Archive for July, 2014

Archbishop, under fire over abuse, apologizes but says he won’t resign

The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, under fire for the way his diocese has dealt with sexually abusive priests, apologized Wednesday (July 30) for his conduct but rejected calls for his resignation.

“The archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, acknowledged errors in his diocese’s response to abuse allegations, writing in a column for the diocesan newspaper that ‘it is very clear that we did not handle all complaints the way we should have in the past’ and that he had only recently removed from ministry several priests accused of abuse.”

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

Also, “Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt vows to ‘continue serving as I have been called to do,'” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter– Click here to read this story.

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Outside group wants to open bishop selection process to laity’s voice / The Times

This story reports on Voice of the Faithful’s efforts toward more meaningful lay input into the selection of local Catholic bishops. Please note that VOTF takes exception to the diocese’s spokesperson’s implication in the story that we would edit individual Catholic’s remarks to the Apostolic Nuncio. As our web portal, votf.org/bishop, says, “Your input will be transmitted directly to the Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in the U.S., who advises the Congregation for Bishops on bishop selection.” As faithful Catholics, we would expect to be taken at our word.

Outside group wants to open bishop selection process to laity’s voice

A national organization advocating change within the Roman Catholic church wants local parishioners to use the group’s website to tell church fathers who should be the diocese’s next bishop. ‘Church law encourages all Catholics to express their views on Church matters that concern them, and this includes who their new bishop may be,’ Nick Ingala, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, said Tuesday (July 29).”

By Bill Dolan, The Times, on nwi.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Is the Milwaukee archdiocese too broke to pay its legal bills? / National Catholic Reporter

The Milwaukee archdiocese has filed for bankruptcy, but is it too broke to pay its legal bills?

“Currently, the archdiocese has paid or owes just shy of $14 million in legal and professional fees related to the bankruptcy. As the debtor, the archdiocese is required by federal law to pay the legal expenses of those who have filed claims as well as its own lawyers. Lawyers for the archdiocese filed a 63-page statement to back up a $204,451 bill for the month of June alone.

“The legal bills are far greater than the $4 million the archdiocese offered survivors of sex abuse before filing for bankruptcy on Jan. 4, 2011. That prompted Peter Isely, the Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and one of the Milwaukee claimants, to question whether the archdiocese’s actions are consistent with what Pope Francis has said.

‘Although it is unclear what this pope is doing or not doing on the issue, one thing that is perfectly clear is that paying lawyers three to four times what they have offered victims is directly opposite to this pope’s pontificate,’ Isely said. ‘He has said that victims have a right to and must be justly compensated.’”

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

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Revelations spark calls for cardinal to step down / Irish Independent

Revelations concerning Cardinal Sean Brady’s involvement in a 1975 canonical inquiry into Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse of Brendan Boland have sparked fresh calls for the Catholic Church’s most senior churchman to stand down. Marie Kane, who was one of six survivors who met Pope Francis two weeks ago in the Vatican, has threatened to write again to the Pope if Dr Brady does not offer his resignation.”

By Sarah MacDonald, Irish Independent — Click here to read the rest of this story

Also regarding this story, “Priests tried to ‘blame and shame me’ at meeting in front of Brady, claims abuse victim,” By John Spain, Irish Independent, and “Calls for Cardinal Brady’s resignation over cover-up,” By Sarah MacDonald, The Tablet

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Vatican revising canon law on abuse penalties, cardinal says / Catholic News Service

Church law has procedures and penalties for effectively dealing with allegations of clerical sexual abuse, but the Vatican is working to revise a section of the Code of Canon Law to make those norms and procedures clearer and, therefore, more effective, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

“‘We want to make this delicate material more accessible, more understandable and easier for bishops to apply,’ Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, council president, told the Vatican newspaper …

“If a bishop does not react by imposing a punishment on a priest guilty of the crime of sexual abuse, he said, ‘in some way that would be, or would seem to be, consenting to the evil committed. A negative act necessarily must be condemned; it requires a reaction.’”

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Judge rejects archdiocese plea to drop clergy abuse case / Star Tribune

Charges of church negligence in handling of sexually abusive priests will be heard by a jury this fall.

The clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese will move to a jury trial, a Ramsey County district judge ruled Monday.

“Attorneys for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona had asked the court for a summary judgment that would dismiss the case.

“But Judge John Van de North said a jury trial would proceed, now set for Sept. 22.

“‘This case needs to be tried,’ said Van de North. The alleged victim ‘deserves a day in court, at least on the negligence claims.’”

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

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Holding Church Shepherds Accountable / The New York Times

When Pope Francis met earlier this month with victims of rape and sexual abuse by priests, he vowed to hold bishops accountable for covering up the scandal instead of confronting it.

“A good place to start is with the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, where calls are mounting for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, a warrior against same-sex marriage who, it turns out, is facing accusations that he indulged in improper sexual conduct in the past with priests, seminarians and other men.

“The archbishop has denied the accusations as ‘entirely false,’ saying they date back over 10 years and do not involve minors or criminal conduct. But he felt obliged to hire a law firm to investigate them.

“Meanwhile, his handling of the pedophilia scandal is under fire from all sides. This week (week of July 14), an affidavit from Jennifer Haselberger, the former canon law chancellor for the archdiocese, accused the archbishop and his ranking prelates of systematically ignoring warnings about abusers in a five-year period, while failing to inform civil authorities of possible criminal acts.”

Editorial by The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.

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