Posts Tagged vatican

Cardinal O’Malley: Papal abuse commission shifting to ‘impact-focused direction / National Catholic Reporter

Among its new tasks, it said, were how to respond promptly to Francis’ request ‘to animate the church to combat the evils of online child abuse’ and commissioning an in-depth study on ‘the theme of vulnerability in its various forms so as to equip church entities with robust measures to combat this emerging area of abuse.’

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

“The new projects and developments at the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors represent ‘a major shift toward a more impact-focused direction,’ said its president, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston.

“‘The Holy Father has asked a lot from us, and we are all committed to making this work,’ the cardinal said, according to a press release from the commission May 8.

“‘We have sought the necessary resources to respond adequately, and we are confident in the plan we have laid out and the people we have working with us,’ he said in the statement, which was issued at the end of the commission’s plenary assembly in Rome May 3-6.

“‘At times, this new direction has been both steep and fast for all of us reflecting the urgency of the challenges. This accelerated pace over the last six months has caused growing pains as we have attempted to respond to both short- and longer-term needs,’ the cardinal’s statement said.

“During the plenary, he said, ‘we developed key adjustments to our working methodology so as to clarify our different roles and to create a sense of common ownership of our mandate and of our collective responsibility for its implementation.'”

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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My daughters have hard questions about the church. Are women deacons the answer? / America: The Jesuit Review

My kids, who are now teens, had been asking difficult questions, and I did not have good answers. They asked: ‘If God loves us all unconditionally, why doesn’t the church?

By Katie Mulcahy, America: The Jesuit Review

“Although I had attended Catholic school all my young life, I was never familiar with the concepts of synod, discernment and the diaconate. That was until last spring, when a friend invited me to her church for a Discerning Deacons event titled ‘Hope, Change and the Catholic Church.’ It was a cold Sunday evening, the Oscars were on, and I did not feel like driving across the city. But this is a friend who always shows up for me, so I went.

“Looking back on that evening, I believe it was the Holy Spirit who was nudging me to go. I had been feeling apathetic about my place in the church. My kids, who are now teens, had been asking difficult questions and I did not have good answers. They asked, ‘If God loves us all unconditionally, why doesn’t the church? Aren’t women and girls also made in the image of Christ?’ And here is a question that stopped me in my tracks: ‘If we value one group over another, aren’t we enabling oppression against the second group?’

“I attended the Discerning Deacons event with 700 other folks—men, women, teens, senior citizens, all looking for hope, professing their faith through song, prayer and sharing stories. We heard testimonies from women who have dedicated their lives to ministry and service in the church. One story really struck me: Casey Stanton, a co-director of Discerning Deacons and a woman with advanced degrees in divinity, felt called to serve in prison ministry. Because Ms. Stanton could not be ordained as a deacon in the Catholic faith, she was limited in how much she could minister to the female prisoners. I couldn’t help but wonder: Who else is restricted in their ministry because of the limitations put on women?”

By Katie Mulcahy, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, Apr. 28, 2023

Apr. 28, 2023


For first time in history, Pope Francis gives women right to vote at synod
“For the first time in the history of the synod, Pope Francis has given women the right to vote and has also made a radical change to the membership of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality. At the synod, which opens in October, between 21 and 25 percent of the members with a right to vote will not be bishops. These members will include consecrated women and men as well as lay women and men. All those who are members of the synod will have a right to vote.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Sex abuse in Baltimore Archdiocese highlights an institutional problem
“Back in 2001, the Boston Globe started an investigation that would reveal one of the largest sexual assault scandals by Catholic priests anywhere in the U.S. The investigation into the Boston Archdiocese was the inspiration for the 2015 Oscar-winning film ‘Spotlight,’ which was also the name of the Globe’s investigative report. And now, a new report on the Baltimore Archdiocese by Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown revealed 600 cases of child sex abuse over the past 60 years by 156 current or former Catholic clergy, seminarians, deacons, members of Catholic religious orders, teachers at Catholic schools and other employees.” By Elina Tarkazikis, Scripps News

North American synod document hits all the right notes
“The U.S. and Canadian bishops’ conferences released the ‘North American Final Document for the Continental Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod’ last week. It is remarkable both for what it says and for what it does not say, especially the absence of any conclusions or statements of finality. The awareness that synodality is a change in the way we function as a church, not a process with a particular end point, runs through the text, and that is its single most important contribution.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Top anti-abuse expert sets record straight on resignation from Vatican body
“German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the church’s leading protagonists in the fight against clerical sexual abuse, has sought to clarify his reasons for stepping down from a Vatican safeguarding commission after nearly 10 years on the job. Speaking to journalists Monday (Apr. 17), Zollner denied that he was targeting anyone individually or that he resigned as part of an internal power struggle, but said he had ongoing concerns regarding how the commission operated that went unanswered, despite several attempts to engage his superiors on the issues.” By Elise Ann Allen,

Washington State House passes bill requiring clergy to violate the seal of confession
“After the Washington State House failed to pass an amendment to a bill that would require clergy to violate the seal of confession, Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane reminded legislators that throughout history ‘all’ such attempts by ‘kings, queens, dictators, potentates, and legislators’ have failed, and that even if it passed, clergy wouldn’t capitulate … The bill then went to the Washington House for a vote. However, the House added an amendment to the Senate version that removed the clergy-penitent exemption. That version of the bill passed the House on April 11. The vote was 75-20.” By John Lavenburg,


Judge stays on Catholic bankruptcy despite church donations
“A federal judge refused Friday (Apr. 21) to recuse himself from the New Orleans Roman Catholic bankruptcy after an Associated Press report that he donated tens of thousands of dollars to archdiocese charities and consistently ruled in favor of the church in the contentious case involving nearly 500 clergy sex abuse victims. U.S. District Judge Greg Guidry told attorneys in the high-profile case that a panel of federal judges he asked to review the possible conflict determined no “reasonable person” would question his impartiality despite his contributions and longstanding ties to the archdiocese.” By Jim Mustian, Associated Press

Letters to the editor about the confessional seal
“A Milwaukee priest has been urging state legislators to repeal the clergy-penitent privilege in mandatory reporting laws that exempt Catholic priests from notifying authorities of any sexual abuse they hear about in the confessional. Following are NCR readers responding to our reporting. The letters have been edited for length and clarity …” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff


Synod organizers say process should lead to greater local control in Catholic Church
“Organizers of Pope Francis’ ongoing consultation with Catholics around the world said that, following recent discussion assemblies on each continent, there is a growing consensus that the process for the ongoing Synod of Bishops should result in the Vatican giving more deference to local church authorities. ‘There is, in fact, more than one way of being the church,’ said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, Australia, who said that a significant feature of synodality is the understanding that unity does not call for uniformity within the Catholic Church.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Continental stage of Synod officially concludes
The continental stage of the Synod on synodality, which began on October 28, concluded with a Vatican press conference. Officially called ‘For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission,’ the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began in October 2021 with a diocesan phase, followed by an episcopal conference/Eastern church phase and the continental phase. The universal phase will culminate in two synodal meetings in Rome, in October 2023 and October 2024.” By Catholic World News

Synod organizers: There is ‘more than one way of being the church’
“Catholics gathered at the continental level say the Catholic Church must be united, not uniform, and embrace its many forms of expression throughout the world, said members of the synod preparatory commission after a weeklong meeting at the Vatican. ‘I think one of the most important things we have experienced during these ecclesial, continental assemblies, is that there is in fact more than one way of being the church,’ said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, a member of the commission and president of the Australian bishops’ conference.” By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis: ‘The synodal path is not a collection of opinions’
“Pope Francis addressed the Union of Major Superiors of Italy, an organization dedicated to promoting a broader understanding of women’s religious life. They are celebrating the 70th chapter of their General Assembly, entitled ‘On the Synodal Journey, Women Witnesses of the Risen Christ.’ In the meeting, the Pope reflected on how the synodal path should be carried out. ‘The synodal path is not a parliament; the synodal path is not a collection of opinions,’ Pope Francis said.” By Diocesan News, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

Church in Oceania notes ‘tensions’ between developed, developing countries in Synod document
“As the Catholic Church continues is synodal process ahead of the Synod of Bishops meeting in October, the Church in Oceania acknowledged ‘tensions’ in a region includes both developed and developing countries … Among the ‘tensions’ identified in the document were different attitudes toward those with diverse experiences of sexuality and gender in the region; the roles of women in the Church; and views about the possibility of change in Church teaching.” By Charles Collins,

Synodality is ‘radically inclusive,’ says Vatican committee member Sr. Filo Hirota
“When Pope Francis met in March with members of a newly formed commission tasked with organizing the upcoming synod meetings in Rome, he seemed a bit surprised to see women when he entered the room. Mercedarian Sr. Shizue ‘Filo’ Hirota said Francis exclaimed, ‘Donne!’ — Italian for ‘Women!’ — upon seeing her and another official from the Vatican’s synod office. ‘He was happy, but he sounded like he hadn’t expected to see us,’ Hirota told Global Sisters Report in an April 4 interview.” By Christopher White, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

Committee begins writing Synod on Synodality working document behind closed doors
“A committee of 22 people this week kicked off the writing process for the Synod on Synodality’s working document that will be the blueprint for discussions during the meeting of bishops in October. According to a statement from the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops on April 12, a ‘group of experts from five continents’ is meeting at the Vatican until April 19 ‘with the aim of starting the reflection that will lead at a later stage to the drafting of the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.” By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

North American Catholics identify harm of polarization, bishop says
“In their discussions about the life of the church and ‘synodality,’ or walking together, Catholics in United States and Canada noted the negative impact ‘polarization’ is having on the church, said Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas. ‘Politics gets mixed into it, and it’s not that politics doesn’t have a place in the way the church thinks about things,’ he said, but the situation seems to have gotten to where Catholics ‘immediately sort of categorize people.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

North American synod focuses on abuse scandals, inclusivity, and a ‘missionary’ church
“The need to rebuild trust in the wake of abuse scandals, the need to be inclusive and welcoming while faithful to Church teaching, and the need to approach the synodal process as ‘a missionary movement’ were on the minds of American and Canadian Catholics who participated in the North American phase of the Catholic Church’s synodal process.” By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency


Pope outlines vision for lay ministry; Vatican to publish document on those who have remarried outside the Church
“In an April 22 address to the second plenary assembly of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, Pope Francis outlined his vision of lay ministry in the Church. In his apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia (Praedicate Evangelium, 2022), Pope Francis established that curial dicasteries should hold plenary sessions, typically every two years, that involve all of their members (Article 26). The theme of the Dicastery’s second plenary assembly, held from April 20 to 22, was ‘Laity and Ministry in a Synodal Church,’ with special reference to Praedicate Evangelium, Article 133, which involves the institution of new ministries.” By

Pope’s panel against minor abuse to train bishops
“The Vatican said Friday (Apr. 21) its anti-sexual abuse commission would work more closely with its evangelization branch in order to better protect minors, including training bishops from dioceses far from Rome. Pope Francis set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014 to fight clerical sex abuse, which will now collaborate with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization, according to the three-year agreement. The commission has come under fire recently after its most influential member, Hans Zollner, quit in March, accusing the body of urgent problems related to compliance, accountability and transparency.” By Agence France Presse on


Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick charged with sex abuse in Wisconsin
“The defrocked Roman Catholic cardinal who became the face of the church’s clergy sex abuse crisis has been charged in Wisconsin with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man more than 45 years ago, court records show. A criminal complaint filed Friday alleges that Theodore McCarrick, who was removed from the priesthood in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found he had sexually molested adults and children, fondled a man in 1977 while staying at a cabin on Geneva Lake in southeastern Wisconsin.” By Harm Venhuizen, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review


Beleaguered Strasbourg archbishop quits amid complaints
“Beleaguered Strasbourg archbishop Luc Ravel has handed in his resignation on 20 April, another French Church leader accused of not smelling enough like his sheep. ‘Peace being the supreme good,’ he wrote to Pope Francis, ‘I present my resignation to the Holy Father, for whom I pray every day.’ It has not been peaceful in Strasbourg. Ravel, 65, has been criticized as isolated and authoritarian, more interested in his standing in Paris than his pastors and flock in Alsace.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet


Washington bishop: Priests would rather go to jail than break seal of confession
“As Washington state lawmakers debate legislation that would end legal protections for the seal of confession, Spokane Bishop Thomas A. Daly has assured his diocese that priests would opt for a jail sentence before they would break the seal. ‘I want to assure you that your shepherds, bishop and priests, are committed to keeping the seal of confession — even to the point of going to jail,’ Daly wrote in a letter to Catholics in the Diocese of Spokane, which covers eastern Washington.” By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency


Catholic Church ‘robbed’ of richness of women deacons
“The Catholic Church has been ‘robbed’ of the richness of women in the diaconate, according to a senior academic and author. Dr Phyllis Zagano, adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University, said, ‘There is not now and never has been any doctrinal finding that women cannot be restored to the diaconate.’ In her reflection on women and ministerial service in the Church at a Loyola Institute’s symposium: ‘A Servant Church on the Synodal Way,’ she said, ‘Women can receive the sacrament of order as deacons, just as they did for hundreds of years in the early Church.’” By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet


Holy See: curial departments sign new agreement on child protection
“Cardinal Seán O’Malley and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle met together on Friday, 21 April, in the offices of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Dicastery for Evangelization’s Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches. The new agreement helps the two Vatican departments work together in service of the particular Churches in the area of prevention of the abuse of the most fragile and follows from Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia with the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium.” By Vatican News

20 years protecting youths
“When the diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People (OPCYP) was established 20 years ago in the wake of the church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis, the goal was to educate the laity and the clergy that child abuse occurs, teach how to detect the warning signs and most importantly, instruct how to protect children in the church’s care … As we observe Child Abuse Prevention month this April, we reflect on the significant strides the diocese has made since it established the office.” By Deacon Robert M. Silva, The Arlington Catholic Herald

Abuse & Neglect blog – extension to Roman Catholic Church law in connection with sexual abuse
“Pope Francis recently announced an amendment to the 2019 Church law on clerical sexual abuse and increased its scope to include Catholic lay leaders of Vatican-approved religious organizations. Lay leaders are people other than clergy members who are on the professional rosters of the church. The Vatican first set out its position on clerical sexual abuse in the Apostolic letter, Vos estis lux mundi in 2019, which was due to remain in force for an initial four-year period.” By Sharon Moohan,


Tribunal finds retired priest guilty of ‘abuse of ecclesiastical power’
“The Diocese of Jefferson City said a retired priest was guilty of ‘abuse of ecclesiastical power.’

A press release from the diocese said a tribunal of three priests from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois heard the case against Father Ignazio Medina. They found him guilty of financial misconduct while he was the pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish in Wardsville … When he left, he is accused of closing down the account, leaving a $300,000 discrepancy.” By Jennifer Weiser, KRCG-TV13 News


The Dalai Lama ‘Incident’: How not to respond to a troubling sexual situation with a child
“Last week, millions of believers and nonbelievers across the globe were shocked when a video went viral showing the Dalai Lama asking a boy to suck his tongue. It’s been described as a ‘playful’ exchange. We’re not so sure. The more appropriate word might well be ‘creepy.’

In education circles, an incident like this is often called a teachable moment. But the real lessons to be learned from this video could be titled ‘How NOT to respond to possible child sexual abuse’ or ‘How NOT to respond to a troubling sexual situation with a child.’” By David Clohessy, Religion Unplugged

What will it take to bring Catholic child abusers to justice in Maryland? A prosecutor with guts.
“There are worse things than legions of sadistic sexual predators abusing Maryland’s children: like legions of sadistic sexual predators abusing Maryland’s children and getting away with it. A recent report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office unveiled decades of rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy and others affiliated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. But many of the perpetrators can likely sleep easy believing that no one will prosecute them, because they beat the clock and concealed their crimes well enough to avoid detection earlier, when it would have been less challenging to bring them to trial.” By Kurt W. Wolfgang, The Baltimore Sun

Vatican commission for the protection of minors is all about spin
“At times it is difficult to believe anything other than that Rome is being willfully stupid when it comes to its dealings with clerical child-sex abuse. This repeated failure, inevitably, prompts recall of Einstein’s much-quoted definition of stupidity, even insanity — doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That’s how it may look, but Rome’s serial “mishaps” in this area are neither stupid nor insane. They are about protecting itself above all while obscuring that reality through spin.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Research: child sex abuse in not more common among priests
“I’ll admit that I once suspected that there was something uniquely and inherently debased about Catholic clerics—a bias that only hardened as the avalanche of priestly pedophilia scandals crashed in wave after horrifying wave across the planet during the past few decades. But solely scapegoating priests is demonstrably unwarranted. Research indicates that priests, monks, and laymen are not uniquely guilty in this regard, and that male clergy from every denomination of every religion—all men in general, in fact—have a relatively equal average propensity for these destructive impulses.” By Rick Snedeker,

No immunity from secular law: synodal reflection
“We are all aware of the child abuse scandal in the Church. Under instructions from Rome, priests who had been involved in child abuse were not referred to secular criminal authorities. I myself came across such a case. After I had spoken to a group of Catholic women campaigning for the ordination of women, one person, whom I shall call Dawn, approached me. We became good friends. We stayed in touch. On one occasion she told me her experience as a child.” By


Gov. Kelly signs bill giving Kansas child sex abuse survivors more time to file lawsuits
“Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill Monday (Apr. 17) giving survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits in a victory for victims and their advocates, who spent years demanding they have their day in court. The new law will allow police to pursue criminal cases indefinitely and give survivors until they turn 31 to file a lawsuit, as well as three years after a criminal conviction. The Democratic governor signed the measure after the Republican-controlled Legislature unanimously approved it earlier this month.” By Jonathan Shorman and Jenna Barackman, The Kansas City Star


False sex abuse claims against priests – while rare – can hurt real victims and innocent clergy, experts say
“The sexual abuse supposedly occurred in 2003 at St. Agatha Catholic Church on the city’s West Side. Accuser ‘John Doe’ claimed in court documents that as a young boy he had been sexually assaulted multiple times during the after-school SAFE program by Daniel McCormack, a defrocked Chicago priest who pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five children while serving at St. Agatha’s parish.” By Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune

Two years into Wisconsin’s faith leader investigation, McCarrick is charged, survivors can still report
“Last week former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was charged in Wisconsin with fourth-degree sexual assault. The criminal charge was based on a report made by McCarrick’s victim, now in his 60s, who revealed that when he was 19, McCarrick fondled him during a 1977 trip to Lake Geneva, near Wisconsin’s border with Illinois. This charge coincides with the second anniversary of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s ongoing statewide investigation of sexual abuse by religious leaders in the Catholic Church and other faith communities, launched by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul in April 2021.” By Erin O’Donnell, Editor, Awake Blog

Adults remain vulnerable to clergy abuse, experts say
“The Catholic Church in the U.S. has made progress over the past two decades in confronting sexual abuse against minors within the church but has only begun to address the vulnerability of adults to sexual abuse by clergy, religious and lay leaders, experts told OSV News. ‘We’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in the area of (creating) safe environments,’ said Suzanne Healy, chairwoman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, a lay-led group that advises the bishops on preventing sexual abuse of minors.” By Gina Christian, OSV News, on

Legionaries of Christ present annual report on sexual abuse of minors by priests
“The Legionaries of Christ have published for the third consecutive year the ‘Annual Report: Truth, Justice, and Healing,’ which gives an account of the commitments made regarding victims of abuse by the congregation and the creation of safe spaces. According to data provided by the Legionaries of Christ, over the years 1941–2022 at least 27 priests sexually abused minors, which represents 1.9% of their priests.” By Nicolás de Cárdenas, ACI Prensa, on


White County man who says priest molested him files lawsuit against Diocese of Little Rock, two churches
“A White County man who says he was molested when he was a 10-year-old altar boy 42 years ago by a now-deceased Catholic priest filed suit Thursday (Apr. 20) against the Diocese of Little Rock and two churches where Richard Patrick Davis was pastor. A Pocahontas native, Davis died in May 2020 at age 83 after 57 years as a priest in Arkansas, serving past the traditional retirement age of 65.” By John Lynch, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Arizona court upholds clergy privilege in child abuse case
“The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can refuse to answer questions or turn over documents under a state law that exempts religious officials from having to report child sex abuse if they learn of the crime during a confessional setting. The ruling was issued April 7 but not released to the public until Tuesday (Apr. 18). A lawsuit filed by child sex abuse victims accuses the church, widely known as the Mormon church, two of its bishops, and other church members of conspiracy and negligence in not reporting church member Paul Adams for abusing his older daughter as early as 2010. This negligence, the lawsuit argues, allowed Adams to continue abusing the girl for as many as seven years, a time in which he also abused the girl’s infant sister.” By Michael Rezendes and Jason Dearen, Associated Press, on


Child predator with Santa Monica connection arrested in Oregon
“A former employee of St. Monica’s Catholic church has been arrested in Oregon as part of a sting operation targeting child predators. Sean Baba, 29, was one of six individuals identified and arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office last week. According to the Sheriff’s Office, investigators used multiple dating applications, social media sites, and other online platforms to pose as underage boys and girls.” By Matthew Hall, Santa Monica Daily Press


Four Penobscot tribe members sue Maine clergymen in decades-old sex abuse cases
“Four Native Americans who say they were abused by three Roman Catholic priests on their reservation in Maine are the latest to bring lawsuits since the state fully lifted the statute of limitations for child sex crimes. The Penobscot Nation members contend the abuse started when they were 7 to 16 years old at St. Ann Parish on Indian Island, just north of Bangor. The oldest abuse dates to 1972, while the most recent happened in 1987, according to the lawsuits.” By Associated Press on

Bangor woman shares story of abuse from former Catholic priest
“A Bangor woman wants to warn others of the abuse she endured from former Catholic priest Anthony Cipolle, who was a Reverend at St. John’s in Bangor from 2017 until 2020. Melissa Kearns, who shared her story with the Portland Press Herald, claims Cipolle sexually, emotionally and psychologically abused her in 2018. The Press Herald says it reviewed numerous texts and emails between Cipolle and Kearns that support her claims.” By WPOR-FM News


Baltimore Archdiocese ‘uniquely positioned’ to name accused sexual abusers in redacted report, Maryland AG says
“The Maryland Attorney General’s Office clarified in a pointed statement Friday (Apr. 14) that the Archdiocese of Baltimore could legally and independently identify accused abusers in the state’s redacted report on historic child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese. The office last week released the 456-page investigation that details clergy, teachers, seminarians and deacons within the Archdiocese who allegedly assaulted more than 600 children going back to the 1940s. The report was released with dozens of court-ordered redactions, including the names of 10 ‘credibly accused’ abusers.” By Rohan Mattu, CBS-TV News Baltimore

Survivors call for criminal investigation into Catholic church sex abuse
“Catholic church sex abuse survivors are calling on prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the Baltimore Archdiocese. ‘My abuser was known about in 1966. I could’ve been saved had they done the right thing then. Surely they can do the right thing now,’ said Teresa Lancaster. Since the release of this report detailing the horrific and repeated abuse of more than 600 child victims allegedly at the hands of 156 abusers within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, survivor Teresa Lancaster is demanding more.” By FOX-TV News Baltimore


Former Flint-area priest pleads guilty in criminal sexual conduct case
“Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today (Apr. 25) announced that Vincent Delorenzo, 84, formerly of Flint, Michigan pled guilty to one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Delorenzo, a former priest with the Lansing Diocese, was among the first five priests charged by Nessel in late May 2019. He is pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy following a service he officiated for the boy’s deceased family member in 1987. In exchange for his guilty plea today, the remaining charges will be dismissed. These charges related to the sexual assault of a child from 1995-2000, while he was a student at Holy Redeemer School and Church in Burton, Michigan.” By Michigan Department of Attorney General


Philadelphia Archdiocese accused of transferring known abuse to Catholic college
“In 2013, then-Catholic priest and would-be artist Kevin Barry McGoldrick was transferred from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to the Diocese of Nashville, where he became chaplain of Aquinas College. In the lawsuit filed on Tuesday (April 18) in Philadelphia, it alleges that archdiocesan officials transferred the priest — and issued a letter of support on his behalf — knowing that he had a history of sexual abuse. The lawsuit accuses the archdiocese of enabling the priest’s abuse in 2017 of the lawsuit’s 27-year-old plaintiff, identified only as ‘Jane Doe.’” By Kathryn Post, Religion News Service


Lack of jurisdiction sinks Roman Catholic parish sex abuse suit
“The abusive actions of an out-of-state Catholic priest during a business trip do not create personal jurisdiction over his Rhode Island parish under New York law, a federal appeals court has ruled. Philip Edwardo alleges he was a victim of the late Father Philip Magaldi’s sexual abuse from approximately 1977 to 1984 … Edwardo, then a minor, sued the Roman Catholic parish St. Anthony’s, where Magaldi worked, and others, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2021. The case was dismissed last year.” By Ufonobong Umanah, Bloomberg News


It’s time to release the names of nuns who abuse Vermont Children
“Now that Lent and Easter are over, Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne needs to begin a new mission. In August 2019, Coyne released an incomplete list of Vermont clergy credibly accused of child abuse. Curiously, the Diocese of Burlington has never released a list of nuns who were credibly accused of abuse. As a survivor of St. Joseph’s Orphanage, I know that abusive nuns existed. Nuns participated in physical, sexual and emotional abuse of orphanage children. This is well documented, including in a report by former Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan.” By Maura Labelle,


Washington bill takes away confession exception in abuse reporting
“A bill that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect in Washington was advanced by the state’s House, prompting concern from some Catholics who are seeking a clergy-penitent exemption to protect the seal of the confessional. Catholics in the state have expressed concern the House’s version of the bill could force priests to violate the civil law in order to uphold church law regarding the seal of confession. The bill passed the House on April 11 in a 75-20 vote.” By Kate Scanlon, OSV News, on


Dept. of Justice: Attorney General Kaul releases update in advance of two-year anniversary of clergy and faith leader abuse initiative
“As Wisconsin approaches the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Clergy and Faith Leader Abuse Initiative, Attorney General Kaul is releasing additional information, including statements from several survivors who have reached out to DOJ, and highlighting progress being made through the initiative. ‘Survivors of abuse by trusted leaders deserve to be respected and supported,’ said Attorney General Kaul.” By


Quebec court approves sex abuse settlement against Catholic order
“Quebec’s Court of Appeal has approved a $28-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Clerics of Saint-Viateur of Canada by sexual-assault victims. A deal was reached in January 2022, but last July Quebec Superior Court Justice Thomas M. Davis said the $8 million in legal fees was excessive. The judge said that despite the fact the lawyers for the 375 sexual-assault victims did ‘remarkable work,’ he wanted a new agreement with more reasonable fees.” By The Canadian Press

Priest sexual abuse alleged in northern B.C. diocese lawsuit
“A northern B.C. woman is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince George with allegations she was sexually abused as a child by a priest. The B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, filed on April 19, alleges Father Emile Jungbluth sexually assaulted the child between 1971 and 1977. The court documents name The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Prince Rupert, also known as the Diocese of Prince George, as the defendant. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Seth Wheeldon, said a court anonymization order is being sought for her name.” By Jeremy Hainsworth, Prince George Citizen

Saskatoon priest charged with sexual assailt of 13-year-old girl, church says
“The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon has confirmed one of its priests has been charged in connection to an alleged sexual assault of a 13 year-old-girl. The priest, Janko Kolosnjaji, has been placed on administrative leave, according to the church’s archivist Marusia Kobrynsky. Kolosnjaji has been removed from active duty pending completion of the legal proceeding involving the assault allegation, which dates back to March 11, according to an Thursday (Apr. 20) post on the church’s website.” By Will McLernon, CBC News


A judicial investigation opened against the priest suspected of sexual assault
“And now justice. Suspended from his charge last week due to suspicions of sexual assault, which earned him a canonical investigation, the parish priest of Saint-Germain de Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis) is also the subject of a criminal investigation, indicated this Monday, April 17, the Paris prosecutor’s office, confirming information from The cross. On Sunday, the diocese of Paris announced that the parish priest of Saint-Germain de Pantin had been suspended from his charge, under the influence of a canonical investigation, for accusations of sexual assault on young adult women between 1993 and 2002.” By


Senior German priest resigns over handling of abuse claims
“A senior Roman Catholic priest in Germany has been removed from office after criticism of his handling of abuse allegations against a seminary director in the Diocese of Limburg, the German Catholic Church said Tuesday (Apr. 25). Vicar General Wolfgang Roesch had asked Limburg’s bishop to relieve him of his duties following the publication of a report about the case of the Rev. Christof May.” By Associate Press

Report finds Freiburg’s ex-archbishop covered up sex abuse
“A report on the past handling of sexual abuse cases in one of Germany’s larger Catholic archdioceses, Freiburg, found that the city’s former archbishop did almost everything in his power to conceal perpetrators over a period of roughly 30 years in total. The independent report, one of several comparable outside investigations commissioned by Catholic Churches in Germany of late, was critical of Robert Zollitsch’s handling of abuse in the church both as archbishop and during his 20 preceding years as a close associate of his predecessor, Alexander Saier.” By Deustche Welle

More than 250 Catholic priests suspected of abuse in Germany
“In the Archdiocese of Freiburg in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wurtemberg, more people have been affected by sexual violence by clergy than was previously officially known. It is now assumed that there are more than 540 victims, said the chairman of a reappraisal commission, Magnus Striet on Tuesday (Apr. 18) during a live press conference in Freiburg. In addition, there are more than 250 accused clerics, according to the study.” By Timo Kirez, Anadolu Ajansi


Catholic teacher in Indonesia held for abusing students
“A lay Catholic religion teacher in Indonesia with an alleged habit of watching porn videos has been accused of sexually abusing seven elementary school students. The 26-year-old teacher, only identified as Charles, was arrested by police in Ende Regency on Flores Island in Christian majority East Nusa Tenggara province on April 17. He reportedly teaches at Jopu II Catholic Elementary School in Wolowaru Subdistrict.” By


The pursuit of justice for victim/survivors of child abuse
“Much has changed in the Philippine judiciary in the past 20 years. Prosecutors and judges in the family courts are now armed with 37 laws that mandate that they protect children and bring their abusers to swift and strict justice. Many prosecutors and judges are doing just that in Luzon. It is a big change in a changing era for the judiciary. Finally, the judiciary is acting more swiftly and more determined to bring healing through justice for the child victims.” By Fr. Shay Cullen, The Manila Times

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Pope’s changes to Synod voting underscore Voice of the Faithful’s mission

Pope Francis changed the Roman Catholic Church yesterday (Apr. 26) by giving lay people votes in the Catholic Church Synod of Bishops, which now will be called simply the Synod.

“Our excitement at Pope Francis’ inclusion of the laity in such an important way today cannot be overstated,” says Mary Pat Fox, Voice of the Faithful president. “Since shortly after Pope Francis’ election, when it began to become evident that his leadership approach would differ from his predecessors, we have watched him gradually elevate attention on the role of the laity in the Church. We pray that the pastoral orientation, openness, and inclusivity he promotes will continue beyond his pontificate. This is the same mission VOTF has promoted since our beginning.”

For more than 20 years, Voice of the Faithful has addressed the laity’s involvement in Church structure. VOTF’s very 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.” By including lay people, and calling for half of these delegates to by women, Pope Francis is welcoming such participation.

VOTF also has called for reforms in Church structure. Over the years, these efforts have included educating the laity and equipping them with the means to address responsibly issues of vital importance within the Church. Examples include annual nationwide reviews of diocesan financial transparency and accountability, lay involvement in diocesan finance councils, and diocesan compliance with child protection and safe environment guidelines.

In addition, VOTF has worked to promote lay involvement in the selection of bishops; the creation and support of parish and diocesan pastoral councils, finance councils, and safety committees; the eradication of clericalism, perhaps the greatest threat undermining lay input in the Church; and the establishment of an ordained women’s diaconate in the church. VOTF performs this work with the conviction that the whole Church must respect the dignity and intelligence of all its members and “acknowledge the right and responsibility of the laity, flowing from their baptism, to use their God-given gifts for the good of the Church.”

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

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Pope Francis expands participation in synod to lay members, granting right to vote / National Catholic Reporter

For years, lay Catholic have lobbied for such reform.

By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

“Pope Francis on April 26 dramatically expanded participation in the Vatican’s upcoming Synod of Bishops to include lay men and women, for the first time granting them a right to be appointed as full voting members of the Catholic Church’s primary consultative body.

“In addition to the standard participation of bishops selected by the pope and episcopal conferences from around the world, the new changes allow for the participation of 70 non-bishop members at the upcoming October gathering — 10 from each of the seven global regional bishops’ conferences — with the request that young people be included and that 50% of those named be women. 

“The changes were announced April 26 by the Vatican’s synod office, and were discussed at a press briefing at the Vatican with Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the 2023 and 2024 Synod of Bishops.”

By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter —

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Catholic Church ‘robbed’ of richness of women deacons / The Tablet

From the twelfth century up to Vatican II, she (Dr. Phyllis Zagano) said the diaconate was essentially on hiatus and this ‘robbed the church of the richness of the charism.’

By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet

“The Catholic Church has been ‘robbed’ of the richness of women in the diaconate, according to a senior academic and author.

“Dr. Phyllis Zagano, adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University, said, ‘There is not now and never has been any doctrinal finding that women cannot be restored to the diaconate.’

“In her reflection on women and ministerial service in the Church at a Loyola Institute’s symposium: ‘A Servant Church on the Synodal Way,’ she  said, ‘Women can receive the sacrament of order as deacons, just as they did for hundreds of years in the early Church.’

“Dr. Zagano has just launched her latest book, Just Church: Catholic Social Teaching, Synodality and Women.  

“From the twelfth century up to Vatican II, she said the diaconate was essentially on hiatus and this ‘robbed the church of the richness of the charism.'”

By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet — Read more …

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Report finds Freiburg’s ex-archbishop covered up sex abuse / Deutsche Welle

Catholic former Archbishop Robert Zollitsch is accused of covering up sexual abuse cases for roughly 30 years in an independent report commissioned by the Freiburg archdiocese.

By Deutsche Welle

“A report on the past handling of sexual abuse cases in one of Germany’s larger Catholic archdioceses, Freiburg, found that the city’s former archbishop did almost everything in his power to conceal perpetrators over a period of roughly 30 years in total. 

“The independent report, one of several comparable outside investigations commissioned by Catholic Churches in Germany of late, was critical of Robert Zollitsch’s handling of abuse in the church both as archbishop and during his 20 preceding years as a close associate of his predecessor, Alexander Saier. 

“Eugen Endress, a judge and one of the authors of the report, told a press conference on Tuesday (Apr. 18) that Zollitsch would often completely ignore church law when confronted with cases. He described the problem as ‘about covering up by leading personnel.’ 

“The report said Zollitsch would neither launch preliminary investigations of allegations, as Vatican guidelines recommended, and that in his entire period in office he never reported a single case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic body that can prosecute the clergy.”

By Deutsche Welle — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, April 14, 2023

April 14, 2023


Report details ‘staggering’ church sex abuse in Maryland
More than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused over 600 children and often escaped accountability, according to a long-awaited state report released Wednesday (Apr. 8) that revealed the scope of abuse spanning 80 years and accused church leaders of decades of coverups. The report paints a damning picture of the archdiocese, which is the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the country and spans much of Maryland.” By Lea Skene, Brian Witte, and Sarah Brumfield, Associated Press

Jesuit resigns from pope’s clergy abuse commission, criticizing group’s leadership
“One of Pope Francis’ key advisers on clergy sexual abuse has resigned from the pontiff’s child protection commission and has launched searing criticisms against the organization’s leadership and its alleged lack of transparency. The president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, announced on March 29 that one of the commission’s founding members, German Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, had asked the pope ‘to be relieved of his duties as a member … In an unusually blunt 400-word statement issued several hours later, Zollner said that after nine years of service on the commission, it was “impossible” to continue given his mounting concerns ‘in the areas of responsibility, compliance, accountability and transparency.’” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

Clergy abuse and the church’s silence leave deep wounds for Catholics, study finds
“The more stories he heard from clergy abuse survivors, the more Marcus Mescher realized that their suffering wasn’t just emotional or physical − it was a moral trauma. Clergy abuse victims often feel alone and empty − if not ‘dirty,’ said Mescher, an associate professor of Christian ethics at the Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cincinnati He and his co-researchers at Xavier published a report in December, demonstrating the abuse of children and subsequent concealment by the church resulted in ‘persistent psychological and emotional distress, moral confusion, spiritual anguish, social alienation and distrust for institutions.’” By Deena Yellin,

North American synod gathering focused on concerns about pope’s process, says participating bishop
“A U.S. bishop who helped draft the synthesis document for the North American continental phase of the ongoing process for the Synod of Bishops said he saw “notable differences” in this phase’s virtual listening sessions, compared to input from the previous parish- and diocesan-level phase. ‘Concerns about the direction of the synod were more pronounced,’ said Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, noting that among the concerns of those delegates, who were handpicked by bishops, were restrictions against the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, possible changes to Catholic doctrine, the focus on inclusivity and the synod process itself.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter


Accountability for lay groups destined to be test of sex abuse reform
“Depending on who you ask, Pope Francis’ 2019 decree ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi’ (‘You are the Light of the World’), coupled with updates to the policy announced March 25, is either a watershed in the Church’s fight against sexual abuse or a major disappointment — or, perhaps, both at the same time. Originally issued in the wake of a summit of the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world to discuss the abuse scandals, ‘Vos Estis’ was designed to promote a culture of accountability, not just for the crime of sexual abuse but also for the cover-up.” By John L. Allen, Jr.,, on

Shattered: Catholic community confronts its founder’s lies
“The findings of an initial expert report were astonishing: One of the 20th century’s revered Catholic leaders, who built an international movement of community care for people with intellectual disabilities, perverted Catholic doctrine about Jesus and Mary to justify his own sexual compulsions and abuse women. The findings of a second report were even worse: The movement he created had at its core a secret, mystical-sexual “sect,” and was founded for the precise purpose of hiding the sect’s deviant activities from church authorities.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Pope broadens rules for investigating abuse allegations
“Pope Francis has updated the procedures for investigating sexual abuse allegations, specifying that leaders of international Catholic lay associations and movements have the same responsibilities over their members that bishops have over diocesan priests. The updated version of Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world), published on Saturday (Mar. 25), also expanded the categories of victims covered by the regulations to include vulnerable adults.” By

Catholic watchdog group names bishops tied to sex abuse and urges pope to act
“Prominent researchers of accountability for clergy sexual abuse called on Pope Francis on Wednesday (Mar. 18) to release the names of bishops investigated by the Vatican since the implementation of 2019 rules that overhauled how the church responds to abuse accusations. The watchdog group,, criticized the pope at a news conference for failing to give a ‘full accounting’ of the impact of the revised rules, which they called a landmark effort to combat abuse. The organization also released a list, based on news reports from around the world, of 40 bishops who have been investigated under the four-year-old law.” By Marissa Iati, The Washington Post


Synod’s ‘messy,’ ‘joyful North American phase concludes with a call to mission, moves to Rome
The final document for the North American phase of the 2021-2024 Synod on Synodality was released April 12, capturing a process of dialogue and discernment that two participants described as ‘messy,’ ‘joyful’ and unifying — like the synod itself. ‘It’s amazing what comes about when … you invoke the Holy Spirit in the conversation,’ Julia McStravog, a theologian and co-coordinator of the North American team for the synod’s continental phase, told OSV News.” By Gina Christian, OSV News

Oceania bishops finalize response to Synod’s working document
“Representatives of the four bishops conferences in Oceania have approved the region’s final response to the working document published last October for the Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church. The new executive council of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania recently met via videoconference, along with members of the discernment and writing group tasked with drafting the Oceania response.” By

Vatican’s highest-ranking nun, Nathalie Becquart, talks synodality with young Catholics
“Sister Nathalie Becquart, the highest-ranking woman at the Vatican, dropped into St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan on Tuesday evening (Mar. 28) to talk to and about young Catholics, and particularly young women in the church. The French nun, who is shepherding a worldwide survey of Catholics ahead of a fall meeting of bishops on the future of the church, didn’t have answers for the women in the audience so much as she had advice.” By Meagan Saliashvili, Religion News Service

Cardinal McElroy on the voices of synodal dialogue
“Last year, the Catholic community in the United States undertook the largest non-governmental process of interpersonal dialogue and consultation ever held in our nation’s history. More than five hundred thousand men and women gathered together in prayer and discernment in their parishes, schools, cultural communities and service organizations to share their joys and their sorrows, their hopes and their fears for the life of the Church. This initial process of dialogue produced a rich sense of exhilaration and unity among its participants.” By Robert W. McElroy, Commonweal

Synod preparatory commission aware of ‘high expectations and anxiety’
“Three members of the preparatory commission for the assembly of the Synod of Bishops, including Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, said they know some Catholics have high expectations for the process while others have intense anxiety. The seven-member commission met at the Vatican on March 13-16 and had an audience with Pope Francis on the last day of their gathering.” By

Hope for change endures decades after Vatican II and Detroit’s ’69 synod
“Countless pieces of analysis have used the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the election of Pope Francis to argue that he is a breath of fresh air as he urges the church to consider difficult topics, most notably through the ongoing synodal process. And while that’s true, the spirit of synodality can also trace its origins in the United States to much earlier. In the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council, Detroit’s Archbishop John Dearden launched a process that feels thoroughly in sync with the goals of Francis.” By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

India: Catholic ministry to migrants to be more synodal
“The National Commission for Migrants of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), is calling on Indian dioceses to take up the challenging mission of working with migrants with a synodal approach, to foster a Good Samaritan attitude both in institutions and society. The issue was discussed this week during a three-day conference in Bangalore titled ‘The Pastoral Care of migrants in the Multicultural context of India: A synodal way.’” By Lisa Zengarini, Vatican News

Synod vigil to be expression of ‘ecumenism of solidarity,’ pastor says
“Planning an ecumenical prayer vigil for the Catholic Church’s Synod of Bishops and making a commitment to participating in it is an expression of ‘an ecumenism of solidarity,’ said the Rev. Anne-Laure Danet, ecumenical officer for the French Protestant Federation. ‘It is extraordinary,’ she said. ‘We can pray for one another, but the best way to do it is to pray with one another.’ Rev. Danet spoke to Catholic News Service and Vatican News March 15 after she and some 60 Catholic and Protestant representatives met Pope Francis at the end of a three-day gathering to plan the ecumenical prayer vigil that will be held Sept. 30 in St. Peter’s Square.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis seeks a synodal church that is always reforming
“The Second Vatican Council was a council of reform. We see this in the speeches Popes John XXIII and Paul VI delivered at the beginning of the first and second periods of the council’s work. The former spoke of aggiornamento (‘updating’). The second spoke of renovatio ecclesiae (‘ecclesial reform’) … The ecclesial form to which the conciliar reform aimed was described by one of the most brilliant minds of Lumen gentium, Belgian Cardinal Leo Suenens. Shortly after the 1965 conclusion of the council, Suenens emphasized that the two richest elements of the ecclesiological renewal were the image of the People of God as a whole and the co-responsibility in the mission for all its members.” By Rafael Luciani, National Catholic Reporter

Commission focuses on ensuring synod will be prayerful experience
“At the end of their first meeting, three members of the preparatory commission for the assembly of the Synod of Bishops said they know some Catholics have very high expectations for the process while others have intense anxiety. The seven-member commission met at the Vatican March 13-16 and had an audience with Pope Francis on the last day of their gathering. Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, who has been coordinating the synod process for the bishops of the United States, was one of the members whose appointment was announced by the Vatican March 15.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service


Pope Francis faces chance to radically reshape U.S. Catholic hierarchy: 13 American archdioceses and 21 dioceses could need new bishops by 2025
“If Pope Francis continues to serve as bishop of Rome for another two years, he may have a notable opportunity to refashion the U.S. Catholic hierarchy. Dozens of bishops, several in historically significant archdioceses, will be required by canon law to submit resignation letters upon turning 75. At least 13 archdioceses and 21 dioceses could have new episcopal appointments by February 2025 … The number of episcopal openings could increase because of deaths or resignations.” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

A disappointing 10 years of Pope Francis on abuse
“A widely known and well-respected world figure is once again taking on the Catholic Church over its abuse crisis, speaking more forcefully than ever before. Asking for forgiveness “is not enough,” he says. Victims, he says, have to be “at the center” of everything. He insists there must be “concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again.” The Catholic Church must set an example in helping to solve the problem and “bring it to light,” he says. Strong words, no? Here’s the problem, though: the man saying these things is the man who can do these things.” By David Clohessy, National Catholic Reporter

Iowa conference celebrates Pope Francis
“Although a number of universities, Catholic organizations and even NCR held events for the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’ election, the only multiday conference in the U.S. dedicated to marking a decade of his pontificate was held in Davenport, Iowa. Nearly 300 people from 17 states and three countries attended the March 16-18 ‘Francis at 10: A Papacy of Possibilities’ conference at St. Ambrose University, while another 100 joined online. Yes, if you build it, they will come. (OK — I know the ‘Field of Dreams’ is in Dyersville, near Dubuque, not Davenport, but close enough!)” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Francis’ papacy has been good news for U.S. Catholics
“This month marks the 10th anniversary of the election of Pope Francis who, as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and its 1.3 billion members, continues to capture the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics worldwide. Several historical firsts accompanied his papal election: first Latin American, first Jesuit and first to choose the name Francis. Along with these ‘firsts,’ Francis’ pontificate has also signaled some possible ‘lasts,’ even if temporarily.” By Hosffman Ospino, National Catholic Reporter

The legacy of a decade of Pope Francis
“When Pope Francis was elected 10 years ago, I was sitting in front of a BBC camera preparing to be interviewed and uttered a word I cannot print in my column. Luckily, my mic had not been turned on. All I knew about Jorge Bergoglio was that my friends in Latin America, liberation theologians and Jesuits, did not like him, calling him conservative and authoritarian … Within a couple of weeks, we learned how wrong we both (Thomas Reese and George Weigel) were. The cardinals had elected as pope a man who would change the style of being pope, attack clericalism, empower the laity, open the church to conversation and debate and change the pastoral and public priorities of the church.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter


German bishop resigns, cites responsibility in abuse scandal
“Pope Francis on Saturday (Mar. 25) accepted a resignation request from a German bishop who asked to step down because of his mistakes in handling sexual abuse cases. Franz-Josef Bode, who has been the bishop of Osnabrueck, Germany, since 1995, said in a personal statement that his decision to resign ‘has matured in me in recent months’ and he hoped it would have a liberating effect on the diocese. Bode explained that an interim report released in September on abuse by clergy in the diocese had revealed his mistakes. He acknowledged his responsibility as a bishop and said, ‘Today, I can only ask all those affected again for forgiveness.’” By Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press, on


Inside the effort to identify Catholic-run boarding schools for Indigenous children
“For 150 years, the United States government financed more than 400 boarding schools across the United States, educating tens of thousands of Native American children but subjecting them to abuse, neglect, cultural oppression, and sometimes even death. But while the government has a list of every Navy ship the nation has floated, it has never compiled a list of the boarding schools it ran. ‘There was no central place where all this information was held,’ said Brenna Cussen, the religious communities liaison for the Nuns and Nones Land Justice Project.” By Dan Stockman, National Catholic Reporter, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter


Sister Nathalie Becquart will be the first woman to vote with bishops at a synod. Her advice for young women?
“Sister Nathalie Becquart, the highest-ranking woman at the Vatican, dropped into St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan on Tuesday evening (March 28) to talk to and about young Catholics, and particularly young women in the church. The French nun, who is shepherding a worldwide survey of Catholics ahead of a fall meeting of bishops on the future of the church, didn’t have answers for the women in the audience so much as she had advice: Listen.” By Meagan Saliashvili, America: The Jesuit Review

UN women’s commission examines global gender divide in digital technology
“In her ministry in Zambia, Sr. Kayula Lesa knows all about digital divides. Many places in Zambia and rural Africa simply don’t have adequate internet access despite the importance of computer skills, creating an access divide. But a gender divide also exists based on the culture in some countries that says male students should have priority in acquiring computer and digital tech skills. In both cases, girls lose out, and gender inequality does not get solved.” By Chris Herlinger, National Catholic Reporter


Debate over clergy exemption pits sanctity of confession against child safety
“Since January 2019, Fr. Jim Connell of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been urging state legislators around the country to repeal clergy-penitent privilege in mandatory reporting laws that exempt Catholic priests from notifying authorities of any sexual abuse they hear about in the confessional. Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has suspended Connell’s faculties to hear confessions and grant absolution, citing his advocacy ‘for the removal of the legal protection of the confessional seal, suggesting there are situations where it is permissible to violate it.’ Listecki said in a March 22 statement that Connell’s ‘false assertions’ that the seal of confession should not apply in some situations had caused ‘understandable and widespread unrest’ among Catholics.” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

Review: ‘Ghosts of the Orphanage,’ by Christine Kenneally
“Even after Spotlight, even after Tuam this book was a shock. Christine Kenneally’s exposé of the abuse and torture of children in 20th-century orphanages fits neatly alongside those earlier stories of religious institutional child abuse. And yet, readers might find themselves emotionally unprepared. Kenneally’s book, “Ghosts of the Orphanage,” focuses primarily on St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vt., though it also touches on Native boarding schools as well as institutions in Canada, Ireland and Australia. Most were run by the Catholic Church. The appalling stories from all of those places are chillingly similar.” By Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune

‘It’s gutless’: clergy abuse survivors and their families outraged by legal stays that thwart cases
“Victims of crimes committed by clergy such as Marist Brother ‘Romuald’ Cable speak out about handling of civil claims — Two hours after Audrey Nash forced her son Andrew’s bedroom door open, finding him dead by suicide at just 13, she received a surprise home visit from a now notorious member of the Catholic clergy. Marist Brother Francis ‘Romuald’ Cable, one of New South Wales’ worst Catholic school pedophiles, fired off a strange series of questions to the shocked and grieving mother. ‘[Cable] asked me, ‘Did Andrew leave a note?’ she told the royal commission in 2016. ‘I said, ‘No.’” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian


Omaha archdiocese poised to group churches in families
“Facing a shrinking pool of priests, declining Mass attendance and population shifts from rural to urban areas, the Archdiocese of Omaha is expected to finalize plans by the end of the month grouping its 133 parishes into 33 families. Placing parishes in families will allow for more sharing of resources — both human and financial — and of outreach to groups such as the poor and the elderly, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese.” By Julie Anderson, Omaha World-Herald

Priests asked for input on possible closure of St. Louis Catholic parishes
“Local Roman Catholic pastors have until Tuesday (Mar. 28) to respond to a request from the Archdiocese of St. Louis for opinions on whether a merger or closing of their parish is warranted. In a form letter dated March 13, the pastors were asked for feedback on the viability of their parishes ‘in terms of the number of parishioners and the real estate and financial assets to order divine worship, provide for the support of the clergy, and exercise works of the sacred apostolate and of charity, for the next 10-15 years.” By Blythe Bernhard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Clergy abuse survivors group seeking investigation of Catholic bankruptcies by California AG
“The national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wants Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate the bankruptcy proceedings launched this week by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and perhaps Oakland as well. The survivors’ group, known as SNAP, decided to act in the wake of the Oakland bishop’s announcement Thursday that he was ‘giving strong consideration’ to filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That announcement came just four days after Santa Rosa Bishop Robert F. Vasa submitted his own bankruptcy petition to the court.” By Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat

Additional charges filed in Vatican finance trial
“The Vatican’s prosecuting attorney has leveled additional charges against four of the defendants who have been on trial since July 2021 for their alleged roles in the Vatican’s failed investment in a property in London. Alessandro Diddi, the prosecutor, announced the new charges March 30 at the end of the trial’s 54th session. Raffaele Mincione, Gianluigi Torzi and Enrico Crasso were charged with bribery in addition to the original charges that included embezzlement, fraud and money laundering. A money-laundering charge also was made against Fabrizio Tirabassi, a former official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, who had been accused of corruption, extortion, embezzlement, fraud and abuse of office.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

U.S. dioceses’ bankruptcies highlight complex tensions
“Recent and potential bankruptcy filings by California and New York dioceses, made in response to clerical sexual abuse claims, highlight the complex tensions between civil and canon law regarding church assets — including those at parishes — and their availability for settling lawsuits … A key issue for those in the pews is ‘whether the parishes are part of the debtor’s estate,’ said attorney L. Martin Nussbaum, cofounder and partner of the Nussbaum Gleason firm, who has advocated for dioceses in litigation. He told OSV News, ‘Crystal clear it is not … because parishes and dioceses come into existence not by an act of the state, but by an act of the church.’” By

Why priests steal – researchers look to ‘fraud triangle’ in parish life
“Priests who steal are often motivated by resentment, envy, and a desire to cover up for other moral lapses, new analysis has found, adding that isolation and weak oversight can contribute to the rationalization of theft through ‘moral licensing.’ But the same analysis concluded that a relatively small number of priests have been caught stealing from parishes, and that the priesthood does not seem to attract fraudsters or financial con artists. A new scholarly article, ‘Exploring Embezzlement by Catholic Priests in the United States: A Content Analysis of Cases Since 1963,’ documented almost 100 instances of stealing by priests, which have sometimes involved hundreds of thousands stolen.” By The Pillar


Religious make ‘powerful; call against clericalism Synod summary
“Contributions from religious to the Synod on Synodality contained a ‘powerful and fearless critique’ of clericalism and a ‘clear call’ for lay people and religious to be involved in the formation of seminarians. Delivering an address at Trinity College Dublin, Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ, a member of the group charged with drawing up the summary, said members of religious orders felt that lay and religious involvement in formation might help a ‘more participative and welcoming’ Church to emerge and ensure that ordained ministry was seen not as ‘a clerical caste’ but a ‘refined form of the baptismal vocation’ in line with the teaching of Vatican II.” By

Pre-Vatican II Mass was formed by ‘clericalization,’ says papal preacher
“Clericalization led to the separation of the clergy from the faithful in the church’s liturgy celebrated before the Second Vatican Council, said Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household. In his Lenten reflection March 24, the cardinal told Pope Francis and officials of the Roman Curia gathered in the Vatican audience hall that Vatican II’s reform of the Mass was a return from ‘a relatively recent past to a more ancient and original one.’ Through descriptions of the Mass from St. Justin in the second century and St. Hippolytus in the third century, he said, ‘we obtain a vision of the Mass that is certainly closer to the reformed one of today than to that of the centuries behind us.’” By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service, on

IADC director among editors of new volume on Catholic theology and theological ethics in response to the abuse crisis
“A pioneering new book which charts fresh territory for Catholic theology and theological ethics in response to the abuse crisis in the Church has been published. Edited by the Australian ethicist Daniel J. Fleming, Boston College professor of theological ethics and founder of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC), James F. Keenan SJ, and director of the Institute of Anthropology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Hans Zollner SJ, the new volume features contributions from 22 scholars from 15 different countries spread across Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Oceania.” By IADC Staff

Laity in Africa cautioned against fostering clericalism, elevating ‘the clergy too much’
Clericalism is not just a problem of the clergy, members of the newly constituted Synodality Resource Team (SRT) for Africa have said, and called on the laity to play their role in de-clericalizing the Church. In a two-day workshop they held to devise ways to deepen the understanding of a Synodal Church on the continent, the SRT members who shared their experiences with the Synod on Synodality noted that the phenomenon of clericalism had surfaced prominently in synodal conversations.” By Agnes Aineah,


Pope Francis rejects optional celibacy to increase vocations: ‘We must not be naïve’
“In an interview with the Argentinian media Infobae, Pope Francis revealed that he considers it naive to think the solution to the shortage of priestly vocations is for them to get married. Instead, he considers the lack of vocations to be a cultural problem. He used the example of Lutheran priests, who can get married. But he explained that this has not increased the number of ministers. Pope Francis also spoke about celibacy with the authors of the book, The Pastor. He emphasized that he is in favor of the tradition of the Western Church where priests do not marry. But the Pope added that he will leave that decision to his successor.” By Catholic Diocese of Raleigh


‘Manufacturing the Clerical Predator
A new film from Nate’s Mission and ending Clergy Abuse

When a Catholic diocese goes bankrupt, does it help or hurt sex abuse survivors
“Catholic dioceses throughout the United States, including several in New York and California, are considering or already taking steps toward declaring bankruptcy, partly in response to a flood of sexual abuse lawsuits filed after states adopted laws that eliminate or pause statutes of limitations … Lawyers and advocates for survivors say that dioceses seeking bankruptcy protections use the process to shield church assets from individuals who were harmed by the church … Some bankruptcy experts, however, say the process allows for a thorough process that can ultimately lead to a more just outcome for those who were harmed.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin and Christopher Parker, America: The Jesuit Review

Commentary: Forsaken again
“On March 15, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That day I watched in despair as Bishop Edward Scharfenberger justified his decision as ‘the best way to protect everyone’ while acknowledging ‘it may cause pain and suffering.’ The public has the right to know exactly what that pain and suffering looks like. Not from the loudest attorney or a diocese spokesperson, but from a victim of clergy sexual abuse. I was one of over 400 plaintiffs under the New York Child Victims Act seeking civil relief from the Albany diocese.” By Daniel Thompson, Albany Times Union

Catholic priest releases memoir focused on spiritual abuse, healing
“Morganton native Jeffrey Kendall no longer works as an active Catholic priest, but that doesn’t mean he has given up looking for God. ‘I’m always going to be Catholic – I can never change that,’ Kendall said. ‘I’m not antichurch. I’m antiabuse.’ Kendall left his post in the Diocese of Charleston due to what he calls ‘a culture of cruelty.’ He said the abuses of power and mistreatment he experienced left him broken and distant from God.” By Jason Koon, The News Herald

Church needs creative ministries to care for abuse survivors, advocate says
“A ministry for homebound victim-survivors of clergy abuse to receive the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is an example of the creativity needed to help abuse survivors find healing, said the executive director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection for the U.S. bishops. ‘It’s the Holy Spirit at work,’ said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, who has led the post at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the past 12 years. He said this new program is ‘leading the way with its ministry,’ noting that it has brought ‘blessing and grace’ to the person receiving the Eucharist and the person bringing it.” By Carol Zimmermann, The Tablet

Kansas sex abuse survivors’ efforts bear fruit with a hearing. But we owe children more than that.
“Kansas owes its kids. It owes them protection. It owes them a better future. For those who have been wronged through sexual abuse, it owes them justice. With a hearing Thursday Mar. 23), the Kansas Legislature has finally — after years of delay — inched toward recognizing that fact. At 10:30 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 317, which eliminates the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions of child sexual abuse. It also extends the deadline for pursuing civil action by 10 years, among other changes to state law.” By Clay Wirestone, Kansas Reflector

The sacramental seal, sinners, and saints
“Mothers and fathers would have good reason to think of child abuse—sexual or otherwise—as the greatest of crimes. Parents, after all, see the physical, emotional, and spiritual fallout from abuse in their children’s lives. Everyone, particularly parents, should be interested in measures that would detect child abuse earlier or prevent it entirely. It’s therefore not surprising that lawmakers continue to try to find ways to protect children.” By Dawn Beutner, The Catholic World Report


New Maryland law stops statue of limitations for survivors to sue sex abusers
“Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed dozens of bills into law Tuesday (Apr. 11) afternoon, hours after the 2023 legislative session ended. One of those new Maryland laws will open the door to new lawsuits brought by survivors of child sex abuse. Survivors of child abuse have been pushing lawmakers to pass the “Child Victims Act” for decades. Finally, Senate Bill 686, House Bill 1 is now a law. There is no longer a statute of limitations for survivors of child sex abuse in Maryland to sue their abusers.” By Paul Gessler, CBS News Baltimore

Commentary: Open the courthouse to child sex abuse survivors
“A proposed bill, now pending in the Texas Legislature, could bring a measure of justice to many survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As introduced by state Rep. Ann Johnson, a Democrat from Harris County, House Bill 206 would allow a person who was sexually abused as a child to bring a civil lawsuit ‘at any time’ to recover for injuries arising out of the abuse. If the bill is passed, the law would apply retroactively, effectively reforming archaic statutes of limitation to give child sex-abuse survivors access to the civil justice system, even if their cases would have been time-barred under prior law.” By Christa Brown, San Antonio Express-News

Get ‘predators off the street’: Kansas Senate ends limits on child sex abuse prosecutions
“When Sen. Cindy Holscher was 5 years old, she did what most young children would do on their family farm: play with animals, spend time with family and enjoy a few blissful months off from school. But one day, things turned much darker. A farmhand entered a barn while Holscher was playing with kittens and their conversation began innocently. Quickly, however, the man suggested playing a game ‘like Simon says’ that involved showing private parts.” By Andrew Bahl, The Topeka Capital-Journal

After weeks of waiting, Kansas survivor of child sex abuse eager for legislative hearing
“Every week since the beginning of the legislative session in January, survivors of childhood sexual abuse have staffed a table near the main public entrance to the Statehouse. Every week, they have met with senators and representatives, working toward a compromise on legislation that would remove barriers for other survivors who seek justice through criminal charges and civil litigation … This week, on Thursday (Mar. 23), a Senate panel finally plans to hold a hearing on legislation that remains a work in progress. Senate Bill 317 would establish a legal climate in Kansas where there is no statute of limitations on criminal charges, and where survivors could seek damages through civil cases until they turn 31 years old.” By Sherman Smith, Kansas Reflector

Maryland Senate passes law repealing statute of limitations
“Much to the chagrin of the state’s Catholic conference, the Maryland Senate passed legislation late on March 16 that would repeal the statute of limitations on sexual abuse lawsuits, creating a ‘lookback window’ for survivors to take legal action no matter how far back the abuse occurred. The 42-5 vote in favor of the Child Victims Act of 2023 paves the way for it to become law. It was cross-filed with a Maryland House bill of the same name, which is expected to pass with ease, as similar House legislation has in recent years. Gov. Wes Moore has also publicly expressed his support for the bill.” By John Lavenburg,


A new Catholic ministry brings the Eucharist to survivors of sexual abuse
“At the time (in 2018, when the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis emerged from bankruptcy court), Archbishop Bernard Hebda said, ‘Our efforts to reach out to those hurt by people in the Church is just beginning and will continue indefinitely, along with our core commitment of creating and maintaining safe environments for all.’ A new ministry within the archdiocese is doubling down on that commitment. Starting in March 2023, victims of sexual abuse in Saint Paul-Minneapolis who still wish to receive the Eucharist but find it too traumatic to enter a church can have the sacrament brought to them.” By Christopher Parker, America: The Jesuit Review

We don’t know enough about the causes of clergy sexual abuse. One Jesuit initiative is beginning to change that.
“After three years of searching archives, surveying Jesuits and the laity, and struggling to honor the stories of survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, we released the final report of Fordham University’s Taking Responsibility initiative on Feb. 9, marking an ending that actually feels like our work is just beginning. While our research was conducted at and frequently focused on the history, impact and prevention of sexual abuse at Jesuit institutions, we believe that our work is relevant to the entire church.” By Bradford E. Hinze, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis extends ‘Vos Estis’ decree to counter both lay and clerical abuse
“Pope Francis permanently decreed Saturday (Mar. 25) an updated version of Vos estis lux mundi, his landmark legislation to counter sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The decree promulgated March 25 extends the Church’s norms for handling of abuse to cover lay leaders of international associations of the faithful recognized by the Vatican.” By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

Defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting a boy still runs charity for kids
“A defrocked New York priest ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing a minor runs a charity that provides scholarships to Catholic schools for underprivileged children, according to public records. John J. Voglio, 65, is president of Mary F. Clancy Charities, which was founded in 2000 by another former priest, John Harrington, who was also accused of sexually abusing a minor, according to the Archdiocese of New York.” By Corky Siemaszko and Kate Martin, NBC News

‘It crucifies you every time’: the ‘crushing’ new tactic the church uses to block claims y abuse survivors
“In the small workshop behind his home in the Victorian country town of Broadford, Craig Waters was huddled on the floor, rocking back and forth. He’d been back there for hours, crying and alone, trapped anew in childhood nightmares. Waters was trying to process what the Catholic church had just told him: it was threatening to thwart his attempt to receive justice for the horrors he says he experienced as an eight-year-old boy at St Brendan’s Catholic primary school in western Sydney. There, a Catholic nun he dubs ‘the witch’ would take him away from his friends at lunchtime, lead him to a small dark room off the main assembly hall and shut the door.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardian


Diocese warns that Stockton priest accused of sexual abuse is performing Masses illegitimately
“An ex-priest is reportedly hosting private, religious gatherings despite his dismissed status, the Diocese of Stockton warns. The former priest in question is Leo Suarez, who was ousted from the church back in 2010 and formally laicized in 2016. The diocese says he is not allowed to perform any priestly ministry in the diocese or elsewhere. Wednesday (Mar. 22) diocese officials told CBS13 they obtained proof through photographic evidence that Suarez has been celebrating Masses and quinceañeras in Diocese of Stockton halls as well as private homes and event spaces.” By Ashley Sharp, CBS-Tv Sacramento

Oakland Catholic diocese may file for bankruptcy over 300 sex abuse lawsuits
“The Diocese of Oakland is trying to get ahead of what appears to be around 330 looming clergy sexual abuse lawsuits, announcing they may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which critics say is just a tactic to avoid testifying and paying damages. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland had a pretty ugly run of sexual abuse of children allegations back in the early 2000s, and in 2005, they paid a $56 million settlement to 56 victims. In today’s dollars, those settlements would likely be larger. And that’s a crucial consideration, as KRON4 reports that the diocese now suspects it’s facing ‘approximately 330’ sex abuse lawsuits from victims, and announced Thursday (Mar. 16) that they may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” By


Pensacola Catholic Church deacon inappropriate conduct with minor accusation deemed ‘unfounded’
“The investigation into a Pensacola Catholic Church deacon carried out by the Florida Department of Children and Families on a claim of sexual misconduct was deemed ‘unfounded,’ according to a statement from Chief Operating Officer of Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, David Ell. In February, the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee ‘became aware of a report of inappropriate conduct with a minor female,’ involving Deacon Tom Gordon, while serving at Little Flower Catholic Church in Pensacola.” By WKRG-TV5


Report of Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Diocese of Savannah
“On January 31, 2019, the Attorney General, Christopher M. Carr, facilitated a meeting. … During this meeting, with the consent and cooperation of the Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton D. Gregory and the Bishop of Savannah Gregory J. Hartmayer, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah expressed a willingness to permit the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council to conduct a third-party review of any records, files, documents, and reports concerning suspected child abuse in the possession of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah.” By Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia


Evergreen Park priest reinstated after child sexual abuse accusation
“An Evergreen Park priest was reinstated Tuesday (Mar.21), two weeks after the archdiocese launched an investigation into a child sexual abuse accusation from about 40 years ago. The Rev. Paul Guzman returns to his position as associate pastor at Most Holy Redeemer Parish. Guzman was reinstated after a review board found that there was ‘insufficient reason to believe he was guilty of the allegation,’ according to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich.” By Mohammad Samra, Chicago Sun-Times


Report: Ex-Slidell Catholic priest’s juvenile molestation trial delayed again
“The trial of a former Slidell Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy has been delayed again. As The Times-Picayune reports, the trial date was delayed Monday (Mar. 20) as jury selection for Patrick Wattigny was supposed to begin. The north shore District Attorney’s Office said the trial will be rescheduled at a later date but did not say when that rescheduled date might be.” By Kenny Kuhn, WWL-TV4 News


How Baltimore lawyers helped the Catholic church manage sexual abuse claims
“In 1987, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Baltimore contacted a prosecutor with a question: was the church obligated to report a priest who had recently been accused of attempting to rape a teenage girl a decade earlier? The answer was no, according to last week’s extensive report into sexual abuse and coverups in the archdiocese. But the priest could be charged with assault, battery or attempted rape, the assistant state’s attorney said.” By Madeleine O’Neill, Maryland Daily Record

Two women detail alleged abuse by Catholic priest in Batimore: ‘I was in total shock’
“For more than 50 years, Teresa Lancaster wanted the Catholic Church to believe her when she said she was sexually abused by Father Joseph Maskell at her high school in Baltimore. She said she was 16 when she went to see Maskell for help, and that within five minutes, he took her clothes off and set her on his lap. ‘I was in total shock,’ she said.” By Nikki Battiste, CBS News

Report detailing sex abuse within Catholic Church of Baltimore to be released Wednesday
“Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said he will release a redacted version of a long-awaited 456-page grand jury report that details decades of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore on Wednesday (Apr. 5) after privately meeting with survivors in the morning. Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert K. Taylor Jr. on Tuesday approved the release of the report ‘as the Office of the Attorney General shall see fit.’ The attorney general’s office will post the document on its website at 1 p.m., according to an email sent to survivors of clergy sexual abuse.” By Liz Bowie and Dylan Segelbaum, The Baltimore Banner


Former Flint-area priest faces April trial date in sex abuse case
“A former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting underage boys may stand trial just shy of four years after being charged with several counts of criminal sexual conduct. Vincent DeLorenzo, 84, is scheduled to face a jury at a trial before Genesee County Circuit Judge Brian S. Pickell on April 26, online court records show. DeLorenzo, a former Flint-area priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys in the mid-1990s, when the alleged victims were under 13 years old, appeared before Pickell on Monday, March 27, for a final pretrial hearing.” By Joey Oliver,


Diocese takes Eucharist to abuse survivors too traumatized to attend church
“An American archdiocese is bringing the Eucharist to survivors of clerical sex abuse who hunger for Communion but find church-going traumatic. ‘People really want the Eucharist. They want to be fed and healed by it,’ said Paula Kaempffer, outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention for the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.” By Bess Twiston Davies, The Tablet


Archbishop apologizes for priest abuse
“Archbishop John Wester wrote he was ‘ashamed’ by decades of sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic priests in an open letter to those who’d filed complaints and lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. In a letter dated Thursday (Mar. 16) and read during Mass on Sunday, Wester professed his ‘profound regret and sorrow over the tragic and inexcusable harm done to you,’ referring to the hundreds of claimants in a scandal that rocked the archdiocese for many years” By Santa Fe New Mexican


Priest at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Brooklyn removed from ministry
“The Diocese of Brooklyn has removed from priestly ministry Father Bony Monastere, the parochial vicar for St. Therese of Lisieux Church in East Flatbush, after a sexual abuse allegation involving an adult was substantiated, according to the diocese. Bishop Robert Brennan announced the decision via a letter that was read aloud to parishioners by Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann on Sunday, March 19.” By Paula Katinas, The Tablet

NY deacon gets 16 years for ‘enticing’ minors via Grindr
“A deacon of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after he admitted to prosecutors that he engaged in sexual acts with minors he met on the hookup app Grindr. Rogelio Vega, 52, was sentenced March 15, two years after he was arrested in an NYPD sting operation using Grindr. Vega, who previously served in the Brooklyn diocese’s parish of St. Sebastian, Woodside, pled guilty last September to three counts of ‘enticing a minor’ to engage in sexual acts with him” By The Pillar

Former Buffalo Diocese chancery official put on leave a second time following additional abuse claim
“Bishop Michael W. Fisher has put a Cheektowaga pastor on administrative leave for a second time after an additional claim of child sexual abuse was made against the priest. The diocese received a recent ‘proof of claim’ alleging abuse by Monsignor Peter J. Popadick, pastor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish, according to diocese spokesman Joseph Martone. Popadick was removed from ministry in 2019 due to a previous allegation in a Child Victims Act lawsuit and reinstated four months later after a diocese investigation and a review board examination of the claim.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News


Three women sue Parmadale, Catholic Diocese over sexual abuse allegations spanning decades
“Three women filed lawsuits Tuesday (Mar. 21) that allege they were sexually and physically abused at a now-shuttered children’s group home that had been run by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. One of the women who was at the Parmadale Children’s Village in the 1970s said in her lawsuit that the priest at the time, whom the document referred to as ‘Father Leahy,’ sexually abused her at his cottage on the property while men he invited there watched.” By Cory Shaffer,


A BuzzFeed writer exposed abuse at a Vermont orphanage. Her new book reveals even more.
“Journalist Christine Kenneally sparked worldwide headlines in 2018 when her BuzzFeed exposé about a history of abuse at Burlington’s now-closed St. Joseph’s Orphanage, ‘We Saw Nuns Kill Children,’ spurred local and state authorities to launch a review that confirmed misconduct, if not the story’s 75-year-old claims of murder. ‘Allegations were never investigated when they should have been,’ former Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan said after the probe ended in 2020 with an apology but no criminal charges. ‘It is my hope that through a restorative process, we can bring peace, we can bring justice, we can bring reconciliation for so many of these survivors who still struggle today.’” By Kevin O’Connor, VTDigger

Clergy reporting bill fails to make key legislative deadline over constitutional concerns
“A bill that would end clergy exemptions for reporting child abuse and neglect appears dead as it failed to meet a key legislative deadline for passing out of a committee Friday (Mar. 17). The bill, S.16, had been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held hearings on the matter, including one that featured Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne, who testified in opposition to the legislation. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the committee’s chair, said Thursday that due to ‘constitutional concerns’ the bill was being shelved, at least for now, and therefore will not move out of committee.” By Alan J. Keays VT Digger


Concerns raised over Washington state mandatory reporting bill that lacks confession exception
“A bill that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect in Washington state is under consideration by the Legislature, but some have expressed concern that this bill could force Catholic priests to violate the civil law in order to uphold church law regarding the seal of confession. SB 5280, sponsored by state Sen. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, would make members of the clergy mandatory reporters, people required by law to report suspected or known instances of child abuse or neglect.” By Kate Scanlon, OSV News

Former Tacoma Catholic nun and priest added to clergy abuse accusation list
“A former Tacoma Catholic nun and a priest were added to an official list of clergy and others accused of abuse, the Archdiocese of Seattle announced Friday (Mar.31). Sister Jerry Lyness and Father Thomas Phelan were added to the official list of ‘Clergy and Religious Brothers and Sisters for Whom Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to be Credible.’ Lyness was a teacher at St. Patrick Catholic School from 1976 to 1994 and she served as co-principal there from 1991 to 1994. Phelan served as pastor at St. Ann Parish from 1973 to 1983. Both are dead.” By Craig Sailor,


A retired priest pushed to require clergy to report sex=-abuse confessions; now he’s banned from hearing confessions
“Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has stripped a retired priest of his permission to hear confessions after the priest advocated publicly for requiring clergy to report abuse revealed in confidential settings. The Rev. James Connell said he got word Wednesday that Listecki had ordered him to stop speaking publicly about repealing what’s known as clergy-penitent privilege. Listecki also removed Connell’s ‘faculty’ to hear confessions and offer absolution.” By Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

DOJ investigation leads to discovery of additional credibly accused priest in La Crosse Diocese
“A new name has been added to the list of credibly accused priests within the La Crosse Diocese as a result of the Attorney General’s inquiry into abuse perpetrated by clergy and other faith leaders across the state. John J. Cullinan, who served at St. Paul’s Church in Mosinee and St. Mary’s Church in Wausau, was added to the list on Dec. 20, over two years after the diocese first published their list, the attorney general’s office confirmed this week.” By Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Win for victim-survivors as Vic Court of Appeal finds Catholic Church liable for sexual abuse be priests
“A decision by Victoria’s highest court to uphold a landmark ruling that holds the Catholic church vicariously liable for the abuse by its priests has been hailed as a win for victim-survivors. An attempt by the church to appeal the ruling was quashed by the Victorian Court of Appeal on Monday (Apr. 3). The original decision involved the case of a then-five-year-old boy, known as DP, who was abused by Catholic priest Bryan Coffey at his parents’ home in Port Fairy in 1971. The church had argued Coffey was not a formal employee and therefore it could not be held liable.” By Kyra Gillespie, ABC South West Vic

Marist Brothers Catholic Order’s use of pedophile’s death as shield from abuse claims sparks outrage in Australia
“A pedophile’s death allegedly has been used as a shield from abuse accusations in the Catholic Order in Australia. The Marist Brothers, a Catholic order, will argue in court that they should not be held liable for abuse claims related to Brother Francis ‘Romuald’ Cable because he is dead, despite allegations that the order concealed his crimes for years. Even though Cable had been accused of abusing children as early as 1967, the Marist Brothers took no action to expel him from the order or alert the police.” By A.J. Paz, Christianity Daily


Vancouver archdiocese and private school deny wrongdoing, sue alleged abusers
“The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver and a private Catholic school have denied wrongdoing after claims of sexual abuse from former students and have filed their own lawsuits against the alleged abusers. The archdiocese and St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby filed separate lawsuits last week against the men who belonged to a Catholic order and were transferred to B.C. from Mount Cashel, the Newfoundland orphanage notorious for the sexual abuse that took place there.” By The Canadian Press

Survivor calls on Archdiocese of St. John’s to release names of accused priests
“Gemma Hickey wants the Catholic church to start naming names. As a survivor of clergy abuse, and an advocate for other survivors, Hickey is tired of chasing down the church for information and pushing it to right historic wrongs. Now they want to see the church lay it all out there for the public to see. ‘Newfoundland and Labrador is ground zero when it comes to this type of abuse,’ said Hickey, who uses they/them pronouns. ‘When it erupted here in the ’80s, it erupted everywhere else. And so that’s why it’s really important, particularly here, to have lists that contain the names of credibly accused priests.’” By Ryan Cooke, CBC News

Former principal, teacher at Winnipeg’s St. Paul’s among Jesuit priests accused of sexually abusing minors
“Two former teachers at St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg, one of whom also served as principal, are on a list of accused sexual abusers in the Jesuits of Canada. ‘I am incredibly saddened,’ St. Paul’s president Kevin Booth said in a statement posted Monday (Mar.20) on the school’s website, after it was revealed two former St. Paul’s educators — Father John Pungente and Father George Topp — were on the list of 27 priests and brothers released Monday by the Jesuits, a religious order of the Catholic Church.” By Darren Bernhardt, CBC News

10 out of 27 Jesuits ‘credibly accused’ of abusing minors worked at a residential school or a First Nation
“Over a third of the Jesuits who are ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors worked in First Nations or at the Spanish Indian Residential School in Spanish, Ont. The religious order released a list of names, along with the places they were assigned to work, on Monday (Mar. 20) as part of an attempt to be more transparent and accountable. Among the 27 priests and brothers named, 10 worked at the residential school in Spanish and/or in First Nations communities.” By Ka’nhehsi:io Deer, CBC News


French bishops outline new anti-abuse measures, warn of ‘social fractures’
“France’s Catholic bishops have announced new steps against sexual abuse – while also urging national dialogue to deter current nationwide protests over a proposal to raise state pension age and warning against new government moves to legalize euthanasia. ‘Our precise intention was to find ways of building a safer church, and this order has been honored with remarkable work by 100 working group members,’ the bishops’ conference explained in a March 31 statement at the close of its spring plenary at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.” By Jonathan Luxmoore, OSV News, in Detroit Catholic


German prosecutors not pressing charges in Catholic Church abuse scandal
“The Munich I public prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday (Mar. 21) that it has closed its investigations based on the abuse report on the German archdioceses of Munich and Freising. In each case, the investigations had not yielded sufficient suspicion of criminal conduct on the part of the personnel managers, the public prosecutor’s office announced at a news conference in Munich. According to the public prosecutor’s office, among those accused at times was also the late ex-Pope Benedict XVI, who was archbishop in Munich from 1977 to 1982.” By Anadolu Agency,


‘Church knew about abusive priest years ago. I thold them’: Victim says inaction put other women at risk
“A victim of a former priest convicted of sexually abusing a young woman as he drove her to rape counselling has criticized the Catholic Church for allowing his offending to continue after she raised the alarm. Father Joseph Dunne, 81, who was sacked as a priest in Scotland, indecently assaulted the woman on a number of occasions after befriending her in hospital in Ireland, where he now lives. Now a Scottish woman who says she was assaulted when Dunne was a priest at St Paul’s church, Whiteinch, Glasgow, in the 1980s has spoken of her anger …” By Janet Boyle and Marion Scott, The Sunday Post


Archdiocese to list names of abusive priests, allow survivors to tell their stories
“The Archdiocese of Agana has committed to publishing on its website the names of priests and other clergies who were identified as child sexual abusers, and to allow survivors of clergy sexual assaults to tell their stories if they so desire. These are among the archdiocese’s nonmonetary commitments as part of its court-approved bankruptcy exit plan, which also includes multimillion settlement payouts to more than 270 clergy abuse claimants.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News

Chancery, FIP properties sold for $$5.8M to help pay clergy sex abuse claims; court approves sale
“Ownership of the Archdiocese of Agana’s two major real estate properties that include the chancery will soon officially change hands after a federal judge on Monday (Mar.20) approved the total $5.8 million sale, proceeds of which would help settle clergy sex abuse claims and pay other costs in the Catholic church’s bankruptcy case.” No one objected to the archdiocese’s $2.3 million sale of its chancery property in Agana Heights to ‘Phoenix Foundation or nominee’ by the court’s March 16 deadline.” By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert, Pacific Daily News


Catholic priest booked for sexual harassment in Kanyakumari district

The Kanyakumari district cyber police have registered a case against a Catholic priest after a nursing college student levelled sexual harassment allegations against the priest. For more than a week, obscene videos and pictures involving the priest went viral on social media. The videos and photos were stolen from his laptop by some people and uploaded online. Under these circumstances, a first-year nursing student has filed a complaint with the superintendent of police stating that Fr Benedict Anto posted at the Our Lady of Assumption Malankara Church at Pilankalai was harassing her online.” By Times of India


Clergy sex abuse victims feel ‘vindicated’ after Vatican talks
“Survivors of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse from Britain and Ireland said on Thursday (Mar. 24) they finally felt vindicated after ‘transformative’ meetings with Pope Francis and leaders of the Comboni Missionary order. The survivors were abused as teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s, while studying to be missionary priests at a Comboni seminary in Yorkshire, northern England.” By Alvise Armellini, Reuters


Catholic prevention organization: Mexico ranks first in human trafficking and child abuse
“Sister Karina de la Rosa Morales, a nun with the Xavierian Missionary Sisters of Mary and a member of the Rahamim network that is fighting against human trafficking, lamented that Mexico holds ‘first place in human trafficking, child abuse, organ selling, sex tourism, child abduction, and child pornography.’ ACI Prensa spoke with several of the nuns and a laywoman who belong to the Rahamim prevention network.” By Ana Paula Morales, Catholic News Agency, in The Catholic World Report


Catholic Church abuse survivors group says Pope ignored their letter

“A support group for survivors of abuse within the Catholic Church has sent an open letter to the pope claiming a coverup, secrecy and denial of abuse by the church in this country. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, said the church’s redress process was secretive and denied a survivor’s right to natural justice. SNAP said it wrote to Pope Francis in September last year, but never got a reply. ‘We informed you of ongoing coverup and denial of credible complaints of clerical abuse and child sexual assault through a secretive A Path to Healing – Te Houhanga Rongo redress process. ‘We are disappointed to not have had the courtesy of a reply or acknowledgement of our letter.’” By Radio New Zealand


A case of clerical child rape, 1
“The many incidents of child sexual abuse by clerics has shamed thousands of good bishops and priests who have been justly angered by the rampant and tolerated child sexual abuse of their fellow pedophile priests and some bishops. They feel helpless when their bishop protects the pedophile priests and calls him ‘his son.’ They hunger for justice for the victims and wish to exonerate their own vocation and blemished priesthood.” By Fr. Shay Cullen, Panay News


Vatican hands over files of priest accused of abuse to Polish court for first time
“The Vatican has for the first time handed over to a Polish court the case file of a former priest on trial for child sex abuse. The move came after the local Polish archbishop informed the judge that he was unable to make the documents available himself. The transfer of the material took place in the autumn of last year, when the Vatican handed the 200 pages of documents over to the Polish embassy. But it was only reported yesterday for the first time by the Gazeta Wyborcza daily because the trial of the former priest is being conducted behind closed doors.” By Notes from Poland


Bishop of Porto suspends three priests for suspected sexual abuse of children
“The Bishop of Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, has temporarily suspended three priests suspected of pedophilia, the Diocese of Porto announced Thursday (Mar. 16). In a brief statement, the church said the priests were all named in a recently finalized investigation of sexual abuse in Portugal’s Catholic Church. Last Friday, the Diocese of Porto said the investigators sent them a list of 12 Porto clergy who were all suspected abusers. Of the 12, four had died and one had left the district, according to a statement. The diocese said it would investigate the seven remaining priests further.” By Alyssa McMurtry,

Portuguese Catholic Church highlights problems in abuse commission’s report
“Portugal’s Catholic Church has reiterated new safeguarding commitments in line with an independent commission on sexual abuse by clergy, although most of its dioceses also reported inconsistencies in the commission’s findings. ‘We renew our gratitude for the work carried out, which has made it possible to cross reference information between victim testimonies and data from our archives,’ the Portuguese bishops’ permanent council said March 14.” By Johathan Luxmoore, National Catholic Reporter


Spain’s ombudsman registers 445 church sex abuse complaints
“Spain’s ombudsman said Monday (Mar. 20) that an independent commission set up a year ago to investigate historic sex abuse by the Catholic church has collected testimonies from 445 victims, as the nation tackles an issue other European countries acted on long ago. Spain’s parliament voted on March 10, 2022 to open the first official investigation, led by ombudsman Ángel Gabilondo, into the extent of sexual abuse committed by priests and church officials. The government was forced to act after allegations of abuse involving more than 1,200 victims were published in Spanish newspaper El País, provoking public outrage.” By Associated Press


Number of child sexual abuse cases increases by 33 percent in 2022 in Turkey
“Turkey has experienced a spike in cases of child sexual abuse in 2022, the Justice Ministry’s statistics revealed. According to the 2022 Justice Statistics, the number of child sexual abuse cases filed in Turkey has increased by 33 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. Children’s rights advocates have been calling for better sex abuse prevention for years. Experts say prevention involves increasing gender equality, educating children on their bodies and sexuality in age-appropriate ways, teaching about sexual abuse through awareness campaigns and training public officials. But under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), talking about sexual issues is still considered taboo.” By

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North American synod gathering focused on concerns about pope’s process, says participating bishop / National Catholic Reporter

‘Asia, Europe and Africa with their vast geographies and cultural diversity were able to conduct continental assemblies. Even the Middle East created such an assembly,’ he (Bishop John Stowe) said. ‘North America did not, citing economic and practical difficulties in coming together.’

By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

“A U.S. bishop who helped draft the synthesis document for the North American continental phase of the ongoing process for the Synod of Bishops said he saw ‘notable differences’ in this phase’s virtual listening sessions, compared to input from the previous parish- and diocesan-level phase.

“‘Concerns about the direction of the synod were more pronounced,’ said Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, noting that among the concerns of those delegates, who were handpicked by bishops, were restrictions against the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, possible changes to Catholic doctrine, the focus on inclusivity and the synod process itself.

“Stowe made his remarks in an April 11 talk on ‘Synodality and the Common Good’ as part of the Cardinal Bernardin Common Cause lecture series at the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University Chicago.

“Stowe said he was sure the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago ‘would have enthusiastically engaged the synodal process with all of the hope it offers for a church that is faithful and engaged as a servant of the human family.'”

By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

See also “Synod’s ‘messy,’ ‘joyful’ North American phase concludes with call to mission, moves to Rome,” by Gina Christian, OSV News, in National Catholic Reporter

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Report details ‘staggering’ church sex abuse in Maryland / Associated Press

‘The staggering pervasiveness of the abuse itself underscores the culpability of the Church hierarchy,’ the report said.

By Lea Skene, Brian Witte, and Sarah Brumfield, Associated Press

“More than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused over 600 children and often escaped accountability, according to a long-awaited state report released Wednesday (Apr. 8) that revealed the scope of abuse spanning 80 years and accused church leaders of decades of coverups.

“The report paints a damning picture of the archdiocese, which is the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the country and spans much of Maryland. Some parishes, schools and congregations had more than one abuser at the same time — including St. Mark Parish in Catonsville, which had 11 abusers living and working there between 1964 and 2004. One deacon admitted to molesting over 100 children. Another priest was allowed to feign hepatitis treatment and make other excuses to avoid facing abuse allegations.

“The Maryland Attorney General’s Office released the findings of their years-long investigation during Holy Week — considered the most sacred time of year in Christianity ahead of Easter Sunday — and said the number of victims is likely far higher. The report was redacted to protect confidential grand jury materials, meaning the identities of some accused clergy were removed.”

By Lea Skene, Brian Witte, and Sarah Brumfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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