Archive for May, 2017

Married priests: Groups call on U.K. church to have national, courageous conversation / National Catholic Reporter

“Chris McDonnell, secretary of the Movement for Married Clergy, says the current model of Catholic priesthood, where the priest does everything, is unsustainable.” Over the years, Voice of the Faithful has often called for married priests, e.g., “A Petition to the American Bishops for the Ordination to the Priesthood of Married Catholic Men in the United States.”

“The ordination of married men to the priesthood ‘needs to be explored openly within the church in England and Wales at national and diocesan levels,’ the retired bishop of Portsmouth, England, has said.

“Speaking to NCR, Bishop Crispian Hollis said he was ‘increasingly aware’ of the pressure which priests are under due to the shortage of priests. He believes the issue of ordaining married men should not be left to ‘conversations within parishes and among the lay faithful.’

“His comments were made as new figures released by the National Office for Vocations in England and Wales showed a drop in the number of men entering formation for the diocesan priesthood. Director of the office, Benedictine Fr. Christopher Jamison, described the fall as ‘disappointing.'”

By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Read more … — Also of note, “Priests’ group accuses bishops of refusing to support pope’s openness to reform”

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French cardinal to face new legal action over pedophile cover-up / La Croix International

“‘This is not a case about just one man, Cardinal Barbarin, but about a whole institution,’ according to La Parole Libérée’s lawyers. They hope to demonstrate that the failure of the seven (church officials who allegedly covered up abuse) to report the priest’s crimes should be subject to prosecution, contrary to the ruling of the state prosecutor in Lyon.”

“Almost a year after the French justice system decided to drop criminal proceedings against Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, and six others for failing to report sexual abuse of boy scouts committed by a priest, the case has been reopened.

“The abuses took place between 1978 and 1991.

“‘If we stop now, who will bring the debate into the public domain?’ said François Devaux, the head of La Parole Libérée (‘Lift the Burden of Silence’) an organisation of former Saint-Luc Scout Group members, many of whom who were allegedly sexually abused by the priest who led the group, Bernard Preynat.

“After a preliminary investigation, it was decided in August 2016 not to pursue a case against Barbarin and the other six.

“But the priest’s alleged victims have now come together to bring a civil action against that decision.

“Seven people were yesterday issued summonses to appear before the Lyon criminal court in September.”

By Bénévent Tosseri, La Croix International — Read more …

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Nor more audible gasps in church, please / National Catholic Reporter

“One cannot be ‘responsible’ for the ‘Church’s being and action,’ for example, if ignorant of basic facts about what’s going well or poorly … Who knows why such information was not shared more widely within that archdiocese over the decades …  No matter how well-meaning the motive, the lack of transparency with basic information smacks of what church leaders like the late Cardinal Francis George and Pope Francis have called an unhealthy ‘clericalism.'”

Recent events in the Hartford Archdiocese underscore our church’s profound challenges, yet also point the way to toward a better future. Archbishop Leonard Blair recently announced a sweeping and painful reorganization: consolidating 212 churches down into 126 …

“As part of that process, one parish’s congregants were briefed about the broader context. Since 1969, the number of Catholics in the archdiocese had declined by 69 percent; the number of priests had fallen by roughly two-thirds.

One parishioner told National Catholic Reporter that such statistics were greeted by an audible gasp in the church. ‘It’s an unbelievable attrition,’ the parishioner said, ‘It was a real shock.’ Her ‘shock’ points to a first step on the long path to a revitalized Catholic Church …

Consider that “audible gasp” as an indictment of sorts and a cry to do things differently from now on: parishioners should never be in a position to be shocked by news about the ongoing health of their own parishes and diocese.” (emphasis added)

By Chris Lowney, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

May 21, 2017

TOP STORIES

Abuse survivor wants papal panel to push back on Vatican resistance
“On Saturday (May 13), Pope Francis called Marie Collins(link is external), an abuse survivor who recently quit his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors citing Vatican resistance to reform, a ‘great woman’ and said she’s ‘right on some things.’ In a Crux interview, Collins expressed gratitude but also said that the Church still needs uniform global standards and a way to hold bishops accountable.” By John Allen, Ines San Martin and Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

Lawsuit accuses Minnesota bishop of coercion in clergy abuse case
“Ron Vasek said all he wanted was to become a church deacon and support his son, a Catholic priest. But in a lawsuit filed this week(link is external) (May 9), Vasek claims that Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner threatened to undermine his religious work and his son’s if he didn’t retract a clergy abuse claim. It’s among the allegations in an unusual lawsuit that, for the first time, accuses a U.S. bishop of coercion in a clergy abuse case, said Vasek’s attorney Jeff Anderson.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minnesota bishop sued for coercion, blackmail over sex abuse accusation(link is external), By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
Deacon candidate accuses Minnesota bishop of blackmail to keep abuse allegations quiet(link is external), By Steve Karnowski, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review
Attorney: Suit to allege Minnesota bishop threatened retaliation against victim(link is external), By Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Hartford Archdiocese announces parish consolidations, church closings
“The Hartford Archdiocese announced May 7 that its 212 Connecticut parishes will be consolidated into 127 by June 29, downsizing the archdiocese by about 40 percent(link is external). It may be the most massive effort of its kind in a series of consolidations that have taken place in dioceses in the Northeast and the Midwest over the past decade as the number of priests and Catholic Massgoers in those regions decline.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter
After reorganization, a look at the future of the Catholic Church in Connecticut,(link is external) By Catie Talarski, WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio

What did Cardinal George Pell know about allegations of child sex abuse within the church?
“New allegations of alleged conspiracies, cover-ups and broken lives(link is external) have emerged, with questions about what Pell knew about pedophilia in the Catholic Church before he become Archbishop of Melbourne.” By Louise Milligan, Canberra Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

Pope Francis says sex abuse survivor is ‘a bit right’ to complain about 2,000-case backlog
“Pope Francis says the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases(link is external) and admits criticism of the slow pace is justified. But he says more staff are being added and the Vatican is ‘on the right path.’ Francis was making his first comments about the criticism leveled at the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases by Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from Francis’ sex abuse commission in March. Collins quit because of what she called the ‘unacceptable’ resistance in the Vatican to implementing the group’s proposals to better care for victims and protect children.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press in Time magazine
Pope says abuse survivor who quit Vatican panel was ‘right on some issues,(link is external)By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CHURCH REFORM

Priests’ group accuses bishops of refusing to support pope’s openness to reform
“An internationally renown group of reform-minded priests(link is external) in Austria has criticized the world’s bishops for not capitalizing on Pope Francis’ openness to make significant changes in Church ministry and pastoral practice. The Austrian Priests’ Initiative (API) is urging the bishops to take up the leeway the pope has given them to look at such issues as the possibility of ordaining married men of proven virtue (viri probati) to the priesthood, women to the diaconate and allowing remarried divorcees to receive the Eucharist in certain cases.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, LaCroix

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Archdiocese plan calls for sweeping changes for Connecticut Catholics
“As Roman Catholics across the Archdiocese of Hartford learned the fate of their parishes(link is external) this weekend, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair acknowledged that there might be more changes for parishes throughout Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties in the future. ‘I can’t stand before you here today and say that with this plan, the next 10 years now we don’t have to do anything,’ Blair said. ‘That would be irresponsible on my part and simply not the case. I can tell you that what we are doing today goes a long way to providing stability in the assignment of priests and in the life of these parishes.’ By Jordan Otero Sisson, Hartford Courant
Catholics prepare for changes under new archdiocesan plan(link is external), By Jordan Otero Sisson and Ken Byron, Hartford Courant
Hartford Archdiocese announces parish closings, mergers(link is external), By Associated Press & WTNH.com

Disrupters and rebuilders
“It’s hard to know what the Modesto meeting portends for the future of the U.S. church(link is external). The pope’s clear desire to recalibrate Catholic identity away from the culture wars—part of his distaste for a hunkered down, fortress Catholicism—still leaves some vocal American church leaders and lay faithful more jittery than energized … At the same time, a network of Catholic activists on the right that has attacked the church’s commitment to community organizing for decades remains well-mobilized and relentless.” By John Gehring, Commonweal

Activist wants NYC’s shuttered churches put to use
“Like his nemesis Donald Trump, Felix Cepeda knows something about Manhattan real estate. Location, location, location. That’s the mantra of real estate. And it’s what now-closed properties in the New York Archdiocese(link is external) offer in abundance. One such property is Our Lady of the Scapular/St. Stephen Church on East 28th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenue.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Howells, Nebraska, has only about 550 residents – but two Catholic churches
“Howells, Nebraska, is in fact the last small town with two Catholic parishes in the entire Omaha Archdiocese. These two Catholic churches of Howells are a quirk of fate(link is external), an oddity of American immigration, a faded symbol of long-forgotten ethnic strife and also a newer symbol of this town’s persistence and cooperation … The two churches of Howells are something else, too: endangered.” By Matthew Hansen, Omaha World-Herald

VATICAN

What happened to ecumenism?
“This is the second of a series of posts(link is external) discussing issues related to the coming review and re-evaluation of ‘Liturgiam Authenticam,’ the document which governs the translation of liturgical texts – When Pope Francis and the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Tawadros II, issued a joint statement in Egypt this past week (May 3), they landed squarely on an ecumenical issue of great importance … ‘Let us deepen our shared roots in the one apostolic faith by praying together and by seeking common translations of the Lord’s Prayer …’ Common translations have been, and continue to be, one of the important tools of ecumenism.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Vatican’s point man on family says Church needs to go positive
“Cardinal Kevin Farrell, president of the Vatican’s new Dicastery for Marriage, Family and Life, says that Pope Francis’s document ‘Amoris Laetitia’(link is external) will be the basis for the looming World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, on Cruxnow.com

‘Amoris Laetitia’ is about accompaniment, not the divorced and remarried
“Three professors from the John Paul II Institute in Rome have produced a handbook explaining how to apply ‘Amoris Laetitia,(link is external)‘ which was just published in English. They argue discernment should help find ways to live spousal fidelity, and not ways to be excused from the Church’s moral law.” By Father Matthew Schneider, Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

With declining numbers, women religious are invisible to many non-Catholics
“…But in doing research for the piece, she learned this(link is external): ‘The number of women religious across America has been in steady decline since 1965, when there were approximately 180,000 sisters in the country. The total now is about 49,000, roughly 90 percent of whom are more than 60 years old. In Philadelphia — where one in four people identify as Catholic — there are only about 2,400 nuns, a 30-plus percent decrease in just the past 16 years.’” By Bill Tammeus, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Editorial: The enemy is not the secular world, it is fear
“Can these two men (Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Cardinal Joseph Tobin) be leaders of the same church? One implores us to encounter, to stand by the ‘other,’ to welcome the stranger. The other suggests a theology of fear — fear of outside forces and fear of change. The stark difference in focus illustrates the cultural and political divide that is expanding within the church(link is external), especially in the United States. For some bishops, the fight has taken on the theme of church vs. the devil they view as the secular world.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Knights of Columbus’ financial forms show wealth, influence
“For more than a decade and a half, under the leadership of a former political operative, the Knights of Columbus has increasingly used its enormous wealth to influence the direction of the church(link is external), underwriting think tanks and news outlets while gaining entrée to some of the highest levels of decision-making in the church.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter
Why do we write about the Knights of Columbus?(link is external) By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter
‘Find common cause,’ Knights spokesman advices NCR(link is external), By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Continental Drift
“‘Il Tevere è più largo.’ Students of Italian history are familiar with the metaphoric expression describing the ever-growing distance between the Vatican and Italian politics: ‘The Tiber has become wider(link is external)’ … But the widening of the Tiber is little compared to the spreading of the world’s oceans. The ‘Catholic Pangea’ itself is breaking up, undergoing a kind of continental drift. The expanding gap between Rome and the world is perhaps best symbolized by the growing distance between Rome and the U.S. Catholic church, itself owing to the uncomfortable relationship between Francis and many American bishops—among other things.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal
Catholic Citizenship: Massimo Faggioli on the role of public theologians today(link is external), By Kaya Oakes, Religion Dispatches

Church Militant’s nonsense not authentically Catholic
“The ‘Atlantic’ video about Church Militant(link is external) and their founder Michael Voris was, at the same time, fascinating and frustrating. The fascination stems from the easy way that normalcy and extremism seem to coincide in the lives of Voris and his colleagues. One minute he is eating pizza with his dad, and the next he is prepping for a broadcast that will, like all his broadcasts, be viciously extreme and extremely vicious. He drops by a Subway for a sandwich, and then is shown spouting gibberish.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church’s good deeds are being erased, says archbishop
“Decades of service by countless nuns and priests in education and healthcare are being ‘almost obliterated by a revised and narrow narrative that religious ethos(link is external) cannot be good for democracy,’ Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin has said. He said there was a view that religious ethos stands ‘against the progress and flourishing of society and the rights of citizens’ and that there was a tendency in some public discussion to give the impression that things related to faith were ‘unconnected with reason.’ By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Bishop John Stowe leads prayer at LGBT Catholic gathering
“Clad in traditional brown Franciscan robes, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, seemed at home among the rainbow of colors at New Ways Ministry’s eighth annual symposium here April 28-30. This was the first time that the bishop had spoken in front of the advocacy group(link is external), which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics. ‘New Ways Ministry made me want to come here,’ the bishop told NCR during a 40-minute interview at the gathering. He has been observing and admiring the group’s outreach to LGBT Catholics over several years, he added.” By Patricia Lefevere, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Priest who stole from Northboro church returns to parish work
“A Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in court to stealing(link is external) nearly $240,000 from St. Bernadette Parish and School in Northboro to feed a gambling habit has been returned to parish ministry on a limited basis. The Rev. Stephen M. Gemme will be allowed to celebrate Mass and other sacraments in parishes in need of assistance when their own priest is on vacation, retreat or unavailable because of illness or emergency, Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Worcester Diocese announced Friday (May 12).” By Mark Sullivan, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Vatican’s financial watchdog cites progress, but still no prosecutions
“The Vatican’s financial watchdog presented a rosy annual report(link is external) on Thursday (May11), suggesting a drop in reports of suspicious activity and an increase in cooperation with international partners in tracking transactions. However, there still has been no public prosecution of anyone for financial crimes in the Vatican, which faces a ticking clock to get that done from the Council of Europe’s review process.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Priest pleads guilty to stealing $500K for casinos, concerts
“The rector of a church-owned retirement home for Roman Catholic priests has admitted embezzling a half-million(link is external) to pay for casino visits, high-end dinners and Philadelphia Pops concerts. Monsignor William A. Dombrow pleaded guilty Thursday (May 4) to four federal wire fraud counts for skimming money over nine years from a Villa St. Joseph account he controlled. The Philadelphia Archdiocese runs the facility in Darby to house aging priests and treat those accused of sexual abuse.” By Associate Press on FOX29-TV

Embezzlement charges filed against Catholic priest
“St. Joseph County prosecutors have filed embezzlement charges against a former Branch County Catholic priest. Reverend Richard Fritz is accused of stealing over $213,000(link is external) from St. Mary’s Assumption in Bronson and St. Barbara Mission in Colon. A pre-examination conference has been scheduled for next Tuesday (May9). A preliminary hearing is set for May 16, 2017. Fritz is currently free on bond.” By Ken Delaney WTVB-FM

Former pastor from St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church pleads guilty to federal bank fraud charges
“On Monday, May 1, 2017, John S. Mattingly, age 71, of Charlotte Hall, Maryland, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with a scheme to steal funds from St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church(link is external), while he was the pastor. The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron, and St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard Fritz.” By Southern Maryland News Net

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Outdated laws, unpunished child abusers
“Around the country, religious groups, and predominantly the Catholic church, have balked at the prospect of similar laws(link is external) (Child Victims Act), claiming they could lead to so much litigation that their institutions would become bankrupt.” By Ginia Bellafante, The New York Times

Sex assault statute of limitations bill pondered in Nevada legislature
Victims of child sexual abuse(link is external) may get another decade to decide if they will sue an attacker. The clock would start after a victim turns 18 or discovers as an adult, through counseling or other means, that they were abused. Assembly Bill 145 would extend the statute of limitations for civil suits from 10 years to 20 years from the later date.” By Ben Botkin, Review Journal

Church supports alternative to Child Victims Act
“As lawmakers prepare for the closing weeks of session, victims of childhood sexual abuse are pushing once again for a controversial bill that would give them a chance to seek justice for decades-old cases. The Child Victims Act(link is external) (S.809) would allow victims to file legal action against their abusers, regardless of when the crime took place.” By Kaleb H. Smith, The Legislative Gazette

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Abused by a Catholic priest as a child, this man turned back to faith for forgiveness
“Today, (Miguel) Prats has a wide-eyed, happy-go-lucky demeanor. But he says 15 years ago, he was angry and tortured inside. In 2002, when the Boston Globe uncovered widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, the story brought back a memory that Prats says he had repressed: shortly after he turned 18, he himself had been sexually abused by a priest(link is external).” By Jake J. Smith, Morning Edition from NPR, KALW-FM

Merced County authorities arrest former priest on child porn charges for second time
“Shortly after finishing his jail sentence, a Los Banos priest is facing child pornography charges again(link is external). Robert Gamel faces a felony charge of possession of child pornography with prior conviction after he was arrested in April.” By Nathalie Granda, ABC30-TV

CONNECTICUT

Former Danbury priest defrocked after sex abuse allegations
“Parishioners of a Catholic church where a former pastor was accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external) a decade ago stressed their commitment on Tuesday (May 9) to supporting the victim. ‘Faith communities have been through this before, and the way forward is with as much transparency as possible, and to offer support services to any victims who come forward,’ said Thomas Saadi, a parishioner at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church.” By Jim Shay an Rob Ryser, Danbury News Times

MAINE

Priest at Waterville church removed over sexual abuse allegation
“A priest at a Waterville church was removed from the priesthood Sunday after a report of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) about 15 years ago in Connecticut was substantiated, according to a church official. The Rev. Larry Jensen, 62, was removed from the St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church, by Bishop Gregory John Mansour, head of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, New York, the official said.” By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News
A week after priest’s ouster, St. Joseph congregation continues to grapple with allegations against him(link is external), By Kate McCormick, Morning Sentinel

MINNESOTA

Diocese of Crookston’s Hoeppner sued, Grundhaus accused
“The former Vicar General of the Diocese of Crookston, Father Roger Grundhaus, is being accused of child sexual abuse(link is external) and Minnesota Bishop Michael Hoeppner is the first bishop to be sued for coercion for suppressing a report of abuse, according to a media advisory by Jeff Anderson and Associates attorney’s office. At a news conference Tuesday (May 9) in St. Paul, attorney Jeff Anderson, a child abuse survivor, and a Minnesota priest announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of the survivor, Ronald Vasek, naming Bishop Hoeppner and the Diocese of Crookston as defendants.” By Crookston Times

Archdiocese bankruptcy reorganization plan rejected by sex-abuse survivors
“A group of sexual abuse survivors(link is external) engaged in bankruptcy court mediation with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has overwhelmingly rejected the archdiocese’s proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan, which includes how much it should pay victims.” By Tad Vezner, Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Clergy abuse victims reject archdiocese compensation plan(link is external), By Adrian Schramm, Twin Cities Agenda

PENNSYLVANIA

Justice for Sister Cathy is long overdue
“Catherine Cesnik was the valedictorian of her Catholic high school class in Lawrenceville in 1960, where she’d also been the May Queen and the president of the senior class and student council. Nine years later, Sister Cathy was brutally murdered in Baltimore. Nearly 48 years have passed and the killer has yet to be named, but Baltimore County Police haven’t given up … Many of (Sister Cathy’s students) believe that Father John Maskell, the priest whose body (has been) exhumed, was either the killer or an accomplice. He was the school chaplain and guidance counselor, and several of these women say he sexually molested them(link is external).” By Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Death of Johnstown man, 31, claims a voice for abuse survivors
“Just over a year ago in a Hollidaysburg courtroom, Corey Leech took the stand and, in a poised and confident voice, testified in excruciating detail how a Franciscan friar began sexually abusing him(link is external) from his early teens. Mr. Leech gave voice to scores of victims of the late Stephen Baker in his testimony, which took place in the pretrial hearing of three Franciscan supervisors who face criminal charges for allegedly failing to protect children from the abusive friar.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

SOUTH CAROLINA

Nearly 10 years later, conflict over $12 million settlement between Catholic diocese of Charleston and victims of sex abuse continues
“After nearly a decade, legal wrangling continues over a $12 million settlement paid to victims who were sexually abused by Catholic priests(link is external) in the Charleston area more than 30 years ago. A lawsuit on behalf of one of the victims, identified only as John Doe 10, was filed in September 2010, according to court documents. The plaintiff was molested at his church school and parish beginning in 1983 according to the suit.” By Gregory Yee, The Post and Courier

ARGENTINA

Roman Catholic nun allegedly helped priests sexually abuse deaf children in Argentinian school
“The nun, a woman named Kosaka Kumiko, of Japanese heritage but Argentine nationality, was arrested and charged Friday (May 5) on suspicion of helping priests sexually abuse children(link is external) at the Antonio Provolo Institute, a school for the hearing-impaired in the Mendoza province of Argentina, authorities said. She was also charged with physically abusing the students.” By Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, in National Post

AUSTRALIA

Victoria police receives advice on investigation into Cardinal George Pell
“Victoria Police has received advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions about its investigation into Cardinal George Pell, days after fresh details of historic sex abuse allegations(link is external) were aired. Detectives from the Sano taskforce, the squad set up to investigate historic child abuse allegations, will now consider the DPP’s advice, police spokeswoman Creina O’Grady said on Tuesday night.” By Beau Donelly, The Age
Pope aide denies new Australia abuse claims,(link is external) By Agence France-Presse, in Daily Mail
How George Pell gazumped other bishops to claim credit for tackling child abuse in the church(link is external), By Louise Milligan, The Sydney Morning Herald

Child sex abuse victims to be compensated in Federal budget
(May 9, 2017) “Commonwealth child sex abuse survivors(link is external) will get access to payments of up to $150,000 under a new redress scheme to be live by mid next year. The Turnbull government tonight announced a $33.4 million commitment to establish the scheme that would provide abuse survivors with counseling, apologies from the organization responsible and financial compensation.” By Lanai Scarr, News Corp Australia Network, in Herald Sun

Australian bishops gather in the light of the royal commission
“The government and the Catholic Church both face difficulties when commending values(link is external). The difficulties will dog events during the next week in which both institutions are on public display — the bringing down of the budget and the meeting of the Australian Catholics Bishops Conference.” By Andrew Hamilton, EurekaStreet.com

Dave Joseph Perrett granted conditional bail to live in Armidale on historical sex abuse charges
“An ex-priest accused of molesting young boys(link is external) in the New England has been granted bail amid reports detectives have received another complaint. Since The Leader revealed David Joseph Perrett’s extradition to NSW on Friday (May 5), police have been contacted by other members of the public looking to speak to investigators. New England Detective Inspector Ann Joy told The Leader investigations were continuing.” By Breanna Chillingworth, The Northern Daily Leader

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Retired priest faces trial over abuse claims
“A former Catholic priest charged with sexually abusing children(link is external) in the 1970s and 80s is set to stand trial. Father Paul Moore, 81, who worked in Ayrshire, is also accused of abusing a student priest in the 1990s.” By BBC News

GUAM

Guam Catholic school sued
“After more than 60 sex-abuse lawsuits(link is external) named former priests as alleged perpetrators, a new lawsuit accuses a former Guam Catholic school teacher for the first time in recent years. And unlike the previously filed cases, in which the former priests no longer hold positions in the church that directly involve children, the newly accused still teaches music to youth, but he’s no longer in Guam.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Guam archbishop’s first sex abuse accuser testifies before Vatican tribunal
“Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and the Vatican tribunal is wrapping up the discovery phase and is entering another phase in the groundbreaking canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron(link is external). John Toves, the first to publicly accuse Apuron in 2014 of sexual abuse of a minor, testified before the Vatican tribunal at the archbishop’s residence in San Francisco on Monday (May 8) (Tuesday, Guam time), about Apuron’s alleged sexual abuse of Toves’ cousin while the cousin was an altar boy at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY
Guam archbishop’s accusers pray Vatican defrocks him for sex abuse(link is external), By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY

Another victim names Father Mannetta as abuser
“A 60th lawsuit has been filed(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana and former Guam priest Andrew Mannetta is named as the perpetrator. This is not the first time that Father Mannetta has been named, he was previously named in two other lawsuits that were filed in April. Like the first two victims to accuse Father Mannetta, the 60th plaintiff to file suit is only identified by initials C.C. According to the complaint, the sexual abuse happened in the early 1980s when C.C. was between the ages of 8 to 10.” By Janela Carrera, Pacific News Center News First

Vatican gets testimony from more Apuron accusers
“The Vatican tribunal working on Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s canonical penal trial will be hearing testimony in California from John Toves, the first person to publicly accuse Apuron in 2014 of sexual abuse(link is external), of his cousin. Led by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the tribunal also received a written testimony from John Michael ‘Champ’ Quinata, alleging that Apuron raped his brother, the now deceased former altar boy Joseph Anthony ‘Sonny’ Quinata, when his brother was 9 years old.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

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The church must build ‘spiritual ramps to sex abuse survivors / America magazine

“Unless their trauma is addressed, survivors might never be able to walk through the doors of the church.”

In recent years, the church has made great progress opening its doors to people with disabilities. Most churches now have physical ramps that give people with limited mobility access to the spiritual nourishment of the church.

“But what about the Catholic faithful who are inhibited from entering the church, not by a physical disability but a sacramental one? When survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy encounter the symbols of Christianity through which they were abused, they may experience feelings ranging from severe discomfort to panic attacks. I consider these “sacramental disabilities.” One young girl, for example, was told by the priest who sexually abused her that if she ever told anyone about what he did to her, Jesus would come down from the cross and kill her. One young boy was sexually molested by a priest at the altar. Unless their trauma is addressed, survivors like this young boy and girl might never be able to walk through the doors of the church or participate fully in the sacramental life of the church.

“What might be a charitable response to those suffering from a sacramental disability? Wheelchair ramps help disabled persons enter into a church building. There is a need for spiritual ramps to enable Mother Church to go in the other direction: to come down and seek out those who have been sacramentally disabled, knowing that it is extraordinarily difficult for survivors to speak of their abuse to anyone, let alone ask for sacramental modifications.”

By Lea Karen Kivi, America: The Jesuit Review (Ms. Kivi is a member of Voice of the Faithful’s Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles program leadership tem) — Read more …

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Seven victims name priests who sexually abused them as children / The New York Times

Broken Vessels

Voice of the Faithful’s Broken Vessel Healing Circles program offers Catholic clergy sexual abuse survivors a step along a path towards healing.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said that participants in the program “have the absolute right to speak about their abuse and their abuser at any time, to whomever they want, however they want.”

Seven men who were abused as children by priests of the Archdiocese of New York revealed on Thursday (May 18) some of the details of the settlements they had received through the archdiocese’s new sexual abuse survivor compensation fund.

“Since October, more than 100 victims have settled their sex abuse cases with the archdiocese by taking their claims to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. But very few details have been revealed because the program keeps the cases confidential, and no victims have yet spoken out.”

By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times — Read more …

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Abuse survivor wants papal panel to push back on Vatican resistance / Cruxnow.com

On Saturday, Pope Francis called Marie Collins, an abuse survivor who recently quit his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors citing Vatican resistance to reform, a “great woman” and said she’s “right on some things.” In a Crux interview, Collins expressed gratitude but also said that the Church still needs uniform global standards and a way to hold bishops accountable.”

By John Allen, Ines San Martin and Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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