Judge rejects bid to tap parishes, schools in archdiocese bankruptcy / Star Tribune

Catholic parishes, schools and other church properties cannot be included among the assets in the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a federal judge ruled Thursday (Jul. 28).

“U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel denied the request by a committee representing clergy abuse victims to consolidate the assets of various entities linked to the archdiocese, which would have increased funds available to settle victims’ claims.

“The decision was met with relief by Catholic parishes and a pledge to appeal the ruling by the victims’ committee.

“Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he was pleased with the decision.”

By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Australian police investigate abuse accusations against Cardinal George Pell / The New York Times

Cardinal George Pell, the de facto Vatican treasurer and Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, is being investigated in connection with multiple allegations of child sexual assault that date back four decades, a top police official said on Thursday (Jul. 28).

“The official, Graham Ashton, chief police commissioner of the Australian state of Victoria, confirmed a report by the government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation that detectives were investigating and had submitted an account of the allegations to Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions.

“‘We investigated and are still investigating,’ Mr. Ashton said in an interview with the radio station 3AW in Melbourne, when asked about an inquiry.

“The Victoria police have established a task force that is looking into such allegations in both religious and nongovernmental organizations.”

By Brett Cole, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Documents show Vatican official allegedly stopped Minnesota investigation / Religion News Service

A Vatican spokesman says the release of documents alleging its former ambassador to the U.S. stopped an investigation of a Minnesota archbishop ‘is a very complex issue’ that will require further study.

“‘We need more information before we can make any comment,’ the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

“The spokesman’s remarks came in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday (July 21), the day after a new collection of documents regarding clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was made public.

“Among them was a memo that detailed sexual misconduct and harassment allegations against former Archbishop John Nienstedt, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.”

By Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Minnesota Diocese admits responsibility so AG drops criminal charges in cases

National Catholic Reporter said today that Ramsey County has dropped criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis after it revised an existing civil-claims settlement to admit wrongdoing. According to County Attorney John Choi, the text added to the settlement documents takes direct responsibility. It reads:

“Curtis Wehmeyer was a priest in this Archdiocese. The Archdiocese admits that it failed to adequately respond and prevent the sexual abuse of Victim 1, Victim 2, and Victim 3. The Archdiocese failed to keep the safety and wellbeing of these three children ahead of protecting the interests of Curtis Wehmeyer and the Archdiocese. The actions and omissions of the Archdiocese failed to prevent the abuse that resulted in the need for protection and services for these three children.” 

The amendment also requires newly installed Archbishop Bernard Hebda to participate in at least three Restorative Justice sessions convened by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, extends court oversight of the diocese until 2020, adds a county-appointed representative to the diocesan review board, strengthens child protection, and sets up ongoing counseling services. (Note that VOTF also offers restorative justice options in our Healing Circles.)

You will find the full story here.

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Who watches the watchmen? / The Irish News

Last month saw the publication of the final tranche of reports from the first phase of reviews by the Irish Church’s safeguarding board, and the overall picture, according to board head Teresa Devlin, is one of steady progress.

“‘You really need to look at the detail of the reports to see that some orders took a while to get the culture of safeguarding embedded,’ she explains, continuing, ‘the Church has had guidance in place since 1996 and the first set of National Board standards were in 2008, and it probably wasn’t until 2012 that some of them started to put proper standards around their practices and report sharply to the Guards and the HSE. Others of course hit the ground running much longer before that’ …

“An important factor in things being handled so well and so swiftly, she adds, is the decline of a culture of deference both towards and between clergy. (Emphasis added)

“‘From my perspective this is good that that’s gone or going – it’s still around in some places – but it’s definitely good because priests are human beings like the rest of us, and they feel and they have to be challenged,’ she says.”

 

By Greg Daly, The Irish Catholic — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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How is Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Love” being received?

A non-synodal reception for a post-synodal exhortation

Three months after the publication of Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), the reception is underway, and various commentators already are noting the wide differences in the hermeneutics of the post-synodal exhortation. If we want to identify the two main approaches, we can say that one has a rather constrained view of the text and, especially, of the two synodal gatherings … The other interpretation focuses on the exhortation’s renewed emphasis on conscience as opposed to legalistic approaches to moral theology, and its acknowledgment of the need for theological and pastoral attention to new situations.”

By Massimo Faggioli, dotCommonweal — Click here to read the rest of this article

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Why the best chance to end the abuse crisis rests with you / National Catholic Reporter

During my youth, I passed through the heavy doors of St. Theresa Parish hundreds of times after Mass. While most of those memories have vanished into an amalgam of childhood impressions, I do recall a specific encounter one Sunday with Fr. George Bredemann … I recall him looking down at us and me feeling uncomfortable. Mostly, I remember his eyes.

“It was only years later that I learned he was one of the most notorious of the priests who abused children in my home diocese of Phoenix, Arizona. Fr. George was eventually arrested, convicted, and jailed. Justice did not arrive because our bishop, Thomas O’Brien, stood with the survivors; in fact, he wrote a letter to the court asking for leniency in Fr. George’s sentencing. Justice was served because a Catholic parishioner saw what was happening and took action.”

By Nicole Sotelo, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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