Reforming the Roman Catholic Church / Oxford Mail

We could not have said this better ourselves.

“Christian Churches are not in good shape today. Reform is urgently needed. Instead, in many parts of Europe, Roman Catholic bishops are destroying local communities…

“Roman Catholic bishops in Europe are abolishing local Christian communities: pointing to the shortage of celibate priests, they are closing or amalgamating parishes into larger regional units. Parishioners are told to get used to finding a mass elsewhere – as if Christian faith could be reduced to merely getting to Mass. Such bishops are convinced that the church depends on priests. However, this thinking is deeply flawed …

“… The rich sacramental life in the Catholic Church gives expression and structure to the local community. The celebration of the Eucharist gathers the community in Christ’s presence around one table. However, a shortage of (celibate) priests does not have to mean the end of Christian vocation and community.

“It is a tragic misunderstanding that the prime task of bishops is to organize people around priests. Rather, priests are called to serve the local community. If this clericalist misunderstanding is to continue, bishops will quickly become the grave diggers of the church …”

Commentary by Prof. Werner Jeanrond, Roman Catholic theologian and Master of St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, in Oxford Mail, as compiled by Pete Hughes — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Child Victims Act sunsets within week of bishops’ abuse report / Voice of the Faithful

BOSTON, Mass., May 25, 2016 – Recent heightened public scrutiny of Catholic clergy sexual abuse has reinforced the urgency for the Church to address the scandal adequately, according to abuse victims’ advocate and Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful.

Within only a week, the “window” in the Minnesota Child Victims act expired, even as the U.S. Catholic bishops made their annual abuse report.

On May 24, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the three-year window created by the 2013 Minnesota Child Victims Act for reporting old claims of child sex abuse would expire May 25. During the three-year period, more than 500 claims were made against Minnesota Catholic clergy, according to the Star Tribune, which said, “In the three years since the law’s passage, the local church has witnessed an archbishop’s resignation, two bankruptcies and the public naming of more than 100 priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.”

The same day, the Associated Press reported that lawyers for abuse victims were accusing the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese of hiding more than $1 billion in assets “to avoid big payouts to abuse survivors as part of the church’s bankruptcy case.”

On May 20, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released its 2015 annual audit report on the implementation of its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report was not entirely complimentary of the Church’s efforts. The report showed a sharp increase in the number of new claims primarily from adults reporting past abuse. Francesco Cesareo, chairman of USCCB’s National Review Board, said the audit showed progress in creating safe environments for children but that very progress threatens complacency in implementing the charter’s guidelines.

As VOTF has pointed out before, the audit relies on self-reporting to assess compliance with those guidelines with little or no verification of the reported data.

Voice of the Faithful believes this focus on the scandal reinforces calls to action VOTF has made many times, including:

  1. everyone in the Church, lay and clergy alike, must be constantly vigilant in order to prevent abuse and its coverup and to report suspected cases promptly to civil authorities;
  2. the Church must stop blocking state statutes of limitation reforms that allow sufficient time for abused children to report the crimes;
  3. the Church must hold accountable not only the abusers, but also those who fail to report the crimes;
  4. the Church must provide abuse survivors and all those harmed by the scandal with resources necessary for healing.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Lawyers say Minnesota archdiocese hiding $1 billion in assets / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Attorneys on Tuesday (May 24) accused a Minnesota archdiocese of sheltering more than $1 billion in assets to avoid big payouts to abuse survivors as part of the church’s bankruptcy case.

“They say the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has some $1.7 billion in assets — far more than the $49 million it lists in a filing this week. In court papers, they accuse the archdiocese of vastly undervaluing assets such as the St. Paul Cathedral and tucking money away in other corporations to shield it from creditors.

“Jeff Anderson, an attorney for hundreds of people claiming sexual abuse by priests, said the local church had schemed to defraud creditors and deny fair resolution of claims.”

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

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

More than 800 sex abuse claims filed under Minnesota law / Star Tribune

More than 850 child sex abuse claims, including about 500 against Minnesota Catholic clergy, have been made in the past three years under a landmark Minnesota law sunsetting this week that allowed victims of older abuse cases to have their day in court.

“The Minnesota Child Victims Act, which rocked the Catholic Church to its core, set a May 25, 2016, deadline for filing older claims. Victims’ lawyers are rushing to the finish line, expecting a last-minute surge in claims …

“In the three years since the law’s passage, the local church has witnessed an archbishop’s resignation, two bankruptcies and the public naming of more than 100 priests credibly accused of child sex abuse …

“The speed and scope of the abuse claims underscores the pent-up demand for justice for sexual behavior ‘that has created an enormous cost to the victims, to their families and to society,’ said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, the chief Senate author of the law.

Latz said. ‘If [the church] had dealt with the problem up front, [it] never would have been in this position.'”

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

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

U.S. Catholic bishops release annual abuse report

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released its 2015 annual audit report on the implementation of its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People this past Friday, May 20, 2016. The report was not entirely complimentary of the Church’s efforts:

Audit of U.S. Catholic church shows sharp spike in sex abuse reports

By Scott Malone, Reuters

“Annual audit of reports of sexual abuse by members of the U.S. Roman Catholic clergy released on Friday (May 20) showed sharp increases in the number of new claims and in the value of settlements to victims.”

Annual report shows continued toll of clergy sex abuse crisis

By Matt Rocheleau, The Boston Globe

“The Catholic church paid $153 million in the United States last year to settle lawsuits, and fielded hundreds of new accusations, as fallout continued form the clergy sex abuse scandal exposed in the early 2000s, a new report from church leaders says.”

USCCB abuse audit warns of complacency, cites ‘room for improvement’

By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service

“The annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops’ ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ warns against complacency in dioceses, and the firm contracted to conduct audits of dioceses and parishes said there was ‘plenty of room for improvement’ in implementing two of the charter’s articles.”

Bishops’ conference releases 2015 abuse audit report

By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

“The U.S. bishops’ conference released this morning (May 20) its 13th Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report, which covers the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, is really two reports in one …”

Number of U.S. priests accused of sexually abusing children and numbers of persons alleging abuse

Compiled by BishopAccountability.org

“As of May 20, 2016, information published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) indicates that the conference has counted 6,528 clerics ‘not implausibly’ and ‘credibly’ accused of sexually abusing minors in the period 1950 through June 30, 2015, with several gaps. Out of a total of 116,153 priests who have worked in those years, this latest number represents 5.6% of the priests.

“This interim number is instructive. As recently as November 2002, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then in charge of all abuse cases for the Vatican, said in an interview that in the United States ‘less that 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type.’ Meanwhile, in the few U.S. dioceses where investigations or disclosures have provided adequate data, including Boston, we are seeing rates as high as 10%. If that is ultimately found to be the percentage nationally, the total would rise to 11,615 priests accused of abuse.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

A Survivor’s Take On Pending Legislation

The blog is written by a clergy sexual abuse survivor about how he views attempts by the Catholic Church to block statute of limitations reform.

Catholics4Change

Written by OWLFAN

This past week has been a whirlwind for survivors such as myself with the news that House Bill 1947, which passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in April, would be going to the Senate for hearings in June.  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has begun circling the wagons in anticipation of this bill passing.  Last Tuesday, Archbishop Chaput and other archdiocesan officials and “consultants” (aka attorneys), gathered for two meetings at St. Helena parish in Blue Bell – ironically, my registered parish!

According to an article by Matthew Gambino on CatholicPhilly.com, “speakers at the meetings described the dire financial impact upon Catholic parishes, schools and institutions that would likely result from an expected flood of civil lawsuits should the bill be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor.”

In coming weeks, parishioners will receive “information about how the legislation might affect them, as well as…

View original post 651 more words

1 Comment

Chaput Calls Priest Meeting On Bill

Fr. James Connell, J.C.D., Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, points out that “the Vatican has removed from Catholic Church law its statute of limitations for the crime of sexual abuse of a minor … Hence, the Catholic bishops of Pennsylvania should support similar legislation. And the people of Pennsylvania along with their legislators should not accept anything less from the Catholic bishops in Pennsylvania.”

Catholics4Change

Click here to read: “With abuse bill looming, Chaput calls priest meeting,” by Maria Panaritis, Philly.com, May 16, 2016

Editor’s note:

This bill would protect all children in Pennsylvania from child sex abusers who have escaped the justice system due to the current statute of limitations. This is not limited to clergy sex abuse cases.

Many other states have enacted this legislation allowing for improved safety and an opportunity for justice. Victims still need to prove their cases in a court of law.

Chaput’s financial concerns are valid. It’s a shame that so many Bishops didn’t apply this same amount of concern to children being raped. Maybe if a parish closes, the faithful will finally stand up and demand real change. The kind of change that will protect children and the future of the Church.

Excerpt: 

“….the meetings come as the state Senate has begun to meet with advocates about a…

View original post 41 more words

Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,276 other followers