Posts Tagged Laurie Goodstein
The scene outside the archdiocesan offices in Houston on Wednesday (Nov. 28) morning was extraordinary, with police cars lined up on the street and about 50 uniformed officers headed inside, some carrying boxes to hold evidence. (The New York Times)
“Dozens of local and federal law enforcement officers conducted a surprise search of the offices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on Wednesday (Nov. 28), looking for evidence in a clergy sexual abuse case that has ensnared the local archbishop, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, who also serves as president of the United States Catholic bishops’ conference.
“The raid in Houston is the latest sign of crisis in the church, with prosecutors growing more aggressive in their search for cover-ups of abuse, and the bishops — led by Cardinal DiNardo — hamstrung by the Vatican in their efforts to carry out reforms.
“The church is under a barrage of investigations around the country. Attorneys general in at least a dozen states have opened inquiries, and the Justice Department has told bishops not to destroy any documents that could relate to sex abuse cases. Last month, the attorney general in Michigan executed search warrants on all seven Catholic dioceses in that state.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Read more …
Pope Francis continues to position bishops/cardinals amenable to his views in important dioceses …
In his latest move to reshape the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, Pope Francis on Monday (Nov. 7) named a moderate known for standing up for refugees and nuns to be the next leader of the Archdiocese of Newark, a large and troubled diocese.
“Francis’ pick is Joseph W. Tobin, currently the archbishop of Indianapolis. He made national headlines last year when he rebuffed Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, now the Republican vice-presidential nominee, by refusing to stop Catholic Charities from resettling a family of Syrian refugees.
“Archbishop Tobin is so clearly in the pope’s favor that he is among 17 churchmen being made cardinals in Rome later this month. The Archdiocese of Newark has never before been led by a cardinal, the rank of those entrusted to select new popes.
“His transfer to New Jersey places a second cardinal in bridge-and-tunnel proximity of the nation’s media capital, where Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York is now the undisputed spokesman on Catholic matters.”
By Laruie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests is likely to last forever, Pope Francis said on Tuesday (Nov. 1.) as he flew back to Rome from Sweden … According to reporters who were on the plane, Francis responded, ‘On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last word is clear.’ He cited an apostolic letter written in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, who has since been canonized as a saint. The letter said that ordaining women was not possible because Jesus chose only men as his apostles.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Pope Francis on Sunday (Oct. 9) named 17 new cardinals, including three Americans, adding prelates from developing countries to give them a greater voice in selecting the next pope. Francis’ American appointments elevate moderates in the church hierarchy, bypassing doctrinal conservatives from large archdioceses.
“The three Americans, the most Francis named from any one country, are Archbishops Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and a former Dallas bishop, Kevin Farrell, whom Francis recently reassigned to the Vatican to lead a new department for family, laity and life. Francis had skipped over the United States in two previous rounds of appointments.
“The pope announced the new cardinals from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica at the end of a special Mass on Sunday, saying their diversity represents ‘the universality of the church’ and ‘the mercy of God in every corner of the world.’ He said he will elevate the cardinals on Nov. 19.”
I have interviewed many survivors of child sexual abuse over many years, but this was the first time I had ever interviewed a survivor who was also a politician. State Representative Mark Rozzi sat behind his office desk at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. As he spoke he fidgeted with a small figurine he kept on his desk — a little dog with four heads, all snarling — a gift from a fellow survivor. We were discussing his long fight trying to pass legislation to make it easier for survivors to press charges and file lawsuits against their abusers.
“Well into the interview I asked him to tell me what had happened to him as a child. ‘The abridged version,’ I said. I had read his story elsewhere, but needed to hear it directly from him, even though I knew it would not play a big part in the article I planned to write. I figured that as a politician, he would have a well-practiced, pithy rendition.
“Twenty-five minutes of unrelenting trauma later, we had still gotten only as far as high school. Then, just as Mr. Rozzi was saying, “I’m going to tell you something I have never talked about to a reporter” — at that very moment — there was a knock at the door and his executive assistant came in to tell us that another legislator was waiting in the vestibule. Interview over.
“As I rushed to gather up my notebook, laptop and recorder, I realized I had no idea what he was about to reveal, but I had just gotten the answer to another question I am often asked: Why does the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church never seem to go away? Why is it still a story? It has been 31 years since National Catholic Reporter, an independent Catholic publication, broke the first story, about a serial abuser in Louisiana. It has been 22 years since I reported my first article about abusive priests (out on an Indian pueblo in New Mexico, for The Washington Post). Why is the news media still covering this?
“The answer lies with the victims.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In what could be an important moment for his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is scheduled to issue a major document on Friday (Apr. 8) regarding family issues. It is titled ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ Latin for ‘The Joy of Love.’
“In the document, known as an apostolic exhortation, the pope could change church practice on thorny subjects like whether divorced Catholics who remarry without having obtained annulments can receive holy communion. He might address debates over same-sex relationships, cohabitation and polygamy, an issue in Africa. Or, he could sidestep such divisive topics and stick to broader philosophical statements.
“For the past two years, Francis has guided the church through a sweeping exercise of self-examination that some scholars have compared to the Second Vatican Council. Catholics around the world filled out detailed questionnaires about whether the church meets their families’ needs. Bishops and other church officials spent two tumultuous meetings at the Vatican, known as synods, debating and arguing.
“The broad topic was whether the Catholic Church should reposition itself, and how. Francis listened, prodded and sometimes steered the process, but he mostly kept his own counsel. Until now.
“Having led Catholics into such delicate terrain, Francis has stirred hope and fear. Some religious conservatives warn he could destabilize the church and undermine Catholic doctrine. Some liberals, though, are hoping Francis will directly address same-sex marriage and contraception in a way that would make the church more responsive to today’s realities.
“‘I’m sure he knew he would touch some nerves,’ said John Thavis, a longtime Vatican analyst and the author of ‘The Vatican Diaries.’ ‘He may not have appreciated how much opposition there could be.’
“But both sides might be disappointed.”
By Laurie Goodstein and Jim Yardley — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania may bring federal racketeering charge; victims and lawmakers act
Feds may seek racketeering suit for clergy abuse in diocese
By Associated Press
A federal prosecutor may file a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese where a state grand jury found two former bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 clergy over a 40-year period.
“The ongoing investigation of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese grew out of the prosecution of the Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr., U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Friday (Apr. 1).
“The 71-year-old Somerset County priest was convicted last year of molesting two street children during missionary trips to Honduras. He was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison, fined $50,000 and forced to pay his victims $10,000 each.
“Hickton said the ongoing investigation concerns whether diocesan officials engaged in a pattern of criminal activity that would fall under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO.”
Click here to read the rest of this story.
As Pennsylvania confronts clergy sex abuse, victims and lawmakers act
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
By the age of 12, Maureen Powers, the daughter of a professor at the local Roman Catholic university, played the organ in the magnificent hilltop Catholic basilica here and volunteered in the parish office. But, she said, she was hiding a secret: Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of ‘research.’
“By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step.
“So when a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed in a report in March that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which includes Loretto, engaged in an extensive cover-up of abuse by as many as 50 church officials, Ms. Powers, now 67, decided to finally report her case. She called the office of the Pennsylvania attorney general and recounted her story, including the name of her abuser, a prominent monsignor who was not listed in the grand jury report.”
Click here to read the rest of this story.
Over four decades, at least 50 priests and other church employees molested hundreds of children in a small Roman Catholic diocese in central Pennsylvania, and in many cases their superiors knew of the abuses but did not remove the priests or notify law enforcement, according to a grand jury report released on Tuesday (Mar. 1).
“But none of the findings will result in prosecution, according to State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, whose office led the investigation, because the statutes of limitations on all alleged crimes have expired.
“The report names a dozen priests who admitted — to church officials, to the grand jury or both — that they had molested children, and other cases where church records made clear that their superiors believed they were guilty. None were taken to law enforcement, and in cases where police or prosecutors learned of allegations, the report says, church officials worked to hush them up.”
By Richard Perez-Pena and Laurie Goodstein, The New New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A high-profile Vatican commission on the prevention of child sexual abuse voted on Saturday (Feb. 6) to temporarily suspend one of its members, an outspoken victim of clerical abuse who accused the church of failing to deliver on its promises of reform and accountability.
“But the suspended member, Peter Saunders, said at a news conference in Rome on Saturday (Feb. 6) that he would stand his ground. ‘I have not left, and am not leaving my position on the commission,’ Mr. Saunders said. ‘I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis, and I will talk only with him about my position.’
“The public blowup could undermine confidence in the pope’s efforts to rebuild the Roman Catholic Church’s credibility on the child abuse issue. When the 17-member commission was created by Francis in his first year as pope, many victims and their advocates hoped that the presence on the panel of Mr. Saunders and another victim would spur the commission to act forcefully. But Mr. Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, in England, has complained that the commission has failed to produce tangible results.”
By Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In Rome —
Pope Francis had encouraged bishops from more than 120 countries to speak freely when they gathered at the Vatican nearly three weeks ago for a broad discussion of family matters to guide the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. And speak freely, they have.
“The result has been the most momentous, and contentious, meeting of bishops in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, which brought the church into the modern era. The meeting has exposed deep fault lines between traditionalists focused on shoring up doctrine, and those who want the church to be more open to Catholics who are divorced, gay, single parents or cohabiting …
“‘This is a pivotal moment of this pontificate,’ said Roberto Rusconi, who teaches the history of Christianity at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a state school. Pope Francis is sounding out the world’s bishops ‘to better understand whether they are going to follow his line or not.’”
By Laurie Goodstein and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times
In Australia —
The Church has described its history regarding child abuse in Australia as “shameful, corrosive and complicit” and says it now expects its liability exposure to be potentially $1 billion on top of payments already made.
The CEO of the Truth justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, said in a speech in Canberra on Tuesday (Oct. 20) night the Church’s history was ‘littered with examples of cover-ups and crimes and of Church leaders failing in one of the very basic tenets of their calling.’