Archive for category Pope Francis

Feds open clergy abuse probe in Pennsylvania / Associated Press

“It’s groundbreaking if we’re going to see one of the U.S. attorneys pursuing the Catholic cases,” said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and chief executive of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank focused on preventing child abuse. “The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.” (Associated Press)

The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe.

“The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.

“Now federal prosecutors are bringing the Justice Department’s considerable resources to bear, according to two people who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

“‘It’s groundbreaking if we’re going to see one of the U.S. attorneys pursuing the Catholic cases,’ said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and chief executive of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank focused on preventing child abuse. ‘The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.'”

By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker, Associated Press — Read more …

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Pope expels two Chilean bishops from the priesthood over sex abuse / Cruxnow.com

To this day, many observers point to Sodano, who would become the Vatican’s Secretary of State during the final years of John Paul’s papacy, as the architect of the crisis that is rocking the Chilean Church. To date, seven bishops had their resignations accepted by the pope in recent months after the episcopacy resigned en masse. (Cruxnow.com)

“In an extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, move, Pope Francis on Saturday (Oct. 13) imposed what’s tantamount to the Church’s version of capital punishment on two retired Chilean bishops accused of sexual abuse of minors, expelling them from the priesthood.

“In the case of Archbishop Francisco Cox, it’s a day some of his earliest victims have been awaiting for more than 40 years.

“The pope also removed from the clerical state the bishop emeritus of Iquique, Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, who retired from his position in 2012 at the age of 47.”

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

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The Pope ignores the damage as anther prelate falls / The New York Times

… the pope reinforces the sense that he does not understand the extraordinary damage done by clerics who cruelly and shamelessly abused their power over trusting children and adults. (The New York Times)

In his letter on Friday accepting the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Catholic archbishop of Washington, Pope Francis praised the departing prelate for his ‘nobility’ in not trying to defend ‘mistakes’ in his handling of sexual-abuse allegations

“The pope misses the point.

“The archbishop may not be as culpable as other bishops who more systematically covered up sexual predation, and in at least one case he took action that was initially thwarted by the Vatican.

“But a devastatingly detailed grand jury report on widespread child sex abuse in Pennsylvania churches showed that Cardinal Wuerl, as bishop of Pittsburgh, was immersed in a clerical culture that hid pedophilic crimes behind euphemisms, conducted unprofessional investigations and evaluations of accused priests, kept acknowledged cases of sex abuse secret from parish communities and avoided reporting the abuse to police.”

By The New York Times Editorial Board — Read more …

 

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Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid abuse cover-up scandal / Associated Press via The Boston Globe

With the resignation, Wuerl becomes the most prominent head to roll in the scandal roiling the Catholic Church after his predecessor as Washington archbishop, Theodore McCarrick … (Associated Press via The Boston Globe)

Pope Francis accepted the resignation Friday (Oct. 12) of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals and lost the support of many in his flock.

“But in a letter released by Wuerl’s office, Francis praised his longtime ally and suggested Wuerl had unfairly become a scapegoat, having made some ‘mistakes’ in handling sex abuse cases, but not having covered them up.

“With the resignation, Wuerl becomes the most prominent head to roll in the scandal roiling the Catholic Church after his predecessor as Washington archbishop, Theodore McCarrick, was forced to resign as cardinal over allegations he sexually abused at least two minors and adult seminarians.

“A Vatican statement Friday said Francis had accepted Wuerl’s resignation, but named no replacement; in his letter, the pope asked him to stay on in a temporary capacity until a new archbishop is found.”

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

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Bishops’ plan to addrress abuse falls short on accountability / National Catholic Reporter

The U.S. church should invite a Vatican-appointed apostolic visitation team, assisted by competent lay experts, to review all documents at all levels of the church, to take testimony in parishes and chanceries, and to visit every seminary and formation house in the country. (National Catholic Reporter)

After a horrible summer of depressing news about how the church hierarchy has mishandled the sexual abuse crisis and misled the faithful willfully and through neglect, expectations were high for the action plan the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to deliver this fall. The four points outlined are, for the most part, good beginnings.

“Given the intensity of feelings on this subject, probably no plan could satisfy Catholics in pews, but even with that caveat, we had hoped the plan would be stronger and more specific than what was delivered.

“1. A confidential, third-party reporting system will be created to receive complaints of sexual misconduct and abuse by bishops toward minors or adults and “will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.”

“This appears to be a rather straightforward proposal, and it is especially important to include the requirement of reporting to civil authorities. Unclear, however, is “the appropriate ecclesiastical authority.” Who is that authority, and where is that office housed? The tribunal Pope Francis authorized in 2015 to hear such cases would fill this need, but it was never implemented …”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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The Catholic Church’s unholy stain / The New York Times

It is devouring the Roman church — erasing trust in its hierarchs, dismaying the faithful and blackening its image. (The New York Times)

Pope Francis has summoned senior bishops from around the world for the first global gathering of Roman Catholic leaders to address the crisis of clerical pedophilia. The action is long overdue, and the outcome cannot be yet more apologies and pledges of better behavior. The unending revelations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups demand radical, public, convincing systemic change.

“The latest barrage of revelations and developments — including a gut-wrenching report by a grand jury in Pennsylvania detailing seven decades of sexual abuse of at least 1,000 children, and probably thousands more, by more than 300 Catholic priests — has left no question that Pope Francis’ legacy will be decided by how he confronts this crisis. It is devouring the Roman church — erasing trust in its hierarchs, dismaying the faithful and blackening its image. To be meaningful, any further response must include openly addressing allegations that the pope was himself party to a cover-up.

“The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, met with the pope on Thursday to demand a full investigation into how the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, rose to high rank despite a long and apparently well-known history of sexual predation. As if to underscore the importance of the meeting, it coincided with an announcement that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of a bishop in West Virginia, Michael Bransfield, and ordered an investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed adults.”

By The New York Times Editorial Board — Read more …

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