Posts Tagged Michelle Boorstein

West Virginia bishop gave powerful cardinal and other priests $350,000 in cash gifts before his ouster, church records show / The Washington Post

The gifts — one as large as $15,000 — were detailed in a draft of a confidential report to the Vatican about the alleged misconduct that led to Bransfield’s resignation in September. (The Washington Post)

In the years before he was ousted for alleged sexual harassment and financial abuses, the leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia gave cash gifts totaling $350,000 to fellow clergymen, including young priests he is accused of mistreating and more than a dozen cardinals in the United States and at the Vatican, according to church records obtained by The Washington Post.

“Bishop Michael J. Bransfield wrote the checks from his personal account over more than a decade, and the West Virginia diocese reimbursed him by boosting his compensation to cover the value of the gifts, the records show. As a tax-exempt nonprofit, the diocese must use its money only for charitable purposes.

“The gifts — one as large as $15,000 — were detailed in a draft of a confidential report to the Vatican about the alleged misconduct that led to Bransfield’s resignation in September. The names of 11 powerful clerics who received checks were edited out of the final report at the request of the archbishop overseeing the investigation, William Lori of Baltimore.”

By Michelle Boorstein, Shawn Boberg and Robert O’Harrow, Jr. — Read more …

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Despite denials, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against Theodore McCarrick and reported them to Vatican / The Washington Post

McCarrick’s case is reportedly about to be decided in one of the highest-profile clergy sex abuse trial processes to come before Rome. (The Washington Post)

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl knew of sexual misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and reported them to the Vatican in 2004, church officials confirmed Thursday evening, despite portraying himself since last summer as unaware of any complaints surrounding McCarrick.

“Robert Ciolek, a former priest who reached a settlement with the church in 2005 after accusing clerics including McCarrick, told The Post he recently learned that the Pittsburgh Diocese has a file that shows that Wuerl was aware of his allegations against McCarrick. The file includes documentation that Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh at the time, shared the information with then-Vatican ambassador Gabriel Montalvo.

“The content of the document, which Ciolek told The Post he saw in December, clashes sharply with Wuerl’s public statements about McCarrick since the older cleric was suspended in June due to a complaint that he groped an altar boy decades ago.

“The explosive allegations against McCarrick, which include two other accusations of abusing minors as well as those of harassment of seminarians, tipped off a full-blown crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. All along, Wuerl has largely rejected charges that he played a role in it.”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …

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More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse / The Washington Post

The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston. (The Washington Post)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, 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.

“The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.

“Shapiro said that the report details a ‘systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.'”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …

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‘Payout chart’ for molstation: Secret archive held chilling details of clergy abuse / The Washington Post

A Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania announced Thursday (Mar. 3) that it will post the names online of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children, a decision that came two days after a dramatic grand jury report alleged a decades-long cover-up.

“Advocates hope that the grand jury report, which was announced just two days after the movie ‘Spotlight’ focused national attention on child sexual abuse by winning the Oscar for Best Picture, will lead to new legislation permitting more prosecutions of abusive priests and those who supervised them …

“‘These findings are both staggering and sobering. Over many years hundreds of children have fallen victim to child predators wrapped in the authority and integrity of an honorable faith,’ the grand jury wrote.”

By Michelle Boorstein and Julle Zauzmer, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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‘Spotlight’ portrayal of sex abuse scandal is making the Catholic Church uncomfortable all over again / The Washington Post

“‘Spotlight,’ a new film about the Catholic clergy abuse scandal’s explosion in 2002, begs the question: How are things different in 2015?

“Dozens of U.S. church leaders have in the past few days been offering answers in the form of public statements, with some primarily focusing on the survivors and others casting the scandal as fully in the past and framing the church as the leader today in a society that hasn’t fully dealt with the problem.

“‘Spotlight,’ which began playing in U.S. cities Nov. 6, tells the story of Boston Globe investigative journalists who broke the story. (The Globe’s editor at the time was Marty Baron, now executive editor of The Washington Post)

“The range of views in the new statements – which follow a memo of talking points the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ sent to its dioceses in September — show the way the church still wrestles with how to tell its own story.”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Why Pope Francis’s fight in Rome is about more than sex and marriage / The Washington Post

At Pope Francis’s closed-door meeting in Rome this month, top clergy are intensely debating whether the church should bend more to the messy realities of modern families. On the ground, however, it already has.

“Questions on the agenda at the rare, high-level meeting that ends this weekend include whether those who divorce and remarry outside the church can receive Communion, and whether there is a place in Catholic life for same-sex couples. Changing Catholicism’s stance towards such things could begin to unravel the unity of the world’s largest church, say opponents who see the debate in Rome as directly tied to the future of Catholicism. But in many parts of the world – the West in particular – the church has for years quietly been making changes to engage with Catholic families who are transforming in ways that mirror the rest of the society.”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Who Has Pope Francis’ Ear on Bishop Selection?

Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl Is a Power Player under Pope Francis

“With his unassuming and reserved style, (Washington Archbishop Donald) Wuerl is not a well-known figure to the region’s growing number of Catholics, many of whom probably don’t realize that their leader is one of the world’s most influential bishops … Pope Francis in December further solidified Wuerl’s stature by picking him as the only new American on the powerful, 30-member Vatican body that selects bishops.”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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