘policy of transfers and turning a blind eye’ to abusive priests in the country.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

U.S. bishops voice support for ‘full investigation’ of McCarrick scandal
“After a meeting between Pope Francis and the leadership of the US bishops’ conference last Thursday (Sept. 13) following which no plans for a probe of the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick were announced, the bishops on Wednesday (Sept. 19) announced their support for a ‘full investigation.(link is external)’ A statement from the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also announced various plans for establishing reporting systems and codes of conduct with regard to bishops and the sexual abuse of minors.” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

The Catholic Church’s unholy stain
“Pope Francis has summoned senior bishops from around the world for the first global gathering of Roman Catholic leaders to address the crisis of clerical pedophilia(link is external). The action is long overdue, and the outcome cannot be yet more apologies and pledges of better behavior. The unending revelations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups demand radical, public, convincing systemic change.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

‘Elitist, clericalist’ church allows abuse to thrive
“Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where the Catholic Church is ‘elitist and clericalist(link is external),’ Pope Francis told Jesuits in Ireland in August. ‘There is something I have understood with great clarity: this drama of abuse, especially when it is widespread and gives great scandal — think of Chile, here in Ireland or in the United States — has behind it a church that is elitist and clericalist, an inability to be near to the people of God,’ the pope told the Jesuits during a meeting Aug. 25 in Dublin.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter
Resignations, Rome meetings and investigations: a week of major developments in the sexual abuse crisis
“‘It just doesn’t stop.’ That sentiment, shared on Twitter Thursday (Sept. 13) morning by Associated Press Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield, captures the feelings of many Catholics trying to keep up with the seemingly endless cycle of new revelations about sexual abuse, harassment and misconduc(link is external)t in the U.S. church.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Georgetown panel deals with ‘moral catastrophe’ of church’s own making
“Sept. 25 was a night of powerful admissions in a packed lecture hall at Georgetown University. Perhaps that was not surprising, given the topic up for discussion — ‘Confronting a Moral Catastrophe: Lay Leadership, Catholic Social Teaching, and the Sexual Abuse Crisis.’ Still, those in the audience of the latest dialogue put forward by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life could not have been fully prepared for the alternating tones of anger and anguish(link is external) that characterized the evening’s conversation.” By Julie Bourbon, National Catholic Reporter

Secret files suggest Catholic bishop shielded alleged ‘predator priests’ from the public
“In this hardscrabble Rust Belt city with deep Catholic roots, the Catholic Church’s top official is facing calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests(link is external). Documents obtained by CNN suggest Bishop Richard J. Malone did not sanction priests accused of sexual abuse and concealed the identities of alleged ‘predator priests’ from the public. In a preemptive move in March, Malone released a list of 42 priests in the Buffalo diocese who had left the priesthood after facing accusations of sexually abusing minors … But a trove of secret diocesan records, first reported by CNN affiliate WKBW and obtained by CNN, show the number of accused priests could be up to 200.” By Rose Flores and Kevin Conlon, CNN

The latest Catholic abuse scandal shows that nothing was ever resolved
“ I’m having a hard time understanding why the recent Pennsylvania grand-jury report dealing with the Roman Catholic Church’s child-rape scandal sparked so much shock and outrage. Indeed, the allegations contained in the report are shocking and outrageous. But, as someone who reported extensively on the issue in Southern California 10 to 15 years ago, I’m not surprised by the revelations(link is external). Obvious questions jump to mind.” By Editorial Board of The Press-Enterprise

Church sex abuse review is ordered by Cardinal Dolan
“Seeking to restore the trust of New York Catholics shaken by recent revelations of abuse, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announced on Thursday (Sept. 20) that he had appointed a former federal judge to review how the Archdiocese of New York handles cases of sexual abuse of minors and sexual harassment of adult(link is external)s. The review, led by Barbara S. Jones, a former judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan, will primarily focus on whether the archdiocese is following the protocols to protect minors from abuse that were approved by the nation’s bishops in 2002.” By Sharon Otterman, the New York Times

Former F.B.I. agent who led 2002 child protection efforts says bishops ‘can’t police their own’
“I think what was most surprising to people is that it was possible for an offender [like Archbishop Theodore McCarrick] to manage to rise to the very highest levels in the church and that other members of the church hierarchy may have been aware of his offenses(link is external). If proven, it is reprehensible. How does that happen? Has it happened with others? Have other clerics ignored or protected such secrets and crimes?” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Class action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, including Pittsburgh, Greenburg
“Eight Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses, including those in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, are named in a class action lawsuit filed Monday (Sept. 17) that alleges they didn’t obey state laws requiring them to report child sexual abuse(link is external). ‘I have not lost faith in my religion,’ said the lead plaintiff, Ryan O’Connor. ‘I have lost faith in the men who are pulling the purse strings.’ O’Connor was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest in the Johnstown-Altoona diocese when he was 9 years old. He now has two children in Catholic schools. O’Connor, his fellow plaintiffs and their attorneys are seeking a massive release of previously confidential internal church files.” By Bob Mayo, Pittsburgh’s Action News 4

For survivors of priest child sex abuse, what would real justice look like?
“There are crimes for which justice can seem like a remote concept. There are crimes, like the sexual abuse of children, from which many turn away – using language like ‘unspeakable,’ ‘unimaginable,’ or even ‘inhuman.’ Even survivors create their mental shields from the crimes they endured. ‘This form of abuse is really completely and utterly spiritually annihilating(link is external),’ says Christa Brown, a survivor of abuse at the hands of a Baptist minister decades ago, and an author who now lives in Colorado. ‘It’s been called ‘soul murder,’ and I think that’s a very apt word for it.’” By Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor

Fall of a West Virginia bishop widens the Catholic Crisis over sex abuse
“The blows seem to land nearly every day: Bishops are accused, investigations are ordered, resignations are demanded, damning documents are leaked. The sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church keeps spiraling through the church hierarchy(link is external), threatening the standing of Pope Francis. On Thursday (Sept. 13), an American bishop in West Virginia was brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct, even as a delegation of American church leaders met urgently with the pope behind closed doors over whether the Vatican had ignored past warnings of abuse by a prominent cardinal.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK RESIGNATION

Sambi, a veteran papal diplomat, allegedly told Rome about McCarrick
“Although his biggest public turn in the United States may have been welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the country in 2008, Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi turns out, at least according to one reconstruction, to have had a fairly important behind-the-scenes part in the saga of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external). Sambi, a veteran Vatican diplomat, served as the pope’s ambassador to the United States from 2005 until his death in 2011.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

If there were secret sanctions on McCarrick, it wouldn’t be a first
“Three weeks after a bombshell accusation of abuse cover-up against Pope Francis by an ex-papal ambassador, an element of that charge still remains an enigma: Were there, or were there not, secret restrictions on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external) imposed under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI? It’s been a tough claim for some to swallow, given that there’s abundant evidence that McCarrick hardly behaved like a man under a cloud during the Benedict papacy – he was often seen with the pope, and even with Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Francis’s accuser and, at the time, papal ambassador in the U.S.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT

Pennsylvania bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse
“The bishops of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse(link is external). Ever since the Aug. 14 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that graphically detailed the alleged sexual abuse of more than 1,000 boys and girls by some 300 priests and church workers in the state over 70 years, the bishops had ‘reflected deeply on the ugly record’ of abuse’ and how church leadership failed to protect our people over a period of decades.’” By Matthew Gambino, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

POPE FRANCIS

Francis: young people ‘outraged’ at Catholic Church over sexual abuse
“Pope Francis has acknowledged that some young people are angry with the leaders of the global Catholic Church, saying that a perceived lack of ‘clear condemnation’ of clergy sexual abuse has resulted in youth becoming ‘outraged(link is external).’ In a Sept. 25 address to an ecumenical meeting on the last of his four-day visit to the three Baltic countries, the pontiff also noted that many youth no longer even think of the church as being able to offer them counsel or life advice.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Francis defends response to clergy abuse, says church has ‘spared no effort’
“Pope Francis has defended the measures undertaken by the Catholic Church in recent years to respond to clergy sexual abuse, saying the global institution has grown in its understanding of the ‘monstrous’ problem and has ‘spared no effort’ to protect children(link is external). In a press conference aboard the Sept. 25 papal flight back to Rome after a four-day visit to the three Baltic States, the pontiff said that the number of children abused over past decades ‘has diminished because the church has realized that it must fight in a different way.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

For Francis, February bishops’ meeting will be a defining moment
“Could this be the moment for which Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was called from ‘the ends of the earth’ to be pope?(link is external) Let’s not forget how when Bergoglio was introduced to us as Pope Francis — the name of not a previous pope or apostle, but of a reforming saint — he captured the world’s imagination with his humble request for all those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, and he bowed before them. Let’s not forget that he was elected by a conclave of cardinals who knew they wanted a freshness brought to the papacy and reform to the church. That was his mandate.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

In private letters, Benedict rebukes critics of Pope Francis
“The remarkable letter last month calling on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly shielding an abusive American cardinal also served as a public call to arms for some conservative Catholics who pine for the pontificate of the previous pope, Benedict XVI. For years now, they have carried his name like a battle standard into the ideological trenches. Benedict apparently would like them to knock it off(link is external).” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Pressing pope to accept his resignation, Cardinal Wuerl does the right thing
“Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has done the right thing. He has asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation, which he submitted three years ago when he reached 75, the age at which all Catholic bishops submit their resignations. The cardinal has been under heavy pressure to resign(link is external) ever since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in August, in which Wuerl was criticized for his handling of abusive priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). He is the first U.S. cardinal to resign his archdiocese as a result of the abuse crisis since Cardinal Bernard Law did so in 2002 for his failure to deal with abusive priests in Boston.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

A closer look at the Vatican’s would-be whistleblower
“(Archbishop Carlo Maria) Vigano’s history of would-be whistleblowing(link is external) and controversy began long before the McCarrick affair, going back to his days serving as an official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Not only was he a central figure in the infamous 2011-2012 “Vatileaks” scandal that erupted shortly after his transfer to the U.S., but even there, he managed to be an object of controversy.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Catholic bishop in West Virginia resigns amid sexual harassment investigation
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a West Virginia bishop and has ordered a church-run investigation into allegations that the bishop sexually harassed adults(link is external), church officials said Thursday (Sept. 13). Michael Bransfield submitted his resignation as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Diocese upon turning 75 last week — and 75 is the age at which bishops are required to offer to step down. Francis not only accepted Bransfield’s resignation but also ordered the archbishop of Baltimore to oversee Bransfield’s diocese temporarily and investigate ‘allegations of sexual harassment of adults against’ Bransfield.” By Jason Hanna, CNN

Abuse crisis is like a fire purifying the church, says head of Canadian bishops
“The sexual abuse crisis is like a fire(link is external) that should be left to burn to purify the church, said the president of the Canadian bishops’ conference. ‘When there is a fire, our first instinct is often to try to put it out to prevent damage,’ said Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec. He spoke Sept. 24 to more than 80 bishops and eparchs at the annual plenary meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘In this case, however, we may need to allow this fire to keep burning,’ he said.” By Deborah Gyapong, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Germany’s bishops apologize for sex abuse and pledge to pursue justice
“The head of the German Bishops’ Conference apologized on Tuesday (Sept. 25) for the ‘pain and suffering’ caused by the Catholic Church’s decades-long failure(link is external) to take abuse of children at the hands of clergy members seriously enough, and pledged to pursue justice. The apology came as a new report that found over 3,600 children in Germany had been victimized by clergy members.” By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times

U.S. bishops won’t restore trust with announced plans to stop abuse”
“Are the U.S. bishops up to the task of restoring trust? Early indications are mixed. The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement last week pledging to use ‘every bit of the strength God provides us’ to protect the church — from themselves(link is external). As is not infrequent in such cases of self-management, and if the steps they announced are any indication, the bishops have a long way to go before they can rest easy that their efforts to heal the church will not, in fact, make an already terrible situation even more dreadful.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Retired Green Bay auxiliary Bishop Morneau withdraws from public ministry
“Retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau of Green Bay has requested and has been granted a withdrawal from all public ministry(link is external). In a letter dated Sept. 14 and addressed to Bishop David Ricken, the head of the diocese, Morneau stated that he failed to report to authorities an incident of priest sexual abuse of a minor in 1979.” By Sam Lucero, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath announces diocesan actions to address clergy abuse
“Recent revelations of the horrific and heartbreaking crime of the sexual abuse of minors by priests – and the systematic cover-up by bishops – have fueled a crisis, unprecedented in modern times, in the Catholic Church(link is external). There is a need for reform; there is a need for transparency in the way the Church responds to allegations of the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, even as we continue our efforts of preventing abuse and fostering a safe environment for all.” By Bishop Patrick J. McGrath on DSJ.org

Bishop Bransfield and the Catholic crisis
“The worldwide Roman Catholic Church has been battered for decades by sexual misdeeds of priests. Predatory abuses against altar boys, other vulnerable children and adults have been the worst aspect. Almost monthly, new reports of victims arise — in Boston, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Germany, nearly everywhere. Now, West Virginia’s Bishop Michael Bransfield is drawn into the morass(link is external). He’s accused of molesting teen-age boys in Philadelphia in the 1970s or early 1980s when he was a Pennsylvania priest and vice principal of a Catholic high school.” By Charleston Gazette-Mail Editorial Board

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

What can we say about the synod of bishops? The optics are not good
“As the church worldwide recoils at the renewed wave of sexual abuse, several hundred bishops will soon gather in Rome to talk about young people. The optics are not good(link is external). Don’t get me wrong. Of the voting members, most — if not all — are upstanding men. Only one is currently under indictment. But, like water dripping on a stone, the same story — from Chile, from the Netherlands, from the United States, with variations on the theme from India and Africa — is wearing people’s patience thin … The working document notes that the synod’s March 2018 preliminary meeting, at which young people were able to voice their opinions, found great distance between what the church says and what the church does.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Young Catholics on healing from the clergy sex abuse crisis
“Inspired by their Vatican II forebearers, many young Catholics are planning to stay in the church and fight for reform of the power structures(link is external) that allowed clergy sexual abuse to happen and that protected church leaders who tried to cover it up. On the show today: Brian Harper, NCR Young Voices columnist and graduate student in Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development program. He currently interns with the Americas Society and Council of the Americas. Julie Bourbon, NCR contributor, based in Washington, D.C. Annie Selak, Catholic(link is external) lay minister and PhD candidate in Systematic Theology at Boston College.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal appointees
“To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops’ conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, bishops from another 10 nations, as well as 10 priests who be full voting members of the gathering. The pope’s appointees to the synod were announced Sept. 15 and included Canadian Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec and U.S. Cardinals Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago. The synod will meet Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican to focus on ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment(link is external).’ By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Anti-abuse activists pan U.S. Catholic bishops’ new proposals
“Lawyers and advocates for victims of clergy sex-abuse are assailing as inadequate some new steps announced by U.S. Catholic bishops to curtail the abuse scandals(link is external)that have deeply shaken the church this year. The initiatives, announced Wednesday (Sept. 19), include developing a code of conduct for bishops regarding sexual abuse and harassment, and establishing a confidential hotline — to be run by a third party — to receive complaints of sexual misconduct by bishops, and relay such complaints to appropriate church and civil authorities. Critics called on the bishops to go further by allowing outside investigators full access to church sex-abuse records and by supporting changes to statute-of-limitation laws so that more cases of long-ago sex abuse could be addressed in court.” By David Crary, Associated Press, on FOX News

At the church she called home, she found her own quiet way to protest
“On the first Sunday morning in September, Rebecca Shipman Hurst gathered up her things — her small quilted purse, her car keys, the sealed pink envelope containing her weekly offering to the Catholic Church — and walked out the door of her weathered gray farmhouse … At 69, she was deeply invested in the faith she’d worked so hard to nurture, but today was, for her, a day of protest. Hurst had dressed in white for the noon Mass(link is external). She’d chosen the color to signify purity and innocence. And she had asked others to wear white to Mass too, to join her in a silent, symbolic call for action.” By Jeanna Russell, The Boston Globe

CLERICALISM

Clericalism led to abuse
Homily at St. Partick’s Church(link is external), Erie, Pennsylvania, Sept. 19, 2018

Abuse in Germany: Cardinal Marx, ‘We have often promoted a clericalism which has in turn facilitated violence and abuse’
“While presenting the report on sexual abuse in the Church in Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx wondered whether the efforts made so far have been sufficient: ‘Justice should be rendered to sexual violence victims(link is external). We do not want to fight sexual abuse in the Church without taking into account the victims. We must create a climate in which also others have the courage to expose their sufferings and wounds. For far too long, we have looked elsewhere, out of love for the institution and to defend ourselves, bishops and priests.’” By AgenSir.it

Canadian cardinal: women should help screen, train priest applicants
Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests(link is external) is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future sex abuse, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. ‘We would need participation of more women in (training) of priests,’ the Canadian cardinal told reporters at a recent meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, a four-day assembly in Poznan, Poland.” By Catholic News Agency Staff in The Pilot

Women’s Catholic leadership program, GIVEN Institute, officially launches
“A Catholic women’s leadership organization, the GIVEN Institute, which aims to encourage and train young women in leadership roles in the church and society(link is external), officially launched Sept. 12. ‘There are plenty of leadership programs in the private sector; there is no reason we can’t do it with a faith component,’ the organization’s founder, Elise Italiano, said Sept. 11. Italiano, who also writes for the Catholic News Service column ‘In Light of Faith,’ noted that there also are plenty of innovative programs in the church but leadership development for women is especially needed, particularly in the current moment in the church.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Eight lessons to be learned from the sex abuse crisis
For me, clerical sexual abuse is personal, professional and institutional(link is external). It has haunted my service of the church for more than five decades, involving the abuse of people, power and trust and a clerical culture that enabled it and covered it up. My experiences have taught me several lessons that I believe will be helpful as the church moves forward.” By John Carr, America: The Jesuit Review

Church crisis response: healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting
In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church(link is external), Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, and being urged to pray and fast for church healing. They’ve gathered in cathedrals and parishes across the country for healing Masses said by bishops who have often prostrated themselves before the altar in a posture of repentance. They’ve met in parish halls to ask church leaders what went wrong and how the church should move forward. Their bishops have issued multiple statements on the crisis and many also have begun to urge Catholics to pray and fast for the church to find healing and restoration.” By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

VOICES

Don’t ignore local community in thinking about the abuse crisis
“In the on-going disclosures of sexual abuse and cover-ups that are rocking the Catholic Church, high churchmen and great thinkers have scurried to provide explanations(link is external), observations, and programs for reform. It seems everyone has an opinion. And yet, for all such conversations and printed words, there has oddly been one essential group that has been neglected, namely, the local Catholic community. The local Catholic community is the distinct community of faith whose children were abused and whose own trust was violated. Yet, in the dash to name the problem and propose its solutions, such a community is being taken for granted. Falling into some universalized ‘Catholic community’ or ‘Catholic faithful,’ the particular and specific local community is being absorbed into some enlarged entity.” By Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, Cruxnow.com

For real change, we must get at four roots deeper than church structures
“In the midst of the angst that has accompanied the revelation of unparalleled amounts of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, the cry for reform gets louder by the day(link is external). For some, it’s a call for the elimination of celibacy as an unnatural and therefore impossible way of life. For others, it’s about barring homosexuals from the priesthood, as if homosexuality was in essence a model of immorality rather than simply another state of nature … For many, it’s about a lack of psychosocial development in seminaries … But there is one element on which everyone seems to agree: There must be repentance. There must be accountability. There must be reform. Good. And that looks like what?” By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter

Why I’m staying Catholic
“I always come back to the question in times of scandal: Why am I a Catholic? Why stick around? Two reasons — one practical, one ethereal(link is external) — go back to Katherine ‘Roma’ Jacobson, my Irish-Catholic grandmother who was born 100 years ago this week … So the practical reason I’m Catholic is that Roma was Catholic — very, very Catholic. My grandfather had been raised Episcopalian and converted, developing a love of the faith for himself that must have been inspired at least somewhat by his vivacious wife. My mom married my Jewish dad with the understanding the kids would be Catholic.” By Mike Jordan Laskey, National Catholic Reporter

Are children safe from sexual abuse in Catholic Church
“In a letter from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath last week the Catholic diocese of San Jose became one of the first in the nation to announce plans to disclose all of the names of priests who had credible accusations of sexual abuse who ministered in the diocese. Additionally, the bishop offered several listening sessions and announced the hiring of a distinguished former FBI executive, Kathleen McChesney and her consulting team, to review diocesan personal files. This effort on the part of the diocese to offer full transparency and accountability(link is external) is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of the efforts by the local church to deal with their history of clergy abuse and to try to do the right thing for victims and their families as well as for rank-and-file Catholics.” By Thomas G. Plante, Mercury News

Time for a federal commission on sex abuse of children
“But no matter how many separate state inquiries are initiated, I predict that the findings will all repeat the vocabulary of ‘cover-up,’ ‘collusion,’ ‘enabling,’ ‘sacrificing children for the sake of the institution’s reputation’ — the same script gets replayed over and over. The time is long past for the criminality of the Roman Catholic Church to be treated as just a local or state problem — this is a national problem that is part of the global epidemic of child abuse(link is external). We must insist that this country hold a national, federal inquiry that covers all 50 states.” By Arthur McCaffrey, Philadelphia Inquirer

Father Hans Zollner: post abuse crisis, how can we get back to our Christian roots
“Hans Zollner, S.J., is a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors. He is the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Congregation for the Clergy. America spoke with Father Zollner in July and followed up recently as the sexual abuse crisis in the United States continues to roil the church(link is external). This is the first of three interviews James McDermott, S.J., is conducting about the abuse crisis.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Clergy in a candy store
“In the 1970s, when I attended St. Joseph’s School in Mendham, NJ, I didn’t know what a pedophile priest was but I knew a creepy priest when I saw one, and that was our pastor, Father James T. Hanley. He abused scores of boys in my town during the 1970s and 80s. He never went to jail but the Diocese of Patterson paid close to $5 million to his victims(link is external). I, like many people, didn’t think the abuse was widespread and that St. Joe’s was an anomaly. But as the years went on and more accusations came from all over the world, I started to believe that the church gave the nod to this behavior, which would explain why the abuse seemed to stop at the priest level. The church had to be protecting the abusers who had been promoted to bishop and cardinal.” By Kathleen Thometz, TheLatest.com

Tim Busch, Napa Institute tout ‘authentic reform’ at upcoming event
“In 2002, in the wake of the Boston-centered clergy sex abuse scandal, lay Catholics gathered in a church basement to pray and try to change the church through what would become the reform group Voice of the Faithful. Now another group of reformers is emerging. But it’s quite different from Voice of the Faithful(link is external), which tried to avoid ideological issues to focus on supporting victims, fighting clerical culture and promoting lay leadership. The Napa Institute, known for its blend of conservative theology and libertarian economics, hosts annual conferences that attract wealthy Catholics to California’s wine country. The organization’s focus on apologetics, sexual ethics and the need to counter secularization is shared by its ecclesiastical adviser, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, a darling of the Catholic right.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Head of USCCB vows ‘independence’, ‘accountability’ in addressing abuse, urges Diocesan finance leaders to pray
“At a time when the church is facing increasing pressure to be accountable(link is external) over the issue of clergy sex abuse, diocesan finance officials were urged by the nation’s leading Catholic bishop to approach their task with the mindset of a servant and a shepherd. “It’s extremely important that everyone in church finance work has a disciple’s heart, especially right now,’ Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told hundreds of local Diocesan officials during the 2018 Diocesan Financial Management Conference Sept. 17.” By Jeff Grant, The Catholic Sun

Erie Catholic diocese spends over $4 million on legal fees
“The investigation into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church is costing the Diocese of Erie around $4 million(link is external). We looked into where that money came from. That $4 million pertains to just the last two years investigating cases of clergy abuse within the Diocese spanning several decades. The bishop says the investment was worth it, but not everyone agrees.” By Jackie Roberts, YourErie.com

After allegations of theft at Winchester church, a youth minister asked questions. Now, he may lose his job
“In the spring of 2016, officials at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston began suspecting that someone was stealing from the collection plate at St. Mary’s(link is external), a Catholic parish in Winchester. Local police and the FBI investigated, but no one was ever charged. Parishioners, who had heard a swirl of rumors about stolen donations and quiet staff departures, never learned what had actually happened. But Salvatore Caraviello, St. Mary’s longtime director of youth and family ministries, was rankled by the silence of church officials.” By Maria Cramer, The Boston Globe

Catholics, keep your wallets closed until the Church reforms from the Vatican on down
“It is hard to be a Catholic today. It is clear from this summer’s Pennsylvania grand jury report, the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal and, most recently, the dodge by Pope Francis to a Vatican diplomat’s testimony that the pontiff rehabilitated McCarrick, that the Catholic Church has been betrayed by her leaders(link is external).” By Charles Rice, NorthJersey.com

Leaders of Sistine Chapel choir face Vatican fraud investigation
“The leaders of the Sistine Chapel Choir have landed in the cross hairs of an investigation by Vatican prosecutors into possible money laundering, fraud and embezzlement(link is external). The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had authorized an ‘investigation into some economic-administrative aspects’ of the choral ensemble, the world’s oldest. The targets of the investigation, the Rev. Massimo Palombella, choirmaster, and Michelangelo Nardella, administrative director, denied any wrongdoing through their lawyers.” By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Pennsylvania House advances bill allowing older victims of child sexual abuse to sue
“After protesters flocked to the Capitol on Monday (Sept. 24), the state House advanced a measure that would allow more victims of child sex abuse to sue their attackers decades after being assaulted(link is external). The House voted, 171-23, to amend a bill to lift for two years the state’s civil statute of limitations that bars accusers older than 30 from suing over abuse that occurred when they were children. The change was a major recommendation in last month’s state grand jury report that outlined decades of sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic clergy across the state.” By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Will clergy sex abuse allegations spur change in statute of limitation laws?
“The Pennsylvania report has prompted attorneys general in at least six states to review or investigate clergy sex abuse cases. But the concern is not just with the Catholic Church. Recent events have brought attention to sexual abuse, assault and harassment in Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, Hollywood and the halls of government. Amid this national conversation, a growing number of lawmakers want to expand the window that victims of child sex abuse(link is external) have to file civil and criminal lawsuits. Some want to eliminate these time limits altogether. If history is any indication, it will likely be an uphill battle.” By Candice Norwood, Governing.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

In a show of contrition, Catholic dioceses begin long road of healing
“In the end, it didn’t matter much what the bishop said during the Mass of Reparation and Prayer for Healing for victims of the sex abuse scandal(link is external). His gesture said it all. Standing in front of the altar Tuesday (Sept. 25) in Raleigh’s Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama took his violet zucchetto from his head and fell to his knees … The Mass was one of many such healing services specifically tailored to address the clergy sex abuse crisis, which got new life last month after the Pennsylvania attorney general released the report on a two-year grand jury investigation into widespread sexual abuse and cover-up within six Catholic dioceses across that state.” By Yonat Shimron and Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Take-aways on the latest twists in the clerical abuse saga
“When a news cycle goes supernova, generally developments come far too fast and furious for anyone really to absorb them in anything other than bite-size, superficial form. Over just the last 72 hours, there have been at least three new twists to the clerical sexual abuse scandals(link is external) once again rocking the global Church.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Priest sex abuse reports continue to spike after Pennsylvania investigation
“A statewide priest abuse investigation in Pennsylvania has inspired widespread inquiries in other states and dioceses across the country(link is external). Most recently, dioceses in Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Jose, California, said they would reveal the names of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

New director named, former leader returns to SNAP after legal threats, leadership upheaval
“The St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests named a new executive director(link is external) Friday (Sept. 14) following a turbulent year that saw a serious legal threat and resignations of longtime leaders. Zach Hiner, who began his eight-year career in child abuse and neglect prevention as an assistant to SNAP founder Barbara Blaine and longtime executive director David Clohessy, will take the reins Sept. 24 as head of the nation’s oldest and largest self-help group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ALASKA

Little Rock Diocese makes list of credible abuse allegations public
“The Diocese of Little Rock released a list of clergy who had assignments in Arkansas and against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed(link is external). Released Sept. 10, the list was gathered through an internal review of diocesan files, the diocese said. The list contains the name of one former priest who was previously identified and 11 former priests who were identified for the first time.” By Catholic News Service in America: The Jesuit Review

CALIFORNIA

Angry parishioners blast San Jose Diocese, Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations
“Angry and hurt over national reports of clergy abuse that have again rocked the Catholic Church to its core, dozens of residents confronted Bishop Patrick McGrath Saturday (Sept. 22) to demand transparency as the Diocese of San Jose prepares to launch its own investigation(link is external). About 70 people — including alleged victims of abuse — gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary for a listening session hosted by the diocese to allow people to ask questions, express concerns and, in some cases, outrage over recent revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania and beyond. Calling on the bishop to launch a criminal investigation into any local allegations of abuse, many criticized the Catholic Church for waiting so long to take action and said it’s caused them to lose hope in church leaders. Some said they’re abandoning Catholicism altogether.” By Tatiana Sanchez, The Mercury News

Priest abuse: Bay Area politicians call for statewide probe of Catholic Church
“Four Bay Area state legislators and an East Bay congressman are calling for the state’s top attorney to launch an investigation into Catholic Church priest abuse(link is external), similar to the groundbreaking Pennsylvania grand jury report released last month that has thrust the scandal back into international headlines.” By Matthias Gafni, Mercury News

Catholic Church abuse victims call for California investigation
“Catholic Church sexual abuse survivors from the Bay Area will head to the state capital Monday (Sept. 17), focused on calling California’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation(link is external) into the alleged abuse. The victims want a statewide probe similar to the one recently concluded in Pennsylvania and are also clamoring for local law enforcement and prosecutors to be more aggressive when it comes to dealing with the cases.” By NBC-TV Staff

San Jose Diocese to release names of every priest believed to have abused minors
“Catholic leaders in San Jose are working to be more transparent about sexual abuse by priests(link is external). By mid-October, they plan on releasing the names of every priest throughout the city who is believed to have abused minors. This is just one step towards improving transparency regarding sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.” By Amanda del Castillo, ABC7 News San Jose

COLORADO

Colorado Springs Catholic bishop to address sex-abuse scandal on Facebook Live
“Bishop Michael Sheridan, head of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, will appear in a first-ever interactive Facebook live session at 7 p.m. Thursday (Spt. 14) to answer questions from the public about the Catholic Church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal(link is external) … Sheridan has received ‘a good response,’ in terms of questions posed in advance of Thursday night’s event, said Veronica Ambuul, editor of the Colorado Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper.” By Debbie Kelley, The Colorado Springs Gazette

CONNECTICUT

Bridgeport Diocese hit with abuse lawsuits against three priests
“Five men claim in lawsuits filed Friday (Sept. 21) that they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport(link is external). The lawsuits, filed in state Superior Court in Bridgeport, claim the abuse occurred from the late 1980s to the early 2000s and was perpetrated by three priests — the Rev. Walter Coleman, the Rev. Robert Morrissey and the Rev. Larry Jensen, in Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury and Ridgefield.” By Daniel Tepfer, Connecticut Post

INDIANA

Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese releases names of 18 priests or deacons accused of sex abuse
“A Catholic diocese in northern Indiana on Tuesday (Sept. 18) released the names of more than a dozen clergy accused of sexual abuse(link is external). At the direction of Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend published the names of 18 priests or deacons who the church said were ‘credibly’ accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Eight of the men listed are deceased, and two are incarcerated, according to the diocese. The remaining men have either been dismissed or removed from their ministerial or clerical duties.” By Holly V. Hays, IndyStar

Bishop Kevin Rhoades cleared of any wrongdoing following referral by diocese
“After a full investigation, the Dauphin County District Attorney has determined that there is no basis to conclude that Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes ever engaged in a criminal(link is external) or otherwise improper relationship with a person whom we will refer to at J.T. to protect the privacy of his family … No witness has alleged observing any criminal or improper conduct by Bishop Rhoades with respect to J.T. Bishop Rhoades and the family of J.T. fully cooperated in the investigation.” By Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office

ILLINOIS

Priest in sex abuse probe to move away from Catholic grade school amid furor
“When a student reported last year that she had seen an image of a naked boy on the Rev. Richard McGrath’s cellphone(link is external), the priest, who was president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, was asked by the school and the police to hand over the phone. McGrath refused, which officials say effectively killed an investigation by the police. Their focus later turned to accusations that the priest sexually abused another student at the far southwest suburban school in the 1990s — allegations that Will County prosecutors are reviewing and which also are the subject of a lawsuit by that former student.” By Robert Hurguth, Chicago Sun Times

Man comes forward with sex abuse allegations against Catholic priest
“Larry Antonsen was 16-years old and on a church trip in Wisconsin, when he said he was molested by his priest in a motel room(link is external). ‘Frozen. I couldn’t move. I was just paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know where to go,’ said Antonsen. It was a night he wanted so badly to forget.” By Beth Sweeney, WFIE-TV

INDIANA

Indiana dioceses issues list of priests, deacons with credible accusations
“The Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese’s release of the names of priests and deacons credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) ‘is an appropriate step and part of a commitment to openness and transparency by the church in this area,’ said a member of the Diocesan Review Board. ‘I am hopeful too that it will bring some solace and healing to the victims and their families,’ said Donald Schmid in a Sept. 19 statement, a day after the diocese released the list.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

KENTUCKY

Kentucky legislature shouldn’t bow to Catholic church on priest abuse
“As reported in the Courier Journal on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2018, Kentucky Attorney General Andrew Beshear, announced that he ‘will seek the legislature’s permission to form a statewide grand jury to investigate Kentucky’s Catholic dioceses(link is external) in line with last month’s damning report on Pennsylvania Catholic churches.’” By William F. McMurry, Couier Journal

LOUISIANA

Louisiana Catholic Church should name pedophile clergymen, victims’ advocates say
“Advocates for victims of the Catholic Church’s pervasive clergy sex abuse scandal are calling upon Louisiana bishops to release the names of pedophile priests and clergy members(link is external) whose actions have thrown one of the world’s oldest religious institutions into crisis. The calls come as New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond(link is external) on Thursday (Sept. 20) said he and the state’s six other bishops are mulling whether to release the names of clergy members against whom credible accusations of abuse have been made. He said the issue was a topic of discussion at a meeting of the bishops last week.” By Kim Chatelain, New Orleans Times-Picayne

In New Orleans, more quietly settled, decades-old Catholic Church sex abuse cases surface
“Other cases have surfaced involving quietly settled, decades-old sexual abuse claims(link is external) against the Catholic Church in New Orleans, naming a pair of diocesan priests as well as an educator. Three separate, unnamed plaintiffs pursued claims against Malcolm Strassel, once a priest at Our Lady of Lourdes; Michael Fraser, once a priest at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church; and Nolan Delatte, once an educator at St. Pius X School, according to documents filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate

MARYLAND

Archbishop: Maryland AG investigating records in abuse probe
“Maryland’s attorney general is delving into records of the Baltimore archdiocese(link is external) as part of an investigation into child sex abuse, the latest U.S. state seeking confidential church files since a Pennsylvania grand jury released an explosive report alleging widespread abuse and a cover-up scandal. Archbishop William Lori said in a statement Monday (Sept. 24) that he has written priests and deacons in the archdiocese advising them he’s been informed by Attorney General Brian Frosh of ‘an investigation of records related to the sexual abuse of children.’” By David McFadden, Associated Press

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest abuse lawsuits in Massachusetts name Catholic order in Bellevue
“A Catholic order based in Bellevue is now a defendant in two lawsuits in Massachusetts that allege sexual abuse of two children by a priest(link is external) in the 1970s. The lawsuits say officials with the Columban Fathers of Bellevue, as well as those with the Archdiocese of Boston, knew that a now-deceased priest, the Rev. Brian Gallagher, was an abuser, yet assigned him to serve a parish and nursing home in Dorchester, Massachusetts, granting him ‘unchecked power to sexually abuse Catholic boys.’ By Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

MINNESOTA

Alleged abuse victim searches for justice in the Diocese of Crookston
“In 1971, when Ron Vasek was 16 years old, a priest invited him to take a trip. The priest, Fr. Roger Grundhaus, was a family friend, and Ron’s parents supported the idea. Fr. Grundhaus, a priest of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, was going to a canon law convention in Columbus, Ohio. He said he wanted Vasek to come along to help with the drive … After dinner, Vasek said, the priest sexually assaulted him(link is external) in their hotel room.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey Catholic diocese releases priest sex abuse victims from agreements
“Victims of priest sexual abuse who signed confidentiality agreements with Catholic dioceses in New Jersey are free to ignore those deals and speak publicly about their experiences(link is external), church officials said in a statement Tuesday (Sept. 18). The announcement means all victims who reached financial settlements with the Catholic Church in New Jersey can call a new hotline established by the state Attorney General’s office earlier this month to speak to investigators gathering evidence of clergy sexual abuse in the church.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJ.com

New Jersey hot line to report abuse in Catholic Church inundated with calls, attorney general says
“A hotline the New Jersey attorney general set up to report sexual abuse within the Catholic(link is external) Church has been ‘ringing off the hook’ for nearly two weeks, the state’s top prosecutor said. ‘We’ve had to put extra resources into taking those calls,’ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday (Sept. 18).” By James Nash and Nicholas Pugliese, NorthJersey.com

NEW MEXICO

We are starting to listen to victims – finally
“Arthur Perrault is behind bars, finally. The 80-year-old priest is back from Morocco and in federal custody as he awaits trial on charges that he molested an 11-year-old boy(link is external) at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. A U.S. magistrate judge earlier this week agreed that Perrault should remain in federal custody until his trial. Authorities, correctly, do not trust the man who fled the country in 1992. They fear the priest could use the force of his charming personality to find help and escape again … For his many accusers this reckoning has been a long time coming.” By The New Mexican Editoral Board

NEW YORK

Brooklyn Diocese is part of $27.5 million settlement in four sex abuse cases
“Four men who were repeatedly sexually abused as children by a religion teacher at a Roman Catholic church(link is external) reached a $27.5 million settlement with the Diocese of Brooklyn and a local after-school program on Tuesday (Sept. 18), in one of the largest settlements ever awarded to individual victims of abuse within the church. The victims were repeatedly abused by Angelo Serrano, 67, who taught catechism classes and helped organize the religious education programs at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Long Island diocese settles nearly 300 claims filed by clergy sexual abuse victims
“Nearly 300 men and women will be compensated by the Diocese of Rockville Centre for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of priests(link is external), in some cases decades ago. The diocese has received 293 claims since it established a special compensation program last fall, said Camille Biros, the program’s co-administrator. So far, she said, 221 victims have been offered financial settlements and the others will receive offers within a few months.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

OHIO

Three Ohio dioceses to release abusive priest list
“Three of Ohio’s six Roman Catholic dioceses now say they will release new lists of priests who have been removed from parishes because of sexual abuse(link is external) and misconduct allegations, The Associated Press has learned. The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said Wednesday (Sept. 26) it would release a list in the next few months that will include the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of abuse, whether they are living or dead. The announcement comes a day after the Steubenville diocese said it will make public the names of abusive priests by the end of October and several weeks after the Youngstown diocese made a similar announcement.” By Mark Gillispie and John Seewer, Associated Press, on WJHG-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

As Catholic sex abuse investigations begin, questions remain
“‘Our work in Pennsylvania has spurred a movement,’ Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, said earlier this month as New York and New Jersey announced they would, like Pennsylvania, investigate child sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses within their borders. Since Shapiro unveiled a grand jury report in August detailing decades of allegations of child sex abuse by Catholic priests(link is external), at least nine states have initiated some form of investigation of their own. The issue also continues to rage in Pennsylvania courts … But as new investigations begin, questions remain as to what exactly will be revealed, and how much of it will result in legal action.” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Some priests impregnated the girls they abused—one even helped her get an abortion
“Found within the depths of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse is a letter written by a former Diocese of Scranton bishop. A priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion(link is external), according to the grand jury report. And then-Bishop James C. Timlin wrote a letter expressing his feelings: ‘This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.’ But the letter was not for the girl. It was addressed to the rapist.” By Sue Ruland, York Daily Record

Pennsylvania Catholics weigh in on priest sexual abuse scandal: ‘I was heartbroken’
“New details are emerging about the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has rocked the church. The diocese of Brooklyn, New York, has agreed to pay $27.5 million to four men who were sexually abused as boys by their religion teacher. The archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, is also reportedly set to resign. These developments come after a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused Wuerl of not doing enough to deal with pedophile priests when he ran the Pittsburgh diocese. CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor recently sat down with a group of Catholics in Pennsylvania to discuss how the scandal has affected their faith.” By CBS Evening News

Woman accuses Pennsylvania cardinal of abuse in new lawsuit
“Then, she (Heather Taylor) was escorted into a nearby room for a private audience with the bishop. There, she said, under the guise of adjusting her school uniform, a plaid jumper, he groped her(link is external). The bishop was Anthony Bevilacqua, she said, a man who would, one day, attain the title of cardinal.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Bethlehem Township priest accused of sex abuse says he can prove his innocence
“The Allentown Diocese has removed a monsignor from ministry as authorities investigate a sexual abuse allegation against him(link is external), spokesman Matt Kerr said Tuesday (Sept. 18). Monsignor Edward Sacks, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bethlehem Township, is the third Allentown Diocese priest removed from ministry since a statewide grand jury report was released Aug. 14. One of the three faces criminal charges, and one was reinstated last week after the accusation against him was found to be false.” By Daniel Patrick Sheehan, The Morning Call

Clergy sex-abuse survivor files defamation lawsuit against Catholic Church
“A woman who reported that she had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania when she was a teenager is now suing the Catholic Church after finding out the church investigated her and her family(link is external). Juliann Bortz, now 68, had become a member of a survivors’ group and an outspoken critic of the church and its efforts to conceal the abuse perpetrated by its clergy.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record, in USA TODAY

TEXAS

Dear Attorney General Paxton—It’s time to investigate the Catholic Church
“It is a difficult time to be a Roman Catholic. Barely a month after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, accusations of sexual misconduct, abuse and coverups have quickly enveloped multiple dioceses(link is external) in several states and implicated high-ranking prelates in the U.S. and in Rome … At least seven states now see it that way. In the weeks since the Pennsylvania report, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska have opened investigations into sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have asked local dioceses for records. Take note, Attorney General Paxton. Texas should waste no time in following suit.” By Cynthia M. Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

UTAH

‘Credible allegations’ of sexual abuse against Catholic priests received, Diocese of Salt Lake City says
“In a letter from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City published Thursday (Sept. 13), officials said the Diocese received ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse against 16 priests(link is external)’ since 1990. Those reports – detailing incidents which date back to between 1962 and 1994 – all involved minors, the Diocese said.” By Andrew Reeser, Good4Utah.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

In the Church scandals, all roads lead to Rome, and many run through D.C.
“While all roads in the scandals involving sexual abuse by Catholic priests(link is external) lead back to Rome, it appears that one of those roads runs through the lush landscaping of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the U.S. capital. A disproportionate number of the American bishops and cardinals entangled in the latest revelations of abuse and cover-up have spent significant time in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.” By Anne Hendershott, National Review

WEST VIRGINIA

The latest: West Virginia AG plans review of allegations
“The latest on the sex abuse and cover-up scandal rocking the Vatican (all times local): 11:45 p.m. (Sept. 14). West Virginia’s attorney general says allegations that a U.S. Roman Catholic bishop sexually harassed adults(link is external) warrant ‘a close review’ by the state. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement Thursday after Pope Francis accepted Bishop Michael Bransfield’s resignation and authorized Baltimore Archbishop William Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations against Bransfield.” By Associated Press in The Washington Post

ARGENTINA

Pope role in study of Argentine sex abuse case in spotlight
“Pope Francis’ role in Argentina’s most famous case of priestly sex abuse is coming under renewed scrutiny(link is external) as he faces the greatest crisis of his papacy over the Catholic Church’s troubled legacy of cover-up and allegations he himself sided with the accused. Francis, who at the time was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in 2010 commissioned a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.” By Luis Andres Henao and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

AUSTRALIA

Reforms to clear way for abuse survivors to sue
“Legal barriers that have prevented child sexual abuse survivors from suing institutions will be removed(link is external) following the introduction of new civil litigation laws in the NSW Parliament. State Attorney General Mark Speakman yesterday (Sept. 26) said the reforms stem from royal commission recommendations and will include the removal of the ‘Ellis defense,’ which enabled certain institutions to avoid liability.” By CathNews.com

Australian bishop who was victim of sex abuse speaks on U.S. church’s crisis
“Bishop Vincent Long is the Bishop of Parramatta, a diocese northwest of Sydney. A former Assistant General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, he is Australia’s first Asian-born bishop and the first Vietnamese-born bishop to head a diocese outside of Vietnam. In 2017 Bishop Long testified before Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse(link is external). … This is the third in a series of interviews Jim McDermott, S.J., is conducting on the sexual abuse crisis. This interview was conducted by e-mail.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Faith and survivor groups form committee to tackle child abuse
“Representatives from 20 faith-based organizations and major survivor advocate groups in New South Wales and the ACT have formed a joint standing committee to tackle child abuse within religious settings(link is external). A gathering was held earlier this month at New South Wales Parliament House with the view to establishing the committee, which was instigated by the NSW Ombudsman’s Office and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Admitted abuser removed from university post in Canada
“A liturgical canonist and teacher who had admitted abusing a minor while serving as an associate pastor(link is external) in the United States is no longer teaching at the Canadian pontifical university where he had been a full professor. St. Paul University confirmed that John Huels is no longer teaching at the university, after Huels’ victim contacted Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and NCR ran a story about the abuse. In the article that NCR published Sept. 12, survivor Michael Bland wondered if he would find justice amid the renewed attention to clergy sexual abuse, telling NCR that he had hope but little trust. ‘I think I have found healing, but I have not found accountability,’ he said.” By Heidi Schumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Canadian bishops to approve new sex abuse protocols
“Canada’s Catholic bishops are set to approve a long-awaited document on sexual abuse when they meet for their annual plenary Sept. 24-28 in Cornwall, Ont. The new document, entitled Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Faithful of Canada for Healing, Reconciliation and Transformation(link is external), comes as the Catholic Church grapples with a worldwide crisis from Chile, to the United States, to India, to Germany and other European countries.” By Deborah Gyapong, The B.C. Catholic

CHILE

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis
“Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down since June in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandal in their country(link is external). The Vatican announced Sept. 21 the resignations of 60-year-old Bishop Carlos Pellegrin Barrera of San Bartolome de Chillan and 71-year-old Bishop Cristian Contreras Molina of San Felipe … Pope Francis accepted the resignations June 11 of three Chilean bishops, including Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who had been accused of witnessing and covering up abuse by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The pope accepted the resignations of two other bishops June 28.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Chilean hero expelled from priesthood over sex abuse charges
“A priest who was once a national hero in Chile, and who now finds himself another casualty of that country’s massive clerical sexual abuse crisis, has been expelled from the priesthood by Pope Francis after being found guilty of abusing minors and vulnerable adults(link is external). The Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile released a statement on Saturday (Sept. 15) saying that Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had notified the Chilean Church that on Sept. 12 Francis had decreed, ‘with no possibility of appeal,’ the ‘removal from clerical state ‘ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae’’ of Father Cristián Precht Bañados.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chile authorities raid four dioceses in clerical abuse probe
“Chilean authorities raided four dioceses on Thursday (Sept. 13) as part of an investigation into clerical sex abuse of minors and alleged cover-ups by bishops(link is external). Prosecutors said the surprise raids took place at the dioceses of Valparaiso, Chillan, Osorno and Concepcion. Images published by local media showed authorities walking out from the buildings after seizing documents.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press

GERMANY

New report details more than 3,600 sex abuse cases spanning decades in the German Catholic Church
“A report on sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Germany says 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014(link is external), two leading German media outlets said Wednesday (Sept. 12). Der Spiegel Online and Die Zeit said the report they obtained — commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and researched by three universities — concludes that more than half of the victims were 13 or younger and most were boys. Every sixth case involved rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, both weeklies reported. Die Zeit wrote that 969 abuse victims were altar boys.” By Kristen Grieshaber, Associated Press, in Time magazine

SPAIN

Vatican suspends priest in Spain over child sex abuse claims
“Church officials in northern Spain say the Vatican has suspended a priest for 10 years over allegations that he abused schoolchildren(link is external) more than three decades ago. The priest, Jose Manuel Ramos, is required to serve out his suspension in a monastery outside of his Astorga diocese, according to bishop Juan Antonio Menendez. Menendez said Monday (Sept. 18) that the Holy See’s orthodoxy watchdog decided the punishment following an internal investigation concluding that Ramos ‘had committed a serious crime of sexual abuse of minors’ between 1981 and 1984.” By Associated Press on WSBTV.com

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