Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

The witness (a former altar boy) alleged (Archbishop Philip) Wilson told him he was telling lies because (Fr. James) Fletcher “was a good bloke.” The witness said Wilson had ordered him out of the confessional and told him to recite 10 Hail Mary prayers as an act of contrition. (AP on Cruxnow.com)

An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday (May 22) and faces a potential two years in prison.

“Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.

“Wilson, 67, had pleaded not guilty to knowing of the crimes of a pedophile priest in the 1970s. He denied under oath in court last month that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest.

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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All of Chile’s bishops offer resignations after meeting pope on abuse / Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

After reflecting on the pope’s assessment, he (Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago) added, the bishops decided to hand in their resignations “to be in greater harmony with the will of the Holy Father.” (Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter)

Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

“We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country’s bishops.

The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Francis.

Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, secretary-general of the Chilean bishops’ conference, said the pope had read to the 34 bishops a document in which he “expressed his conclusions and reflections” on the 2,300-page report compiled by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and his aide, Fr. Jordi Bertomeu, during a visit to Chile to investigate the scandal.

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful ‘Focus’ News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Cardinal George Pell to stand trial on historical sex offenses
“Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, must stand trial on several charges of sexual abuse(link is external), an Australian court ruled on Tuesday, promising to prolong a case that has already dragged on for months, and which many see as a moment of reckoning for a church racked by scandal.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times

Chile victims of clergy sex abuse praise talks with Pope
“Men who were sexually abused by a priest in Chile described the private talks they’ve had so far with Pope Francis(link is external) at the Vatican as very helpful and respectful Sunday. James Hamilton, one of three clergy abuse survivors the pope invited to Italy after he discounted some of their assertions, tweeted that his more than two hours of conversation with Francis were ‘enormously constructive.’” By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

In wake of abuse scandal, bishops of Chile talk resignation
“As the date for their upcoming meeting with Pope Francis approaches, several of the 32 Chilean bishops who will be in Rome to meet the pontiff(link is external) May 14-17 are speaking up, some ready to resign, and others ready to demand the resignation of a bishop accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse.” By Inès San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Australian mining town breaks its silence about grim past of sexual abuse
“Rob Walsh was outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court recently awaiting a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, when, he said, he unexpectedly walked into the cardinal himself. The encounter wasn’t their first. They both were raised in the same old mining town, which could be why the cardinal extended his hand, inviting Mr. Walsh to shake it. Mr. Walsh declined — a gesture that signified the lasting impact of a decades-long sexual abuse scandal(link is external) that has rocked this town, Ballarat, and sent shock waves around the world.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Household names: Junia, Phoebe, & Prisca in early Christian Rome
“Paul’s letter to the Romans is arguably the most significant theological text in Christian history … Few readers focus on the end of the letter, where Paul greets almost thirty people in the nascent assemblies of Roman Christians. After all, it seems mostly like an ordinary exchange of pleasantries and commendations. But pay closer attention to whom Paul addresses and a surprise emerges: the status of women(link is external) in the early church in Rome.” By Michael Peppard, Commonweal

ACCOUNTABILITY

Rundown of sex abuse within the Catholic Church
“Between 1950 and 2013, the Catholic Church in the US received 17,000 complaints from people who said they had suffered sexual abuse from 6,400 clerics(link is external) between 1950 and 1980. In 2012, specialists in contact with the Vatican mooted the figure of 100,000 cases of child sex abuse in the US. Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday (May 1) became the highest-ranked Catholic ever to be sent to trial for sex offences, adding to a series of scandals facing the church globally. Here is a rundown of notable cases …” By The Straits Times

Montana diocese reaches $20M settlement with abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings reached a $20 million agreement to settle claims by 86 people(link is external) who said they were sexually abused as children by clergy employed by the Montana diocese dating back to the 1950s, officials said Friday (Apr. 27). The abuse happened at the hands of dozens of priests, deacons and at least one nun in Native American reservations and in towns and cities throughout the diocese’s territory across eastern Montana, attorneys for about half of the plaintiffs said.” By Matt Volz, Associated Press

Sexual abuse scandals deepen Chile mistrust in Catholic Church
“Despite a strong Catholic tradition, Chile is witnessing a growing rift between the people and the church, sharpened by a string of sexual abuse scandals(link is external) that until recently had been ignored by the pope. The extent of the rift became clear in January when Pope Francis visited Chile and sparked outrage by hugging Juan Barros, a controversial bishop who has been accused of covering up abuses by another priest in the 1980s and ’90s.” By The Sun Daily

Power of words: listening must lead to action, abuse survivors say
“Pope Francis’ planned meeting with abuse survivors from Chile could mark a turning point in how the Catholic Church(link is external) deals not just with prevention, but especially with how it responds to accusations. The pope has said he wants the four days of meetings in April to be his chance to ask for forgiveness and express his ‘pain and shame’ for what they have suffered. And Pope Francis, who emphasizes the importance of listening and learning, also sees this as a chance to hear survivors’ suggestions for how to avoid repeating ‘such reprehensible acts,’ the Vatican said April 25.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

He forced the Vatican to investigate sex abuse. Now he’s meeting with Pope Francis
“When I first interviewed Juan Carlos Cruz eight years ago, he was so ashamed about what had happened to him that he was not sure he wanted his name to be public. In his youth in Chile, he had been sexually abused by the Rev. Fernando Karadima(link is external), one of Chile’s most prominent priests … This week, Mr. Cruz and two other victims of Father Karadima’s will stay at the Vatican in an extended visit with Pope Francis, who issued an extraordinary apology this month for ‘grave errors’ in the handling of sexual abuse cases in Chile.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis in the wilderness
“Five years ago, Pope Francis was elected to be an agent of change within a church shaken by scandals and the historic resignation of Benedict XVI. He quickly became a global force in geopolitics, setting the agenda on climate change and care for migrants. World leaders wanted to be near him. Even non-Catholics adored him. Today, Francis is increasingly embattled(link is external).” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

A Pope given to apologies has nothing for indigenous Canada
“The past three popes have invested deeply in the forgiveness-begging business(link is external), offering official apologies for the church’s sins against Jews during World War II and Indigenous people in Bolivia, among others. But Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops said late last month that Pope Francis would not apologize in the foreseeable future for the boarding schools where, for more than a century and a half, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend in an effort to obliterate their cultures and languages. About 70 percent of children went to schools operated by the church.” By Ian Austen and Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Meeting of the Council of Cardinals with Pope Francis
“The Council of Cardinal Advisors assembled with Pope Francis(link is external) in Rome on Wednesday (Apr. 25) for the third and last day of their 24th session … A large part of their work has been dedicated to the draft of a new Apostolic Constitution of the Roman Curia, which will be submitted to the Holy Father for his final approval … Cardinal Sean O’Malley presented to the Cardinals the efforts that have been made to protect minors and vulnerable adults in the Church.” By Joachim Teigen, VaticanNews.va

PRIESTS

Confront racism, Archbishop Gregory tells priests at federation gathering
“As a group of priests gathered to mark the 50th anniversary of their organization, there was some reminiscing, but most of the discussion was about the present and the future, including the need to fight racism, to work more closely with laity and even to re-imagine priesthood altogether … Yet, while the societal challenges have remained over the 50-year history of the NFPC (National Federation of Priests’ Councils), much has changed for priests in the United States(link is external).” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors Meets in Rome
“The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) met this week (Apr. 22) in Plenary Assembly in Rome. The first day of the meeting was dedicated to hearing from members of the Survivor Advisory Panel(link is external) (SAP) of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission from England and Wales. The gathering was part of the PCPM’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that the thoughts and contributions of people who have been abused inform all aspects of the Commission’s work.” Press Release from Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Kiwi’s three years on the Pope’s commission
“Bill Kilgallon is looking back on his three years as a member(link is external) of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors with sense of achievement, alongside a certain sense of frustration. Mr Kilgallon’s three years term on the commission came to an end last year, and he was not reappointed to a second term, an outcome he had anticipated.” By Michael Otto, NZCatholic.org.nz

CHILD PROTECTION

Women from ‘The Keepers’ discuss experience at Baltimore conference on child sexual abuse prevention
“ Three women featured in the documentary ‘The Keepers’ renewed calls Thursday (Apr. 19) for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release its files on the priest at the center of the Netflix series(link is external). ‘Open your books, release your records,’ Abbie Schaub said at a conference at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Schaub, along with Lil Hughes Knipp and Teresa Lancaster, was featured in a panel at the annual symposium of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, which is part of the public health school.” By Alison Knezevich, Baltimore Sun

Child sexual abuse in the U.S. costs up to $1.5 million per child death
Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly(link is external), with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study. Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs. They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015.” By LaTina Emerson, Georgia State University Public Relations Coordinator

MASS TRANSLATIONS

Archbishop Gregory: the time is right to review Mass translations
“The archbishop who heads the U.S. bishops’ liturgy committee says that controversial changes to liturgical translations that have been fully implemented in Catholic parishes since 2011 may need to be revisited to fix ‘problematic’ sections(link is external) that fail to ‘bring the entire church together.’” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women appointed to Vatican’s doctrine office
“Pope Francis named five new consultors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Saturday (Apr. 21), including three female academics and two priests(link is external) … While a Vatican spokesman was unable to confirm whether laywomen have previously served as consultors, he did confirm for CNA that women have served as staff members at the dicastery.” By CathNews.com

CHURCH REFORM

Editorial: resist outsourcing evangelization
“In a March 19 essay in the international edition of the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, church historian Massimo Faggioli offers important insights(link is external) about the role of special interest groups, influence and money in the life of the church today. In ‘The tensions between church reform and pushing an agenda,’ Faggioli writes: In the tradition of the church, reform has been driven mostly by the urgent need to correct serious deviations (for instance, simony and corruption) or to respond to new threats facing the church (such as the Holy Roman Empire’s challenge to papal authority) … Backed by big money, special interest groups, informal networks and invisible actors are today penetrating and influencing more and more institutions, including the church.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Changes coming to Catholic parishes
Another round of church closures appears to be on the horizon(link is external) for the Catholic archdiocese of Halifax- Yarmouth. ‘We have a problem with attendance and with financial issues of the church,’ said Ervin Doak, a retired Saint Mary’s University professor, and a parishioner and volunteer at St. Thomas Aquinas and Canadian Martyrs parish in central Halifax.” By Francis Campbell, Truro Daily Herald

The Pittsburgh Diocese deadline
“Change is inevitable. We see it nationally — tax reform, tariffs, gun control. We see it regionally — fracking, medical innovation, clean energy. We see it on the job — automation, outsourcing, reorganizations, mergers. No one and nothing is immune from change, not even one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Catholic Church. As any practicing Catholic in the Diocese of Pittsburgh knows, Saturday (Apr. 28) at 4 p.m. is when Bishop David Zubik announces the new parish groupings(link is external) and clergy assignments that will take effect in October, known as On Mission.” By Jan Kowalski, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VOICES

Expert says abuse of power at root of sexual abuse crisis in Church
“The center (Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University) works closely with the Vatican on developing polices to deal with sexual abuse and hosts numerous workshops for Church leaders from around the world. Which is why ‘Dalla parte dei piccoli’ [‘On the side of the small ones’] is sure to be discussed when it’s released in May. The book is by Angela Rinaldi, a 28-year-old Italian research assistant at the Center for Child Protection, and she argues the problem of sexual abuse in the Church ‘is a question of abuse of power(link is external).’” By Filipe Domingues, Cruxnow.com

When Americans say they believe in God, what do they mean?
“A new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God(link is external) of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God ‘as described in the Bible.’ And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.” By Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life

CHURCH FINANCES

Federal appeals court affirms parish assets separate from archdiocese
“A federal appeals court upheld two lower court rulings that the assets of Catholic institutions, including parishes, are separate(link is external) from those of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and that they cannot be consolidated with archdiocesan assets in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The April 26 ruling came from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Okemos priest embezzlement grows to $5.4M
“An investigation of a Catholic priest had focused on a $3 million mansion he built in 2007, but new records show the alleged pilfering began long before then. The purported embezzlement started shortly after the Rev. Jon Wehrle founded St. Martha Church in 1988 and continued for 26 years, according to an audit by Plante Moran. In all, the priest is accused of taking $5.4 million from the church(link is external) from 1991 to 2017, the audit shows.” By Francis X. Donnelly, The Detroit News

Vatican continues its financial clean-up
“When it comes to clean-up of the Vatican’s troubled finances, officials often say that no news is good news. Such is the case with a 2017 report from the Financial Information Authority (AIF), in effect the Vatican’s financial watchdog unit. According to the report, suspicious financial activity in the Vatican has decreased(link is external) for the second year in a row.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

As much as $100,000 taken from collection plate at Holy Name Cathedral, police say
“Chicago police are investigating whether former security guards at Holy Name Cathedral may have played a role in the theft of up to $100,000 from the historic church’s collection plate(link is external), according to preliminary information from police sources and the security company. No one is in custody, but multiple suspects have been identified, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman.” By Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune

Catholic church falls victim to Melbourne’s latest crime spree
“The Catholic Church, one of Victoria’s wealthiest institutions, has found itself repeatedly targeted as part of a crime spree that some believe could be an ‘inside job.’ The Sunday Age can reveal that 23 churches and religious buildings have been robbed in the past two months, with offenders potentially reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Mass collections(link is external), as well as electronic equipment, keys, and other small items … Another church source had a different view, saying that priests and lay workers were ‘fairly slack’ about putting collections and other money in safe places.” By Farrah Tomazin and Chris Vedelago, The Canberra times

Millennial philanthropy can teach Catholic Church three things
“In 2015, 84 percent of working millennials gave money to a charity. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Growing up hearing stories of Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. in the classroom, millennials are a decidedly socially conscious generation. They prefer to financially support organizations that have a compelling cause. More specifically, they like causes that seek to alleviate burdens associated with poverty … Can the church learn any lessons from what millennials expect from charities?(link is external) My answer — yes, and below I offer three.” By Christian Mocek, National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Child Victims Act left behind in state’s budget, kept alive by survivors
“The state budget left out the Child Victims Act — a bill supported by the governor and the State Assembly — that would have extended the statute of limitations for child victims of sexual assault(link is external), but adult survivors are not giving up. The bill never made it to the State Senate floor, so the GOP majority leader is the focus of upcoming efforts.” By Elizabeth Floyd Mair, The Altamont Enterprise Regional

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Lawyers descend on Buffalo for clergy sex abuse cases
“In the Oscar-winning movie ‘Spotlight,’ Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian talks openly about the priest who abused his clients and the power of the Catholic Church to keep the scandal a secret … That scene was from 17 years ago, but Garabedian’s anger with the Catholic Church is still front and center, an important part of his message as he brings his high profile to Buffalo in search of sexual abuse clients(link is external) here. Garabedian is one part, a big part, of the out-of-town legal presence that arrived here when the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced a compensation fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse.” By Phil Fairbanks, The Buffalo News

CALIFORNIA

Second person comes forward to accuse form Redondo Beach priest of sexual abuse
“A second accuser has come forward alleging sexual abuse(link is external) by former Rev. Chris Cunningham while he served at St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach from 1998 to 2001. The man, now 30, contacted attorney Anthony DeMarco after reading media reports about DeMarco’s representation of a different accuser at St. Lawrence during the same time period. The attorney reached out to the Southern California News Group Thursday (Apr. 26).” By David Rosenfeld, Daily Breeze

MASSACHUSETTS

New book alleges sex abuse, coverups by Springfield bishops
“‘Death of an Altar Boy,’ a new book exploring the unsolved 1972 murder of Danny Croteau, 13, of Springfield, paints a damning portrait of then Springfield bishop Christopher J. Weldon(link is external) as man who obstructed justice and may have sexually abused a young boy in the 1950s. Drawing on more than 10,000 pages of police and court records and interviews with Croteau’s family, friends, fellow abuse victims and church officials, author E.J. Fleming (“Tread Softly: Bullying and the Death of Phoebe Prince”) looks at the killing and the only publicly named suspect — Richard R. Lavigne, a since defrocked priest who has been the subject of claims from 40 alleged victims of sexual abuse.” By Ray Kelly, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Man gives emotional testimony claiming Saginaw priest sexually assaulted him
“When the Rev. Robert J. ‘Father Bob’ DeLand Jr. first appeared in court on sexual assault charges(link is external), he asked a judge when he’d find out who his accusers were. Two months later, the 71-year-old Catholic priest heard testimony from two of the three males who say he molested them. The witnesses testified during two of DeLand’s preliminary examinations held the morning of April 25 before Saginaw County District Judge David D. Hoffman.” By Cole Waterman, Saginaw News

Saginaw Diocese names independent delegate to lead sex abuse investigation
“The Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, has named an independent delegate to lead its investigation into child abuse in the diocese(link is external), while also releasing the names of several priests who have been defrocked for accusations in their past. Saginaw Bishop Joseph Cistone appeared at a press conference April 13 along with Michigan Appeals Court Chief Judge Michael Talbot, to announce Talbot’s appointment to oversee the diocese’s handling of sex abuse cases.” By James Dearie, National Catholic Reporter

MONTANA

$20M settlement reached in clergy abuse cases
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls and Billings reached a $20 million settlement agreement(link is external) Friday (Apr. 27) with more than 80 people who say they were sexually abused by clergy as children, according to attorneys in the case.” By Corin Cates-Carney, Montana Public Radio

NEW YORK

Four priests accused of sexual abuse served at one Buffalo-area parish
“Members of Most Precious Blood Church in Angola were as stunned as any Catholics – and maybe more so – when the Diocese of Buffalo in March publicly named 42 priests who had been accused of child sex abuse. The list released by Bishop Richard J. Malone included not just one priest who served in the village parish, but four(link is external). Parishioners had no idea. ‘The sticker shock was the number, not that it had happened,’ said longtime member Karen A. Erickson. ‘The sticker shock of so many in your community was what had people talking.’” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Men say Long Island priest who led singing group abused them in mid-1970s
“Eight men who were members of a popular youth folk group at a Catholic church in St. James in the 1970s have filed reports with the Suffolk County district attorney saying they were sexually abused as boys by the charismatic priest(link is external) who ran the group. The men filed the accusations as part of the second phase of a program established by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to compensate clergy sex-abuse victims, according to Manhattan-based attorney Michael Reck, who is representing them.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

The long road to recovery after sexual abuse
“But Father James Spielman wasn’t there to help (David) Husted. He was there to groom him for years of sexual abuse(link is external) — and Husted says, a lifetime of pain. ‘He was thought of as a God,’ Husted said. ‘He was thought of as do no wrong, such a wonderful person. He was so good at what he did, in grooming.’” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV I-Team

You asked, we answered: why aren’t accused priests in jail?
“It’s been two months since The Buffalo News first reported that a retired priest from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo admitted that he sexually abused ‘probably dozens’ of teenage boys(link is external) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, The News also has published more than 30 stories related to the sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Among The News’ findings …” By Qina Liu, The Buffalo News

Two priests suspended amid probe of sexual abuse allegations
“Two Buffalo-area priests were put on leave this past weekend as the Diocese of Buffalo investigates complaints of childhood sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Richard J. Malone suspended the Rev. Samuel J. Venne and the Rev. Arthur S. Smith from ministry due to allegations that the priests behaved inappropriately with minors.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Editorial: Evidence of honorable intent
“It’s anyone’s guess whether it will be enough, but no one can say Bishop Richard J. Malone isn’t putting his money where his mouth is: With the announcement that the Diocese of Buffalo is putting the bishop’s mansion up for sale(link is external), it seems clear that the local Catholic Church is serious about securing the money in needs to settle claims of sexual abuse by priests … No properties would be off limits, he pledged – even the bishop’s stately mansion on Oakland Place in Buffalo. Plainly, he meant it.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania is national leader in aggressively going after institutional child sex predators
“More than any other state, Pennsylvania is aggressively going after child sex predators(link is external). From multiple grand jury investigations into the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a similar grand jury probe into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky and the investigation into systemic sex abuse of students at a New Hope private school, state prosecutors have positioned the state as arguably the most aggressive in the nation against child sex crimes. A pending grand jury investigation into six Roman Catholic dioceses in the state is poised to further ratchet up the scope of that outlook. The probe ostensibly will provide a complete look into clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

WEST VIRGINIA

Diocese won’t name sex offenders
“The Roman Catholic dioceses of Wheeling-Charleston and Steubenville don’t plan to issue any lists of alleged sexual offenders(link is external) as dioceses in neighboring states have done in recent weeks. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, New York, released lists of clergy and laity identified as being sexual abusers. The lists contained the names of living and deceased subjects. But that won’t happen here, church officials have said.” By The Weirton Daily Times

AUSTRALIA

Three years’ jail time for Catholic brother who abused boys, then moved on
“A Catholic brother who was moved by his order to other schools interstate after he sexually abused students at De La Salle College(link is external) in Malvern has been jailed for at least three years. Former De La Salle brother Frank Terrence Keating, 75, was on Friday (Apr. 20) sentenced to five years and three months in jail for indecently assaulting eight students between 1969 and 1977.” By Australian Associated Press in The Age

CANADA

Ontario jury set record punitive award against Catholic Church over priest’s abuse
“A jury has awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against a Roman Catholic religious order over a priest’s abuse of a schoolboy(link is external), accusing it of betraying the community’s trust by covering up abuse and moving a serial predator along to new posts. Rob Talach, a lawyer who represented the victim, Rod MacLeod, now 68, said the case represents the largest punitive award by a civil jury in a sexual-abuse case against the Catholic Church in Canada. Over all, the jury award in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice amounted to $2.5-million, which includes money for lost wages, suffering and lost enjoyment of life.” By Sean Fine, The Globe and Mail

Motion fails: Parliament wanted to direct CCCB on papal abuse apology
“A conservative member of Parliament blocked a motion calling on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to invite Pope Francis to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in abuse(link is external) at Indian residential schools. However, Charlie Angus, a member of Parliament, said the motion would come up for debate and a vote in the House in the coming weeks. Angus is seeking unanimous government support for a motion to call on the CCCB to formally invite Francis to apologize in Canada, as requested by the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” By Deborah Gyapong, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Nuns sent 11-yesr-old Scottish boy to Australia
“A witness told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry hearing in Edinburgh he was 11 when he was forced to migrate overseas in the 1950s. He was then sexually abused by priests(link is external)at the care home he was moved to in Tasmania, the inquiry was told. The man accused the British government at the time of robbing him of a family, a country and an education.” By Diane King, Edinburgh News

Child abuse inquiry: victims must be offered more legal support
“The long running inquiry into child sexual abuse(link is external) has recommended that victims be offered more legal support, and the rules be changed on claiming compensation. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales is midway through its work, but has issued an interim report based on its findings so far.” Ian Woods, By Sky News

We need a public inquiry into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church
“Only a full public inquiry led by a judge will have a chance of uncovering the true extent and nature of child sex abuse(link is external) in the Scottish Catholic Church rather than its spin doctors’ highly selective version of it. Nicola Sturgeon must start that process now in the name of a little boy she once knew a long time ago. In the meantime she should request the presence of the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Edward Adams, at Holyrood to ask how the Vatican intends to deal with a grossly dysfunctional Catholic leadership in Scotland, one that has betrayed its people.” By Kevin McKenna, The Herald

Child abuse investigation to look into claims at former Aberdeen children’s home
“A national child abuse investigation(link is external) will turn its focus on events at a former Aberdeen children’s home from next week. Former residents and other witnesses connected to Nazareth House on the city’s Claremont Street, are expected to give evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.” By Evening Express

GUAM

Three new clergy abuse lawsuits against Cepeda, Brouillard
Three new clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) were filed on Monday (Aor. 30) in local and federal courts, two of them alleging abuse by former priest Louis Brouillard in the late 1960s,  and one alleging abuse by the now deceased former priest Raymond Cepeda in the mid 1980s.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Another priest, Fr. Daniel Cristobal, named in sex abuse lawsuit
“A now deceased Capuchin priest, Father Daniel Cristobal, has been named for the first time in a Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuit(link is external), which was filed Tuesday (Apr. 24) in federal court. The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as C.A. to protect his privacy, said in his lawsuit that Cristobal repeatedly sexually molested and abused him immediately after C.A. became an altar boy in or about 1979 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Santa Rita.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

It takes time to rebuild trust in church after abuse scandal
“Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes on Tuesday (Apr. 24) said it takes time to win back peoples’ trust in the Catholic Church after the clergy sex abuse(link is external) scandal broke, but he said the Archdiocese of Agana has been making headway in trying to bring a measure of justice to more than 160 victims and in preventing more abuse from happening.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Suspended sentence for priest who assaulted two girls at first confession
“A former priest who indecently assaulted two young girls(link is external) as they made their first confession was given an 18-month suspended sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today. John Calnan, 79, now living at the Presbytery, Roman Street, Co Cork, sexually abused each girl as they went into a room alone with him to make their confession.” By RTE

ITALY

Accuser tells her story of abuse and manipulation by the ‘Archangel’
“His followers called him the Archangel. People would come from far and wide to see him, to speak to him, to touch him. The word of Piero Alfio Capuana, the 70-year-old leader of the ‘Catholic Culture and Environment Association,’ or ACCA, a lay movement in the Church, was law. In 2013, when Capuana called ‘Maria,’ at the time only 11, into his study(link is external), she says she followed. When he locked the door behind her, she says she stayed. When he told her to sit on the desk in front of him, she says she sat, and when he ordered her to take off her shirt, she says, eventually, in tears, she obeyed.” By Claire Giangravè, National Catholic Reporter

SICILY

Diocese had warnings about lay group accused of abuse for 40-plus years
“Documents obtained by Crux show that both the Diocese of Acireale on the Italian island of Sicily and the Vatican were aware since the mid-1970s that a powerful lay organization whose leaders today stand accused of sexual abuse of minor girls(link is external) was suspected of ‘deviations of a doctrinal and moral character’ and ‘true scandals’ … Despite several failed attempts in the late 1970s to impose discipline, documents and interviews show the group continued to enjoy loose approval from a string of bishops in Acireale until criminal charges were lodged by civil prosecutors in August 2017.” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

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New York’s Catholic bishops ramp up lobbying against Child Victims Act / The Buffalo News

To head off the bill and to push other items on its agenda, the Catholic Conference has spent hundreds of thousands a year on lobbyists. For example, the conference last year paid Sheinkopf Ltd. $5,000 a month, the Greenberg Traurig firm $6,000 a month and New York City attorney Stanley K. Schlein another $6,000 a month. The conference represents New York’s Catholic bishops and is headed by the archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. (The Buffalo News)

The state’s Catholic Conference has spent $1.8 million over six years lobbying Albany to, among other things, derail a bill to make it easier for sex abuse victims to sue.

“The Democratic-led state Assembly approved the Child Victims Act last week, but its prospects for passage in the Republican-led Senate are less likely.

“The act’s most controversial provision would open a one-year window in which victims currently blocked by New York’s statute of limitations could sue for damages linked to decades-old abuses. But the Catholic Conference says the act would force institutions to defend misconduct ‘about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role.’

“To head off the bill and to push other items on its agenda, the Catholic Conference has spent hundreds of thousands a year on lobbyists. For example, the conference last year paid Sheinkopf Ltd. $5,000 a month, the Greenberg Traurig firm $6,000 a month and New York City attorney Stanley K. Schlein another $6,000 a month.

“The conference represents New York’s Catholic bishops and is headed by the archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

By Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News — Read more …

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Vatican silence on Cardinal Pell’s trial is a turn from a long history / National Catholic Reporter

The idea that a cardinal, who was no longer even working in Australia and who could have been given immunity from prosecution by a foreign tribunal quite easily, will be facing a secular jury without so much as a peep of protest from the Vatican is stunning. (National Catholic Reporter)

Cardinal George Pell is going on trial in Australia to face charges he sexually abused minors. As victims’ advocate Anne Barrett Doyle told my colleague Josh McElwee, this trial is a ‘turning point’ in the long saga of compelling accountability by church leaders. It is even more of a turning point than Doyle may realize. Because the big story here is the dog that did not bark, the fact that the Vatican has made no protest at the prospect of a prince of the church standing trial before a civil magistrate.

“I cannot think of a single preoccupation of the Catholic Church that has more frequently defined the stances she takes vis-à-vis the ambient culture than the concern for the church’s independence and freedom. From the Middle Ages onward, popes undertook a delicate balancing act with other powers seeking control of the Italian peninsula. In individual countries, the church often fought for her rights against monarchs who wanted to control the church’s personnel or money or both.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Cardinal George Pell to stand trial on historical sex offenses / The New York Times

The church has found itself at the center of a spiraling sex abuse scandal, spanning countries and decades. (The New York Times)

“Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, must stand trial on several charges of sexual abuse, an Australian court ruled on Tuesday (May 1), promising to prolong a case that has already dragged on for months, and which many see as a moment of reckoning for a church racked by scandal.

“Belinda Wallington, a Melbourne magistrate, found there was sufficient evidence for prosecutors to bring the cardinal’s case to trial, ending a two-month pretrial hearing, in which witnesses described abuse they said took place decades ago.

“But the majority of charges against the cardinal were either withdrawn or dismissed, including several of the most serious allegations, which were said to have taken place in a playground, on an altar, on a mountaintop and during a 1970s screening of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ in Ballarat.”

By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times — Read more …

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Australian mining town breaks its silence about grim past of sexual abuse / The New York times

The scale of the abuse in Ballarat was staggering. Gerald Ridsdale, the former chaplain of St. Alipius Primary School in Ballarat, was imprisoned for sexually abusing 65 children from the early 1960s to late 1980s. He was only one of several priests convicted of abusing children. (The New York Times)

Rob Walsh was outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court recently awaiting a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, when, he said, he unexpectedly walked into the cardinal himself.

“The encounter wasn’t their first. They both were raised in the same old mining town, which could be why the cardinal extended his hand, inviting Mr. Walsh to shake it. Mr. Walsh declined — a gesture that signified the lasting impact of a decades-long sexual abuse scandal that has rocked this town, Ballarat, and sent shock waves around the world.

“‘The ripple is still on the lake and it’s still occurring,’ Mr. Walsh said from his home in Ballarat, referring to the lingering effects from that scandal, in which priests preyed on children, including Mr. Walsh, during the 1960s and 1970s.

“‘It’s gone through families and generations.'”

By Jacqueline Williams, The New York times — Read more …

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