Posts Tagged transparency
The Catholic Church is turning to outside arbiters to reckon with its history of sexual abuse. But skeptics argue that its legacy of evasion continues. (the New Yorker)
Like many Catholics, I wonder whether this story will ever be over and whether things will ever be set right.
“Often called a crisis, the problem is more enduring and more comprehensive than that. Social scientists report that the gravest period of priestly sexual abuse was the sixties and seventies, and the problem has been in public view for the past three and a half decades. For most American Catholics, then, the fact of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup by bishops has long been an everyday reality.
“Priestly sexual abuse has directly harmed thousands of Catholics, spoiling their sense of sexuality, of intimacy, of trust, of faith. Indirectly, the pattern of abuse and coverup has made Catholics leery of priests and disdainful of the idea that the bishops are our ‘shepherds.’ It has muddled questions about Church doctrine concerning sexual orientation, the nature of the priesthood, and the role of women; it has hastened the decline of Catholic schooling and the shuttering of churches.
“Attorneys general in more than a dozen states are investigating the Church and its handling of sexual-abuse allegations. In February, New York State loosened its statute of limitations for sex crimes, long the Church’s bulwark against abuse claims. And that is just in the United States. Priestly sexual abuse has had grave effects around the world, including in Rome, where the three most recent Popes have been implicated in the institutional habits of concealment or inaction, and where Pope Francis has yet to find his voice on the problem …
“In all of this, a distinctly American solution to the problem has emerged—the commissioning of an independent, secular authority to arrange settlements between the Church and survivors of abuse. This strategy has been taken up by an unlikely advocate: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and a traditionalist who generally relishes defending the Church against its adversaries.”
By Paul Elie, The New Yorker — Read more …
The good news is this: if the dignity of all the baptized is genuinely and deeply respected, this rules out every one of the predatory behaviors we have seen in the abuse crisis. (Rita Ferrone in Commonweal)
When Pope Francis wrote to the American bishops concerning the abuse crisis, he observed that ‘many actions can be helpful, good and necessary, and may even seem correct, but not all of them have the ‘flavor’ of the Gospel.’
“By recommending a return to the Gospel as an essential reference point, Francis is on to something. The horror of the abuse cases, the sheer numbers of victims, the longevity of the crisis, its scope, and the fact that it has proved so hard to change the institutional patterns and habits that abet it—all this has been, for many of the faithful, a profoundly shocking and disorienting experience. It has eroded the trust we used to give to our church leaders and structures. It has shamed us in the eyes of the world. We do not taste the Gospel here. Yet we long for it, even when that longing goes unnamed.
“Metaphors of taste and smell have a long history in Christian discourse. The psalmist enjoins the faithful to ‘taste and see the goodness of the Lord.’ The gift of God’s law is perfect and refreshing, ‘sweeter than syrup, or honey from the comb.’ Evil, in contrast, is something that sets one’s teeth on edge. Sour and bitter fruit come forth from wickedness.
“In the New Testament, followers of Jesus are urged to be “salt for the earth” and not to lose their savor. Because the sense of taste is allied with smell, we also find olfactory images in the Scripture. Paul refers to Christians as those who bear “the aroma of Christ.” In the ancient church, catechumens were given salt on the tongue as part of their admission to the catechumenate. Ritual expresses in the body what is believed in faith: Christian life is not bland or flavorless. It tastes like something.
“What does the Gospel taste like? Francis doesn’t say. Perhaps this is because he thinks the bishops already know …”
By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal — Read more …
Bishops must look within their own culture
“It took a long time — decades, in fact — for understanding of the clergy sex abuse crisis to evolve to a point where it is now widely recognized that the scandal metastasized systemically, the abuse itself a twin evil with a cover-up(link is external) that was repeated from country to country, continent to continent, in shockingly similar ways by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Clergy culture or clerical culture are quickly becoming well-worn descriptions of an entity that previously went by the more reverential term ‘priesthood.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis refuses resignation of French cardinal convicted of cover-up
“French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon said Pope Francis would not accept his resignation following his conviction for covering up clerical sexual abuse(link is external), so he has decided to step aside temporarily for the good of the archdiocese. The cardinal had met Pope Francis March 18 to hand in his resignation after a French court gave him a six-month suspended sentence in the cover-up case.” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com
Pennsylvania native and West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield knowingly employed pedophiles
“West Virginia authorities on Tuesday (Mar. 19) accused Michael J. Bransfield, a Philadelphia native and former Roman Catholic bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va., and his predecessors of ‘knowingly employing pedophiles’ — including some priests cited in last year’s Pennsylvania grand jury report examining decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up(link is external). In a civil suit, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey alleged that West Virginia’s prelates had endangered children for decades by failing to conduct adequate background checks or disclose abuse accusations against clerics and diocesan employees to parents in the parishes where those people were assigned.” By Jeremy Roebuck and William Bender, The Philadelphia Inquirer, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pope accepts resignation of embattled Chilean cardinal
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean cardinal who has faced widespread criticism for his handling of cases of clerical sexual abuse in the country(link is external). The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the Vatican announced March 23; the Vatican did not give a reason for the cardinal stepping down. All bishops are required to offer their resignations when they turn 75; Cardinal Ezzati is 77.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
- Pope replaces bishop in sex cover-up(link is external), By Associated Press in The Manila Times
- Ezzati defends his record as he steps down as Archbishop of Santiago,(link is external) By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com
Ireland considers plans for seminarians to spend more time in parishes
“Under new plans being considered, Irish seminarians would spend most of their time working in parishes(link is external) rather than in the traditional seminary environment. The plans would allow for more time involved in active pastoral work alongside priests and lay pastoral workers and would, according to one bishop, give them a more realistic insight into priesthood in contemporary Ireland.” By TheCatholicUniverse.com
Bishop Eamonn Casey accused of sexually abusing three women as children
“Three women made allegations that they were sexually abused as children by former Bishop of Galway the late Eamonn Casey(link is external) and two have received compensation as a result. In one of the cases, Bishop Casey, who died in March 2017 aged 89, admitted the abuse when he was serving as a priest up to 2005 in the south England diocese of Arundel and Brighton.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times
Founder, board of Vatican women’s magazine quit
“ The founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican’s women’s magazine have quit after what they say was a Vatican campaign to discredit them(link is external) and put them ‘under the direct control of men,’ that only increased after they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy. The editorial committee of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly glossy published alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement in the planned April 1 editorial and in an open letter to Pope Francis that was provided Tuesday (Mar. 26) to The Associated Press.” By The Associated Press
- Founder, editorial staff of Vatican’s women’s magazine resign(link is external), By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot
- Women on Vatican magazine editorial board quit en masse,(link is external) By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio
- The revolt at the Vatican shows the church is still failing women(link is external), By Tina Beattie, The Guardian
- Listen to America Media’s interview with Lucetta Scaraffia on Inside the Vatican(link is external), “How things are changing for women in the Vatican,” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review
Latin American prelate casts doubt on U.S. accountability plan for abuse crisis
“A Latin American bishop with personal experience of the clerical sexual abuse crisis has doubts about a proposal reportedly gaining ground among U.S. bishops(link is external) to impose accountability for the cover-up of abuse by enhancing the authority of metropolitan archbishops, saying that it amounts to prelates policing other prelates. Instead, he proposed the creation of independent bodies to provide accountability, featuring lay leadership and especially a greater role for women.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com
Why is the Vatican’s process for holding bishops accountable still so opaque?
“Since the summer of 2018, the church has seen three cardinals face specific consequences in connection with sexual abuse. Understanding these already complex cases has been made more difficult by unclear canonical procedures(link is external), by decisions reserved to Pope Francis himself and—most vexing—by limited communication from the Vatican about what process is being followed on what timeline. Taken together, these cases illustrate why accountability for bishops has become a focus of the sexual abuse crisis in the church. Both process and communication need to be improved in order to rebuild trust among the people of God that the church is committed to healing and reform.” By Editors at America: The Jesuit Review
Peru bishop wants excommunication for abuse scandals, not just defrocking
“Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri, Peru believes current punishments for both the crime of clerical sexual abuse (usually expulsion from the clerical state) and the cover-up are ineffective, and suggested harsher penalties including excommunication(link is external). As a former member of a group whose founder has been charged with abuses of conscience, power and sexuality, Schmalhausen told Crux that some key questions need to be asked.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com
West Virginia AG sues Wheeling-Charleston Diocese, bishop
“West Virginia’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese after allegations it and a former bishop knowingly employed pedophiles and did not conduct background checks(link is external). The civil complaint, which was filed Tuesday in Wood County Circuit Court, alleges the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of not disclosing the danger to parents who bought its services for their children. Morrisey’s complaint alleges those actions lacked transparency in sharp contrast to the diocese’s advertised mission of providing a safe learning environment.” By Anna Moore, FOX11-TV News
- West Virginia sues bishop and diocese over sex abuse, citing consumer protection(link is external), By Elizabeth Dias and Julia Jacobs, The New York Times
Cardinal Marx: church needs to seriously discuss celibacy, role of women and sexual morality
“The Catholic Church in Germany is at a point where serious debate — including on priestly celibacy and the role of women — and openness to doing things in a new way must encouraged(link is external), said the president of the German bishops’ conference. “Shakeups demand special proceedings,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, conference president, said March 14 at the end of the bishops’ spring meeting in Lingen. The sexual abuse scandal and demands for reform have changed the German church, the cardinal said.” By Zita Fletcher, Catholic News Service, America: The Jesuit Review
Church must follow, accept local laws on abuse, Vatican abuse expert says
“The Catholic Church must respect the law and accept court decisions regarding clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up(link is external), said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading expert in child protection. Interviewed by Vatican News March 15, Zollner noted that in 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear to bishops’ conferences around the world that the Church must obey civil laws regarding cases of abuse.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com
How are bishops being held accountable for abuse and cover up?
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican(link is external),’ Gerry and I update you on Australian Cardinal George Pell and several other high-profile cases of abuse. We’ll also talk about Pope Francis’ sixth anniversary as pope … We’ll also look at several new cases that might show us how authorities inside and outside of the church are holding bishops accountable for sexual abuse and its cover-up.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review
Civil courts step in to solve what the Catholic Church won’t
“This week (Mar. 13) marked a major turning point in the Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse crisis(link is external). An Australian court sentenced Cardinal George Pell to six years in prison for sexually abusing minors, a decision that not only makes him the highest-ranking Church official to face civil justice, but also underscores a central animating tension in the issue: the one between civil and Church authorities. After years in which victims saw Church officials as lax and unresponsive, more protective of the abusers than of the abused, civil justice has moved in and filled the gap.” By Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic
VATICAN’S BISHOPS’ CLERGY ABUSE SUMMIT
Vatican summit prompts cardinals to recommit to caring for abuse victims
“The Archdiocese of Boston is implementing a reporting system to handle confidential and anonymous reporting of misconduct by high-ranking church officials(link is external), including cardinals and bishops. Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley announced in a Lenten message March 8 following the Vatican’s February summit to protect children and minors that the third-party EthicsPoint reporting system would begin “soon” to accept reports of misconduct related to the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot
Abuse summit achieved something, but not what pope or bishops expected
“The so-called ‘summit’ on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure(link is external). The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen. The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.” By Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter
Your thoughts on Vatican abuse summit
“NCR readers had a myriad of reactions to the Feb. 21-24 summit of bishops at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sex abuse crisis. A sampling of letters(link is external) from NCR readers reacting to the summit are below. They have been edited for length and clarity.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff
Fr. Zollner: Do justice for victims of clerical sexual abuse
“The Bishops who participated in the Meeting on the ‘Protection of Minors in the Church’ at the end of February have ‘taken some initiatives(link is external),’ says Fr Hans Zollner, SJ, President of the Centre for Child Protection in an interview with Vatican News’ Gudrun Sailer. Some Bishops, he says, have revised their guidelines to find and implement ways of ‘cooperating with Civil Authorities.’ Fr Zollner explains that Presidents of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences are seeking the help of the Centre for Child Protection in the formation of Church personnel on the ground, after many of them were reduced to tears in hearing testimonies of survivors of child sexual abuse.” By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News
The Catholic Church is investigating George Pell’s case. What does that mean?
“Cardinal George Pell was this week sentenced (Mar. 13) by a Victorian court to six years’ jail for sexually abusing two choirboys, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. Although Pell was found guilty of the charges against him in December, he has remained a Cardinal in the Catholic Church(link is external). The Church previously said it would await the outcome of an appeal before taking action, but it has since confirmed that an investigation of Pell’s case will be conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” By TheConversation.com
How Cardinal George Pell became the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted of child abuse
“After years of accusations involving Pell’s complicity and direct abuse — and several trials later—Cardinal Pell has been convicted of child abuse on five counts and sentenced to six years in jail(link is external). News of the court proceedings was suppressed until only recently, as his case was protected by a strict media gag order common in high-profile criminal cases in Australia. The verdict was announced formally only days after Pope Francis’s Vatican summit to address child abuse within the Catholic Church, an institution that’s still grappling with its horrifying history of child abuse around the world.” By Nicholas Lord, Rolling Stone
Bishop says recovery from abuse scandals a ‘generational’ task
“In his debut at America’s largest annual Catholic gathering, one of the rising stars of the U.S. hierarchy warned that full recovery from the clerical abuse scandals, including a new style of leadership in the Church, will be a ‘generational’ ta(link is external)sk. ‘We’ll be at this for a while,’ said Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who made a splash at last fall’s Synod of Bishops in Rome with his blunt, forceful language on the abuse crisis.” By Elise Harris and John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Bishop’s phone porn didn’t involve minors, but questions remain on move to Vatican
“When Pope Francis decided in 2017 to bring an Argentine bishop to Rome and give him a job in the Vatican, the prelate had been accused of ‘strange behavior’ but not of criminal sexual conduct, Crux has learned. The first formal allegations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, formerly of the northern Argentine diocese of Oran, came in 2015 when a diocesan secretary found pornographic pictures on the prelate’s phone(link is external).” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com
Irish bishops conclude general meeting
“The Bishops of Ireland concluded their Spring 2019 General Meeting Wednesday (Mar. 13) issuing a statement on the topics discussed. During the gathering in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Bishops reflected on the recent meeting on ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church(link is external)’ which took place from 21-24 February in the Vatican. Also present was the chair and CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland who updated the bishops on the standards and guidance for safeguarding children which exist throughout the Church in the country.” By Vatican News
SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Conference says after youth synod, ‘people must listen to young people’
“‘I always disliked this Synod on young people,’ admitted Andrea Monda, Editor and Chief of the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano. Bishops from all over the world convened in Rome for a summit last October to discuss ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment’ and produced a document containing over 160 points(link is external). Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation to young people – ‘Christ lives’ – was signed at the Marian shrine of Loreto on Monday (Mar. 25) and will be made available to the public April 2. As a religion teacher and university professor in close contact with youth, Monda struggled to understand how young people could be a topic for a summit of bishops.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com
After years of abuse by priests, #NunsToo are speaking out
“In February, Pope Francis acknowledged a longstanding dirty secret in the Roman Catholic Church — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests(link is external). It’s an issue that had long been kept under wraps, but in the #MeToo era, a #NunsToo movement has emerged, and now sexual abuse is more widely discussed. The Vatican’s wall of silence was first broken in Women Church World, a supplement of the official Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio
Theologians examine role of power, clericalism in the sex abuse crisis
“Two systematic theologians examined how power and clericalism among Catholic clergy played a role in creating the sexual abuse crisis(link is external) that has rocked the church anew since June during a daylong Catholic University of America conference. While offering differing perspectives, Richard Gaillardetz of Boston College and Chad Pecknold of The Catholic University of America agreed March 26 that clericalism needed to be addressed if the church is to begin recovering from the scandal.” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
America’s most prominent nun says women should ‘seize the moment’
“Sister Norma Pimentel, arguably the most prominent Catholic woman in America today, has said she believes it is time for women to step up, take the initiative and be proactive in the Church(link is external), rather than waiting for someone to create space for them. In comments to Crux, Pimentel said her hope is for a woman ‘conscious of her presence in society, in the family, in our country, in the world. A woman who does not step back and let others [act], but who actually takes the initiative to voice what she sees and acts on it.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxow.com
How things are changing for women in the Vatican
“Gerard O’Connell is out this week, so instead of following our usual format for the ‘Inside the Vatican’ podcast, we’re breaking out of the weekly news cycle to bring you an interview about a slow change that’s beginning for some really important people in the Vatican: Women(link is external). Lucetta Scaraffia is the editor of Women Church World, the monthly magazine that comes as an insert in the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review
Women’s authority can help heal our church’s broken governance
“I suppose Women’s History Month is a good time to weigh in on current discussions and disagreements about women deacons and women priests(link is external) in the Catholic Church. In some ways, it seems a fluffy conversation in light of recent revelations about our grievously wounded clerical system. But perhaps that is exactly why we need to have this discussion.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter
Women in theology share trials and triumphs at panel event
“Seven years ago, Sr. Annmarie Sanders interviewed theologian Sr. Sandra Schneiders, one of the first women to earn a doctorate of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Schneiders, now a professor emeritus at the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, told Sanders, the director of communications for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and an IHM sister, that she was the only woman taking examinations in classes with 200 men. The men, Schneiders said, simply assumed the woman would not pass the exams(link is external).” By Chris Herlinger, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter
FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
Australian church completes first phase of historic plenary council
“The Australian Catholic Church has completed the first phase of its 2020 Plenary Council, in which laypeople will be allowed to vote and decisions could be binding on the nation’s Catholics, once ratified by the Vatican. The meeting’s organizers have received more than 20,000 submissions from more than 75,000 Catholics around the country in a 10-month ‘listening and dialogue’ process that finished March 13. The landmark meeting that will take place in two Australian cities during 2020 and 2021 is already bringing to the surface debate about the role of the laity in the church(link is external) and other reforms that are becoming more urgent in the wake of the ever-growing global sexual abuse scandal.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
Future of Youngstown Catholic Diocese brings fewer priests, smaller congregation
“The future of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese will likely mean fewer Masses and, possibly, fewer churches because there are fewer Catholics(link is external) and an even smaller number who regularly attend. Numbers released on Friday (Mar. 22) show Catholic participation in the diocese is way down — in some cases, nearly 70 percent.” By Sarah Mercer and Stan Boney, WKBN-TV News
Number of U.S. Catholics considering leaving he church has gone up after recent sex abuse crisis
“The percentage of US Catholics who say the clergy sex abuse crisis has them questioning whether to leave the faith(link is external) has jumped 15 points since the last major crisis in the early 2000s, a poll released Wednesday (Mar. 13) finds. Thirty-seven percent of Catholics told Gallup that ‘recent news about sexual abuse of young people by priests’ has them personally questioning whether to remain Catholic, compared with 62 percent who said it had not.” By Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, in The Boston Globe
The Church under pressure: reform or counter-reform?
“Bishop Charles Morerod, who is recognized as one the leading intellectuals among the Catholic hierarchy of Europe, recently told La Croix ‘the Church reforms itself under the influence of seemingly adverse forces.’ The 57-year-old Swiss Dominican, head of the Diocese of Lausanne-Genève-Fribourg since 2011, was referring to the sexual abuse crisis and how it is putting pressure for change on the Catholic Church(link is external). Mounting pressure is a key factor to consider in the debates within the Church about the institutional reforms that are needed to address how bishops have failed in handling sex abuse cases. But this pressure on the institutional Church is undeniably different today from that of the past.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International
The end of an era? The abuse crisis redefines church sovereignty
“The relationship between papal power in the church and the political power of the state has been defined for centuries by diplomacy, foreign policy, revolutions, and parliaments. Now, because of the sexual-abuse crisis, it is being redefined by the criminal-justice system of the secular state(link is external). The convictions of Cardinal George Pell by an Australian tribunal for crimes of sexual abuse against minors, and of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin by a French tribunal for failing to report an abusive priest, together mark a new chapter in the relations between church and state.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal
Taking stock of the clergy sexual abuse crisis: protecting children
“Last month’s summit in Rome on child sex abuse did not break new ground for those, like myself, who have been following this crisis for more than 30 years, but it did make clear — again — that the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has been devastating for the victims of abuse and for the church as a whole(link is external). There are three parts to the crisis, which I plan to deal with in three successive columns. First, there is the failure to protect children; second, the failure to hold bishops accountable; and third, the lack of transparency in dealing with the crisis. Protecting children is a fundamental obligation of any adult, even of those who are not parents …” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
The Catholic Church continues to fail on the issue of sexual misconduct
“Why do we keep hearing this story? That is the question that so many of us have been trying to answer in light of more recent revelations about the Catholic Church’s widespread cover-up of child sexual abuse by the clergy(link is external). This far-reaching scandal has even reached LMU with recent reports of sexual harassment by a former LMU Jesuit, Bishop Gordon Bennett. Though we still do not know the precise nature of the allegations, they were deemed credible enough to bar Bennett from performing any priestly or episcopal ministry.” By Abby Pollack, The Los Angeles Loyolan
Parishioners at Claremont church claim money is being mismanaged
“A group of concerned parishioners are asking their church where there money has gone(link is external). About 15 members of Saint Augustine – Our Lady of Victory claim money at the Claremont congregation has been mismanaged for years under the leadership of Father George Stewart. Among the allegations are nearly $20,000 in renovations that never came, hundreds of thousands in rent income that is seemingly unaccounted for and never seeing funding and stipend money owed to the church’s food pantry and its volunteers.” By News12 The Bronx
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM
New Jersey sexual-assault victims will soon have more time to sue abusers under bull that just passed
“Despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, state legislators passed a bill today giving victims of sexual assault in New Jersey significantly more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bill, which had been stalled in the state Legislature for more than two decades. The state Assembly voted 71-0 with five abstentions Monday (Mar. 25) to approve the measure (S477), which would vastly expand the current two-year statute of limitations for such civil suits to seven years in most cases.” By S.P. Sullivan, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Maryland House of Delegates OKs bill lifting age limits on filing child sexual abuse lawsuits
“The Maryland House of Delegates on Monday (Mar. 18) approved a bill removing the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits arising from child sexual abuse(link is external). The House passed the bill by a bipartisan vote of 136-2 without debate, sending it to the state Senate for consideration. The bill would allow victims of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit anytime. And victims who previously were barred from filing a lawsuit because of the prior limits would have a two-year window to file a lawsuit.” By Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun
CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Speakers at Georgetown dialogue on child sex abuse look at ‘path forward’
“Some 60 years later, sexual abuse by a trusted priest is still vivid(link is external) for Michael Nugent. His 2002 accusation against Father Marion Snieg, who abused him at the parish school of St. Jane de Chantal in Chicago in 1959, when he was in the eighth grade, was part of an $8 million settlement in 2003 by the Archdiocese of Chicago involving 12 priests and 15 victims.” By Kurt Jensen, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot
Broken Faith: inside the Catholic Church’s plan to quietly pay survivors of sexual abuse
“For survivors, many of whom have spent decades coping with trauma, the (compensation) programs are a way to finally be acknowledged by the Church that wronged them … But the programs amount to a kind of private justice: At a time when states are considering rewriting statute of limitations laws, sexual assault survivors must sign away their right to ever sue the Church. There is generally no requirement that the Church admit guilt and there’s no guarantee that evidence of sexual abuse will ever be made public(link is external), or that anyone in the Church will be held accountable after the settlements.” By Carter Sherman and Joe Hill, Vice News
Survivor Stories: Marie Collins
“Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end? That’s a question everyone has been asking since the latest wave of news in 2018. In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside(link is external). She wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.” By Maggi Van Dorn, Deliver Us, America: The Jesuit Review
Faced with ongoing sexual-abuse crisis, what are Catholic parents to do?
“As it has been for decades, the Catholic Church is in the midst of a crisis, one whose long reach has traumatized thousands and left one of the world’s oldest institutions struggling to find a way forward … What is an institutional crisis for the Church is a personal crisis for the faithful. Lay Catholics are left to grapple with what this crisis means for them, their families, and their faith. Parents in particular often feel acutely conflicted(link is external).” By Julie Beck and Ashley Fetters
Movement leader says Christ is key to recovery from abuse scandals
“Catholicism’s ongoing clerical abuse scandals have provoked wide reactions, not the least of which has been a push both within the Church and from outside it for tough norms and policies to provide accountability for both the crime and the cover-up. However, according to a leading member of a high-profile Catholic movement, the more essential change the scandals should provoke is a renewed internal commitment to Christ(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com
Sex abuse must be reported by clergy, senate bill contends
“California Sen. Jerry Hill, (D-San Mateo), has introduced legislation to require clergy of all faiths to report suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement without regard to the circumstances(link is external). Although current law includes clergy members in the list of 46 professionals with social workers and teachers as mandated reporters, the law also exempts clergy from such reporting if they gain their knowledge or suspicion of the crimes during ‘a penitential communication.’ By Sue Wood, Patch.com
Review of Catholic Church in Colorado is miserably weak
“The Colorado attorney general and Catholic Church last month announced an agreement that established an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy(link is external). This is Colorado’s contribution to a broader search for truth that’s occurring in states across the country. In some states, law enforcement officials are aggressively pursuing relevant information, but that’s not happening in Colorado. In fact, the terms of the agreement are so favorable to the church and so incommensurate to the gravity of crimes uncovered in numerous other dioceses that it’s doubtful to result in an honest account of abuses that took place in Colorado.” By Daily Camera Editorial Board
10 Priests added to Bridgeport Diocese abuse allegation list
“The Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has added 10 priests to its list of those credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external). The list includes eight deceased priests, one retired diocesan priest who is on permanent administrative leave and one Venezuelan priest who was present in the diocese for one summer.” By Rich Scinto, Patch.com
Allegations of sexual abuse made against priest who served at Jacksonville Catholic church in 1980s
“The Diocese of St. Augustine said Thursday (Mar. 21) night that ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse’ have been made against a priest who served at a Jacksonville parish(link is external) in the 1980s and 1990s. In a statement, the diocese said the allegations were made against Father William Malone, who served in the diocese from January 1982 to March 1992. The abuses happened in the early 1980s at Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville.” By Action News Jax
Catholic priest charged with drugging, raping woman
“A Roman Catholic priest in Florida is facing charges that he drugged a female parishioner and raped her(link is external). The Rev. Jean Claude Jean-Philippe was in a Miami-Dade County jail late Saturday (Mar. 16) charged with sexual battery on an incapacitated victim. The Miami Herald reports that in October the 64-year-old priest invited the victim to his home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead. The woman said she drank tea he gave her and passed out. She told investigators she woke up two hours later naked in Jean-Philippe’s bed, believing she was raped.” By Associated Press on ABC News
State representative urges the Catholic Church to establish procedures to stop sexual abuse
“Rida Cabanilla Arakawa, the State Representative for Ewa Beach, called out the Catholic Church(link is external) Friday (Mar. 15). In a news conference at the State Capitol, she urged the pope and church bishops to establish procedures stopping further sexual abuse by clergy and instead help victims heal and keep their faith. Cabanilla Arakawa introduced a House Resolution recently, a reaction to many allegations worldwide leading to clergy either being convicted or resigning.” By KITV4 News
New report to detail Catholic priest sex abuse cases
“A new report out today (Mar. 19) lists hundreds of names, work histories and background information of Catholic priests in Illinois accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The survivors behind the 185-page report—the most comprehensive to date–hope it pushes bishops to reveal the identities of hundreds of more clergy involved in the cases. The report was assembled by law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which gathered information from survivors, lists of credible allegations and other outlets.” By Vi Nguyen, CBS-TV News Chicago
- Lawyers to release hundreds of Illinois Catholic clergy accused of sexual misconduct,(link is external) By Associated Press in Chicago Tribune
- Law firm to release names of 395 Catholic church members accused of sexual misconduct(link is external), By Katie Smith, Northwest Herald
- Report shines light on 395 Catholic priests, church staff accused of sex abuse(link is external), By Nader Issa and Mitch Dudek, Chicago Sun Times
- About 390 Catholic priests, 6 nuns in Ill. Named as alleged sexual abusers on massive list, By Corky Siemaszko, NBC-TV News
Victims’ group wants to see upcoming criminal trial of accused KCK priest play out
“Less than three weeks before the criminal trial of a priest charged with sexually abusing a child(link is external) is set to begin in Wyandotte County, victims’ advocates on Thursday (Mar. 21) said they hoped the complete story comes out in court. David Clohessy, former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the group wants prosecutors to reject any plea deal for the Rev. Scott Kallal and instead push for a jury trial at which those ‘who may have concealed or ignored’ alleged child sex crimes against Kallal ‘might also be publicly exposed.’” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star
Mother of Catholic church abuse victim in Kansas laments ‘third-degree burns to the soul’
“Janet Patterson ripped the blinders off when her adult son killed himself shortly after revealing a priest sexually abused him as a child(link is external). For three decades, Catholic church leaders in Wichita, Newton and Conway Springs ignored reports of children suffering at the hands of Robert Larson. At least five victims committed suicide. ‘Suicide is a very real thing,’ Patterson said. ‘Not only suicide but dying slowly on the vine, so to speak, when you have third-degree burns to the soul. Nobody can see those burns, but they hurt, and they hurt so badly that they influence everything in your life.’” By Sherman Smith, Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas bill requiring clergy to report suspected sexual abuse receives broad support
“A bill that would require clergy to be mandatory reporters of suspected sexual assault(link is external) received broad support during its first hearing in the Kansas Legislature. Several people who identified themselves as victims or related to victims of sexual violence spoke Wednesday in support of Senate Bill 218 before the Kansas Senate’s state and federal affairs committee. Baldwin City Democrat Sen. Tom Holland introduced the bill in January.” By Dylan Lysen, Lawrence Journal-World
Case of ex-priest convicted of altar boy abuse back in court
“The case of a former Massachusetts priest who was convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy(link is external) in Maine years ago is due to return to court later this week. Ronald Paquin was found guilty of 11 of 24 counts of gross sexual misconduct in November and has been awaiting sentencing. The case is expected in York County Superior Court in Alfred on Friday (Mar. 29). Paquin’s sentencing was delayed when his attorney filed a motion requesting a mental health evaluation. A judge granted the request.” By NBC10-TV News
Springfield Diocese sets services to show ‘solidarity’ with clergy abuse victims
“A Prayer Service for Healing to show ‘solidarity’ with victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) will be held Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m at St. Michael’s Cathedral, 254 State St. The service is part of Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski’s efforts announced in February to hold dialogue and prayer sessions as a ‘sign of our collective commitment to victims that we are truly sorry for our church’s past failure and remain steadfast in our ongoing efforts to prevent any future abuse.’” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com
Teens testify Catholic priest sexually assaulted them
“With a jury looking on Wednesday (Mar. 21), two teens testified that a Roman Catholic priest had sexually assaulted them(link is external). Testimony in the first of three trials for Robert J. “Father Bob” DeLand began the afternoon of Wednesday, March 20, before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson. DeLand, 72, is a longtime priest who worked in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.” By Cole Waterman, MLive.com
John Nienstedt, Detroit’s poster boy for the Catholic Church abuse scandal, is back – and the archdiocese is keeping it quiet
“It didn’t look like anyone was living at the home north of Port Huron — no cars in the driveway, no tire tracks in what was left of the snow and ice. Looking through a screen, I saw two pairs of boots on the floor, the corner of a treadmill, and a chair and table. Just as I was going to leave, he got up from the table, clutching a copy of Inside the Vatican magazine. Suddenly I was face to face with Archbishop John Nienstedt(link is external).” By Michael Betzold, Detroit Metro Times
Former Catholic priest’s sex abuse trial to begin Tuesday
“Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday (Mar. 19) morning in the sex abuse case involving a former Catholic priest(link is external). Robert DeLand is known by many as ‘Father Bob.’ He’s accused of sexual misconduct against three young men dating back to 2017. Two of the young men were 17-years-old when the alleged incidents took place, the third man was 21-years-old.” By Rebecca Tryich, ABC12-TV News
Survivors want Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo to name priests accused of abuse
“A support group for men and women abused by members of the Roman Catholic Church has called on the Diocese of Kalamazoo to publicly list the former Kalamazoo-area priests who have credible allegations against them(link is external). The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Thursday, March 14, called for Diocese of Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley to post the names of all church staff accused of molesting children on the websites of Kalamazoo churches. The post should include photos and work histories, SNAP said.” By Emily Monacelli, MLive.com
Archdiocese of Detroit will re-examine list of accused clergy
“The Archdiocese of Detroit said Wednesday (Mar. 13) that it will re-examine its list of religious order priests accused of abuse that some victims allege is incomplete(link is external). The announcement came after members of a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) claimed city’s Catholic officials are being ‘reckless and secretive’ by withholding details of all accused priests.” By Sarah Rahal, The Detroit News
Bishop in Mississippi: ‘deeply sorry’ for clergy sex abue
“A Catholic diocese in Mississippi is releasing names of clergy members it says have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Joseph Kopacz said the Diocese of Jackson is publishing the list Tuesday (Mar. 19) on its website. It’s part of the international reckoning of clergy abuse allegations that have shaken the Catholic church. The Jackson bishop said in a letter released Monday (Mar. 18) that he is ‘truly, deeply sorry’ for pain that be caused by the list.” By Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press
- 17 Catholic priests names as accused sex abusers by Jackson Diocese. Who are they(link is external)? By Sarah Fowler, Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Survivors accuse Missouri bishop of withholding details of abuse
“With Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the background, two members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests accused Bishop Shawn McKnight and the diocese of Jefferson City of continuing to withhold information about abusive priests(link is external). ‘We’re here to essentially protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded,’ said David Clohessy, SNAP’s president based in St. Louis. Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr., a priest at Immaculate Conception Church and School in Jefferson City, has been placed on administrative leave while being investigated for allegations of ‘boundary violations’ with minors.” By Roger McKinney, Columbia Daily Tribune
- Missouri diocese accused of withholding information about priest under investigation(link is external), By Alisa Nelson, MissouriNet.com
Accusation against York Catholic Priest not credible
“The child sexual abuse allegation against a former York Catholic teacher and York County priest was deemed not credible(link is external), according to a Montana diocesan official. The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings Chancellor Darren Eultgen told The York Dispatch in February that there was an independent investigation into the allegations against Rev. William Cawley.” By Christopher Dornblaser, York Dispatch
Andrew Rannells says a Catholic priest sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager
“In his new memoir, ‘Too Much Is Not Enough,’ Andrew Rannells says a Catholic priest in his 60s sexually assaulted him when he was a teenager(link is external). The former ‘Girls’ star, now 40, describes his Catholic upbringing in Omaha, Nebraska, in an excerpt from the memoir. Rannells went to Catholic school, and also served as an altar boy. According to the excerpt, Rannells, who is now openly gay, says that later during his time at a Jesuit high school, he was struggling with his sexuality. At a low point, he says he decided to open up to a priest whom he calls Father Dominic during the rite of confession.” By Antoinette Bueno, Entertainment Tonight
Former TCNJ chaplain from Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal exposed
“As the Catholic Church grapples with widespread sex abuse scandals, new details have emerged about a child-molesting ex-priest who targeted students(link is external) at the local campus known today as The College of New Jersey. The Rev. Vincent J. Inghilterra, better known as Father Vince, has debauched the morals of ‘multiple victims’ and has since been removed from ministry, the Diocese of Trenton confirmed in a public tell-all outing the identities of 30 clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor.” By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, The Trentonian
Ex-priest charged with raping New Mexico girl in 1990s
“Former Roman Catholic priest Sabine Griego was arrested Tuesday (Mar. 12) at his home in Las Vegas, N.M., accused of raping an 8-year-old Albuquerque girl(link is external) nearly three decades ago. Griego, 81, has been charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with one count of sexual penetration of a minor and coercion resulting in great bodily harm and mental anguish. He is being held without bond at the San Miguel County Detention Center in Las Vegas.” By Rebecca Moss, Santa Fe New Mexican
Diocese obscured depth of crisis by scrubbing dead priests’ bios, victims say
“Monsignor J. Grant Higgins was a Catholic priest for 60 years, but when he died in 2016 at age 90, the Buffalo Diocese tried to make it seem as if he wasn’t a priest(link is external). A paid death notice for Higgins omitted the honorific title of ‘Reverend’ that is standard in priest death notices and obituaries. The Mass of Christian Burial for Higgins was held at a church in North Buffalo, more than 25 miles away from his last parish assignment in the Village of Angola, where he was well-known and had served for 14 years. The diocese did not publish an obituary on Higgins in its own Western New York Catholic, a monthly newspaper that assiduously chronicles the deaths of area priests, deacons and nuns.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News
Diocese says child sex abuse claim against Ellicottville priest is credible
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has substantiated an allegation of child sexual abuse against a suspended Ellicottville priest(link is external). The diocese announced Thursday (Mar. 21) the Rev. Ronald Mierzwa, pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church in Ellicottville, will remain on leave while the results of its investigation are reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in Rome, which will make the final determination.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald
Priests, other clergy would be mandatory child abuse reporters under proposed New York law
“In light of horrific sex abuse scandals in the Diocese of Buffalo and across the country, a Cheektowaga lawmaker has proposed a new law that would require Catholic priests and other clergy members to report child abuse in New York State(link is external). Despite some resistance by the Diocese of Buffalo, it appears to have widespread support from lawmakers in Western New York.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News
Buffalo Diocese in urgent need of major reform, lay Catholics say
“Bold reforms are needed to help the Diocese of Buffalo recover from one of the nation’s worst sex abuse scandals and to restore trust in its leadership(link is external), lay Catholics say. The Movement to Restore Trust, a group of lay (or non-ordained) Catholics organized by Canisius College President John J. Hurley last year, has released its report after three months of discussion and debate.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News
Critics say North Dakota dioceses too slow naming problem priests
“North Dakota’s Roman Catholic dioceses are mulling whether and when to release information about priests accused of sexual abuse, even as critics say they are moving too slowly following explosive revelations in Pennsylvania last year(link is external). The Bismarck Diocese, the state’s second-largest, says it plans to release the names of priests with ‘substantiated claims’ against them of sexual misconduct with minors after it finishes reviewing its files. But the Fargo Diocese hasn’t yet decided whether to release names.” By Dave Kolpack, Insurance Journal
Survivors say Columbus Diocese’s list of accused priests is incomplete
“The Catholic Diocese of Columbus released its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) earlier this month, but a survivors’ advocacy group said the list is incomplete. The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said there are at least seven clergy members who should be on the list. The names have been made public before and include two that have been the subject of news coverage in the last few years.” By ABC6-TV News
Victim of clergy abuse in Pennsylvania receives $2 million settlement
“A man who was sexually abused as a child by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania received $2 million in a settlement(link is external) with the Erie diocese that the priest was a member of, the victim’s lawyer said on Tuesday (Mar. 26). The priest, David L. Poulson, pleaded guilty in October to two felony charges for sexually assaulting one boy and trying to assault another. In January, he was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.” By Jacey Fortin, The New York Times
Vatican defrocks Poulson as priest in Erie diocese
“The Vatican has removed from the priesthood(link is external) David L. Poulson, 65, the former pastor in the Catholic Diocese of Erie who was sentenced to two and a half to 14 years in state prison in January for molesting two boys. Poulson, 65, applied to be defrocked, or laicized, as a condition of his guilty plea and sentence, which was imposed in Jefferson County. He is at the state prison at Camp Hill, near Harrisburg.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com
Msgr. Mazur relieved of priestly duties
“A priest at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament has been put on leave, a move the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese indicated is because of an investigation into allegations involving a minor(link is external). ‘This comes as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct involving a minor, which occurred years ago,’ diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said in a statement about Monsignor Robert C. Mazur that was sent out to news media late Wednesday (Mar. 13) afternoon.” By Altoona Mirror
Former Susquehanna Valley Catholic priest accused of assaulting altar boys
“A man who served as a Catholic priest in the Susquehanna Valley is facing new allegations that he assaulted two boys(link is external). In court documents, police say John Allen, 75, of York, indecently touched two altar boys while serving as a priest at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Harrisburg from 1997 to 2002.” By WGAL-TV News
Watchdog group lists 24 Sioux Fall Catholic clergy accused of abuse
“A day following the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese release of a list of names of 11 priests who abused children, KELOLAND Investigates is looking back at the history of the priest sex abuse problem in Sioux Falls(link is external). Our requests for an interview with current Bishop Paul Swain on the release of this list of priest was denied.” By Angela Kennecke, Kelo Media Group on keloland.com
- What we know about the 11 Sioux Falls Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse(link is external), By Patrick Anderson, Shelly Conlon and Danielle Ferguson, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Catholic priest accused of groping woman during anointing
“A Catholic priest has been arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of groping a woman in home hospice care(link is external) while giving her the anointing of the sick. Father Gerold Langsch, of Austin, was arrested Thursday (Mar. 21) and charged with assault by contact stemming from the Oct. 5 encounter. The 75-year-old priest is free on $15,000 bond. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $4,000.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com
14 abusive priests found in Georgetown’s past, present
“Since 1937, Georgetown University students have learned from, lived with and sought the guidance of religious leaders on campus. Of those leaders, 14 have been credibly or plausibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external), according to an investigation by The Hoya … The credibility of accusations against each priest is based on settled lawsuits, the review of Catholic Church authorities or admissions of guilt. Each priest’s affiliation with Georgetown was verified through media reporting, public church statements or university archival material.” By Adam Shaham, Will Simon and Will Cassou, The Hoya
Milwaukee Archdiocese stresses importance of transparency in clergy sex abuse scandal
“Over the state line, nearly 400 Catholic clergy members in Illinois have been accused of sexual misconduct. A report released on Wednesday, March 20, revealed background information and work history of priests and lay persons accused of abuse … On the Milwaukee Archdiocese website is a list of its own, including detailed information on priests with a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external), including assignments, timeline, and related documents.” By Aaron Maybain, FOX6-TV News
Catholic Church to investigate 60 years of child sex abuse allegations in Montreal
“The Diocese of Montreal has assigned an independent committee to examine more than six decades of files related to allegations of sexual abuse committed on children by the clergy(link is external) or church personnel in Montreal-area parishes. Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine has asked retired Superior Court justice Anne-Marie Trahan to oversee the investigation, which will also examine files of the dioceses of St-Jérôme, Valleyfield, St-Jean-Longueuil and Joliette.” By Presse Canadienne in Montreal Gazette
Montreal priest who sexually abused boys gets eight years in prison
“A Montreal priest who sexually abused two former parishioners when they were boys(link is external) has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Quebec court Judge Patricia Compagnone handed down the sentence to Brian Boucher Monday (Mar.25), based on a joint recommendation from the Crown and the defence. Boucher was handcuffed in the courtroom and led away by a constable.” By Steve Rukavina, CBC News
Survivors of pedophile priest who served in Sudbury subject of documentary
“Over the course of 38 years, William ‘Hod’ Hodgson Marshall — who served as a Basilian priest and Catholic teacher in Sudbury, Toronto and Windsor — sexually abused at least 17 minors(link is external). ‘I grew up Catholic in Windsor. I was an altar boy at a church in the east end,’ recalls filmmaker Matt Gallagher. ‘I was a grown man when these things about certain priests started coming out … I haven’t considered myself a Catholic since I was 18 years old. But this film was still very difficult to do.’” By Dalson Chen, Windsor Star
Fresh allegations cloud pope’s appointment of Chilean church leader
“Pope Francis’s pick to replace Chile’s top cardinal – who has been dismissed over allegations of covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external) – was on Monday (Mar. 25) forced to deny that he himself had covered up the crimes of predator priests. In a case that appears to cast doubt on Francis’ judgement in appointing him to replace Chile’s top prelate Ricardo Ezzati, Spanish bishop Celestino Aos was forced to deny allegations from two sex abuse victims that he covered up for their abuser.” By Buenos Aires Times
Chilean bishops called in to testify about cover-up allegations
“Chilean bishops began testifying at the local prosecutor’s office this week on charges that they covered up cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external). Their questioning comes less than a year after every bishop in the country presented their resignation to Pope Francis, who said that many of them were guilty of cover-up and destroying evidence implicating abusive priests. In all, eight Chilean bishops have been called to testify – some of them on charges that they themselves sexually abused either minors or seminarians.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com
Convicted French cardinal says pope has refused his resignation
“Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic cardinal convicted this month of failing to report sexual abuse allegations, said on Tuesday (Mar. 19) that Pope Francis had turned down his offer to resign(link is external). ‘On Monday morning, I put forward my resignation to the hands of the Holy Father. Invoking the presumption of innocence, he declined to accept this resignation,’ said Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, in a statement.” By The Guardian
France demands Vatican lift envoy’s immunity over abuse probe
“French prosecutors said Friday (Mar. 15) they had asked the Vatican to lift the diplomatic immunity of its envoy to France who is under investigation for alleged sexual assault(link is external). Luigi Ventura, 74, is facing four complaints of sexual abuse — including an allegation he molested a junior official at Paris town hall. Investigators have already spoken to three of the complainants, a source close to the case told AFP, saying in three cases they had accused him of groping their backsides.” By Agence France-Presse on France24.com
GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES
Catholic priest jailed for sexually abusing six children
“A Catholic priest has been jailed for nine years and 11 months after abusing six children in the 1970s, leaving one of his victims ‘in fractured pieces(link is external).’ Francis McDermott, 75, abused six victims, some as young as 10, in London, Norwich, and High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, between 1971 and 1978, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.” By Press Association in Daily Mail
Catholic Church in Poland releases study on sexual abuse by priests
“The Roman Catholic Church in Poland released long-awaited statistics on Thursday (Mar. 14) that shed light on the sexual abuse of children by priests(link is external) over the past 28 years. The study, commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and pulling together data from over 10,000 local parishes, found that from 1990 to mid-2018, church officials received abuse reports concerning 382 priests.” By Joanna Berendt, The New York Times
- Polish Catholic Church’s report on pedophilia stokes outrage(link is external), By Marek Strzelecki and Wojciech Moskwa, Bloomberg
Polish Church says 382 minors abused by clergy from 1990-2018
“As many as 382 children were sexually abused by clergy in Poland(link is external) between 1990 and 2018, according to findings presented on Thursday (Mar. 15) by the Polish Catholic Church in one of the most devout countries in Europe. The report follows investigations into widespread abuse of minors by clergy in other countries – notably in Chile, the United States, Australia and Ireland – that have shaken the Roman Catholic Church to its foundations.” By Marcin Goclowski, Reuters
Tahiti Catholic priest charged with sexual assault
“Earlier this month, a 40-year-old man was detained and questioned for two days about the alleged sexual abuse of minors(link is external). He was set free and declared an ‘assisted witness’ in the ongoing investigation. The prosecution, however, objected to this and Tahiti Nui TV said he has now been charged. The suspect remains free but is not allowed to visit his parish or leave the territory.” By Radio New Zealand
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 …
Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse / National Catholic Reporter
The three harrowing accounts were part of a Nov. 27 testimony-sharing and panel discussion event in Rome, held less than a mile east of the Vatican and meant to raise up women’s voices in the revived discussion of clergy sexual abuse after a spate of revelations globally this year. (Global Sisters Report in National Catholic Reporter)
“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence.
“Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear, once the head of the women’s branch of a burgeoning but now disgraced lay religious movement, recounted being forbidden to speak of her abuse by its male second-in-command, and threatened with publishing of false claims against her own conduct should she disobey.
“American Barbara Dorris, long known as a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP, spoke publicly for the first time about her rape by a priest as a 6-year-old girl, and how it continued for years afterward.
“Saying she did ‘everything in my power’ to hide her pain from her devout parents and family, Dorris only came forward as a parent when she recognized warning signs in the behavior of another priest on a playground with children.
“And German Doris Wagner tells of the calamitous fifth year in her mixed-gender religious order, when a male superior came into her room at night and raped her.
“‘Instantly, I knew … that if I spoke about this, the community would blame me and not him,’ she says. ‘And so I kept silent.'”
By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves. (National Catholic Reporter)
Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,
“We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.
“All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.
“Even the feds are now on the trail. They’ve ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you’ve handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren’t alone in this moment, you’ve not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won’t be easy.
“From fable to sacred text, we know how this goes. The point is reached where all realize the king wears no clothes, the righteous accusers read the writing in the sand and fade away, the religious authorities receive the Master’s most stinging rebukes. As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves.”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …
American bishops promised reform after the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in Boston. But they largely ignored the misdeeds of one group: themselves. (The Boston Globe)
Bishop Robert Finn wasn’t going anywhere.
“He never alerted authorities about photos of young girls’ genitals stashed on a pastor’s laptop. He kept parishioners in the dark, letting the priest mingle with children and families. Even after a judge found the bishop guilty of failing to report the priest’s suspected child abuse — and after 200,000 people petitioned for his ouster — he refused to go.
“‘I got this job from John Paul II. There’s his signature right there,’ Finn had told a prospective deacon shortly after the priest’s arrest in 2011, pointing to the late pontiff’s photo. ‘And that’s who I answer to.’
“Sixteen years after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in Boston, the American Catholic Church is again mired in scandal. This time, the controversy is propelled not so much by priests in the rectories as by the leadership, bishops across the country who like Finn have enabled sexual misconduct or in some cases committed it themselves.
“More than 130 US bishops — or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys …”
By By Jenn Abelson, Thomas Farragher of the Globe Staff, Jeremy Roebuck, Julia Terruso and William Bender of the Philadelphia Inquirer Staff — Read more …
As anger over Catholic clergy sexual abuse intensifies, U.S. dioceses’ average financial transparency score rises only marginally
BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 1, 2018― Anger over clergy sexual abuse has risen dramatically with new revelations in recent months, and Voice of the Faithful’s second annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency, released in October, shows the average score for those dioceses rising only marginally. Voice of the Faithful has long considered secrecy surrounding Catholic Church finances to be linked to secrecy surrounding clerical sexual abuse.
The average overall score achieved by all 177 dioceses comprising the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Voice of the Faithful’s “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency: 2018” was 39.7 out of 60, or 66 percent, which represents a 5 percent increase over the 2017 average score. Thirty-nine percent of dioceses still have not posted audited financial statements on their websites, and 25 percent do not post a financial report of any kind.
Much of the recent anger over clergy abuse is invested in the secrecy surrounding the abuse. “Carrying out a widespread coverup of criminal acts without access to large amounts of untraceable money is impossible,” said Margaret Roylance, Ph.D., a VOTF trustee and Finance Working Group chair.
“In the wake of ongoing revelations about clerical sexual abuse,” she continued, “every Catholic who loves the Church is justly angry and asking serious questions about our Church leadership. This report is one tool in the hands of faithful Catholics who want to know what each of us can do. Genuine financial transparency will be essential in rebuilding U.S. Catholics’ trust in their bishops.”
Roylance continued to point out that:
- If your diocese does not post its audited financial statement or, worse, not even an unaudited financial report, your diocesan leadership is being less than forthright about its finances.
- If your diocese does not mandate safe collection procedures, it is failing in its duty to protect the resources you have provided to them.
- If the names and backgrounds of your Diocesan Finance Council members cannot be found on your diocesan website, you have no way of knowing if they are “truly expert in financial affairs and civil law, outstanding in integrity,” as Canon Law requires.
“We must let our bishops know if their failures of financial transparency prevent us from fulfilling our obligations as good stewards of the gifts God has given us,” she said.
Although the transparency scores of 21 dioceses in the 2018 study dropped from 2017, more than 70 had higher scores and some achieved very significant increases. The Archdiocese of Omaha went from a dismal 26 to 56, and the Diocese of Orlando from 26 to a perfect score of 60, which tied with the Diocese of Burlington. However, Burlington received a qualified opinion from outside auditors, whereas Orlando received an unqualified (good) opinion on its audit. The Diocese of Santa Rosa was the only one of the 177 to post highlights of their Finance Council meetings—another significant factor in diocesan financial transparency.
The highest scoring dioceses in VOTF’s 2018 study are:
- Burlington, Vermont, and Orlando, Florida, tied at 60
- Atlanta, Georgia, Baltimore, Maryland, and Sacramento, California, tied at 59
- Bismarck, North Dakota, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Buffalo, New York, Des Moines, Iowa, Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Omaha, Nebraska, and San Diego, California, tied at 56
The lowest scoring dioceses in VOTF’s 2018 study are:
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Orange, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, tied at 19
- Salina, Kansas, 18
- Brownsville, Texas, Knoxville, Tennessee, Lubbock, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15
- Grand Isle, Nebraska, 13
- Thomas, Virgin Islands, 12
Voice of the Faithful News Release, Nov. 1, 2018
Contact: Nick Ingala, email@example.com, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
The U.S. church should invite a Vatican-appointed apostolic visitation team, assisted by competent lay experts, to review all documents at all levels of the church, to take testimony in parishes and chanceries, and to visit every seminary and formation house in the country. (National Catholic Reporter)
After a horrible summer of depressing news about how the church hierarchy has mishandled the sexual abuse crisis and misled the faithful willfully and through neglect, expectations were high for the action plan the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to deliver this fall. The four points outlined are, for the most part, good beginnings.
“Given the intensity of feelings on this subject, probably no plan could satisfy Catholics in pews, but even with that caveat, we had hoped the plan would be stronger and more specific than what was delivered.
“1. A confidential, third-party reporting system will be created to receive complaints of sexual misconduct and abuse by bishops toward minors or adults and “will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.”
“This appears to be a rather straightforward proposal, and it is especially important to include the requirement of reporting to civil authorities. Unclear, however, is “the appropriate ecclesiastical authority.” Who is that authority, and where is that office housed? The tribunal Pope Francis authorized in 2015 to hear such cases would fill this need, but it was never implemented …”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …