Archive for July, 2017

Voice of the Faithful Focus


TOP STORIES

A first: Cardinal Pell appears in Australian court on sexual charges
“Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, made his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday (Jul. 26) after becoming the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses(link is external). Cardinal Pell, 76, was flanked by police officers as he entered Melbourne Magistrates’ Court through a thicket of camera crews, reporters and photographers.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times
— Accused of abuse, Pell maintains innocence in first court appearance(link is external)By Barney Zwartz, National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican Cardinal Pell faces Australian court on sex charges(link is external)By Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press
— Beginning fight against abuse charges, Pell says he’ll plead ‘not guilty(link is external),’ By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

547 members of Catholic boys choir abused, report says
“At least 547 members of a prestigious Catholic boys’ choir in Germany were physically or sexually abused(link is external) between 1945 and 1992, according to a report released Tuesday (Jul. 18). Allegations involving the Domspatzen choir in Regensburg were among a spate of revelations of abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Germany that emerged in 2010. In 2015, lawyer Ulrich Weber was tasked with producing a report on what happened.” By Associated Press on CBSNews.com
— Culture of silence abetted abuse of at least 547 German choir boys, inquiry finds(link is external)By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times
— Hundreds of boys abused at storied Catholic choir in Germany, new report says(link is external)By Isaac Stanley Becker, The Washington Post
— Ex-Vatican doctrine chief says Church did what it could on German abuse scandal(link is external)By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Former top Vatican official strikes back at Pope
“A top Vatican cardinal recently dismissed by Pope Francis struck back this week, calling the Pope’s treatment of him and other Vatican employees ‘unacceptable.’ ‘I cannot accept this way of doing things,’ Cardinal Gerhard Muller said(link is external) in an interview with German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse. ‘As a bishop, [the Pope] cannot treat people in this way.’ Francis informed Muller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican’s doctrinal office, that he would not be renewing his contract in a brief meeting on June 30, just two days before the contract expired.” By Delia Gallagher, CNN

First Vatican trial under laws against financial crime to open Tuesday
“Tuesday (Jul. 18) sees the start of the Vatican trial of two former officials of a papal hospital in Rome charged with illicitly using funds(link is external) to renovate the Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a way that benefited a fellow Italian businessman. Bertone himself was not an object of the Vatican investigation and does not face any charges in the trial, which marks the first prosecution under new Vatican laws on financial crime.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
— Vatican court refuses to stop embezzlement case(link is external)By Associated Press in The Sacramento Bee

ACCOUNTABILITY

Paul Shanley, notorious priest in Catholic sex abuse scandal, to be released this week
“Paul R. Shanley, a former ‘street priest’ who became one of the most notorious figures in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal(link is external), is set to be released from prison as early as this week (He was released on Jul. 28) after serving 12 years behind bars for raping a Sunday school student in the early 1980s. Middlesex prosecutors said they had hoped to keep the 86-year-old defrocked priest behind bars even after his sentence was completed by having him declared a ‘sexually dangerous person.’ But two doctors who examined Shanley found that he did not meet the required criteria, prosecutors said.” By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe
— Defrocked priest is about to be freed amid renewed fury(link is external)By Katherine Q. Seelye, The New York Times
— ‘I’m concerned he’s going to abuse again’: those who say priest abused them criticize his release(link is external), By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe
— Paul Shanley, convicted child rapist and former priest, released from prison(link is external)By Emily Sweeney, John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen, The Boston Globe
— A predator walks while his protectors never had to stand(link is external)By Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe

Read the following note to readers for background on National Catholic Reporter’srecent series of stories on the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal. The stories are listed below this introduction:

Note to readers about content this week
“On the NCR website this week (Jul. 17), we will run a series of stories that will challenge our readers to look at the scandal of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) by clergy from several different viewpoints: from the perspective of a victim/survivor, from the perspective of a convicted offender, from the perspective of a family member of a victim, and from the perspective of professional advocates and watchdogs. The stories will make some people uncomfortable and others angry. It will be difficult reading, but my hope — my belief — is that it will make us confront a profound question about clergy sex abuse and the Catholic Church, namely, how do we as church, as a community of believers, bring healing to our wounded body? What cooperative acts of justice and mercy must we take as a community of believers to move forward in our journey of faith? Questions will be raised, but not all will be answered.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

Sister finds that faith sustains when institutions fail
“It’s a gorgeous spring day, and the sunshine is pouring into the bedroom of Dominican Sr. Sally Butler’s apartment in the Fort Greene neighborhood, brightening the already cheery lavender-painted walls … Butler, 86, can’t get out of bed because of spinal stenosis and arthritis. And even if she could, for the past 24 years, she says, she has had to find her connection to Christ outside the church. Though she has been in religious life for nearly 70 years, Butler is unable to believe in the institutional church anymore(link is external). But her faith in God, she says, has never been stronger.” By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

‘Uncommon conversation’ on sex abuse falls silent
“An ‘uncommon conversation’ is on hold in Minnesota. After meeting a decade ago at a sex abuse treatment conference, Gil Gustafson and Susan Pavlak each came to see in their pasts a possible way forward(link is external) for their home archdiocese, St. Paul-Minneapolis, as it struggled to deal with the scandal of clergy sexual abuse. Pavlak, now 62, was sexually abused as a child by a teacher who was a former nun at a Catholic school. Gustafson, now 66, pleaded guilty in 1983 to sexually abusing a teenage boy, and has since admitted to abuse of three other male minors.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

‘All of us together’: Sex abuse survivor seeks healing within the church
“In this interview, Susan Pavlak, a lifelong resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, describes being sexually abused by her high school religion teacher(link is external), a former nun, beginning in 1970. The abuse, according to Pavlak, happened on several occasions over four years. The alleged perpetrator, whom Pavlak has chosen not to identify by name in this interview, has never been charged in a criminal court; and Pavlak has never sought damages from any party in a civil court.” By Luke Hansen, National Catholic Reporter

Convicted soul: a priest-perpetrator of child sexual abuse shares his story
“Gilbert Gustafson was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1977, served as an associate priest at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, until 1982, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) in 1983, and served four and a half months in jail and 10 years’ probation. Gustafson has admitted to abusing four boys between 1978 and 1982. He was not criminally charged in the other cases.” By Luke Hansen, National Catholic Reporter

The clergy’s task is unfinished in confronting sex abuse
“The story of Marie Collins, an Irish victim of clergy sex abuse and a witness of unimpeachable integrity(link is external), is a dual tale of how far the church has come in acknowledging and handling the scandal and of how wholly and demonstrably incapable the Catholic clerical culture is of dealing with its own sin. Collins was one of two survivors of clergy sex abuse who were appointed in 2014 to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an agency created by Pope Francis. She resigned the commission in March … Three years after her appointment, she wrote: ‘I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.’” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Can anything burst Pope’s media bubble? Probably not
“Next March will mark the five-year anniversary of Francis’s papacy, and one interesting question is whether the broad media love affair with Francis will still be in place(link is external) when that moment comes. John Allen says “probably yes,” because by now the positive narrative surrounding Francis has become so entrenched as to be basically impervious to reconsideration.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Vatican article says ‘main obstacle’ for Pope Francis is bishops, priests
“Shortly after one Vatican article stirred debate by asserting there’s an ‘ecumenism of hate’ in the U.S. between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics, another over the weekend asserted that the ‘main obstacle’ to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is ‘closure, if not hostility’ from ‘a good part of the clergy(link is external), at levels both high and low.’” By Crux Staff, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis’ next act
“These four very different departures (Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, Cardinal Joachim Meisner and Cardinal Angelo Scola) have a combined effect: They weaken resistance to Francis in the highest reaches of the hierarchy(link is external). And they raise the question facing the remainder of his pontificate: With high-level opposition thinned out and the Benedict/John Paul II vision in eclipse, how far does the pope intend to push?” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Headed to court, Cardinal Pell is no stranger to controversy
“Cardinal George Pell, who this week will become the highest ranked church official ever to face sex abuse charges in court(link is external), may be the most polarizing religious leader in Australia’s brief history. The former Archbishop of Sydney will appear in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on July 26 to answer yet-unspecified charges of historical sexual abuse involving multiple complainants, which he resolutely denies. The complaints apparently long predate his present Vatican role as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, often but misleadingly referred to as number three in the Vatican hierarchy behind the pope and secretary of state. It is a staggering fall from grace for the combative cardinal.” By Barney Zwartz, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinals on two sides of the Hudson reflect two paths of Catholicism
“Two very different books about being Roman Catholic and gay were released recently, each with an endorsement from a cardinal who oversees an archdiocese along the Hudson River(link is external). Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, endorsed ‘Building a Bridge,’ calling it ‘brave, prophetic and inspiring.’ The book calls on church leaders to use preferred terms like ‘gay’ instead of ‘same-sex attraction,’ as a sign of respect to gay Catholics. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, endorsed ‘Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,’ a memoir by a Catholic man who resisted his homosexual attractions and who now leads a celibate life inspired by the Gospel.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times
— Real story of Tobin and Dolan in NY: try ‘America past acrimony(link is external),’ By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Cardinal Muller’s self-delusion and sense of entitlement
“Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s criticism of Pope Francis’ termination of his tenure(link is external) as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is simply astonishing. His complaint is that he had no warning and the termination was a summary dismissal. I don’t know where the cardinal has been in recent months. But it doesn’t seem to have been in Rome.” By Michael Kelly, S.J., LaCroix International
— Former doctrine chief denies false account of papal meeting(link is external)By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Why Pope Francis’ appointment of the new archbishop of Milan is a big deal
“The Vatican announced on July 7 that Pope Francis had appointed Auxiliary Bishop Mario Delpini as the next archbishop of Milan(link is external), succeeding the retiring Cardinal Angelo Scola. Bishop Delpini, a native of the archdiocese, lives in a very modest home mostly for retired priests about a mile northeast of the cathedral, with its old and venerable archbishop’s palace across the piazza. He is in close contact with the clergy of the archdiocese, where he has served most of his priestly life.” By Edward W. Schmidt, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Austria: more and more girls as altar servers
Altar service is still attractive for children and teenagers(link is external): it is confirmed by the figures presented by Simon Mödl, in charge of the service for the ‘Young Church’ from the archdiocese of Vienna. With respect to the decrease in other sectors, said Mödl to the agency of the Austrian Catholic Church Kathpress, ‘here, figures are incredibly stable, and the flow of boys and girls is constant.’ Following a research, from 2014, almost 55% of the over 45 thousand Austrian altar servers – including 10 thousand in the archdiocese of Vienna only – have been female.” By SIR: Servizio Informazione Religiosa, agensir.it

VATICAN

New website for Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, Life
“The Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has a new way to interact with the world: a new website(link is external) launched this week. The new site offers news about the Dicastery’s activities, as well as social updates and videos. Explaining its mission, the Dicastery says, ‘The new website, in addition to telling about the Dicastery’s activities, wants to become a familiar place for lay people and families, where everyone will feel at ease and have [a] chance to be heard.’” By Vatican Radio

CLERICALISM

That sneaky clericalism
“Jesus warned about it. Luther revolted against it. Pope Francis is trying to deal with it. Yet clericalism – a priest or clergyman placing himself above the laity(link is external) – is still alive. We all know its effects are negative: abuse of power, passivity of the laity (“pray, pay, and obey”) and “project[ing] an image of power and privilege” of the Church in the context of poverty. Conceretely, it’s why many have left the Church in disillusionment. So why does clericalism continue?” By Henoch Derbew, The Jesuit Post

VOICES

Catholicism between reform and counter-reform: reading Congar 50 years later
“‘We [now] live in the ‘transparency society’ and the stories of clerical sex abuse and (to a lesser degree) financial misconduct paint a very different picture of the Church than the one from Congar’s time(link is external),’ says Massimo Faggioli.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix Inernational

Evangelical fundamentalism and Catholic integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism
“In God We Trust. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto … A motto is important for a nation whose foundation was rooted in religious motivations(link is external). For many it is a simple declaration of faith. For others, it is the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.” By Antonio Spadoro and Marcelo Figueroa, La Civlita Cattolica
— Italian Jesuit magazine criticizes political attitudes of some U.S. Catholics(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Exclusive interview: Antonio Spadaro on his article about ‘The Ecumenism of Hate’ in the U.S(link is external)., By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
— Cardinal Schonborn: Moral theology needs both principles and prudence,(link is external) By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com
— Editorial: Complicity harmed church’s cultural standing(link is external)By National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican speaks out against fundamentalism, again(link is external)By Pat Perrillo, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic parishes to pay higher fees
“To help Guam’s Catholic Church correct past financial mismanagement, pay debts and properly fund chancery operations, village parishes will see an average of 186-percent increases in assessment fees(link is external). This means up to a 1,146-percent hike for the Maina parish, for example, which used to pay only $107.82, church data shows. The Dededo parish, the biggest, will be assessed $10,763.45 instead of the $5,481.26 imposed six years ago, or an increase of 96 percent.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Questions multiply by the day in latest Vatican money scandal
“Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, has denied rumors of involvement in a scheme(link is external) to overpay for remodeling on his Vatican apartment in order to benefit an Italian businessman and longtime friend. Meanwhile, questions remain about how the businessman was able to bill two different Vatican departments almost $1 million for the same work, which was never even finished.” By Crux Staff, Cruxnow.com

Priest admitted in 2007 to using parish checks for home construction
“A decade before he was charged with embezzlement(link is external), Rev. Jonathan Wehrle admitted to writing checks from St. Martha Parish to pay for the construction of his $1.48 million home. In November 2007, Wehrle told lawyer Michael Ryan that at times he transferred money from his personal accounts to the church’s account, then issued checks from the church’s account for personal use.” By Beth LeBlanc, Lansing State Journal

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Legislator wants tougher hidden predator act to pursue sex offenders
“When his bill extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims was signed into law in 2015, State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) knew it didn’t go far enough(link is external). The lawsuits that have been filed since the Hidden Predator Act took effect bear him out. While the law allows victims to go after the individuals they say abused them, the businesses and nonprofits that allegedly enabled or covered up predatory behavior have so far avoided any potential financial liability.” By Christian Boone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Statute of limitations on child abuse cases should be longer
“Rarely does a month go by without us having to publish a police or court report involving an adult who has victimized a child sexually(link is external). It was only a few short weeks ago we reported charges against a Cassadaga man accused of alleged sexual conduct with a child under the age of 11. There are enough such cases for Patrick Swanson, county district attorney, to suggest adding money to his budget next year to assign a prosecutor solely to sexual crimes against children.” By The Post-Journal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

‘The Keepers’: here’s what has happened since the Netflix series debuted
“‘The Keepers’ debuted two months ago, and since then, filmmaker Ryan White has seen positive developments in the case(link is external): More victims have spoken out and police are investigating further into Father Joseph Maskell’s past life.” By Beatrice Verhoeven, SFGate.com

How the Catholic Church’s hierarchy makes it difficult to punish sexual abusers
“…While reforms in the Catholic Church in the United States have made it mandatory for priests to report instances of sexual abuse, there still remains much work to be done(link is external) in the Catholic Church worldwide. From my perspective as a Catholic scholar of religion, one of the challenges in tackling this issue is the hierarchy of the church itself. It is still difficult to hold high-ranking clerics responsible, either for the misdeeds of their subordinates or for the crimes that they may have committed themselves …” By Mathew Schmalz, SFGate.com

ILLINOIS

Catholic order settles abuse case years later
“The Claretians Roman Catholic order has settled a lawsuit from a man sexually abused as a 6-year-old(link is external) by a teenager who later became a prominent priest in Chicago, confirming in the settlement obtained by The Associated Press that the longtime cleric recently left the priesthood. But Bruce Wellems, 60, still works as executive director of a nonprofit that offers youth mentoring, alternative schooling and other programs for children, according to a staff list at the Peace and Education Coalition. Its head office is also located in the same southwest side Chicago church where he served as priest for two decades.” By Michael Tarm, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

KANSAS

Father claims Overland Park priest ‘tickled,’ touched young daughter
“Hours after the Archdiocese of KCK announced the suspension of priest Scott Kallal on Tuesday (Jul. 18), a man who claims his daughter was sexually assaulted(link is external) by Kallal came forward with new allegations. The Archdiocese announced in a statement Monday (Jul. 17) afternoon that Kallal was suspended from his position at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park after two sources came forward with allegations of wrongdoing.” By KSHB-TV

MASSACHUSETTS

Paul Shanley, priest at center of clergy sex abuse scandal, to be released
“One of the most notorious figures in the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external) has completed his prison sentence on child rape charges and will be released this week (Jul. 26) after two experts hired by prosecutors found he does not meet the legal criteria to be held as a sexually dangerous person. Paul Shanley was known in the 1960s and ’70s for being a hip street priest who reached out to troubled youths.” By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press, on WBUR.org

Man sues Boston Archdiocese citing sex abuse at orphanage
“A New York man is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for sexual abuse he says he suffered decades ago(link is external) at a church-affiliated home for orphaned and foster children. Andre Jones, who’s 51, said Monday (Jul. 17) that he was abused in the 1970s by the late Brother Edward Anthony Holmes, a supervisor and counselor at the now-shuttered Nazareth Child Care Center.” By Philip Marcelo, Associated Press

PENNSYLVANIA

Disgraced Catholic priest loses appeal of ‘sex tourism’ convictions for molesting orphans
“A former Catholic priest from Somerset County who was convicted of engaging in ‘sexual tourism(link is external)’ to molest poor orphans in Honduras has lost an appeal of his nearly 17-year prison sentence. That defeat came this week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected Joseph D. Maurizio Jr.’s claims that he didn’t receive a fair trial.” By Matt Miller, PennLive.com

Advocacy group demands Greensburg Diocese release ‘secret files’
“An advocacy group believes that Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic may be withholding evidence, hidden in secret files(link is external) known as Canon 489 files, pertaining to the arrest of the Rev. John T. Sweeney. The group thinks the files could contain evidence of the sexual abuse of children. Diocesan law describes the files as archives meant to be ‘kept secret, locked, and protected.’ On Tuesday (Jul. 25), the Diocese said it has turned over every file on Sweeney, including the Canon 489 files, to the attorney general.” By WTAE-TV Pittsburgh

Court upholds priest’s sex-abuse conviction involving orphans in Honduras
“A federal appeals court on Monday (Jul. 24) upheld the conviction of a former Somerset County priest who was found guilty in 2015 of traveling to Honduras to sexually abuse orphans(link is external) and sentenced last year to more than 16 years in federal prison. The Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr., who at the time of his September 2014 arrest was the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish in Central City, had asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to overturn his conviction.” By Mark Pesto, Tribune-Democrat

Retired Westmorland County priest accused of forcing boy to perform oral sex
“A now-retired Roman Catholic priest is accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the 4th-grader about misbehaving on a school bus. The state attorney general’s office said Monday (Jul. 24) that the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney committed felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse(link is external) against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.” By Associated Press on WJACTV.com

Western Pennsylvania Catholics, victims react to latest abuse arrest
“Area Catholics and ex-Catholics who testified before a state grand jury that met in 2014 to investigate Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse(link is external) reacted Monday (Jul. 24) to the news of another abuse allegation with a mixture of relief and anger. ‘Being one of those people who came forward, this is a very proud day for me,’ said Shaun Dougherty, 47, formerly of Johnstown. ‘If this arrest came as a result of anything I testified to … that’s why I came forward.’” By Stephen Huba, TribLive.com

AUSTRALIA

Priest John Denham to face fresh Taree child sex allegations
“Convicted child sex offender Catholic priest John Denham has been charged with fresh offenses after a man alleged he was sexually abused(link is external) at Taree in the late 1970s by Denham, senior Maitland-Newcastle priest Barry Tunks and two other men. Manning/Great Lakes Local Area Command detectives charged Denham, 76, with three sexual assault offences more than two months after charging former Vicar General Barry Tunks, 76, in March with three indecent assault offences against the same boy in Catholic Church facilities at Taree.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

George Pell braces for first court appearance amid accusations of Salem which hunt and slaughter of lambs
“People who have accused Cardinal George Pell of molesting them could be ‘lambs to the slaughter’ when legal proceedings begin(link is external), a Victorian lawyer representing sex abuse survivors fears. Australia’s most senior cleric will appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court next week on multiple historical sex charges, which one of Pell’s close friends has likened to a Salem witch hunt.” By Mark Saunokonoko, 9news.com.au

What are Catholics parishes doing to guard against child sexual abuse?
“The Catholic Church has acknowledged the number of priests identified by the child abuse royal commission is indefensible(link is external), and says it is working hard to make sure the abuse is never repeated. But what does that mean for local parishes making changes to protect children into the future?” By Eliza Borrello, ABC News Australia

Cardinal ‘knew about priest’s conviction’
“Australia’s first Catholic cardinal suspended a priest who exposed himself to children but the man later returned to parish work and allegedly abused a boy(link is external), documents before a royal commission reveal. The Catholic Church’s insurance company refused to cover a claim that Father Robert Alban McNeill abused a boy in the 1980s because of Sydney archdiocese’s prior knowledge in 1969/1970 of ‘the offender’s propensities.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au
— Cardinal Pell hires ‘Australia’s best lawyer’ to fight historic sex charges for rumored $11,000 a day(link is external)By Josh Hanrahan, Daily Mail Australia

CANADA

‘It killed part of me,’ clergy abuse victim says
“An Ottawa man has become the latest victim to sue the Archdiocese of Ottawa for sexual abuse that he allegedly suffered(link is external) at the hands of the city’s most notorious Catholic priest, Rev. Dale Crampton. Robert Sullivan has filed a $2-million damages claim for abuse that he says began when he was just 10 years old.” By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen

GUAM

Former priest, Boy Scout leader, accused in new abuse suits
“A man on Tuesday (Jul. 18) filed a lawsuit, alleging that now-deceased Boy Scouts of America scout leader Edward Pereira raped and sexually abused him(link is external) in the early 1970s. It is the first of 93 sexual abuse lawsuits that does not name the Archdiocese of Agana as a defendant. Another lawsuit filed Tuesday (Jul. 18), by a man now living in California, alleges that now-deceased priest Ray Techaira sexually abused him when he was a Catholic school student in the mid-1980s.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Five more sex abuse lawsuits filed against the Church
“Nearly 100 sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) have been filed against the Church. Late Thursday afternoon (Jul. 14), five more cases were filed in the District Court of Guam. 53-year-old R.W.J., 50-year-old P.P.R., and 58-year-old W.E.T. all allege they were molested by Father Louis Brouillard. P.P.R. goes into detail saying that aside from being exposed to the priest naked as well as naked swims it the river, the priest would molest him in a room behind the Church altar. The priest would tell the young boy that it was what God wanted him to do and that it was a sin if he didn’t do as Brouillard asked.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

Victim alleges sex abuse before grandma’s funeral
“Attorney David Lujan filed five more clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana, Boy Scouts of America and two former Guam priests in federal court yesterday (Jul. 12) afternoon. One of the cases alleges defrocked priest Raymond Cepeda abused a boy after officiating the funeral Mass for the boy’s deceased grandmother, and while in a car ride to the burial site. The latest cases also added more cases against former Guam priest Louis Brouillard.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post

Guam’s Catholic Church could sell 41 properties to settle abuse cases
“The Guam Catholic church’s financial arm on Thursday (Jul. 13) released a list of 41 non-essential properties that could be sold to help settle more than 90 Guam clergy sexual abuse cases(link is external). The most valuable of the assets are the former Accion Hotel, which now houses the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona, the chancery complex where the archbishop lives, and the former Thomas Aquinas High School in Ordot, the Archdiocesan Finance Council said.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Kerala: Catholic priest held for sodomizing two boys
“A Kerala priest accused of sodomizing minor boys(link is external) was arrested by the police on Tuesday (Jul. 17). The suspect Fr. Saji Joseph, 45, was director of St. Vincent’s Balabhavan at Meenangadi in Waynad district. He was accused of sodomizing minor boys staying in the hostel since 2016. The incident came to light after a victim confided the ordeals to his mother when he went home for vacation recently.” By Gladwin Emmanuel, Mumbai Times

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Irish priest who exposed pedophile to sue Florida diocese for defamation
“An Irish priest has been given permission by a US court to sue the West Palm Beach diocese over defamation. Father John Gallagher, a Tyrone native, claimed the Florida diocese tried to cover-up a pedophile priest(link is external) in the diocese. Gallagher exposed him and was shunned and defamed as a result. In January 2015, Gallagher (49), who has served in Florida since 2000, helped to report criminal misconduct by Fr. Jose Palimattom, a priest of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India, who was serving a two-year residency at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, in West Palm Beach.” By Staff at Irish Central

No justice for a life destroyed
Victims of historic abuse(link is external) in state care are fighting back, demanding justice – in cash and apologies – to help rebuild broken lives. But some are going further. In the second part of ODT Insight’s special investigation, Chris Morris tells Darryl Smith’s story.” By Chris Morris, Otago Daily Times

Advertisements

, , , ,

Leave a comment

German abuse report ‘shocking’ and not the end, Church expert says / Cruxnow.com

“I’m sad to say, but from all I see on other continents, I’m quite sure we are going to encounter more cases like this. I [especially] anticipate it in other parts of the world where this issue has not been talked about, either in the Church or in society at large,” said German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner. (Cruxnow.com)

A recent German report documenting hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse at a famed boys choir in Regensburg, led for part of the seventy-year span covered in the report by Pope Benedict XVI’s brother, was “shocking,” according to one of the Church’s leading experts on child abuse – and what’s worse, he warns, the story hardly ends there.

“‘I’m sad to say, but from all I see on other continents, I’m quite sure we are going to encounter more cases like this. I [especially] anticipate it in other parts of the world where this issue has not been talked about, either in the Church or in society at large,’ said German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

“‘This topic is starting to surface now in countries like India, where up until five years ago one heard nothing about this.  Yet today the topic is openly discussed  in the media again and again, both regarding [cases] in the Church and in society at large,’ he said.

“Zollner runs the Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Jesuit-sponsored Gregorian University, and is also a member of Pope Francis’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

A predator walks while his protectors never had to stand / The Boston Globe

“It should surprise no one that Shanley’s victims and their lawyers think he got off easy, and that he remains a sexually dangerous person, despite being 86 and having been deemed not sexually dangerous by two doctors retained by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.”

It seems achingly unfair that Joe Crowley is dead and Paul Shanley is about to go free.

“Shanley, a predator in a Roman collar, is wrapping up a 12-year sentence for raping a Sunday school student in the early 1980s.

“Some have the audacity to suggest that Shanley was overpunished, that he got more time in prison than he deserved because he eluded justice for his multitude of other crimes on technical grounds.

“Fine. So Paul Shanley is the O.J. Simpson of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. It is what it is.

“The reality is that Paul Shanley ruined countless lives, including Joe Crowley’s, and he was never held accountable or punished for that. Shanley got off easy, if you ask me. The bigger scandal is that so many of his fellow predators, and their supervisors, never saw the inside of a prison cell.”

By Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

A First: Cardinal Pell Appears in Australian Court on Sexual Charges / The New York Times

“There must be perpetrators out there who would be looking at this thinking if a cardinal can be charged, anyone can be,” (clergy abuse survivor) Mr. (Andrew) Collins said. “It gives survivors faith in the system again.” (The New York Times)

Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, made his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday (Jul. 26) after becoming the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses.

“Cardinal Pell, 76, was flanked by police officers as he entered Melbourne Magistrates’ Court through a thicket of camera crews, reporters and photographers.

“He said nothing during the filing hearing, which lasted about six minutes.

“One of the cardinal’s lawyers, Robert Richter, told the court that his client would plead not guilty to all charges and vehemently maintained his innocence. Magistrate Duncan Reynolds set the next court proceeding for Oct. 6.

“Journalists from around the world started lining up outside the court as early as 5 a.m. to get a seat at the hearing, which was purely administrative in nature and allowed the magistrate to set dates for future hearings.”

By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

The clergy’s task is unfinished in confronting sex abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“The central question (still confronting Catholic Clergy: What caused us, members of the Catholic clergy culture, to arrive at the point where we could devise a rationale that allowed us to walk away from the incalculable suffering of the community’s children in order to protect those members of the clergy culture who caused the suffering?” (National Catholic Reporter)

The story of Marie Collins, an Irish victim of clergy sex abuse and a witness of unimpeachable integrity, is a dual tale of how far the church has come in acknowledging and handling the scandal and of how wholly and demonstrably incapable the Catholic clerical culture is of dealing with its own sin.

“Collins was one of two survivors of clergy sex abuse who were appointed in 2014 to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an agency created by Pope Francis. She resigned the commission in March, providing NCR with a long explanatory statement.

“Her decision to leave was not lightly taken. She had rejected the logic of some critics early on that any cooperation with church efforts was selling out to an institution that had generally ignored or re-victimized the abused for decades. She had later defended the work of the commission when its only other victim member, Peter Saunders, openly criticized the group for the slow pace of reform.

“In March, however, three years after her appointment, she wrote: ‘I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.’

“Among the primary reasons for her despair, she listed ‘lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance.’

“Those first three are easily remedied: more money, more staff, pick up the pace.

“The last one — ‘cultural resistance’ — is the impenetrable, if invisible, shield, a kind of carapace protecting the clergy culture. It prevents the disturbing, ugly reality of what experts have termed the ‘soul murder’ of children from penetrating the deepest levels of the clerical culture. The awareness inside the encasement can expand only so far before it runs into the resistance of rigid boundaries.”

By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Voice of the Faithful Focus

July 18, 2017

TOP STORIES

Cardinal Pell returns to Australia, charged with sexual offenses
“Cardinal George Pell returned on Monday (Jul. 10) to his native Australia, where he has been charged with sexual offenses(link is external), as a commission released a new trove of documents from its investigation into the Roman Catholic Church’s past response to abuse allegations in the country. Cardinal Pell, 76, one of the highest-ranking figures in the church’s global hierarchy, was met by the Australian Federal Police at Sydney’s international airport, where his flight from Singapore landed just before 6 a.m.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times
— Cardinal’s sex abuse charges raise questions about pope’s record(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
— Prominent cardinal returns to Australia to face sex abuse charges(link is external)By Camila Domonoske, National Public Radio

Pope Francis defrocks Italian priest convicted of child sex abuse
“Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse(link is external), three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light. Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012 after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014 … On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a ‘definitive ruling’ that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

The Vatican’s failure in the abuse scandal
“For all of Pope Francis’ deserved acclaim in leading the Roman Catholic Church to new directions, he is failing badly on his promise to address the child abuse scandal(link is external) at the crucial level where ranking churchmen systematically protected priests who raped and molested children.” Editorial in The New York Times
— The Catholic Church and sex abuse(link is external)By Marci Hamilton, Letter to the Editor, The New York Times

More power for Catholic bishops? Not so fast
“A lot has been written about Pope Francis’s goal of making the church more democratic, with less control by the Vatican and more power to individual bishops(link is external) … However, unless the institutional church actually reaches that goal, and power truly devolves to the grassroots, giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops might make things worse, not better, at least for progressive Catholics.” By Celia Wexler, Contributor, Huffington Post

Francis replaces Cardinal Muller with deputy Ladaria as head of doctrinal congregation
“Pope Francis has decided not to renew the expiring term of Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Muller(link is external), choosing instead to replace the German prelate with his deputy, a Spanish Jesuit theologian known for keeping a relatively low public profile. The pontiff has appointed Archbishop Luis Ladaria, 73, as the new prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He had previously served as the office’s secretary.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican money man says abuse charges are a smear campaign
“A senior Vatican cardinal charged in Australia with multiple historical sexual offenses has denied the accusations(link is external) and denounced what he called a ‘relentless character assassination.’ Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’s chief financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic, said he would take a leave of absence as the Catholic Church’s finance tsar and would return to Australia to fight the charges. Cardinal Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official charged in the church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal.” By Nicole Winfield and Kristen Gelineau, Scotland Sunday Herald
— Vatican No. 3 charged with sexual abuse by Australian court,(link is external) By Elliot Hannon, Slate
— Senior Catholic Church officials have rarely faced charges in the sexual abuse of children. Here are a few who did(link is external)By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
— Cardinal George Pell charged: What a mess?(link is external) By David Armstrong, LaCroix
— Vatican cardinal charged with ‘historic sexual offenses’ in Australia(link is external)By Laurel Wamsley, National Public Radio

Secrecy over clergy abuse standards causes confusion in India
“Three months after India’s theologians and Catholic religious pressed a congress of bishops to act aggressively against a wave of sex abuse cases involving priests(link is external), no official response has come. But top church leaders told National Catholic Reporter in exclusive interviews that bishops in India are following Vatican-approved guidelines for handling clergy abuse cases. The guidelines took effect in 2015 but have not been shared beyond bishops and religious superiors to protect the policy from being misused, an officer in the bishops’ conference told NCR.” By Jose Kevi, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Francis makes clear his mission as pope is far from ended
Pope Francis made it clear(link is external) this morning (Jun. 27) that he believes his mission as successor to St. Peter and leader of the Catholic world is far from over. The message can be read as an answer to those who hope his pontificate may end soon. He said that his mission entails being able ‘to dream’ and to share this dream and experience of life with young people today so that they may live prophetic lives.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

Marie Collins: Cardinal Pell’s leave from Vatican service comes ‘far too late’
“A former member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has responded to news that Australian police are pursuing charges against Vatican financial chief Cardinal George Pell over allegations of historic sexual abuse against minors(link is external). Marie Collins, an Irish clergy abuse survivor, said she will not pre-judge Pell’s guilt or innocence regarding the charges against him. But she said Francis should not have appointed the cardinal the prefect of the new Secretariat of the Economy in 2014.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Pell’s situation may be unique, but there are plenty of parallels
“Although Cardinal George Pell of Australia is the first cardinal and Vatican official to face criminal charges related to sexual abuse(link is external), he’s hardly the first Catholic bishop to be prosecuted on those grounds, and also not the first Vatican official to face a criminal indictment. A rundown of several such recent cases allows one to compare and contrast with the Pell situation, including the fact he’s not playing the immunity card.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Francis tells new cardinals to look at reality facing today’s Catholics
“Pope Francis has told the world’s Catholic cardinals not to seek privilege(link is external) but to look at the situations Catholics in their care are facing today and to serve them as brothers and sisters. Speaking during a formal ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica marking the creation of five new cardinals, the pope told the prelates that God is calling them ‘to look at reality, not to let yourselves be distracted by other interests or prospects.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Francis names five new cardinals, including associate of Oscar Romero(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

Pope names Bishop Nelson J. Perez as new leader of Cleveland diocese
“Bishop-designate Nelson J. Perez, born in Miami but most recently serving in New York state, has been named the new leader of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese(link is external). Pope Francis’ decree was made public this morning (Jul. 11), and the new bishop will be introduced at a 9 a.m. news conference.” By Karen Farkas, Cleveland.com

Pope Francis names Atlanta auxiliary bishop to head Diocese of Raleigh
“Pope Francis has named Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama to head the Diocese of Raleigh(link is external), North Carolina. He succeeds Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, who last October was named to head the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, where he was installed Dec. 6. Zarama, 58, has been an Atlanta auxiliary bishop since 2009. A native of Colombia, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1993.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis accepts Scola’s resignation, appoints native son Delpini to Milan
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Scola as archbishop of Milan and appointed Bishop Mario Delpini(link is external), 66, a man of spartan habits who rides a bicycle and lives with elderly priests, as his successor. The Vatican made the announcement on July 7, confirming rumors that had been circulating in the Italian media in recent days.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Local priest named fifth bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania
“On Tuesday (Jun. 27) the Vatican announced Pope Francis’s pick of Monsignor Alfred A. Schlert to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Allentown(link is external) in Pennsylvania, himself born and raised in the diocese … It is the first time a priest of the diocese has been named its bishop.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Crisis in Irish priesthood revealed at meetings of clergy
“Eight priests have taken their own lives in the past 10 to 15 years in Ireland, a meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests(link is external) (ACP) in Cavan has been told. At another such meeting in Co Limerick, there was a call for the setting up of a national confidential priests’ helpline. Minutes of the latter meeting in Caherconlish quote one attendee as saying: ‘Our morale is affected because we are on a sinking ship. When will the ‘counter-reformation’ take place? We’re like an All-Ireland team without a goalie. We need a national confidential priests’ helpline. We’re slow to look for help.’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Four-day convocation in Orlando called ‘a journey’ for U.S. church
“Theirs was a monumental responsibility(link is external): shepherding lay leaders, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, religious, deacons, musicians, event staff and a legion of volunteers at the historic ‘Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America’ July 1–4 in Orlando.” By Laura Dodson, Catholic News Service
— Lofty rhetoric aside, why the U.S. bishops’ ‘Convocation’ mattered(link is external)By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

VATICAN

Top theologian is out in Pope Francis’ move to be more inclusive
“Pope Francis took the decision to replace Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller(link is external) , a German, with Jesuit Luis Ladaria Ferrer, a Spaniard, as the prefect of Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith. The outgoing chief theologian was at odds with the pope as the latter tried to open the Catholic church to ‘imperfect’ Catholics like divorced ones.” By Kelly Frazier, World Religion News
— Was Muller’s exit really a ‘night of the long knives’ move?(link is external) By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

New Swedish cardinal suggests high-level advisory group of women
“One of the five prelates Pope Francis just made a new cardinal of the Catholic Church has suggested the pope consider creating a special advisory body of women akin to the College of Cardinals(link is external) to offer more opportunity for women’s leadership in the church. Stockholm Cardinal Anders Arborelius, whom Francis made Sweden’s first cardinal in a consistory Wednesday, June 28, said he thinks ‘it’s very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

MARRIED PRIESTS

Editorial: Time to welcome married priests
“… It’s time the Vatican considered what other Christian denominations have long accepted: the ability of clergy to marry(link is external). While the male-only priesthood is Catholic doctrine and cannot be reversed by papal decree, clerical celibacy is only a discipline of the church. Were he so inclined, Francis could begin ordaining married priests tomorrow …” Editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Leader of largest U.S. Catholic church advocates for married priests
“The leader of the largest Catholic church in the U.S. said he would support allowing married men to become priests(link is external), among other church reforms. Monsignor John McSweeney said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer Friday (Jul. 7) about his upcoming retirement that he would support a reversal of the church’s celibacy requirement for priests.” By Joshua Gill, The Daily Caller

The pluses and minuses of married priests
“Ten or 12 years ago, I wrote a feature story for The Kansas City Star about a married Catholic priest(link is external) in southeast Kansas. He was, as no doubt you’ve already guessed, a convert from the Episcopal Church, which he had served as a priest. He was also conflicted. He loved his wife and loved the Catholic Church. He said he felt married to both, but that divided loyalty wasn’t easy. Indeed, he told me that if he had been a Catholic official with the authority to approve his request to convert to Catholicism and become a priest, he might well have said no.” By Bill Tammeus, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Why the Catholic Church must continue soul-searching
“The news that a high-ranking Vatican official has been charged with sexual abuse is a reminder that the church’s sex abuse crisis is not over(link is external) — and that it has potential to affect the entire church, across so-called liberal or conservative lines, even to the top echelons of the church hierarchy. Cardinal George Pell, former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne and current head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, denied the allegations that will require him to return to Australia from Rome to face multiple charges of sexual assault.” By Heidi Schlumpf, CNN

Lay groups lament Paprocki’s decree denying same-sex Eucharist
“Although response from Catholic clergy has been muted in the wake of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s June 12 decree that prohibits Catholics in ‘same-sex marriage’ from receiving Communion(link is external), lay organizations have been vocal about their disdain for the decree. The decree bars Catholics in same-sex marriages from receiving Communion as well as from receiving “ecclesiastical funeral rites,” unless they show signs of repentance before death.” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican II being unleashed through Pope Francis
“People are free to raise questions about certain teachings(link is external) but should remember Peter is the rock of the Catholic faith, according to the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl was in Orlando for the July 1-4 ‘Convocation of Catholic Leaders,’ and spoke with Crux about the impact of the pontificate of Pope Francis. ‘We are 50 years after the [Second Vatican] Council. What’s happening is all that Pentecostal energy that the Council unleashed is now, with this Holy Father, being felt,’ Wuerl said.” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin

U.S. priests’ association wants to focus on formation
“‘All means all — no exceptions, no small print. God loves all of us, whatever our differences,’ Fr. Bryan Massingale said as he recalled the anniversary of the Orlando massacre of LGBT people in the Pulse nightclub a year ago. Amid sustained applause from 170 members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests(link is external), the Fordham University theology professor challenged the sixth annual assembly gathered in Atlanta, June 19-22, to retrieve a crucial insight of Martin Luther King Jr. — the need to ‘redeem the soul.’” By Jeannine Gramick, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Millions missing from Catholic church near Lansing
“An audit so far has found that nearly $5 million is missing from a Roman Catholic church(link is external) near Lansing. The disclosure was made Friday (Jul. 7) during a court hearing for the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle, who is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos. Wehrle’s attorney, Lawrence Nolan, says $5 million is a ‘new high-water mark.’” By ClickOnDetroit.com
— Alleged embezzlement by Lansing priest approaches $5 million(link is external)By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Abuse charges against Pell not good news for Vatican financial reform
“With criminal charges of sexual abuse having been filed against Cardinal George Pell in his home country of Australia, many questions will be asked, most about the accusations and Pell’s defense. From a Vatican point of view, however, a key question is what all this means for the prospects of financial reform(link is external), and the best answer probably is, ‘Nothing good.’” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Survivors of non-recent abuse in Scotland can now bring civil claims
“The three-year time limit on cases of childhood abuse has been lifted(link is external) by Scottish Parliament. This is a monumental step forward for survivors of abuse who previously may not have been able to bring civil claims for damages. The time bar has been removed by the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill, which was unanimously approved when MSPs voted.” By Lexicology.com

The silence of children (locked away in secret archives of the Archdiocese of New York City)
“New York lawmakers last week (Jun. 26) closed their 2017 session in ‘legislative hell,’ as one Senator called it, without resolving a number of important issues, including the Child Victims Act, which would reform New York’s antiquated child sex abuse statutes of limitations(link is external) (SOLs). It would extend the civil and criminal SOLs, revive expired civil SOLs for one year, and eliminate the ‘notice of claim’ requirement that has hobbled public school victims’ access to justice.” By Marcia A. Hamilton, Verdict.justia.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Pope Francis’ toleration of sexually abusive clergy leaves a stain
“Pope Francis, who pledged a policy of “zero tolerance” for sexually abusive clergy in the Catholic Church, has turned out to be all too tolerant(link is external). On Thursday (Jun. 29), Australian police brought criminal charges against Cardinal George Pell, a top Vatican official and kitchen- cabinet adviser to the pope, for multiple alleged incidents of sexual assault. The charges against Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief and the pope’s hand-picked agent of administrative reform, shook the Holy See, notwithstanding long-standing allegations that he ignored, dismissed and excused cases of sexual misconduct during his pre-Vatican years as a priest and church official in Australia.” Editorial in The Washington Post

In fighting abuse by members of Catholic Church clergy, victim sees resistance to change
“Has the Catholic Church made enough progress in fighting abuse by its priests(link is external)? That question has renewed urgency after George Pell became the highest-ranking member of the clergy to be formally charged. Cardinal Pell of Australia is a close adviser to the pope. He’s been charged with sexual assault … Joining us to talk about the case from Dublin and the broader questions it raises is Marie Collins. She was until recently on a papal commission dealing with the sexual abuse of children by clergy.” By Lulu Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio

Editorial: On abuse, church has changed, but not enough
“… this is not 1985, when the U.S bishops’ conference and the Vatican could bury detailed reports on the abuse of minors(link is external) and cover-up in Lafayette, Louisiana, and ignore advice from a priest, a lawyer and psychiatrist on how to proceed in transparency and justice. The U.S. bishops would go blithely on for another decade before some individual dioceses would begin to implement policies to handle abusive priests.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Timeline: A look at the Catholic Church’s sex abuse
“For more than three decades, the Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals spanning the globe(link is external). And for decades, the church has been accused of protecting itself rather than the victims of child sexual abuse. Here are some major scandals and revelations involving the Catholic Church and allegations of abuse.” By Madison Park, CNN

GEORGIA

Molestation claims resurface against former DeKalb priest
“The allegations against Father Stanley Idziak(link is external) never really went away. Even as they receded into memory for most as a dark part of DeKalb County history, the boys who say he molested them still carried the weight of his sins.” By Joshua Sharpe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ILLINOIS

Priest who abused child still working with kids
“The Claretians Roman Catholic order has settled a lawsuit from a man sexually abused as a 6-year-old(link is external) by a teenager who later became a prominent priest in Chicago, confirming in the settlement obtained by The Associated Press that the longtime cleric recently left the priesthood. But Bruce Wellems, 60, still works as executive director of a non-profit that offers youth mentoring, alternative schooling and other programs for children, according to a staff list at the Peace and Education Coalition. Its head office is also located in the same southwest side Chicago church where he served as priest for two decades.” By Michael Tarm, Associated Press

Man says Chicago Archdiocese, Catholic bishop responsible for priest’s sex abuse
“An individual is suing The Archdiocese of Chicago and The Catholic Bishop of Chicago, alleging battery and sexual abuse by a member of the clergy(link is external). An unnamed man filed a complaint on June 15 in Cook County Circuit Court against the defendants alleging defrocked Catholic priest Daniel McCormack sexually abused the plaintiff while he was still a practicing member of the clergy in Chicago.” By Louie Torres, Cook County Record

KENTUCKY

Louisville priest now faces nine years in prison for sexual abuse
“A Catholic priest is facing an additional two years in prison after a sentencing hearing in Meade County Thursday (Jun. 29) for sexually abusing a boy(link is external) at a summer camp in the 1970s. Father Joseph Hemmerle, 74, who was serving seven years for the sexual abuse of another victim, was sentenced to an additional two years in prison as well as eight years of probation.” By Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal

MARYLAND

Netflix’s ‘Keepers’ prompts call for archdiocese to release priest’s files
“The release of ‘The Keepers,’ a Netflix documentary series examining the unsolved death of a Catholic nun and abuse at then-Archbishop Keough High School(link is external), has sparked calls for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release files on the priest at the center of the story. An online petition on change.org has more than 11,000 signatures urging church officials to make public its files on A. Joseph Maskell, who died in 2001.” By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

NEW JERSEY

Man claims monk sexually abused him more than 100 times as a kid
“A New Jersey man who attended the now-shuttered St. Elizabeth of Hungary School more than four decades ago has anonymously stepped forward and accused a Benedictine monk of abusing him on more than 100 occasions(link is external) as a teenager. In a lawsuit filed Friday (Jul. 7) morning, a plaintiff identified as John Doe III alleges he was sexually abused on numerous occasions by the Rev. Timothy Brennan between 1968 and 1971 while a student at St. Elizabeth’s School.” By Justin Zaremba, NJ Advance Media on nj.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Diocese places priest on leave for alleged misconduct involving minor in mid-1980s
“A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was placed on leave from public ministry(link is external) Wednesday (Jul. 5). Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the diocese, said in a release that Rev. Anthony J. Petracca has been placed on leave from public ministry.” By Ron Musselman, WJAC-TV

AUSTRALIA

Laws introduced to help prevent child abuse
“New laws have been introduced in Victoria to help protect children from abuse(link is external), holding religious, childcare, government and community organizations to account and modernizing child pornography laws. The Wrongs Amendment (Organizational Child Abuse) Act 2017 came into force on Saturday (Jul. 1) with new duty-of-care requirements for organizations that care for or have authority over children.” By SkyNews.com.au

The case of Cardinal Pell raises hope of reform among Australian victims of clerical abuse
“The Catholic Church, long damaged by sex abuse scandals(link is external), is facing a fresh crisis following the laying of charges of child sex abuse against one of its most senior clerics, the Australian cardinal George Pell. The 76-year-old Pell, who as the Church’s treasurer is the most senior Vatican figure to be charged with sexual abuse, returned home to Australia from the Vatican early Monday (Jul. 10), where he was met at Sydney airport by police. He is due in a Melbourne magistrate’s court on July 26 for the hearing of charges that he has strenuously denied.” By Sharon Verghis, Time

Catholic priest’s alleged inappropriate conduct kept hidden from school nearby his residence for ‘privacy reasons’
“The Catholic Church decided not to tell a Canberra primary school a priest living next door had been accused of inappropriate conduct with children(link is external) because it was concerned about his privacy, an independent report has found. The historical allegations involve two girls, and include the priest putting his arms around an 11 or 12-year-old from behind and nibbling her ear when they were alone in a Tumut church in the Riverina.” By Jesse Dorsett, ABC News Australia

Catholic boys school in Ballarat apologizes to victims of child sex abuse
“A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse(link is external) has called on Catholic institutions in Melbourne to take the lead of a Ballarat school, after it offered the first public apology to its abuse victims. St Patrick’s College is one of Ballarat’s most enduring Catholic institutions. Some students have graduated to become priests, archbishops and even a cardinal.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia

CANADA

Catholic Church to fingerprint priests, other workers
“Catholic priests and church workers in Quebec will have to give their digital fingerprints in order to work with minors, the elderly and the sick by 2020, according to several news outlets. This new rule is part of larger pilot project initiated by the Montreal Catholic Church in the fall of 2016. It aims to protect anyone considered to be at-risk or vulnerable(link is external). The 10-part process includes obligatory background checks on all personnel and having more than one adult present with minors.” By Montreal Gazette

GUAM

Vatican judges to deliberate
“A panel of Vatican judges will soon begin deliberating the fate of suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who is facing accusations of child sex abuse(link is external) when he was a Guam priest decades ago. Apuron’s ongoing canonical trial in the Vatican is in its penultimate phase, Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes said during a press conference yesterday (Jul. 6).” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post
— Guam Catholic look to Vatican, court process for closure,(link is external) Editorial in the Guam Daily Post

Stop fighting accusers in civil courts
“The world’s largest group of clergy sex abuse survivors(link is external) said Thursday (Jul. 6) the only way the Archdiocese of Agana can now make amends is to stop fighting accusers in the civil courts.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Culture of silence abetted abuse of at least 547 German choir boys, inquiry finds / The New York Times

“‘Many described this time as the darkest period of their lives, dominated by violence, fear and helplessness,’ Mr. (Ulrich) Weber said (attorney leading independent inquiry).” (The New York Times)

For decades, a ‘culture of silence’ pervaded a Catholic music school where the brother of a future pope directed a renowned boys’ choir, contributing to an environment in which at least 547 children were abused, a lawyer who carried out an investigation of the mistreatment said on Tuesday (Jul. 18).

“The estimate of the number of children abused was far greater than a previous figure, 231, that the lawyer gave last year.

“The choir — the Regensburg Domspatzen, literally the Cathedral Sparrows — dates to the 10th century and continues to perform at Sunday Mass in Regensburg’s 16th-century Gothic cathedral. The choir’s music director from 1964 to 1994 was the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, whose younger brother, Joseph Ratzinger, reigned as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013.”

By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times — Read more …

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment