Posts Tagged The Tablet
High on the agenda at the Vatican summit was Australia’s Royal Commission inquiry into how institutions handled child sexual abuse. This has seen the Catholic Church facing unrelenting criticism for its response to the scandal. (The Tablet)
A leading Australian bishop says the Church in his country is facing the biggest crisis in its history after taking part in talks with the Vatican over how to address the problem.
“The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, who is Vice President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, told The Tablet that he and fellow bishops were in Rome to discuss the fallout of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and how the Church will adopt a new approach. This, he says, will look at how to include women in positions of ‘governance.’
“High on the agenda at the Vatican summit was Australia’s Royal Commission inquiry into how institutions handled child sexual abuse. This has seen the Catholic Church facing unrelenting criticism for its response to the scandal. The problem has been magnified after the Australian police’s decision to charge Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer and former Archbishop of Sydney, with historic sexual offences.”
By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet — Read more …
“The inquiry found 339 victims, 228 of whom were under 15 at the time of the abuse. Only 165 of their cases were eventually reported to justice authorities. Of the alleged abusers, 28 were transferred to another parish or to a foreign country once accusations against them surfaced, it said. Significantly, the inquiry found that 16 of the 32 alleged abusers were accused after 2000, the year the bishops’ conference decided to tighten its abuse guidelines and require that abusive priests be turned over to the authorities.”
A hard-hitting French television investigation has accused 25 Catholic bishops of protecting 32 accused clerical sex abusers in France over the past half century and often transferring them to other parishes or even other countries when they were singled out for sexual abuse of minors. The French bishops’ conference declined an invitation to participate in the France 2 television program aired March 21. A conference spokesman accused journalists of trying to blackmail the church, an allegation the program’s editor vigorously refuted.”
By Tom Heneghan of The Tablet in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has apologized unreservedly to survivors of sexual abuse following the publication of a report that found evidence of systematic and widespread sexual and physical crimes in Church-run institutions.
“The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), which published its findings today (Jan. 20), investigated allegations of abuse in 22 children’s homes in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.
“It condemned the failure of the Catholic hierarchy to act and prevent abuse, highlighting in particular the case of Fr. Brendan Smyth, a sexually abusive priest whom the hierarchy moved between parishes despite knowing about the risk he posed to children; it also found that Sisters of Nazareth at four Catholic-run homes in Belfast and Derry physically and emotionally abused children in their care.
“The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, said survivors and their families were ‘uppermost in my thoughts today’ and praised their courage, dignity and perseverance in coming forward.”
By Liz Dodd, The Tablet — Click here to read the rest of this story.
If anybody ever doubted the necessity for an independent review into child protection procedures inside the Catholic Church in Scotland, every page of the McLellan Report published this week will correct that impression. The report is, in effect, a vote of no confidence in the Scottish bishops’ safeguarding procedures based on their performance so far. Its central charge is that the Scottish Catholic Church for years paid lip service to the need for child protection while the manner in which it treated survivors amounted to further abuse …”
“In such a clerical culture, which Scottish Catholicism surely was and in many ways still is, an abusive priest may well have thought that the powers-that-be would protect him to avoid a scandal. Too often he was right. The cultural reform that the McLellan report thinks is necessary to abolish the scourge of child abuse, therefore, goes far wider than this one issue. The leadership of the Catholic Church in Scotland has to become accountable to its members. That journey has hardly begun.”
Editorial in The Tablet — Click here to read the rest of this editorial
Surprising words of appreciation for homosexuals, couples living together outside marriage and others that appeared yesterday in a working document from a summit of Catholic bishops in Rome have triggered a media tumult on the outside, and sharp debate on the inside.
“While the Vatican tried to play down the significance of the document, insisting that it’s merely provisional, some bishops inside the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family seem to be taking it very seriously indeed.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Senior church figures have expressed concern about a document issued by the bishops’ Synod on the Family yesterday proposing a landmark shift in the Church’s pastoral care of gay Catholics, cohabiting couples and those in civil marriages.
“Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura – the Church’s supreme court – told The Tablet the text is ‘unacceptable.'”
By Hannah Roberts and Christopher Lamb, The Tablet — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Here are two news stories following up on two we posted yesterday. The first is on a diocesan bishop’s plea for the Synod on the Family and the second is about reaction to the Pope’s new appointment to his sex-abuse commission and new chief sex-abuse prosecutor.
Antwerp Bishop Johan Bonny has published a long letter on the upcoming Synod of Bishops urging the assembly to have the courage to bring the Church’s moral teachings more in line with the lived experience of the laity. ‘The Church must step away from its defensive, antithetical stance and seek anew the path of dialogue’ on moral issues, he wrote in the 22-page letter posted on his diocese’s website in five languages.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet — Click here to read the bishop’s entire letter, “Synod on the Family–Expectations of a diocesan bishop.”
Pope Francis’ decision to appoint two U.S. priests to key positions aimed at tackling the Vatican’s sex abuse crisis drew an angry response from abuse victims. In the shake-up the Rev. Robert Geisinger, a canon lawyer previously based in Chicago, was named chief prosecutor responsible for abuse cases. He replaces his U.S. colleague, the Rev. Robert Oliver, who was named to the Vatican’s anti-abuse commission, created by Francis last year.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
Revelations concerning Cardinal Sean Brady’s involvement in a 1975 canonical inquiry into Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse of Brendan Boland have sparked fresh calls for the Catholic Church’s most senior churchman to stand down. Marie Kane, who was one of six survivors who met Pope Francis two weeks ago in the Vatican, has threatened to write again to the Pope if Dr Brady does not offer his resignation.”
By Sarah MacDonald, Irish Independent — Click here to read the rest of this story
Also regarding this story, “Priests tried to ‘blame and shame me’ at meeting in front of Brady, claims abuse victim,” By John Spain, Irish Independent, and “Calls for Cardinal Brady’s resignation over cover-up,” By Sarah MacDonald, The Tablet
Pope Francis says one in 50 in the Church are pedophiles, including some cardinals and bishops / The Tablet
Pope Francis has reportedly claimed that ‘pedophilia inside the Church is at the level of two per cent” and includes “priests and even bishops and cardinals.’
“In an interview with the Italian newspaper la Repubblica he said that the statistic was provided to him by advisers in the Vatican.
“Assuming the Pope was referring to those who have taken vows, that would mean that about one in every 50 Catholic clergy and Religious is a pedophile.”
By Hannah Roberts, The Tablet — Click here to read the rest of this article.
A bishop who met with Pope Francis in a rare private audience on 4 April has said in an interview that the two men discussed the issue of the ordination of “proven” married men – viri probati – in a serious and positive way.
“Bishop Erwin Kräutler, Bishop of Xingu in the Brazilian rainforest, spoke to the Pope about Francis’ forthcoming encyclical on the environment, and the treatment of indigenous peoples but the desperate shortage of priests in the bishop’s huge diocese came up in the conversation. According to an interview the Austrian-born bishop gave to the daily Salzburger Nachrichten on 5 April, the Pope was open-minded about finding solutions to the problem, saying that bishops’ conferences could have a decisive role.”
By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Since Pope Francis took office in March, almost everything he has said and done indicates that he is bent on carrying through a thorough reform of the Roman Catholic Church, beginning with the Vatican itself.” By Hans Kung, The Tablet. You can read the rest of Kung’s commentary by clicking here.
Voice of the Faithful® also finds hope in Pope Francis for Church reform. Many of the sentiments he has expressed complement those Voice of the Faithful has always espoused. Here are a few:
- During an interview with America magazine, Pope Francis said, “Human self-understanding changes
with time and so also human consciousness deepens. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith
to defend without nuance or different understanding is wrong.”
- In its mission statement, VOTF commits itself to providing the Church with “a prayerful voice, attentive
to the Spirit,” thereby attuning its organizational conscience to the Spirit’s guidance, as espoused by Vatican II. “Catholics should try to cooperate with all men and women of good will to promote whatever is true, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable (cf. Phil. 4:8). They should hold discussions with them, excel them in prudence and courtesy, and initiate research on social and public practices which should be improved in line with the spirit of the Gospel.” (Apostolate/Laity #15)
- In addressing the reorganization of Vatican congregations, Pope Francis said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should continue to “act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty.”
- In its statement concerning Pope Francis’ Vatican reorganization, VOTF said, “If Pope Francis wishes
to demonstrate that the Church will, at last, ‘act decisively,’ in matters of child sexual abuse, these are instances (examples of bishops allegedly complicit in abetting or covering up clergy sexual abuse) where he can hold accountable the bishops who fail to act in such cases. Voice of the Faithful® urges Pope Francis
to call for investigations under canon law or to censure these bishops directly. He is the only person in the Church who can do so.”
- In addressing the role of the clergy, Pope Francis said, Priests should be “shepherds living with the smell
of the sheep,” and, “Leaders of the Church have often been Narcissuses, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy … This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us
… The church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God.”
- Voice of the Faithful has long decried this clericalism in the Church. In 2011, VOTF criticized the John Jay Institute’s Study of the Causes and Context of the Sexual Abuse Crisis for describing clericalism but not naming it as a principal cause for clergy sex abuse and coverup. “Clericalism,” VOTF’s report noted, “is an overriding set of beliefs and behaviors in which the clergy view themselves as different, separate, and exempt from the norms, rules and consequences that apply to everyone else in society.”
- In addressing women’s roles in the Church, Pope Francis said, “Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The Church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the Church … I say this because we must not confuse the function with the dignity. We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the Church.”
- In its paper on re-establishing the ordained women’s diaconate, Voice of the Faithful® said, “One of the best kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that for the first half of its history, that is, for more than 11 centuries, women were ordained to the diaconate by bishops, within the sanctuary, with the laying on
of hands … Yet, since the close of the Second Vatican Council, the Vatican has not moved to restore the female diaconate in the Catholic Church, even though, … the Church today has both the authority and the power to ordain women deacons.”