Posts Tagged Jason Berry

Accountability at the center of Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal / National Public Radio

Yesterday (Apr. 8), Pope Francis released his Amoris Laetitia proclamation on family life. He calls on priests to support their parishioners, including those who are divorced, gay or pregnant out of wedlock, and to love rather than judge them. But the pope stopped short of actually endorsing same-sex marriage. The document lands on a Catholic church that is still working through its abuse crisis.

‘Earlier this month, another cover-up in western Pennsylvania’s Altoona Johnstown Diocese received attention. Jason Berry is an investigative journalist who has covered the church crisis. He joins us now. Mr. Berry, thanks so much for being with us.”

By Scott Simon, National Public Radio — Click here to listen to the rest of this story.

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Do the U.S. bishops get it? / Religion News Service

It’s been 30 years since Jason Berry broke the Catholic sex abuse story by courageously reporting on the case of serial abuser Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana. When national publications refused to touch the story, Berry published his investigation in the Times of Acadiana, and that little paper proved to be the mouse that roared. The National Catholic Reporter immediately took the plunge and before long the mainstream media lost its fear of reporting how bishops systematically put the protection of their clergy and their church’s reputation ahead of the protection of minors.

“NCR marked the anniversary last month with a tough editorial, which has drawn an appropriately non-confrontational response from Bishop Edward J.  Burns of Juneau, Alaska, chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. To his credit, Burns acknowledges that the church’s considerable effort to establish a safe environment for children should not be taken as ‘a sign that we have somehow put this scandal behind us, nor is it an occasion for self-congratulation … Rather, our shepherds, myself included, need to face and repent of the betrayal of trust. Authentic and heartfelt repentance by the shepherds of our church is not a distraction from our mission: It is the mission at this moment in the life of the church and her leaders.’

“So what’s wrong with this?”

By Mark Silk, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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Pope Francis’ response to clergy sex abuse tripped up by Vatican loophole / GlobalPost.com

As clergy child abuse scandals jolt the church, Pope Francis has defrocked predatory bishops from Peru and Poland after secret Vatican proceedings. He also intervened on a victim’s behalf in Spain, which emboldened prosecutors to indict a priest who was part of an alleged ring of clergy abusers in the Grenada diocese, according to press reports.

“‘A zero tolerance approach must be adopted,’ Francis told reporters on an airline press conference from Tel Aviv to Rome last May, a sentiment he has backed with action in the intervening months.

“But the 17-member papal advisory commission on the abuse crisis faces a glaring loophole over bishops who have sheltered predators — a loophole that creates a tripwire to Pope Francis’s stated goal.”

By Jason Berry, GlobalPost.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Will the Vatican Step Up and Hold Bishops Accountable? / National Catholic Reporter

On the flight back to Rome May 26 after his visit to Israel, Pope Francis gave another impromptu press conference. Responding to a question on the clergy abuse crisis, he said, ‘At the moment there are three bishops under investigation: one has already been found guilty and we are now considering the penalty to be imposed. There are no privileges.’

“The pope offered no names, but according to the transcript, added a sonic boom analogy: ‘A priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. This is very serious. It is like a satanic Mass.’”

By Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article. Voice of the Faithful® presented author, investigative journalist and documentary producer Jason Berry with its St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award in 2009.

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Chilean Cardinals Close to Pope Stained by Abuse Coverups / National Catholic Reporter

The following story is disturbing because of the connections alleged between the coverup of clergy sexual abuse and Pope Francis; however, continued refusal to dismiss bishops that evidence shows are guilty of covering up abuse corrodes every aspect of attempted reform. Of course, some bishops accused of coverups are actually blameless. But if no bishop anywhere, for any transgression, is removed, we the faithful are left questioning whether any are interested in justice.

Home today is an apartment in Society Hill, Philadelphia, but when Juan Carlos Cruz was growing up in Chile in the 1980s, his family lived close to El Bosque, ‘the forest’ — a tree-draped park avenue and a prime neighborhood in Santiago, the capital city. It was also home to a charismatic pastor, Fr. Fernando Karadima, surrounded by well-dressed boys from top schools, and later unmasked as a sexual predator …

“Last year, Francis named Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Karadima’s most powerful defender, as one of eight cardinals on the commission advising him on Vatican reforms. Errázuriz refused to act on a victim’s allegations in 2003, telling the priest not to worry, according to news accounts and legal testimony …

“‘The impact of Karadima was similar to what we have seen in Ireland, Spain, Italy and America. Every place you find the church in sexual or financial scandals, it has the same effect. In many ways, people stopped looking at the church as a moral beacon. That was not true of the most culturally conservative Catholics, but it is certainly true in terms of the church in social leadership (said Alexander Wilde, a senior scholar for the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.).’”

By Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Apologizes for Clergy Sexual Abuse As Former Abuse Commissioners Tell of Struggles with Bishops

Pope Asks Forgiveness for Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal, by David Gibson, Religion News Service

“In his strongest personal remarks yet on the clergy sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis on Friday (April 11) asked forgiveness ‘for the damage’ that abusive priests have inflicted on children and pledged that the Catholic Church ‘will not take one step backward’ in efforts to address the crisis.”

Click here to read the rest of Gibson’s story.

Past Members of Sex Abuse Commissions Tell of Struggles with Bishops, by Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter

“Commissions set up by church officials to advise church officials on clergy sexual abuse have a checkered history. No one knows this better than Catholics who answered their bishops’ call to serve but found themselves and their advice rejected or ignored.

“The U.S. bishops named a 12-member blue-ribbon panel of lay advisers amid the firestorm of media coverage in 2002.

“‘A lot of American bishops would not want to see any of us of the original review board named to this [pontifical] commission,’ said Nicholas Cafardi, who served on the National Review Board from 2002 to 2004.”

Click here to read the rest of Berry’s story.

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Voice of the Faithful Distinguished Layperson Award Recipient Analyzes Pope’s New Abuse Commission

The author of the following story, Jason Berry, received the Voice of the Faithful® St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award in 2009. Berry, an author, investigative journalist, and documentary producer, began holding the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal up to the light more than 25 years ago.

News that the Vatican will create a commission to address its global sex abuse crisis comes 11 years after American bishops, amid devastating media coverage from the Boston scandal, met for their summer conference in Dallas, trailed by 700 journalists.

“With help from RF Binder, a Madison Avenue public relations firm specializing in damage control, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops by parliamentary vote enacted a youth protection charter, predicated on ‘zero tolerance.’

“They also announced the formation of a National Review Board of 12 blue-ribbon Catholics to research the crisis and offer an agenda for resolution …

“The report called for transparency and oversight of bishops to halt the practice of concealing and recycling sex offenders.

But as Justice (Anne) Burke (Illinois Supreme Court, member of the U.S. bishops’ initial clergy sexual abuse review board, and featured speaker at Voice of the Faithful 10th Year Conference®) told GlobalPost, “The bishops did not follow our recommendations. They set up barriers for our work from the very beginning.”

Click here to read the rest of Berry’s story “New Catholic Sex Abuse Commission to Contend with ‘Medieval Organization'” on GlobalPost.com.

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