Posts Tagged women in the church

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


Sept. 27, 2019

TOP STORIES

A Rhode Island church was told it hired an accused child molester: It kept him on for two decades
“When the Rev. Barry Gamache arrived at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in early 1997, it had been a dozen years since a former longtime parish priest was hauled away for sexually abusing teenage boys … And when the new priest needed someone to handle the church’s finances, he found a parishioner who was eager to help: David E. Barboza. A Globe investigation this summer revealed that Barboza had been accused of sexual misconduct with three boys in the 1970s and 1980s(link is external). Gamache said he was ‘surprised and hurt’ by those revelations. Two other men have subsequently reported to the State Police that they were also victims, and still others have made similar allegations to the Globe.” By Amanda Milkovits, The Boston Globe

Revealed: How pedophile priests in Victoria worked together to share vicitms
“Some of the Catholic church’s worst pedophile priests shared victims, passed on details of vulnerable children considered easy targets and worked together to conceal their crimes(link is external) as part of informal networks of sexual abuse hidden in Australian seminaries, schools and parishes. An investigation by The Age has identified for the first time that many priests involved in historical sexual abuse of children did not simply act as individuals but formed clusters, or pedophile rings, throughout Victoria, from the western district to the Gippsland region and in suburban Melbourne.” By Farrah Tomazin, Chris VedeLago and Debbie Cuthertson

Safeguarding must be imbedded into Church life across the globe
“The 11th Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors concludes in Rome … According to a press release issued at the conclusion of the Assembly, there is a continuing need for the culture and mission of Safeguarding to be systemically embedded into the life of the Church across the globe(link is external). In this regard, the Pontifical Commission is engaged in three specific Working Groups: Working with Survivors, Formation and Education, and Safeguarding Guidelines and Norms.” By Vatican News

Cardinal George Pell to appeal to high court over child sexual abuse conviction
“Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell have lodged a special leave application with the high court to try to appeal his historical sex abuse convictions(link is external), which will be his final avenue to have his conviction overturn. The high court on Tuesday (Sept. 17) confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry. The lodging of the appeal does not mean the high court will agree to hear the case.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

Abuse crisis, leadership failure having impact on church giving
“The Catholic Church in the United States has spent a staggering amount of money – close to $4 billion in the past 20 years – to investigate, adjudicate and prevent clergy sex abuse, and to compensate victims for the harm they’ve suffered. And as those expenses have prompted dioceses to lay off staff, sell property and liquidate some assets, there is growing evidence that more Catholics across the country are deciding not to contribute(link is external) to their bishops’ diocesan appeals because of the scandals.” By Brian Fraga, Catholic News Service, Cruxnow.com

Bishop’s secret list of accused priests leaves him besieged
“Bishop Richard J. Malone kept a secret black binder in a closet with a list of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse(link is external). He was recorded in a conversation expressing more concern about his own reputation than about removing a priest whom he called dangerous and a ‘sick puppy.’ And some of the bishop’s own clergy are circulating a letter of no-confidence in him.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

‘Seduction’ of children did little harm, said Catholic gatekeeper
“The psychologist who worked with the Catholic church for three decades to screen candidates for the priesthood once characterized child abuse as ‘seduction’ that would do little lasting harm to its victims(link is external). Ronald Conway, the Melbourne Archdiocese’s “consulting psychologist for religious vocations” tested applicants to the Corpus Christi seminary from 1969 to at least 2001, during which time 16 child abusers graduated as priests. Mr Conway himself was later accused of historical sexual misconduct by former patients of his private practice, though never charged or convicted.” By Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin and Debbie Cuthertson

ACCOUNTABILITY

Cincinnati bishop ‘anticipating’ Vatican investigation into handling of abuse cases
“Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati has submitted a report to Rome, following criticism of the archdiocese’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse against a local priest(link is external). Archdiocesan officials told CNA Sept. 17 that a complete file on the case of Fr. Geoff Drew has been sent to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, for transmission to the relevant curial departments, expected to include the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

Jurors deadlocked in trial of priest accused of molestation
“A Kansas jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Kansas priest who was suspended from the ministry after he was accused of inappropriately touching a young girl(link is external) on two occasions. A Wyandotte County jury announced Monday (Sept. 16) evening that it could not determine the guilt or innocence of the Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, who was charged with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He was accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl in 2015 at a Kansas City, Kansas, church gymnasium and again at a graduation party in Bonner Springs.” By The Associated Press in National Catholic Reporter

Vatican prosecutors request indictment of Italian priest on charges of sexual abuse
“Vatican prosecutors have requested the indictment of an Italian priest on charges of sexual abuse(link is external) that occurred at least seven years ago at a minor seminary located within the Vatican walls. The prosecutors also requested the indictment of the rector of the seminary at the time of the alleged crime, on charges of aiding and abetting abuse, the Vatican press office announced Sept. 17. The requested indictments appear to be the first of their kind for sexual abuse committed on Vatican territory.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Missouri AG issues report regarding clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church; identifies 12 cases for potential criminal prosecution, more than any other state attorney general
“Today (Sept. 13), Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt held a press conference to announce the findings of the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). After an extensive review of the records of thousands of clergy members and conducting interviews with victims, the Attorney General’s Office will refer 12 former clergy members for potential criminal prosecution, the most of any state attorney general probe, and laid out suggested guidelines for the Catholic Church moving forward.” By Office of the Missouri Attorney General

POPE FRANCIS

Attacks against Pope Francis are aimed at influencing the next conclave
“‘The attacks against Pope Francis in the church today’ are ‘a fight between those who want the church dreamed of by the Second Vatican Council and those who do not want this(link is external),’ Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Jesuits, stated at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Sept. 16. Speaking to the press in Italian, he said … ‘I am convinced that it is not only an attack against this pope. Francis is convinced of what he is doing, ever since he was elected pope. He will not change.’ And his critics ‘know he will not change,’ said Father Sosa, adding, ‘In reality, these [attacks] are a way to influence the election of the next pope.’” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

What 10 new cardinal tell us about Pope Francis’ priorities
“In announcing the appointment of 10 new cardinal electors, Pope Francis has improved the possibility that the next pope will continue his policies, but their appointments have also sent a message to the church about what should be the priorities of its leaders(link is external). Cardinals do not just elect popes. They also help guide the church through committees, called congregations, that supervise the work of Vatican offices. Who serves on these congregations can influence the direction and priorities of these offices.” By Thomas J. Reese, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINAL PELL

Cardinal Pell lodges high court appeal
“Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers have lodged a High Court challenge to his conviction(link is external), saying he was asked to prove the impossible by two appeal court judges. His lawyers argue that Victoria’s Court of Appeal mistakenly reversed the onus of proof when hearing his case, forcing him to prove it was impossible for him to sexually assault two choirboys in a cathedral.” By CathNews.com

BISHOPS

Bishop Malone accused of mishandling sex abuse in Maine, before he came to western New York
“At a news conference two weeks ago, Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone said he had a good record on dealing with sexually abusive priests. ‘You call it cover-up, we call it confidentiality,’ he told reporters. Malone pointed to his time in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, where he served for eight years before coming to Buffalo. But on the ground in the bishop’s old diocese, advocates for victims of sexual abuse and new documents obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team paint a much different picture(link is external) of the bishop’s past — especially when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Former Albany bishop denies second abuse claim
“Former Catholic Bishop Howard J. Hubbard has been accused of sexual abuse in a second civil complaint(link is external) — this one alleging he and two other Albany priests sexually assaulted a teenage girl repeatedly in the rectory of Immaculate Conception Church in Schenectady in the late 1970s. In a statement released Monday (Sept. 16), Hubbard denied the new claim and reiterated his earlier assertion that he has never sexually abused anyone.” By Cayla Harris and Steve Hughes, Albany Times Union

Bishop Bransfield’s life of luxury
“New details have emerged about the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield(link is external). Bransfield spent nearly one million dollars on private jets and over $660,000 on airfare and hotels during his 13 years as bishop of his former diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

A new investigation by the Washington Post, published on September 12, reported that during his last year in active ministry, Bransfield took at least 19 trips in what was described as a chartered luxury jet. Those trips cost the diocese more than $142,000.” By Catholic News Agency in Catholic Herald

  • Bishop of West Virginia, one of the poorest states, lived a life of luxury, By David Gew

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women walking together, away from the church
“The Vatican released the participants’ list for the upcoming Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region the other day. All 185 synod votes belong to men. There is one voting lay person: Ecuadorian Holy Family Br. Miguel Angel González Antolín, one of 15 named by the men’s Union of Superiors General. The 10 women religious nominated by the women’s International Union of Superiors General (UISG) are in the back rows(link is external), with 45 other auditors.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

‘It’s our church, too’: Conference to focus on need for women’s leadership
“Women’s inroads as leaders in the church and society is to be celebrated, but there is still much work to do so that churches, businesses and governments can benefit from the gifts and talents of half the human race. So say speakers tapped to share their wisdom on the topic of women’s leadership at the second Women of the Church conference(link is external), scheduled for Oct. 18-20 at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

CHILD PROTECTION

Revised archdiocesan child protection policy also emphasizes safe environments for adults
“The Archdiocese of Washington’s Child Protection Policy was instituted in 1986 as one of the first such policies in the nation and has been used as a model for dioceses nationwide. The policy – which covers healing, reporting and prevention of abuse – was updated in 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2013 to incorporate enhancements in child protection mandates and oversight. And in July 2019, the policy was again revised, with a new title that reflects its expanded scope, as the archdiocese’s Child Protection and Safe Environment Policy(link is external), to emphasize the importance of ensuring safe environments for people of all ages, protecting children from sexual abuse and adults from sexual harassment or abuses of power.” By Mark Zimmermann, Catholic Standard, Archdiocese of Washington

CHURCH FINANCES

A New York diocese filed for bankruptcy. Why more may follow.
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection under the financial weight of new sexual misconduct lawsuits(link is external), but lawyers and church leaders say it may not be the last. The state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses are facing financial pressures as a result of the state’s new Child Victims Act … More than 400 cases have been brought against the dioceses since Aug. 14, when the law’s one-year “look back” period for such suits began.” By CBS-TV News

Bishop says bankruptcy could be best balance of justice for sex abuse victims
“Bishop Malone says he’s close to making a decision on whether the Buffalo Diocese will file for bankruptcy(link is external) but he says he’s not there yet. Today (Sept. 19) on WBEN Radio, the bishop spoke about the decision to either litigate cases filed under the Child Victims Act or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bishop says there have been 138 cases filed against the diocese so far. He expects for there to be around 250 to 275 cases filed under the Child Victims Act.” By WIVB-TV4, Buffalo, N.Y.

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Amazon archbishop backs ordination of married priests
“According to a Spanish missionary archbishop who’s been in Ecuador since 1998, ‘We must thank God that there are still prophets like Pope Francis’ who think about the future. Specifically, the bishop backed the ordination of married men as priests in the Amazon(link is external), supporting the idea of calling viri probati, or tested married men, into the priesthood to serve isolated rural communities.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Germany’s Catholic Church struggles with women and power
Catholic women are demanding change in the church and giving Germany’s bishops an earful(link is external) as they meet in Fulda. The bishops are under pressure — from the progressive grassroots at home and from a reluctant Vatican. They won’t let up. Catholic women protested in the central city of Fulda ahead of the plenary assembly of Germany’s Catholic bishops on Monday (Sept. 23) afternoon. ‘We want to be visible and audible. And I believe that we owe it to the women and men of the Catholic Church that we are heard more,’ said Mechthild Heil, head of the Catholic Women’s Community of Germany (kfd).” By Deutsche-Welle

VOICES

A place for the Church’s thinking
“University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh once called Notre Dame ‘a place where the Church does its thinking.’ Although the origin of Hesburgh’s words have been lost to time, their meaning remains clear: Notre Dame could be a sanctuary for Catholic reflection – a meeting ground for the Church to convene and bring about concrete change … As the face of Catholic scholarship in the U.S., perhaps Notre Dame is a fitting venue for this discussion(link is external) by merit of its reputation alone. But there is a far greater reason we need this conference: Many in the tri-campus community feel the wounds of the crisis deeply.” By The Observer Editorial Board

Latest Pew survey a case of good-news, bad-news for American religious leaders
“Results from the latest Pew Research survey on how much trust Americans have in those holding positions of power and responsibility offer both good and bad news for religious leaders, particularly those of the Christian faith. First, the bad news: According to the survey results, published Sept. 19, religious leaders in America fall behind journalists, police officers and military officers in terms of public confidence in their ethical behavior(link is external).” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Financial toll of priest sex abuse on Chicago Archdiocese? $220 million and climbing
“Underscoring how the Chicago Archdiocese continues to pay millions of dollars for clergy sex abuse of children(link is external) that occurred decades ago, a prominent attorney announced Tuesday (Sept. 17) that he has newly settled cases for the long-ago misdeeds of five former Catholic priests. The archdiocese has paid more than $80 million since 2001 to 160 people represented by Jeff Anderson’s firm, the attorney said. That’s a large chunk of the estimated $220 million that the archdiocese had spent in total to settle such claims, the church confirmed.” By Madeline Buckley and Elyssa Cherney

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Predator priests: When will Missouri scrap statute of limitations for sex crimes
“Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has referred the cases of a dozen former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors to prosecutors after a year-long investigation. That potential for justice for any of those so long denied is appreciated, though it’s impossible to say how many of the dozen men will be charged, much less convicted. But charges can’t even be pursued against 46 other ex-clergy because the statute of limitations on the allegations against them has expired(link is external).” By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Notre Dame study: 6 percent of seminarians report sexual misconduct; 90 percent report none
“According to new research from the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, 6 percent of Catholic seminarians across the country say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, while 90 percent report none(link is external). Another 4 percent said they might have experienced misconduct but were not sure, and 84 percent of seminarians believe their administration and faculty take reports of such misconduct very seriously. ‘Sexual Harassment and Catholic Seminary Culture’ is a laity-led, first-of-its-kind survey that was carried out in a collaboration between the McGrath Institute and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.” By Amanda Skofstad, Notre Dame News

Six California Catholic dioceses announce launch of victim compensation program
“Six Catholic dioceses in California, including San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles, on Monday (Sept. 16) announced the launch of a victim compensation program allowing them to settle claims of clergy sexual abuse outside of court(link is external). The California Catholic Conference announced in May that the six dioceses were forming the Independent Compensation Program (ICP) for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests. Registration opened Monday for victims who want to file claims. The other participating dioceses include San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento.” By Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke, The San Bernardino Sun

Catholic priest files defamation lawsuit after being outed as alleged predator
“A lawsuit by a former priest is seeking punitive damages for ‘severe humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress(link is external)’ after being outed as an accused child molester by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. J. Patrick Foley of Sacramento, California, claims that the Diocese promoted a ‘reckless disregard for the truth’ in a September 12 filing with San Diego Superior Court. In 2018, Foley was one of eight men added to a list of Catholic clergy believed by the Diocese to be responsible for sexually abusing children. Foley’s lawsuit alleges that his inclusion on the list amounts to publishing ‘false and defamatory material.’” By Aila Slisco, Newsweek

CALIFORNIA

Compensation process opens for clergy sex-abuse victims
“Childhood victims of clergy sex-abuse in San Diego and five other Roman Catholic dioceses in California can file for compensation under a program that started accepting claims this week(link is external). The Independent Compensation Program, announced in May, is being run by lawyers Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two experienced adjudicators who handled the 9/11 victims fund, among others. They are also administering claims programs for abuse victims in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.” By John Wilkens, The San Diego Union-Tribune

COLORADO

Some question if Colorado probe of Catholic Church will uncover full scope of priests’ abuse
“As investigations in other states produce arrests and unearth abuse allegations within the Catholic Church, some people in Colorado are questioning if negotiations before the state’s review began will protect the church’s reputation and prevent the disclosure(link is external) of decades worth of closely held secrets.” By Tony Kovaleski, ABC-TV7 News

ILLINOIS

Illinois opens 24 Catholic Church sexual abuse cases that were never investigated
“The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is opening 24 cases of alleged priest misconduct that were never investigated. Now, there are concerns that over 1,000 reports of possible sexual misconduct by clergy within the Catholic church were not reviewed properly(link is external). In 2006, the DCFS entered an agreement with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Under the requirements of said agreement, the church was supposed to report any allegation of abuse they became aware of to the DCFS, regardless of the alleged victim’s age. Under state law, these cases do not have to be reported to DCFS if the victim is no longer a minor.” By Jeffery Martin, Newsweek

KANSAS

Wichita diocese names 15 priests accused of child sexual abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of Wichita has released the names of 15 priests who have been accused of child sexual abuse(link is external). The diocese said in a release on Thursday that claims against diocesan clergy on the list have been substantiated. Nine of the priests are with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, and six who, though not priests of the diocese, served in the diocese for a period of time.” By KAKE-TV News

LOUISIANA

Madonna Manor, Catholic home for troubled youth in Marrero, at center of new abuse lawsuit
“A 61-year-old man has filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly abused during the 1960s and 1970s by a high-ranking Catholic priest, three nuns and a lay employee(link is external) with ties to a church-run home for troubled youth in Marrero. Eric Reynolds’ lawsuit, filed Thursday (Sept. 19) at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, accuses priest Raymond Hebert, civilian staffer Charlie Earhart and nuns Martin Marie, Alvin Marie and Gertrude Marie of either molesting or beating him over 10 years after his arrival at Madonna Manor in about 1965.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, Nola.com (The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate)

MICHIGAN

Former Diocese of Lansing priest faces additional sexual assault charge
“A Catholic priest who once served parishes in three counties within the Catholic Diocese of Lansing faces an additional sexual assault charge(link is external). Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo was among the first five priests Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office charged in late May. DeLorenzo, now 80, was charged with three counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct based on allegations he fondled and assaulted a young boy for five years while he was pastor at Holy Redeemer Church near Flint.” By Megan Banta, Lansing State Journal

MISSOURI

Missouri’s stilted probe of clergy abuse must not be the last word on the issue
“With the Catholic Church’s sordid history of enabling and covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests, and the long failure of government to confront those crimes, it’s tempting to cheer any progress toward justice. That’s why, at first blush, last week’s news might have appeared promising: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt forwarded the names of 12 former priests to local authorities for possible prosecution after an investigation that dredged up scores of previously unreported allegations against clergy in the state. But a closer look suggests this progress toward justice is at best minimal(link is external).” By The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board

NEW JERSEY

Former Howell priest charged with sexual abuse of a minor
“ A former pastor at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Howell has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor in incidents back in the late 1990s(link is external), announced Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. Father Brendan Williams, 78, of Lawrence, NJ was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault—criminal sexual contact on a victim under the age of 13. Williams was pastor at St. Veronica at the time the alleged criminal acts occurred, between 1997 and 1999.” By Kimberly Bosco, JerseyShoreOnline.com

NEW MEXICO

Former priest likely to spend the rest of his life in prison for abusing an altar boy in New Mexico
“A former Roman Catholic priest who spent decades on the run was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external) in New Mexico. At a sentencing hearing Friday (Sept. 13), US District Judge Martha Vazquez described the case involving Arthur Perrault, 81, as the ‘worst case that I have ever handled and ever seen.’ Perrault was convicted in April of seven federal counts for the early 1990s sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy, who was an altar boy at St. Bernadette’s parish in Albuquerque.” By CNN on Pix11.com

NEW YORK

He sued over a priest’s abuse. Then the diocese filed for bankruptcu.
“Last month, at 67 years old, Mr. (Peter) Saracino filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester under a new law in New York that allows victims to seek justice over sexual abuse from long ago. He expected revelations. Instead, he said, came another betrayal(link is external). His lawsuit and dozens of others against the diocese were supposed to play out in civil court, with the expectation that victims would learn what church leaders knew and did. But the diocese sidestepped all of that by declaring bankruptcy.” By Corina Knoll, The New York Times

Erie County DA opens criminal investigation based on allegations from former seminarian
“’2 On Your Side’ has learned a criminal investigation has been opened(link is external) to examine allegations made by a former student at Christ the King seminary. Kait Munro, spokesperson for Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says the office ‘has opened a file.’ That’s the term used to indicate a criminal investigation has been initiated.” By Steve Brown, WGRZ-TV2 News

Despite what bishop says, poll finds most area Catholics want him to resign
“An overwhelming majority of area Catholics or lapsed Catholics want Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign(link is external) as leader of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, a recent poll by The Buffalo News has found. Nearly 86% of the 473 Erie and Niagara county residents surveyed this weekend said they feel Malone should step down from the post he has held since 2012. Fewer than 3% of those surveyed said Malone should stay on as bishop. About 12% were undecided.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

OHIO

Fairfield-based priest not indicted by grand jury over conduct with teens
“A priest will face a review from his missionary home in Fairfield after a Kentucky grand jury declined to indict him in connection with allegations he acted inappropriately with teens(link is external). According to a statement issued by John Stegeman, spokesman for the Glenmary Home Missioners in Fairfield, ‘a grand jury in Lewis County, Kentucky has declined to indict Glenmary Father Dave Glockner on allegations he touched two teens inappropriately in early August.’” By Michael Clark, Journal-News

Columbus diocese creates task force to review handling of priest sex abuse allegations

“In the six months since the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released a list of priests whom it deemed had been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors, it has added 14 more names and started a task force to study its policies and make recommendations(link is external) to the bishop. The task force, which was formed in May and still is being established, will have 12 to 15 members, including a parish priest and people in the fields of law enforcement, civil law, canon law and mental health.” By Danae King, The Columbus Dispatch

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia priest removed from ministry over sexual assault allegations from decades ago, Archdiocese says
“A Philadelphia priest has been removed from ministry over sexual assault allegations from decades ago(link is external), the Archdiocese says. Rev. Christopher Lucas worked at many places across the Archdiocese but was most recently at St. John the Baptist parish and Hallahan Catholic Girls High School. The Archdiocese says the 63-year-old was accused of sexually assaulting a minor in the 1970s before he was 18 years old. Lucas has not been criminally charged.” By CBS-TV3 Philadelphia

RHODE ISLAND

Providence man urges diocese to release information about his abuser
“A Providence man who says he was sexually abused as a child(link is external) by the Rev. Normand J. Demers, a former priest in the Diocese of Providence who died last year, spoke about his experience in front of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul on Monday (Sept. 23). Robert Houllahan, 50, said Demers sexually abused him at St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Providence, when Houllahan was 7 or 8 years old.” By Madeleine List, Providence Journal

Watchdog Team: Providence diocese adds another name to list of credibly accused priests
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence added a new name to its list of clergy that it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external). Paul Desrosiers, a priest who died from injuries he suffered in a bus crash in 1984, was added to the list of names sometime after it was originally released, on July 1. His inclusion on the list brings it to 51 in total, including priests and deacons.” By Brian Amaral, Providence Journal

WISCONSIN

Former Wisconsin priest, with 11 men saying he abused them as boys, faces sentencing Thursday
“A former Wisconsin priest will be sentenced on Thursday (Sept. 25)(link is external), nine years after victims first told police he molested them. Thomas Ericksen, 72, will face Ashland County Circuit Court Judge Kelly McKnight at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Sawyer County Courthouse in Hayward. Ericksen faces up to 30 years in prison for two charges of sexual assault from incidents dating to the early 1980s, when he was stationed at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Winter.” By Laura Schutte, Wisconsin Daily Herald

Clergy abuse: Activist asks Wausau church-goers to lobby La Crosse Diocese for openness
“Dozens of flyers fluttered under windshield wipers in the late morning breeze Sunday (Sep. 15) as parishioners left St. Michael Catholic Church in Wausau. The flyers were neatly tucked there by David Clohessy, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. As parishioners began leaving the church, he handed them out, asking people to take them home and read them. His goal, he said, was to bring awareness to the fact that the La Crosse Diocese still hasn’t released a list of credibly accused abusers.” By Laura Schutte, Wausau Daily Herald

AUSTRALIA

Retired Victorian priest Peter Waters jailed for abuse of five boys
“A retired Victorian priest will spend the next 14 months behind bars for molesting five boys decades ago in what has been branded a ‘monumental breach of trust(link is external).’ Peter Waters, 74, abused the boys in the 1970s and ’80s, sometimes after climbing into their beds. Waters began grooming one boy after he entered the confessional booth to reveal the Catholic sin of masturbation. When the boy stayed overnight with the priest during the 1980s, Waters molested him as he pretended to sleep. The victim’s brother suffered similar abuse, waking to Waters entering his bed after socializing together, consuming alcohol and cigarettes.” By Marnie Banger, 7News.com.au

Ground zero: How the Ballarat diocese exported pedophiles to the world
“(Darren) is just one of at least 140 people who have made claims of child abuse against the Catholic church in the Ballarat diocese – an extensive region covering 41 parishes in the western third of the state. It’s one of the epicentres of the Catholic child abuse scandal in Victoria(link is external). While St Alipius Boys School and St Patrick’s College in Ballarat are often viewed as ‘ground zero’ for the crisis, less is known about how the pedophiles at the center of these two hubs spread their abuse across the Western District, intersecting with other known sex offenders along the way.” By Debbie Cuthbertson, Andrew Thomson, Farrah Tomazin and Chris Vedelago, The Age

How a Melbourne seminary became the breeding ground for pedophile rings
“The altar boy sat firmly on the back of the motorbike, his skinny arms gripping the waist of the young priest as they weaved through the suburban streets leading to Victoria’s most prestigious Catholic seminary … According to a civil lawsuit due to be filed in court this week, Father Russell Vears guided the 14-year-old boy, John Fells*, into the building, down a corridor with rooms on both sides, and to a communal area where four or five other boys were already sitting, waiting on a couch. Then the St Peter’s altar boy says he was picked out by a newly ordained priest, Paul David Ryan, and taken into a bedroom where he was abused(link is external).” By Farrah Tomazin, Chris Vedelago and Debbie Cuthbertson, The Age

New admission by diocese could cost Australian church millions in claims
“The Australian Catholic Church could face tens of millions dollars in compensation claims after the Diocese of Ballarat in Victoria state admitted, for the first time, it knew of the behavior of a pedophile priest yet continued to move him around from parish to parish(link is external). The church’s admission was made in the case of JCB v. Bishop Paul Bird for the Diocese of Ballarat, in which a defendant with a pseudonym is suing the diocese for his rape, at age 9, by Ridsdale (former priest Gerald Ridsdale, one of Australia’s most notorious pedophiles) at the tiny country town of Mortlake in 1982.” By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, in San Francisco Catholic

CANADA

Group calls for Catholic bishops to release names of clergy accused of abuse
“A group of survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has called for Canadian bishops to follow in the footsteps of some American counterparts and release the names of clergy facing credible misconduct allegations(link is external). The survivors — connected by their shared experience rather than an umbrella organization — have travelled to the site of this week’s annual meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Cornwall, Ont., to ask church officials to publicize the names. Thus far, the bishops have pushed back.” By Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press, on 660CityNews.com

The walking wounded: In Canada, survivors of Catholic Church Sex abuse await a reckoning
“Rob Bowden, a goldsmith in Sydney, Cape Breton, is plagued by nightmares from the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Evelyn Korkmaz in Ottawa has recurring flashbacks of the mental, physical and sexual abuse she experienced in the early 1970s at the notorious St. Anne’s residential school in northern Ontario, and sometimes stutters when she tries to speak. Across the country in Tsawwassen, B.C., Nicholas Harrison still bears a scar that snakes across his chin from when he says he was thrown down the stairs at school as an eight-year-old. All three are survivors of clergy abuse.” By Tavia Grant, The Globe & Mail

FRANCE

France’s Catholic child abuse probe flooded with messages
“A commission set up by the French Catholic Church to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics received about 2,000 messages in its first three months(link is external), chairman Jean-Marc Sauve said today (Sept. 20). The independent body, looking into abuse claims dating back to the 1950s, was set up last year in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide.” By MalayMail.com

INDIA

Kerala priest booked for sexual assault on minor
“The Kerala police on Friday (Sept. 20) booked a Catholic priest in Erankulam district for allegedly sexually assaulting three minor girls(link is external) when they went to his chapel for blessings after the Sunday mass last month. Police said Father George Padayathil, 68, the vicar of the Holy Church in Chendamangalam, is absconding after they registered a case against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and other sections. They said the incident happened when the children, all class 5 students, went to his room in the church to get his personal blessings after the Sunday mass.” By Hindustan Times

PANAMA

New sex scandal hits Panama’s Catholic Church – three priests spared from duties
“Three Catholic priests were removed from their religious functions in Panama Friday for ‘inappropriate’ and ‘scandalous’ behaviors(link is external), after a digital news outlet revealed sexual encounters of priests with men, including a minor. ‘The Archdiocese of Panama feels deeply hurt and ashamed to receive information about the inappropriate and scandalous behaviors of priests Rogelio Topin, Orlando Rivera and Karl Madrid,’ the Church said in a statement.” By MercoPress, South Atlantic News Agency

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Women in church leadership: 40 years after Sr. Theresa Kane’s request to pope / Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

“… some sisters see signs of hope in the advancement of women religious and other laypeople to leadership roles. They are also heartened by the pastoral approach of Pope Francis, who shares their desire to dismantle clericalism and create more decision-making roles for laity.” (Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter)

On an October day four decades ago, Sr. Theresa Kane, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and head of the Sisters of Mercy in the U.S., stood before 5,000 other sisters gathered to greet Pope John Paul II at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. She spoke of the sisters’ ‘profound respect, esteem and affection’ for the pontiff.

‘Then Kane uttered these memorable words: ‘Our contemplation leads us to state that the church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our church. I urge you, Your Holiness, to be open to and respond to the voices coming from the women of this country who are desirous of serving in and through the church as fully participating members.’

“Kane’s televised statement, a politely worded but direct challenge to the pontiff, drew intense media coverage. Just days before, in an address to an audience of vowed religious men and women in Philadelphia, John Paul had reaffirmed the ban on women priests, saying that an all-male priesthood ‘was the way that God had chosen to shepherd his flock.’

“But many American nuns and some Catholic laypeople saw a pressing need for the church to reform itself. For sisters, in the wave of enthusiasm that followed the Second Vatican Council, “there was a sense of hope that change was going to come, hope for reform. Change was coming, and the sisters could be a part of the change,” said Sandra Yocum, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, in an interview.”

By Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


July 17, 2019

TOP STORIES

Why the ‘Metropolitan Plan’ doesn’t work
“The now-glaring weakness of the USCCB’s 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was that it made no provision for dealing with bishops who engage in sexual misconduct. In the wake of the scandal surrounding Theodore McCarrick, who had escaped the consequences of his abuses for decades, the American bishops realized this gap had to be closed … As if by an act of divine providence, however, the first trial run of a metropolitan-centered strategy to contain abusive bishops has provided a spectacular public demonstration of how this plan can fail(link is external).” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

‘Maverick’ Catholic nun banned from speaking to Australian church over progressive views
“Sister Joan Chittester, a powerful voice for female empowerment within the Catholic church, claimed her invitation to speak at a conference in Melbourne next year has been withdrawn(link is external). Sister Joan Chittester has advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and the renewal of the Catholic Church for over 40 years. Chittester was set to visit Australia to speak at The National Catholic Education Conference next year, but claims she was recently told the invite had been rescinded.” By Simone Amelia Jordan, 10daily.com

Before I take on clericalism, I will say: ‘I love being a priest’
“James Carroll argues in a recent issue of The Atlantic that the priesthood needs to be abolished before the church can be reformed. Garry Wills, in his 2013 book Why Priests?, says that priests are a self-perpetuating clique and a medieval power grab, contrary to the equality of all believers … I wouldn’t go that far. But after nearly four decades as first a seminarian and then a priest, I do think the priesthood needs reform — fundamental reform(link is external). We don’t need window dressing. We don’t need just some changes in policy and procedure. We need to change the whole culture of the priesthood and episcopacy. If we don’t, we will continue to decline and ultimately collapse in our own irrelevance and scandal.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Purging silence: Vatican expands abuse prevention to lay movements
“Millions of Catholics live their faith through their association with lay movements and Catholic groups, but some also have lost their faith when they were sexually abused in those groups and felt they had nowhere to turn(link is external). While much of the Church’s recent focus has been on clerical sexual abuse and the accountability of diocesan bishops, the Vatican is making child protection a priority for new movements and lay associations, too.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Altoona-Johnstown Diocese appeals court ruling
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown has challenged the ruling in a case that – if upheld – could significantly expand the ability of alleged childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse to file civil claims against the church(link is external). In December 2017, Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva dismissed a case brought by Renée Rice against the diocese, then-retired (now deceased) Bishop Joseph Adamec, the estate of deceased Bishop James Hogan and the Rev. Charles Bodziak because the abuse she alleged Bodziak committed, from 1975 or 1976 through 1981 when they were both at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, was past the commonwealth’s statute of limitations.” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

New York Archdiocese sues 32 insurance companies for breach of contract in sex abuse cases
“The New York Archdiocese has filed a lawsuit against 32 of its insurers for not paying claims of abuse victims(link is external). The archdiocese—which covers New York, Bronx, and Richmond counties along Westchester, Rockland and other Hudson Valley counties—filed suit in New York Supreme Court on behalf of other religious organizations, schools, hospitals and other institutions which might be impacted by the case.” By Frank Esposito, Rockland/Winchester Journal News

Can laypeople lead a parish? Look to Louisville for a thriving example
“In his recent book Worship as Community Drama, sociologist Pierre Hegy described an unusual Catholic parish(link is external) whose identity he hid under the name Church of the Resurrection. When the book was published earlier this year and we read the chapter titled ‘A Lay-Run Parish: Consensus Without a Central Authority,’ we could tell that it was about us. I asked Hegy about possibly revealing the facts behind the chapter. He replied that sociological protocols had to be followed in the book, but these would not apply to an article in a newspaper. OK, here goes.” By Joseph Martos, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican waives immunity for France envoy accused of sexual assault
“The Vatican has waived immunity for its envoy to France(link is external), who is under investigation for sexual assault, according to the Bishops’ Conference of France. Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 74, is alleged to have inappropriately touched a junior male official working at the Paris city hall, deputy mayor Patrick Klugman told CNN earlier this year.” By Barbara Wojazer and Valentina DiDonato, CNN

Significant progress in ensuring bishop accountability
“From June 10-14, during the 2019 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Spring General Assembly, my brother bishops and I gathered with a singular focus: governance(link is external). With recent crises and failures involving then-Cardinal McCarrick and the poor handling by some bishops of credible allegations of sexual abuse, our obligation to develop a better system to initiate investigations against bishops was clear. Therefore, the majority of the week was devoted to this issue and much was achieved.” By Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in The Arlington Catholic Herald

Call 911, not the church
“Catholic bishops came out last week (Jun. 21) with their plan to deal with bishops who commit or cover up sexual abuse. Their idea is that they will watch each other, and it is wholly insufficient(link is external). It’s startling that this needs to be said, but allegations of criminal sexual abuse should be referred directly to the police — investigators who are trained to get to the bottom of such issues. It doesn’t matter if the allegations are against priests, bishops, ministers, teachers, Scout leaders or Uncle Pete: Go to the police. That the bishops either don’t get that or don’t want it can only promote the kind of arrogant insularity that led to this crisis in the first place.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Report of sexual abuse by late bishop filed with Hampden County DA
“Christopher J. Weldon, a longtime Catholic bishop for the Springfield Diocese, now stands formally accused of sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external). Three weeks after denying that it had received a credible accusation against Weldon of molestation, the diocese Thursday (Jun. 20) filed an initial report of a claim of such abuse with the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.” By Larry Parnass, The Bershire Eagle

By holding themselves accountable, bishops close the gap
“The U.S. bishops’ newly approved plan establishing procedures to report complaints of clergy sexual abuse and to hold its leaders accountable(link is external) is an important step in the ongoing struggle to move beyond the crisis. We pray that it works as hoped, and that the Church will in time fully recover the dedication and trust of the faithful.” Editorial by Catholic New York

BISHOPS

Auxiliary bishop latest to be hit with sex abuse allegation in archdiocese
“The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has temporarily stepped aside from public priestly duties after being hit with what the archdiocese has termed a ‘false allegation’ of sexual abuse from 1971(link is external). Several chancery departments and at least one pastor received letters addressed to Bishop George Sheltz, containing an accusation of molestation, archdiocesan officials said in a statement dated Friday (Jun.21).” By Samantha Ketterer and Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle

Australians begin ‘ad limina’ visits acknowledging impact of crisis
“The president of the Australian bishops’ conference told his fellow bishops that it is ‘a time of humiliation’ for Catholic Church leaders, but he is convinced that God is still at work(link is external). As church leaders continue to face the reality of the clerical sexual abuse crisis and attempts to cover it up, ‘we as bishops have to discover anew how small we are and yet how grand is the design into which we have been drawn by the call of God and his commissioning beyond our betrayals,’ said Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, conference president.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

In interview, Archbishop Gregory reflects on recent actions taken by U.S. bishops to address the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
“In a June 21 interview with the Catholic Standard newspaper, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory offered insights on the actions taken by the U.S. bishops at their June 11-13 meeting in Baltimore(link is external) to address the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. In 2002, the nation’s bishops at their meeting in Dallas adopted the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ when then-Bishop Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, was serving at the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The following is the text of Archbishop Gregory’s interview with Mark Zimmermann, the Catholic Standard’s editor.” By Mark Zimmerman, Catholic Standard

PRIESTS

What would married priests in the Amazon mean for the church, etc.?
This week on Inside the Vatican(link is external), Gerry and I talk about the U.S. bishops’ new resolutions on sexual abuse. How does the U.S.C.C.B. compare to other bishops’ conferences around the world? Then, we take a look at a new document prepared for the synod on the Amazon region, which officially introduces the possibility of ordaining married men. What are its implications for the rest of the church? And what other topics addressed in the document should we be paying attention to?” By Colleen Dulle, Inside the Vatican, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Being church: We can do this
“As Jamie Manson wrote in 2012, women religious ‘have created among themselves a form of church that so many restless Catholics long for(link is external): small, supportive, non-hierarchical, intimate communities that are deeply rooted in tradition, devoted to sacramental life, and grounded in outreach to the poor and marginalized.’” By Betsy D. Thompson, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

Debate on female deacons not just about history; it’s about art
“A small group of activists and academics embarked on a mission this week to dig deep into early Christian art, in search of answers on the original role of women in the Catholic Church(link is external), only two months after Pope Francis called for further study and historical data concerning the ordination of female deacons. ‘Ancient Christian art proves that women took on a much greater role in the ministries and the liturgy than originally thought,’ said Ally Kateusz, Research Associate at the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, during her presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome July 2.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

UISG president says group is considering publishing women deacons report
“Pope Francis in May formally handed over the secret report of his commission to study the history of women deacons in the Catholic Church to the global umbrella group of the world’s women religious, which had originally requested the commission’s creation in 2016. Now, the new leader of that umbrella group, which represents some 450,000 sisters and nuns around the world, says it will be considering soon whether to make the report public(link is external).” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Pope names women as full members of congregation for religious
“Pope Francis named six superiors of women’s religious orders, a consecrated laywoman and the superior of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to be full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life(link is external). Previously, the members had all been men: cardinals, a few bishops and several priests who were superiors of large religious orders of men.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

LAITY& THE CHURCH

Local Catholics feel they have the power to act within the church
“The Tennessean recently featured the voices of Catholics, both from around the country and particularly in Middle Tennessee(link is external), expressing their disappointment and disillusionment with their church (‘Please give me a reason to be Catholic’). At the same time, we were posing the question ‘Can the Church Survive?’ to some 25 members of Christ the King parish’s adult education community here. We asked three specific questions …” By Bob O’Gorman and Paul Dokecki, Tennessean

VATICAN

New Vatican doc displays simplified, decentralized curia
“A preliminary outline of Pope Francis’s coming apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia reveals the merger of several more departments and an increased emphasis on the presence of laity(link is external) as part of a reform hinged on decentralization and synodality and fueled by evangelization. Tentatively titled Praedicate Evangelium, a draft of the constitution has been sent to the heads of all Vatican departments, bishops’ conferences, nuncios and certain law institutes, whose comments are being studied before the document’s publication.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Vatican abuse investigator: ‘You never get used to it, you feel your heart and soul hurting’
“In a remarkably frank and detailed speech, the Vatican official heading the department charged with reviewing clergy sexual abuse allegations(link is external) told an assembly of Catholic journalists that his investigators and the press ‘share the same goal, which is the protection of minors, and we have the same wish to leave the world a little better than how we found it.’” By Greg Erlandson, Catholic News Service

Vatican sex abuse office looking for more canonists
“The Vatican office that handles clergy sex abuse is looking for help to process what a top official says is a steady stream of cases that arrive every day from around the world(link is external). Monsignor John Kennedy, head of the discipline section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told a conference of Catholic journalists this week that while his staff has more than tripled to 17 full-time experts in the past 15 years, he still borrows four others occasionally and is looking for more.” By Associated Press

CLERICALISM

The problem of clericalism makes transparency impossible
“I think we owe a debt of gratitude to former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield, pilloried by The Washington Post for his reportedly lavish and lascivious ways. The Post wrote from an unredacted report written by lay investigators. Bransfield’s creative accounting let us see exactly who benefited from his largess. His history of unchecked behavior demonstrates who knew what and when. Most importantly, his objectively sad story sheds light on ingrained episcopal practices around the world(link is external). Plus, it saves us the trouble of reading medieval history.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

U.S. bishops at odds over Amazon synod’s married priest proposal
“While the upcoming Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon is focused on pastoral needs for that particular region, two U.S. bishops have weighed in on one of its central proposals – offering starkly different takes(link is external). Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee have taken to Twitter in recent days to comment on the Pan-Amazonian Synod’s working document, which raises the option of ordaining married men in order to provide greater access to the sacraments, particularly in the remote areas of the region.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Some Oswego Catholics upset with church selected for merger
“Starting July 1, Catholics in Oswego will merge their four churches into one because of the dwindling number of worshipers and limited resources in the community(link is external). Although many parishioners understand the need for the consolidation, several are unhappy with where the new faith community will celebrate mass. The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has decided to move forward with St. Paul’s Church as the home of the newly named Christ the Good Shepherd Parish.” By Payne Horning, WRVO-FM National Public Radio

New generation emerges at CTSA convention, as theologians play long game
“It’s rare that a paper at an academic conference is received like a hit song at a rock concert. But such was the case at the Friday (Jun. 7) morning plenary session at the Catholic Theological Society of America’s annual convention, held June 6-9 in Pittsburgh. In a paper titled ‘Another Pro-Life Movement is Possible: Untangling Patriarchy and the Pro-Life Movement,’ accompanied by a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation, theologian Emily Reimer-Barry argued that the pro-life movement the millennial generation has inherited is ‘deeply flawed, and Catholics need to rethink our support for it(link is external).’ Reimer-Barry is an associate professor from the University of San Diego.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Another voice: Laity can play key role in repairing Catholic Church
“Catholics are members of a global church with more than a billion adherents, of whom nearly 70% live in South America, Africa and Asia. Though members of a large global church, it is in local parishes that church members worship, learn, grow, form relationships and act out their faith. This is clearly a situation where we need to ‘Think globally, act locally(link is external).’ The clerical abuse crisis has dramatically impacted the Catholic Church at all levels. And it is not yet resolved. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 81% of U.S. Catholics indicated they believe that this is an ongoing problem.” By Robert Poczik, The Buffalo News

Priests and bishops need more range
“Earlier this year the journalist David Epstein published his second book, titled Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. The book is an engaging response to earlier bestsellers that have emphasized specialization, concentration and repetition as the universal path to success … As true as this is elsewhere in society, it is also true in the field of ministry(link is external). In light of Epstein’s book and as a professor who teaches religious order and lay graduate students for ministry in the Catholic Church, I found myself thinking about what lessons might be gleaned from the argument presented in Range for the church today.” By Daniel P. Horan, National Catholic Reporter

Why Catholic bishops need a year of abstinence on preaching about sexuality
“ If Catholic bishops hope to reclaim their moral credibility after revelations about covering up clergy sexual abuse(link is external), the hierarchy might start by sending a simple but potent message: Church leaders should take a year of abstinence from preaching about sex and gender. It might seem obvious that a church facing a crisis of legitimacy caused by clergy raping children would show more humility when claiming to hold ultimate truths about human sexuality …There is an unmistakable hubris displayed when some in the church are determined to make sexuality the lynchpin of Catholic identity at a time when bishops have failed to convince their flock that they are prepared to police predators in their own parishes.” By John Gehring, Religion News Service

Our opinion: For future’s sake, Church must confront past
“The acknowledgment by the Springfield Diocese that former Catholic Bishop Christopher J. Weldon has been credibly accused of sexually abusing an altar boy(link is external) is welcome, yet overdue. As is too often the case with dioceses across the nation, Springfield had to be pushed into doing what it should have done at the first opportunity.” By The Bershire Eagle Editorial Board

CHURCH FINANCES

Allentown Diocese cuts office staff by nearly 25% to pay for sex abuse victims
“The Allentown Diocese has cut its office staff by nearly a quarter and enacted a pay freeze to help compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse(link is external), officials announced Monday (Jul. 8). The cuts, effective last Friday (Jul. 5), were centered in the diocesan’s administrative office, where 96 people worked prior to the reductions, according to a news release from diocese spokesman Matt Kerr. Most of the cuts were made through attrition, and a voluntary retirement program was offered, according to the diocese.” By Emiy Opilo, The Morning Call

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The biggest deterrent to reporting child sexual abuse
“In the United States, about one-third of child-sexual-abuse victims come forward with their allegations before adulthood. Another third disclose far later in life—the median age is 52—and the rest never reveal their past trauma at all. In recent years, many children’s advocates have looked to shift these low reporting numbers (and correspondingly low rates of prosecution) by addressing a legal hurdle that lies in the way of many victims seeking court-based justice: the statute of limitations(link is external).” By Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic

Sex abuse lawsuit deadlines extended by North Carolina House”
“North Carolina House members have backed overwhelmingly a longer period of time for victims of child sexual abuse to sue perpetrators for damages as adults(link is external). The measure now heading to the Senate following Wednesday’s (Jun. 19) vote of 104-10 extends the statute of limitations for a victim from 21 years of age to 38. The bill also would give older adults outside the proposed age cap a two-year window to file lawsuits.” By WSOC-TV9 News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

U.K. church officials ‘deliberately misled’ U.S. archdiocese
“An English church official ‘deliberately misled’ a U.S. archdiocese into harboring a pedophile priest and helping him to escape justice for a quarter of a century(link is external), said a report from a child abuse inquiry. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles was persuaded to shelter Fr. James Robinson, who during the 1970s and 1980s had raped several boys, after officials gave false information about his sexual history. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse concluded in a report published June 21 that the deception meant that Robinson ‘was able to remain in America and avoid prosecution for nearly 25 years.’” By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

ARIZONA

Group releases names of 109 clerics accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix
“The names of more than 100 clerics accused of abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix(link is external)were released Wednesday (Jun. 26). A group of lawyers, victims, and advocates held a joint press conference in downtown Phoenix to share the report in hopes of ‘bringing out of the dark’ information that they claim has not been thoroughly provided by the Catholic diocese.” By Karla Navarrete, Associated Press, on ABC-TV15 News

ARKANSAS

Five priest abuse victims settle with Catholic Diocese for $790,000
“KARK/FOX 16 broke the news last night (Jun. 27) of a $790,000 settlement by the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock with five victims of priest abuse(link is external) in the 1970s. The men, some of whom were quoted in KARK’s report, said they’d been abused by Father John McDaniel, who died in 1974, at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock.” By Max Brantley, Arkansas Times

CALIFORNIA

Sex offender, former Catholic priest reportedly presided over Masses in Fillmore
“A former Catholic priest removed from ministry and convicted of molestation was reportedly presiding at home Masses(link is external) in Fillmore, according to a May 30 alert from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The notice from the archdiocese’s Vicar for Clergy Office to priests, deacons and parish life directors warns that Carlos Rene Rodriguez has no permission to act as a Roman Catholic priest.” By Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star

CONNECTICUT

‘The priest wielded God as a tool to do what he did to me’
“The anger has hardly subsided. Nearly 10 years ago, a wooden board ticked off John ‘Timothy’ McGuire – an object entirely too big to take the brunt of his resentment. He tried to throw it, and broke his back. ‘The anger that we harbor(link is external),’ said McGuire, looking out through his front window at St. Mary of the Sea Church in New London. ‘The level of anger …we get angry at things that aren’t big enough to get angry about.’” By Anna Maria Della Costa, Norwich Bulletin

FLORIDA

Florida Catholic church sex abuse investigation shrouded in secrecy
“Roman Catholic Bishops were in Baltimore on Tuesday (Jun. 18) to confront the reignited sex abuse crisis. They’re looking at increasing their accountability when it comes to sex abuse cases(link is external). Several Attorneys General, including Florida’s, launched state investigations after a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse. More than half of all the dioceses around the country have released lists with the names of Catholic clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.” By NBC-TV2 News

ILLINOIS

Archdiocese releases review of abuse-prevention policies
“A review of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s policies and procedures on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors(link is external), the way the archdiocese reports and investigates allegations and how it supports victims showed many strengths, as well some areas that could be improved. Monica Applewhite, an internationally recognized expert on sexual abuse and the development of policies and procedures to deal with it, was hired last year to evaluate what the archdiocese has done and could do better.” By Michelle Martin, Chicago Catholic

KENTUCKY

Priest resigns from Louisville church after being accused of ‘inappropriate’ photos
“A priest at a Catholic church in the Highlands resigned after he was accused of taking ‘inappropriate’ photos of students(link is external) during a field day at the end of the school year. The Rev. Jeff Gatlin, pastor at St. Francis of Assisi, 1960 Bardstown Road, was accused of ‘inappropriate picture taking’ of students during a May 13 field day celebrating the end of the parish school year, according to emails sent by church and Archdiocese of Louisville officials that were obtained by the Courier Journal.” By Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal

LOUISIANA

Baton Rouge Diocese adds two more names to list of clergy accused of abuse
“The Diocese of Baton Rouge on Sunday Jul. 7) released two more additions to its list of Catholic clerics who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external), bringing the total now to 43. Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca released the initial list in January, which included 37 names but has since been supplemented multiple times. Duca said from the beginning that it would evolve as other diocese release their own lists amid a nationwide push for transparency from church leaders.” By Lea Skene, The Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Bishop Christopher Weldon’s legacy under cloud as district attorney receives sexual abuse claim from Springfield Diocese
“The 27-year legacy of Bishop Christopher J. Weldon is a visible one and continues to impact many in Western Massachusetts … A possible darker side to his legacy(link is external)emerged with greater visibility Thursday (Jun. 20) after Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski met with an alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse, heard his accusations against Weldon and two priests decades ago, and filed an initial report with Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican, on MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Archdiocese removes prominent Detroit priest from pulpit
“A conservative Detroit priest renowned for his orchestral Masses and traditional Latin services has been removed from public ministry after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit reviewed what it described as a ‘credible allegation’ that he had abused a child(link is external) decades ago. The announcement, made during services Sunday at the Rev. Eduard Perrone’s church, shocked parishioners and came a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone groped him.” By Mike Householder and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press

Metro Detroit priest being investigated for sexual abuse of minor
“A metro Detroit priest is being investigated for sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) and has been restricted from all public ministry pending the outcome of the canonical process. The Archdiocese of Detroit said they recently received an allegation against Father Joseph (Jack) Baker, 57, involving sexual abuse of a minor. The allegation dates back to the early years of his ministry. He is currently a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford.” By WXYZ-TV7 News

MINNESOTA

Diocese of New Elm reaches $34 million settlement over clergy abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and area parishes have reached a tentative $34 million settlement with 93 people who said they were sexually abused as children by clergy(link is external) and others in the diocese. ‘We won,’ said Bob Schwiderski, a survivor of clergy abuse who filed a civil suit against the New Ulm diocese in 1992 that eventually unleashed hundreds of similar claims throughout Minnesota.” By Mary Lynn Smith and Paul Walsh, Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Nearly 400 claims of clergy sex abuse filed against Archdiocese of Santa FE
“It was announced Friday, June 21, that almost 400 people have filed claims of clergy sexual abuse against New Mexico’s largest Roman Catholic diocese(link is external). In coming months, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will negotiate reparations. The actual number of people harmed by priest abuse in New Mexico is likely much bigger than 400, Albuquerque attorney Levi Monagle said. His firm, Hall & Monagle, represents about one-third of those claimants.” By Hannah Colton, KUNM-FM National Public Radio

NEW YORK

Cardinal Dolan refuses to remove priest accused of sexually abusing eight children
“For the second time in six month’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, refuses to remove a priest accused of sexual abuse(link is external). The latest incident involves Monsignor John Paddack, stationed at Church of Notre Dame on W. 114th St. in Manhattan. The priest has been accused of sexual abuse by eight different individuals and the Archdiocese, and specifically Cardinal Dolan, has known about the allegations since 2012 but has stubbornly refused to take action.” By Joseph H. Saunders, The Legal Examiner

Parents outraged after Buffalo Diocese assigns two ‘improper’ priests to parishes with schools
“Parents are outraged that two priests who had ‘improper’ sexual contact with parishioners(link is external) will soon be sent by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to parishes with elementary schools. The Revs. Joseph C. Gatto and Samuel T. Giangreco Jr. were suspended last year after adult parishioners came forward to allege unwanted sexual advances by the priests.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV7 News

Embattled Bishop Malone to hold ‘listening session’ Saturday in Olean
“Following months of criticism, Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone will be in Olean this weekend (Jun. 29) to listen to parishioners’ concerns about the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s clergy sexual abuse crisis(link is external) … It will be the fourth of seven listening sessions held throughout Western New York over the next two months. The events are a byproduct of Malone’s discussions with The Movement to Restore Trust, an initiative of lay people led by Canisius College President John J. Hurley.” By Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

Priest accused yet again—two men say he raped them in Brooklyn grade school
“Two men have accused a priest, who is now dead, of raping them in the rectory at their Brooklyn parish in the 1980s(link is external), the Daily News has learned. The allegations were laid out Friday (Jun. 21) in an order to show cause filed by their lawyer, Keith Sullivan, in Brooklyn State Supreme Court, which names the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Church of St. Patrick. They have accused the Rev. John Abrams of raping them when they were students and altar boys at St. Patrick Catholic elementary school in Bay Ridge.” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo abuse victim alleges cover-up
“James Bottlinger said he was prepared to take his secret to the grave. But watching others speak out about the Catholic Church’s handling of its child sexual abuse scandal gave him his ‘voice(link is external).’ Bottlinger rejected what is reportedly the largest compensation settlement ever offered by the Diocese of Buffalo, $650,000, because he says he wants answers instead regarding why church leaders repeatedly exposed children to a priest that they knew was a pedophile.” By Rick Pfeiffer, Niagara Gazette

NORTH DAKOTA

‘It was her fault’ attorneys claim Fargo Diocese blamed alleged sexual assault survivor
“Attorneys for an alleged sexual assault survivor say the Fargo Diocese told them ‘it was her fault’ after coming forward(link is external). The law firms of Bradshaw and Bryant and O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss will hold a press conference Thursday, July 11 in Fargo. They claim Father Michael Wright abused someone at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, North Dakota.” By Austin Erickson, KVRR-TV News

Fargo woman details abuse claim against retired priest under investigation
“A woman who claims that she was sexually abused by a Fargo Catholic priest(link is external)decades ago says she hopes her story will encourage other victims to step forward. The woman, who wants to be called ‘Jane,’ was a teenager in the 1970’s when she says the abuse happened in the rectory at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. In an interview with KFGO News, ‘Jane’ says over the course of about three months, she was inappropriately touched by Fr. Jack Herron.” By KFGO-FM News

OHIO

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland adds 22 names to list of clergy accused of sexual abuse
“The Dioceses of Cleveland released an updated list Friday (Jun. 21) afternoon comprised of individuals against whom there are substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a child(link is external). According to Cleveland church officials, the named persons on the list have been placed there based on available evidence ‘that the allegations were more likely than not to be true.’” By Drew Scofield, ABC-TV5 News

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma priest suspended following sexual misconduct claim
“The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma has announced that a Roman Catholic priest was placed on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor(link is external). The diocese said in a statement Friday (Jul. 5) that the Rev. Joe Townsend is cooperating with a diocesan investigation and denies any misconduct.” By Associated Press on KOCO-TV5 News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese places deacon on leave over allegation
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has confirmed it placed a deacon on leave pending an investigation into ‘an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor(link is external).’ The deacon, John C. Miller, of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Ross, was placed on leave in 2018, according to the Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, diocesan spokesman. Deacon Miller was accused of an unwanted kiss to a minor girl, the ‘first such allegation ever made against him.’” By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling may help other older clergy abuse lawsuits proceed
“A recent decision by the Pennsylvania State Superior Court may soon open the door for previously time-barred Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse lawsuits to proceed(link is external). On June 11, 2019, a three-judge panel agreed to reinstate a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who claims she was sexually abused by clergy in the 1970s and 1980s. She filed the lawsuit in 2016, but it was dismissed by the trial court because the statute of limitations had expired.” By Eric T. Chaffin, The Legal Examiner

TEXAS

Former El Paso Catholic priest’s sexual assault trial begins
“Former El Paso priest Miguel Luna, who is accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl(link is external) decades ago, was in court Tuesday morning for the start of his trial. ‘A wolf in sheep clothing’ is how prosecutors described the former El Paso priest Miguel Luna. The state went on to say that he used his position of trust to sexually assault the victim back in the 1990s.” By Justin Kree, CBS-TV4 News

Five Franciscans who once served at San Xavier Mission ‘credibly accused’ of child sex abuse
“Five Franciscan friars who once staffed churches on the Tohono O’odham reservation near Tucson have been named to a new list of Roman Catholic clergy ‘credibly accused’ of child molestation during their careers(link is external). The five, all now deceased, were members of the California-based Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara. Four of the five were assigned at various times to the historic San Xavier Mission, the religious order recently disclosed on its website.” By carol Ann Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star

Third priest accused of sexual abuse files lawsuit against Diocese of Corpus Christi
“A third priest who was named in a list of clergy members who were ‘credibly accused’ of sexual misconduct(link is external) is suing Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Msgr. Jesús García Hernando is the latest to claim the diocese and bishop made a ‘false’ statement in claiming he was ‘credibly accused’ of sexually assaulting a minor.” By Eleanor Dearman, Corpus Christi Caller Times

VIRGINIA

Richmond Catholic Diocese adds six clergy members to sexual abuse list
“Six names have been added by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond to a list of clergy who have credible and substantiated accusations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) against them. The six names added by the Diocese are Stanley F. Banaszek, Anthony M. Canu, Patrick J. Cassidy, Leonardo G. Mantei, Thomas D. Sykes and Vincent The Quang Nguyen. The only one not known to be dead already is Vincent The Quang Nguyen.” By Nick Boykin, WTKR-TV3 News

WASHINGTON

Diocese releases several names of priests accused of sex abuse from Tri-Cities
“The names of dozens priests and deacons in Central Washington with substantial sexual abuse allegations were released on Wednesday(link is external) (Jul. 10). Bishop Joseph Tyson, after thorough consultation and upon the recommendation of the Yakima Diocese Lay Advisory Board, has established a website listing the names of priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor during their time of ministry within the Diocese of Yakima.” By Thomas Yazwinski, KEPR-TV News

WEST VIRGINIA

‘He hurt people’: West Virginia’s long-faithful Catholics grapple with news of bishop’s misconduct
“Nancy Ostrowski knows this state. And she thought she knew her bishop(link is external). Her family has been attending St. Joseph Catholic Church since the Romanesque Revival building was dedicated in 1860, just before West Virginia broke away from Virginia to support the Union. Her ancestors saw the heady years of Martinsburg’s heyday, when the mills running day and night here supplied clothing to the world, and the heavy decades of struggle when those mills closed down.” By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post

AFRICA

Focus on Africa: Sex abuse scandal rocks Liberia’s Catholic Church
Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in Liberia’s Catholic Church continue to traumatize the lives of spiritual workers(link is external), after two top clerics were named in a major sex and office abuse scandal. The most damaging scandal to hit the faith in decades broke out in August last year when estranged Reverend Father Gabriel Sawyer sent an email message to the Pope. He accuses the Archbishop of Monrovia and another top prelate of persecuting him and other subordinates who refused to have sex with him.” By William Niba, en.rfi.fr/africa

AUSTRALIA

Five per cent of applicants processed through National Redress Scheme amid ‘wave of reforms’
“The Commonwealth’s Department of Social Services says just 5 per cent of applications to the National Redress Scheme have been processed(link is external) as the compensation program marks its first anniversary. The national scheme was established 12 months ago to provide compensation for institutional child sexual abuse survivors and was intended to be an alternative to civil litigation, requiring victims to provide less supporting information than to a court.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia

The Marist Brothers and a secret list of 154 accused child sex offenders
“One hundred and fifty-four brothers have been accused of sexually assaulting students at Marist schools(link is external), but their identity and whether they are still teaching remains a secret. In their own words, the Marist Brothers are ‘dedicated to making Jesus known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected.’ It’s an admirable mission statement, but one that is hard to reconcile with the evidence delivered to the 2016 royal commission into child sexual abuse …” By Suzanne Smith and Georgia Wilkins, Crikey Magazine

Tasmanian priest reveals own sexual abuse at hands of Catholic church
“A parish priest in Tasmania has revealed for the first time he himself was abused by a priest as a schoolboy(link is external) at Burnie’s Marist Regional College, and says he wants to encourage others to come forward. Father John Girdauskas told the ABC he was first sexually abused by Father Laurie Gallagher in the 1970s, when he was 14.” By Henry Zwartz, ABC News Australia

CANADA

Former Catholic priest Barry McGrory found guilty of historic sex assaults
“Defrocked Catholic priest Barry McGrory has been found guilty of sexually abusing two teenage boys in a church rectory(link is external) during the early years of his long and sordid clerical career. McGrory, 85, showed no emotion as Superior Court Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin delivered her verdict Monday (Jun.24). ‘I find that Mr. McGrory preyed on the vulnerability of these complainants,’ O’Bonsawin said in finding McGrory guilty on two counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

CHILE

Presence of disgraced cardinals at ordination of new bishop causes uproar in Chile
“After Pope Francis accepted the resignation of one of the two newly appointed auxiliary bishops of Santiago, Chile before his episcopal ordination, the second auxiliary’s ordination, in Rome, was tainted by the presence of two disgraced former archbishops(link is external) of the Chilean capital. Cardinals Ricardo Ezzati and Francisco Errázuriz, both emeritus archbishops of Santiago who have been subpoenaed by local prosecutors for covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse, attended the episcopal ordination of Alberto Lorenzelli.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

INDIA

Child rights body files case against Kerals priest who was held for abusing minors
“The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) on Tuesday (Jul. 9) has filed a case against the Kerala Catholic priest who was recently arrested by the police for sexually abusing minor boys(link is external). The director of the boys’ home in Kochi, Father George TJ alias Jerry, was arrested by the Kerala police on Sunday. The arrest was made following a complaint by the parents of the victims, who alleged that their boys were being abused for over six months now.” By Times Now News

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Look up at the altar, where are the women? / National Catholic Reporter

My parish is different, you say? Good. Let its light shine downtown. Let it leap over the torchbearers and across the clerical divide to the bishop. Tell him what it all looks like. Tell him how the picture does not match the story. (National Catholic Reporter)

If you had the chance to attend Holy Week services in person or via television — and I hope you did — you probably noticed the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a men’s church.

“The clerics — all vested — are in the sanctuary or at least up front. The rest of us are far away.

“Keeping the faithful at a distance was a hallmark of medieval Catholicism, so much so that St. Francis of Assisi tried to do something about it. Unable to bring the people closer to the celebration, he gave them the Gospel. His attitude, still flowering in the world, helps faithful folks assimilate the uncomfortable truth: they cannot be near the sacred. Especially women.

“Liturgy demonstrates the collision between the real and the unreal, between the truth and way the church treats women.”

By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Founder, board of Vatican women’s magazine quit / Associated Press

“We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization,” founder Lucetta Scaraffia wrote in the open letter. (Associated Press)

The founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican’s women’s magazine have quit after what they say was a Vatican campaign to discredit them and put them ‘under the direct control of men,’ that only increased after they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy.

“The editorial committee of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly glossy published alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement in the planned April 1 editorial and in an open letter to Pope Francis that was provided Tuesday (Mar. 26) to The Associated Press.

“‘We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization,’ founder Lucetta Scaraffia wrote in the open letter.

“In the editorial, she wrote: “We believe there are no longer the conditions to continue our collaboration with L’Osservatore Romano.'”

By Associated Press — Read more …

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Jesus founded a movement led by both men and women / National Catholic Reporter

I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive. It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side. (Christine Schenk in National Catholic Reporter)

Sometimes it is really difficult to be both female and Catholic.

“On the one hand, I couldn’t be prouder of the creative leadership taken by the University of Notre Dame and Pope Francis in working with oil executives to address climate change. It is amazing that dozens of Catholic institutions, including Caritas Internationalis, have divested from fossil fuels.

“On the other hand, I am dismayed by yet another statement from the Vatican — this time from Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria — prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — about the non-ordination of women to the priesthood.

“I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive. It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side.

“As a contribution to the ongoing conversation about women’s roles in our church, I present here a few examples from mainstream scholarship about Jesus and the female exercise of authority in early Christianity.”

By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Orthodox move for women deacons called ‘revitalization’ not ‘innovation’ / National Catholic Reporter

“The reinstitution of the female diaconate does not constitute an innovation, as some would have us believe,” the theologians said. (National Catholic Reporter)

Orthodox liturgical theologians are voicing support for the decision of Patriarch Theodoros II and the Greek Orthodox Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to reinstate the order of deaconesses.

“‘We respectfully support the decision of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to restore the female diaconate, thus giving flesh to an idea that has been discussed and studied by pastors and theologians for decades,’ nine theologians from theology schools and seminaries of the United States and Greece said in a statement dated Oct. 31.

“‘The reinstitution of the female diaconate does not constitute an innovation, as some would have us believe,’ the theologians said, ‘but the revitalization of a once functional, vibrant, and effectual ministry,’ the theologians said.

By James Dearie, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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