Posts Tagged VOTF
Clergy & laypeople collaborate to confront clericalism / Association of U.S. Catholic Priests & Voice of the Faithful
Joint News Release from Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful
For Immediate Release, Aug. 15, 2019
Pope Francis condemns clericalism, repeatedly. Catholic commentators decry it. Theologians and church historians examine its roots. Now, in a significant collaboration, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful have examined the ways clericalism emerges from the clerical culture, generating complex problems facing the Roman Catholic Church today, and they suggest ways to combat it.
Their document, “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism,” was approved at the AUSCP June 2019 Assembly, where guest speaker Dr. Richard Gaillardetz called it “very informative, even visionary.” Keynote speaker Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, noting the real-life examples reported, said it was “nothing less than a catalogue of horrors chronicling imperial pronouncements, put-downs, claims of privileges, entitlements and exemptions from accountability, but also a culture so pervasive that, sadly, many of the laity have come to accept it as normal and yes, even have cooperated in maintaining it.”
Real-life examples are central to the report and a significant contribution to the study of clericalism today. As the writers note, “We typically encounter clericalism as an experience. Using only scholarly definitions and explanations when discussing clericalism cannot communicate this lived experience of clericalism in the Church. To fully understand clericalism, we also must hear the voices of those who experience abuse of power.”
One experience describes a confrontation between a laywoman and a visiting priest in Boston during a 2003 meeting. “We must fix this [sex abuse] because we are the Church,” the laywoman said. The visiting priest replied, “YOU are not the Church,” and pointing to his Roman collar, declared, “WE are the Church.”
In another example, a new pastor announced that he would personally choose pastoral council members and no one would be allowed to disagree with him. In yet another, a seminarian criticized the pastor for his monthly blessing service because it differed from what the seminary practiced.
If these examples seem to focus blame on the clergy or an insulated hierarchy or any group or faction within the universal church, the document will not allow such a conclusion. Clericalism is not simply a problem of clerics, and the authors cite experiences where lay people enable such behavior.
Clericalism is toxic to all the baptized, they note. When lay people encounter clericalism: “They find another parish; they leave the Church; they never speak up again in meetings with priests; they abdicate all decision-making to the priest; they become audiences rather that participants in the parish’s life and sideline observers within the Church. Or all of the above. They abdicate their baptismal responsibilities.”
Priests may suffer, too, from unrealistic expectations stifling their human development. It is manifested in “overwork, isolation, loneliness, unrelieved stress, the expectation that he and he alone will handle all the parish business and be responsible for all the parish problems.”
The document delves into the culture of the diocesan priesthood and characteristics that help incubate clericalism: the hierarchical and patriarchal structure of the church, its requirements for celibacy, an ordination that is said to confer an ontological change, an education separated from the daily lives of laypeople, distinctive clothing and liturgical dress. Clerics also receive privileges of lifestyle and compensation not available to the people to whom they minister. The final section of the paper describes options for confronting clericalism.
“Our aim,” the AUSCP and VOTF writers say, “has been to raise the consciousness
of readers to the expressions of clericalism and its problems. Clericalism betrays the teachings of the scriptures and ignores the best practices of the first three centuries of Christian faith and life. Both clerics and lay persons can be afflicted with the disease. Both are often unaware that their mode and manner, their self-understanding, and their sense of ministry have wandered far from the example of Jesus … [We]” hope that our words help us all rise to the challenge of today in confronting and ultimately removing as many vestiges as possible of the clericalism that harms us all.”
Cardinal Cupich emphasized a similar conclusion: “Clericalism can only be confronted by reclaiming the authenticity of the conversion we are called to in Baptism.”
The team preparing the report worked with input from clergy and laypeople across the United States, modeling the synodality Pope Francis urges as one way to address clericalism’s damage. Following its completion, the white paper also was endorsed by FutureChurch, another organization that includes both priests and lay people.
Lead writers for “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism” were Rev. Kevin Clinton, AUSCP Past Chair of the Leadership Team, retired pastor, Archdiocese of St. Paul–Minneapolis; and Ms. Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director, Voice of the Faithful, member of Paulist Center Community, Archdiocese of Boston.
Contributors on the Working Group under the auspices of AUSCP were Rev. Gerry Bechard, AUSCP, pastor of Sts. Simon and Jude Parish, Archdiocese of Detroit; Ms. Alvera Bell, parishioner of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Diocese of Youngstown; Mr. David Bell, parishioner of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Diocese of Youngstown; Rev. Bernard R. Bonnot, AUSCP Executive Director, retired pastor in the Diocese of Youngstown; and Rev. Tom Ogg, AUSCP, retired pastor, Diocese of Cheyenne, Worldwide Marriage Encounter―U.S. Ecclesial Priest.
N.B. “Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism” can be read and downloaded at http://www.votf.org/AUSCP-Projects/Systemic%20Dysfunction%20Clericalism.pdf. Strategies for addressing clericalism in local faith communities can be found in “The BridgeDialogues: Laity & Clergy Reimaging the Church” at http://www.votf.org/content/priest-and-lay-reform-organizations-take-clerical-culture, which is a collaborative effort of AUSCP, FutureChurch and VOTF.
Contact: Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director, email@example.com
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in reforming administrative structures that have failed. VOTF’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. More information is at votf.org.
Association of U.S. Catholic Priests: AUSCP serves the People of God in parishes and other ministries. We seek to add a priest’s voice to the public conversation within our pilgrim church, among bishops and lay persons, vowed religious, ordained deacons and others. Our concerns are your concerns: good liturgy, social justice, the role of women in our church, immigration policies that reflect Gospel values, the dignity of all human lives, and a Church that welcomes all the People of God. Our mission is to be an association of U.S. Catholic priests offering mutual support and a collegial voice through dialogue, contemplation and prophetic action on issues affecting Church and society. Our vision is to be a Priest’s Voice of Hope and Joy within our Pilgrim Church. More information is at uscatholicpriests.org.
A first: Cardinal Pell appears in Australian court on sexual charges
“Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, made his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday (Jul. 26) after becoming the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses(link is external). Cardinal Pell, 76, was flanked by police officers as he entered Melbourne Magistrates’ Court through a thicket of camera crews, reporters and photographers.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times
— Accused of abuse, Pell maintains innocence in first court appearance(link is external), By Barney Zwartz, National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican Cardinal Pell faces Australian court on sex charges(link is external), By Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press
— Beginning fight against abuse charges, Pell says he’ll plead ‘not guilty(link is external),’ By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
547 members of Catholic boys choir abused, report says
“At least 547 members of a prestigious Catholic boys’ choir in Germany were physically or sexually abused(link is external) between 1945 and 1992, according to a report released Tuesday (Jul. 18). Allegations involving the Domspatzen choir in Regensburg were among a spate of revelations of abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Germany that emerged in 2010. In 2015, lawyer Ulrich Weber was tasked with producing a report on what happened.” By Associated Press on CBSNews.com
— Culture of silence abetted abuse of at least 547 German choir boys, inquiry finds(link is external), By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times
— Hundreds of boys abused at storied Catholic choir in Germany, new report says(link is external), By Isaac Stanley Becker, The Washington Post
— Ex-Vatican doctrine chief says Church did what it could on German abuse scandal(link is external), By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
Former top Vatican official strikes back at Pope
“A top Vatican cardinal recently dismissed by Pope Francis struck back this week, calling the Pope’s treatment of him and other Vatican employees ‘unacceptable.’ ‘I cannot accept this way of doing things,’ Cardinal Gerhard Muller said(link is external) in an interview with German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse. ‘As a bishop, [the Pope] cannot treat people in this way.’ Francis informed Muller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican’s doctrinal office, that he would not be renewing his contract in a brief meeting on June 30, just two days before the contract expired.” By Delia Gallagher, CNN
First Vatican trial under laws against financial crime to open Tuesday
“Tuesday (Jul. 18) sees the start of the Vatican trial of two former officials of a papal hospital in Rome charged with illicitly using funds(link is external) to renovate the Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a way that benefited a fellow Italian businessman. Bertone himself was not an object of the Vatican investigation and does not face any charges in the trial, which marks the first prosecution under new Vatican laws on financial crime.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
— Vatican court refuses to stop embezzlement case(link is external), By Associated Press in The Sacramento Bee
Paul Shanley, notorious priest in Catholic sex abuse scandal, to be released this week
“Paul R. Shanley, a former ‘street priest’ who became one of the most notorious figures in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal(link is external), is set to be released from prison as early as this week (He was released on Jul. 28) after serving 12 years behind bars for raping a Sunday school student in the early 1980s. Middlesex prosecutors said they had hoped to keep the 86-year-old defrocked priest behind bars even after his sentence was completed by having him declared a ‘sexually dangerous person.’ But two doctors who examined Shanley found that he did not meet the required criteria, prosecutors said.” By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe
— Defrocked priest is about to be freed amid renewed fury(link is external), By Katherine Q. Seelye, The New York Times
— ‘I’m concerned he’s going to abuse again’: those who say priest abused them criticize his release(link is external), By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe
— Paul Shanley, convicted child rapist and former priest, released from prison(link is external), By Emily Sweeney, John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen, The Boston Globe
— A predator walks while his protectors never had to stand(link is external), By Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe
Read the following note to readers for background on National Catholic Reporter’srecent series of stories on the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal. The stories are listed below this introduction:
Note to readers about content this week
“On the NCR website this week (Jul. 17), we will run a series of stories that will challenge our readers to look at the scandal of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) by clergy from several different viewpoints: from the perspective of a victim/survivor, from the perspective of a convicted offender, from the perspective of a family member of a victim, and from the perspective of professional advocates and watchdogs. The stories will make some people uncomfortable and others angry. It will be difficult reading, but my hope — my belief — is that it will make us confront a profound question about clergy sex abuse and the Catholic Church, namely, how do we as church, as a community of believers, bring healing to our wounded body? What cooperative acts of justice and mercy must we take as a community of believers to move forward in our journey of faith? Questions will be raised, but not all will be answered.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter
Sister finds that faith sustains when institutions fail
“It’s a gorgeous spring day, and the sunshine is pouring into the bedroom of Dominican Sr. Sally Butler’s apartment in the Fort Greene neighborhood, brightening the already cheery lavender-painted walls … Butler, 86, can’t get out of bed because of spinal stenosis and arthritis. And even if she could, for the past 24 years, she says, she has had to find her connection to Christ outside the church. Though she has been in religious life for nearly 70 years, Butler is unable to believe in the institutional church anymore(link is external). But her faith in God, she says, has never been stronger.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter
‘Uncommon conversation’ on sex abuse falls silent
“An ‘uncommon conversation’ is on hold in Minnesota. After meeting a decade ago at a sex abuse treatment conference, Gil Gustafson and Susan Pavlak each came to see in their pasts a possible way forward(link is external) for their home archdiocese, St. Paul-Minneapolis, as it struggled to deal with the scandal of clergy sexual abuse. Pavlak, now 62, was sexually abused as a child by a teacher who was a former nun at a Catholic school. Gustafson, now 66, pleaded guilty in 1983 to sexually abusing a teenage boy, and has since admitted to abuse of three other male minors.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
‘All of us together’: Sex abuse survivor seeks healing within the church
“In this interview, Susan Pavlak, a lifelong resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, describes being sexually abused by her high school religion teacher(link is external), a former nun, beginning in 1970. The abuse, according to Pavlak, happened on several occasions over four years. The alleged perpetrator, whom Pavlak has chosen not to identify by name in this interview, has never been charged in a criminal court; and Pavlak has never sought damages from any party in a civil court.” By Luke Hansen, National Catholic Reporter
Convicted soul: a priest-perpetrator of child sexual abuse shares his story
“Gilbert Gustafson was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1977, served as an associate priest at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, until 1982, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) in 1983, and served four and a half months in jail and 10 years’ probation. Gustafson has admitted to abusing four boys between 1978 and 1982. He was not criminally charged in the other cases.” By Luke Hansen, National Catholic Reporter
The clergy’s task is unfinished in confronting sex abuse
“The story of Marie Collins, an Irish victim of clergy sex abuse and a witness of unimpeachable integrity(link is external), is a dual tale of how far the church has come in acknowledging and handling the scandal and of how wholly and demonstrably incapable the Catholic clerical culture is of dealing with its own sin. Collins was one of two survivors of clergy sex abuse who were appointed in 2014 to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an agency created by Pope Francis. She resigned the commission in March … Three years after her appointment, she wrote: ‘I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter
Can anything burst Pope’s media bubble? Probably not
“Next March will mark the five-year anniversary of Francis’s papacy, and one interesting question is whether the broad media love affair with Francis will still be in place(link is external) when that moment comes. John Allen says “probably yes,” because by now the positive narrative surrounding Francis has become so entrenched as to be basically impervious to reconsideration.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Vatican article says ‘main obstacle’ for Pope Francis is bishops, priests
“Shortly after one Vatican article stirred debate by asserting there’s an ‘ecumenism of hate’ in the U.S. between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics, another over the weekend asserted that the ‘main obstacle’ to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is ‘closure, if not hostility’ from ‘a good part of the clergy(link is external), at levels both high and low.’” By Crux Staff, Cruxnow.com
Pope Francis’ next act
“These four very different departures (Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, Cardinal Joachim Meisner and Cardinal Angelo Scola) have a combined effect: They weaken resistance to Francis in the highest reaches of the hierarchy(link is external). And they raise the question facing the remainder of his pontificate: With high-level opposition thinned out and the Benedict/John Paul II vision in eclipse, how far does the pope intend to push?” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times
Headed to court, Cardinal Pell is no stranger to controversy
“Cardinal George Pell, who this week will become the highest ranked church official ever to face sex abuse charges in court(link is external), may be the most polarizing religious leader in Australia’s brief history. The former Archbishop of Sydney will appear in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on July 26 to answer yet-unspecified charges of historical sexual abuse involving multiple complainants, which he resolutely denies. The complaints apparently long predate his present Vatican role as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, often but misleadingly referred to as number three in the Vatican hierarchy behind the pope and secretary of state. It is a staggering fall from grace for the combative cardinal.” By Barney Zwartz, National Catholic Reporter
Cardinals on two sides of the Hudson reflect two paths of Catholicism
“Two very different books about being Roman Catholic and gay were released recently, each with an endorsement from a cardinal who oversees an archdiocese along the Hudson River(link is external). Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, endorsed ‘Building a Bridge,’ calling it ‘brave, prophetic and inspiring.’ The book calls on church leaders to use preferred terms like ‘gay’ instead of ‘same-sex attraction,’ as a sign of respect to gay Catholics. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, endorsed ‘Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,’ a memoir by a Catholic man who resisted his homosexual attractions and who now leads a celibate life inspired by the Gospel.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times
— Real story of Tobin and Dolan in NY: try ‘America past acrimony(link is external),’ By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
Cardinal Muller’s self-delusion and sense of entitlement
“Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s criticism of Pope Francis’ termination of his tenure(link is external) as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is simply astonishing. His complaint is that he had no warning and the termination was a summary dismissal. I don’t know where the cardinal has been in recent months. But it doesn’t seem to have been in Rome.” By Michael Kelly, S.J., LaCroix International
— Former doctrine chief denies false account of papal meeting(link is external), By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com
Why Pope Francis’ appointment of the new archbishop of Milan is a big deal
“The Vatican announced on July 7 that Pope Francis had appointed Auxiliary Bishop Mario Delpini as the next archbishop of Milan(link is external), succeeding the retiring Cardinal Angelo Scola. Bishop Delpini, a native of the archdiocese, lives in a very modest home mostly for retired priests about a mile northeast of the cathedral, with its old and venerable archbishop’s palace across the piazza. He is in close contact with the clergy of the archdiocese, where he has served most of his priestly life.” By Edward W. Schmidt, America: The Jesuit Review
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Austria: more and more girls as altar servers
“Altar service is still attractive for children and teenagers(link is external): it is confirmed by the figures presented by Simon Mödl, in charge of the service for the ‘Young Church’ from the archdiocese of Vienna. With respect to the decrease in other sectors, said Mödl to the agency of the Austrian Catholic Church Kathpress, ‘here, figures are incredibly stable, and the flow of boys and girls is constant.’ Following a research, from 2014, almost 55% of the over 45 thousand Austrian altar servers – including 10 thousand in the archdiocese of Vienna only – have been female.” By SIR: Servizio Informazione Religiosa, agensir.it
New website for Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, Life
“The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has a new way to interact with the world: a new website(link is external) launched this week. The new site offers news about the Dicastery’s activities, as well as social updates and videos. Explaining its mission, the Dicastery says, ‘The new website, in addition to telling about the Dicastery’s activities, wants to become a familiar place for lay people and families, where everyone will feel at ease and have [a] chance to be heard.’” By Vatican Radio
That sneaky clericalism
“Jesus warned about it. Luther revolted against it. Pope Francis is trying to deal with it. Yet clericalism – a priest or clergyman placing himself above the laity(link is external) – is still alive. We all know its effects are negative: abuse of power, passivity of the laity (“pray, pay, and obey”) and “project[ing] an image of power and privilege” of the Church in the context of poverty. Conceretely, it’s why many have left the Church in disillusionment. So why does clericalism continue?” By Henoch Derbew, The Jesuit Post
Catholicism between reform and counter-reform: reading Congar 50 years later
“‘We [now] live in the ‘transparency society’ and the stories of clerical sex abuse and (to a lesser degree) financial misconduct paint a very different picture of the Church than the one from Congar’s time(link is external),’ says Massimo Faggioli.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix Inernational
Evangelical fundamentalism and Catholic integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism
“In God We Trust. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto … A motto is important for a nation whose foundation was rooted in religious motivations(link is external). For many it is a simple declaration of faith. For others, it is the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.” By Antonio Spadoro and Marcelo Figueroa, La Civlita Cattolica
— Italian Jesuit magazine criticizes political attitudes of some U.S. Catholics(link is external), By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Exclusive interview: Antonio Spadaro on his article about ‘The Ecumenism of Hate’ in the U.S(link is external)., By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
— Cardinal Schonborn: Moral theology needs both principles and prudence,(link is external) By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com
— Editorial: Complicity harmed church’s cultural standing(link is external), By National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican speaks out against fundamentalism, again(link is external), By Pat Perrillo, National Catholic Reporter
Catholic parishes to pay higher fees
“To help Guam’s Catholic Church correct past financial mismanagement, pay debts and properly fund chancery operations, village parishes will see an average of 186-percent increases in assessment fees(link is external). This means up to a 1,146-percent hike for the Maina parish, for example, which used to pay only $107.82, church data shows. The Dededo parish, the biggest, will be assessed $10,763.45 instead of the $5,481.26 imposed six years ago, or an increase of 96 percent.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
Questions multiply by the day in latest Vatican money scandal
“Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, has denied rumors of involvement in a scheme(link is external) to overpay for remodeling on his Vatican apartment in order to benefit an Italian businessman and longtime friend. Meanwhile, questions remain about how the businessman was able to bill two different Vatican departments almost $1 million for the same work, which was never even finished.” By Crux Staff, Cruxnow.com
Priest admitted in 2007 to using parish checks for home construction
“A decade before he was charged with embezzlement(link is external), Rev. Jonathan Wehrle admitted to writing checks from St. Martha Parish to pay for the construction of his $1.48 million home. In November 2007, Wehrle told lawyer Michael Ryan that at times he transferred money from his personal accounts to the church’s account, then issued checks from the church’s account for personal use.” By Beth LeBlanc, Lansing State Journal
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM
Legislator wants tougher hidden predator act to pursue sex offenders
“When his bill extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims was signed into law in 2015, State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) knew it didn’t go far enough(link is external). The lawsuits that have been filed since the Hidden Predator Act took effect bear him out. While the law allows victims to go after the individuals they say abused them, the businesses and nonprofits that allegedly enabled or covered up predatory behavior have so far avoided any potential financial liability.” By Christian Boone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Statute of limitations on child abuse cases should be longer
“Rarely does a month go by without us having to publish a police or court report involving an adult who has victimized a child sexually(link is external). It was only a few short weeks ago we reported charges against a Cassadaga man accused of alleged sexual conduct with a child under the age of 11. There are enough such cases for Patrick Swanson, county district attorney, to suggest adding money to his budget next year to assign a prosecutor solely to sexual crimes against children.” By The Post-Journal
CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
‘The Keepers’: here’s what has happened since the Netflix series debuted
“‘The Keepers’ debuted two months ago, and since then, filmmaker Ryan White has seen positive developments in the case(link is external): More victims have spoken out and police are investigating further into Father Joseph Maskell’s past life.” By Beatrice Verhoeven, SFGate.com
How the Catholic Church’s hierarchy makes it difficult to punish sexual abusers
“…While reforms in the Catholic Church in the United States have made it mandatory for priests to report instances of sexual abuse, there still remains much work to be done(link is external) in the Catholic Church worldwide. From my perspective as a Catholic scholar of religion, one of the challenges in tackling this issue is the hierarchy of the church itself. It is still difficult to hold high-ranking clerics responsible, either for the misdeeds of their subordinates or for the crimes that they may have committed themselves …” By Mathew Schmalz, SFGate.com
Catholic order settles abuse case years later
“The Claretians Roman Catholic order has settled a lawsuit from a man sexually abused as a 6-year-old(link is external) by a teenager who later became a prominent priest in Chicago, confirming in the settlement obtained by The Associated Press that the longtime cleric recently left the priesthood. But Bruce Wellems, 60, still works as executive director of a nonprofit that offers youth mentoring, alternative schooling and other programs for children, according to a staff list at the Peace and Education Coalition. Its head office is also located in the same southwest side Chicago church where he served as priest for two decades.” By Michael Tarm, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Father claims Overland Park priest ‘tickled,’ touched young daughter
“Hours after the Archdiocese of KCK announced the suspension of priest Scott Kallal on Tuesday (Jul. 18), a man who claims his daughter was sexually assaulted(link is external) by Kallal came forward with new allegations. The Archdiocese announced in a statement Monday (Jul. 17) afternoon that Kallal was suspended from his position at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park after two sources came forward with allegations of wrongdoing.” By KSHB-TV
Paul Shanley, priest at center of clergy sex abuse scandal, to be released
“One of the most notorious figures in the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external) has completed his prison sentence on child rape charges and will be released this week (Jul. 26) after two experts hired by prosecutors found he does not meet the legal criteria to be held as a sexually dangerous person. Paul Shanley was known in the 1960s and ’70s for being a hip street priest who reached out to troubled youths.” By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press, on WBUR.org
Man sues Boston Archdiocese citing sex abuse at orphanage
“A New York man is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for sexual abuse he says he suffered decades ago(link is external) at a church-affiliated home for orphaned and foster children. Andre Jones, who’s 51, said Monday (Jul. 17) that he was abused in the 1970s by the late Brother Edward Anthony Holmes, a supervisor and counselor at the now-shuttered Nazareth Child Care Center.” By Philip Marcelo, Associated Press
Disgraced Catholic priest loses appeal of ‘sex tourism’ convictions for molesting orphans
“A former Catholic priest from Somerset County who was convicted of engaging in ‘sexual tourism(link is external)’ to molest poor orphans in Honduras has lost an appeal of his nearly 17-year prison sentence. That defeat came this week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected Joseph D. Maurizio Jr.’s claims that he didn’t receive a fair trial.” By Matt Miller, PennLive.com
Advocacy group demands Greensburg Diocese release ‘secret files’
“An advocacy group believes that Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic may be withholding evidence, hidden in secret files(link is external) known as Canon 489 files, pertaining to the arrest of the Rev. John T. Sweeney. The group thinks the files could contain evidence of the sexual abuse of children. Diocesan law describes the files as archives meant to be ‘kept secret, locked, and protected.’ On Tuesday (Jul. 25), the Diocese said it has turned over every file on Sweeney, including the Canon 489 files, to the attorney general.” By WTAE-TV Pittsburgh
Court upholds priest’s sex-abuse conviction involving orphans in Honduras
“A federal appeals court on Monday (Jul. 24) upheld the conviction of a former Somerset County priest who was found guilty in 2015 of traveling to Honduras to sexually abuse orphans(link is external) and sentenced last year to more than 16 years in federal prison. The Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr., who at the time of his September 2014 arrest was the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish in Central City, had asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to overturn his conviction.” By Mark Pesto, Tribune-Democrat
Retired Westmorland County priest accused of forcing boy to perform oral sex
“A now-retired Roman Catholic priest is accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the 4th-grader about misbehaving on a school bus. The state attorney general’s office said Monday (Jul. 24) that the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney committed felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse(link is external) against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.” By Associated Press on WJACTV.com
Western Pennsylvania Catholics, victims react to latest abuse arrest
“Area Catholics and ex-Catholics who testified before a state grand jury that met in 2014 to investigate Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse(link is external) reacted Monday (Jul. 24) to the news of another abuse allegation with a mixture of relief and anger. ‘Being one of those people who came forward, this is a very proud day for me,’ said Shaun Dougherty, 47, formerly of Johnstown. ‘If this arrest came as a result of anything I testified to … that’s why I came forward.’” By Stephen Huba, TribLive.com
Priest John Denham to face fresh Taree child sex allegations
“Convicted child sex offender Catholic priest John Denham has been charged with fresh offenses after a man alleged he was sexually abused(link is external) at Taree in the late 1970s by Denham, senior Maitland-Newcastle priest Barry Tunks and two other men. Manning/Great Lakes Local Area Command detectives charged Denham, 76, with three sexual assault offences more than two months after charging former Vicar General Barry Tunks, 76, in March with three indecent assault offences against the same boy in Catholic Church facilities at Taree.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald
George Pell braces for first court appearance amid accusations of Salem which hunt and slaughter of lambs
“People who have accused Cardinal George Pell of molesting them could be ‘lambs to the slaughter’ when legal proceedings begin(link is external), a Victorian lawyer representing sex abuse survivors fears. Australia’s most senior cleric will appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court next week on multiple historical sex charges, which one of Pell’s close friends has likened to a Salem witch hunt.” By Mark Saunokonoko, 9news.com.au
What are Catholics parishes doing to guard against child sexual abuse?
“The Catholic Church has acknowledged the number of priests identified by the child abuse royal commission is indefensible(link is external), and says it is working hard to make sure the abuse is never repeated. But what does that mean for local parishes making changes to protect children into the future?” By Eliza Borrello, ABC News Australia
Cardinal ‘knew about priest’s conviction’
“Australia’s first Catholic cardinal suspended a priest who exposed himself to children but the man later returned to parish work and allegedly abused a boy(link is external), documents before a royal commission reveal. The Catholic Church’s insurance company refused to cover a claim that Father Robert Alban McNeill abused a boy in the 1980s because of Sydney archdiocese’s prior knowledge in 1969/1970 of ‘the offender’s propensities.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au
— Cardinal Pell hires ‘Australia’s best lawyer’ to fight historic sex charges for rumored $11,000 a day(link is external), By Josh Hanrahan, Daily Mail Australia
‘It killed part of me,’ clergy abuse victim says
“An Ottawa man has become the latest victim to sue the Archdiocese of Ottawa for sexual abuse that he allegedly suffered(link is external) at the hands of the city’s most notorious Catholic priest, Rev. Dale Crampton. Robert Sullivan has filed a $2-million damages claim for abuse that he says began when he was just 10 years old.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen
Former priest, Boy Scout leader, accused in new abuse suits
“A man on Tuesday (Jul. 18) filed a lawsuit, alleging that now-deceased Boy Scouts of America scout leader Edward Pereira raped and sexually abused him(link is external) in the early 1970s. It is the first of 93 sexual abuse lawsuits that does not name the Archdiocese of Agana as a defendant. Another lawsuit filed Tuesday (Jul. 18), by a man now living in California, alleges that now-deceased priest Ray Techaira sexually abused him when he was a Catholic school student in the mid-1980s.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
Five more sex abuse lawsuits filed against the Church
“Nearly 100 sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) have been filed against the Church. Late Thursday afternoon (Jul. 14), five more cases were filed in the District Court of Guam. 53-year-old R.W.J., 50-year-old P.P.R., and 58-year-old W.E.T. all allege they were molested by Father Louis Brouillard. P.P.R. goes into detail saying that aside from being exposed to the priest naked as well as naked swims it the river, the priest would molest him in a room behind the Church altar. The priest would tell the young boy that it was what God wanted him to do and that it was a sin if he didn’t do as Brouillard asked.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV
Victim alleges sex abuse before grandma’s funeral
“Attorney David Lujan filed five more clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana, Boy Scouts of America and two former Guam priests in federal court yesterday (Jul. 12) afternoon. One of the cases alleges defrocked priest Raymond Cepeda abused a boy after officiating the funeral Mass for the boy’s deceased grandmother, and while in a car ride to the burial site. The latest cases also added more cases against former Guam priest Louis Brouillard.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post
Guam’s Catholic Church could sell 41 properties to settle abuse cases
“The Guam Catholic church’s financial arm on Thursday (Jul. 13) released a list of 41 non-essential properties that could be sold to help settle more than 90 Guam clergy sexual abuse cases(link is external). The most valuable of the assets are the former Accion Hotel, which now houses the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona, the chancery complex where the archbishop lives, and the former Thomas Aquinas High School in Ordot, the Archdiocesan Finance Council said.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
Kerala: Catholic priest held for sodomizing two boys
“A Kerala priest accused of sodomizing minor boys(link is external) was arrested by the police on Tuesday (Jul. 17). The suspect Fr. Saji Joseph, 45, was director of St. Vincent’s Balabhavan at Meenangadi in Waynad district. He was accused of sodomizing minor boys staying in the hostel since 2016. The incident came to light after a victim confided the ordeals to his mother when he went home for vacation recently.” By Gladwin Emmanuel, Mumbai Times
IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND
Irish priest who exposed pedophile to sue Florida diocese for defamation
“An Irish priest has been given permission by a US court to sue the West Palm Beach diocese over defamation. Father John Gallagher, a Tyrone native, claimed the Florida diocese tried to cover-up a pedophile priest(link is external) in the diocese. Gallagher exposed him and was shunned and defamed as a result. In January 2015, Gallagher (49), who has served in Florida since 2000, helped to report criminal misconduct by Fr. Jose Palimattom, a priest of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India, who was serving a two-year residency at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, in West Palm Beach.” By Staff at Irish Central
No justice for a life destroyed
“Victims of historic abuse(link is external) in state care are fighting back, demanding justice – in cash and apologies – to help rebuild broken lives. But some are going further. In the second part of ODT Insight’s special investigation, Chris Morris tells Darryl Smith’s story.” By Chris Morris, Otago Daily Times
Internationally recognized leadership expert and Harvard Kennedy School scholar Ronald Heifetz will speak at a Voice of the Faithful event, “Adaptive Leadership: Making Leadership Work,” about principles of adaptive leadership he has used to counsel governments, businesses and organizations around the world.
A dynamic and captivating speaker, Heifetz is the original spokesperson for “adaptive leadership” and the inevitable pains it brings in the pursuit of transformative birth. He is much in demand in his capacity as a founder of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and a cofounder of Cambridge Leadership Associates, which consults to corporate, nonprofit and public sectors worldwide.
Heifetz’s talk will take place 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, at the Wellesley Country Club, 300 Wellesley Ave., Wellesley Hills, Mass. Refreshments will be served following the talk and audience Q&A.
Admission is $35 per person; $50 for two; and two people bringing a friend will be admitted for $60. Space is limited. Anyone interested may reserve seats online by clicking this Donate to VOTF form, filling in the Amount ($) for the number of seats requested and writing HEIFETZ and the number of seats requested in the comment box. Those who would like to make reservations by check can write HEIFETZ on the memo line and send their check in time to be received by the Friday before the event to VOTF, P.O. Box 423, Newton, MA 02464.
Heifetz’ first book, Leadership without Easy Answers, has become a classic in the field and is among the 10 most assigned course books at Harvard and Duke universities. He is coauthor of a best-selling go-to book for leaders, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, and coauthor of The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World, a book for practicing leadership in the field.
Heifetz’ research focuses on 1.) creating a conceptual foundation for the study of leadership; 2.) creating teaching, training , and consulting methods for leadership practice; and 3.) building adaptive capacity of organizations and societies. His courses on leadership at Harvard draw students from throughout Harvard’s graduate schools and neighboring universities.
A graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Medical School and the Kennedy School, Heifetz trained in psychiatry before devoting himself to the study of leadership in public affairs and business.
Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
Pope Francis establishes commission to study women’s diaconate; appoints Voice of the Faithful St. Catherine of Siena Award recipient as member
Pope Francis has established a commission to study ordaining women as deacons in the Catholic Church and has appointed a recipient of Voice of the Faithful’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award as a member. Among the 13 members, six are women, and four of those are lay women.
Voice of the Faithful has long sought women’s equality in the Church and, as part of that initiative, a women’s diaconate. This came closer to reality today (Aug. 2), as the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ “Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate,” particularly to look into the role of women deacons in the early Church.
Appointed to the commission is Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in New York. She has written widely regarding a women’s diaconate, has spoken often to VOTF audiences and received VOTF’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award at its 2012 10th Year Conference in Hartford, Connecticut.
When Pope Francis said in May that he would consider such a commission, VOTF reiterated its call for all baptized Catholics, women and men, to have equal access to all positions within the Church and a voice in all decision-making processes.
At that time, Zagano said, “I am delighted that in this time of Pentecost the Spirit has brought the question of women deacons to the Holy Father’s mind, and I hope and pray that I will be able to assist whatever commission he establishes.”
Today, Zagano’s prayer was answered, and VOTF looks forward to the commission’s study and, eventually, a diaconate for women in the Church.
Voice of the Faithful presents its views on women deacons on its website in a paper it commissioned from Carolyn Johnson, Ed.D. Click here to read “Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Catholic Church to Open This Door,” and click here to see a bibliography of suggested readings on women in the Church that VOTF compiled for its 10th Year Conference in 2012.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
Voice of the Faithful Advisory Board member Paul Lakeland elected Catholic Theological Society of America vice president
Voice of the Faithful advisory board member Paul Lakeland, Ph.D., has been elected vice president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. VOTF is the Catholic Church reform movement started in 2002 at the height of the Boston, Mass., clergy sexual abuse crisis.
Lakeland was elected during the society’s 2016 annual meeting, which was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He serves as vice president for the next year. In June 2017, he will become president-elect and then president in June 2018. In 2019, he will be past president for a final year in his four-year presidential service.
Lakeland is the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., chair of Catholic Studies and director of Fairfield University’s Center for Catholic Studies, Fairfield, Conn. He has written and taught Catholic ecclesiology, liberation theology, and religion and literature for more than 30 years. Among Lakeland’s several Catholic Press Association awards is one for best book in theology for The Liberation of the Laity. Fairfield University awarded him the Robert E. Wall Faculty Research Award for the 2015-16 academic year.
“We congratulate Dr. Lakeland on his election as vice president and president-elect of the Catholic Theological Society of America,” said Mary Pat Fox, VOTF’s president, “and we feel fortunate and honored to have such an internationally renowned scholar and theologian advising us on Catholic issues. Over the years, he has been most generous with his time and talent on behalf of VOTF.”
VOTF’s Advisory Council advises its board of trustees on issues relative to the organization’s mission and goals, offers analysis and recommendations as solicited by the board, and counsels the board on issues it feels are pertinent to VOTF’s success. Council members combine their knowledge and experience in theology and institutional church dynamics with a unique understanding of VOTF’s origin, development and purpose.
The 1,300-member Catholic Theological Society of America, founded in 1946, is the largest professional society of theologians in the world and promotes theological research in the Roman Catholic tradition that is attentive to contemporary problems faced by the Church and the world.
Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church.
(Photo at Fairfield.edu)
With ‘Spotlight’ movie an award contender, Catholic reform movement assesses scandal / National Catholic Reporter (‘Spotlight’ received Best Picture Oscar a few days after the post was made)
The critically acclaimed movie ‘Spotlight’ could receive a Best Picture Oscar this Sunday. The film about how The Boston Globe investigated and brought to light clergy sexual abuse of children and its cover up in the Boston archdiocese has brought renewed awareness to the scandal worldwide.
“But many Catholics have had a heightened sense of the crisis all along. Some of those Catholics — determined to remain faithful while addressing the scandal — formed Voice of the Faithful only a couple of months after the Globe’s sensational January 2002 story appeared.
“VOTF continues its work nearly a decade and half later because the scandal remains — ‘a mass psychological dysfunction hidden in plain sight, which has stretched back decades or even centuries and will, unchecked, do precisely the same in the future,’ according to Peter Bradshaw’s “Spotlight” review in The Guardian.
“Amid the passionate indignation the scandal created, VOTF grew rapidly to comprise an international membership. Key to members is to remain faithful Catholics and to help redress and prevent scandal by changing the way the Church operates …”
By Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director, Voice of the Faithful, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Over the past 14 years, thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by priests and their supporters have maintained a vigil every Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in downtown Boston. We have protested lies, broken promises, and survivor re-victimization by the Catholic Church and its hierarchy; we have supported men and women survivors in dealing with the horrors of abuse; we have demanded change in a Church that for too long denied and facilitated and covered up the rape of children.
“Yet some parishioners still ask: ‘Why are you demonstrating? What do you want’ …
“The survivors and their supporters who have stood outside the Cathedral every Sunday for 14 years since then are committed to keeping the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests alive. By their presence, they validated the truth of what survivors were saying and made a commitment that survivors would never be alone again. What this meant to survivors needs to be heard.”
By abuse survivors and their supporters, special to Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story. Voice of the Faithful started in 2002, shortly after The Boston Globe’s first story about clergy sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese and, since then, has supported survivors and provided a lay voice calling for accountability for abusers and their perpetrators and changes in Catholic Church culture and structures that abet the abuse. Visit www.votf.org to read about VOTF’s programs.
The U.S. Catholic Church’s primary responses to its clergy sexual abuse scandal have been protection protocols and litigation, that is, promulgating the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and leaving litigation as the primary option for abuse survivors seeking justice.
Conspicuously absent from the Church’s responses have been programs and activities focused on healing wounds from the scandal.
Voice of the Faithful has an approach that the reform movement believes has great potential as a step on the path toward healing for anyone who feels harmed by the scandal. William Casey, a former VOTF board chair and Northern Virginia Mediation Service Restorative Justice Program director, featured this “Restorative Justice Healing Circle” approach in a lecture he presented Dec. 3 at Boston College in Newton, Mass. The college’s Church in the 21st Century Center co-sponsored the event.
Called “Storytelling for Healing,” the lecture explained the power of deep listening and safe storytelling to an attentive audience of BC theology students, VOTF members, abuse survivors and community members. Casey, who also facilitates Healing Circles, described how they ensure a safe place for each participant to tell his or her story. He then quoted testimonials from people who said the Healing Circle had started them on a path toward healing or nurtured healing they were beginning to experience.
Casey also pointed out that the injury caused by clergy abuse spills over into families and friends of survivors and onto all people of faith whose trust is shaken be such betrayal. All affected by this breach in trust are welcomed into a Healing Circle.
Audience questions made it clear the concept of Restorative Justice on which Healing Circles are based is not an easy concept for those living in a 21st century, First-World country, where people are most familiar with retributive and punitive means of redress. Several people expressed their gratitude that VOTF was taking this lead in responding to survivor needs.
More information on Healing Circles is available on VOTF’s Programs webpage.
There was the man who had been sexually abused as a boy by his priest. The priest who felt shunned within the Catholic Church after he spoke out against such abuse. The husband who had never told his wife about his assault decades earlier. The couple in their 80s who raised seven children in the church but finally, tearfully, decided to leave the pews.
“They’ve all been participants in a healing circle, a pilot program launched in Boston a year ago by the Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), an organization of progressive Catholics formed in 2002 in response to the priest sex abuse scandal. Based on a restorative justice model, the circles allow those who have suffered harm to meet in a small group and tell their stories.
“This month, the organizers seized the occasion of Pope Francis’s US visit to try to win awareness of their project at the highest levels of the church. In a full-page ad in the National Catholic Reporter, VOTF issued an open invitation to the pope to attend a healing circle in New York during his Sept. 24-25 visit. ‘Welcome to the U.S. We invite you to join us in a Healing Circle. Time does not heal all wounds. Some wounds fester, like those the survivors of clergy sexual abuse suffer, and the wounds their families and communities experience. They are broken people, as is their Church,’ the ad read.”
By Bella English, The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Pope Francis has asked his international Council of Cardinals to study the way the church vets, identifies and appoints bishops around the world, looking particularly at the qualities needed in a bishop today.
“Near the end of the council’s meetings with the pope Sept. 14-16, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, briefed reporters on its work.
“While one of the main tasks of the nine-member council is to assist Pope Francis with the ongoing reorganization of the Roman Curia, Lombardi said that from the beginning Pope Francis said he wanted the group to advise him on matters of church governance in general. With more than 150 new bishops being named each year in the Latin-rite church, identifying suitable candidates is a normal part of the governance of the universal church, the spokesman said.”
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Voice of the Faithful has long advocated for greater lay input into selection of local bishops. VOTF has promulgated a proposal to achieve this, “Furthering the New Evangelization: Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy.” The proposal seeks to restore to the selection process many of the lay-involvement practices followed throughout the first millenium and well into the second, and, at the same time, it would recognize the authority of the pope (as affirmed in Canon Law and Vatican II) to make the final appointment of a bishop, generally from the recommendations submitted for each diocese.
VOTF presently maintains a first-of-its-kind web portal enabling Catholics in a diocese with an announced or impending vacancy to offer confidentially their thoughts on the needs of the diocese, the desired qualities of the next bishop, and the names of potential nominees directly to the Apostolic Nuncio.