Posts Tagged vatican

Maryland finds that for hundreds of clergy abuse victims, ‘No parish was safe’ / The New York Times

More than 20 state attorneys general have initiated investigations, most of which are still underway … The scale of the abuse outlined is on par with other large abuse cases uncovered in lawsuits and other investigations in dioceses in Boston, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The New York Times

“The attorney general of Maryland has identified more than 600 young victims of clergy sexual abuse over the course of 80 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, according to a court document filed Thursday (Nov. 17).

“The filing, which broadly outlines the attorney general’s findings, requests that a judge allow the release of the full report: a 456-page document detailing decades of clergy sex abuse in Maryland.

“The new report marks a symbolic milestone in the long-running international abuse scandal that has shaken faith in the Catholic Church and led to some reforms and billions of dollars in settlements. The Baltimore report is one of the first major investigations completed by a state attorney general on sexual abuse in the Church since a scathing report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania shocked Catholics across the nation in 2018. Colorado investigators issued their own report in 2019 on church abuse.”

By Ruth Graham, The New York Times — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, Nov. 18, 2022

Nov. 18, 2022

TOP STORIES

French cardinal says he abused 14-year-old girl 35 years ago
“Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, one of France’s highest-ranking prelates of the Catholic Church, said Monday (Nov. 7) that he had abused a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago and is withdrawing from his religious duties. The move comes after a report issued last year revealed a large number of child sex abuse cases within the French Catholic Church. ‘Thirty-five years ago, when I was a priest, I behaved in a reprehensible way with a young girl aged 14,’ Ricard said in a written statement.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

The abuse crisis should be the center of the pope’s ongoing synodal process
“As American Jesuit historian Fr. John O’Malley wrote in one of his last articles published in America magazine last February, the history of synodality is older than you think. There are different phases in the history of the synodal institution and way to govern the church: from the very early church to the medieval times to early modern Catholicism. The current phase is part of what Vatican II had in mind for church reform: a mix of aggiornamento (or updating in light of new issues) and of ressourcement (taking a fresh look at the ancient sources of the Christian tradition). At the same time, the current synodal process initiated by Pope Francis’ pontificate cannot be understood outside of the epoch-changing abuse crisis in the Catholic Church …” By Massimo Faggioli and Hans Zollner, S.J., National Catholic Reporter

What the synod heard from Catholics worldwide
“This week on ‘Inside the Vatican,’ producer Ricardo da Silva, S.J., joins host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell for a roundtable discussion on what stood out in the synod document. Ricardo was struck by how the report presented feedback in the respondents’ words, including quotes from more than 70 countries, and how it raised issues that had previously been taboo. Gerry, on the other hand, thinks little was surprising in the report, and emphasizes how the document was to be read ‘with the eyes of the disciple.’ Colleen describes how the report pulled no punches when discussing sexism in the church.” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope: ‘Every time a woman comes in to do a job in the Vatican, things get better’
“A society that does not give women the same rights and opportunities as men will become impoverished, Pope Francis said at the end of a four-day visit to Bahrain. ‘Women are a gift,’ he said. After God made man, he didn’t create ‘a lapdog for him to play with. No, he created two who are equal, a man and a woman.’ ‘All the rights of women stem from this equality,’ he said, and a society that is not able to make room for women ‘does not move forward.’” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Former Pope Benedict to mount legal defense over abuse cover-up accusation
“Former Pope Benedict XVI plans to defend himself in a civil lawsuit lodged at a German court by a man who accuses him of helping to cover up historical abuse, a court spokesperson said on Tuesday (Nov. 8). In the latest twist in a long-running scandal engulfing the Catholic Church, a so-called declaratory action was brought in June on behalf of a man, then 38-years old, who said he was abused by a priest as a child.” By Reuters

Vatican shocked over French bishops’ abuse scandal: Officials in rome are beginning to acknowledge that the rules of secrecy surrounding canon law may need to be revised
“Was Pope Francis aware – before the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) announced it this week – that 11 bishops in France are currently under civil or canonical investigation for committing or covering-up sexual abuse? When the 85-year-old pope was asked about the abuse cases during an inflight press conference on his return from Bahrain on Sunday (Nov. 6), he did not say so. However, he reiterated yet again that the Church is trying to ‘clarify everything.’ ‘There are people within the Church who still do not see this clearly, who do not agree with this… It is a process that we are undertaking and we are carrying it out with courage, and not everyone has courage,’ Francis said.” By Loup Besmond de Senneville, LaCroix International

Pope Francis accepts resignation of German bishop found guilty of embezzlement
“Pope Francis on Tuesday (Nov. 9) accepted the resignation of a German bishop who was convicted of embezzling money from a woman suffering from dementia. A German court found Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Bündgens of Aachen guilty of misappropriating 128,000 euros (about $128,000). Bündgens was sentenced to nine months suspended jail time and a 5,000-euro fine, CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported.” By A.C. Wimmer, Catholic News Agency

French cardinal’s admission renews scrutiny of church sexual abuse
“ A cardinal’s admission that he had behaved ‘reprehensibly’ with a 14-year-old girl over three decades ago was one of several revelations that threw a gathering of French bishops into turmoil this week, renewing scrutiny of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in France a little over a year after a landmark report on the pervasiveness of the issue. The admission of wrongdoing this week by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, 78, who retired in 2019 after 18 years as the archbishop of Bordeaux, was one of two recent revelations that have stunned the Catholic community in France.” By Aurelien Breeden, The New York Times

FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION AND MISSION

CELAM document confronts the challenges of synodality
“The English text of the final document from the first Ecclesial Assembly for Latin America and the Caribbean has been released. This November 2021 meeting, convoked by CELAM, the continent-wide episcopal conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, was called an ‘ecclesial assembly’ rather than a ‘synod’ because it did not exclusively include bishops. That said, it placed itself in the direct lineage of CELAM meetings starting in Rio de Janeiro in 1955 …. For those unfamiliar with that history, the new text provides a useful historical account of the trajectory from Rio de Janeiro up to today.” By Michael Sean Winter, National Catholic Reporter

Submission portal opens for next Synod of Bishops phase
“Groups across Australia are now able to participate in the latest discernment process for the global Synod on Synodality, reflecting on the recently-published Working Document for the Continental Stage. The document, which was drawn from local and national consultation processes undertaken around the world, was published in late October. Capturing what the People of God said during the first year of the Synod journey, the document is designed to enable deeper discernment on the overall question of how the Church is ‘journeying together.’” By CathNews.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis says Catholic Church fighting child abuse ‘as best we can’
“Pope Francis said Sunday (Nov. 6) that the Catholic church was working ‘as best we can’ to fight clerical child abuse but admitted there were shortfalls. During a press conference on a plane while returning from Bahrain, where he had been promoting dialogue with Islam, the pontiff said child abuse inside the Church was a ‘tragic thing.’ ‘We are working as best we can, but there are people within the Church who don’t see it clearly,’ the 85-year-old Argentinian admitted on the return flight to Rome.” By Agence France-Presse on NDTBV.com

BISHOPS

U.S. bishops elect Broglio, archbishop for Military Services, as new president
“The U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference on Nov. 15 elected Archbishop Timothy Broglio, a former Vatican diplomat who has supported religious exemptions for coronavirus vaccines and has blamed gay priests for the clergy abuse crisis, as their new president. Broglio, who as the archbishop for the Military Services is essentially the nation’s chief Catholic chaplain, garnered 138 votes on the third round of voting at the bishops’ plenary assembly in Baltimore. He needed 119 votes, a majority of the 237 total votes cast.” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops elect anti-Francis archbishop as new president
“The U.S. bishops have sent a clear message of rejection to Pope Francis by selecting Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, as president of the bishops’ conference. The bishops’ choice of new leadership revealed the deeper ecclesiological orientation of the body. They had to decide if they wanted to be a part of the ongoing reception of the Second Vatican Council in the context of the magisterium of Pope Francis, or not, a choice made all the more obvious by the success of the synodal process so far.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN’S VOICES

Pope says women’s rights fight is ‘continuous struggle,’ condemns mutilation
“Pope Francis said on Sunday (Nov. 6) the fight for women’s rights was a ‘continuous struggle,’ and condemned male chauvinism as deadly for humanity and female genital mutilation as a crime that must be stopped. Speaking to reporters on the plane returning from a four-day trip to predominantly Muslim Bahrain, he also praised women he has appointed to managerial jobs in the Vatican, saying they had improved things there. He made no mention of campaigns to let women move on beyond that and become clergy – the pope and his predecessors have said the question of women priests is closed.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Women must be included in formation of priests, says abuse expert
“One of the church’s leading experts on safeguarding and clerical sexual abuse has said the exclusion of women from seminary formation has had ‘extremely harmful consequences,’ and this ‘needs to change.’ Jesuit Father Hans Zollner told more than 200 people at a ‘Stolen Lives’ webinar that ‘the role of women has been to clean up the mess that men have made.’ The webinar was organized by the Root & Branch lay reform movement in Britain in conjunction with Survivor Voices and Scottish Laity Network. Zollner said he regretted that workshops on safeguarding are attended mostly by women. ‘It seems that men are not only in the great majority responsible for the big mess and the hurt, but they also run away from facing that reality.’” By Sarah MacDonald, Cruxnow.com

CHILD PROTECTION

Vatican child protection leader: ‘Building credibility needs a track record’
“Fr. Andrew Small was appointed in June to one of the most important positions in the Catholic Church’s fight against abuse. The English priest was named secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors pro tempore (‘for the time being’) at a significant moment of transition for the body founded by Pope Francis in 2014. The decree establishing the commission eight years ago defined its ‘specific task’ as advising the pope on ‘the most opportune initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults.’” By Luke Coppen, The Pillar

VATICAN

Vatican affirms it is opening abuse investigation of French cardinal
“The Vatican has decided to open an investigation into French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the retired archbishop of Bordeaux, who admitted in a public letter that he had abused a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago. ‘As a result of the elements that have emerged in the last few days and the statement made by the cardinal, in order to complete the examination of what happened, it has been decided to initiate an ‘investigatio praevia,’ or preliminary investigation,’ Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said Nov. 11.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

CHURCH FINANCES

Ex-Vatican auditor, threatening to reveal all, sues church, alleging damage to his reputation
“Former Vatican financial auditor Libero Milone filed suit on Friday (Nov. 4) against the Vatican Secretariat of State, demanding the Catholic Church pay for damages to his reputation that he alleges followed his unceremonious firing in 2017. At a meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 8) arranged by his lawyer, Milone told reporters that Cardinal Angelo Becciu, once the third-highest-ranking official at the Vatican, was ‘the mastermind of the so-called operation eject-Milone.’” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

New Orleans priest accused of child rape now under scrutiny for financial crimes
“A Catholic priest who led one of New Orleans’ best-known inner-city churches until being accused of sexually molesting a child has been reported to federal authorities for possible financial crimes after an audit found he spent nearly $400,000 of his congregants’ money in questionable ways. John Asare-Dankwah ran the St Peter Claver church in New Orleans’ historic Treme neighborhood from 2014 until early 2021, when a lawsuit alleging that he raped a boy on an out-of-state overnight trip years earlier prompted church officials to indefinitely suspend him from his role.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian

VOICES

Old Latin Mass finds new American audience, despite Pope’s disapproval|
“Eric Agustin’s eight children used to call the first day of the week ‘Party Sunday.’ The family would wake up, attend a short morning Mass at a Catholic parish near their house, then head home for lunch and an afternoon of relaxing and watching football. But this summer, the family made a ‘big switch,’ one of his teenage sons said on a recent Sunday afternoon outside St. Joseph Shrine, the family’s new parish. At St. Joseph, the liturgy is ornate, precisely choreographed and conducted entirely in Latin. The family drives an hour round trip to attend a service that starts at 11 a.m. and can last almost two hours.” By Ruth Graham, The New York Times

No longer the bishops’ Church? Catholicism’s episcopal crisis
“There is little question about the importance of this fall’s plenary meeting of the USCCB. For one thing, the conference’s vice president, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, will not be the favorite in the presidential election because he won’t be a candidate … For another, it’s the first plenary since the Supreme Court overturned Roe. Finally, the new leadership will be at the helm through the 2024 U.S. presidential election, when we may learn how much American Catholic support there is for American democracy. But this bishops’ meeting is important on a deeper level as well. It comes as the Catholic Church is on its way to being, in some ways, a ‘post-episcopal’ Church—no longer a bishops’ Church. And that will likely have a dramatic impact on how Catholicism may influence and interact with American social and political values.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Essay: Can Pope Francis survive the scheming of ‘the schismatics’?
“‘The schismatics’ is not the name of a new Broadway musical, but it might as well be. Some senior cardinals, deeply unhappy with the 2021-2022 round of the Catholic Church’s worldwide Synod on Synodality, seem to want the entire project to go away. It will not. The synod is projected to be a new-old way of being ‘church,’ a permanent recovery of how the church began and grew. Francis plans it as a change that will outlast his papacy. Even so, too many Catholics still have no idea what ‘synodality’ means. No matter what the naysayers say, it is not a parliamentary event to vote on doctrinal matters of faith and morals. Rooted in the teachings and process of the Second Vatican Council, synodality is understood as ‘walking together’ – a coming to consensus – about the renewal begun following Vatican II.” By Phyllis Zagano, Sight Magazine

Links: ‘Voices of Vatican II’; synodal spirituality; a Festival of Faiths
“Catholic News Service has done a wonderful thing, collecting commentary from those who participated in the Second Vatican Council and producing a 48-minute video. My favorite story came from Cardinal Paul Poupard, who had been a theological adviser at the council. He recalled someone approaching Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing, ‘who was known to have a knack for scaring up money.’ They asked him to pay for simultaneous translation so people could understand New York Cardinal Francis Spellman. Cushing reportedly replied, ‘It’s not worth it; we don’t understand him even when he’s speaking American.’” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

How Vatican II failed Catholics – and Catholicism
“A couple of years ago at a party, I fell into a conversation with a friendly older gentleman, an Irish American of the baby boom generation and the greater tristate area. At some point, the discussion turned to family life and the challenges of dragging complaining kids to church, and I said something in passing about the Sunday obligation, meaning the requirement laid on Catholics to attend Mass, on pain of serious sin. He looked at me with a friendly sort of mystification. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘but you know the church got rid of that after Vatican II’ … But I think about that encounter, and others like it, as intensely relevant to my column from a few weeks ago — on the failure of the Second Vatican Council to equip the church for the challenges of late modernity, the way its reforms aimed at resilience but led to crisis and diminishment instead.” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Women are now the Catholic church’s last hope
“A church must reflect the world in which it lives in order to thrive. In the Ireland of the past, that wasn’t a problem for the Catholic church. It shaped Irish society in its own image. These days that is not how things work. The church has lost the power to enforce its edicts unchallenged, and can only survive with the consent of those in the pews — and there are fewer of them now than ever before. The altar is looking equally sparse. That’s why Fr Seán Sheehy found himself on the roster to serve mass at St Mary’s Church is Listowel, Co Kerry, last weekend.” By Editorial Board of Independent.ie

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

UN sets November 18 as day o spotlight child sexual abuse
“The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Monday (Nov.7) establishing November 18th as a day to spotlight the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. The day also will be used to stress the need for prevention, for perpetrators to be brought to justice, and for victims to be given a voice as part of the long process of healing. The resolution, which was sponsored by Sierra Leone and Nigeria and co-sponsored by more than 110 countries, was adopted by consensus and a bang of the gavel by the assembly’s acting president, which was greeted with loud applause.” By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press

Catholic Church must bring abusers to justice
“It is vital that the Catholic Church, non-government organizations (NGOs), development agencies, and government put children at the heart of national and religious concerns. The Church and clergy must remember and act constantly on the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth when he made children the center of importance in the kingdom. ‘Whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me,’ he said.” By Fr. Shay Cullen, UCANews.com

ILLINOIS

Priest accused of sexually abusing 7-year-old missing from Chicago Archdiocese list, lawyers say
“The Archdiocese of Chicago last month doubled the length of a list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse, but lawyers for a man who received a six-figure payout from the church last year say the list is missing the name of Fr. George Clements. Clements, a civil rights activist who led the congregation of Holy Angels Church in Bronzeville for more than two decades, stepped down from the ministry at the request of Archbishop Blase Cupich in 2019, after he was accused of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.” By Andy Grim, Sun-Times Media Wire

INDIANA

Suspended Indianapolis priest get home detention in teen sex abuse case
“A judge on Wednesday (Nov. 9) sentenced suspended Indianapolis priest David Marcotte to a year on home detention under a plea agreement that ends his trial on allegations he sexually abused a teenage boy six years ago. During a hearing in Hamilton Superior Court, Judge Jonathan M. Brown addressed the teary-eyed parents of the victim as he accepted a plea agreement they both begged him to reject.” By Rick Rychaert, WRTV-TV News

MARYLAND

Maryland attorney general’s investigation of child sexual abuse in Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore nears completion
“The Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s four-year investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s history of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests is almost finished. A spokesperson for Attorney General Brian Frosh told The Baltimore Sun the investigation is ‘nearing completion,’ but declined to share details … In 2018, the office issued a grand jury subpoena to the archdiocese for records, and Archbishop William E. Lori told clergy the state was investigating. Ultimately, the archdiocese turned over more than 100,000 pages of documents to Wolf and Special Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Embry.” By Lee O. Sanderlin and Jonathan M. Pitts, The Baltimore Sun

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest indicted on child rape, assault and battery charges
“A Roman Catholic priest from Massachusetts accused of sexually assaulting a child more than a decade ago has been indicted by a grand jury on forcible child rape and indecent assault and battery charges, authorities said Tuesday. Monsignor Francis Strahan, 89, assaulted an altar boy on two occasions from 2004 until 2008 when the boy was between the ages of 11 and 13, according to a joint statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Framingham police Chief Lester Baker.” By Associated Press

NEW YORK.

Bishop addresses clergy abuse settlement during Penfield mass
“The Rochester Catholic Diocese reached a $55 million settlement with over 400 survivors of sexual abuse earlier this week. Bishop Salvatore Matano addressed the settlement during Sunday (Nov. 7) mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Penfield, the first weekend since the proposed settlement was announced. In his remarks, the bishop again acknowledged the pain of those impacted. ‘The greatest of Challenges has been over past decades, where our church is plagued by a crisis so very painful. Painful to you my sisters and brothers. How necessary it is that I always in every way and whenever possible express my deep sorrow and express my apology to those so violated by those that whom they had put their trust and believed they were ministers of the lord,’ said Salvatore Matano, Bishop of Rochester Diocese.” By WHAM-TV13 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Panel explores how sexual abuse survivors can help church to heal
“Praising clergy sexual abuse survivors for their courage in bringing their painful experiences to light, a panel of current or former diocesan victim assistance coordinators urged the Catholic community to enter into ‘radical accompaniment’ with abuse victims to promote long-lasting healing. Such healing is needed not only for abuse survivors but for clergy and parishioners alike, the coordinators agreed during an online program Nov. 9 marking 20 years of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.’” By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

Priest found not guilty of molesting 8-year-old boy at Plum church in 1998
“A Catholic priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese accused of molesting an 8-year-old boy at a Plum church in 1998 has been found not guilty. Court records show jurors returned the not-guilty verdict of aggravated indecent assault in the case against Father Robert Cedolia Monday (Nov. 14). Cedolia was placed on administrative leave in 2019 after the allegation was made against him through the Reconciliation and Compensation Program for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.” By WTAE-TV4 News

TENNESSEE

Alleged victim files second lawsuit against local Catholic priest
“A woman who alleges a Catholic priest in Gatlinburg sexually battered her in 2020 has filed a second lawsuit against the Knoxville diocese and the priest himself. The ‘Jane Doe’ plaintiff filed the complaint Nov. 10 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Earlier this year an attorney on her behalf filed a lawsuit in Sevier County that was subsequently non-suited. As a result of the woman’s accusations, Antony D. Punnackal faces indictment on two counts of sexual battery in Sevier County Criminal Court.” By WBIR-TV10 News

TEXAS

Former Pine Haven priest believed to be removed from Houston ministry
“A priest in the Somascan Order has apparently been removed from his post as pastor at a Houston parish after several New Hampshire lawsuits allege sexual abuse at the Somascan-run home Pine Haven home for troubled boys in Allenstown. Fr. Albert Zanatta, a member of the Somascan order who once served at Pine Haven, is still listed on the Houston Assumption Parish website as the pastor, though recent editions of the parish weekly bulletin indicate he is no longer serving in that capacity.” By Damien Fisher, InDepthNH.org

AUSTRALIA

Catholic church pressuring alleged victims of dead pedophile priests to accept ‘paltry’ payouts, lawyers say
“The Catholic church has adopted an increasingly aggressive approach to alleged victims of now-dead pedophile priests, using recent rulings to pressure survivors to accept ‘paltry amounts’ or risk having their claims permanently blocked, lawyers say. In June, the New South Wales courts permanently stayed a civil claim brought by a survivor, known as GLJ, who alleged horrific abuse at the hands of Father Clarence Anderson in Lismore in 1968 when she was 14. The court ruled there could not be a fair trial because Anderson was dead, leaving the church unable to properly respond to the survivor’s allegations.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Ex-Catholic brother faces child sex charge
“A former Catholic brother has been committed to stand trial on a child sexual charge after a court heard his alleged victim struggled for months to sign a police statement. Frank Terrence Keating, 80, on Monday appeared at a Brisbane committal hearing via video link charged with one count of carnal knowledge of a child. Prosecutors allege Keating committed the offence north of Brisbane in 1989.” By Laine Clark, The Times

CANADA

Sexual abuse survivors launch national day to encourage others to speak up
“For 20 years, Richard Jabara lived with the memory of his abuse — then he read an article that would change his life. His family had moved to Australia from the United States. Originally settling in Queensland, they eventually made the journey south to Melbourne. In Melbourne, Mr Jabara was groomed and raped by a Catholic priest … In Good Faith, chief executive Clare Leaney said a national day would help destigmatize the experience of survivors.” By Lucy MacDonald, ABC News

$10M settlement approved for sexul abuse survivors of Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth
“The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia approved a $10-million settlement Monday (Nov. 14) for survivors of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth. The class-action lawsuit was brought by people who allege sexual abuse by priests dating back nearly 70 years. The lead plaintiff in the action, 62-year-old Steven Gallant, said no amount of money could make up for the lifelong burden of being a sexual abuse victim.” By CBC News

He abused dozens of Indigenous children in Ontario. But did Jesuit priest’s legacy begin in Montreal?
“As a Jesuit priest in Ontario, George Epoch sexually abused dozens of children in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. But Epoch’s abuse allegedly dates back even earlier, to the 1950s, when he taught at Loyola High School, a private Catholic school in Montreal. Two students who were part of Epoch’s 1957-58 preparatory class told CBC News the priest inappropriately touched them. Alfred Martijn describes that year as a miserable one, filled with fear and unease. In those days, it was mandatory for the prep students to be boarders, so it was difficult to elude Epoch.” By Leah Hendry, CBC News

Former Coquitlam parish priest accused of sexual abuse
“A woman who alleges she was sexually groomed and abused as a child in the mid 1970s while attending Our Lady of Fatima Church in Coquitlam is suing a number of Catholic Church entities. The archdiocese of Vancouver and several other institutions associated with Chevrier’s work history are also named as defendants. L.V.’s lawsuit asserts that she had the inherent right to live out her childhood and youth ‘unaffected by the unhealthy, unsafe, and immoral interference and public nuisance of predatorial and systematic sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.’” By Patrick Pennier, Vancouver Sun

P.E.I police seek other alleged victims as Catholic priest is charged with sex crimes
“A retired Roman Catholic priest is facing multiple sexual assault charges stemming from alleged incidents on P.E.I. in the 1990s. On May 17, 2022, police were told about several alleged sexual assaults involving a person who was a minor at the time and a man who is now 69. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 1990 and 2010 in Summerside, P.E.I., according to the RCMP. When Summerside Police Services started investigating, it learned offences had also allegedly happened in other areas of the Island, according to a news release from the force.” By Alex Macisaac, CTV News Atlantic

FRANCE

French priest indicted for aggravated rape of a minor in Paris
“A French priest has been indicted in Paris for the aggravated rape of a teenager he reportedly met on the gay dating app, Grindr. The indicted priest who officiated over the parish at the church of Saint-Louis-Marie in Brocéliande in Brittany, is suspected of having drugged a 15-year-old he met on a dating application on 3 November, before raping him in a Parisian hotel room.” By RFI.fr

French bishops note anger over case of abusive bishop allowed to retire
“The French bishops’ conference overhauled its agenda for its November plenary meeting to deal with ‘the anger, shame, powerlessness (and) incomprehension’ they and their people felt after discovering that a bishop allowed by the Vatican to retire actually was disciplined for sexual abuse. Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the bishops’ conference, announced the changed agenda Nov. 3 and urged his fellow bishops to have as their first concern ‘the victims, those who spoke out two years ago and more recently, and those, perhaps, who have not yet made themselves known.’” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Catholic Primate speaks of ‘crying need for atonement’ over child abuse
“There is ‘a crying need for atonement, inner healing and hope in the aftermath of the abuse scandals,’ Catholic Primate Eamon Martin has said. He sometimes wondered, he said, ‘why it is that, when we were studying theology here [in Maynooth] in the 1980s, we didn’t anticipate what was about to happen in the Church – perhaps we should have; was it because, in our studying and reading of theology and philosophy, we didn’t engage enough in open discussion and dialogue, or really grapple with the big questions of the day for the Church and its mission?’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Horrors of Irish priests’ sexual abuse scandal continue to be uncovered
Religious orders in Ireland continue to be flooded with allegations of historic abuse in schools throughout the country. The Jesuit congregation of Ireland has received 149 allegations of abuse against 43 Jesuit priests, paying out €7.4 million in compensation to the 78 people it has reached a settlement with. A spokeswoman for the congregation told the Irish Times that she expects further allegations to be made against Jesuit members in the coming months, especially after the introduction of a redress scheme in January 2022.” By IrishCentral

NEW ZEALAND

Abuse in care inquiry: Survivor condemns lack of ‘genuine repentance’ from churches in final hearing
“A survivor of abuse says churches have missed a golden opportunity to really reflect on how Aotearoa-New Zealand came to have such an appalling record of abuse of people in care. Faith-based organizations were given a chance to respond at the recent final public hearing of the Royal Commission in to Abuse in care. Jacinda Thompson suffered sexual harassment by her Anglican minister in the early 2000’s, and she has given evidence to the inquiry. She said that while abuse itself was condemned, most church leaders failed to accept responsibility for allowing it to flourish in the first place.” By Andrew McRae, Radio New Zealand

PHILIPPINES

Filipino priest arrested for abusing church volunteer
“The recent arrest of a Filipino priest for alleged sexual molestation and blackmail of a 16-year-old church volunteer has come as a surprise for the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao in the northern Philippines. Father Karole Reward Israel, 29, a newly ordained cleric who received his assignment sometime in May 2021, has been stripped of his priestly functions pending investigations and a trial. ‘The archdiocese will fully cooperate with the prosecution service towards the conduct of an unbiased preliminary investigation and will also extend its assistance to our priest,’ the archdiocese said in a statement.” By UCANews.com

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The abuse crisis should be the center of the pope’s ongoing synodal process / National Catholic Reporter

It has become evident that it is no longer an option to ignore, dismiss, belittle, or remain bystanders with regard to cases of abuse, especially in the church. Abuse of any type — sexual, spiritual, abuse of power and/or authority — blatantly contradicts the fundamental dignity of every human being.

Massimo Faggioli and Hans Zollner, S.J., National Catholic Reporter

“As American Jesuit historian Fr. John O’Malley wrote in one of his last articles published in America magazine last February, the history of synodality is older than you think. There are different phases in the history of the synodal institution and way to govern the church: from the very early church to the medieval times to early modern Catholicism. The current phase is part of what Vatican II had in mind for church reform: a mix of aggiornamento (or updating in light of new issues) and of ressourcement (taking a fresh look at the ancient sources of the Christian tradition).

“At the same time, the current synodal process initiated by Pope Francis’ pontificate cannot be understood outside of the epoch-changing abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, one of the “signs of the times” the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II talks about: ‘the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel.’ The fact is that now it is no longer the church scrutinizing the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel. It is also the signs of the times — beginning with the voices of victims and survivors of abuse — scrutinizing the church in the light of the Gospel.

“It has become evident that it is no longer an option to ignore, dismiss, belittle, or remain bystanders with regard to cases of abuse, especially in the church. Abuse of any type — sexual, spiritual, abuse of power and/or authority — blatantly contradicts the fundamental dignity of every human being. This recognition of the terror of abuse is part of a long-term process of knowing and understanding at a sociocultural and political level (public opinion, legislation, the justice system), but also at the communal level as Catholic community (which is much larger than just the number of those who after baptism participate sacramentally in the life of the church).”

By Massimo Faggioli and Hans Zollner, S.J., National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful commends New York attorney general for Buffalo Diocese oversight

BOSTON, Mass., Oct. 27, 2022―Voice of the Faithful, which has worked for 20 years to reform Catholic Church governance that causes and abets clergy sexual abuse of minors, commends New York Attorney General Letitia James for forcing government oversight of areas of the Buffalo Diocese’s operations dealing with clergy abuse allegations.

On Oct. 25, the Diocese of Buffalo agreed to such oversight under a deal with the State of New York that mandates reforms that include restrictions on accused priests monitored by Kathleen McChesney. McChesney is a former head of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Office of Child and Youth Protection and was a high-ranking FBI official. The New York attorney general had sued the diocese for violating the state’s laws governing religious charities by failing to follow Church rules regarding abuse allegations.

Mary Pat Fox, VOTF president, said she is angry and heartbroken that the government has had to do what the Church has failed to do. “That certain bishops were allowed to thwart the Church’s own laws and do so for such an extended period of time is unconscionable,” she said. “Thank God someone has found a way to check such aberrant behavior that put our children at risk.”

As The New York Times reported, two former Buffalo bishops, Richard Malone and Edward Grosz, shielded more than two dozen priests from Vatican investigation, allowing them to retire or go on medical leave with full salaries and benefits. The agreement with the state banned both bishops for life from any charitable fiduciary roles under the agreement with the state.

VOTF did some of its earliest work in child protection when it started in 2002 in Boston, where Malone was an auxiliary bishop. VOTF, for example, helped parishes follow guidelines set up by the U.S. Catholic bishops in the so-called 2002 Dallas Charter for the protection of children and has continued its advocacy for the past two decades. In 2022, VOTF completed its first report “Measuring Abuse Prevention and Safe Environment Programs as Reported Online in Diocesan Policies and Practices.” The study included all U.S. dioceses, and the Diocese of Buffalo received a score of 72 out of 100.

This may indicate that present Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher’s statement in response to the oversight deal may be true, at least in part. He said, “The settlement that the diocese and the New York attorney general have agreed to confirms that the rigorous policies and protocols the diocese has put in place over the past several years are the right ones …”

While rigorous child protection policies and protocols are essential, unless diocese follow them, they will do no good. If the Church continues to shield abusing priests in secrecy and deception, the effectiveness of child protection polices will not be known until years in the future when today’s victims are finally able to come to terms with their abuse and report it, and such policies do not address past offenses.


Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful’s® mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. VOTF’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information is at www.votf.org.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Oct. 27, 2022, contact Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, (781) 559-3360

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Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will submit to government oversight / The New York Times

The (Catholic) church reached a settlement with the New York attorney general after a lawsuit accusing officials of a years-long cover-up of sexual abuse

The New York Times

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has agreed to submit to sweeping government oversight of its operations in a legal settlement reached on Tuesday with the New York attorney general, Letitia James, resolving a lawsuit that accused the church and its officials of a years-long cover-up of sexual abuse.

“The agreement, which is the first of its kind in New York, includes no financial penalties but instead mandates a series of structural reforms within the diocese, particularly regarding its handling of abuse allegations.

“Under the deal, priests who have been credibly accused of abuse will be assigned an independent monitor with law enforcement experience to ensure they comply with a list of restrictions, which include a ban on watching pornography, performing priestly duties and having a post office box.”

By Liam Stack, The New York Times — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, Oct. 21, 2022

Oct. 21, 2022

TOP STORIES

Pope Francis marks 60th anniversary of Vatican II opening by pleading for the church to overcome polarization
“Pope Francis on Oct. 11 marked the opening of the 60th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council — a three-year period that launched landmark reforms in the Catholic Church’s relationship to the world around it and the church’s own liturgy and practices — by pleading for the church to ‘overcome all polarization and preserve our communion.’ In a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which served as the council’s chambers during the 1962-1965 meetings, Francis said the council, which was inaugurated by Pope St. John XXIII, was ‘one great response’ to the question ‘Do you love me?’ posed by Christ to his disciples.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis extends Synod of Bishops a year, two meetings now planned
“Pope Francis announced on Oct. 16 that he is significantly expanding the timeframe for his ongoing consultation process for the world’s Catholics. The Vatican meeting of the Synod of Bishops, originally planned for next year, will now be held across two sessions: one in October 2023, and another in October 2024. The synod process, which has been underway for more than a year, has involved discussions with Catholics across the world on a range of sensitive topics. The Oct. 16 announcement indicates Francis wants the process, and the discussions, to continue on much longer than formerly planned.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Who knew? The sexual-abuse crisis and ‘epistemic injustice’
“What have we learned from the Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse scandal? What didn’t we know before that we know now? One way to answer these questions is to catalogue the revelations of the past few decades. To begin with, we now know, better than we did before, the extent of the abuse … The injustice of sexual violence is often compounded by what philosophers call ‘epistemic injustices’: wrongs done to people as knowers. One common kind of epistemic injustice is testimonial injustice, when a person’s credibility as someone with knowledge to convey is discounted because of prejudice on the hearer’s part.” By Bernard G. Prusak, Commonweal

Vatican’s mishandling of high-profile abuse cases extends its foremost crisis
“Three years ago, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church was committed to eradicating the ‘evil’ of abuse. The pope and other church leaders drew up new guidelines to handle accusations. They pledged transparency. They said victims’ needs would come first. ‘A change of mentality,’ Francis called it. But two recent major cases suggest that the church, for all its vows to improve, is still falling into familiar traps and extending its foremost crisis.” By Chico Harlan and Amada Coletta, The Washington Post

ACCOUNTABILITY

As Sex Abuse Claims Continue to Double, Catholic Church’s Bankruptcy Stalls Justice
“The sexual abuse scandal roiling the Catholic Church, although mostly under the radar in the recent past, has not gone away. In California–and elsewhere–the lawsuits are mounting — middle-aged men, saying they were sexually assaulted as children by a Boy Scout leader or a priest. A woman, now in her late 30s, detailing how she was allegedly assaulted in a center for foster children … At least 750 of those lawsuits filed since January 2020 are against Catholic dioceses, and more than 800 people are in the process of filing to beat a Dec. 31 deadline, according to lawyers involved in the cases.” By Amanda James, The Voice of New York

FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION AND MISSION

Synodality and the perennial temptations of power, pleasure, and wealth
“If one looks back on the Synods of Bishops during the pontificate of Pope Francis, and the controversies that have accompanied them, one can notice that even with such disparate themes as the family, youth, the Amazon, and synodality, many of the same topics have arisen again and again: divorce and remarriage, contraception, LGBTQ issues; the role of the laity in church governance, the ordination of women and married men; the role of the laity in Church governance, especially in gaining control over Church finances and property. That these same issues have bubbled up again and again is, oddly, both surprising, and not surprising at all.” By The Catholic World Report

Pope announces that synod on ‘synodality’ will be extended to 2024
“Pope Francis Sunday announced that his ongoing Synod of Bishops on Synodality will be extended for an additional year to allow, as he put it, more time for discernment and a greater understanding of the concept as a key dimension of church life. As things now stand, bishops and other participants will gather for an initial meeting of the synod Oct. 4-29, 2023, in Rome, to be followed by a year of reflection with another culminating meeting set for October 2024.” By Elise Ann Allen, Cruxnow.com

The three most important lessons from the synod
“Now that the church has gathered together reports from nearly all of the bishops’ conferences around the world, Pope Francis has declared the first phase of the church’s two-year-long Synod on Synodality over. But that first phase of consultation with the faithful has been more than just an exercise in gathering information. It has also offered some valuable lessons. It will be crucial to keep these in mind during the synod’s second phase—meetings of “continental assemblies” from January to March 2023—and then the third phase, the international assembly of bishops at a later date.” By The Editors at America: The Jesuit Review

The Holy Spirit is guiding the synodal process. But how?
“The Holy Spirit was the guest of honor at a recent gathering of church leaders on the topic of synodality. Literally. After one panelist suggested the practice of leaving an empty chair at meetings to symbolize room for the Holy Spirit, the next panel featured — you guessed it — an empty chair. And organizers of the event were attributing to the Spirit the perfect timing that saw the U.S. national synthesis document — compiled after diocesan and other synodal gatherings throughout the U.S. — released just days before the Sept. 22-23 Catholic Partnership Summit in Washington, D.C.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN II

Vatican II didn’t fail. It’s just getting started
“I sometimes wish that I could travel back to see my parish in the 1950s in West Philadelphia. The great domed church, St. Francis de Sales, towering over Victorian houses and Edwardian apartment buildings, can seat 800, but back then it needed simultaneous Masses in the lower church and the parish hall to fit all the attendees. I wish I could still watch that many people streaming toward the church each Sunday. We are not now that strength which we once were. The loss of that strength is hard, but it can end up being the source of renewal.” By Terence Sweeney, America: The Jesuit Review

Change is not easy in the Catholic Church, whether Vatican II or Pope Francis
“Sixty years ago, about a month after I entered the Jesuit novitiate in Los Gatos, California, the Second Vatican Council opened in Rome. No one bothered to tell the novices about it. The council went on for three years, during which I took vows and studied Latin and Greek without knowing what was happening at the council. In those pre-Vatican II days, the novitiate was what sociologists call a ‘total institution,’ completely isolated from the rest of the world, with no access to newspapers, radio or television. Except when I went to the dentist, I did not talk to a woman outside my family for four years. The idea was to insulate us from the world so we could devote ourselves to our Jesuit formation.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Vatican II: Five views sixty years on
“Everybody I know seems to be writing something on Vatican II these days and I began feeling a bit left out of the fun. So, I thought I would jump into the mosh pit of pundits to offer my take. The many recent commentaries, if I’m allowed the chutzpah to summarize them, fall into five basic categories. First, there is the view that Vatican II was a wonderful Council in full continuity with the tradition. But it was implemented poorly and hijacked by progressives, who made liberal use of the mass media to spread the view that the Council was about liberalizing the Church in a culturally accommodationist direction.” By Catholic World Report

BISHOPS

Diocese confirms French bishop disciplined by Vatican for sexual abuse
“The Diocese of Créteil in France confirmed last week that its former bishop had been credibly accused of sexual abuse and ordered to live a life of ‘prayer and penance’ by the Vatican last year. Bishop Michel Santier retired in January 2021 at the age of 73, two years before the age at which bishops are required to submit a letter of resignation to the pope. Seven months prior, in June 2020, Santier had told Catholics in his diocese he would be retiring early for “health reasons,” according to a report by La Croix.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

PRIESTS

Major survey of Catholic priests finds trust issues, burnout, fear of false allegations
“A study that claims to be the largest national survey of Catholic priests conducted in more than 50 years has found that despite relatively high levels of personal well-being and fulfillment among priests as a whole, a significant percentage of priests have issues with burnout, distrust in their bishop, and fears of being falsely accused of misconduct. Conducted by The Catholic Project, a research group at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., the study released at an Oct. 19 press conference used survey responses from 3,516 priests across 191 dioceses and eparchies in the United States.” By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency

VOICES

How Catholics became prisoners of Vatican II
“The Second Vatican Council, the great revolution in the life of the modern Catholic Church, opened 60 years ago this week in Rome. So much of that 1960s-era world has passed away, but the council is still with us; indeed for a divided church its still-unfolding consequences cannot be escaped. For a long time this would have been a liberal claim. In the wars within Catholicism that followed the council, the conservatives interpreted Vatican II as a discrete and limited event — a particular set of documents that contained various shifts and evolutions (on religious liberty and Catholic-Jewish relations especially), and opened the door to a revised, vernacular version of the Mass.” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times

The secret to healing the church is looking outward, not inward
“Last month, I looked at the U.S. bishops’ conference national synthesis of synodal reports, concluding that the process seems to have been more successful than anticipated and commending those who wrote the report for its frankness and comprehensive quality. I also noted that one section of that report warranted greater attention, the section titled ‘Social Mission of the Church,’ and today will offer that attention. It is only one paragraph long …” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Why is San Francisco’s top Catholic shielding pedophile priests

“If you grew up under the influence of the Catholic Church, you likely know someone who was sexually abused by a priest. In my family, the destruction manifested in the form of a man who, after several years training for the priesthood, returned home and spent the next few decades preying on boys in the Central Valley. He would eventually die alone, ostracized as a registered sex offender, but his evil lives on in the anguish of the victims he permanently damaged. His name does not appear on any official list of abusive clergy, but I count his horrific crimes as part of what I consider the Catholic Church’s systematic and global campaign of child rape.” By Gil Duran, San Francisco Examiner

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

IICSA concludes with a demand for mandatory reporting of child abuse
“Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse must be enforced by UK law to protect the 13 million children in England and Wales from the ‘vile and degrading’ abuse found within institutions across the country, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has concluded. Its final report, which includes 19 other recommendations and covers all 15 of its investigations into institutional child abuse across the UK, was published on Thursday (Oct. 21). The executive summary describes child abuse as a ‘global crisis’ which has been exacerbated in recent decades by the internet — the regulation of which is a key concern in the report.” By Hattie Williams, Church Times

These Catholics are trying to work within the church to change how sexual abuse is addressed
“When a group of local Catholics decided to expand their advocacy work outside a Milwaukee living room, they had to come up with a name for their new organization. They settled on ‘Awake Milwaukee.’ As Catholics who wanted to push for change on the issue of sexual abuse from within the church, the name represented their own views as well as what they hoped to do for others. ‘We felt like we were finally awake. We were finally paying attention to something that had been there all along,’ said executive director Sara Larson. ‘It’s also what we’re aiming to do for our broader community: to help people wake up to this reality.’” By Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Clergy abuse has scarred minority Catholic communities
“The image of a white victim does not tell the complete story of clergy sexual abuse in the United States, according to a number of panelists during an Oct. 5 online forum titled ‘Neglected Voices in the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis.’ Blacks have suffered from clergy sex abuse, but ‘it’s an invisible trauma. It’s an unknown trauma because there are Black victims, survivors, of the sexual abuse crisis,’ said Father Bryan Massingale, author of ‘Racial Justice in the Catholic Church.’ ‘Yet in the Catholic imagination, we usually see a white face — a white male face, overwhelmingly.’” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service

CALIFORNIA

Hundreds of priests with SF archdiocese accused of sexual abuse
“Victims of clergy abuse and their advocates gathered at the headquarters for the Archdiocese of San Francisco on Thursday (Sept. 29) to hand deliver a list they’ve spent years compiling, which includes the names of hundreds of priests accused of preying on children, abusing some of them for years. The list is 312 names long and goes back more than 100 years. While many of the accused predators are dead, some remain working at Bay Area churches today.” By Bigad Shaban, Michael Bott, Mark Villarreal, Alex Bozovic, Grace Galletti and Roselyn Romero, NBC-TV Bay Area News

ILLINOIS

St. Sabina Church stands by Rev. Pfleger amid new sex abuse accusation: ‘Father Mike, this is your army’
“A day after the Rev. Michael Pfleger was accused again of child sex abuse, the popular priest was absent from Sunday Mass at St. Sabina Church. But he was the focus of the service. ‘Show Father Mike what it means to be persistent in prayer,’ the Rev. Tom Walsh told the congregation during the 2 1⁄2-hour service punctuated by support for Pfleger. Walsh directed congregants to face a camera at the rear of the church broadcasting the service on the internet, where he said Pfleger would be watching.” By David Struett, Chicago Sun-Times

Archdiocese of Chicago adds dozens of new names to list of priests, clergy accused of sex abuse
“The Archdiocese of Chicago’s list of priests accused of sex abuse nearly doubled Friday (Oct. 14) with the addition of dozens of names, including priests who were accused when they were no longer alive. For years, the Archdiocese of Chicago has publicly named priests with substantiated allegations of sex abuse, but its list did not include the names of priests accused when they were deceased and clergy from different religious orders.” By Sarah Schulte and Ross Weidner, ABC-TV7 News

MICHIGAN

Catholic diocese: Brighton priest admitted to sexual relationship with teen
“The Diocese of Lansing in a statement said that a priest who the Michigan Attorney General declined to prosecute for having sex with a minor was found to have done so during a separate church investigation. The priest, Shaun Lowery, served at Brighton’s St. Mary Magdalen parish from 2019 to 2021. In the diocese statement, spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing David Kerr said: ‘Father Lowery engaged in immoral sexual acts, grievously violated his vow of celibacy, and gave scandal to the young persons involved in this case, as well as to the wider church.’” By Sophia Lada, Livingston Daily

Priest convicted of sexual assault on boy in Michigan church
“A Catholic priest has been convicted of sexual assaulting a 7-year-old boy in 2004 in a Detroit-area church. A Wayne County jury convicted the Rev. Joseph ‘Jack’ Baker on Thursday (Oct. 13) on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Baker, 60, gasped as the verdict was read, The Detroit News reported. Baker was a priest at St. Mary Parish in Wayne when Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged him in July 2019 with sexually abusing a minor.” By Associated Press

MISSOURI

6,000 child pornography photos found on retired St. Louis priest’s electronics, court documents say
“A retired priest from St. Louis pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession of child pornography. According to court documents, James Beighlie, 72, admitted in court that colleagues of his at the Congregation of the Mission in St. Louis found compromising images of him on a church printer on May 17, 2021. The church launched its own investigation and called the FBI when videos of minors performing sex acts were found on electronics used by Beighlie. Investigators found 6,000 images of child sexual abuse on one computer, including 3,000 photos of child pornography and 2,992 images of child erotica. Another computer had 236 photos and 40 videos of child sexual abuse.” By KMOV-TV4 News

RHODE ISLAND

Former R.I. Catholic priest facing child-pornography charges is back behind bars
“A Catholic priest formerly of Providence who was granted bail last year after being charged with possessing and transferring child pornography is back behind bars after authorities alleged he violated the conditions of his pretrial release while living in Kansas. U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan last week ordered The Rev. James Jackson detained after a separate child pornography investigation in Kansas this summer led police to search a home in Leawood, Kansas, where Jackson, former pastor at St. Mary’s on Broadway, was staying with a relative.” By Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal

SOUTH DAKOTA

Native Americans recall torture, hatred at boarding schools
“After her mother died when Rosalie Whirlwind Soldier was just four years old, she was put into a Native American boarding school in South Dakota and told her native Lakota language was ‘devil’s speak.’ She recalls being locked in a basement at St. Francis Indian Mission School for weeks as punishment for breaking the school’s strict rules. Her long braids were shorn in a deliberate effort to stamp out her cultural identify. And when she broke her leg in an accident, Whirlwind Soldier said she received shoddy care leaving her with pain and a limp that still hobbles her decades later.” By Matthew Brown, Associated Press

BANGLADESH

Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale sentenced for sexual abuse of boys at Mortlake
“Prolific pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale has been sentenced for the sexual abuse of two boys in western Victoria in the 1980s. The 88-year-old appeared in the Warrnambool County Court on Wednesday (Oct. 19) afternoon via video link from Hopkins Correctional Centre in Ararat. Ridsdale pleaded guilty in July to 13 charges relating to the sexual abuse of two teenage boys in 1981 and 1982, when they were aged under 16.” By ABC News

NEW ZEALAND

Former Catholic bishop of Auckland questioned over recommending priest facing abuse allegations
“The former Catholic Bishop of Auckland has come under intense questioning at the abuse in care inquiry over recommending a priest, who had three allegations of abuse made against him, for a teaching job. The Catholic Church appeared at the Royal Commission hearing in Auckland on Monday. Bishop Patrick Dunn was responding to complaints made about Tongan priest Sateki Raass. Raass was convicted in March 2019 for assaulting a person under 16, and he was sentenced to do 100 hours of community service. He later resigned from the priesthood.” By Andrew McRae, Radio New Zealand

PORTUGAL

Historic Portugal church sex abuse ‘truly endemic’ at times
“The head of a lay committee looking into historic child sex abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church said Tuesday (Oct. 11) the problem in the past had been ‘widespread’ and on some occasions reached ‘truly endemic’ proportions. Pedro Strecht, a psychiatrist who heads Portugal’s Independent Committee for the Study of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church, said his panel has compiled a list of 424 alleged victims. Before the committee started its work in January, senior church officials had claimed that only a handful of cases had occurred.” By Barry Hatton, Associated Press

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, Oct. 7, 2022

Oct. 7, 2022

TOP STORIES

Time for more transparency in Vatican handling of sex abuse
“A Nobel Peace Prize-winning bishop alleged to have abused teenaged boys during the 1990s was sanctioned by the Vatican, which limited his movements and prohibited him from contact with minors or with his home country of East Timor. Meanwhile in Yakima, Washington, after a whistleblower raised concerns about the previous bishop’s handling of sexual abuse allegations, the now-retired bishop received a formal reprimand from the Vatican. Though the details of these two cases differ, what they share in common is that the consequences to the church leader under investigation — and even the fact of the investigation itself — were kept secret. That is, until news media shared the truth.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Is net finally closing on U.S. priest who allegedly abused ‘countless’ children?
“In arguably the clearest sign yet that he is under active criminal investigation, a retired Catholic priest from New Orleans who has been publicly accused of molesting ‘countless’ children but never charged has acknowledged that the FBI recently questioned him. Lawrence Hecker, 91, declined to elaborate on exactly when FBI agents met with him or what they asked him as they reportedly lead an investigation into whether clerics serving a Louisiana region that is home to nearly half a million Catholics took children across state lines to abuse them. But, in a brief conversation with the Guardian, Hecker admitted that FBI agents had spoken with him.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian

U.S. Catholic bishops’ report to the Vatican shows a church split by politics
“Catholics in the United States are deeply divided over issues as disparate as LGBTQ inclusion, clerical sexual abuse and celebrating the liturgy, according to a summary of consultations carried out in dioceses across the country in recent months as part of Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality. ‘Participants felt this division as a profound sense of pain and anxiety,’ the U.S. bishops wrote in a summary released Monday (Sept. 19) to the public after being sent to the Vatican last month.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

Australian archbishop investigating retired bishop on abuse allegations
“Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge will conduct an investigation into retired Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, using a process established by Pope Francis in 2019. Young Aboriginal men from towns and bush communities in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia accused Saunders of sexual misconduct. The bishop has denied the allegations. Local media reported the inquiry in February, but it was not confirmed until late September. Brisbane’s Coleridge is president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting
“It was a frigid Sunday evening at the Catholic Newman Center in Salt Lake City when the priest warned parishioners who had gathered after Mass that their right to private confessions was in jeopardy … In the following days of February 2020, Utah’s Catholic diocese, which oversees dozens of churches, says it collected some 9,000 signed letters from parishioners and sent them to state Rep. Angela Romero, a Democrat who had been working on the bill as part of her campaign against child sexual abuse. HB90 targeted Utah’s ‘clergy-penitent privilege,’ a law similar to those in many states that exempts clergy of all denominations from the requirement to report child abuse if they learn about the crime in a confessional setting.” By Jason Dearen and Michael Rezendes, Associated Press

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican’s quiet reprimand of U.S. bishop raises concerns about Pope’s clergy abuse law
“Earlier this year, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington, received a formal reprimand from the Vatican for how he handled clergy abuse allegations — and possibly for how he treated a whistleblower. Victim advocates have praised the Vatican’s actions on that case as a rare rebuke of a bishop. Yet the dearth of information about both the investigation and subsequent reprimand appears to reinforce advocates’ concerns about one of Pope Francis’ landmark achievements on clergy abuse. Last week’s report that retired East Timor Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo was secretly sanctioned for alleged abuse has raised similar critiques. Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You Are the Light of the World”), issued by Francis in 2019, is a sweeping set of laws that includes a system to evaluate reports of abuse or cover-up by bishops. Bishop Carlos Sevilla, who led the central Washington diocese from 1996 until retiring in 2011, was investigated under the system put in place by Vos Estis, according to reporting by the Yakima Herald-Republic.” By Ketie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter

FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION AND MISSION

Pope meets group that prepared text for next phase of synod
“Pope Francis personally expressed his thanks to the four-dozen people who read through hundreds of reports about the listening phase of the Synod of Bishops and, after 12 days of prayer, reflection and discussion, drafted a working document for the continental stage of the synod process. The pope welcomed the cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay participants to the Vatican Oct. 2, the last day of their work. At the heart of the work were the 112 syntheses submitted by national bishops’ conferences from around the world, as well as syntheses from the Eastern Catholic churches, religious orders, church organizations and movements, offices of the Roman Curia and individuals.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Synod on Synodality had its doubters, but it’s proving to be balm for ‘enduring wounds’
“In preparation for the Synod on Synodality, which will bring the world’s bishops to Rome a year from now, Pope Francis called for Catholics to meet in their parishes and dioceses to listen to one another and discern a path forward for the church. Many of the laity in the United States were excited by the opportunity … Despite these reservations, the U.S. bishops reported to the Vatican, ‘many were surprised by a level of engagement and richness that surpassed their expectations. It was frequently noted how much agreement participants found when they listened to each other.’” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

Head of Vatican Synod office: ‘Let us trust in our people’
“The head of the Vatican’s synod office says that when it comes to hot-button issues such as the reception of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and the blessing of same-sex couples, discussion cannot be limited to doctrinal concerns, but must also include pastoral considerations. ‘These issues are not to be understood simply in terms of doctrine, but in terms of God’s ongoing encounter with human beings,’ said Maltese Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

National synod report raises question: ‘Now what?’
“The U.S. bishops’ conference issued its ‘National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase of the 2021-2023 Synod.’ The document is exceedingly well done, bringing together into one, concise and readable document the results of 22,000 reports from 30,000 listening sessions, in which the conference estimates some 700,000 people participated. Those numbers are staggering, a rebuke to the naysayers who viewed this process with suspicion … So, kudos to everyone who participated in this enormous undertaking and to the staff at the bishops’ conference who brought it all together. Now what?” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican’s synod chief tells U.S. Church leaders to ‘listen to others’
“Cardinal Mario Grech encouraged more than 200 U.S. Catholic leaders to continue the process of listening called for by the Synod on Synodality, even as it moves out of the local phase, and to consider the contributions of all people of goodwill, in a recent presentation. “When we say that we are listening to the others, we are also saying that we are listening to the Holy Spirit, and for me, this is something sacred and it was about time that we came around to recognize this wealth, this richness in the church,” said Grech, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope names new members to commission for protection of minors
“Pope Francis reconfirmed the leadership of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and expanded its membership from 17 to 20 people, naming 10 new members and reappointing 10 returning members. U.S. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the commission, said, ‘Coming from all over the world with varied backgrounds and a common passion for the well-being of children and vulnerable people, the members announced today (Sept. 30) include advocates and practitioners of prevention and protection to the many areas in which the church ministers to children.’” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

Canadian bishops say they’ll follow pope’s example with Indigenous
“Canada’s bishops wound up their first in-person meetings in three years with discussion of concrete steps toward reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians. At the end of four days of plenary meetings of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Cornwall, Ontario, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith told a news conference that the bishops are following the example of Pope Francis and the priority he placed on meeting with Indigenous people.” By Michael Swan, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Leading German bishop to stay in post despite damning report
“A leading German bishop said on Thursday (Sept. 22) that he will remain in office despite a damning report on the handling of abuse cases in his diocese. Bishop Franz-Josef Bode told journalists at a press conference on Sept. 22 that he had discussed whether to resign as bishop of Osnabrück, northwestern Germany, with the safeguarding expert Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J. Zollner is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the founding president of Rome’s Centre for Child Protection.” By Luke Coppen, The Pillar

WOMEN’S VOICES

New Zealand Catholic women display ‘pink shoes’ to call for equality in the church
“Hundreds of Catholic women in New Zealand contributed to a provocative public art protest on Sept. 18 calling for equality of women in the church. The event took place in Auckland, the nation’s largest city, and Wellington, its capital. Called ‘Pink Shoes into the Vatican,’ the event consisted of an installation of hundreds of pairs of shoes donated by women around the country that were lined up on the streets leading up to both cities’ cathedrals. Tied to each pair of shoes was a label from its owner describing their contribution to or aspirations for the church.” By Peter Kirkwood, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Will laity by granted voice at next October’s synod
“I was pleasantly surprised that the U.S. bishops’ national synthesis for the Synod on Synodality explicitly named ‘hot button’ issues such as women’s ordination, LGBTQ+ inclusion and the need for freedom to speak up on controversial issues without fear of being silenced. Synthesis writers are to be congratulated for compiling a comprehensive, transparent document featuring input from ‘over 22,000 reports from individual parishes and groups.’ Many other important ecclesial issues are also named that I shall not address here, but the text is well worth the read.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

CHILD PROTECTION

First graduate of Child Safety Certificate Program serves diocese
“When she began facilitating safe environment training in the Diocese of Palm Beach in 2005, Donna Eurich did not know that child protection would become her vocation and full-time work in the future. She was a middle school religion teacher at the time. Now she is the director of child and youth protection and the victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma, and the first graduate of the online Certificate in Child Protection and Safe Environments offered by the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America.” By The Catholic University of America

CHURCH FINANCES

Former Holy Cross Catholic Church official arrested in embezzlement case in Vero Beach
“A former parish administrator at Holy Cross Catholic Church was arrested Monday (Sept. 19) after police accused her of using nearly $550,000 of church donations over several years to pay off her personal lines of credit, according to records obtained Tuesday (Sept.20). Deborah Lynn True, 69, who has a listed address in Frederick, Colorado, was arrested on a charge of organized fraud over $50,000 after a Vero Beach police investigation that began in December 2021.” By Will Greenlee, TCPalm.com

VOICES

Theologian Gaillardetz warns against over-critique of church in ‘last lecture’
“Theologians from across the U.S. gathered here (Boston College) Sept. 23-24 for a conference celebrating the legacy of Richard Gaillardetz, one of the country’s foremost experts on the exercise of authority in the Catholic Church, who is receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer … In an hourlong discourse that was at turns autobiographical, theological and deeply personal, the theologian encouraged his colleagues to continue the work of ‘meaningful and lasting ecclesial reform’ and to seek out a middle path between over-critiquing the Catholic Church as an institution and being over-trustful of its leaders, especially after the clergy sexual abuse scandals.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church is increasingly diverse – and so are its controversies
“There is a lot of talk about ‘synodality’ in the Catholic church these days. Synodality refers to a process in which bishops and priests consult with lay Catholics about issues in the church. In 2021, Pope Francis called for the ‘Synod on Synodality,’ a worldwide discussion of issues that impact the church, which will culminate with a bishops’ meeting in Rome. A final report is scheduled for October 2023. The Catholic Church in Germany has also moved forward with a national ‘synodal path’ to restore trust after its own sexual abuse scandal.” By Matthew Schmalz, Religion News Service

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

Curran Center Award winner explores healing power of voice
“There is healing power in using your voice. That was one of the lessons of ‘A Theology of Voice: VOCAL and the Catholic Clergy Abuse Survivor Movement,’ an article by Brian Clites, Ph.D., chosen by Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies in May as the winner of its third annual New Scholars essay contest … Clites said that when he first began working on the paper, which is part of a larger book project, in 2011, he was struck by how little academic research had been devoted to the sexual abuse crisis, and how often the concept of the voice was referenced in contemporary Catholic survivor groups, such as ‘Voice of the Faithful’ and ‘Speak Truth to Power.’” By Patrick Verel, Fordham News

Bishop Hart accuser discusses abuse with clergy at Wyoming film screenings
“A priest stood up and asked Ed Gavagan how he found hope after all that he’s endured. As a room full of Catholic clergy looked on, Ed told the priest that he had none. None at all. Gavagan had been shaken when he walked into the community room attached to Sheridan’s Holy Name Catholic Church on Monday (Sept. 19). The seats were filled by 50-some priests, plus a half-dozen nuns, all gathered to watch a documentary that follows Gavagan and five other men as they work to heal from the trauma they say they suffered at the hands of priests decades ago.” By Casper Star Tribune

CALIFORNIA

Four more former California all-boys Catholic school students allege priest sexually assaulted them
“Father Kevin Fitzpatrick’s first 25 years in the service of the Order of Servants of Mary were commemorated by a page dedicated to the popular priest in Servite High School’s 1980 yearbook. The page features a photo of Fitzpatrick, the school’s swimming and water polo coach, poolside. There’s a picture of Fitzpatrick, known to the Servite community as simply Father Fitz, sticking out his tongue at the photographer and another of him grabbing a Servite student by the front of the boy’s shirt in mock anger.” By Scott Reid, By The Mercury News

Catholic priest who served in Atlanta faces rape, abuse warrants for three different victims
“A catholic priest who once served in Atlanta is now accused of rape, with warrants out for his arrest in California.The Atlanta Archdiocese confirmed the allegations Monday (Sept. 26). According to the Diocese of Sacramento, where the charges stem from, he left California in 2005 and served in the Atlanta area until leaving for his home diocese in Colombia in 2008. According to the Sacramento Diocese, 70-year-old Father Roberto Jaramillo faces criminal warrants for three instances of alleged sexual abuse going back more than two decades – the alleged ‘repeated’ rape and abuse of a girl between 1996 and 1999, kissing a juvenile boy in 1999 and sexually abusing an adult male in 2001.” By Kaitlyn Ross, 11Alive-TV News

Former Sacramento priest accused of child sex abuse. Here’s when and where he served.
“A priest who formerly was with the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento has been added to the list of clergy accused of child sex abuse, and authorities are searching for him. Roberto Jaramillo, who served at multiple churches in the Sacramento region for 10 years, is accused of rape and other sexual assault involving a girl under the age of 14 between 1996 and 1999. The Sacramento Police Department confirmed on Saturday that a felony warrant had been issued.” By Mathew Miranda, The Sacramento Bee

ILLINOIS

Archdiocese of Chicago asks three retired priests to remain out of ministry pending investigation of nearly 50-year-old allegations of sexual abuse of minors
“ The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced that it has asked three retired priests to remain out of ministry while its Independent Review Board investigates allegations of sexual abuse of minors against them. The priests are: Father John J. Rudnik, 87, Father James E. Flynn, 80 and Father John W. Clemens, 75. Each has one allegation against him, all dating from nearly a half century ago and all are cooperating fully with the process. The persons making the allegations have been offered the services of the Archdiocese Victim Assistance Ministry and civil authorities have been notified. In addition, parishioners in the parishes where these priests served have been notified.” News Release by Archdiocese of Chicago

MARYLAND

Garrett Park priest placed on leave pending sexual abuse allegations
“A priest at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Garrett Park has been placed on administrative leave following allegations of sexually abusing minors in another diocese decades ago. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington notified parishioners last Friday (Sept. 30). According to church officials, the sexual abuse allegations against Reverend Robert Buchmeier were first reported to the Catholic Diocese of Arlington on Sept. 30. After reviewing the preliminary information, the Diocese of Arlington notified Alexandria City Police and the Archdiocese of Washington — where Buchmeier is incardinated.” By MyMCMedia.org

MASSACHUSETTS

Judge to reexamine her decision on release of Eagle reporter’s notes in Springfield clergy abuse case
“A Hampden County Superior Court judge is poised to decide whether a reporter for The Berkshire Eagle must provide information the newspaper says would violate a promise of confidentiality to an anonymous source. That information is needed to allow the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, its lawyer says, to defend itself against a civil lawsuit filed by a man who says he was raped by clergy, including former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon.” By Heather Bellow, the Berkshire Eagle

MINNESOTA

Retired priest removed from ministry as abuse allegation is investigated
“A retired priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Father Michael Ince, has been placed on a leave of absence from priestly ministry while an allegation of abusing a minor in the 1980s is investigated. ‘In accordance with archdiocesan policies, the archdiocesan Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment promptly reported this to law enforcement, who advised that they are investigating the allegation,’ Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a statement Sept. 26. Once law enforcement completes its investigation the archdiocese will follow its processes to determine next steps.” By Joe Ruff, The Catholic Spirit

MISSOURI

‘Slap in the face.’ Sex abuse victims outraged over priest’s return to Kansas City.
“A former Kansas City priest and retired Wyoming bishop whose numerous sexual abuse allegations were dismissed by the Vatican but deemed credible by two current U.S. bishops is moving back to the metro area. Joseph Hart, who left Kansas City more than four decades ago to become Bishop of Cheyenne, will be residing in a senior living facility, The Star has learned. Hart, who turned 91 last month, has a brother — also a priest — who lives in Kansas City. One of Hart’s victims told The Star that he was contacted last week by Bishop James V. Johnston Jr., head of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, to let him know Hart would be returning.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Priest convicted of sex abuse claimed ex-police detective McLaughlin erased tapes
“Gordon MacRae, the Catholic priest now serving a state prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four boys, once claimed in a lawsuit that the evidence against him was destroyed by a zealous investigator out to railroad him. The cop who pursued MacRae was then-Keene Police Detective James McLaughlin. The old lawsuit brought by the convicted child sex predator against McLaughlin is newly relevant now that McLaughlin’s recently released personnel file shows the decorated investigator was once accused by his own department of doctoring evidence.” By Damien fisher, InDepthNH.org

NEW JERSEY

Questions as accused former pastor relocated
“A former pastor at St. Andrew Church in Westwood who resigned in 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct from over three decades ago has been reassigned as chaplain to a Catholic resource facility in Newark that offers services to help pregnant, post-abortion, and sexual abuse victims ‘who need a safe and supportive environment.’ Former pastor James Weiner was found to be working at The Mercy House, a ‘family-oriented resource and referral center in the heart of Newark with a focus on assisting pregnant and parenting women who need a safe and supportive environment.’” By The Press Group

OHIO

Former Cincinnati Catholic priest told rape victim ‘I don’t have a clue what you could be talking about’
“In a ‘chilling’ phone call to then-Rev. Geoff Drew, the Catholic priest who raped him three decades ago, Paul Neyer said he was so unnerved that he grabbed a table and felt like he could ‘squeeze through it.’ At the request of detectives investigating his case, Neyer called Drew on July 31, 2019, one day after investigators from Green Township and Cincinnati interviewed him about being raped, according to previously unreleased police records from the investigation.” By Craig Cheatham, WCPO-TV9 News

RHODE ISLAND

Details emerge about Father James Jackson’s alleged pre-trial release violations
“Father James Jackson, a Rhode Island priest who was arrested in October on federal and state child pornography charges, admitted Monday (Oct. 3) in federal court that the government could prove that he violated certain conditions of his pre-trial release. The conditions of Jackson’s pretrial release were set in November 2021 before he was allowed to leave Rhode Island to reside with a family member in Kansas. He was arrested in July by the U.S. Marshals in Kansas. He is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island.” By Joe Burkuras, Catholic News Agency

AFRICA

Catholic priest arraigned for allegedly sodomizing 10 children
“A Catholic priest in Moshi, Sostenes Soka, who was being held by the police has been arraigned today, September 26, at the Resident Magistrate’s Court for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting more than 10 children. He was arrested on September 20. The children are pupils whose identity has been protected are in Standard Six and Form One who were attending the teachings for the first communion and confirmation.” By Florah Temba, The Citizen

CANADA

B.C. man reaches settlement over priest sex abuse allegations
“A man who alleged he was sexually abused by Mission Roman Catholic priests and a seminary employee has reached an undisclosed settlement to end the case. Mark O’Neill was seeking damages for sexual abuse he alleges he suffered as a teen during his time at a Mission Roman Catholic seminary from 1974 to 1978. He was 13- to 17-years-old at the time. The defendants listed in the suit included the Seminary of Christ the King; Westminster Abbey Ltd.; the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole; Emerick Lazar; Harold Vincent Sander, a.k.a. Dom Placidus Sander; Shawn Rohrbach; and John Doe.” By Jeremy Hainsworth, Pique News Magazine

GERMANY

German court asks Benedict XVI to testify after complaint by a victim of abuse by a priest
“ The Traunstein Regional Court in Bavaria has requested a deposition of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI over a lawsuit filed by a man who was abused by a priest, court spokeswoman Andrea Titz has confirmed. “The defendants have the opportunity to indicate their willingness to defend themselves within two weeks, after which they have four weeks, or one month, to respond,” she explained. As reported by German media when the complaint was filed, the plaintiff is a 38-year-old man from Bavaria who alleges he was sexually abused by the priest as a child.” By Daniel Stewart, News 360

GUAM

Catholic Church in Guam begins processing abuse victims’ compensation claims
“The chief judge of the US district court of Guam Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has approved the final revision to the compromise agreement that would bring closure to the clergy abuse victims’ civil action against the Catholic Church. The settlement amount for victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse will be in the range of between US$34 million and US$45 million, but Catholic church officials said the final amount would depend on the actual sum that the sale of respective archdiocese properties would bring in.” By Radio New Zealand

INDIA

Indian family seeks dismissal of priest accused of abuse
“An Indian Catholic priest already under suspension following sex abuse complaints has fresh charges of sexual assault being lodged against him by a minor boy and his father, sparking calls for his dismissal from the priesthood. Father Vincent Pereira, 55, was originally suspended from public priestly ministries after police arrested him in September 2018 for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in a school where he was the principal. Released on bail in March 2020, he now lives in the pastoral center of the Pune diocese in western India.” By Michael Gonsalves, UCANews.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Sex beast priest caught in another breach of sexual offenses prevention order
“One of Northern Ireland’s most notorious pedophile priests has admitted yet another breach of his life-long sexual offences prevention order. A court has been told the case of Daniel Gerard Curran ‘is to proceed by way of a guilty plea’ to the single charge against him. In August this year, the creep breached his lifelong SOPO by ‘loitering’ around Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in Newcastle.” By Paul Higgins, Belfast Telegraph

LEBANON

Lebanese pedophile priest Mansour Labaki defrocked by Vatican
“Mansour Labaki is believed to have sexually abused more than 50 individuals. The Vatican defrocked the former Lebanese priest and convicted pedophile on Tuesday (Sept. 27), ten years after he was found guilty of the sexual abuse of minors. The Assembly of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon issued a statement saying that Pope Francis decided that both Labaki and Priest George Karim Badr, will be ‘returned to their secular state.’” By The New Arab

PORTUGAL

Portugal abuse cases mount amid questions over Nobel bishop
Clergy sexual abuse cases are casting a pall over the Catholic Church in Portugal, ensnaring senior officials even as authorities scramble to explain why shelter was given to a Nobel Peace Prize-winning bishop at the center of sexual misconduct allegations. Senior Catholic leaders apologized over the weekend for the hurt caused by decades of alleged abuse and cover-up — current estimates number around 400 cases — with the archbishop of Lisbon begging the faithful to not lose faith in the church.” By Barry Hatton, Associated Press, on ABCNews.go.com

SPAIN

Spain’s ombudsman urges Catholic bishops to collaborate in sexual abuse investigation
“The Spanish ombudsman on Tuesday (Sept. 26) said he ‘hasn’t noticed a lot of enthusiasm’ from parts of the Catholic Church as he looks into sexual abuse cases and urged bishops to collaborate with his investigation. ‘If they say they won’t, I will make very concrete requests about what happened in specific cases, congregations and what’s going on with certain archives,’ Angel Gabilondo said at the New Economy Forum in Madrid.” By Alyssa McMurtry, Anadolu Agency on aa.com.tr

TIMOR-LESTE

‘What I want is apologies’
“For years, Timor-Leste’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo has been sexually abusing boys, survivors and others claim. Meanwhile, the Catholic church imposed travel restrictions on Belo. ‘We have to talk about it, and shout it out louder to the world.’ By Tjitske Kingsma, De Groene Amsterdammer

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Sept. 23, 2022

TOP STORIES

U.S. diocesan synod reports highlight ‘enduring wounds’ in Church
“Throughout the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality, U.S. Catholics consistently highlighted several ‘enduring wounds’ that plague the nation’s church, including the still-unfolding effects of the sexual abuse crisis, divisions over the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, and a perceived lack of unity among the nation’s bishops. The feedback was published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Sept. 19, in a national synthesis of the diocesan synod phase. The synthesis is the culmination of diocesan Synod reports and contributions from other Catholic entities since last fall.” By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com

South African Catholics: End clericalism, open ministry to women, be inclusive
“Widen the preaching circle to women and other laypeople, change the leadership style from autocratic and bureaucratic, move away from clericalism, and build more inclusive and welcoming communities, say Southern African Catholics. These were some of the major themes that emerged in the synthesis document for the synod on synodality released by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference at the end of August. The conference represents the Catholic bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Eswatini. The secretary general of the bishops’ conference, Fr. Hugh O’Connor, said that the synthesis aimed to reflect the wide range of opinions mentioned in the diocesan reports.” By Russell Pollitt, National Catholic Reporter

Bill eliminating statute of limitations for child sex abuse civil suits heads to Biden’s desk
“The House on Tuesday (Sept. 13) passed a bill eliminating the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse who seek to file civil claims, sending the measure to President Biden’s desk for final approval. The chamber cleared the bill, titled the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, by voice vote, a strategy reserved for non-controversial, popular measures. The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent in March. The measure calls for removing the statute of limitations for minors filing civil claims relating to a number of sex abuse crimes, including force labor, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.” By Mychael Schnell, KGET-TV News

Finding the bishops we need
“There was considerable excitement in some quarters this summer when Pope Francis appointed three women as members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, which makes recommendations to the pope for episcopal appointments in much of Latin-rite Catholicism. Whether this innovation will make any significant difference at the final stage of a long, complex process remains to be seen; given the byzantine ways of the Roman Curia (and its boys club atmosphere and dynamics), I have my doubts. But we shall see. In any event, deep reform in the process of selecting bishops in the Latin-rite Church would begin by bringing women, not to mention laymen, into the process at a much earlier stage.” By George Weigel, The Pilot

FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION AND MISSION

Exclusive: Cardinal Grech on drafting the first global synod synthesis—and what’s in store for phase 2
“Even though the first phase of the Catholic Church’s two-year-long Synod on Synodality convened by Pope Francis only ended in mid-August, ‘We can already see the fruits of the synodal process,’ Cardinal Mario Grech, the general secretary of the synod, told America’s Vatican correspondent, Gerard O’Connell, in an exclusive interview conducted for America’s ‘Inside the Vatican’ podcast at the Jesuit Curia in Rome on Sept. 14. Cardinal Grech gave the interview before leaving Rome for two weeks starting today, Sept. 21, with a team of 35 people ‘summoned from all continents’ to study and analyze the feedback from the first phase, also known as the consultation phase, of the synodal process.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Synodality and its issues
“Persons worried about the current ‘synodality’ process in the Catholic Church have good reasons to be anxious. The car wreck of the German Catholic ‘synodal path’ on matters of sexuality and Church governance is one of them. Other key problems with Rome’s 2023 Synod on Synodality are the personalities and behaviors of some of the loudest people advancing it. More on that in a moment. The idea itself – synodality – is worth considering. But be warned and caffeinated: Roman documents ahead.” By The Catholic World Report

The synodality report
“What is synodality? Bishop (Harry) Silva defines it this way: “The Church always must defer to its Head, who is Jesus Christ. He is sacramentally represented by his bishops and priests, who act in his name as pastors, overseers and servants. But the clergy are not as wise or holy as the Head, and the Body must always be in communication with the Head. So while the Church is not a democracy, it is essential that the pastors be in touch with the thoughts, aspirations, needs and dreams of the members of the Body. Thus, we have pastoral councils, finance councils, priests’ councils, deacon councils, and a host of other consultative bodies so that the flow of communication between head and members may always be healthy. Synodality is the recognition that every member of the Body is important and contributes to the welfare of the whole body. It also offers concrete mechanisms by which this can happen.’” By Patrick Downes, Hawaii Catholic Herald

Synod on Synodality organizers: ‘Trust the process’
“The Synod on Synodality, Pope Francis’ massive consultation of all Catholic dioceses, parishes and organizations on the state of the church, completed its first phase, with Vatican officials receiving reports from countries around the world on their findings. As the second phase begins, and amid doubts that the results will be representative, the synod’s chief organizer, and even some participants, are encouraging Catholics to trust the process. ‘It’s the first time in the history of the church but also for humanity to have such a consultation,’ said Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary for the General Secretariat for the Synod at the Vatican. ‘It’s a huge achievement.’” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

Sex and gender dominate German church debates. But Catholics in the Global South have difference challenges—and values
“There is a lot of talk about ‘synodality’ in the Catholic church these days. Synodality refers to a process in which bishops and priests consult with lay Catholics about issues in the church. In 2021, Pope Francis called for the ‘Synod on Synodality’… The Catholic Church is often assumed to look and feel the same everywhere. But Catholicism is culturally quite diverse. The most public disagreement involves African Catholics and those in the United States and Europe. For example, Ghanaian Catholic bishops have criticized advocates for LGBTQ rights for imposing ‘their so-called values and beliefs.’ Other African bishops have said they feel betrayed by liberal sentiments in European Catholicism, such as the push to allow Holy Communion for divorced church members.” By Mathew Schmalz, America: The Jesuit Review

Personal reflections on the synod on synodality
“Over the centuries, men and women religious have practiced synodality through chapters, community meetings, and conversation groups to prepare for chapters of elections and affairs, house meetings and more. Decisions are made through prayer, dialogue (sometimes intense), and contemplative discernment to come to a decision or a way forward. The synod handbook, or vademecum, states that ‘Synodal listening is oriented towards discernment. It requires us to learn and exercise the art of personal and communal discernment.’ As religious, we know that synodality and discernment is a way of life … The charism and rule of each institute creates the environment for both synodality and discernment to take place.” By Donna L. Ciangio, National Catholic Reporter

Germany’s synodal assembly ends with far-reaching proposals
“The fourth plenary assembly of Germany’s Synodal Way in Frankfurt has concluded with a series of far-reaching reform resolutions. They concern, for example, the position of women and trans people in the Church, sexual morality, gay priests and the future national leadership structure of the Church. It said all texts involving changes to Church doctrine were formulated as proposals for consideration by the Pope and not as independent dogmatic changes by the German Church.” By CathNews.com

BISHOPS

Finding the bishops we need
“There was considerable excitement in some quarters this summer when Pope Francis appointed three women as members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, which makes recommendations to the pope for episcopal appointments in much of Latin-rite Catholicism. Whether this innovation will make any significant difference at the final stage of a long, complex process remains to be seen; given the byzantine ways of the Roman Curia (and its boys club atmosphere and dynamics), I have my doubts. But we shall see. In any event, deep reform in the process of selecting bishops in the Latin-rite Church would begin by bringing women, not to mention laymen, into the process at a much earlier stage.” By The Catholic World Report

PRIESTS

The future of the priesthood: Boston College theologians edited book on priestly ministry
“The priesthood is deeply cherished and lies at the heart of Catholic faith and people, but a fresh conversation is needed around the formation of priests in order for ordained ministry to flourish going forward, according to the new book Priestly Ministry and the People of God (Orbis Books), co-edited by three Boston College theologians. Priestly Ministry and the People of God presents a collection of essays from a variety of voices—a cardinal, bishops, seminary rectors, ordained and lay ministers, and academic theologians—who have put forth their best hopes for the future of the priesthood. The essays are faithful to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the best of Catholic tradition, while also responding to the needs of the Church today, say co-editors Richard Gaillardetz, Thomas Groome, and Rev. Richard Lennan.” By Kathleen Sullivan, University Communications, Boston College

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Will religious life rise again – and should it?
“The question this column purports to answer is a clear one: Will religious life rise again? Yes? But is it sensible in this day and age to even think of such a thing? The answer is actually a simple one but a potentially life-changing one at the same time. Several ancient stories long ago illuminated both the purpose and the spirituality of what it means to be a religious. Even now, even here. The first of those stories is from the tales of the desert monastics. One day, Abbot Arsenius was asking an old Egyptian man for advice on something.” By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN’S VOICES

Two historians track down Jesus’ women disciples
“When you hear the word disciple, what do you think of? Probably the 12 apostles, maybe some of the greater crowd following Jesus in the gospels. A few readers may perhaps picture Mary Magdalene. But overall, our image of the disciples is of a group of men sharing Jesus’ life and listening to his teachings. Joan Taylor and Helen Bond, both professors of Christian origins, decided to challenge this dominant picture of who the disciples were and what they looked like … Instead, Taylor and Bond say that there were just as many women as men in this group. Indeed, it would have been impossible for the gospel to spread as far as it did otherwise.” By U.S. Catholic

Deacons decision on hold
“Top advocate says Rome statement on women deacons won’t come soon. The Vatican is unlikely to make any statement on the possibility of women to the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church until after the conclusion of the international bishop’s Synod on Synodality next year, said international expert Dr Phyllis Zagano. Dr Zagano was one of 12 scholars appointed by Pope Francis in 2016 to the commission to study the diaconate as it existed in the early Church to ascertain the possibility of women deacons. The Pope said their research was inconculusivew and in 2020 reconvened a new commission to examine the question.” By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Voice of the Faithful commemorates 20 years of keeping the faith, changing the Church
“ Voice of the Faithful commemorates 20 years of keeping the faith, changing the church on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, for an event aptly named “VOTF’s 20th Year Commemoration: 20 Years of Keeping the Faith, Changing the Church.” VOTF’s friends and supporters will gather to pray, learn, plan, and socialize as a community honoring its two-decade commitment. Thomas H. Groome, Ed.D., professor of theology and religious education at Boston College and an internationally known author and religious education expert, will offer attendees an interactive keynote address called Putting Jesus at the Heart of Keeping the Faith and Changing Church. “I would like to spark people’s own thoughts about why Catholics often think of Church or Pope or Sacraments as the ‘heart’ of their faith and seldom Jesus,” Groome said.” By Voice of the Faithful on Religion News Service

CHURCH FINANCES

St. Louis Archdiocese releases parish financial data as closures loom
“Catholics across the region can now take a detailed look at their church finances, Mass attendance and school enrollment as the Archdiocese of St. Louis moves to restructure its parishes. The archdiocese released data Thursday on all 178 parishes ahead of hundreds of listening sessions in October and November. At the meetings, parishioners will be shown two to four different models reflecting potential church closures or consolidations. The proposed plan for school closures is expected to be released early in 2023.” By Blythe Bernhard and Jesse Bogan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Catholic cardinal calls for an end to celibacy in clergy
“A recent damning report into child sex abuses in the archdiocese of Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx in Germany led him to call for the lifting of the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests and Bishops. According to the influential Catholic archbishop of Munich and Freising, many priests would prefer to get married. Last year, a damaging independent report found that 235 people — including 173 priests — sexually abused 497 people between 1945 and 2019 in the Munich and Freising archdiocese.” By CTN News

VOICES

Through study and prayer, it’s not too late to get Vatican II right
“Sixty years ago, on Oct. 11, 1962, Pope St. John XXIII solemnly opened the Second Vatican Council. Addressing the council fathers, he said, ‘The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy.’ Referring to the sweeping political and economic changes that had occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries, John XXIII rejoices that the Church would have the opportunity to return to the essentials of the spiritual life, particularly the instruction of the faithful. Free from ‘worldly fetters that trammeled her in past ages,’ Holy Mother Church had a new opportunity to preach and catechize.” By Father Patrick Briscoe, Our Sunday Visitor

Americans lack confidence in some churches’ abilities to handle sexual-abuse allegatioins
“Three churches have made headlines recently for their alleged roles in covering up claims of sexual abuse. In May, leaders of the country’s largest protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, published a review alleging that reports of sexual abuse were suppressed by top church officials for two decades. In mid-August, Southern Baptist leaders announced that the church is under federal investigation for sexual abuse. Less than two weeks earlier, the Associated Press published an analysis of sealed records from a child sexual-abuse lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormon church) in West Virginia, revealing how the church’s helpline allows church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and toward church attorneys. The Catholic Church has long faced allegations of sexual abuse by its leaders, which continue to surface; last week, Pope Francis addressed these claims, saying he takes personal responsibility for ending the problem.” By Taylor Orth, Today.YouGov.com

An epic struggle for the soul of Catholicism
“(Author John T.) McGreevy begins his story with the near-death experience of the French Revolution, when a very Catholic country turned with bloodlust on the keepers of the faith. Priests were murdered, convents and monasteries closed, property seized. For a time, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris was renamed the Temple of Reason. Clergy members were required to take an oath of loyalty to the new regime or risk the guillotine. During this period of “dechristianization,” as it was called, the revolutionaries created new calendars, and renamed streets and public squares.” By Timothy Egan, The New York Times

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

ILLINOIS

Suburban priest Father David Ryan faces allegations of sexual abuse of a minor again
“A suburban priest is facing two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The Archdiocese of Chicago has asked Father David Ryan of Lake Zurich to step aside — again — while it conducts an investigation. In a letter Saturday (Sept. 17), Cardinal Blase Cupich called the news “upsetting” and said Ryan has agreed to cooperate. In late 2020 Ryan was asked to step aside amid an investigation into sexual abuse of minors 25 years prior. He was reinstated in 2021.” By CBS-TV2 News

MINNESOTA

Warrant issued for former southern Minnesota priest charged with sexual assault
“A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a former Catholic priest accused of sexually assault, after he missed his first court appearance Thursday (Sept. 8). Winona County District Judge Mary Leahy issued the warrant to hold Ubaldo Roque Huerta, 50, without bail after he failed to show up for the hearing. Roque Huerta is charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly performing sexual acts on another person without their consent. Roque Huerta was going through laicization — the process of leaving the priesthood — with the Diocese of Winona-Rochester when he allegedly assaulted a person in December 2020.” By Trey Mewes, Minneapolis Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Sex abuse settlement may disrupt plans for new church
“Another parish is feeling the pain of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s $121.5 million settlement in a bankruptcy case that stems from hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. Some congregants at San Isidro Catholic Parish in the village of Agua Fría had been told the parish would be receiving half the proceeds of a land sale to build a new church. But now there are doubts the parish will retain the building funds amid the archdiocese’s efforts to settle its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” By Daniel J. Chacón, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK.

New York Archdiocese: ‘Vos estis’ Hubbard records can’t be turned over in sex abuse lawsuit
“The Archdiocese of New York argued in an Albany courtroom on Friday (Sept. 9) that records compiled during a Vatican-ordered investigation into a retired bishop are protected by the First Amendment, and cannot be turned over in response to a subpoena in a sexual abuse lawsuit. The case raises questions about the confidentiality of the Vos estis lux mundi process, promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019 as a mechanism for investigating allegations of abuse or misconduct against bishops.” By The Pillar

Summary judgment closes case against Catholic Diocese of Brownsville
“A state district judge in Cameron County has issued a summary judgment in a case brought against the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville that alleged church officials tried to protect a priest accused in the alleged sexual assault of two siblings. The case had been scheduled for a jury trial Monday (Sept. 12) but was canceled following the summary judgment signed Aug. 25, by 445th state District Judge Gloria Rincones, which closed out the case, court records show. The Brownsville Herald has reached out to the Diocese and the attorney representing the siblings for comment. As of late Monday afternoon, neither have replied to a request seeking comment.” By Laura B. Martinez, The Brownsville Herald

WISCONSIN

Next steps: Recommendations from Awake Milwaukee for our archdiocese
“Sexual abuse is a persistent evil that cannot be eliminated from our Church with limited, one-time interventions. Instead, an effective response requires Catholics to undertake an ongoing journey down two paths. First, we must accompany and support victim-survivors in their pursuit of truth, accountability, and healing. Second, we must work proactively to prevent future abuse. As committed Catholics, we believe that the duty of walking these two paths is not some abstract obligation that belongs to the narrow subset of church officials who are tasked with addressing the abuse crisis in their professional capacities. It is a concrete responsibility that falls on the shoulders of every member of the Body of Christ.” By AwakeMilwaukee.org

AUSTRALIA

‘I needed to step up’: former Surf Coast mayor sues church over alleged abuse
“A police officer and former Surf Coast mayor has launched legal action against the Vincentian order almost 50 years after he was allegedly abused by a priest while boarding at a former Catholic college in Bendigo. Brian McKiterick, 61, has claimed in a writ filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria that he suffered appalling sexual abuse at the hands of Father Murray Wilson, who was the dean of discipline, a maths teacher and football coach at St Vincent’s College.” By Cameron Houston, The Age

CANADA

Moncton archdiocese, insurer reach settlement in lawsuit over sex abuse compensation
“Although the details of the agreement with the Co-operators General Insurance Company are subject to a confidentiality clause, the resulting funds will be used to pay claims for sexual assaults that occurred in the archdiocese between 1955 and 1984, according to a statement issued by Archbishop Valéry Vienneau. ‘The settlement made does involve some compromise, but it provides immediate certainty, particularly in light of advice that the pending court hearing would be put over for another year due to a shortage of judges,’ he said.” By Bobbi-jean MacKinnon, CBC News

Oblates dismiss Rivoire as retired priest denies abuse allegations at meeting with Inuit
“As Inuit delegates from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. prepared to meet with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in France Wednesday (Sept. 14), they had a shock: the man they’ve accused of sexually abusing Canadian children would be there, too. The delegates have been in France all week to call for the extradition of retired priest Johannes Rivoire, who has been charged in Canada with sexual assault dating back to his time in Nunavut in the 1960s and 1970s. The meeting with Rivoire was one the delegation had sought, but hadn’t received any word about until they were nearly at their destination in Lyon, France.” By April Hudson, CBC News

Acclaimed podcast Stolen spurs lawsuit against estate of dead Catholic priest
“A British Columbia woman claims she was told the late Father Georges Chevrier had no history of the kind of sexual abuse complaints she was bringing forward. Then she listened to an acclaimed podcast titled Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s. Now she’s suing. The woman — known as LV — filed a B.C. Supreme Court claim this week against Chevrier’s estate and the corporation of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, which she accuses of failing to tell her the dead priest had a ‘known history of allegations of sexual abuse’ when she first asked for compensation.” By Jason Proctor, CBC News

Settlement proposed in class action on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Halifax and Yarmouth
“A proposed settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Catholic Dioceses of Halifax and Yarmouth on behalf of victims of sexual assault by Priests. The action was certified as a class proceeding on March 31, 2020. This class action alleges that the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Yarmouth are legally liable for sexual abuse committed by their Priests between April 14, 1954 and March 31, 2020. Both sides have agreed to a settlement.” By Yahoo.com

B.C. victim sues estate of priest sex offender and Catholic church officials
“A B.C. man who claims he was one of 17 young men who were sexually abused by a Catholic priest over a period of 25 years is suing the perpetrator’s estate and Catholic Church officials for damages. The victim, who is only identified by initials in the lawsuit, says that while on assignment in and around Terrace in 1981 or 1982, Father Harold Daniel McIntee sexually abused him and two other young men. He says that while staying overnight at the Secret Heart rectory with McIntee, he was experiencing abdominal pain and McIntee asked him to remove his pants to see if he had a swollen testicle.” By Keith Fraser, Vancouver Sun

FRANCE

Inuit group ‘implores’ France to extradite priest accused of child sex abuse
“A group of Canadian Inuit have come to France to push for the extradition of a retired French priest accused of sexually abusing several Inuit children when he worked as a missionary in the north of Canada more than 40 years ago. The five-person delegation from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) head to the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday to argue the extradition of Johannes Rivoire – a former Roman Catholic priest who lives at an Oblates nursing home in the southern city of Lyon.” By Allison Hird, rfi.fr

GERMANY

New German study finds Osnabruck Diocese ignored rights of abuse victims
“Church leaders in the northern German Diocese of Osnabrück failed over decades to fulfill their duties in responding to accusations of sexual abuse, according to a study presented by the University of Osnabrück Sept. 19. The German Catholic news agency KNA said the study found that, until recently, officials had neglected to conduct adequate monitoring of clerics after they had been removed from their posts following accusations of abuse. The main area requiring improvement was communication with victims, the project leaders said. In addition, the diocese had been defensive and bureaucratic in its handling of cases and “stingy” in its recognition payments.” By Catholic News Service on TheCentralMinnesotaCatholic.org

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND, AND WALES

Sexual abuse victims welcome apology from missionaries
“A victim of child sexual abuse at a priest training school has said missionaries ‘begged for forgiveness’ at a meeting. Mark Murray was one of several abuse survivors who met the Comboni Missonaries in London on Tuesday (Sept. 20). The 66-year-old from St Asaph, Denbighshire endured repeated abuse by a priest while at St Peter Claver College in West Yorkshire. The Comboni Survivors Group said it was “deeply moved” by the meeting.” By BBC News

Man who claims he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest settles High Court damages action for €350,000
“A man who claimed he was sexually abused by a Catholic Priest almost 50 years ago has settled his High Court damages action for €350,000. In his judgement on Friday Mr Justice Garrett Simons approved the settlement of the now 60-year-old man personal injuries claim, who currently resides in the UK, against The Sacred Heart Missionary Education Trust and his alleged abuser. The case was settled by the Trust, without an admission of liability by either of the defendants.” By Aodhan O’Faolain, Independent.ie

GUAM

Clergy sex abuse claimants vote on payout plan
“Survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults have a few days left to vote for or against the Archdiocese of Agana’s bankruptcy exit plan, which includes settlement of the abuse claims estimated at $37 million to $101 million. Their ballots must be received by the U.S. District Court of Guam clerk by Sept. 19 to be counted as a vote to accept or reject the disclosure statement, which is the plan to get the archdiocese out of bankruptcy. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood approved the adequacy of the third amended disclosure statement filed on July 19, giving each claimant a chance to be heard by their vote.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, The Pacific Daily News

Vatican: Questions to pope in Guam clergy abuse case ‘improper’
“The Vatican said judicial inquiries directed to the pope as a head of state are ‘improper,’ after a federal judge ordered the Holy See’s counsel to report on whether Pope Francis could meet with all survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults to help settle abuse claims. Attorneys for the Vatican, led by California-based Jeffrey Lena, also said the Holy See ‘has given no indication that it is currently inclined to settle the case at bar,’ or participate in similar lawsuits. All this is part of an ongoing case filed by a man seeking to hold the Vatican liable for the actions of Guam’s former archbishop, Anthony Apuron, who allegedly raped him when he was a minor student at Father Dueñas Memorial School in 1994-1995.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News

Two late clergy sex abuse claims will be accepted
“Two men who were sexually abused by priests as children but filed their claims past the Aug. 15, 2019 deadline will get their full share of the Archdiocese of Agana’s compensation plan. This comes two weeks before a hearing on the archdiocese’s bankruptcy exit plan, a key part of which is paying out hundreds of abuse claimants. In the offer, the archdiocese and its creditors’ committee propose to pay abuse survivors $37 million to $101 million, plus a free burial plot and Catholic education for their children.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilver, Pacific Daily News

INDONESIA

Indonesian Church urged to tackle sexual abuse head-on
“A forum of priests, nuns, laypeople, and activists in Indonesia has urged the Catholic Church hierarchy to tackle sexual abuse head-on and to end the practice of cover-up for the sake of protecting the church’s image. The online discussion was held in collaboration between Let’s Talk About Sex and Sexualities, and Yayasan Sesawi dan Kawal Gereja (Mustard and Church Watchdog Foundation), a lay Catholic group, on Sept. 9. The organizers said the event sought to encourage Church leaders to be serious and proactive in investigating sexual violence within the church, in line with Pope Francis’ commitment to zero tolerance for sex abuse.” By UCANews.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Former priest accused of breaching sexual offences prevention order
“A former priest who was a serial sex abuser for almost 20 years was yesterday accused of breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order. Almost four years to the day since he last appeared in court, Daniel John Curran (72) was charged at Downpatrick Magistrates Court with breaching his lifelong SOPO on August 12 this year. It is alleged that Curran, from Bryansford Avenue in Newcastle, breached the SOPO in that he ‘remained / loitered at Tullymore National Activity Centre which by its nature is likely to attract or be frequented by children under 16 years without permission of your designated risk manager.’” By The Irish News

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand child abuse survivors call for intervention from Pope Francis
“A New Zealand group representing survivors of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has called on Pope Francis to intervene in the redress process, claiming that church authorities were mishandling it and retraumatizing victims. In a letter sent to the Vatican and seen by Reuters, the New Zealand chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a global organization for child abuse victims, accused church officials in New Zealand of breaching procedures for managing abuse complaint cases.” By Praveen Menon, Reuters

SPAIN

Pope Francis orders new canonical process in abuse case at Opus Dei school in Spain
“The complaints of abuse against the teacher date to 2009 and 2011. After a long judicial process, the Supreme Court sentenced him to two years in prison in 2020, but since it was his first conviction and did not exceed a two-year sentence, he wasn’t imprisoned. Bishop Joseba Segura Etxezarraga of Bilbao, Spain, has announced that Pope Francis has ordered a new canonical process for a case of abuse that took place at a school run by the prelature of Opus Dei. The announcement states that the Holy Father was aware in December 2014 of allegations of abuse against José María Martínez Sanz, a numerary member of Opus Dei and a teacher at Gaztelueta School.” By Catholic News Agency in National Catholic Register

Ex-priest gets 30 years in prison for child abuse in Spain
“Spain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday (Sept. 13) sentenced a former priest to 30 years in prison for abusing seven minors at a Catholic boarding school nearly a decade ago when he worked as their tutor. Allegations of child abuse by Catholic clergy and possible cover-ups by the church have surfaced in recent months in Spain, years after similar scandals rocked the Church in other countries such as the United States, Ireland and France.” By Reuters

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U.S. diocesan synod reports highlight ‘enduring wounds’ in Church / Cruxnow.com

“Throughout the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality, U.S. Catholics consistently highlighted several ‘enduring wounds’ that plague the nation’s church, including the still-unfolding effects of the sexual abuse crisis, divisions over the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, and a perceived lack of unity among the nation’s bishops.

“The feedback was published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Sept. 19, in a national synthesis of the diocesan synod phase. The synthesis is the culmination of diocesan Synod reports and contributions from other Catholic entities since last fall.

“An estimated 700,000 people out of an estimated 66.8 million U.S. Catholics contributed to the feedback that went into creating the synthesis.

“Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, the USCCB’s committee on doctrine chair who oversaw the national process, called the document a ‘significant moment’ for the U.S. church, while cautioning that it’s only the first step in a larger process.”

Click here to read the National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase of the 2021-2023 Synod.

By John Lavenburg, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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New York archdiocese: ‘Vos Estis’ Hubbard records can’t be turned over in sex abuse lawsuit / The Pillar

“We are not trying to pierce their attorney-client privilege. But the archdiocese says over 1,400 records are protected under the First Amendment. And we’ve made a motion to compel the production of those documents in the privilege log.” (plaintiff attorney JoAnn Harri)

The Pillar

“The Archdiocese of New York argued in an Albany courtroom on Friday that records compiled during a Vatican-ordered investigation into a retired bishop are protected by the First Amendment, and can not be turned over in response to a subpoena in a sexual abuse lawsuit.

“The case raises questions about the confidentiality of the Vos estis lux mundi process, promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019 as a mechanism for investigating allegations of abuse or misconduct against bishops.

“New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan was directed in early 2021 to investigate claims against retired Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard, who has been accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse against minors, and who admitted last year that he transferred several priests to new parish ministries without contacting police, after they were accused of sexual abuse.”

By The Pillar — Read more …

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