Archive for category Vatican

More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse / The Washington Post

The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston. (The Washington Post)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing more than 300 accused clergy and detailing a ‘systematic’ coverup effort by church leaders over 70 years.

“State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but the grand jury believes there are more.

“The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.

“Shapiro said that the report details a ‘systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.'”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …

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Cardinal Wuerl proposes national panel to investigate allegations against bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“We’re at a moment where the shock, because it involves a bishop, impels us now to do at the level of the episcopate what we did so successfully at the level of the priesthood,” the cardinal said in the interview. (National Catholic Reporter)

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has proposed that the national conference of U.S. Catholic bishops create a new high-level panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops.

“In an NCR interview focused on how the American church should address the wider systemic questions raised by the revelations of sexual abuse by his predecessor, now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Wuerl also suggested that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel’s findings.

“Although Wuerl said he had not personally been aware of rumors about McCarrick’s alleged abuse of young men during the former cardinal’s time as a priest and bishop, he acknowledged that others have now brought forward earlier existence of such rumors.

“‘If there were [rumors], and if people heard them, there needs to be some mechanism by which there can be at least an evaluation and review of them,’ said Wuerl, speaking in a phone conversation.

“‘I think it’s very important that we … as bishops enter into that world and say, ‘If there is an accumulation of rumors, ought not something be said?” the cardinal continued.”

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

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As Catholic clergy abuse scandal intensifies, Voice of the Faithful welcomes increased accountability and transparency

BOSTON, Mass., Jul. 30, 2018 – As the Catholic clergy abuse scandal reaches a new level of intensity, particularly with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s (credibly accused) and Archbishop Philip Wilson’s (convicted) resignations, Voice of the Faithful, an organization of Catholics advocating for broader influence for lay voices in the Church, welcomes not only these actions, but also what they and other recent events mean for accountability and transparency in the future.

These two events follow a period that included in only a few months:

  • Pope Francis’ removal of three Chilean bishops, allegations of cover-up being brought against two Chilean cardinals and an archbishop and an investigation of the entire Chilean Church;
  • sentencing of a former Vatican diplomat to five years in prison for possession and distribution of child pornography;
  • removal from office of the archbishop of Guam following “certain accusations” of abuse;
  • a cardinal in Australia standing trial for covering up abuse;
  • the Archdiocese of Mexico City partnering with the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests on child protection efforts;
  • some Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis parishes helping to pay settlements to clergy abuse survivors; and
  • the pending release by mid-August of a grand jury investigation of abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

A critical mass seems to have been reached whereby the horror of the abuse has reached the hierarchy with increased accountability, while additional investigations and survivors’ stories are increasingly shining light into formerly secret abuse. The potential for a new level of transparency going forward is promising.

Voice of the Faithful and all who work for the Church can only hope.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, July 30, 2018
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.

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Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Scandal / The New York Times

Cardinal McCarrick appears to be the first cardinal in history to step down from the College of Cardinals because of sexual abuse allegations.  (The New York Times)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, from the College of Cardinals, ordering him to a ‘life of prayer and penance’ after allegations that the cardinal sexually abused minors and adult seminarians over the course of decades, the Vatican announced on Saturday (Jul. 28).

“Acting swiftly to contain a widening sex abuse scandal at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope officially suspended the cardinal from the exercise of any public ministry after receiving his resignation letter Friday (Jul. 27) evening. Pope Francis also demanded in a statement that the prelate remain in seclusion “\’until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.’

“Cardinal McCarrick appears to be the first cardinal in history to step down from the College of Cardinals because of sexual abuse allegations. While he remains a priest pending the outcome of a Vatican trial, he has been stripped of his highest honor and will no longer be called upon to advise the pope and travel on his behalf.”

By Elisabetta Povoledo and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times — Read more …

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Change the clerical culture / Commonweal

Why is predatory behavior by priests permitted?


“The problem is with those bishops, and others with influence in the church, who at best are asleep at the wheel and at worst willing to excuse predatory behavior … More important is changing a clerical culture that prizes secrecy and loyalty over truth and transparency.” (Commonweal) (Also see Voice of the Faithful’s study of the 2010 John Jay College clergy abuse report for its discussion of clericalism)

Emerging details about the scope and duration of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexually abusive behavior once more underscore the fact that an institutional sickness afflicts the Catholic Church. A predator priest can ascend to princely rank only if the clerical culture around him enables those who are complicit by their silence and failure to act.

“The behavior of “Uncle Ted,” as the cardinal insisted he be called by his preferred victims, was something of an open secret at elite levels of the church. As the New YorkTimes noted, multiple reports about McCarrick’s sexual encounters with seminary students were made between 1994 and 2008—to American bishops, to the pope’s representative in Washington, and even to Pope Benedict XVI. Two dioceses secretly made settlement payments to alleged victims. This didn’t slow a swift rise: McCarrick became a global ambassador dispatched to conflict zones, a prolific fundraiser, and the honoree of numerous Catholic institutions eager to present him with awards. He even played a prominent role as a spokesperson for the church’s “zero-tolerance” policy on sexual abuse.”

By John Gehring, Commonweal — Read more …

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Top cardinal demands Vatican get tough with bishops on sex abuse / Reuters

(Cardinal Sean) O’Malley said he was “deeply troubled” by the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and that it and others “raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse.” (Reuters)

A leading Roman Catholic cardinal and key adviser to Pope Francis called on Tuesday for the Vatican to ‘swiftly and decisively’ adopt strict policies for cases of sexual abuse involving bishops and top clergy.

“Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston issued the appeal with the Church in the United States still reeling from allegations that another cardinal was involved in abuse of minors and sexual improprieties with adult seminarians years ago.

“O’Malley said he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and that it and others ‘raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse.’

“His forceful statement also comes as the Vatican has been hit by a major scandal that has engulfed the Church in Chile.

“Last month, the Vatican ordered McCarrick, 88, the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., to cease public ministry after finding that allegations he sexually abused a teenager almost 50 years ago were credible.”

By Philip Pullella, Reuters — Read more …

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Vatican Expert: to fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women / America: The Jesuit Review

“We need the voice of women here,” Father Zollner said, because women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today ‘there is much more awareness about the issue,’ the church has to invest more resources and include more women, especially in places where the church is growing fastest.

“‘What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,’ Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday (Jul. 19). He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as ‘one topic among others’ and have not grasped that ‘this has to be a priority for the church.’

“Father Zollner, a psychologist by training, launched the child protection initiative in 2012 in Germany and he moved to Rome in 2015 when Pope Francis requested that the center’s resources be used in the global church. He was then appointed to the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, and he is a consultor for the Vatican office that deals with clergy …

“‘We need the voice of women here,’ Father Zollner said, because women often ‘bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.'”

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

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