Posts Tagged sexual abuse scandal

Vatican abuse summit focuses on how Catholic bishops can police one another / National Catholic Reporter

(Cardinal Blase) Cupich (Archbishop of Chicago) began his own talk by outlining four broad principles under which the church should act in regards to abuse, underscoring in particular the need to listen to victims and to incorporate lay people “into every effort to identify and construct structures of accountability.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Presentations during the second day of Pope Francis’ highly anticipated global summit on clergy sexual abuse focused widely on how Catholic bishops should police one another for signs of questionable conduct, while also making room for the'”essential role’ of laypeople in rooting out abuse.

“Although the main speeches from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on Feb. 22 mentioned various issues facing the global Catholic Church in confronting the abuse crisis, they both stressed a desire for prelates to watch over each other.

“Gracias, the first of the day to address the first of its kind summit, asked the 190 cardinals, bishops and heads of religious orders taking part at one point: ‘Do we really engage in an open conversation and point out honestly to our brother bishops or priests when we notice problematic behavior in them?’

“The cardinal then said the prelates need to better develop a culture of ‘correctio fraterna,’ which recognizes criticism ‘as an opportunity to better fulfill our tasks.’

Cupich began his own talk by outlining four broad principles under which the church should act in regards to abuse, underscoring in particular the need to listen to victims and to incorporate lay people ‘into every effort to identify and construct structures of accountability.'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Pope presents participants at Vatican bishops’ clergy abuse summit a ‘road map’ for discussion

On the opening day, Feb. 21, of the Vatican’s bishops’ summit on clergy sexual abuse and protection of children in the Church, Pope Francis presented 21 ‘reflection points.’ “They are a road map for our discussion,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator, said at a news conference, according to The New York Times. The reflection points were written by various commissions and episcopal conferences. They are:

1.) To prepare a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.

2.) To equip oneself with listening structures that include trained and expert people who can initially discern the cases of the alleged victims.

3.) Establish the criteria for the direct involvement of the Bishop or of the Religious Superior.

4.) Implement shared procedures for the examination of the charges, the protection of the victims and the right of defense of the accused.

5.) Inform the civil authorities and the higher ecclesiastical authorities in compliance with civil and canonical norms.

6.) Make a periodic review of protocols and norms to safeguard a protected environment for minors in all pastoral structures: protocols and norms based on the integrated principles of justice and charity so that the action of the Church in this matter is in conformity with her mission.

7.) Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against Bishops.

8.) Accompany, protect and treat victims, offering them all the necessary support for a complete recovery.

9.) Increase awareness of the causes and consequences of sexual abuse through ongoing formation initiatives of Bishops, Religious Superiors, clerics and pastoral workers.

10.) Prepare pathways of pastoral care for communities injured by abuses and penitential and recovery routes for the perpetrators.

11.) To consolidate the collaboration with all people of good will and with the operators of mass media in order to recognize and discern real cases from false ones and accusations of slander, avoiding rancor and insinuations, rumors and defamation (cf. Pope Francis’ address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2018).

12.) To raise the minimum age for marriage to sixteen years.

13.) Establish provisions that regulate and facilitate the participation of lay experts in investigations and in the different degrees of judgment of canonical processes concerning sexual and / or power abuse.

14.) The right to defense: the principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the lists of the accused being published, even by the dioceses, before the preliminary investigation and the definitive condemnation.

15.) Observe the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed. To decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave the public ministry.

16.) Introduce rules concerning seminarians and candidates for the priesthood or religious life. Be sure that there are programs of initial and ongoing formation to help them develop their human, spiritual and psychosexual maturity, as well as their interpersonal relationships and their behavior.

17.) Be sure to have psychological evaluations by qualified and accredited experts for candidates for the priesthood and consecrated life.

18.) Establish norms governing the transfer of a seminarian or religious aspirant from one seminary to another; as well as a priest or religious from one diocese or congregation to another.

19.) Formulate mandatory codes of conduct for all clerics, religious, service personnel and volunteers to outline appropriate boundaries in personal relationships. Be specific about the necessary requirements for staff and volunteers and check their criminal record.

20.) Explain all information and data on the dangers of abuse and its effects, how to recognize signs of abuse and how to report suspected sexual abuse. All this must take place in collaboration with parents, teachers, professionals and civil authorities.

21.) Where it has not yet been in place, establish a group easily accessible for victims who want to report any crimes. Such an organization should have a certain autonomy with respect to the local ecclesiastical authority and include expert persons (clerics and laity) who know how to express the Church’s attention to those who have been offended by improper attitudes on the part of clerics.

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Pope offers 21 proposals to fight abuse at start of summit / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

Francis offered a path of reform going forward, handing out a 21-point set of proposals for the church to consider including some that would require changes to canon law. (Assoicated Press in The Boston Globe)

Pope Francis opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit Thursday (Feb. 21) by offering senior Catholic leaders 21 proposals to punish predators and keep children safe, warning that the faithful are demanding concrete action and not just words.

“The tone for the high stakes, four-day summit was set at the start, with victims from five continents — Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and North America — telling the bishops of the trauma of their abuse and the additional pain the church’s indifference caused them.

“‘Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice,’ Francis told the gathering of 190 leaders of bishops conferences and religious orders.

‘The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established.’

“More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …

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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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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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Cardinal Pell, top advisor to Pope Francis, found guilty of ‘historical sexual offenses’ / America: The Jesuit review

The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis … (America: The Jesuit Review)

An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

“The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.

“Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to ‘historical child sexual offenses.’

“The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, who placed great trust in him by nominating the Australian prelate to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors (he was the only cardinal from Oceania at that time, and Francis chose one cardinal from each continent) and by appointing him as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy with a sweeping mandate to reform Vatican finances.”

By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Pope cuts two cardinals from cabinet named in abuse scandal / Associated Press

Their continued presence on the C-9 had been a source of scandal for Francis, given the explosion of the abuse and cover-up crisis this year. (Associated Press)

Pope Francis has removed two cardinals from his informal cabinet after they were implicated in the Catholic Church’s sex abuse and cover-up scandal, shedding embarrassing advisers ahead of a high-stakes Vatican summit on abuse early next year.

“The Vatican said Wednesday (Dec. 12) that Francis in October had written to Chilean Cardinal Javier Errazuriz and Australian Cardinal George Pell thanking them for their five years of service on the so-called Group of Nine, or C-9.

“Francis also bid farewell to Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, who hasn’t been implicated in the scandal but at age 79 recently retired as archbishop of Kinshasa.

“Errazuriz, 85, has been accused by Chilean abuse survivors of having covered up for predator priests while he was archbishop of Santiago, a charge he has denied. Pell, 77, took leave from his job as the Vatican’s economy minister to stand trial in his native Australia on historic charges of sex abuse, which he denies.

“Their continued presence on the C-9 had been a source of scandal for Francis, given the explosion of the abuse and cover-up crisis this year.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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