Archive for January, 2016

From the collection basket to the bank: Lax practices mean lost money / National Catholic Reporter

Sin and the Trinity.

“These are two elementary points of Catholic theology in the work of Michael W. Ryan, a retired U.S. Postal security specialist, who has spent more than two decades alerting church authorities to fixing accounting lapses in parish collections.

“First, sin.

“Ryan has focused since 1988 on what he calls the point ‘between the collection basket and the bank deposit.’ The resident of Milton, Mass., worked for the postal service in security, and knew from first-hand experience that, even with top-of-the-line procedures in place, there will be at least some postal employees tempted to embezzle.

“‘It only takes a second to scoop up a bunch of twenties,’ warns Ryan.

“There are parallels between the neighborhood post office and the local Catholic church. Both deal in cash payments. Both involve people with access to cash. But, says Ryan, ‘there is much more control over a postal clerk.’

“Ryan notes that there are people who will steal from the collection basket.”

By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story. Michael Ryan is a Voice of the Faithful® trustee. Click here to read about VOTF’s extensive work on financial accountability and transparency in Catholic parishes and dioceses.

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Archbishop controversy shows blind spots remain in Catholic hierarchy / MLive.com

What were they thinking?

“Did the officials in Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo really see it as no big deal to bring in John Nienstedt, the former St. Paul and Minneapolis archbishop, as a visiting priest at St. Philip parish in Battle Creek?

“They truly didn’t anticipate this would blow up into a big controversy, one likely to end badly?

“Nobody considered whether this would underscore — once again — the inexplicable obtuseness of Church officials in regards to issues around clergy sex abuse?”

By Julie Mack, MLive.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Sexual abuse at St. John’s Abbey revealed in 15,000-page disclosure / National Catholic Reporter

St. John’s Abbey, one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in the U.S., released more than 15,000 pages of documents Tuesday (Jan. 19) related to 18 priests it said “likely offended” sexually against minors dating back to the 1960s.

“The disclosure comes as the latest chapter in the jagged history for the Benedictine community in Collegeville, Minn., on the issue of clergy sexual abuse, one that at times has seen it attempt to lead in understanding the epidemic but at others fall ill to the plague of its horrors. Like many others before them, the disclosed documents provide a recounting of what the abbey knew when regarding each monk — nearly half of whom have died — and often the attempts to shuttle them from place to place to avoid possible lawsuits and scandal.”

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

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Abuse survivor (Marie Collins) hopes 2016 sees results from Vatican safeguarding body / National Catholic Reporter

Editor’s Note: Marie Collins, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, sat down with correspondent Sarah Mac Donald before Christmas in a personal capacity. —

“Irish clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins has said she hopes 2016 will see results from the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, despite the ‘frustratingly slow’ pace of the reforms being developed by it.

“Speaking to NCR in a personal capacity, Collins, a member of the commission, admitted that she has found Vatican bureaucracy ‘very difficult.’

“The safeguarding body, which is starting its third year of work, is headed up by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley and holds its next plenary meeting at the beginning of February.

“‘We do work in our working groups in between these big plenary meetings. A lot of it is done electronically. We’re working all the time. It is busy and quite stressful,’ said Collins.”

By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Catholic Whistleblowers request Vatican investigation of flaws in U.S. bishops’ sex abuse policies / National Catholic Reporter

After years of raising concerns to U.S. bishops about potential holes in their clergy sexual abuse policies to little avail, a group of Catholic advocates has requested Vatican intervention.

“Catholic Whistleblowers, in a formal request for investigation, alleges the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not followed through fully on its policy of zero tolerance toward abusive priests and deacons, in part because its guidelines lack a mechanism to assure that bishops send the necessary cases to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In addition, the organization argues that the conference uses a higher bar than church law to determine which cases require review by Rome.”

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

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Catholics, community react to priest’s arrival amid sex abuse backdrop / Kalamazoo Gazette/MCLive.com

” … When Archbishop John Nienstedt celebrated three Masses at St. Philip Catholic Church this weekend (Jan. 17), he was merely helping out his old friend Fr. John Fleckenstein, who is ill. He plans to continue to help as needed for about a six months …

“Nienstedt may have passed muster with church leaders. But many parents, community members and former victims of sexual abuse are angered by the arrival of the archbishop who is embroiled in one of the ugliest clergy sex scandals in the country, at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”

By Rosemary Parker, Kalamazoo Gazette on MLive.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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What Pope Benedict knew about abuse in the Catholic Church / The New Yorker

Does the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal come down to this? — “When one of the former Legionaries expressed his frustration, in the lawsuit, about the Church’s inaction (regarding clergy sexual abuse allegations), (Jason) Berry and (Gerald) Renner reported in their book (“Vows of Silence), the Legionaries’ own canon lawyer, Martha Wegan, who made no secret that her first loyalty was to the Church, replied, “‘It is better for eight innocent men to suffer than for millions to lose their faith.'” (excerpt from the story cited below; emphasis added)

The election of Pope Francis, in 2013, had the effect, among other things, of displacing the painful story of priestly sexual abuse that had dominated public awareness of the Church during much of the eight-year papacy of his predecessor. The sense that the Church, both during the last years of Benedict and under Francis, had begun to deal more forcefully with the issue created a desire in many, inside and outside the Church, to move on. But recent events suggest that we take another careful look at this chapter of Church history before turning the page.”

By Alexander Stille, The New Yorker — Click here to read the rest of this story

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