Archive for category Pope Francis

#MeToo, earlier scandals mean pending sex abuse report can’t be ‘a small problem’ / PennLive.com

“I think we’ve come to the point where the church realizes this cannot go on,” said Nick Ingala, spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, a worldwide movement of Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse and the integrity of the church and its clergy. (PennLive.com)

In the mid-2000s, when then-Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she was assailed for waging a campaign against the Roman Catholic Church.

“It was a virtual repeat of what had played out just a few years prior in 2002 in Boston. That year, officials at the Archdiocese of Boston accused The Boston Globe of mounting an anti-Catholic agenda after the paper published a series of scathing reports detailing decades of molestation of thousands of children by priests and its systemic cover up by church officials.

“At times, both in Philadelphia and Boston, Catholics rallied behind the church and defended their faith as legions came to terms with revelations of the assaults.

“Nearly a decade later, a pending grand jury investigation report into clergy sex abuse allegations and cover-up across six dioceses in Pennsylvania stands against a markedly changed landscape.

“In the intervening years, the 1.2 billion-strong church has been rocked by a string of equally scathing reports of child sex abuse, which regardless of their origins – archdioceses in Europe, Australia and Latin America – have at times implicated the Vatican.”

By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com — Read more …

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Pope removes Chile bishop accused of abuse cover up / Cruxnow.com

The removals come ahead of a pastoral visit by two papal investigators to Osorno to “advance the process of reparation and healing.” (Cruxnow.com)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial Chilean bishop accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse, making it the first such accepted resignation since all the country’s bishops offered to step down in May.

“The pontiff had appointed Bishop Juan Barros to the southern diocese of Osorno in 2015, causing uproar both among the locals and the victims of the country’s most infamous pedophile priest.

“The Vatican announced Francis’s decision on Monday, and said Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, an auxiliary bishop from the capital Santiago, would serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

“Two other bishops also had their resignations accepted: Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso.

“Barros was only 61; the other two bishops were 75, the mandatory retirement age for bishops in the Church.

“The removals come ahead of a pastoral visit by two papal investigators to Osorno to ‘advance the process of reparation and healing.'”

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

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Francis should seize momentum of Chile resignations / National Catholic Reporter

The shock of these mass resignations creates an opportunity and momentum that Francis should seize upon to implement the tribunal he proposed three years ago. No more delays. He should act now. (National Catholic Reporter)

Recent weeks have seen several milestone events in the Catholic Church’s decades-long struggle to come to terms with the scandal of clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up by the hierarchy. The headline event was the mass resignation of the Chilean episcopate May 18. While at press time Pope Francis had not yet formally accepted any of the resignations and the full implications of the resignations are still being sorted out, the significance of the event cannot be in doubt.

The contrast between the meeting of Chile’s bishops and Francis in mid-May and Francis’ encounter with journalists in late January could not be starker. In January, Francis twice, very publicly, dismissed the testimony of abuse survivors. He accused them of ‘calumny’ against bishops they accused of ignoring reports of abuse and covering up for abusing clergy.

Within days of making those statements, however, Francis had appointed Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to investigate the situation in Chile. By April, Francis had received a 2,300-page report, and in an extraordinary public letter, the pope admitted — confessed may be a more appropriate word — making “grave errors” in judgment about Chile’s sex abuse scandal. He invited the survivors he had disparaged to Rome to beg their forgiveness and he summoned the bishops to discuss repairing the damage from the scandal.

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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The Pope opens his eyes to abuse / The New York Times

It is not yet clear how Pope Francis will handle the mass resignations by the Chilean bishops, as accepting them all would leave the church there leaderless. More important is what he will do to repair the profound damage done to the Catholic Church worldwide by pedophile priests and their enablers. (The New York Times)

The abuse of minors by pedophile priests has been among the most painful sagas of our time, the horror compounded by the knowledge that hierarchs could have stopped the predators if only they had not chosen, for so long, to cover up their actions. Now, at long last, Pope Francis seems to have glimpsed the depth of the global crisis.

“The catalyst was a scandal in Chile, one of Latin America’s most staunchly Catholic countries, where for years the church establishment failed to act on multiple complaints of sexual abuse against an influential priest, Fernando Karadima. On a trip to Chile in January, the pope condemned Father Karadima’s actions but then refused to meet with his victims and dismissed allegations of inaction by bishops as ‘slander.’

“In the outrage that followed, the pope appointed two investigators who produced a damning report confirming systematic efforts by the Chilean Catholic hierarchy to conceal clerical sexual abuse. That led to an apology by Pope Francis for the ‘grave errors’ in Chile and an emergency meeting last week with Chile’s bishops at which all 34 submitted their resignationsand asked forgiveness for the ‘pain they caused the victims, the pope, the people of God and our country …’

“It is not yet clear how Pope Francis will handle the mass resignations by the Chilean bishops, as accepting them all would leave the church there leaderless. More important is what he will do to repair the profound damage done to the Catholic Church worldwide by pedophile priests and their enablers.”

By The New York Times Editorial Board — Read more …

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Francis admits ‘serious mistakes’ in handling of Chile abuse cases / National Catholic Reporter

“I have made serious mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information,” Francis says in the letter. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has admitted making ‘serious mistakes’ in his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases in Chile, telling the country’s bishops in a lengthy letter that he feels ‘pain and shame’ for the ‘crucified lives’ of those who suffered abuse.

“But Francis has not revealed whether he will sack a Chilean prelate accused of covering up abuse, whom he has previously defended to the outrage of abuse survivors. Instead, Francis has asked the country’s bishops to come to Rome en masse for a meeting at some point soon.

“In a letter released late April 11, Francis is reporting to the bishops about the mission of Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, whom the pope sent to Chile in February to interview abuse victims and look into the case of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

“‘I have made serious mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information,’ Francis says in the letter.

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

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Vatican sentences Guam archbishop accused of abuse to removal from office, exile / National Catholic Reporter

(Guam Archbishop Anthony) Apuron, a Guam native who had led the island’s only diocese since 1986, was placed on leave by Pope Francis in June 2016 after a series of accusations about abuse of young men in the 1960s and 70s were made public. (National Catholic Reporter)

A Vatican tribunal has found Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who had been accused of sexually abusing young men decades ago, ‘guilty of certain of the accusations,’ imposing a penalty of removal from office and a prohibition from living on the U.S. island territory.

“A five-judge apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced its verdict in Apuron’s canonical case March 16 with a brief press release. The release did not specify of which exact acts the archbishop had been found guilty.

“‘The canonical trial in the matter of accusations, including accusations of sexual abuse of minors … has been concluded,’ states the release. ‘The Apostolic Tribunal … has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.’

“Apuron, a Guam native who had led the island’s only diocese since 1986, was placed on leave by Pope Francis in June 2016 after a series of accusations about abuse of young men in the 1960s and 70s were made public.

“Francis named an apostolic administrator to run the archdiocese for several months and then named Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes, a former auxiliary bishop of Detroit, to take over.”

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

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Over five years, Pope produces major shift in church culture / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

Francis’ first five years have been an introduction to a new kind of pope, one who prizes straight talk over theology, and mercy over moral discussion — all for the sake of making the church a more welcoming place for those who have felt excluded. (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)

Whenever Pope Francis visits prisons, during his whirlwind trips to the world’s peripheries or at a nearby jailhouse in Rome, he always tells inmates that he, too, could have ended up behind bars: ‘Why you and not me?’ he asks.

“That humble empathy and the ease with which he walks in others’ shoes has won Francis admirers around the globe and confirmed his place as a consummate champion of the poor and disenfranchised.

“As he marks the fifth anniversary of his election Tuesday Mar. 13), Francis still faces criticism for both the merciful causes he has embraced and the ones he has neglected.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe — Read more …

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