Parents ask San Francisco archdiocese to remove controversial parish priests / National Catholic Reporter

In a packed auditorium at Star of the Sea School in San Francisco on Wednesday (Mar.25), parents told representatives of the archdiocese to remove the parish’s two priests.

“After describing the changes that Fr. Joseph Illo, administrator, has instituted at the school since his arrival and the effects on their children, most of the parents concluded their talks by saying, ‘We respectfully ask that Fr. Illo and Fr. Driscoll be removed from Star of the Sea” …

“About 200 parents and teachers attended the meeting, the majority of them wearing Star of the Sea sweatshirts. Sixteen parents spoke at a dais at the front of the audience that faced the four clergymen. Several started to cry as they spoke.”

By Mandy Erickson, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Members of Vatican abuse commission question Francis’ inaction in Chile / National Catholic Reporter

Two members of the new Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on clergy sexual abuse (Peter Saunders, United Kingdom, and Marie Collins, Ireland, both clergy sexual abuse survivors) say they are both concerned and surprised at the pope’s decision to appoint a bishop in Chile who is accused of covering up abuse, even witnessing it while he was a priest.

Speaking in brief NCR interviews Thursday in personal capacities, the commission members also said some in their group are considering traveling to Rome to speak to the pope face-to-face on the matter.

Bishop Juan Barros Madrid was installed Saturday as head of the diocese of Osorno, Chile, amid protests in the cathedral. Chilean survivors accuse Barros of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima, a once-renowned spiritual leader and key Chilean church figure who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of sexually abusing minors, when Barros was a priest.

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

Marie Collins of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, who is quoted in this story, will be the featured speaker at the VOTF 2015 National Assembly in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 18.

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Angry protest over new bishop in Chile

Hundreds of demonstrators dressed in black barged into a cathedral in a city in southern Chile on Saturday and interrupted the installation ceremony for the city’s new Roman Catholic bishop, Juan Barros, whom they accuse of complicity in a notorious case of clerical sexual abuse, blocking his passage and shouting, ‘Barros, get out of the city!’

“The scene inside the Cathedral San Mateo de Osorno was chaotic, with television images showing clashes between Barros opponents, carrying black balloons, and Barros supporters, carrying white ones. Radio reports said several protesters tried to climb onto the altar where Bishop Barros was standing. After the ceremony, he left the cathedral through a side door escorted by police special forces. Outside, about 3,000 people, including local politicians and members of Congress, held signs and chanted demands that he resign.”

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

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Voice of the Faithful 2015 National Assembly Will Take Place in Hartford, April 18

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Voice of the Faithful, a Roman Catholic Church reform movement focusing on issues surrounding the clergy sexual abuse scandal and the laity’s role in Church governance, will hold its 2015 National Assembly on Saturday, April 18, at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford.

HartfordJuneLMitaWebShadowThe featured speaker will be Marie Collins, a Catholic clergy sexual abuse survivor from Ireland who pioneered child protection policies there and is on the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Organizers also have scheduled five interactive workshops to allow attendees to offer opinions and learn about VOTF activities surrounding several issues:

  • Degrees of Transparency: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing in Diocesan Financial Accountability
  • Towards Healing the People of God
  • Let’s Talk About It: Can Clergy & Laity Speak to Each Other as Equals
  • Survivor Support: A Discussion with Fr. Tom Doyle
  • Your Voice for the Synod on the Family

MarieCollinsWebShadowCollins was among the first in March 2014 whom Pope Francis appointed to his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She has spoken out for years on the Church’s need to provide better protection for children and justice for clergy sexual abuse survivors. She helped the Dublin Archdiocese set up its Child Protection Service in 2003 and was a member of the Lynott Committee drafting the Church’s all-Ireland child protection guidelines. She was among survivors who lobbied the Irish government for the Murphy Commission, which reported in 2009 extensive clergy child abuse and coverup in the Dublin Archdiocese. In 2012, she spoke about being a clergy abuse victim at the Vatican symposium on child sexual abuse “Toward Healing,” which was attended by Church leaders from around the world.

The documentary “A Matter of Conscience: Confronting Clergy Sexual Abuse” also will be screened at the Assembly. The film, produced by Boston College faculty members John and Susan Michalczyk, features several members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a group Catholic priests and religious formed in 2013 to support other whistleblowers and identify shortcomings in Church child protection policies.

Registration for the 2015 National Assembly is at the Voice of the Faithful website, votf.org.

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 votf.org.

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Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson charged with concealing child sex abuse / Newcastle Herald

Hunter-born Archbishop Philip Wilson has become the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex abuse allegation against another priest on what a pedophile priest victim has described as ‘a St Patrick’s Day we’ll never forget.’

“The Adelaide archbishop was charged on Tuesday with one count of concealing a child sex allegation made against  Hunter priest the late Jim Fletcher in the 1970s, nearly nine months after the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry recommended the charge.

“He is one of only a handful of Catholic clergymen in the world to be charged with concealing a child sex allegation against another priest, and only the third in Australia after former school principal and fellow Maitland-Newcastle vicar-general the late Tom Brennan became the first to face such a charge in 2012.”

By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, Australia — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope’s zero tolerance for bishops who covered for pedophiles faces tough test in Chile / Associated Press

Juan Carlos Cruz recalls that he and another teen boy would lie down on the priest’s bed, one resting his head at the man’s shoulder, another sitting near his feet. The priest would kiss the boys and grope them, he said, all while the Rev. Juan Barros watched.

“‘Barros was there, and he saw it all,’ Cruz, now a 51-year-old journalist, told The Associated Press.

“Barros has been tapped by Pope Francis to become bishop of a southern Chilean diocese this month, provoking an unprecedented outcry by abuse victims and Catholic faithful who contend he covered up sexual abuse committed by his mentor and superior, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, in the 1980s and ’90s. A Vatican investigation found Karadima guilty in 2011 and sentenced the now 84-year-old priest to a cloistered life of ‘penitence and prayer’ for what is Chile’s highest-profile case of abuse by a priest.”

By Eva Vergara, Associated Press, in Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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When the Pope speaks, priest abuse cases get heard / The Washington Post

Diego was the shy one in Father Silverio Mura’s class; a 13-year-old, olive-skinned and handsome, who spent his free time indoors watching cartoons. He walked to school alone in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, stopping first to pray to a statue of the Virgin Mary in the rose garden in front of his apartment building.

“‘She was my protector,’ he said.

“But nothing and no one, Diego charged, protected him from Mura — the religion teacher who invited the then-teenage boy to the priest’s small apartment on Brothers Grimm Street after class one day in 1989. There, Diego, now 39, said Mura cajoled him into a kiss. A few days later, he was asked to return, suffering the first of what he described as hundreds of incidences of sexual abuse that turned a quiet boy who wanted to be a pilot into a deeply troubled adult.”

By Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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