Archive for March 3rd, 2017

Voice of the Faithful Focus


VOTF LogoVoice of the Faithful’s bimonthly news roundup highlighting
issues we face working together 
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

March 3, 2017

TOP STORIES

Abuse victim quits Vatican Commission, citing ‘resistance’
“A high-profile member of a commission advising Pope Francis on ways to protect minors from sexual abuse by the clergy resigned from the panel on Wednesday Mar. 1, citing what she called ‘cultural resistance’(link is external) from the Vatican. Marie Collins, who was molested by a priest in Ireland when she was 13, expressed frustration over what she called reluctance among the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy to implement the commission’s recommendations — even those approved by the pope.” By Elisabetta Povoledo and Gaia Pianigiani (Story quotes Voice of the Faithful)
Sole abuse survivor on a Vatican sex-abuse panel quits(link is external), By Lisa Wangsness, The Boston Globe (Story quotes Voice of the Faithful)

Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy
“Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests(link is external), applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question. One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope’s clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him.” By Nicole Whitfield, Associated Press
Survivors denounce handling of Peru abuse case(link is external), By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com
Is Francis actually backsliding on punishing abuse?(link is external) By Michael Sean Winters, Cruxnow.com

‘Criminally negligent’: Catholic archbishops criticize church’s handling of abuse scandal
“Australia’s most senior Catholic leaders have conceded that the church’s handling of the child sexual abuse crisis was ‘hopelessly inadequate,’(link is external) had catastrophic consequences, and amounted to ‘criminal negligence,’ Five of Australia’s metropolitan archbishops appeared before the child abuse royal commission and were asked to explain how the church had allowed the abuse of at least 4,444 children between 1980 and 2015.” By Christopher Knaus, The Guardia

An opportunity for deep reform in the church
‘Sad to admit, the evidence is clear that the church in Australia is sick to its institutional core(link is external). It has a nasty, though treatable cancer that is being fed by a pervasive clericalism’ … Australia might also become a test bed for what needs repair and how it can be done in the Catholic Church. The facts are friendly. Those reported in La Croix International by Frank Brennan on Feb 14 are staggering statistics. Some of them are new and some are have been in the public domain for some years.” By Peter Day, La Croix International
The Catholic wrap-up at the Australian government’s abuse inquiry(link is external), By Frank Brennan, La Croix International

Cardinal Burke presides over trial investigating Guam archbishop
“Cardinal Raymond Burke, a church law expert and former head of the Vatican’s highest court, arrived in Guam Feb. 15 as the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) leveled against Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana. The Vatican press office confirmed a ‘tribunal of the first instance’ was constituted by the Vatican Oct. 5 and its presiding judge is Cardinal Burke.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic New Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Founder steps down while SNAP considers new directions
“In a matter of weeks, an extreme makeover changed the face of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)(link is external). Gone is David Clohessy, its national director and the relentless force behind the group’s advocacy efforts. Gone is Barbara Blaine, its president and the former Catholic Worker … What remains, SNAP says, is its wide network of volunteer leaders who perform “the vast majority” of its work outside public view, as well as its longstanding commitment to survivors of sexual abuse.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …

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Clerical culture blamed in abuse survivors resignation from papal commission

bishopshatswebIn editorializing today (Mar. 3) on the resignation of abuse survivor Marie Colllins from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, National Catholic Reporter has once again pointed out that a clerical culture blocks Church reform that would better address the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

NCR says, “A resistance to change that is planted deep within the all-male clerical culture is the largely unaddressed issue at the heart of the scandal and has been since the first major story about it appeared in these pages more than 30 years ago.”

From the beginning of its efforts against clergy sexual abuse, Voice of the Faithful has pointed to the clerical culture as an underlying cause. By May 2011, the U.S. Catholic bishops had produced their study of the scandal, releasing the results of its John Jay College report. VOTF reviewed the study and released its conclusions that October. Among many points in this exhaustive review of the report,

VOTF concluded that conspicuously absent from the bishops’ study was clericalism, as a major influence “in explaining why priests sexually abused minors and the hierarchy enabled it to continue.” VOTF then defined clericalism as “the lived belief that clergy are different, separate, and exempt from the norms, rules, and consequences that apply to everyone else.”

You can read “Voice of the Faithful’s Conclusions About the John Jay College Report, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010” by clicking here. VOTF also maintains a webpage called “Clericalism: Reality & Concerns” that can be reached by clicking here.

NCR has editorialized in the same vein a day after Collins’ resignation:

“What we know now is that all of the emotional and intellectual investment of victims, all the lofty words and intentions of countless bishops forced to acknowledge the deep corruption of the institution, all of the straining for some manner of justice by those in the wider, secular culture, mean nothing inside the community if the clergy culture continues to refuse to confront itself and its entrenched and unyielding role in sustaining the sexual abuse scandal … What is necessary to finally put this scandal behind us is a chorus of clerical voices demanding reform of their own culture, demanding that the all-male clerical caste engage in the painful work of understanding what their culture has become, how it could be so deformed that it was able to justify what some have termed the “soul-killing” of the community’s children.”

VOTF will continue to join our voices with NCR’s to proclaim that “until that culture changes, children will remain in harm’s way within this church.”

Read the entire editorial here …

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