Archive for category Vatican

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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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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Australian Catholic Church falls short on safeguards for children, study finds / The New York Times

In nearly 400 pages, the report traces the history of child sexual abuse in the global church and tries to identify factors that have contributed to it, with a particular focus on Australia. (The New York Times)

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 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.

“Experts said the report could put pressure on Pope Francis, and particularly the church in Australia, to do more to prevent abuse. The Australian church was rocked in June when Cardinal George Pell, an Australian who is one of the pope’s top advisers, became the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses.

“Desmond Cahill, the report’s lead author, said its findings pointed to an urgent need to rethink the priesthood in the 21st century. He said the church should reconsider the celibacy requirement for priests.”

By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times — Read more …

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Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“A comparison of the Italian text of the prior and new versions of the canon makes the change clear. Where the Italian says the Vatican was tasked before with ‘authorizing’ all liturgical translations, it is now asked simply to ‘review”‘ translations made by the bishops’ conferences. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church’s liturgies are translated 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.

“A comparison of the Italian text of the prior and new versions of the canon makes the change clear. Where the Italian says the Vatican was tasked before with ‘authorizing’ all liturgical translations, it is now asked simply to ‘review’ translations made by the bishops’ conferences.”

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

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Seeking a path from Pell to a Plenary Council / Commonweal

“The hearings have laid bare the cultural factors that enabled the (clergy abuse) scandal to be so badly managed,” he (Francis Sullivan, head of the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council) told me. “They can be summarized as issues of power, privilege, and participation. Who controlled decision-making, who was involved in decision-making, and who benefited from the decisions taken. The lack of transparency and the entitlement attitudes that underpin clericalism were given a lot of ventilation.” (Commonweal)

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: 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.

“The three issues are interwoven. The Pell case frightens the institutional church for the ripple effects the trial might have on other investigations into clergy sexual abuse. It complicates the creative response of the Australian episcopate to the scandal: the creation of the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council launched shortly after the establishment of the Royal Commission and headed by Francis Sullivan, a lay Catholic who for fourteen years was chief executive of Catholic Health Australia. After the expected publication of the Royal Commission’s report at the end of this year, the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council will publish its own report. It will be interesting to see how the episcopate receives it. Created by the bishops, the council has nonetheless maintained an independent attitude; for example, it has refused the request of some bishops to cross-examine witnesses heard by the Royal Commission.

“Sullivan gave me his assessment of the impact of the Royal Commission hearings. ‘The hearings have laid bare the cultural factors that enabled the scandal to be so badly managed,’ he told me. ‘They can be summarized as issues of power, privilege, and participation. Who controlled decision-making, who was involved in decision-making, and who benefited from the decisions taken. The lack of transparency and the entitlement attitudes that underpin clericalism were given a lot of ventilation. This has opened public debate about the role of women, celibacy, seminary training, supervision of clerics, and the ethical use of church finances.’ The church, he added, has lost control of this public debate. ‘Its voice has been muted and compromised,’ he said. ‘Any semblance of a defensive tone is jumped on by critics and the majority of the leaders have been missing in action.'”

By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal — Read more …

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Editorial: Retain abuse survivors or risk irrelevancy / National Catholic Reporter

“To prevent irrelevancy, the commission must ensure that survivors have direct participation in its work and the commission itself needs a strong, public endorsement by Francis.” (National Catholic Reporter)

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. 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.

“Collins resigned because she felt Vatican bureaucracy was neglecting and stalling the work of the commission. The commission is understaffed, underfunded and not accepted by offices at the Vatican that should be working with it, Collins said. Her statements have been reinforced by fellow commission member Krysten Winter-Green in an interview with NCR.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more … — Read Voice of the Faithful’s statement, “Ineffectiveness of Papal Abuse Commission Provides Example of Need for Reform.”

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Papal abuse commission ineffectiveness provides perfect example of need for reform / Voice of the Faithful

Pope Francis’ Commission for the Protection of Minors is considering restructuring when present members’ terms expire next month, and survivors likely will not have a place at the table. They may comprise a separate advisory panel to the Commission.

Voice of the Faithful believes this is a mistake that would put survivors even farther out of the loop in helping to redress the clergy sexual abuse scandal and denigrate the importance of their counsel.

Of the two original survivor members of the Commission, Peter Saunders has been sidelined and Marie Collins resigned. The Commission’s ineffectiveness was a factor in both cases.

While recently citing some successes in educating Church leaders about the catastrophic results of child abuse, Commission member Krysten Winter-Green has said the Commission’s ineffectiveness stems in large part from insufficient resources and the slow and inefficient way the Vatican works, which echoes some of Collins’ comments upon her resignation.

Voice of the Faithful has worked long and hard to educate the laity to the need for reform of Church structures to better promote accountability, transparency, and broad and effective lay input into Church issues. There seems no more effective example of the need for reform than the inability of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to accomplish its goals with the Vatican bureaucratic cards stacked against it.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 23, 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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