Archive for October, 2016

Editorial: The Church has earned our healthy skepticism / National Catholic Reporter

“… there is the matter of history and some fundamentals to the long and ugly narrative that cannot be ignored …”

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan may have the purest of motives in designing the new compensation program for victims of clergy sex abuse. He must realize, however, that he is working against a history of activity, including his own, of members of the U.S. hierarchy that hardly inspires trust …

“The devil, in this instance, is in both the details and the larger context. Two details raise concerns for (Anne Barrett) Doyle (BishopAccountability.org):

  • Victims are required to sign a legal agreement that appears to bind them to privacy and confidentiality.
  • As part of the agreement, victims receiving an award agree, in releasing the archdiocese from future liability, not to sue the church in the future.

“That second point is important because of the context. The archdiocese is engaged in an ongoing and persistent effort to keep New York state from passing the Child Victims Act, which would extend the statute of limitations allowing victims a longer time to sue following abuse … Dolan’s timely initiative could also be a legal strategy aimed at eliminating those who might make future claims against the church under a new law.

“If that appears terribly cynical, there is the matter of history and some fundamentals to the long and ugly narrative that cannot be ignored …”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.

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Want to see Catholic women preach? Soon you’ll be able to. / America magazine

One of the more intriguing questions Pope Francis prompted earlier this year when he announced that a Vatican commission would study whether the early church had women deacons was: How would Catholics react to women preaching?

“Some Catholic women hope to find out.

“A new website called Catholic Women Preach will publish videos showing just that, Catholic women preaching. The reflections will draw from the church’s weekly readings. The women backing the project say they hope the videos will help Catholics deepen their faith and become more comfortable with the idea of women preaching.”

By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The National Catholic Review — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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San Diego diocese gets ready for synod on family life / National Catholic Reporter

A ‘tremendous synergy’ has been created by the concerns, insights, hopes and ideas shared by nearly 2,000 participants in parish grassroots listening sessions and follow-up working groups over recent months leading up to this weekend’s San Diego diocesan synod on marriage and family life, according to synod coordinator Paulist Fr. John Hurley.

“Focus of the gathering will be seeking consensus on ways to best address the pastoral challenges laid forth in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (‘The Joy of Love’), Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and family released April 8.

“In a follow-up pastoral letter issued a month later, ‘Embracing the Joy of Love,’ San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy announced plans for a local synod to be held in the fall.

“‘A diocesan synod is the most significant level of dialogue, discernment and decision in the life of a diocese,’ McElroy explained in the letter.”

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

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Pennsylvania legislators abandon bill to extend rights of child sex-abuse victims / Philly.com

“‘It’s disappointing,’ said John Salveson, a victim founder of the Foundation to End Child Abuse, an advocacy group. ‘I just don’t know what it’s going to take to get these legislators to do the right thing.'”

A controversial proposal to extend the civil statute of limitations for child sex-abuse victims appeared to collapse Tuesday (Oct. 24), after supporters said the House was unlikely to move an amended version of the bill or reintroduce the original measure. With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.

“With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.

By Maria Panaritis and Karen Langley, Philly.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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N.Y. cardinal’s new compensation program for victims will keep sex abuse hidden / National Catholic Reporter

“While the fund certainly will help some victims, its biggest beneficiary will be Dolan and his management team. This is a legal strategy in pastoral garb, a tactic by the powerful archbishop to control victims and protect the church’s assets and its secrets.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is trying something new. After years of successfully opposing legislation that would give New York abuse victims more time to sue, he has launched a victims’ compensation program — a first for the New York archdiocese …

“The surprise move is winning the cardinal praise. The often critical New York Daily News commended him, citing his ‘remarkable moral courage.’

“As a researcher of the Catholic abuse crisis, I see his plan differently. While the fund certainly will help some victims, its biggest beneficiary will be Dolan and his management team. This is a legal strategy in pastoral garb, a tactic by the powerful archbishop to control victims and protect the church’s assets and its secrets.

“On its face, the plan is reasonable. A victim submits a claim form with documentation about rape or molestation by a priest or deacon. If deemed credible, the victim receives an award, which the archdiocese promises to disburse quickly — within 60 days …

“But there’s a catch — two catches, actually. Victims must sign a legal agreement to abide by ‘all requirements pertaining to privacy and confidentiality,’ and they must release the archdiocese from future liability — i.e., never sue it. (See section III, paragraph G of the IRCP’s Protocol webpage.)”

By Anne Barrett-Doyle, co-director, BishopAccountability.org, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Catholic priests, lay persons call for LGBT, women’s rights / WindyCityMedia.com

“(Margaret) Roylance (of Voice of the Faithful) singled out clericalism (the elite Catholic hierarchy which seeks to control and maintain power) as a quintessential issue in the church.”

“‘To our brothers in the wider church, we are asking you to deeply listen to the women in your circle [and] in your communities,’ (Kate) McElwee (The Women’s Ordination Conference) stated. ‘In the spirit that invites transformation, we ask you to carefully reflect on male and clerical privilege and risk stepping out and acting courageously for full equality in our church. [It] has become an ever more broken body. We need to walk this journey together.'”

It was the unlikeliest of press conferences and a sign of times that are changing with unprecedented momentum even from within one of the world’s oldest religious institutions.

On Oct 20, in Arlington Heights, representatives from Catholic priest movements and lay reform organizations based across the world gathered to lay out a series of direct challenges to the Catholic Church on everything from women’s equality to LGBT rights.

“The announcement, also carried via a live global webcast, came at the conclusion of the third international conference of its kind during which 40 priests and lay persons from 10 countries—Argentina, Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States—met for three days ‘to develop strategies for reform in the Catholic Church including the full participation of women in the Church, confronting clericalism and supporting LGBT Catholics.’

“Sam Bowns, an activist working on the restoration of women priests; William McGinnity, from the National Council of Priests of Australia; Margaret Roylance, of the Voice of the Faithful; Kate McElwee, co-executive director of The Women’s Ordination Conference; and organizer Markus Heil served as the gathering’s representatives.

“‘In this space we wrestled with the damaging effects of oppressive structures knowing that patriarchy and hierarchy hurt us all,’ McElwee said. ‘We discovered, time and again, that by sharing as equals and asking hard questions we can transform, ourselves, our church and our world.’

“‘One of the guiding principles of our assembly was unity in diversity,’ Roylance said. ‘Envisioning an active change in the church means appreciating our differences.’

“Roylance singled out clericalism ( the elite Catholic hierarchy which seeks to control and maintain power ) as a quintessential issue in the church …”

By Gretchen Rachel Hammond, Windy City Media.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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U.S. bishops vote likely to be seen as referendum on Pope Francis / Cruxnow.com

As it turns out, the Trump v. Clinton showdown isn’t the only election of interest to American Catholics this fall.

“The U.S. bishops are also going to be voting for their own new leaders in mid-November, and in some ways their choices are almost certain to be read as a referendum on how the American hierarchy wants to position itself vis-à-vis the new winds blowing in the Church under Pope Francis.

“By tradition, a slate of ten candidates is nominated for the presidency and the vice-presidency of the conference, and they select both positions from among those nominees. The new president will replace Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who’s served the usual three-year term.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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