Posts Tagged roman catholic church

The law that could hold Catholic bishops accountable / The Rivard Report

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. (The Rivard Report)

The list of credible sexual abuse cases listed by the Archdiocese of San Antonio last week (Feb. 1) was long and depressing. It was also incomplete.

“It included the names of 54 priests and one deacon whose alleged crimes ranged from six decades ago to recent. The details were sterile. They did not include accounts of the actual abuses, but the bare bones of where the men served and how they were dealt with: sent to Mexico for treatment, suspended from priestly duties, or in a very few cases, referred to law enforcement and prosecuted.

“Missing was any account of how bishops and other church authorities actively covered up sex crimes involving minors, often leaving the perpetrator to victimize more children.

“Yet these church authorities are as responsible for the devastation of lives that now confronts the church as the perpetrators themselves. And they should be held just as 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.”

By Rick Casey, The Rivard Report — Read more …

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Prominent survivor submits recommendations for Vatican abuse summit / Cruxnow.com

In explaining her recommendations, (Marie) 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.” (Cruxonw.com)

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 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.

“On Jan. 29 she made a submission to the organizers of the February meeting, which will bring together the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences. She published it on her website Jan. 31.

In her submission, she made seven recommendations for the bishops to consider ,,,”

By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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New York Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle / NBC News

Alleged sex abuse victims would be able to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other groups for damages. (NBC News)

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 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.

“‘Passage of the Child Victims Act is an exhilarating and empowering moment for those of us who have been waging this battle in Albany for a dozen years,’ Stephen Jimenez, a sex abuse survivor and advocate for other victims, said after the vote.”

By Corky Siemaszko, NBC News — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

 January 25, 2019

TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VATICAN ABUSE BISHOPS’ SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCARRICK CASE

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

CARDINALS

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

LAITY & THE CHURCH

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

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

VATICAN

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

CHILD PROTECTION

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

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

VATICAN II

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

VOICES

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

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

CONNECTICUT

Hartford Archdiocese identifies 48 priests accused of sexual abuse

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

ILLINOIS

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

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

IOWA

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

LOUISIANA

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

MAINE

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

MARYLAND

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

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

MISSISSIPPI

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

NORTH CAROLINA

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEXAS

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

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

VERMONT

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

WISCONSIN

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

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

CHILE

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

FRANCE

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

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

GUAM

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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Editorial: The Lessons of Opus Dei Fr. McCloskey’s Downfall / National Catholic Reporter

It is, indeed, the clergy culture that is at the heart of the church’s problems. It is in dire need of radical reform.

“It is time for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a standard sign to be posted in every chancery office in the country, just outside the bishop’s door, reading:

“IT’S THE CLERICAL CULTURE!

“It is time to be done with the breathless wonderment at whatever new revelations show one more holy and wonderful priest has been, in a hidden life, abusive of children, or women, or seminarians, or just a liar about what he knew or didn’t know, did or didn’t do.

Opus Dei priest Fr. C. John McCloskey III, for whom the prelature paid a $977,000 settlement to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct, is the latest to cause former associates and friends to go all aflutter with ‘How could he have?’ And ‘How did we not know?’ And ‘Why didn’t those who did know speak up?’ And ‘How could someone like that also do so much good?’

“The answers to the other questions reside primarily in understanding the culture in which all of those actors, McCloskey included, operated: the Catholic clerical culture. It is highly secretive, highly privileged, believed to be distinctive from the rest of human kind, allegedly celibate and, until recently, enjoying from members of the Catholic community as well as from civil authority in this country a level of deference that is normally reserved for the highly privileged.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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Vatican commission members: Women served as deacons for a millennium / America: The Jesuit Review

In an interview with Michael J. O’Loughlin, America’s national correspondent, on Jan. 14, Ms. Zagano and Father Pottier, who serve on the Vatican’s Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, discussed their research on women deacons and the early church. (America: The Jesuit Review)

“Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millennium in a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles, according to Phyllis Zagano, an author and professor of religion at Hofstra University, and Bernard Pottier, S.J., a faculty member at the Institut D’Études Théologiques in Brussels, in an interview this week with America. ‘They anointed ill women; they brought communion to ill women,’ said Ms. Zagano.

“They also participated in baptism, served as treasurers and, in at least one case, participated in an annulment.

“Discussing that annulment, Ms. Zagano said a woman in Syria ‘complained that her husband was beating her.  It was the woman deacon who examined the bruises and gave the testimony to the bishop. Well, to me, that’s an annulment—she is providing the information.’

“‘But to say that everybody did the same thing all over I think is disingenuous,’ Ms. Zagano added.

“Father Pottier said he was able to find strong evidence of women deacons in church records and histories, but ‘not everywhere and not always because it was also a choice of the bishop.’

In an interview with Michael J. O’Loughlin, America’s national correspondent, on Jan. 14, Ms. Zagano and Father Pottier, who serve on the Vatican’s Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, discussed their research on women deacons and the early church …”

By Brandon Sanchez, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Curb the crisis: 10 essential lessons for investigating church leaders / National Catholic Reporter

Based on my many years of supervising and teaching how to do complex investigations, and having closely followed the investigation of (former St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John) Nienstedt and conduct related to it, I have identified 10 of the most important lessons to be learned from the initial success and then ultimate failures surrounding that investigation. (National Catholic Reporter)

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

“For the last five years, the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese has grappled with this challenge, having had to investigate its former Archbishop John Nienstedt for alleged personal sexual misconduct and failed leadership involving abuse by other clergy.

“Many painful lessons were learned from that investigation, which was prematurely terminated and never resumed. Egregious clergy abuse by an archdiocesan priest and the failed leadership that permitted that abuse to occur ultimately led to criminal charges being filed against the archdiocese and Nienstedt’s abrupt resignation. Those lessons should be examined and heeded by every American cardinal, archbishop and bishop to avoid their repetition elsewhere …

“Based on my many years of supervising and teaching how to do complex investigations, and having closely followed the investigation of Nienstedt and conduct related to it, I have identified 10 of the most important lessons to be learned from the initial success and then ultimate failures surrounding that investigation.”

By Hank Shea, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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