Archive for May, 2014

Pope Francis Says Three Bishops Under Investigation

Catholics4Change

Click here to read: “Pope Francis to meet with sexual abuse victims,” by CNN staff, May 26, 2014

Excerpt: Pope Francis spoke out against sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Monday and said he plans to meet with victims in early June.

Stressing that such abuse constitutes a horrific crime, he told reporters aboard the papal plane that three bishops are under investigation.

It was not clear whether the bishops are under investigation for alleged abuse, or for purported involvement in some sort of cover-up.

A priest who abuses a child betrays the body of the Lord, the Pope said, according to pool reports. He called for zero tolerance.”

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Ian Elliott: Safeguarding Requires a Shift in Church Power Balance

In his latest Blog Ian Elliott writes:

‘Increased accountability means increased transparency combined with greater lay involvement, and more professionalism in the safeguarding decisions made in the Church. It also means a shift in the power balance within the Church through the introduction of an accountability framework that is robust, independent of the hierarchy, and itself subject to scrutiny. None of this should be unachievable if there is sufficient will for it to happen.’

This is the nub of the issue of accountability and safeguarding. The monarchical principle in the church – the principle by which a bishop governs – abhors any separation of power, and a safety-monitoring body must have considerable separation from the authority that appoints clergy if it is to be effective. If the authority that appoints clergy is, even indirectly, the authority that also appoints the officials who monitor child safeguarding, then there is no real independence, merely another facade. Who can have confidence in such a system?”

By Sean O’Conaill, VOTF Ireland — Click here to read the rest of this blog post.

Ian Elliott only recently retired from his position as the first chief executive officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, a post he assumed in 2007. He now offers consulting services in safeguarding management, policy review and practice.

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Second UN Panel Criticizes Vatican on Sex Abuse / The Boston Globe

For the second time, a United Nations panel has criticized the Vatican for its response to the child sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, charging it with failing to mandate that abuse charges be reported to police, moving clergy to evade discipline, and failing to see that victims obtain adequate compensation.

“‘Clergy … were transferred to other dioceses and institutions where they remained in contact with minors and others who are vulnerable,’ the United Nations Committee against Torture charged in a new report, ‘and in some cases committed abuse in their subsequent placements.’

“The report follows a similar indictment from the Committee on the Rights of the Child that appeared in February, which asserted that the Vatican had fostered ‘impunity’ for abusers.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Cardinal Seeks Truce in Fight between U.S. Nuns and Vatican’s Doctrinal Office / Religion News Service

A senior Vatican official on Tuesday (May 20) tried to defuse the damaging rift between the Vatican and U.S. nuns after a recent rebuke over obedience and doctrinal differences.

“Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, who heads the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life that oversees men’s and women’s religious orders, said there had been ‘sensitive times,’ but relations between religious orders and the Holy See remained ‘very close.'”

By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Bishops that Left Abuse Unreported Face Police / The Scotsman

Church officials have warned that Catholic dioceses and bishops who ignored complaints over alleged sexual abuse by priests will be reported to police for prosecution. Complaints of clerical sexual abuse stretching back almost 70 years are the subject of a review by the Catholic Church in Scotland, which insists any serious complaint since 1947 must be passed on to the police even if both alleged victim and priest are dead.”

By Stephen McGinty, The Scotsman — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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The Catholic church & Sex Abuse: Looming Shadows / The Economist

POPES and their officials have long benefited from the Vatican’s unique dual status in international law. As the Vatican City State, it can shelter prelates wanted for questioning elsewhere and play host to offshore financial institutions such as the Vatican Bank. But when world leaders visit the pope in Rome it is to meet the absolute ruler of a global entity, the Holy See. As the Holy See, the Vatican engages in diplomacy, holds observer status at the UN and signs most treaties. The Holy See is sometimes called a sovereign entity without territory, although its sovereign, the pope, is also the ruler of the Vatican City State. It is a legal expression of the Catholic church’s leadership, yet American lawyers for the church have successfully argued that the Vatican is not responsible for Catholic clerics’ wrongdoing.

“On May 23rd the Vatican’s split personality will be put to a new test when a UN committee releases the findings of an inquiry into the Holy See’s compliance with the Convention against Torture, which it signed in 2002. Most of the questions put to the pope’s representative, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, in the public hearings were about the sexual abuse of children and adolescents by Catholic clerics. If the committee decides it was torture, a wave of prosecutions of historic offences could follow: there is usually no time limit for bringing torture charges, as there generally is for sex crimes. And if it judges the Holy See accountable for priests’ and bishops’ misconduct, victims’ lawyers may challenge existing jurisprudence and demand compensation from Rome.”

By The Economist — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Despite Ban, Abuser Priest Remained in Ministry for 10 Years / National Catholic Reporter

The Seattle archdiocese has been harshly criticized for not publicly releasing the name of a priest removed from ministry a decade ago for the sexual exploitation of a teen. The priest then socialized with parishioners and performed occasional baptisms, weddings and funerals despite his removal until his past recently came to the attention of some parishioners.

“The former chair and vice chair of the board that reviewed sexual abuse allegations in 2004 has leveled unvarnished reproof. That case review board urged the archdiocese to make public Fr. Harry Quigg’s identity and offenses.

“‘The investigation’s documents, dating to 2004 and which the archdiocese has refused to make public, would reveal that a 17-year-old boy involved with … Quigg was passed among the priest and friends, according to multiple sources,’ wrote Joel Connelly in a blog post Monday (May 12) for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, an online newspaper.”

By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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