Posts Tagged Focus

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 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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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

Catholic priests abused 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says
“Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years(link is external), persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday (Aug. 14). The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Cardinal Wuerl proposes national panel to investigate allegations against bishops
“Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has proposed that the national conference of U.S. Catholic bishops create a new high-level panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops(link is external). In an NCR interview focused on how the American church should address the wider systemic questions raised by the revelations of sexual abuse by his predecessor, now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Wuerl also suggested that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel’s findings.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops
“Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany said today (Aug. 6) that laypeople, not bishops, should lead inquiries into allegations of misconduct by U.S. bishops(link is external). Bishop Scharfenberger was responding to an idea advanced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in an interview published on Aug. 6 by The National Catholic Reporter. He suggested that the U.S. bishops might create a commission of bishops to investigate rumors of sexual misconduct by other bishops, passing concerns on to a Vatican office.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigns amid sexual abuse scandal
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, from the College of Cardinals, ordering him to a ‘life of prayer and penance’ after allegations that the cardinal sexually abused minors and adult seminarians(link is external) over the course of decades, the Vatican announced on Saturday (Jul. 28). Acting swiftly to contain a widening sex abuse scandal at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope officially suspended the cardinal from the exercise of any public ministry after receiving his resignation letter Friday evening (Jul. 27). Pope Francis also demanded in a statement that the prelate remain in seclusion ‘until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.’” By Elisabetta Povoledo and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

Church sex scandal: abuse victims want a full reckoning
“Six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania joined the list this week of those around the U.S. that have been forced to face the ugly truth about child-molesting priests in their ranks. But in dozens of other dioceses, there has been no reckoning(link is external), leading victims to wonder if the Church will ever truly take responsibility or be held accountable.” By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Boston, Lincoln open inquiries into misconduct among seminarians, priests
“Two U.S. bishops opened investigations this month following a series of online allegations reporting sexual misconduct, excessive alcohol abuse and behavior unbefitting the priesthood among seminarians(link is external) and by those overseeing their development. In Boston, the accusations involved St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, with two former seminarians alleging a culture of heavy drinking and illicit sexual behavior among students and with faculty. The other probe focuses on Lincoln, Nebraska — regarded as perhaps the most orthodox diocese in the country — where a series of allegations have emerged, including against a popular, now-deceased vocations director accused of making sexual advances while having seminarians help him shower.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican lawyers explain how Vatican abuse trials function
“Any member of the clergy accused of the sexual abuse of a minor is tried according to procedures outlined in the Code of Canon Law(link is external) and specific norms spelled out in Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (‘Safeguarding the Sanctity of the Sacraments’). Normally those trials take place in the diocese where the crime occurred, but under the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, when the accused is a bishop, it is up to the pope to determine the way to proceed.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Cruxnow.com

On Cardinal Sodano and the meaning of ‘accountability’
“Where it gets stickier is when the charge isn’t committing a crime or a cover-up, at least not directly, but simply being on the wrong side of history – showing such poor judgment, such tone-deafness and insensitivity, as to suggest ignorance of the magnitude and depth of the abuse crisis, thereby rendering the Church’s response weaker and less convincing. If there is accountability for that sort of lapse in the Catholic Church(link is external), you certainly couldn’t tell it judging by the current Dean of the College of Cardinals.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Past review board members: independent inquiry into seminarian abuse needed
“In 2002, in the aftermath of the clergy sex abuse scandal, the U.S. bishops created a National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People as a watchdog on the anti-abuse policies, known as the ‘Dallas Charter,’ which the bishops had made the law of the land. Now some members of that initial board are calling for an independent investigation(link is external) of sexual abuse of seminarians and other vulnerable adults, including allegations against one of the country’s most prominent church leaders, retired Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

U.S. sisters demand action on sexual abuse crisis
“A group representing 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States is adding its support to other sisters around the world who are calling for an end to sexual abuse and harassment of women religious(link is external), an issue brought to light most recently by a story written by The Associated Press. ‘We join with all those demanding the end of a culture that ignores or tolerates sexual abuse of Catholic sisters or any other adult or minor perpetrated by those in positions of trust in the church community,’ the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said in a statement.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

How can the church punish bad bishops?
“The recent sex abuse scandal involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick raises once again the question of how the church can punish bad priests and bishops(link is external), especially when the state cannot because of the statute of limitations or other reasons. In the bad old days when the church had the Inquisition, the church could sentence bad clerics to prison, torture or death. So, what can the church do today?” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Australian archbishop convicted of sex abuse cover-ups resigns
“In his second major move on sex abuse in just three days, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson(link is external) of Adelaide following a conviction earlier this month of failure to report allegations of child sexual abuse. The Vatican announced Wilson’s resignation July 30, just three days after Francis made a historic move in accepting the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals after accusations arose that he sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Honduran auxiliary bishop accused of sexual misconduct resigns
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Juan José Pineda, auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa(link is external), Honduras, following a Vatican investigation into accusations of financial mismanagement and sexual misconduct against seminarians. The bishop, 57, has long been the subject of accusations of financial misdealings, as well as rumors that he offered support to a male companion using archdiocesan funds. He serves under papal advisor and archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga (head of Pope Francis’ council of nine cardinal advisors), who has also been accused of financial misconduct.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT

List: Names, details of 301 Pennsylvania priest sex abuse allegations in Catholic dioceses
“On Aug. 14, Pennsylvania released a statewide grand jury report on what the state attorney general’s office called an ‘honest and comprehensive accounting of widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests(link is external).’ The report, more than 800 pages long, lists the name of 301 priests and provides details into specific accusations. The investigation included six dioceses in the state – Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Below are the names listed in the grand jury report, along with where clergy members served and details of allegations …” By Anthony J. Machcinski, Sam Ruland, Rick Lee and Matt Allibone, York Daily Record

Clergy sex abuse report delivers a scathing rebuke on Catholic Church officials
“In 1967, Father Gregory Flohr of the Diocese of Greensburg began to sexually molest a 10-year-old boy. The first time he molested the boy, he told him, ‘God loved all His children’ … The story of Flohr’s victim illustrates the devastation that is the latest chapter of the long-running clergy sex abuse of children(link is external) in the Catholic Church in this country.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

‘It’s really hard to be a Catholic’: the pain of reading the sex abuse report
“John Cabon stood quietly and crossed himself before a statue of the Virgin Mary outside St. Paul’s, the mother church of the Pittsburgh Diocese. ‘I keep the faith,’ said Mr. Cabon, 64, on the way to noon Mass. His sister, he said, had left the faith when explosive revelations of sexual abuse rocked the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. He had refused. ‘You don’t really believe everything, you know.’ But inside the church, there was no escaping the abuse scandal(link is external), which has entered a new chapter after monstrous revelations were released in a grand jury report on Tuesday (Aug. 14), describing the abuse of more than 1,000 young people at the hands of hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania.” By Campbell Robertson and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external), listing more than 300 accused clergy and detailing a “systematic” coverup effort by church leaders over 70 years. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but the grand jury believes there are more.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

Pennsylvania grand jury accuses over 300 priests of abuse, bishops of cover-up
“More than 300 Pennsylvania priests were accused of committing sexual assault and their bishops covering up(link is external) for them in a wide-ranging grand jury report that detailed some of the most damning accusations brought against the Catholic Church. ‘There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church; the grand jury wrote in a report released today. ‘But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: It happened everywhere.’” By Mark Dent, National Catholic Reporter

Pennsylvania report documents over 1,000 victims of priest abuse
“In an emotional press conference on Tuesday (Aug. 14), Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro unveiled a more than 800-page grand jury report that chronicles seven decades of sexual abuse of children(link is external) by priests in six Catholic dioceses and the ‘systematic cover up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.’ Mr. Shapiro said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims. He said members of the grand jury told him they believe the number of victims is much larger.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Some coverage leading up to Aug. 14 release of Pennsylania’s grand jury report

CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK RESIGNATION

Change the clerical culture: why is predatory behavior by priests permitted?
“Emerging details about the scope and duration of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexually abusive behavior once more underscore the fact that an institutional sickness afflicts the Catholic Church(link is external). A predator priest can ascend to princely rank only if the clerical culture around him enables those who are complicit by their silence and failure to act. The behavior of ‘Uncle Ted,’ as the cardinal insisted he be called by his preferred victims, was something of an open secret at elite levels of the church.” By John Gehring, Commonweal

How to respond to the McCarrick scandal
“In the weeks since reports of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse of seminarians and minors began to appear, there has been a chorus of cries for an investigation—not just into how the incidents of abuse took place, but also into how McCarrick advanced in the hierarchy despite them. The investigation must find the culprits who, knowing McCarrick’s misdeeds, were responsible for his ecclesiastical advancement … The good news is that there is an alternative to a convict-and-punish response(link is external) to the scandal. Rather than embarking on a lengthy, frustrating, and probably fruitless search for justice through identifying culprits in the McCarrick case, the American bishops can immediately begin to address the systemic issues embodied in that scandal.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

McCarrick renounces place in College of Cardinal after revelations of abuse
“Retired Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has renounced his position in the College of Cardinals(link is external), leaving the global Catholic Church’s most symbolic and powerful group in the wake of revelations that he sexually harassed or abused several young men during his meteoric rise to become one of the U.S. church’s most senior prelates. The move, announced in a press release from the U.S. bishops July 28, is without precedence since the founding of the American church with the creation of the diocese of Baltimore in 1789. While several U.S. cardinals have come under scrutiny in recent decades for their handling of abuse cases, none prior had set aside their red cardinalatial robes.” By Joshua J. McElwee and Heidi Schlumpf

Former papal advisor on abuse reacts to Wuerl’s statement on McCarrick scandal
“A former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has said that proposals made by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal do not go far enough(link is external). Marie Collins, who is herself a survivor of clerical abuse, also said that the actions taken by Church leaders thus far in response to the McCarrick allegations, are not sufficient to resolve the problem.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

POPE FRANCIS

Pennsylvania sexual abuse report is another setback for Pope Francis
“The damning report on the sexual abuse of potentially thousands of children by priests in Pennsylvania, and the subsequent cover-up by a Catholic church primarily interested in self-protection, is another blow for Pope Francis(link is external), who is already reeling after a series of damaging scandals over recent months.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

Pope Francis meets with Chilean abuse prevention council
“Pope Francis met on Friday (Aug. 10) morning with Chilean Bishop Juan Ignacio González of San Bernardo and Ana Maria Celis Brunet(link is external), President of the Chilean National Council for Abuse Prevention and the Care for Victims. The meeting took place at the Pope’s residence in the Casa Santa Marta. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said the purpose of the meeting was ‘to update each other and exchange opinions on the steps being taken in Chile to address the cases of abuse and ensure they never happen again.’” By Vatican News

Chilean bishops’ efforts to prevent sex abuse affirmed by Pope Francis
“Pope Francis on Friday (Aug. 3) wrote to the Chilean bishops’ conference(link is external) to express his approval of their newly-adopted plan to prevent future instances of sex abuse within the Church. ‘I was impressed by the work of reflection, discernment, and decisions that you have made,’ the Pope wrote in his Aug. 5 letter to Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales of Chile’s military diocese, who is president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.” By Catholic News Service

Will Pope Francis solve the abuse crisis
“Since taking office five years ago, Pope Francis has carried the torch for progressive Catholic reform. His modest lifestyle and commitment to ‘a poor Church for the poor,’ his emphasis on mercy, and his attacks on clericalism, have set him at odds with the doctrinaire and the traditionalist … But in confronting the biggest challenge to the Church’s credibility since the Reformation(link is external), the sexual abuse crisis, Francis stumbled badly. Indeed, he seemed for a while to be retreating from the relatively tough approach of his immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI.” By Mark Silk, Religion News Service

No question, Pope Francis made history Saturday on McCarrik
“It’s really not that often one can say with certainty that we witnessed history being made at a specific moment, but Saturday (Jul. 28) brought such an occasion with a Vatican announcement that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external) from the College of Cardinals. It’s an unprecedented move in the United States, the first time an American cardinal has ever renounced his red hat, and it’s the first time anywhere in the world has exited the college altogether facing accusations of sexual abuse. It is, therefore, the most tangible confirmation to date from Francis that when he says ‘zero tolerance,’ he means everybody.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis has utterly failed to tackle the church’s abuse scandal
“ … But the church is now reaping what it sowed(link is external): like long-festering sores, the suppressed scandals are erupting everywhere. The greatest of those involve accusations about members of the hierarchy themselves as abusers. Some remained hidden until now because pliant priests have been reluctant to ‘shop’ their bishops, even when they themselves have been abused as young altar boys and seminarians.” By Catherine Pepinster, The Guardian

CARDINALS

Cardinal Errázuriz of Chile responds to Crux series
“Crux recently published a three-part series by senior correspondent Elise Harris exploring ties between Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz of Chile, a close papal confidante, and Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, who’s now accused of sexual abuse and abuses of power and conscience(link is external) within the prominent lay movement he founded. Part one can be found here(link is external), part two here(link is external), and part three here(link is external). In response, Errázuriz wrote a letter to Crux which was published in a Chilean newspaper and is reproduced here, in full, in English translation.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Chilean cardinal may be next test for Pope on sex abuse reform
“Having accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis seems to have passed one important test(link is external) in terms of his willingness to impose accountability for clerical sexual abuse even on the highest-ranking clerics in the Catholic system. If Francis is looking around for an opportunity to scale that second mountain in his reform campaign, there’s an increasingly strong case to be made that retired Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz may just be his man.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Abuse letter to Cardinal O’Malley was second priest sent officials
“In a June 2015 letter to Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley obtained by Catholic News Service, a New York priest tells the prelate about ‘sexual abuse/harassment/intimidation’ allegations(link is external) he had heard concerning then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and asks that if the matter doesn’t fall under his purview, to forward it to the ‘proper agency in the Vatican.’” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
— Details of second letter priest sent to Cardinal O’Malley describing McCarrick abuse(link is external)By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

U.S. bishops call for apostolic visitation into McCarrick abuse case
“The head of the U.S. bishops said they will invite the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation to the country(link is external) to lead a ‘full investigation” into questions still surrounding revelations of sexual abuse by former cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. In addition, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the bishops will take steps to create channels for easier reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops, and will push for better procedures under canon law to resolve complaints made against bishops.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Pennsylvania grand jury report: details of how Harisburg bishops ‘enabled the offenders’
“On Aug. 1, the Diocese of Harrisburg said that the name of every one of its bishops since 1947 would be removed from any building(link is external), facility or room in the diocese. The diocese made that announcement as it released the names of more than 70 clergy members accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct with children, and as Bishop Ronald W. Gainer apologized for the abuse and the leaders who failed to respond appropriately.” By Ed Mahon, York Daily Record

U.S Bishops’ Conference: ‘We are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omission’ by clergy
“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement on behalf of Conference President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galviston-Huston and Chairman for the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana, following the release of the grand jury report(link is external) …” By Becky Metrick, PennLive.com

Pennsylvania lawmaker criticizes Catholic bishops for putting church’s reputation ahead of child protection
“Learning that a statewide grand jury looking into clergy sex abuse(link is external) suggests their child victims likely numbered in the thousands, a state lawmaker said that alone should be enough to prompt state lawmakers to change the law to tip the scales of justice in abuse victims’ favor.” By Jan Murphy, PennLive.com

U.S. Catholic bishops could be forced out of office by a horrific dossier on sex abuse
“A Pennsylvania grand jury report released last night (Aug. 14) has revealed that the Catholic Church in six dioceses systematically and sneakily covered up sexual abuse(link is external) by priests on a horrifying scale. The American Church has now been plunged into the worst crisis in its history.” By Damian Thompson, The Spectator

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory’s statement in response to the resignation of Theodore McCarrick
“As shepherd of the Catholic Church in Atlanta and united with my brother bishops under Pope Francis in service to Jesus Christ and His Church, I express my profound anger, sadness, and distress concerning sexual abuse by Church leaders(link is external) of children, young people and those over whom they exercised authority … While the current leadership of the USCCB considers next steps, I strongly encourage that they engage the laity in reviewing and recommending courses of action that will assure the faithful that we are serious in curing this blight from our Church and from episcopal governance once and for all.” By Atlanta Archbishop Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, in The Georgia Bulletin

Amid McCarrick revelations, Anchorage archbishop outlines an action plan
“As a number of bishops float ideas for how the U.S. church should respond in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse by one of its highest prelates, at least one bishop’s proposal stands out for its specificity(link is external). Archbishop Paul Etienne of Anchorage, in an Aug. 1 blog post titled ‘The Body of Christ is Hurting,’ has put forth a seven-point plan ‘for further study and review,’ which suggests the immediate formation of an ad hoc committee of bishops, the creation of a National Review Board of bishops and lay people that reports directly to the Vatican and a timeline of 60 days for transparency to the wider church.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

‘Dear Troubled Catholics’: Church needs spiritual renewal
“Since I have returned from Bolivia, I have become aware of the developments regarding now-Abp. Theodore McCarrick. I, along with all those who love the Church, am dismayed, disgusted, and numbed when I think of those who have been harmed by his behavior. While I would rather not address the situation publicly, to not address it is to stick my head in the sand. The following article, condensed from a longer article by Ralph Martin at Renewal Ministries, expresses my feelings and perhaps your feelings(link is external), too. It is entitled, ‘Dear Troubled Catholics’ (following is the full letter) …” Posted by Bishop Edward M. Rice, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau on diocesan website

Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley: legal transparency and pastoral accountability needed
“Following is the text of a statement from Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley released by the Archdiocese of Boston Aug. 15 following release of Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy abuse in six diocese: ‘There are times when words fail us – when they do not capture the depth of overwhelming situations we sometimes face in life. For the Church in the United States this is one of those times …’” By The Pilot Staff

President of U.S. Bishops Conference issues statement on course of action responding to moral failures on part of Church leaders
“Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement noting the steps the U.S. Bishops Conference will take(link is external) in addressing the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God.” By USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo

The Catholic Church needs a way to deal with bad bishops
“As the sexual abuse scandal surrounding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick continued to spread in the past week, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, acknowledged on Monday (July 23) that ‘a major gap still exists in the church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse(link is external).’ O’Malley, who is also the archbishop of Boston, noted that while the church has a zero-tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of minors by priests, there is a need for clearer norms and procedures for investigating and judging bishops. But O’Malley’s statement raises further questions.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

Bishop Barron calls for evangelization, apologetics in upcoming youth synod
“The upcoming synod on young people is an opportunity(link is external) for evangelization, especially to those who have left the Catholic Church or organized religion altogether, said one of the bishop delegates ratified by Pope Francis this week. “I don’t know any issue more pressing now in the life of the church than addressing the problem of the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young,” Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron told NCR in an email interview.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Sex abuse expert: crisis is a call to a new vision of the priesthood
“A Jesuit priest who has been on the frontline of advocating for survivors of clerical sexual abuse and developing detailed programs to prevent abuse said the crisis unfolding, again, in the United States is a summons to a new way of envisioning the church and taking responsibility for it(link is external). ‘I am not surprised’ by the new reports of abuse, ‘I do not think it will stop soon and, at the same time, I think it is necessary and should be seen in the framework of evolving a more consistent practice of accountability,’ said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Upcoming LCWR assembly will continue the call to communion
“The 2018 assembly for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is picking up exactly where last year’s meeting left off: with a call to communion inspired by 2017’s Outstanding Leadership Award recipient(link is external), Carmelite Sr. Constance Fitzgerald. Roughly 800 sisters in leadership in their respective communities will gather Aug. 7-10 in St. Louis to reflect on this year’s theme: ‘Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Communion.’ LCWR, which represents approximately 80 percent of about 48,500 women religious in the United States, sees ‘being the presence of love’ as one of the most important roles of women religious in this era, said Sr. Annmarie Sanders of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, LCWR’s associate director of communications.” By Soli Salgado, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Irish sex abuse survivors say Francis should admit to Vatican’s cover-up
“Several prominent Irish clergy sexual abuse survivors are calling on Pope Francis(link is external) to use his upcoming visit to their country at the end of August to admit to the Vatican’s role for decades in helping cover-up abuse cases on the island. Noting that the pontiff publicly decried a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’ in the Chilean Catholic Church in a letter to the people of that country in May, the Irish survivors say they are owed a similar admission about how the church sought to silence them and fellow victims.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

Study: Most U.S. superiors think women deacons ‘theoretically possible’
“A major new study has found that more than three-quarters of the leaders of religious orders of priests, brothers and sisters in the U.S. believe it is ‘theoretically possible’ to ordain women as deacons(link is external) in the Catholic Church. Nearly as many, according to the just-released report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, believe the church ‘should authorize’ the ordination of women to the diaconate.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Parishes must adapt to become all they can be
“The declining numbers of clergy and of church-goers, and our new, multicultural society pose challenges to our Catholic-identity communities(link is external), says Fr. Éamonn Fitzgibbon. The notion of parish is deeply embedded in Irish culture. A parish gives us a sense of where we are from and where we belong. It is tied up with our sense of identity and place. Partly because of the GAA’s ‘parish rule’ and the proliferation of clubs throughout Ireland, and partly as a means of marking territory and setting boundaries, the Irish parish has always been about more than religion.” By Irish Examiner

VOICES

What can I say to my kids when they ask why we keep faith in this church?
“We make the effort, however imperfectly, because I want my son and daughter to know that our faith is important(link is external), because I want them to choose to live it themselves one day, because I believe it is good. And my belief in the good at the heart of our faith is why I have tried hard to contribute to the institution, too: to find community in our parish, to spend hours researching local Catholic schools, saving to pay for them, budgeting to make donations to the church, to Catholic charities. And then I came home from Mass, and while the kids napped beside me, I started reading the grand jury report of sexual abuse in several dioceses of Pennsylvania.” By Kerry Weber, America: The Jesuit Review

The virtues of Catholic anger
“Every American Catholic I know is angry — with good reason. The recent release of a grand jury investigation into 70 years of sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania is appalling in its breadth and detail … Catholic wrath burns hot(link is external). Chief among those enraged are victims and their families, several of whom I know, many whose lives have been destroyed by sexual violence. Catholics not directly affected by the abuse are furious at both abusive priests and the bishops who covered up their crimes, and many have had their faith in the church severely shaken. Many believed that after the sex abuse scandals of 2002, the church had “moved on” and so feel poleaxed by these new stories.” By James Martin, S.J., The New York Times

A priest responds to the Catholic Church’s ‘summer of shame’
“A few weeks before I was ordained a Catholic priest in the late autumn of 1994, my superior in the seminary told me that, in his opinion, it was probably the most difficult time in a century to become a priest(link is external). Yet, he went on, it was also the most exciting time. I really did not take much notice of what he said. In fact, in my overconfidence, I thought he was talking nonsense.” By Benedict Kiley, National Review

Money talks: should Catholics cease their stewardship in wake of latest scandal
“When Ralph Martin of Renewal Ministries wrote his ‘Letter to Troubled Catholics’ in response to the latest clergy sexual-abuse scandal, he quoted a Catholic who suggested sending Church leaders a message by withholding donations(link is external). Martin said the disaffected Catholic told him the only way things will change is if the faithful stop giving to the bishops’ national collections and to diocesan and parish collections — ‘unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade and govern accordingly.’” By Judy Roberts, National Catholic Register

On the immoral cover-up of abuse in Catholic Church
“In anticipation of findings, however redacted, of a statewide grand jury investigation into sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, I revisited a 2005 grand jury report on the same topic in Philadelphia(link is external). Thirteen years later, it’s as horrific as it was back then. Findings included ‘how dozens of priests (at least 63) sexually abused hundreds of children’ and ‘how Philadelphia Archdiocese officials — including Cardinal (Anthony) Bevilacqua and Cardinal (John) Krol — excused and enabled the abuse.’ Details were sickening.” By John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News

Is transparency a cure-all?
“The history of the church is a history of saints and sinners. Lately the sinful part is certainly more visible than the saintly. In the run-up to the great jubilee year 2000, John Paul II officially apologized for the church’s sins(link is external), and this seem to have had an impact on public opinion. But all that seems like a long time ago now … It is now clear to many that the scandal of clerical sexual abuse is the most serious crisis the church has faced since the Reformation.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Reflections on the abuse saga: it’s not just about McCarrick
“In recent days, I’ve found myself diving deeply into the drama that the Catholic Church is living in Chile(link is external) amid one of the most colossal clerical sexual abuse crises ever to erupt. It’s disgusting. It’s criminal. It’s unforgivable. It has the capacity to undermine one’s faith. Yet time and time again, when I shared what I’ve written about it, including a 4,000-word report on a ring of homosexual predators that make the misdeeds of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick seem mild in comparison, I get messages on social media and in my email with Americans demanding I look into the fallen U.S. cardinal.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

McCarrick scandal illustrates the harm clericalism has done to the Church
“Twenty-five years ago, I published a book about clericalism in the Catholic Church(link is external)with the title ‘To Hunt, To Shoot, To Entertain’—a quotation from a 19th-century British monsignor capsulizing his view of what the laity are competent to do. The book was positively, though sparsely, reviewed and enjoyed modest sales. As far as I can tell, it accomplished little or nothing of a practical nature beyond earning me a reputation as a sorehead.” By Russell Shaw, AngelusNews.com

DiNardo should take real action for victims of pedophile priests
“It is too soon to know if a recent statement by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo signals a new — and more welcome — direction in the way the Catholic Church responds to accusations of sexual abuse by priests(link is external). Too soon to know if the words from DiNardo, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, will lead to substantive penalties against those who prey on children.” By Houston Chronicle Editorial Board

With McCarrick scandal, #MeToo arrives for the church
“On July 28, we woke up to front-page news about my former archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals. He is the first and only cardinal to resign from the college as a part of the worldwide sexual abuse scandal(link is external). While two of McCarrick’s victims were minors, it appears that most were adult males. Most often, they were seminarians and priests under his authority. In McCarrick, the child abuse scandal is joined to the #MeToo movement. By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Why would a priest or seminarian not report sexual harassment by a superior?
“Why would Catholic priests and seminarians be so reluctant to report allegations of sexual harassment or abuse from bishops(link is external), priests or religious superiors? This question has been raised repeatedly in the wake of the allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who on Saturday resigned from the College of Cardinals. McCarrick is accused of abusing a minor as well as sexually harassing seminarians and young priests.” By James Martin, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

‘There’s going to be a raid’: a Chilean prosecutor forces Catholic Church to give up secrets
“Two special envoys sent by Pope Francis to investigate a child sex abuse scandal in Chile were meeting priests and Church workers at a university in the Chilean capital last month when aides rushed into the room with an alarming development: police and prosecutors were about to start raiding Church offices(link is external). The envoys were 90 minutes into a seminar on how to investigate allegations of sex abuse committed by fellow clergy following revelations that hundreds of children might have been molested. For decades, the Roman Catholic Church in Chile quietly investigated such allegations without alerting police, but it now stands accused, even by Pope Francis himself, of a cover-up that allowed abusers to operate with impunity.” By Aislinn Laing and Cassandra Garrison, Reuters

Three things that should happen now that McCarrick is no longer a cardinal
“Now that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has resigned his cardinalate, what happens next? The canonical case against him will continue(link is external), but what have we learned in the past couple of months? What remains to be done to combat this cancer that is killing the church, a cancer that metastasized beyond the abuse of children to the abuse of adults? There are three parts to the ecclesial conversion that the McCarrick scandal makes clear. First, we need institutional mechanisms and procedures to hold bishops accountable … [second] a further conversion of the clerical culture … the third and final conversion must be spiritual.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Can Pope Francis’ council of cardinals still deliver on reform?
“By most accounts, Pope Francis was elected with a mandate to reform the Roman Curia(link is external) — the complex network of dicasteries, commissions, and councils charged with the central administrative work of the Catholic Church- a network that, even to insiders and experts, more often resembles a rabbit warren than a well-defined system of governable offices with clear responsibilities.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

CHURCH FINANCES

Former Tulare Catholic priest won’t go to jail after embezzling $200K
“A former reverend at Tulare’s St. Rita’s Catholic Church was sentenced Wednesday (Aug. 8) to five years of probation(link is external), a recommendation from the county’s probation department and a request from the Fresno diocese. The sentencing was issued despite Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward asking for a stiffer penalty.” By Luis Hernandez, Visalia Times-Delta

‘Married’ Catholic bishop faces court case for embezzlement
“Catholics in a south Indian diocese want their bishop removed for allegedly misappropriating diocesan funds to lead a luxurious life with his wife and son. Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah, however, has denied the charges as baseless and aimed at tarnishing his image(link is external). Aggrieved Catholics filed a criminal complaint in a trial court in Andhra Pradesh state seeking action against the 56-year-old prelate after their efforts to get justice from the Vatican failed, Mesa Ravi Kumar, one of the two complaints in the case, told Matters India Aug. 3, a day after appearing before the court. He had filed the complaint in the court in June this year.” By Jose Kavi, National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Backing civil statute of limitations reform would be the best way bishops could help child sexual abuse victims
“If Bishop Gainer and his fellow Catholic bishops in Pennsylvania genuinely want to redress that harm, they should drop their opposition to reform of the commonwealth’s civil statute of limitations(link is external). A victim of child sexual abuse now has only until his or her 30th birthday to bring a civil suit in Pennsylvania (a criminal case must be brought before a victim’s 50th birthday).” By Lancaster Online Editorial Board

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Timeline of Catholic clergy child sex abuse claims: 1985 to now
“The following is a look back at the global timeline of clergy sex abuse cases(link is external) …” By PennLive Staff and Wire Reports

Catholic sexual abuse crisis deepens as authorities lag in response
“A two-year grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania resulted in what the state’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, called ‘the largest, most comprehensive report into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States(link is external).’ But the report, released Tuesday (Aug. 14), was not the first. In 2002, The Boston Globe revealed that Catholic authorities in the Boston Archdiocese had engaged in a massive cover-up of sex crimes committed by area priests, and investigations in other parts of the country have since uncovered similar patterns of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. The ongoing scandals amount to a deepening church crisis.” By Tom Gjelten, National Public Radio, on WBUR-FM News

Richard Sipe helped uncover pattern of clergy sex abuse
“When the Globe Spotlight team began its investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Richard Sipe was our guide(link is external), our teacher, our chief cheerleader. A gentle man with an easy laugh, he was also a former monk and priest, a psychotherapist, a scholar, and ideally suited to explain that the horrors we were discovering in Boston were not unusual — and quite probably part of a pattern throughout the church. Sipe, who was 85, died Wednesday in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego.” By Michael Rezendes, The Boston Globe

Lay woman’s saga illustrates clerical sexual abuse of adults
“Although most attention amid the clerical sexual abuse crisis has been on minors, recent cases of priests and bishops(link is external) who have taken advantage of vulnerable adults or those under their guidance also have come to light. One such case involves Theodore McCarrick, the 88-year-old retired Archbishop of Washington and Newark who resigned his post in the College of Cardinals following ‘credible and substantiated’ accusations of sexual abuse of minors and multiple accounts of sexual misconduct with seminarians.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Alleged misconduct at Brighton seminary prompts inquiry
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Friday (Aug. 10) that he was placing the rector of a Brighton seminary on leave while an outside legal consultant investigates allegations of unspecified misconduct(link is external) at the educational facility. In a statement, O’Malley did not provide details of the alleged wrongdoing at St. John’s Seminary but said the accusations came from two seminarians who were enrolled at the theological school, which trains priests for ordination.” By Travis Andersen and Danny McDonald, The Boston Globe

MINNESOTA

Diocese names two Duluth priests as ‘credibly accused’
“A Duluth priest suing a man who has accused him of sexual abuse(link is external) has been added to the Diocese of Duluth’s list of priests it has determined to be ‘credibly accused.’ The Diocese announced on Sunday (Aug. 5) that the Rev. William C. Graham, who is arguing in his lawsuit that he has been falsely accused, and the Rev. Roland Antus were found to be credibly accused of sexual abuse following the Diocese’s investigation into the allegations.” By Lisa Kaczke, Duluth News Tribune

MONTANA

Judge approves $20 million settlement between diocese and sexual abuse victims
“The settlement ended a seven-year lawsuit involving 86 plaintiffs who had they had been sexually abused by Catholic nuns and priests(link is external) from the 1950s through the 1990s, according to a news release from Tamaki Law Offices, which represents 38 of the victims. The diocese’s insurer, Catholic Mutual, will pay $8 million of the settlement. The remaining $12 million will be divided as follows: $5 million from the Diocese, $4 million from individual parishes, $2 million from the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana and $1 million from St. Labre Indian School.” By KPAX-TV News

Montana Catholic diocese must identify 27 former clergy as abusers, settlement says
“The Great Falls-Billings Diocese will soon post online the names of 27 former clergy whose 50 years of sexual abuse in Eastern Montana(link is external) prompted two lawsuits and led the diocese to declare bankruptcy in 2017. The 86 individuals who were abused between 1943 and 1993 are now voting on the proposed $20 million settlement, announced in April.” By Phoebe Tollefson, Billings Gazette

NEBRASKA

‘We can’t sit back anymore’ – Lincoln diocese named in allegations
“It’s been a turbulent month so far for Lincoln’s Catholic leaders, who are facing fire for their mishandling of three priests accused of sexual assault(link is external), moral misconduct and an inappropriate relationship with an altar server. The allegations span two decades, but they only recently surfaced broadly and publicly in a wave of online articles and Facebook posts.” By Peter Salter, Lincoln Journal Star

Bishop says no cover-up in priest’s case but admits lack of transparency
“Lincoln Bishop James D. Conley apologized Aug. 4 for failing to be more transparent about a pastor removed from ministry and sent to treatment last year because the priest had developed ‘an emotionally inappropriate, non-sexual relationship with a 19-year-old(link is external) male which involved alcohol.’ He sent Father Charles Townsend, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Lincoln, to the Shalom Center in Houston for treatment.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

NEW JERSEY

Newark archdiocese to audit files in alleged abuse cases in wake of McCarrick scandal
“The head of New Jersey’s largest Catholic diocese has ordered a re-examination of sexual abuse cases involving clergy(link is external), officials said Friday (Aug. 10). With recent disclosures of secret settlements going back decades, and ongoing revelations by former seminarians and others about abuse allegedly suffered at the hands of priests, Cardinal Joseph Tobin has ‘arranged for an external firm to audit all the personal files’ of the Newark Archdiocese, according to a spokesman for the archdiocese.” By Ted Sherman, New Jersey Real Time News

How should priests report sex abuse by priests? N.J. diocese asks after McCarrick scandal
“One of New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses is bringing together a group of senior advisers to consider changing how priests can report sexual misconduct by fellow priests(link is external), church officials said Tuesday (Aug. 7). Bishop James Checchio, head of the Diocese of Metuchen, said the recent resignation of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has raised questions about whether his diocese needs to make big changes.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJAdvanceMedia

New Jersey native priest says he was sexually assaulted by two clergymen in Newark
“A priest who grew up in New Jersey is alleging that he was sexually assaulted decades ago by two clergymen(link is external) who continued working in the Newark Archdiocese after church officials determined his accusations to be believable but unproven.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK

Church helped priest accused of sex abuse get Disney World gig
“A Pennsylvania priest tortured an altar boy for over a year, sexually abusing him and beating him with a metal cross(link is external), then left the church for a gig at Walt Disney World — with a reference from the diocese, a grand jury report found.” By Tamar Lapin, New York Post

Complaints of Buffalo Diocese investigations reach the Vatican
“Complaints about how the Diocese of Buffalo investigates allegations of sexual abuse have reached the Vatican(link is external) and one of the pope’s chief confidants. Michael Taheri, the attorney for The Reverend Samuel Venne, says the preliminary investigations process run by the diocese is flawed. His complaints include how the Diocese of Buffalo does not always provide priests with copies of the accusation or allow the accused to meet with the Review Board that makes recommendations to the bishop on the merit of sexual abuse allegations.” By Daniel Telvock, WIVB-TV

Priest abused him as boy, man says
“Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary of Lochland Road was a place where young men considered life as a Capuchin friar. But for Peter Saracino, it was a place where he said he lost his soul. Saracino, a retired Marcus Whitman teacher who grew up in Seneca Falls and now lives in Phelps, claims a Capuchin priest abused him when he was 8 or 9(link is external) at the former Catholic seminary, which is now the upscale resort Geneva On the Lake.” By Steve Buchiere, Finger Lakes Times

Critic of clergy abuse compensation program: ‘it’s a virtual black hole’
“Administrators of a Diocese of Buffalo program to compensate childhood victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) will consider whether the diocese had ‘prior notice’ of an alleged abuser’s conduct as they determine how much money the victims should get. But it’s unclear if diocesan officials are under any obligation to hand over personnel files that show whether the diocese knew a priest was prone to abuse. That’s one of the compensation program’s major shortcomings, according to lawyers for some of the victims. People who make claims of abuse with the diocese aren’t told what information, if any, the diocese provides to program administrators.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Alleged victim interviewed by diocese a month after priest returns to service
“A priest cleared after accusations of abuse is under investigation(link is external) a second time a month after returning to service. A victim was interviewed by diocesan officials Monday (Jul. 30), claiming Father Dennis Riter of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Dunkirk abused him years ago.” By Katie Gibas, Spectrum Local News

Buffalo priest sex abuse scandal
“A third alleged victim of Father Dennis Riter testified(link is external) before the Diocese of Buffalo this morning, one month after the diocese made a controversial decision to return the accused priest to his Dunkirk parish.” By WBKW-TV

PENNSYLVANIA

Our Mother of Consolation priest on leave after allegation of sexual abuse
“Rev. Mark Plaushin, a priest at Our Mother of Consolation, was placed on administrative leave on July 16, following an allegation of sexual abuse(link is external) … According to the statement from the archdiocese, church officials moved to remove Plaushin from active service as soon as they learned of the allegation.” By Sue Ann Rybak, Chestnut Hill Local

Bishop Zubik Pittsburgh Diocese will name clergy accused of sex abuse
“The Diocese of Pittsburgh plans to follow other dioceses across the state and reveal the names of clergy members who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). In a letter read during Roman Catholic Masses across the six-county diocese this weekend (Aug. 5), Bishop David Zubik said he will release the names once a grand jury report investigating sex abuse is released.” By Daveen Rae Kurutz, The Pittsburgh Times

Priest who served 30-plus years in one church added to list of clergy accused of child sex crimes in Harrisburg Diocese
“The name of a prelate who was in ministry for more than 30 years at a church has been added to the list of individuals accused of child sex crimes(link is external) in the Diocese of Harrisburg. The diocese on Monday (Aug. 6) added Monsignor Joseph Bradley, who served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel between 1963 and 1996, to a list of clergy and seminarians who over the years have been accused of child sex crimes. Bradley’s name brings the list to 72.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Woman says she was sexually abused by Catholic school teacher in 1970s
“A woman who says she was sexually abused in the 1970’s by a teacher(link is external) in the Erie Catholic Diocese is speaking out for the first time. The teacher died several years ago. Fifty-five year old Leila Said Gutowski said she was abused when she was 12-13 year old, a student at Immaculate Conception School in Clarion.” By Erie News Now

Pennsylvania priest pleads guilty to sexually molesting fourth-grade boy
(Jul. 31, 2018) “As Catholic officials across Pennsylvania brace for what has been described as a graphic and blistering investigation report into clergy sex abuse, a Greensburg Diocese priest charged with child sex crimes(link is external) on Tuesday (Jul. 31) pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a boy.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

TEXAS

Catholic priest forced to resign after writing sex-fueled letter to another priest, bishop says
“A priest in the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese has resigned after a letter he wrote to another priest in Dallas was deemed intimidating, manipulative and inappropriate(link is external) by Bishop Michael Olson. The Rev. Richard Kirkham, former pastor of St. Martin de Porres in Prosper, is also accused of failing to report knowledge he had of alleged sexual misconduct and predatory sexual harassment in the workplace regarding the Dallas-area priest.” By Nichole Manna, The Olympian

AUSTRALIA

Bishops to release formal Royal Commission response
“The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will release its formal response(link is external) to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by the end of the month. It will also release the four volumes of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council’s final report. The bishops met in Melbourne last week to consider the Church’s formal response to the royal commission.” By CathNews.com

Vatican requires bishops ‘to cover up child sex abuse’ in absence of reporting laws, expert says
“A confidential instruction from the pope in 1922 directed bishops to treat canonical crimes such as ‘obscene acts with animals,’ ‘Solicitation of sex during confession,’ and ‘gravely sinful offences perpetrated against children’ with the utmost secrecy(link is external). ‘And that secrecy has been confirmed, continued by every pope since, including the current one, Pope Francis,’ said Kieran Tapsell, an expert witness on a 2017 royal commission panel on canon law.” By Charlotte King, Australia Broadcasting Corporation

CHILE

Catholic Church faces reckoning in Chile as sex abuse scandal widens
“The 20 men and women rose quietly from their pews during Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago one day last week, unfurled a banner and held up signs. ‘All Bishops Resign(link is external),’ one read. Looking back from the altar was Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and a focal point in a growing reckoning over allegations that leaders of the Catholic Church in Chile repeatedly covered up the sexual abuse of minors by priests.” By Pascale Bonnefoy, The New York Times

Chilean officials raid bishops’ conference amid abuse investigation
“Officials of the Investigative Police of Chile (PDI) raided Tuesday (Aug. 14) the offices of the Chilean bishop’s conference to seize information and statements from alleged victims of abuse(link is external) perpetrated by the Congregation of the Marist Brothers. According to Chilean officials, police are investigating 38 claims of sexual abuse related to the Marist congregation.” By Catholic News Agency

Chilean prosecutor raids office of the military’s Catholic bishop
“A Chilean prosecutor said on Thursday (Aug. 8) that the office of the bishop to the armed services had been raided as part of investigations into accusations that senior Roman Catholic Church officials covered up claims of sexual abuse by clergymen in Chile(link is external). Emiliano Arias, a provincial prosecutor leading the investigations, told Reuters that the raid on the office of Santiago Silva had been conducted by court order and authorized by the defense minister and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Silva is also president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Pope thanks Chilean bishops for ‘decisive’ efforts against abuse
“Pope Francis has praised the bishops of Chile for their ‘decisive’ efforts against clerical sex abuse(link is external) following a recent meeting. In a handwritten letter sent on Sunday (Aug. 5), the Pope says Chile’s bishops have come up with ‘realistic and concrete’ measures against the abuse crisis gripping the Catholic Church in the country.” By Devin Watkins, Vatican News

Victims recount sexual abuse horrors in Chilean seminary
“‘We need for the Church to understand that those of us who come forth are not the enemy(link is external). We want to help the Church clean itself, so there are no other Mauricios drugged and raped in the seminary, so there are no other Sebastians forced to massage a bishop so he feels pleasure, so there’re no other Marcelos forced to receive oral sex, and so there’re no other Johns raped by their spiritual directors.’ The stories are real. They belong to Mauricio Pulgar, Marcelo Soto, Sebastian del Rio and a fourth person, who will be described as ‘John Doe.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Two Chilean priests present their resignation amid sex ring allegations
“Two priests from a troubled Chilean diocese, part of the 14 local priests suspended after they were accused of being part of a ring of sexual misconduct(link is external) that included gay prostitution and sexting with minors, have requested to be removed from the priesthood. Fathers Hector Fuentes and Freddy Gorigoitia are currently suspended from ministry because of the ongoing investigation against them and other priests who were part of the group calling itself ‘The Family.’ The two requested to be laicized on July 28.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chile’s national prosecutor requesting Vatican sex abuse files
“Chile’s national prosecuting authority said on Wednesday (Aug. 1) that it had asked the government to submit a formal request to the Vatican for information about nine clergymen and lay workers who have been accused of sexual abuse of children(link is external).” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Chilean prosecutor vows ‘historic trial’ on clerical sexual abuse
“A Chilean prosecutor this weekend (Jul. 28) announced plans to bring an ‘historical trial’ against the Catholic Church for attempting to hide or eliminate evidence related to clerical sexual abuse(link is external), confirming what Pope Francis said in May in a letter to the country’s bishops’ conference: ‘We know that there were religious who destroyed evidence.’ In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, prosecutor Emiliano Arias compared the decision of the Chilean Church not to cooperate with civilian authorities to having unreported ‘dead bodies’ under a chapel.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chilean archbishop questioned on cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy
“A sex abuse probe involving the Roman Catholic church(link is external) in Chile is widening. The leader of Chile’s church has been summoned by prosecutors to answer questions about an alleged cover-up of sex abuse of children by the clergy. This comes after prosecutors this week published a report about the scope of abuse by members of the church.” By Joel Richards, America.cgtn.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

New reports of sexual abuse rock Benedictine abbey schools in England
“Since 2014, when it was set up by the then-interior minister Theresa May, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) has investigated 13 discrete areas of public life in England and Wales, secular and religious, where there were grounds to suspect that child protection rules were inadequately observed. Among the investigated institutions were two Benedictine abbey schools, Ampleforth and Downside, situated at opposite ends of England. The Inquiry’s findings, just published, have rocked the Order of St. Benedict and the Catholic Church here.” By David Stewart, America: The Jesuit Review

Former Catholic priest groomed teenage girl before subjecting her to campaign of indecent assault
“A former Catholic priest in Wythenshawe has been jailed for grooming a teenage girl before subjecting her to a campaign of indecent assault(link is external). Vincent Whelan, 71, used his position at St Peter’s Catholic Church to sexually exploit the girl, who was under 16, in the 1980s. The parish priest, who now lives in Wirral, Merseyside, was aged 41 when he began grooming the ‘vulnerable’ teenager after befriending her family.” By Sophie Halle-Richards, Manchester Evening News

GUAM

Guam archdiocese guts a former seminary to raise money for clergy sex abuse settlements
“A former seminary building was packed with hundreds of shoppers Saturday (Jul. 28) after the Archdiocese of Agana, which owns the property, announced they were selling everything inside and using part of the proceeds to fund potential settlements for Guam clergy sex abuse victims(link is external). Approximately 350 people were camped outside the former Accion Hotel at 5 a.m. Saturday. That was three hours before the sale even began, Leonard Stohr, deacon for Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Yigo, told the Pacific Daily News.” By Kevin Tano, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Vatican ‘sought deal’ with Irish state to bury church documents
(Aug. 7, 2018) “Former president Mary McAleese says she refused to discuss an attempt by the Vatican in 2003 to secure an agreement with Ireland that it would not access church documents. Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms McAleese has revealed what she described as ‘one of the most devastating moments in my presidency(link is external).’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Clerical abuse scandals entering disturbing phase, says McAleese
“The abuse scandals in the Catholic Church were now entering ‘an even more disrupting chapter(link is external),’ former president Mary McAleese has said. She quoted veteran Vatican correspondent Robert Mickens as saying that, in order to solve the underlying problem, Pope Francis will ‘have to devote the rest of his pontificate almost exclusively to this gargantuan endeavor.’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Pope will meet abuse survivors as part of his visit to Ireland
“The Pope will meet abuse survivors(link is external) as part of his visit to Ireland later this month (August), it is understood, though details of when and whom he will meet will not be released in advance to protect the anonymity of survivors. Sources indicated the meeting would take place a day after the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said ‘time is very tight’ for Pope Francis to meet survivors of church abuse during his visit.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

TOP STORIES

Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months’ detention for child abuse cover-up
“The most senior clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse(link is external), Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been sentenced to 12 months’ detention. Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to August 14 while Wilson is assessed for home detention. He will be eligible for parole after six months. In May, the 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.” By Nancy Notzon Australian Broadcasting Company News

Cardinal McCarrick’s removal shows the Catholic Church may be taking sexual abuse more seriously
“‘Credible and substantiated.’ That was the finding of a Catholic Church investigation into allegations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, sexually abused a minor(link is external) almost 50 years ago. That it took nearly a half-century for these allegations to be dealt with illustrates the church’s wretched track record in combating clerical sex abuse. At the same time, even this belated reckoning shows the church is making some progress in facing up to its problems rather than, as had been its wont, covering them up.” By The Washington Post Editoral Board

Cheyenne Diocese: abuse allegations against retired bishop ‘credible’
“A recent investigation by the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, found that allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) against retired Bishop Joseph Hart are ‘credible and require disciplinary action,’ challenging a past inquiry by a local district attorney that has now been called ‘flawed.’ Hart, who served as Cheyenne bishop from 1976 to 2001, has been restricted from public ministry since September 2015. He has faced allegations of sexual abuse dating back to his time as a priest (1956-1976) in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, Diocese.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution
“The Vatican tribunal Saturday (Jun. 23) convicted a former papal diplomat and sentenced him to five years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography(link is external) in the first such trial of its kind inside the Vatican. Monsignor Carlo Capella admitted to viewing the images during what he called a period of ‘fragility’ and interior crisis sparked by a job transfer to the Vatican embassy in Washington … Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre read out the verdict after a two-day trial and sentenced Capella to five years in prison and a fine of about $6,000. Capella will serve the sentence in the Vatican barracks, where he has been held since his arrest earlier this year.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Two more Chilean bishops are out as pope cleans house
“Pope Francis on Thursday (Jun. 28) accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops(link is external) (bringing to five the total number of resignations accepted), the latest fallout from a sex abuse scandal whose scope and gravity were initially underestimated by the pontiff. Last month all 31 of Chile’s active bishops offered to quit for collectively failing to protect children from pedophile priests.” By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press

Newspapers, victims sue for release of Pennsylvania grand jury’s clergy sex abuse report
“Several Pennsylvania news outlets and victims of clergy sex abuse sued Friday (Jul. 6) for the release of a grand jury rep(link is external)ort which details cases of abuse in six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses. The state supreme court had blocked the release. Todd Frey, who testified to the grand jury about having been abused by a priest, filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court July 6 … Nine news outlets argued that Pennsylvania law requires that the more-than-800-page report, a ‘matter of extraordinary public importance,’ be released publicly.” By Catholic News Agency

ACCOUNTABILITY

Investigate the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo
“Imagine an organization. It’s well-regarded and has a long, storied history. But it has a dark side. In addition to its many good works, certain members committed some of the worst offenses imaginable(link is external) – crimes against children. Even worse, imagine that administrators had concocted a scheme to hush it all up in an effort to protect the organization. A question inevitably arises: What then is the culpability of the organization? In any setting but a church, the answer would be shouted from the courthouse steps. Should it be different when it is a church? It shouldn’t, but in Erie County, it appears it is.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

French ex-bishop to stand trial for not reporting pedophile priest
“The former bishop of the French city of Orleans, Andre Fort, was ordered Thursday (Jun. 28) to stand trial for failing to report a pedophile priest in his diocese(link is external). Fort, who was bishop of the northern city between 2002 and his retirement in 2010, was charged last June over allegations that he turned a blind eye to child abuse by priest Pierre de Castelet. Fort had moved de Castelet into roles where he did not have contact with children, but did not inform the police about accusations by a man who said he and others had been abused by the priest as a child.” By Expatica.com

Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeks input on secrecy of sex abuse grand jury report
“A lengthy report into allegations of sexual abuse and related cover-ups(link is external) within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic churches remained on hold Monday (Jul. 2), as the state’s highest court gave those who wanted to keep the grand jury report under wraps three days to weigh in. The state Supreme Court, through its filing office, told lawyers for those who have pending appellate challenges to the report’s release that they will have until Thursday (Jul. 5) afternoon to respond to a request to unseal it by The Associated Press and six other media organizations.” By Associated Press in The Morning Call

Have faith that the Catholic Church sex abuse report will be released
“The anger and disappointment over the last-minute hold on a potentially damning grand jury report on priest sex abuse(link is external) in Pennsylvania is understandable. The victims, the Catholic faithful and the public have waited too long already for these secrets to be spilled. We want the names. We want to know whether church officials or others tried to cover up their despicable actions.” By Paul Muschick, The Morning Call

Documents detail Vatican crackdown in troubled Indian archdiocese
“Vatican documents obtained by Crux detail the concerns that led Pope Francis on Friday(Jun. 22) to name an Apostolic Administrator for the troubled mother diocese of the Eastern Rite Syro-Malabar Church(link is external). Those documents show the Vatican is alarmed not only about financial scandals and mismanagement in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, technically known as an ‘archeparchy,’ but also divisions among the clergy, the auxiliary bishops of the diocese and Cardinal George Alencherry.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Melbourne’s archbishop(link is external), who said he’d prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex abuse of children that might be revealed to him in the confessional. The Vatican said Friday that the pontiff has appointed Monsignor Peter Comensoli, 54, to head the archdiocese, replacing Archbishop Denis Hart. At 77, Hart is two years older than the age at which all bishops must offer the pope their resignation.” By Associated Press

Bishop McElroy says ‘lived reality’ at heart of Francis’ pastoral theology, profound moment of renewal
“The ‘lived reality of men and women and children and families’ and their ‘sufferings and challenges and joys’ are at the center of ‘a moment of explicit theological renewal that will contribute enormously to the spread of the Gospel in this new millennium,’ said San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy in a June 26 keynote address. That understanding of the ‘emerging pastoral theology’(link is external) delineated and promoted by Pope Francis ‘both links us to the pastoral action and ethos of the Lord himself’ and is ‘highly attuned to the challenges and culture of the 21st century,’ McElroy told participants at the annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests held June 25-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Pope to make Vatican changes in push for reform, transparency
“Pope Francis will be making several significant changes in the Vatican(link is external) in the next few weeks and months to bring in fresh faces with new ideas and promote others as part of his push for reform. The pope disclosed his decisions in a rare sit-down interview with Reuters at his residence, during which he also spoke of migration, China, freedom of the press, sexual abuse and the role of women in the Church.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Pope affirms women can’t be priests, says Church has ‘woken up’ on sex abuse
“In a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about the ongoing migrant crisis in the United States, Pope Francis also touched on issues such as female ordination, the ongoing Vatican talks with China and the clerical sexual abuse scandals in Chile(link is external). The conversation between Francis and a journalist from British news agency Reuters took place on Sunday (Jun. 17) afternoon, and sections of it were published on Wednesday. Reuters also provided a transcript of portions of the interview to Vatican journalists.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Sights and sounds as Pope Francis creates new Princes of the Church
(Jun. 28, 2018) “Pope Francis will create 14 new cardinals(link is external) on Thursday (Jun. 28), 11 of whom will be in a position to elect, and be elected as, the next pope. They come from 12 countries, including Madagascar, Japan, Pakistan, Iraq, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Italy, in another attempt by the pontiff to make the College of Cardinals a reflection of the universality of the Church. The fact that they come from so many diverse backgrounds makes it understandable that they all have different priorities.” By Inés San Martin

BISHOPS

Archbishop Coleridge demands greater accountability of bishops during visit to Rome
“Brisbane Archbishop and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Mark Coleridge has used a Vatican visit to publicly demand bishops ‘be accountable’ in changing Church culture(link is external) that made child abuse possible. ‘We’re not above the law, we are not a law unto ourselves nor is the Church a law unto herself,’ Archbishop Coleridge said following a conference on safeguarding and child protection held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University on June 18-21.” By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

German bishops resume Communion debate after ignoring pope’s requet
“The German bishops’ conference said when the bishops meet in September, they will continue to examine the issue of Communion for Protestant spouses(link is external) of Catholics. The bishops published an ‘Orientation Guide in the Responsibility of Individual Bishops’ June 27. According to DomRadio, the official news site of the Diocese of Cologne, the guide is the same handout that the bishops’ conference developed in February, but with a changed title. Although it is published, the document is not available for public viewing.” By Zita Fletcher, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Editorial: Sound the horn, bishops, we’re waiting
“On the major issues of the day — immigration, climate change, racism, income inequality, to name a few — we are seeing extraordinary grassroots efforts to combat draconian federal policies that are the antithesis of the Beatitudes. In efforts like the renewed Poor People’s Campaign, students against gun violence, and the Catholic Climate Covenant, we have seen individuals and small groups rise up to confront those who put profits above people and those who steer government budgets and agendas away from supporting the common good to supporting corporate interests and personal gain … The time is ripe to move these grassroots efforts to a new place in the national agenda. To do that will require firm moral leadership. As Catholics, we look to our bishops for that kind of leadership(link is external).” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

PRIESTS

Priests’ social justice concerns shape assembly, resolutions
“More than 200 participants at the annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests(link is external) June 25-28 here heard calls for the church to focus on young Catholics, embrace the pastoral theology of Pope Francis, and affirm the Second Vatican Council’s theological spadework. During two business sessions, the attendees — the vast majority of whom are what researchers denote as “Vatican II priests” — also approved four goals and passed eight resolutions on topics such as women’s status in the church, ordination of married men, climate change, seminary formation and clericalism.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Dolores Leckey bridged the laity – hierarchy gap
“The Second Vatican Council presented alternative roles for believers, those who make up more than 99 percent of all Catholics. In it, the ‘docile flock’ was redefined as the people of God(link is external). Lumen Gentium stated unequivocally that the faithful shared in the ‘priestly, prophetic and kingly functions of Christ’ and as such had a mission both in the world and the church. Yet between the promulgation of these words and the reality there was a huge chasm that would be bridged over the next several decades. There were two issues of importance: how to persuade those with ecclesial authority to respond positively to lay empowerment, and how to educate laity about its mission.” By Dana Greene, National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Rozanski: Catholics want more input, outreach, transparency
“Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is looking forward to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield celebrating its 150th year in 2020 with a plan in place for more welcoming parishes, more involvement of youth in these parishes and more faith outreach beyond parish walls. In other words, an evangelizing look ahead in the spirit of Pope Francis’ proclamation(link is external), ‘Joy of the Gospel’ or ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ rather than a narrative totally framed by recent decades of merged parishes, closed schools and clergy sexual abuse lawsuits.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican

VATICAN

Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse
“Pope Francis has taken measures to address a spiraling sex abuse scandal in Chile(link is external), but he hasn’t moved on a problem closer to home: Vatican City itself does not have policies to protect children from pedophile priests or require suspected abuse to be reported to police.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

CLERICALISM

The clericalist syndrome
“‘How could someone with that on his record ever have become a cardinal?(link is external)’ That question has been asked repeatedly since the disclosure that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 87, former Archbishop of Washington, has been suspended from public ministry by order of the pope in the face of an allegation – deemed ‘credible and substantiated’ by the New York Archdiocese – that he abused a minor there forty-seven years ago.” By Russell Shaw, TheCatholicThing.org

WOMEN DEACONS

Doctrinal chief Ladaria plays down possibility of female deacons
“The leader of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation sought to play down expectations about the possibility of female deacons(link is external) today (Jun. 26), arguing that a commission set up by Pope Francis was focussed on their historical role in the early Church rather than on ordination. Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria told reporters in the Vatican on 26 June, that while women deacons existed in the early Church they were ‘not the same’ as their male counterparts.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women push for more from Vatican, Francis
“Pope Francis’ appointment of Italian journalist Paolo Ruffini as the first layperson to head a Vatican department on July 5 has been welcomed by Voices of Faith, a group promoting women’s leadership in the church … ‘It opens the door for laypersons of both genders to lead Vatican entities,’ Chantal Götz told NCR. But she added, ‘It is also an opportunity missed(link is external).’ She said that women need to be leading dicasteries and councils because that is where decisions are made. ‘Actions or implementations are now expected if the Vatican is serious about women in leadership positions,’ she said.” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter

Roman burial art reveals forgotten women of Christianity
“Is there such a thing as reverent glee? If so, then that’s how I would have described St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk as she bounded among the ruins of ancient Cenchreae, the location of the house church of the deacon Phoebe(link is external) during a travel program I led. There is something about standing in the place mentioned in our Scriptures that stirs us, and reminds us that our ancestors in the faith were real, historical folks. In this case, a first-century woman whom the Apostle Paul called ‘our sister, who is [also] a diakonos of the church at Cenchreae’ (Romans 16:1).” By Laurie Brink, National Catholic Reporter

Women explore their role in the Church
“Sixty women and men from Parramatta Diocese and beyond gathered last week to discuss the place of women in the life of the Church(link is external) and the need for the female voice in leadership. Our Lady of Mercy College, a school deeply committed to women’s participation in Church and society, was a fitting venue for the evening of formation and consultation with the Council for Australian Catholic Women.” By CathNews.com

Women and LGBTQ people must find solidarity in struggle for a just church
“In June 2017, when Jesuit Fr. James Martin was promoting his then-newly published book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, one of many interviews he offered was with Kaya Oakes, published on the website Religion Dispatches. Oakes asked Martin whether he believed there is ‘a common struggle in the church between women and LGBT people(link is external).’ Martin said that while there is an ‘interesting parallel’ between the issues, ultimately ‘that analogy fails, because LGBT people are the most marginalized people in the church today.’” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

As traditional parishes decline, ‘personal parishes’ find new interest
“Sociologists call it the ‘Big Sort.’ Americans are increasingly choosing their own communities, clustering around like-minded people: liberals in coastal cities or college towns, Trump supporters in Southern red states and the middle of the country. For better or worse, Catholics are not immune. Increasingly churchgoers are bypassing neighborhood parishes in favor of faith communities(link is external) that deliver what they are seeking.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Engage young Catholics now, says pastoral expert at priests’ assembly
“A leading expert on pastoral theology has underscored that the Catholic Church must quickly and effectively engage young Catholics(link is external) through dialogue, awareness, listening, respect, humility, patience and creativity — or its future looks dim. In the June 25 opening presentation at the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests’ annual assembly held June 25-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Franciscan Sr. Katarina Schuth did not minimize challenges in reaching millennial Catholics.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Concerns about the future of the Catholic Church
“Parishioners shared their concerns about the future of the Catholic Church(link is external) with Bishop Richard Malone Wednesday (Jun. 20) night along with three other Catholic panelists during a Q & A session. The community talked about the problems facing the church and how to address them for years to come. Before the panel started, Monsignor Robert Zapfel addressed the sex abuse allegations against dozens of priests.” By Rachele Mongiovi, WIVB4 NEWS

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic Church grapples with the high price of clergy sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will need to pay victims of abuse more than $210 million(link is external) in a settlement that has brought them to the seek bankruptcy protection. This money will go to about 450 survivors who are represented in the settlement. About $40 million of the $210 million will be paid by the church; the rest will be paid by insurers. How does the church move on from this? Do parishioners trust the process? Are they confident that the issue of sexual abuse is over within the church?” By Kerri Miller and Manda Lillie, Minnesota Public Radio

Diocese says former St. Theresa priest found stealing from collection
“The Rapid City Police released a statement on Sunday (Jul. 1) saying they have completed an investigation and that Father Marcin Garbacz admitted to being responsible for the theft of the weekly collection(link is external) at St. Therese church. The case has been forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office and they are in the process of determining and filing criminal charges.” By KOTA-TV News

Pope Francis calls a ‘Hail Mary’ pass on Vatican financial reform
“For some time now, Pope Francis’s ambitious attempt at financial reform of the Vatican has seemed like an American football game in which the pope’s team is down late in the fourth quarter, and backed up against its side of the field. On Tuesday (Jun. 26), Francis did what teams in that situation generally do – he called a ‘Hail Mary’ pass, naming a loyal but largely untested ally to take over the Vatican’s main financial center of power(link is external). It is, in a real sense, both the most reassuring and also the riskiest move we’ve seen from the pontiff in some time.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Could Diocese of Providence declare bankruptcy – now facing exposure to tens of millions
“The very idea that the Diocese of Providence could file for bankruptcy(link is external) seems absurd as it historically has been one of the most influential and wealthy institutions in Rhode Island. If it did file for bankruptcy it would not be the first Diocese in the United States to file for bankruptcy to avoid financial claims. Today, the Diocese of Providence is facing a massive lawsuit by the receiver for the St. Joseph pension fund — a lawsuit that alleges, in part, that Bishop Thomas Tobin and other top Diocesan leaders perpetrated a massive fraud.” By GoLocalProv.com

Ex-Diocese of Corpus Christi priest faces charge of ‘severe irregularities’ in audit
“A Catholic priest released from a Port Aransas church last year has been arrested after a financial audit revealed ‘severe irregularities(link is external),’ according to a statement from the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The Rev. Krzysztof Bauta is being charged with a second-degree felony, but it was not immediately clear from the statement what exact charge he is facing.” By Tim Acosta, Corpus Christi Caller Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Inside Chilean abuse survivor’s meeting with Pope Francis
“In Cruz’s (Chilean clergy abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz) case, the encounter began with Francis apologizing(link is external). ‘I felt he was very, very sincere,’ Cruz said. In their time with Francis, the three (Chilean abuse survivors) tried to focus less on their individual stories but rather convey the global scope of the clergy sexual abuse ‘epidemic’ that has many survivors seeking justice, Cruz said. ‘This is a crime, and we spelled it out with all our words.’ ‘I said, ‘Holy Father, we cannot let this go on one more [day]. It’s in your hands to do something,’’ Cruz added. ‘He agreed.’ Specific bishops also came up in the conversations, including Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago and a member of the pope’s nine-member advisory Council of Cardinals.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church finally cracking down on pedophile priests
“To even casual observers of recent news about the Catholic Church, it’s clear that a new day has dawned(link is external). Finally, after decades of stalling, denials and civil lawsuits, Catholic dioceses seem to recognize their accountability for the criminal behavior of pedophile priests.” By Mary Sanchez, Courier & Press

Lessons from McCarrick case: pay attention to misconduct with adults
“When the Archdiocese of New York announced a ‘credible and substantiated’ allegation of sexual abuse(link is external) against a minor was confirmed against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – the former Archbishop of Washington, who had served as a priest in New York – it was the first time an American cardinal was personally charged with a crime involving a minor, against the backdrop of a crisis that’s enveloped the Church for nearly two decades.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

At last, bad news is good news in the Catholic sex abuse scandal
“In the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, what seems like bad news for the church — seemingly daily headlines about clergy being disciplined — is actually good news. The truly bad news of the scandal, of course, has been the horrible abuse of children, which will have negative effects on them for the rest of their lives. The good news is that perpetrators have been caught and exposed. Accusations are being investigated and the guilty are being punished. When the abuse scandal was first uncovered in the United States some 30 years ago, bishops in other countries denied they had a problem. What is clearly a worldwide problem is now getting attention(link is external) at the highest level in the church, thanks to Pope Francis.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Church body (in Ireland) warns of legal barriers to addressing abuse failings
“The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said legal barriers are preventing it from addressing ‘serious and widespread’ failings(link is external) in how some allegations of clerical sexual abuse are handled. Data protection concerns are preventing the National Board for Safeguarding Children from keeping a central database of priests who are facing child abuse allegations, with potentially ‘devastating consequences for children’ the organization’s board told the Department of Justice in April.” By Jack Power, The Irish Times

ILLINOIS

Ex-priest who abused child allowed access to Chicago schools
“Chicago Public Schools correspondence provided to The Associated Press shows that the nation’s third-largest school district gave a former Roman Catholic priest access to its schools for months despite knowing he was forced to leave the priesthood(link is external) for sexually abusing a boy of 6 when he was around 15.” By Michael Tarm, 5News Chicago

At 125th year, activist church St. Agatha has emerged from clergy sex-abuse pain
“The Rev. Larry Dowling still remembers when he got the call from Cardinal Francis George asking him to consider serving as pastor of St. Agatha’s Church in North Lawndale. It was 2007, and St. Agatha’s was in agony. The church at 3147 W. Douglas was at the center of the clergy sex-abuse scandal(link is external) rocking the Chicago archdiocese, with its former pastor, the Rev. Daniel J. McCormack, accused — and later convicted — of abusing five boys.” By Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun Times

LOUISIANA

Archdiocese of New Orleans pays ‘substantial’ sum to resolve rape claims
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans has paid more than a half-million dollars to settle claims that a longtime deacon and teacher repeatedly raped an altar boy(link is external) at Holy Rosary School in New Orleans more than three decades ago. The settlement, paid this month, brought a swift conclusion to a lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused the archdiocese of allowing a ‘sexual predator’ to work among children in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and doing ‘nothing to intervene and prevent such misconduct from occurring.’” By Jim Mustian, The New Orleans Advocate

Questions about Archdiocese of New Orleans’ need to disclose after abuse case against deacon
“Survivor groups have criticized the church for failing to deliver on many of its promises, particularly when it comes to the pledge to identify former priests and deacons accused of wrongdoing(link is external). The inconsistencies continued last week, when New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond wrote a letter to church members insisting the archdiocese acted ‘quickly and pastorally’ in response to an explosive lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused a longtime deacon and Catholic schoolteacher, George F. Brignac, of repeatedly raping an altar boy at Holy Rosary School in the early 1980s.” By Jim Mustian, The New Orleans Advocate

MICHIGAN

Sexual abuse claim against dead Michigan priest is credible, says church
“The Roman Catholic Church in southeastern Michigan is urging people to step forward if they believe they were sexually abused by a priest(link is external) who died in 1993. The archdiocese says it investigated a complaint against Monsignor Arthur Karey and found it credible. Spokesman Ned McGrath says the allegation involved a girl decades ago but was received just last year. Karey died in 1993 at age 74. He was a priest for 50 years in Detroit, Ecorse and Lake Orion. His service included work as a Detroit police chaplain.” By ClickOnDetroit.com

NEW YORK

There are now 74 Catholic priests in Buffalo accused of sexual misconduct
“To date, 74 current or former Buffalo priests have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). The Diocese of Buffalo in March 2018 released a list of 42 ‘diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse with a minor.’ It included deceased priests ‘with more than one allegation made against them.’ That list did not include the names of dozens of additional priests …” By Charlie Specht and Christine Streich, WKBW-TV News

Suspended Greene County priest permanently barred from ministry
“Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger announced today (Jun. 30) that he has permanently barred Rev. Jeremiah Nunan, 81, from ministry after the Albany Diocese Review Board found reasonable grounds to believe he had sexually abused a minor(link is external) in the early 1990s. Nunan was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese six years ago. He was barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest. Bishop Scharfenberger accepted the recommendation of the Diocese Review Board following an independent investigation and confirmed Nunan’s permanent removal from ministry. Nunan has denied the allegation.” By Diocese of Albany

As Pennsylvania investigates dioceses, New York prosecutors stay bystanders
“Special agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office used search warrants and subpoenas last year to seize evidence of a massive cover-up of clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses(link is external) in the state. But despite growing revelations of sex abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo, law enforcement authorities in New York aren’t investigating whether crimes were committed in keeping the abuses hidden for so long.” By Jay Tokacz, The Buffalo News

Accused priest returns to pulpit after diocese finds claims ‘not substantiated’
“The Rev. Dennis G. Riter, in his first Mass since being suspended from ministry due to a sex abuse complaint(link is external), told parishioners he was happy to be back in the pulpit and acknowledged that ‘it’s been a long three months.’ ‘I am so very, very happy to be with you today,’ Riter said during the Saturday evening Mass in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk. ‘I certainly felt your prayers and your support over the past three months.’ Riter didn’t specifically address the abuse claim, reported to the Diocese of Buffalo in March, that resulted in his suspension.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Buffalo Diocese puts four more priests on leave over sex abuse claims
“Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone put four more priests on leave due to complaints of sexual abuse(link is external), said allegations against three other priests were substantiated and exonerated a fourth priest who had been suspended in March. A diocesan investigation determined that the allegations against the Rev. Dennis G. Riter, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk, have not been substantiated. Riter has been returned to active ministry and likely will celebrate Masses in the parish this weekend (Jul. 1). Removed from active ministry this week were four retired priests who assist at area parishes: the Rev. Pascal D. Ipolito, the Rev. Daniel J. Palys, the Rev. Roy Herberger and the Rev. Robert A. Stolinski.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Sisters seek to end gag order in priest sex abuse settlement
“Two sisters asked a judge Monday (Jul. 2) to invalidate broad confidentiality agreements other family members made with a Pennsylvania Catholic diocese so they can speak publicly about sexual abuse at the hands of a parish priest(link is external) more than two decades ago. The lawsuit in county court in Harrisburg by two adult women said their silence was required in settlements made with the Harrisburg Diocese over sexual abuse of two other sisters in the same family by Father Augustine Michael Giella.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Erie bishop calls abuse findings ‘sobering,’ ‘graphic’
“Bishop Lawrence T. Persico sat in front of 23 angry grand jury members(link is external) in April and apologized. ‘I said that I was sorry that they had to sit there and listen for two years to hear all that,’ said the Most Rev. Persico, who heads the diocese of Erie. ‘Well, they were upset. I can understand that. They are trying to get an understanding of what happened.’” By Melissa Klaric, The Tribune-Democrat

Eastern Pennsylvania priest suspended after online sex-abuse lawsuit
“A priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown, Pa., has been suspended after a lawsuit accused him of exploiting a teenage boy’s trust by engaging in sexual acts(link is external)over the internet with him beginning in 2011. The Allentown diocese said in a statement it had just learned of the lawsuit and that Monsignor Francis Nave will be removed from ministry pending investigation. Msgr. Nave was pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Bath, Pa.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TEXAS

Bishop Cantú responds to sexual abuse lawsuit naming Las Cruces parish
“The Diocese of Las Cruces responded on Wednesday (Jun. 20) to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of El Paso alleging sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) 40 years ago by Father Joaquin Resma when he was a priest at Our Lady of Health parish in Las Cruces. Resma died in 1983.” By Las Cruces Sun News

Alleged victim says local priest sexually assaulted her during confession
“A woman who says a former Catholic priest sexually abused her as a child(link is external) told investigators it all began when she was 8 years old, according to court documents. Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested this month after an investigation was launched into the claims of sexual abuse alleged to have happened for several years in the late 1990s.” By Jessica Gonzalez, KFOX14 News

AUSTRALIA

Some Australian bishops advise Wilson to resign
“Amidst the ongoing fallout surrounding the news that Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will appeal his conviction of covering up sex abuse(link is external), the head of the Australian Bishops’ Conference has released a statement wherein he notes that a number of bishops have encouraged Wilson to resign.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Australia’s national compensation plan for child sex abuse victims begins
“On Sunday (Jul. 1), Australia launched a program to compensate the victims of institutional child sex abuse(link is external). ‘The development of the National Redress Scheme was one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and was supported by the Catholic Church in Australia (which was the first non-government entity to join the scheme) and many survivor groups,’ read a statement from the Archdiocese of Sydney. The scheme runs ten years – from July 1, 2018 until June 30, 2027.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

Abuse survivors doubt independence of company running safeguarding standards forum
“Prominent Hunter Valley clerical abuse survivors will boycott a Catholic safeguarding standards forum, saying it is a sham that lacks independence. A consultation forum will be held in Newcastle today (Jul. 1) as part of an Australia-wide engagement with survivors of child sexual abuse(link is external), advocates, Catholic Church personnel and others to discuss draft national Catholic safeguarding standards.” By Gixelle Wakatama and Lix Farquhar, Australian Broadcasting Company

Catholic priests who don’t report confessions of child sex abuse may be charged
“Catholic priests in WA would face criminal charges if they refuse to break the seal of confession to report child sex abuse to police(link is external). But it appears WA is headed towards a stand-off between Church and State, with Perth’s top Catholic saying this week the Church is not backing down and will continue to practice confessional secrecy.” By Kate Campbell, PerthNow.com

CANADA

Catholic diocese slashing funding for priest abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic diocese in Southwestern Ontario has slashed funds to pay for counseling of those abused by pries(link is external)ts and adopted American-style tactics by using a top-dollar legal team to go after those who support victims, a London lawyer says. The change in tactics by the Diocese of London came suddenly and left victims vulnerable, said lawyer Rob Talach of London, who has represented many victims and complainants since becoming a lawyer in 2002.” By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

CHILE

Sacred Hearts priest in Chile investigated for sexual abuse
“The Chilean province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary reported Monday (Jun. 18) that a preliminary investigation is underway on Father Juan Andrés Peretiatkowicz Valdés, accused of sexual abuse and the abuse of power(link is external). According to a June 18 statement, the case involves accusations of acts which ‘allegedly began at the end of the 1980s.’ According to the congregation the priest has had no pastoral responsibilities for five years for health reasons.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Isle of Man diocese to review alleged abuse by clergy
“Last week a report examining the Church’s ‘flawed’ Past Case Review (PCR) said it failed to identify at least 22 cases of possible abuse(link is external). Sodor and Man is one of seven CofE dioceses whose efforts were deemed ‘inadequate.’ A diocese spokesman acknowledged ‘shortcomings’ in its record-keeping.” By BBC News

GUAM

Archdiocese names in $5M sex abuse lawsuit
“A former Guam resident has filed a sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana, alleging he was sexually molested and abused by a priest in 1967. J.V.C., who used initials to protect his identity, now lives in Oregon and alleges he was sexually molested and abused by Antonio Cruz, who is now deceased.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

INDIA

Indian Catholic priest on trial for sex abuse
“A Catholic priest in India who was arrested more than a year ago on charges of raping and impregnating a 17-year-old schoolgirl(link is external), is to stand trial. Father Robin Vadakkancherry of Mananthavady Diocese was parish priest of St. Sebastian’s Church in Kottiyoor at the time of the alleged offense.” By T.K. Devasia, International La Croix

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Retired Washington cardinal out of ministry after credible abuse accusation
“In a shocking announcement, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 2006, has announced that he is stepping down from active ministry after allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) were found ‘credible and substantiated.’ The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope removes Chile bishop accused of abuse cover up
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial Chilean bishop(link is external)accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse, making it the first such accepted resignation since all the country’s bishops offered to step down in May … The Vatican announced Francis’s decision on Monday (Jun. 11), and said Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, an auxiliary bishop from the capital Santiago, would serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese. Two other bishops also had their resignations accepted: Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Bishops’ prosecutions may point to new phase in church’s sex abuse crisis
“Pope Francis has been dealing over recent months with what has seemed like an unending saga of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse(link is external) crisis in Chile. After being criticized for saying abuse victims had committed ‘calumny’ during his January visit to the country, the pope has since admitted making ‘serious mistakes,’ met with Chilean victims in Rome, and received offers of resignation from most of the country’s bishops … But if Francis’ response to clergy abuse in Chile has appeared unending, recent developments across the world indicate that an examination into how the global Catholic Church has handled, or mishandled, sexual abuse is just beginning to ramp up.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Expanded background checks among changes to child protection charter
“Incremental changes to the U.S. bishops’ guiding document(link is external) on addressing sexual abuse of minors by clergy were approved Thursday (Jun. 13) during the prelates’ annual spring assembly, marking the first modifications since 2011. In the first of six votes set for day two of the gathering, the bishops voted 185-5, with one abstention, to approve a series of revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Australian prelate: laity could have prevented ‘catastrophic’ abuse crisis
“Arguably, few people in Australia can say they are more on the front lines in picking up the pieces after the recently concluded Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse that was highly critical of the Catholic Church than Archbishop Mark Coleridge, elected as president of the country’s bishops’ conference last month. Despite the challenges, which also include trials of two of Australia’s most renowned clerics … Coleridge is convinced that when it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse, a ‘change in culture’ is needed and is already in motion(link is external).” By Inés San Martin, John L. Allen, and Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CLERGY ABUSE CRISIS IN CHILE

The clergy abuse crisis in Chile is sending shockwaves through the Catholic community there and reverberating throughout the world as potential changes to how the Church handles such abuse are discussed. Here are some of the news stories that have appeared in addition to those we cite elsewhere in this issue of Focus:

ACCOUNTABILITY

#MeToo, earlier scandals mean pending sex abuse report can’t be ‘a small problem’
“In the mid-2000s, when then-Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she was assailed for waging a campaign against the Roman Catholic Church. It was a virtual repeat of what had played out just a few years prior in 2002 in Boston … At times, both in Philadelphia and Boston, Catholics rallied behind the church and defended their faith as legions came to terms with revelations of the assaults. Nearly a decade later, a pending grand jury investigation report into clergy sex abuse allegations and cover-up across six dioceses in Pennsylvania stands against a markedly changed landscape(link is external).” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Report on Pennsylvania roman Catholic priest sexual abuse to be most extensive ever
“The results of a lengthy probe into the handling of sexual abuse claims by Roman Catholic dioceses(link is external) throughout Pennsylvania, which victim advocates say will be the biggest and most exhaustive ever by a U.S. state, could be made public within weeks. A statewide grand jury spent nearly two years looking into the abuse scandal, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he plans to address the panel’s findings by the end of June. The grand jury investigated six of the state’s eight dioceses, which collectively minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics. The report is expected to reveal details of widespread abuse and efforts to conceal and protect abusive priests.” By Claudia Lauer, Associated Press

Chile prosecutors raid Catholic Church offices amid sex abuse probe
“Chilean police and prosecutors on Wednesday (Jun. 12) launched separate and unexpected raids on Roman Catholic Church offices(link is external) to seize documents relating to mounting claims of sexual abuse and cover-up. The raids came just hours before Vatican abuse investigators sent by Pope Francis met the country’s top prosecutor to discuss collaborating on civil and canonical probes.” By Aislinn Laing and Dave Sherwood, Reuters

Church praised for proactive response on abuse but warned of complacency
“Despite groundbreaking steps the U.S. Catholic Church has taken to prevent the sexual abuse of minors in the past 16 years, a potential ‘complacency’ in following safety protocols could pose a challenge(link is external) to those hard-won advances. Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, shared that view with diocesan safe environment and victims’ assistance coordinators attending the Child and Youth Protection Catholic Leadership Conference in New Orleans.” By Peter Finney, Jr., Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Abuse survivors launch global bishop accountability effort
“Some of the most prominent figures in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are joining forces in a new international effort to end abuse(link is external) and the impunity of bishops and religious superiors who enable it. The multinational initiative, End Clergy Abuse, was announced Thursday at a press conference in Geneva. One after another, more than a dozen members held up their national flags and denounced an individual bishop who had mishandled a case, from the Americas to Africa and Europe in between.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

Priests who don’t report sex abuse confessions could be fined
“Some Catholic priests across the Tasman will soon be facing a $10,000 fine if someone confesses child sex abuse to them and they don’t report it to the police. Both South Australia and ACT have law changes coming to crack open the confessional(link is external). It is expected that the confession-breaking laws could spread nationwide, as part of the federal government’s recently released response to the Royal Commission into child sex abuse’s recommendations.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

Guam’s archbishop, Anthony Apuron, appeals Vatican verdict on sex-abuse charges
“Guam’s controversial archbishop, removed from office in March and barred from living in the U.S. territory, has appealed a Vatican tribunal’s ruling that found him guilty(link is external) of ‘certain accusations’ involving the sexual abuse of minors, the Archdiocese of Agaña said Thursday (Jun. 14). During the last week of April, Rome notified new Archbishop Michael Byrnes, tapped to replace Anthony S. Apuron on March 16, about Apuron’s appeal, according to Tony Diaz, director of communications for the archdiocese.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, on 13NewsNow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis is finally starting to get it
“The world has heard it again and again — heartfelt, ringing pledges by Pope Francis and his predecessors that the Vatican, at long last, has gotten the message on the global epidemic of clerical sex abuse. These often have been followed by half-measures, equivocations, inertia and even outright contempt for accusers, who in most cases were victimized as children. Now, five years into his papacy, there are signs, at last, that Pope Francis is starting to get it(link is external).” By The Washington Post Editorial Board

Pope Francis to be briefed on institutional abuse ahead of Ireland visit
“Pope Francis ‘will be briefed’ before he arrives in Dublin about the abuse of women and children in Catholic-run institutions(link is external) in Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said. ‘It’s a challenge for all of us in the Irish church to recognize the way people have been damaged, the way the church has been damaged,’ Dr Martin said in Maynooth on Monday (Jun. 11) as he announced details of the pope’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

In letter to Chileans, Francis decries church’s ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’
“Pope Francis has become the first leader of the Catholic Church to publicly decry a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’ in the global institution(link is external), admitting in a strikingly blunt letter to the people of Chile that clergy sexual abuse has continued because church leaders have not taken victims seriously. In an eight-page May 31 message addressed to ‘the Pilgrim people of God in Chile,’ the pope also says Catholic leaders must work to better respect the voices and opinions of non-clerics ‘to promote communities capable of fighting against abusive situations, communities where exchange, discussion, confrontation are welcome.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Council of Cardinals finalizes draft of new document on Roman Curia
“Pope Francis will review a finalized draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Roman Curia(link is external), the Vatican spokesman said. The document, provisionally titled ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ (“Preach the Gospel”), was reviewed by the international Council of Cardinals, and the draft will be ‘given to the Holy Father for the considerations he deems opportune, useful and necessary,’ said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, June 13.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

BISHOPS

Vatican replaces archbishop convicted of concealing child sex abuse
“The Vatican on Sunday (Jun.3) announced a temporary replacement for an Australian archbishop who was convicted of concealing child sex abuse(link is external) by a fellow priest in the 1970s. Pope Francis said in a statement that Greg O’Kelly, the current Bishop of Port Pirie, in the state of South Australia, would temporarily replace Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, who stepped aside after being convicted of covering up abuses last month.” By Delia Gallagher and Sheena McKenzie, CNN

What to expect when the U.S. bishops meet in Florida this week
“While the June meeting of the U.S. bishops(link is external) is often considered to be the more lackluster of their two annual gatherings, at least in terms of news content, as they meet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this week (Jun. 12), major topics are on the agenda including healthcare, immigration, and religious liberty – all of which correspond to pressing issues on the national scene.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

Vatican’s synod document takes inclusive tone towards youth who disagree with church
“The Vatican document outlining the initial working positions for October’s global meeting of Catholic bishops on the needs of young people focuses on considering how church leaders can better help the rising generation deal with unique 21st century challenges(link is external) such as the part-time economy, digital dependency, and even so-called ‘fake news.’ The document, which will guide the opening discussions of the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops in Rome, also takes a notably inclusive tone towards both young Catholics who express disagreement with church teachings and young gay people.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Vatican reports ‘crisis of vocations’ as seminarian numbers fall worldwide
“The number of seminarians has fallen(link is external) amid what a Vatican document calls a ‘crisis of vocations.’ Between 2012 and 2016, the number of men in seminary training for the priesthood fell by nearly 4,000, to 116,160. The decline has been especially concentrated in the Americas and Europe. In Africa seminary numbers have steadily increased, with Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania and Madagascar (an outlier with a 66 per cent rise) providing an especially large number of future priests.” By Dan Hitchens, Catholic Herald

The Vatican is facing a priest shortage
“The Vatican called Friday (Jun. 8) for courageous proposals to cope with a shortage of priests in the Amazon(link is external), and said it wouldn’t rule out debate on whether married men could step in to fill the ‘precariously-thin presence’ of the Catholic Church in the vast region. In a preparatory document seeking input from South American bishops for the Vatican’s 2019 meeting on the Amazon, organizers also said the church must identify new ‘official ministries’ for women to play in the region.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Bloomberg News

VATICAN

Vatican’s top sex abuse investigators promise action in Chile
“The Vatican’s top sex abuse investigators arrived in Chile on Tuesday (Jun. 12) saying they had orders from Pope Francis to ensure the Roman Catholic Church responds to “every case of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) committed by clergymen” in the South American nation. New abuse accusations have emerged in recent weeks against the Church in Chile, including allegations against the pope’s own Jesuit order. They follow the resignation of three bishops after an abuse and cover-up scandal that has damaged the Church’s reputation in the country.” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Vatican open to official role for women and married men in Amazon
“The Vatican says it is open to discussing the ordination of married men and an official role for women,(link is external) to address a shortage of priests in the Amazon region. A document prepared for a meeting at the Vatican on the issue, due to be held in October 2019, suggests examining what “type of official ministry can be conferred on women.” The meeting is also expected to discuss a previously-mooted suggestion that older married men could serve as priests in the region.” By Delia Gallagher and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Vatican denies protecting Peruvian accused of sex crimes
“The Vatican is denying it is protecting the founder of a Peru-based conservative Catholic community who is accused of sexual and psychological abuse against minors(link is external) and is being sought by Peruvian prosecutors. A letter from the Vatican’s office of religious orders acknowledged it had instructed Luis Figari to stay away from the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae community and required him to seek permission before leaving Rome, but said it never impeded his return to face charges.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

CHILD PROTECTION

As archdiocese builds new system to address clergy sex abuse, trust grows
“Tim O’Malley moved into a tiny, windowless office in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2014 facing a daunting task: To overhaul the often secretive way it addressed child sex abuse(link is external) by priests. O’Malley, former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, assembled a team of law enforcement leaders that scoured hundreds of abuse files from the past 60 years. They chased paper trails, interviewed witnesses, and laid the foundation for what is now seen as one of the nation’s most comprehensive archdiocesan child-protection systems.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

‘Dark Secret’ documentary now on Amazon
“Dark Secret, a documentary about the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s clergy sex abuse coverup(link is external), is now available on Amazon. It’s released just in time for the newest Grand Jury Report that will detail more coverups in several other Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. It previously aired on PBS and I’m honored to have been interviewed for it. Documentarian Anne MacGregor worked tirelessly to bring the facts forward. It serves as yet another call to action for Catholics, the PA legislature and voters. Please watch and share with anyone who has or cares about children.” By Susan Matthews & Kathy Kane, Catholics4Change.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Jesus founded a movement led by both men and women
“Sometimes it is really difficult to be both female and Catholic. On the one hand, I couldn’t be prouder of the creative leadership taken by the University of Notre Dame and Pope Francis in working with oil executives to address climate change … On the other hand, I am dismayed by yet another statement from the Vatican prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the non-ordination of women to the priesthood. I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive(link is external). It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Vatican asks for ‘new ways’ for access to Communion in Amazon region
“A Vatican document meant to help prepare for a special meeting of Catholic bishops from the Amazon rainforest focuses on how the church’s ministry in the nine-nation region is overextended and calls for consideration of ‘new ways’ to allow laypeople(link is external) ‘better and more frequent access to the Eucharist.’ The 14-page preparatory paper for the 2019 special assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Amazon, released June 8, references the issue of overextension several times. At one instance, it states frankly that the church’s pastoral care in the region ‘has been spread precariously thin.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Polish bishops avoid Communion row in Amoris Laetitia guidelines
“Poland’s bishops have released their long-awaited guidelines on Amoris Laetitia(link is external), sidestepping questions on Communion for the divorced and remarried. The bishops said last year that Amoris had not changed Church doctrine on Holy Communion, and that those in ‘irregular unions’ should be led to ‘true repentance and sacramental reconciliation’ with their spouse.” By Nick Hallet, Catholic Herald

CHURCH FINANCES

Several thousand dollars in collection money stolen from Catholic Church
Thousands of dollars were stolen(link is external) over the weekend from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Father Tony Vilano of St. Francis of Assisi said it happened overnight between Sunday (Jun. 17) night and Monday morning. ‘After we finished our last Mass, sometime in the evening, someone came in and broke into St. Francis of Assisi,’ said Vilano. ‘(They) broke into this parish and went straight for the collections.’” By Stephanie Serna, KSAT-TV News

Priest stood aside amidst parish funds probe
“The Catholic Archbishop of Perth has stood aside a priest and called in police to investigate long-running financial concerns(link is external) at one of Western Australia’s oldest churches he Perth Archdiocese released a statement to The West Australian yesterday (Jun. 12) in which it revealed it had stood aside Father Joe Walsh and referred an internal financial investigation to WA Police.” By CathNews.com

Catholic church administrator accused of embezzling thousands of dollars
“A former employee of a Catholic church in Tuscola County is heading to trial, accused of embezzling money(link is external). Investigators believe Alma Moreno-Babcock, who was the church’s liturgy coordinator, may have been stealing money for at least a couple of years, if not longer.” By Terry Camp, ABC12 News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Time is running out to help abuse victims
“With only days left in this legislative session, the Republican majority in the state Senate seems determined to acknowledge the plight of young victims of sexual abuse only if it can protect those who are responsible(link is external). That’s quite a trick, but it is at the heart of the GOP alternative to the Child Victims Act which has repeatedly passed the Assembly, which has Democratic support but lacks the vote of even one Republican including those retiring at the end of this term who could go out with this humane accomplishment as part of their legacy.” By Times Herald-Record Editorial Staff

Push for legislation to follow report on Church sex abuse
“A renewed push for legislation to abolish Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations(link is external) in sex abuse cases will follow the publication of a sweeping grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups within six Roman Catholic dioceses around the state, a lawmaker said Tuesday (Jun. 12). Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, said he will be prepared to seek a vote in the state House of Representatives on legislation that carries provisions sought by victims.” By Mark Levy, Associated Press, in U.S. News & World Report

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Hans Zollner: two keys for priests to avoid sexual abuse
“This expert from the Vatican commission for the Protection of Minors explains that to prevent priests from sexual abuse(link is external), two aspects must be stressed. The seminary must closely review candidates before accepting; and once these men have been ordained, they must never lose their spiritual guidance.” By RomeReports.com

Former senior Catholic diplomat charged with sharing ‘large quantity’ of child pornography
“A Catholic priest who once was one of the church’s top diplomats in Washington was indicted by the Vatican on accusations of possessing and sharing ‘a large quantity’ of child pornography(link is external). In a statement obtained by Reuters, the Vatican said Monsignor Carlo Capella would face a trial starting on 22 June. He is being held in a cell in the Vatican’s police barracks.” By Cleve Wootson, Julie Zauzmer, Independent

FLORIDA

Priest shielded from testifying in sexual abuse case
“Pointing to a state religious-freedom law, an appeals court has shielded a priest from testifying(link is external) about his discussion with a teenage girl during the Catholic sacrament of confession about the girl being sexual abused. The ruling Friday by a panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal in an Orange County case sided with priest Vincenzo Ronchi, who argued that the Catholic Church bars priests from disclosing any aspects of communications during confession — more formally known as the sacrament of reconciliation — and that disclosure could even lead to excommunication from the church.” By Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida, on News4Jax.com

LOUISIANA

Lafayette Diocese priest accused of abuse of a minor
“The Diocese of Lafayette was informed this week of an allegation of abuse of a minor(link is external), the Diocese said in a statement released Saturday (Jun. 2) at 4 p.m. According to the statement, the alleged incident occurred several years ago, and the alleged victim is now an adult. The Diocese and the alleged victim have reported the allegation to law enforcement authorities and the Diocese is assisting and cooperating fully with the civil investigation.” By The Daily Advertiser

Lafayette bishop won’t say whether he’ll release names of accused priests; dozens of U.S. dioceses already do
“Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses around the U.S. have released the names of priests who sexually abused minors(link is external), but the Diocese of Lafayette has so far opted against the practice — and the bishop has declined to say whether he plans to do so in the future. The recent announcement of a sexual-abuse investigation into St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry has reignited calls to the Diocese of Lafayette — including from survivors of such sexual abuse — to release the names of abusive priests from the area.” By Lanie Lee Cook, KATC-TV News

MARYLAND

Second allegation of child sexual abuse made against Highlandtown priest
“A few weeks ago, we shared some difficult news with you about Father Luigi Esposito and an allegation of child sexual abuse(link is external) against him from the 1970s. Since then, we have received another allegation from an individual who also claims to have been sexually abused by Father Esposito in the 1970s. This second individual was approximately 15 years old when the abuse occurred. Both alleged victims are females and were members of Our Lady of Pompei at the time the abuse occurred. The second allegation, which was prompted by public reports about the initial allegation, has been reported to civil authorities. The Archdiocese has extended an offer of counseling assistance to both alleged victims.” By Jerri Burkhardt, Archdiocese of Baltimore

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese needs $40M for sex abuse settlement. Here’s where it’s looking.
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is crafting a plan that leans on budget cuts, property sales and the generosity of Catholics to help the church emerge from bankruptcy and move beyond a clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has plagued it for years. The archdiocese has committed to pay $40 million of the historic $210 million settlement with clergy abuse survivors that isn’t covered by insurance. Officials on Friday (Jun. 8) shared the basics of their proposed payment plan with MPR News.” By Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio

NEW JERSEY

Former Delbarton teacher admits he had sex with 50 boys; school settles five sex abuse suits
“The Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township has settled lawsuits brought by five men who alleged they were sexually abused by five monks(link is external) — including a former headmaster of the school. Six additional lawsuits are pending against the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey and St. Mary’s Abbey, which runs the school — three filed on Tuesday (May 29). Details of the settlements, made over the past couple of months, were not disclosed.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK

Editorial: Malone’s words matter
“Call it what you want – spin control, crisis management or welcome candor – but Bishop Richard J. Malone deserves credit for addressing the clergy sex-abuse scandal head-on(link is external). In last week’s interview with The Buffalo News, Malone addressed many of the questions surrounding the Diocese of Buffalo’s handling of the scandal that has been troubling the Catholic community. At least 58 priests who worked in the Buffalo area have been linked to sex allegations.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Lawyer calls on Catholic church to release ‘secret’ records in Rochester priest scandal
“Saying it is time for ‘the church to stop these evil acts’ a Boston attorney who has spent decades representing victims of sexual abuse called on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester and its bishop to release records it may hold concerning allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) of children by clergy. Mitchell Garabedian stood on the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester on Wednesday (Jun. 13) and named eight priests from the Rochester diocese who are accused of sexually abusing minor children.” By Sean Lahman and Meaghan M. McDermont, Democrat & Chronicle

Parish wonders what happened to pastor removed three years ago
“Nearly three years ago, the Buffalo Diocese abruptly removed the Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak as pastor(link is external) of Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Lancaster. Nobody at the parish was told why. A diocese representative announced Fronczak’s departure at Masses at the church in October 2015, recalled Dick Wagner, 80, a long-time parishioner.” By Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Here’s what churchgoers are saying about sexual abuse claims against priest
“Members of St. Patrick’s Parish in Owego are reacting to the sexual abuse allegations against a local priest(link is external). Thomas Valenti is one of eight priests accused of sexually abusing children in the Rochester Catholic Diocese. He now serves as a parochial administrator at Blessed Trinity, which includes St. Patrick’s. Valenti is accused of abusing a 15-year-old from 1975 to 1977. During that time, he was a deacon at St. Mary’s in Ontario, New York.” By Nicholas Phillips, Spectrum News

Diocese of Rochester has paid $1.6M to 20 sex abuse victims
“At least 20 children, and probably more, have been sexually abused by 24 priests(link is external)in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester since 1950. Over the years, the diocese has paid $1,616,000 in compensation to those victims. The number of victims is likely higher because not all victims accept financial compensation. Some of the payouts date back decades, although most were settled since the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002.” By David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle

OHIO

Alleged victim speaks out after sexual abuse case against priest
“It’s been over a week since the Diocese of Steubenville removed retired priest, Monsignor Mark Froehlich after allegations of sexual abuse were deemed ‘credible(link is external).’ But Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, officials and alleged victims are now claiming the Diocese knew about the complaint since January. There is an active investigation ongoing with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office regarding the issue, but according to SNAP, they want to see more being done.” By Falicia Woody, WTRF-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania abuse survivor calls on Pope Francis to intervene
“Mark Rozzi can remember the feeling of the tall grass brushing against his bare legs on the day he and a close friend desperately ran out of the rectory in Hyde Park, Pennsylvania. Rozzi, who was 13 at the time, had just been raped by his priest(link is external), the Rev Edward Graff, and remembers thinking in that moment, as he ran through a field, that he would take his terrible new secret to his grave.” By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

TEXAS

Former Texas Catholic priest arrested in El Paso on sexual assault of a child charge
“El Paso police arrested a former Texas priest who, during an El Paso Catholic Diocese investigation last year, allegedly admitted to sexually abusing a child(link is external). Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested Monday (Jun. 11) afternoon in front of his home in the 3500 block of Keltner Avenue in Northeast El Paso, police said. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to jail records.” By Daniel Borunda, El Pas Times

AUSTRALIA

Priest who confessed to abuse 1500 times ‘proves need for change’
“A paedophile priest who admitted to child abuse on more than 1500(link is external) occasions but was just told to “pray more” should be a ‘prime example’ for the Catholic Church to allow breaking the seal of confession, advocates have told The New Daily. Father Michael McArdle made an affidavit in 2004 stating he had confessed 1500 times to molesting children to 30 different priests over a 25-year period.” By Lucie Morris-Marr, The New Daily

Mother of abuse survivor to sue the Catholic Church
“The mother of clergy abuse survivor, Paul Levey, may be the first parent and secondary victim to sue the Catholic Church(link is external). Anne Levey, who is haunted daily by knowledge of Paul’s horrific abuse by laicized and jailed priest Gerald Ridsdale, said she will be pursuing a case against the Catholic Church as a secondary victim because of the damage and pain suffered.” By Leanne Younes, the Courier

Parish priest stood down over child safety concerns
“A Catholic priest who presides over two parishes in Melbourne’s south has been ordered to take leave while he is investigated for allegedly breaching child safety laws(link is external). Archbishop Denis Hart has asked Father Paul Newton, the parish priest for St Kevin’s Ormond and St Patrick’s Murrumbeena, to take a period of administrative leave while parishioners’ concerns are probed.” By Henrietta Cook, The Age

Australia state makes it easier for abuse victims to sue churches
Survivors of clerical abuse(link is external) in the Australian state of New South Wales will be able to directly sue churches under proposed legal changes announced on Sunday (Jun. 10). Mark Speakman, the attorney general, said the new legislation was in response to Australia’s royal commission into institutional abuse. New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state, and the home of the country’s largest city, Sydney.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

The Catholic Church should not stand in the way of this vital reform
“It is hard to know where to begin with Archbishop Christopher Prowse’s plea on behalf of the Catholic Church for the ACT government to preserve the seal of religious confession, even in instances where a child is being sexually abused(link is external). Thankfully, the ACT Assembly wasn’t swayed as it voted last week to introduce Australia’s toughest new mandatory reporting laws, making it a leader in child safety.” By Michelle James, The Canberra Times

BANGLADESH

Police say prominent Bangladeshi priest had string of relationships
“The mysterious disappearance of a Bangladeshi priest just days before Pope Francis visited the country has taken a new turn. Police suspected that Fr. Walter William Rozario had been kidnapped by radical Muslims when they found his abandoned motorbike and discovered that his mobile phone was switched off. But ucanews.com reported their investigation revealed that the 41-year-old priest allegedly had been involved in a string of relationships with women and at least one girl under 18(link is external), the age of consent in Bangladesh.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Former Bangladesh nun: anti-sex abuse crusader
“Bangladeshi human rights activist Rosaline Costa says reports of clergymen abusing women and children(link is external) have been around Christendom for years. ‘In recent years the media has been very open in this respect and so many victims are coming out and even risking their lives with their claims,’ Costa said. After ucanews.com reported the case of Bangladeshi priest Father William Walter Rozario, the former Maria Bambina nun answered the following questions about the situation in Bangladesh …” By Rock Ronald Rozario, UCANews.com

CHILE

Pope’s abuse investigators headed back to Chile June 12-18
“In what amounts to Pope Francis’s latest attempt to resolve a massive clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external), the Chilean bishops’ conference announced Wednesday (Jun. 6) that his top two investigators will return to Chile June 14-17, visiting a diocese where a controversial bishop has been accused of covering up acts of abuse. The bishops’ statement said that Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a former official of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, a current official of the congregation, will be in the diocese over those three days.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Urgent call for interim report on Catholic Church by national sex abuse inquiry
“We say that the Catholic Church, including Ealing Abbey, is not a safe place for children and it is not something we should wait to act upon. Lawyers have called on Professor Alexis Jay, chair of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse(link is external), urgently to produce an interim report on the Catholic church, saying it is ‘structurally, culturally and doctrinally incapable of implementing and enforcing the minimum standards of safeguarding.’” By The Tablet

GRENADA

Bishop Harvey – Child sexual abuse is unacceptable
“Grenada’s Roman Catholic Bishop, Trinidad-born Clyde Harvey has expressed grave concerns over the rampant occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) in the country. Making an appearance on a local radio station, Bishop Harvey said he is hopeful that Catholics are not involved but are exuding better morals than what is being displayed very often in the country with sexual abuse of children. However, he said that while he holds out hope, he will not be fooled into thinking that members of the Catholic church are not involved in this depraved act.” By The New Today

GUAM

184 claims of Guam clergy abuse moving toward mediation
“One hundred eighty-four people said they were sexually abused by members of Guam’s Catholic clergy(link is external) or others associated with the church, but 10 of them decided not to sue, attorneys said at Tuesday’s (Jun. 12) court hearing on the status of efforts to settle the cases through mediation. Mediation is set for Sept. 17 to 21, which is two days longer than initially anticipated.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Pope Francis ‘to meet church abuse victims during summer visit to Ireland’
“Pope Francis will meet victims abused by the Church(link is external) in hellhole institutions during his summer visit to Ireland, top clergymen have predicted. Details of the Pontiff’s €20 million, two-day trip were unveiled today, but he will not be venturing across the border into Northern Ireland. Instead, hundreds of thousands of faithful will turn out to greet him at Knock in Co Mayo and in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.” By Cate McCurry, Irish Mirror

Big spike in Church child abuse cases
“A significant rise in the number of allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) relating to the Catholic Church was recorded in the last year, a report by a safeguarding body reveals. However, the allegations received related to historic cases with the most recent alleged incident dating to 2002. The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) said the figures did not suggest the Church was becoming less safe for children.” By Joe Leogue, Irish Examiner

MEXICO

In Mexico, SNAP and the Church join forces to fight abuse
“When it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse(link is external), unity creates strength. At least, that’s what the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the local chapter of the Survivors Networks of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) believe, as the two recently announced they will join forces to protect children and young adults.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PERU

Vatican denies protecting founder of Peruvian movement accused of abuse
“Vatican officials have denied protecting the founder of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Peru-based religious movement, who is accused of sexual, physical and psychological abuse(link is external) of minor and young adult members of the group. In a communique dated May 25 and released by the Peruvian bishops’ conference at a news conference June 1, the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life said it was responding to claims that it had ‘hidden’ Luis Fernando Figari in Rome and was ‘protecting him.’” By Barbara J. Fraser, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

SWITZERLAND

New group campaigns to end Catholic Church child abuse
“Child abuse victims and human rights activists from 15 countries, including Switzerland, have launched a new pressure group to campaign against abuse by Catholic clerics(link is external). ‘The church has got away with crime for too long,’ said Peter Saunders, a British survivor of abuse, announcing the creation of the Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA) group at a media conference in Geneva on Thursday (Jun. 7). ‘ECA stands to compel the Roman Catholic church to end clerical abuse, especially child abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims,’ added Saunders, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Agence France-Press on TheLocal.com

Swiss arrest Catholic priest on sex abuse allegations
“Swiss authorities say they have arrested a Catholic priest under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct(link is external) that was brought to their attention by church leaders. Maurus Eckert, a spokesman for canton (state) prosecutors in Graubuenden, said Thursday (May 24) that the priest was taken into custody amid an ongoing investigation of alleged sexual abuse of an adult victim. He declined to provide any further details.” By Associated Press on LeaderPost.com

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