End the statute of limitations on child sex abuse / Chicago Tribune

At 53, Scott Cross had waited more than three decades to talk to anyone about the incident in which, he said, his high school wrestling coach sexually molested him.

“By the time he shared his story — with family, prosecutors and then to a packed courtroom — his alleged sexual abuser, Dennis Hastert, had escaped prosecution. Yes, the former coach and U.S. House Speaker was prosecuted, but on a relatively minor financial violation — a wrinkle in the high-profile case that has renewed debate in Illinois and other states over the statute of limitations for cases involving sexual abuse of children.”

Editorial by Chicago Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this editorial

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Bookkeeper denies theft as U.S. church struggles with money controls / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

A bookkeeper has pleaded not guilty to charges that she stole nearly $200,000 from a Catholic church and school in Albert Lea, marking the latest incident suggesting to some observers a problem with lax financial controls in American Catholicism …

“The latest charge of shoddy financial controls comes against the backdrop of a 2006 study by Villanova University, which found that 85 percent of dioceses in the United States had experienced some form of embezzlement within the previous five years, mostly at the parish level …

“A retired U.S. Postal Service inspector and lifelong Catholic named Michael W. Ryan has examined money management in the Church in the United States. His estimate is that Catholic parishes in the the country may lose as much as $90 million annually due to inadequate controls over the collection plate.”

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Francis rails against child sexual abuse, saying abusers must be ‘severely’ punished / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis railed against the sexual abuse of children in a weekly address in St. Peter’s Square Sunday (May 1), calling any such abuse a ‘tragedy’ and saying the church cannot tolerate the matter and ‘must severely punish the abusers.’

“Greeting members of an Italian association that has worked to raise awareness against pedophilia and to report sexual abuse crimes, who were present in the Square for the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer, the pontiff thanked them for their work before departing from his prepared text.

“‘This is a tragedy,’ said Francis off the cuff, his voice raised and his arm extended from the window of the Vatican’s apostolic palace above the Square. ‘We must not tolerate the abuse of minors. We must defend minors. And we must severely punish the abusers.’

“The Catholic church around the world has been embroiled in scandals over its handling of sexually abusive clergy for decades, with survivors, advocates, law enforcement agencies, and some local jurisdictions saying members of the hierarchy covered up crimes in order to protect the institution at the risk of children’s well-being.”While Francis did not specifically mention the church or its response to abuse on Sunday, he spoke in the plural using a remarkably forceful tone.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Fr. Hans Kung says Francis responded to request for free discussion on infallibility dogma / National Catholic Reporters

On March 9, my appeal to Pope Francis to give room to a free, unprejudiced and open-ended discussion on the problem of infallibility appeared in the leading journals of several countries. I was thus overjoyed to receive a personal reply from Francis immediately after Easter. Dated March 20, it was forwarded to me from the nunciature in Berlin.

“In the pope’s reply, the following points are significant for me:

  • The fact that Francis answered at all and did not let my appeal fall on deaf ears, so to speak;
  • The fact that he replied himself and not via his private secretary or the secretary of state;
  • That he emphasizes the fraternal manner of his Spanish reply by addressing me as Lieber Mitbruder(“Dear Brother”) in German and puts this personal address in italics;
  • That he clearly read the appeal, to which I had attached a Spanish translation, most attentively;
  • That he is highly appreciative of the considerations that had led me to write Volume 5 of my complete works, in which I suggest theologically discussing the different issues that the infallibility dogma raises in the light of holy Scripture and tradition with the aim of deepening the constructive dialogue between the “semper reformanda” 21st-century church and the other Christian churches and postmodern society.”

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

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Francis: Spirit works in laypeople, ‘is not property of the hierarchy’ / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has again sharply denounced the culture of clericalism among priests in the Catholic church, calling it ‘one of the greatest deformations’ that must be confronted by the global faith community and saying it helps ‘diminish and undervalue’ the contributions that laypeople make.

“The pontiff has also strongly reaffirmed the right of laypeople to make decisions in their lives, saying that priests must trust that the Holy Spirit is working in them and that the Spirit ‘is not only the ‘property’ of the ecclesial hierarchy.’

“In a letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet in his role as the head of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, released by the Vatican Tuesday (Apr. 25), Francis says he wants to speak to the members of the commission about how to better serve what he terms ‘the Holy Faithful People of God.’

“‘Evoking the Holy Faithful People of God is to evoke that horizon which we are invited to look at and reflect upon,’ states the pope. ‘It is the Holy Faithful People of God that as pastors we are continually invited to look to, to protect, to accompany, to sustain and to serve.'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Voice of the Faithful wonders whether any clergy are listening to the Pope.

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French cardinal admits mistakes in child sex abuse cases / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

A French cardinal said his diocese has made ‘some mistakes’ in the management and nomination of certain priests amid allegations that he had covered up child sex abuse cases.

“Cardinal Philippe Barbarin stressed the ‘importance’ for the victims ‘to see their right to truth and justice recognized’ in a statement issued Monday (Apr. 25) following a meeting on the issue with 220 priests from the Lyon region.

“Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon and one of the highest-ranking church officials in France, is among six church officials targeted by complaints for not reporting child sex abuse cases to judicial authorities.”

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Is a ‘governance gap’ emerging under Pope Francis? / Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis just keeps on truckin’ as the most compelling moral point of reference in the world today, most recently capping a last-minute trip to the Greek island of Lesbos to make a statement on refugee rights by bringing 12 of those refugees back to Rome with him, thereby offering Europe a pointed lesson about welcome …

“Of late, however, there have been reminders that Francis’ success on the global stage is not really matched by comparable breakthroughs as a manager.

“Over the past quarter-century, two areas above all have generated persistent scandal and heartache for the Vatican, and were waiting for a new pope to take up: The child sexual abuse scandals, and money.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., Crunxow.com — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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