Archive for September, 2017

University report lifts the lid on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church / National Catholic Reporter

“The research team’s conclusions in this highly readable 379-page document confirm the view of the psychologist Philip Zimbardo that if you find many bad apples in a barrel, there has to be something wrong with the barrel. The pattern of abuse and cover up was the same all over the world.” (National Catholic Reporter)

“The most comprehensive report ever published on the systemic reasons behind child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has recently been released.

“The August 2017 report, Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports, examined 26 commissions of inquiry, scientific research and literature since 1985 to find common features in the culture, history and structures of the church and the psychological, social and theological factors that contributed to the tragedy.

“The report, five years in the making, comes from a research team at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University headed by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson.

“The research team’s conclusions in this highly readable 379-page document confirm the view of the psychologist Philip Zimbardo that if you find many bad apples in a barrel, there has to be something wrong with the barrel. The pattern of abuse and cover up was the same all over the world.”

By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter — Read more … 

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Pope admits Catholic Church waited too long to respond to clergy abuse crisis / National Catholic Reporter

“Maybe the old practice of moving people around, of not facing the problem, kept our consciousness asleep,” the pope suggested. “Thanks to God, the Lord sent prophetic men and women in the church … who got others involved and began this work to face the problem head-on.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has admitted that the Catholic Church waited too long before taking reports of clergy sexual abuse seriously, suggesting that the former practice of moving priests accused of abuse to new ministries instead of reporting them to authorities kept the church numb to the scope of the situation.

“In his first formal meeting Sept. 21 with the now three-year-old Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the pontiff also called ‘prophetic’ the men and women who urged the church for decades to face the problem.

“‘I know it has not been easy to start this work,’ the pope told the members of the commission in off-the-cuff remarks notable for their frankness. ‘You have had to swim against the current because there is a reality: the church has taken consciousness about these crimes in a delayed manner.’

”When the consciousness is delayed, the means for resolving the problem are delayed,’ said Francis. ‘I am aware of this difficulty. But it is a reality. I’ll say it so: We have come to this late.'”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Parish priest removed for inappropriate questioning / Voice of the Faithful

For once, the child protection system worked.

Child protection procedures mean little if those required to execute them fail to do so. But we are reassured to learn that “the system” can work, as it did recently in a parish in Nebraska.

We offer our support and appreciation to the children and parents at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic School who alerted the principal, Mrs. Sandra Suiter, to improper conduct in the confessional by Rev. Nicholas Mishek, an associate pastor at St. Robert Bellarmine parish in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mrs. Suiter immediately informed the pastor, Rev. Steven Stillmunks, upon learning about Fr. Mishek’s inappropriate behavior, and for that action, we say thank you. We also single out Fr. Stillmunks as modeling precisely the sort of response appropriate upon hearing such news. Being away when he heard, he immediately returned to the parish, calling the Omaha diocesan chancery enroute. Arriving at the parish, he immediately removed Fr. Mishek from his duties and asked him to leave the parish grounds.

The “right steps” did not stop there. A letter co-signed by Mrs. Suiter and Fr. Mishek was quickly sent to all elementary school parents informing them of precisely what had happened, what steps had been taken, and what steps were next in the effort to address the case.

As a result, by the time the Omaha World-Herald reported the story, parents had already been alerted, the Chancery had been direct in its response, and there were no attempts to cloud the issue.

The Church, at least in its communities that comprise the Faithful, can—as the parish of St. Robert Bellarmine demonstrated—take the right steps to protect our children. We are grateful for their actions.

This situation stands somewhat in contrast to the way the higher levels within the Church often react, as Fr. Tom Reese recounts in a recent column for the National Catholic Reporter.

Click here to read Mrs. Suiter and Fr. Stillmunks’ letter to parents.


 Voice of the Faithful Statement, Sept. 20, 2017
Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Voice of the Faithful Focus, Sept. 15, 2017


TOP STORIES

Editorial: Retain abuse survivors or risk irrelevancy
“It is distressing to learn that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors may be restructured so that survivors of sexual abuse by clergy may have no direct voice in that body(link is external). The commission has helped the church make great strides in addressing this global issue, but it is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Signs of trouble with the commission began to surface in 2016, a year after its inception, when one of two abuse survivors on the commission, Peter Saunders, was suspended. The trouble became acute when the sole remaining survivor on the commission, Marie Collins, resigned earlier this year.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops
“Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church’s liturgies are translated(link is external) from Latin into local languages, moving most responsibility for the matter from the Vatican to national bishops’ conferences. In a motu proprio issued Sept. 9, the pontiff says he is making a change to the church’s Code of Canon Law so that the Second Vatican Council’s call to make the liturgy more understandable to people is ‘more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.’ The motu proprio, given the title Magnum Principium, modifies two clauses of Canon 838. The rewritten clauses say simply that the Vatican is to ‘recognize’ adaptations of Latin liturgical texts approved by national bishops’ conferences.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Australian Catholic Church falls short on safeguards for children, study finds
“A study that examines child sexual abuse worldwide in the Roman Catholic Church has found that the Australian church has done less to safeguard children in its care than its counterparts(link is external) in similar countries have. The report, released on Wednesday by the Center for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, also found that the church’s requirement that priests be celibate was a major risk factor for abuse. And it said that the possibility of abuse in Catholic residential institutions, like orphanages, should be getting more attention, especially in developing countries.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Living with echo of clergy abuse (Part 1 of 3)
“For a more than a decade, Catholic priest Donald Grecco sexually abused children in Niagara(link is external). On Thursday (Sept. 7), he will be sentenced for the abuse of three boys in the 1970s and 80s. This three part series is the story of one of his victims.” By Grant LaFleche, The St. Catherine’s Standard

ACCOUNTABILITY

Müller sacked for publicly opposing pope, especially on women deacons’
(Sept. 6, 2017) “A noted German Protestant theologian who attended the Catholic Church’s 2015 Synod on the Family has claimed that Cardinal Gerhard Müller was dismissed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) because of his public criticism of Pope Francis(link is external), especially on the issue of women deacons.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, International La Croix

As Vatican trial waits to resume, who’s actually got the most to lose
“With a Vatican trial focusing on charges of misappropriation of funds(link is external) from a papally-sponsored children’s hospital now on hold until Sept. 19, the question arises of who has the most to lose from its outcome: The two lay defendants themselves, or the cardinal whose reputation appears to be on the line and the fate of the financial reform launched by Pope Francis?” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Why world meeting of families is more than potential papal visit
“From August 21st-26th, 2018, families from across the world will gather in Ireland for the ninth world meeting of families. Much of the local commentary has focused on whether Pope Francis will attend(link is external) and what this might mean for the future of church and society in Ireland. Those of us involved in organizing the event are careful not to talk about a papal visit. Not because we aren’t delighted at the prospect of the pope coming but because, if he comes, it is clear he will come first and foremost for the world meeting of families itself.” By Fr. Tim Bartlett, The Irish Times

CARDINALS

Vatican reform process ‘nearly complete,’ C9 member says
“Bishop Marcello Semeraro said the Council of Cardinal’s work in advising Pope Francis on the reform(link is external) of the Vatican’s organization and church governance – describing it as a three-step process of ‘listening’ to the contributions from the bishops, the Roman Curia and ‘many people who have written,’ reflecting on those proposals and checking them over – is almost done.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Vatican investigator wraps up cash, mistress probe
“A Vatican-appointed investigator has completed a probe into allegations leveled against an Indonesian bishop by rebel priests(link is external) within his own diocese. Holy Cross Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung was appointed by the Vatican as its apostolic visitator last month to look into allegations that Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng misappropriated church funds and kept a mistress. Bishop Bunjamin told ucanews.com on Aug. 24 that he had collected enough evidence during an Aug.-15-18 visit to Flores Island, during which he interviewed about 30 priests and laypeople, and would be sending a detailed report to the Vatican.” By Ryan Dagur, UCANews.com

PRIESTS

For historic Philadelphia seminary, enrollment hits a new peak
“The number of seminarians(link is external) at Philadelphia’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is on the rise, and rector Bishop Timothy Senior says Pope Francis’ visit has been a positive influence on the seminarians. ‘With 167 seminarians, we’re very excited and not only just the numbers but just extraordinary young men, candidates that really reflect the rich diversity of our region,’ Bishop Senior told CBS Philly.” By Catholic News Agency in Angelus News

WOMEN DEACONS

Irish priests call for diaconate pause
“The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has called on the Irish bishops to halt the introduction of permanent deacons(link is external) in their dioceses until the Vatican’s commission on women deacons has concluded its report and Pope Francis has made a decision based on its findings. In their statement, association leaders said they believed that proceeding with the introduction of male deacons at this time would add ‘another male clerical layer to ministry’ which was ‘insensitive, disrespectful of women and counter-productive at this present critical time.’” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

The U.S. Catholic experience is increasingly Hispanic and Southwestern
“A new survey of the religious composition of the United States shows that white Christians are increasingly less dominant in American society(link is external), with fewer than half of U.S. states having white Christian majorities, down from 39 states in 2007. For the Catholic Church here, that means a shift from a predominantly white church clustered in the Northeast and Midwest to a church influenced by Latin American immigration and located in the South and West. About 18 percent of all Americans identify as Catholic, the report found.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Seeking a path form Pell to a Plenary Council
“Arriving in Sydney, Australia, this summer for a round of conferences sponsored by the Broken Bay Institute of the Australian Institute of Theological Education, I found a church confronting events likely to have a profound impact on its future(link is external): the Royal Commission’s completion of its work on an ‘institutional response to child sexual abuse’; the return of Cardinal George Pell from Rome to face charges on sexual abuse cases alleged to have taken place decades ago in the diocese of Ballarat; and the announcement of a Plenary Council for Australia set for 2020—the first since 1937.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Numbers of Catholics stable as more than half of British public now have ‘no religion’
“More than half of the British public now describe themselves as having no religion(link is external), a new survey has found. The decline in religious affiliation has hit the Church of England particularly hard with the number of Anglicans falling by 50 per cent in under two decades, the British Social Attitudes survey, released on 4 September, revealed. By contrast the number of Catholics — at around 10 per cent — has remained relatively stable over the same time period. The number of people saying they have no religion (53 per cent) is at its highest ever level, up from 48 per cent in 2015, the National Centre for Social Research found in their social attitudes survey of 2,942 people.” By Rose Gamble, The Tablet

VATICAN

Vatican fails to submit report to U.N.
“As sexual assault cases against the Archdiocese of Agana continue to increase, it appears that the Vatican has found itself in trouble with the United Nations(link is external). Three years ago, the Vatican was called to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which begged the Vatican to take concrete steps to remedy decades of institutional complicity and cover-up of widespread sexual violence. September 1, 2017, marked the deadline for the Vatican to submit a comprehensive report on their progress, but the Vatican did not submit the report.” By Jolene Toves, Pacific News First

MARRIED PRIESTS

Petitioners to Rockville Centre bishop: Ordain married men
“Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese wrote in March that Pope Francis was ready to reconsider obligatory priestly celibacy(link is external). Reese wrote the pope was only waiting to be asked by bishops. ‘If the people of God want married priests, they need to let their bishops know. The pope is waiting for the bishops to ask,’ wrote Reese. NCR reader James Stubenrauch took up Reese’s challenge. And he brought along 52 other friends who reside with him at Dominican Village, a retirement community on the grounds of the Dominican Sisters Motherhouse here on Long Island.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Editorial: Fling open door for women
“Though the church exhibits ‘a keen awareness of the extent to which women have been victims of injustice, violence and oppression,’ she (Tina Beattie, British theologian) said, the Vatican has increasingly found itself in opposition(link is external) to international and local movements calling for greater rights for women and children. The reason for this, of course, is the official church’s inability to move away from the traditional teaching on the distinctions between male and female that has formed Catholic theology over centuries.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic church in Gardner under investigation for alleged financial wrongdoing
“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is investigating alleged financial improprieties at a parish in the Johnson County(link is external) town of Gardner, officials announced Sunday (Sept. 10). A statement was read during Masses this weekend at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Gardner, where the alleged incident occurred, said Anita McSorley, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.” By Phil Anderson, Topeka Capital-Journal

If trial’s a test of accountability, what grade will the Vatican get?
“As the latest Vatican criminal trial, in this case for financial misappropriation(link is external), opens on Thursday (Sept. 7), many observers are still wondering how two laymen can be charged with illicitly spending roughly $500,000 from a pediatric hospital’s funds to remodel a cardinal’s Vatican apartment, but that cardinal isn’t facing any charges at all. If this is a test of accountability, in other words, what grade will the Vatican get?” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Retired Canton priest accused of stealing church wine, money from collection plate
“The Rev. Eugene Katcher, former pastor of Resurrection Parish in Canton, has been charged with three counts of larceny(link is external) after authorities say he stole money from the collection plate and from the donations parishioners gave to light votive prayer candles. He is also accused of stealing property, including church wine.” By Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
“What Australian researchers say about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external) worldwide: it has always been an issue; can be traced back to New Testament times in the first century; is a global phenomenon within the Catholic Church; To attribute it solely to a series of personal failings of individual priests and religious insinuating they were just a few ‘rotten apples’ is simply not credible; young and vulnerable Catholic children, especially boys, were in danger and at risk in the presence of psychosexually immature, psychosexually maldeveloped and sexually deprived and deeply frustrated male priests and male religious, particularly those who had not satisfactorily resolved their own sexual identity.” By Australian Associated Press on 9news.com.au

Government cuts redress payout proposals in half
“The child abuse redress scheme proposed by the Turnbull government will provide a minimum compensation payment half the size recommended by the royal commission(link is external), The Australian reports. Confidential draft legislation reveals compensation payments of between $5000 and $150,000 — both below commission recommendations — as Canberra attempts to woo the states, territories and abuse institutions to opt into a $4 billion national scheme. The draft bill has been circulated to the states, and insiders believe the government will set a low bar for proving claims as part of the drive to prevent re-traumatizing victims, of whom an estimated 60,000 will seek redress over the next decade.” By CathNews.com

Sorry, Father, but the jig is up
“Until I read his piece in today’s (Sept. 4) edition of this newspaper, I had never heard of Father Brian McCoy. He takes me to task for either exaggerating or inventing claims of child abuse in Balgo(link is external). Violence of all kinds at Balgo was obvious in Balgo and the good Father must have missed it all. I do have people who knew what we were told about child sexual abuse when we visited.” Commentary by Graham Richardson in The Australian

Faith reclaimed: how survivors of clergy abuse return to the church
“Though individuals abused by clergy(link is external) regularly flee the church for good, others, like (Patsy) Seeley, eventually make a painful and circuitous journey back, finding the homecoming a transformative piece of their healing and a source of sustenance, peace and strength.” By Katie Scott, Catholic Sentinel

‘Shame keeps so many victims silent’: MN clergy abuse victim speaks out
“(Joe) McLean is one of hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse who have made clergy abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis(link is external) in the past few years, forcing it into bankruptcy court. A Minneapolis bankruptcy court judge will hear arguments Tuesday (Aug. 28) over competing plans to move the organization back to financial stability. As the courtroom wrangling continues, McLean said he wanted to make his story public. It only happened once, but McLean said (Rev. Mike) Charland’s abuse and betrayal made him feel tainted, less worthy than others, and isolated. It contributed to his depression and alcoholism.” By Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

CALIFORNIA

A decade after settling sex abuse cases the diocese of San Diego still copes with the fallout
“Whenever Heidi Lynch thinks about priests molesting children, she shudders with memories of her own abuse(link is external) and worries whether the Catholic Church is doing all it can to protect potential victims. ‘Are they really taking care of the children?’ asked Lynch, a 60-year-old San Carlos resident, who between the ages of 8 and 11 was repeatedly raped by a priest. ‘Are they really taking care of the abusers? Are they still hiding this?’ Ten years ago this week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego agreed to pay $198.1 million to settle the lawsuits filed by Lynch and 143 other adults.” By Peter Rowe, Los Angeles Times

ILLINOIS

Judge to decide if ex-priest who molested boys can be committed indefinitely
“The accusations against ‘Father Dan’ were seemingly endless. Court records show more than two dozen boys and young men have alleged Daniel McCormack molested them in their youth(link is external), most notably at St. Agatha Parish on Chicago’s Southwest Side, where the young Roman Catholic priest coached basketball, taught algebra and delivered eloquent sermons … Now, almost eight years after McCormack completed his prison term, Illinois prosecutors want him declared a sexually violent person …” By Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese bankruptcy plans face off in court
“Before an overflow crowd of clergy abuse survivors(link is external), a federal bankruptcy judge heard arguments Tuesday (Aug. 29) for two competing compensation plans to settle abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. U.S. Judge Robert Kressel heard from more than 20 attorneys about the plans, which aim to put an end to more than two years of legal wrangling. The plan by the committee representing abuse survivors, calling for tougher settlements with insurance companies and far greater contributions from the archdiocese, faced objections from the archdiocese, parishes and insurance companies for being too far reaching and essentially ‘liquidating’ the archdiocese.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Archdiocese of Santa Fe releases names of accused priests
“Following years of criticism, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has released the names of 74 priests and religious leaders who were accused or later found guilty of sexually abusing children(link is external) by state or church authorities. Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester announced the release of the names Tuesday (Sept. 12) in a letter to parishioners after decades of pressure from victims and their family members who wanted a complete list.” By Russell Contreras, Associated Press, on Religion News Service

Judge rules good cause to open files on three ex-priests accused of child sexual abuse
“A state district judge said Friday (Sept. 1) there is good cause to open sealed records on three former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children(link is external) across New Mexico. Judge Alan Malott said he will review three binders filled with years-old documents from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, including parts of depositions and personnel files, to decide which records will be released to the public for the first time.” By Andrew Oxford, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Disgraced ex-priest accused of sexually abusing teen in Saratoga County
“A disgraced former priest convicted in 2003 of sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy(link is external)on Long Island is facing new allegations in Saratoga County of sodomy, sexual abuse and using a child in a sexual performance. Michael Hands, 51, who was previously sentenced to two years in jail, also cooperated with investigators at the time in a probe of sexual abuse within the church because he too was a victim.” By Robert Gavin, Albany Times Union

Ex-priest Francis Stinner dies, but sex abuse controversy lives on
“Francis Stinner, a defrocked priest with ties to Somers, Bronxville, Chappaqua and Goshen, died earlier this month at the age of 76. But the sexual abuse controversy that has long surrounded him(link is external) did not die with him. At least three new claims of sexual abuse have been filed against the former Catholic priest and teacher through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program or IRCP, a special compensation program set up by the Archdiocese of New York.” By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, lohud.com

OREGON

Fairfield priest in prison for child sexual abuse loses his chance to appeal
“A Catholic priest lost his attempt to appeal a 2013 conviction for taking a 10-year-old Price Hill boy across state lines and allegedly raping him(link is external). Robert ‘Father Bob’ Poandl, 76, is in prison after a jury in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati convicted him of taking an altar boy, David Harper, on a trip to serve Mass at a church in West Virginia and raping him in a rectory bedroom there in 1991.” By Paula Christian, WCPO-TV

PENNSYLVANIA

No charges against accused Catholic priest
“An investigation into sexual misconduct by a Catholic priest(link is external) in the Diocese of Scranton is closed after state police say the alleged victim refused to testify. The person came forward in April of 2016 accusing Fr. Martin Boylan of abuse when the alleged victim was just a child. Fr. Boylan was serving as pastor of St. Patrick’s parish in Scranton when those accusations were made. No charges were filed against Fr. Boylan.” By WNEP-TV

AUSTRALIA

Ex-Catholic priest Adrian Van Klooster jailed over child sex abuse drawings
“A retired Catholic priest, with a past history of sex abuse against children(link is external), has been jailed for a year after disturbing illustrations of children being abused by adults and other children were found on a CD at his home. Adrian Van Klooster, 75, was already a reportable sex offender and on the national pedophile register after being jailed for eight years in 2003 for the abuse of a group of children who were staying overnight at his parish house in Australind.” By Tim Clarke, The West Australian

Sexual abuse victim re-traumatized by Catholic Church compensation process
“A Victorian woman who was sexually abused as a teenager(link is external) says the process of getting compensation from the Catholic church was ‘unnecessarily agonizing’ and sent her to ‘an absolute state of unwellness.’ The woman’s revelation adds weight to calls for an independent redress scheme, the final framework of which is expected to be released in the coming weeks, following a proposal put forward by the federal government last year.” By Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian

Victims demand plaque depicting sex offender be removed from St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral
“The plaque on the external wall of the cathedral honors former Archbishop Sir Guilford Young and depicts the late Monsignor Philip Green. In 2004 Green pleaded guilty to assaulting a former altar boy(link is external) and was given a three-month suspended jail term. Julian Punch, a prominent former Hobart priest, also claimed he was sexually assaulted by the former Monsignor.” By Stephen Pigram, ABC News Australia

Liturgy launches Safeguarding Month
“The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay is dedicating the month of September 2017 to Safeguarding, with the theme Compassion and Commitment. The month was officially launched with a Liturgy held at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral Waitara on Thursday 31 August. Led by Most Rev Peter A. Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay, the gathering came together to pray in solidarity for those affected by abuse(link is external).” By Diocese of Broken Bay

Vatican’s safeguarding expert visits Australia
“One of the Church’s front-line fighters against child sexual abuse(link is external), German Jesuit Fr Hans Zollner, is in Australia this week (Sept. 5) to share his experience and promote safeguarding efforts, reports The Catholic Leader. With a reputation as a reformer, Pope Francis named Fr Zollner a founding member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014. Fr Zollner is president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By CathNews.com

Australia’s worst ever pedophile priest to die in prison
“Australia’s worst paedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale will likely die in prison with another three years added to his sentence. The 83-year-old will spend a total of almost 33 years in jail in total for his unprecedented child sex crimes over three decades(link is external).” By Australia Associated Press and Nic White, Daily Mail Australia

Bunbury victim seeks justice for alleged child sex abuse by Catholic priest
Twenty years after Alan Rowe first approached the Catholic Church seeking an apology for alleged sexual abuse by a priest(link is external) in Bunbury, he is set to file writs against the Catholic Diocese of Bunbury in the New South Wales Supreme Court. Mr Rowe was an altar boy at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He claims Father Kevin Johnston, one of the parish priests, abused him on about 12 separate occasions.” By Andrew Elstermann, WAToday

GUAM

Lawsuit: priest influenced altar boy to watch others being sexually abused
“Father Louis Brouillard sexually abused an altar boy(link is external) and influenced him to watch other boys being abused, a lawsuit filed late last month in the Superior Court of Guam states. The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as R.C. in order to protect his privacy, was sexually abused by Brouillard on church grounds and at Boy Scouts outings during the time he was an altar boy for the Barrigada and Tumon parishes and a boy scout with Troop 13, the lawsuit states.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Clergy sex abuse suit withdrawn
“A clergy sex abuse lawsuit accusing a now-deceased priest(link is external), filed earlier this week (Aug. 31) in federal court, has been voluntarily withdrawn. Through attorney David Lujan, accuser ‘A.J.A.’ on Aug. 31 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of his lawsuit, which he originally filed Aug. 28. The plaintiff, now 61 and now living in Las Vegas, is identified in court documents only as A.J.A. to protect his privacy.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

16th priest accused in sex abuse suit
“Another Catholic clergy member on Guam has been accused of child sexual abuse(link is external), according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday (Sept. 5). Father Louis William Rink, who is now deceased, was sued by a former altar boy identified in documents only as R.R.C. to protect his privacy. The lawsuit accuses Rink of abusing the boy, who was 10, in Dededo in the 1980s. Rink is the 16th Guam clergy member accused in court of child sexual abuse.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Apuron’s attorney says claims against her client are time-barred
“As sex abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Agana(link is external) continue to be filed, Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s attorney Jacque Terlaje argues a motion to dismiss the four sexual abuse cases against her client saying that the claims are time-barred. Terlaje argued her client’s motion to dismiss on two grounds. ‘We have asked the court to dismiss the complaint involving the four Archbishop Anthony cases and that is simply because the plain statutory reading of the statue, that it did not apply to old cases such as the one Archbishop Anthony is involved in,’ stated Terlaje.” By Jolene Toves, Pacific News Center

INDIA

Indian priest charged with molesting student, bishop cries harassment
“A Catholic priest who is the principal of a school has been charged by police for molesting a girl student(link is external) in a central India state but bishops there say this is part of ongoing harassment against Christians. Police in Madhya Pradesh state Sept. 1 filed criminal charges against 40-year-old Father Sebastian Panthalluparambil, principal of the church-run Jyoti Senior Secondary School in Rewa, under Satna Diocese. The 17-year-old girl who made the complaint said two of them went to their principal’s office to seek his permission to organize a farewell program for a retiring teacher. The permission was denied and the principal ‘inappropriately touched’ her body, a police official told ucanews.com quoting the complaint.” By Saji Thomas, UCANews.com

PHILIPPINES

‘Forgive them Father for they have sinned’
“The Department of Justice has filed a case against Monsignor Arnel Lagajeros of the Diocese of Antipolo for molesting a minor(link is external). Lagajeros, 55, was caught in an entrapment operation while inside his gray Ford explorer at the parking area of Blue Wave Mall along Sumulong Hi-way in Barangay Sto. Nino, Marikina City, where he and the minor were supposed to meet. Lagajeros was not the first local prelate in the Catholic Church accused of sexual harassment or misconduct.” By The Manila Times

SICILY

Unpacking the ‘strong powers’ insulating lay group charged with abuse
“The leader of a lay Catholic group in Sicily, arrested for allegedly abusing six underage girls(link is external), was able to create a system of connections and relationships with high ranking members of the judiciary and political system, which kept himself and the group immune from government and ecclesiastical oversight.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

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Vatican diplomat to the U.S. recalled amid child pornography investigation / America: The Jesuit Review

“In declining to identify the priest, the Vatican said the case was subject to ‘investigative confidentiality,’ as ‘applicable to all preliminary inquiries according to the laws of the Vatican City State.'” (America: The Jesuit Review)

A Vatican priest working in the Holy See’s embassy in Washington has been recalled after U.S. officials flagged possible violations of child pornography laws, the Vatican said on Sept. 15.

“In a statement issued to the media, the Vatican press office revealed that the U.S. State Department had notified the Vatican on Aug. 21 ‘of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington.’

“The Italian news agency ANSA has named the Vatican diplomat as Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, 50, who was sent to the nunciature in Washington less than a year ago. A New York Times story confirmed the report.

“The Vatican has not identified the diplomat, but said Friday (Sept. 15 he was currently in Vatican City and that its promoter of justice, an office equivalent to a prosecutor or investigating judge, has opened an investigation into possible violation of U.S. laws relating to child pornography.

“Subsequently, it said, ‘the Promoter of Justice opened an investigation and has already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case.’ In other words, the Vatican and the U.S. authorities are collaborating on this case.”

By Gerard O’Connell, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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‘Magnum Principium’ is the latest event in the ‘liturgy wars’ / National Catholic Reporter

“It was probably not until the very late 1980s and early 1990s, however, the bubbling controversy in liturgical matters came to a boiling point.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis’ Sept. 9 announcement that he was decentralizing the Vatican’s authority over translations of liturgical texts, turning that duty back over to local bishops, created quite a buzz in Catholic circles because, for some, it capped a story that spans more than 50 years. It is the story of the ‘liturgy wars.’

“Consternation over the liturgy has roiled through the Catholic community since sweeping reforms were introduced by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) — although truth be told, many of the changes that came in the 1960s rose out of liturgical reform movements in the 1940s and ’50s.

“It was probably not until the very late 1980s and early 1990s, however, the bubbling controversy in liturgical matters came to a boiling point.

“If one wants to point to a time and event when controversy turned to conflict and the tagline ‘liturgy wars’ could be applied to what was happening, a secret meeting in the Vatican in 1997 might be that point and time.”

By James Dearie and Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter (story contains links to others in NCR series on the Magnum Principium) — Read more …

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Catholic sexual abuse partly caused by secrecy and mandatory celibacy, report finds / The Guardian

“The patriarchal nature of Catholic institutions meant that abuse went unchallenged and, while a small number of nuns were abusers, the report found the risk of offending was much higher in institutions where priests and religious brothers had minimal contact with women. The report estimated about 7% of clergy had abused children between about 1950 and 2000.” (The Guardian)

Mandatory celibacy and a culture of secrecy created by popes and bishops are major factors in why such high rates of child abuse have occurred in the Catholic church, a comprehensive study has found.

“The report, which looked at the findings of 26 royal commissions and other inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands since 1985, found that while the endangerment of children in institutions has been considerably lowered in Australia, children remained at risk in Catholic parishes and schools and Catholic residential institutions in other countries across the world, especially in the developing world where there are more than 9,000 Catholic-run orphanages, including 2,600 in India.

“The patriarchal nature of Catholic institutions meant that abuse went unchallenged and, while a small number of nuns were abusers, the report found the risk of offending was much higher in institutions where priests and religious brothers had minimal contact with women. The report estimated about 7% of clergy had abused children between about 1950 and 2000.”

By Melissa Davey, The Guardian — Read more …

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