Archive for August, 2018

It’s time to choose the painful path of purification / National Catholic Reporter

If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ. (National Catholic Reporter)

The Catholic community has arrived at a point in its history so seared by raw reality that we are all left with nothing to lean against or hide behind. Our leaders, drained of authority and credibility, can only follow as we move beyond overburdened expressions, beyond even the content of our normal prayers. We grasp for some new psalm of lamentation to fit this horrid moment and search for a new way to live as a Catholic community.

“The scandal of children sexually abused by priests whose acts were covered up by bishops has been in the public eye in gruesome detail for more than 30 years. The Pennsylvania grand jury report, for instance, was not the first nor was it worse in detail than others were. Why it should spark the public conscience and the outrage of Catholics as it has doesn’t matter. A new moment is upon us.

“The papacy of Francis, so promising of needed reform, stands at an inflection point. Either he handles this crisis with effective, wide-ranging and concrete actions, or his tenure will go down as a disappointing failure.

“Most important, the current moment must lead to a radical reform of Catholic clerical culture and the meaning of ordination itself. If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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National Review Board: change in church’s culture needed to end abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,” the National Review Board said. (National Catholic Reporter)

More committees are not the answer to stop the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, said an Aug. 28 statement by the National Review Board, which is charged with addressing clerical sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church.

“‘What needs to happen is a genuine change in the church’s culture, specifically among the bishops themselves,’ the board said. ‘This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur.

“‘Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,’ the NRB said. ‘The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Trust was betrayed for the victims/survivors of the abuse; the entire body of Christ was betrayed in turn by these crimes and the failure to act.’

“The purpose of the NRB, established in 2002 as part of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, is to work collaboratively with the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the church.”

By Mark Pattison, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Several takes on Archbishop Vigano’s letter accusing Pope Francis of a coverup

Over this past weekend, former U.S. papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano published a letter claiming that Pope Francis and other high-ranking officials in the Catholic Church had covered up, among other things, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse of seminarians and a homosexual “network” of clerics. News media quickly reported that key facts in Vigano’s letter were not accurate. We want to make sure you are aware of both sides of the story, so take advantage of the links below:

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Pope Francis long knew of cardinal’s abuse and must resign, archbishop says

Its (Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s letter) unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks amounted to an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis’ papacy … (The New York Times)

On the final day of Pope Francis’ mission to Ireland, as he issued wrenching apologies for clerical sex abuse scandals, a former top Vatican diplomat claimed in a letter published on Sunday (Aug. 25) that the pope himself had joined top Vatican officials in covering up the abuses and called for his resignation.

“The letter, a bombshell written by Carlo Maria Viganò, the former top Vatican diplomat in the United States and a staunch critic of the pope’s, seemed timed to do more than simply derail Francis’ uphill efforts to win back the Irish faithful, who have turned away from the church in large numbers.

“Its unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks amounted to an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis’ papacy at perhaps its most vulnerable moment, intended to unseat a pope whose predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.

“Archbishop Viganò claimed that the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and that Pope Francis knew about the abuses by the now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public. Yet, the letter contended, Francis did not punish the cardinal, but instead empowered him to help choose powerful American bishops.

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …

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Prominent Catholics see larger role for laity in church’s abuse response / Catholic news Service

“It’s heartening that finally after all these years, and we hope it’s more than just verbiage, that the very things that the bishops attacked us for saying, they’re saying it now,” she (Donna Doucette, Voice of the Faithful Executive Director) added. (Catholic News Service)

An independent lay-run board that would hold bishops accountable for their actions, a national day for Mass or prayers of reparation, and encouragement to parishioners to become more involved in their diocese are among steps suggested by prominent lay Catholics to right the U.S. church as it deals with a new clergy sexual abuse scandal.

“Those contacted by Catholic News Service said that it was time for laypeople to boost their profile within the church and help begin to dismantle long-standing clericalism that has sought to preserve the reputation of offending clergy at the expense of the safety of children.

”Their credibility is gone and the trust of the faithful is gone,’ Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, said of the U.S. bishops as they worked to develop steps to promote greater accountability on abuse …

Cesareo was not alone in calling for a separate body to be established to handle accusations of abuse involving bishops. While details varied, the basic premise envisions that such a board would review abuse allegations or complaints of improper handling of an abuse claim by any bishop.

Just such a body has been sought since 2002, when the abuse scandal arose in the Archdiocese of Boston, by the church reform group Voice of the Faithful, said Donna Doucette, executive director.

By Dennis Sadowsky, Catholic News Service — Read more …

 

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WHAT CAN YOU DO? Following horrific Pennsylvania report on Catholic clergy abuse …

You can do a lot!

With the present heightened scrutiny of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and coverup, we have been receiving many calls at the VOTF office asking us what can be done. No baptized Catholic need ever feel helpless in the face of this ongoing scandal that has wounded so deeply the entire body of Christ. Our brief advice is this:
  • Click here to visit VOTF’s website and look under the PROGRAMS menu button at the top of the homepage. You will find a wealth of information and activities there — everything from combating clericalism, to using Broken Vessel™ Healing circles to help heal those harmed by clergy abuse, to saying prayers to help you through this crisis. After all, we have been at this so long that even bishops now use words like accountability that we made popular.
  • Click here to register for Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise being held Oct. 6. In addition to hearing speakers and gathering with like-minded Catholics, you will be among the first to learn the findings of VOTF’s 2018 review of online diocesan financial transparency.
  • Click here to read “Ten Steps Toward Reforming the Catholic Church.”
  • Call us at (781) 559-3360 or email us at office@votf.org.
Finally, and always, “Keep the Faith, Change the Church.”

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What happened when a dad challenged his priest during Mass about the sex abuse crisis / America: The Jesuit Review

“There isn’t a whole lot you can do because lay people are not in positions of power in the church,” he said. “Basically you’re outsiders, and the only way you can influence is as an outsider.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

Susan Reynolds, a Catholic studies professor at Emory University, took to Twitter to describe something she witnessed during Mass on Sunday (Aug. 19) that she said was unlike anything she had ever seen before.

“In a series of tweets, Ms. Reynolds described an encounter between the pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church and a father at Mass with his young son, who is on the verge of making his first Communion.

“The priest, Mark Horak, S.J., had just delivered his homily, which was devoted to the news that 300 priests have been named in a grand jury report chronicling the sexual assault of more than 1,000 victims in Pennsylvania. Father Horak apologized to those feeling angry and let down by church leaders, and he lamented that lay people were not empowered to do more in the church.

In some ways, it was a call to action …

“‘There isn’t a whole lot you can do because lay people are not in positions of power in the church,’ he said. ‘Basically you’re outsiders, and the only way you can influence is as an outsider.'”

By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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