Archive for category Vatican

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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Want to address priest sexual abuse? The Catholic Church needs to overhaul its seminaries / The Washington Post

Young men who feel called to priesthood, although well intentioned, often have enormous gaps in their prior formation and upbringing. (The Washington Post)

Although clergy sexual abuse scandals aren’t new, the ones that have rocked the Catholic Church this summer revolved around a group seldom focused on before: seminarians. The sexual harassment and abuse of seminarians, and the response of seminary leaders, have been at the center of the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, whose removal from ministry in June began months of focus on abuse.

“Many Catholics share a heightened, even unprecedented, level of concern for the well-being of Catholic seminarians. They rightly wonder, as well, whether our seminaries can not only screen out potential sexual predators, but also rise to the challenge of preparing for life and ministry men who are emotionally mature, and psychologically and sexually healthy. This requires training for contemporary American society.

“The convergence of these concerns invites a long-needed conversation about reform in American seminaries.

“Many of us who have labored in seminary formation for years consider 2018 a watershed moment, in fact, to insist on long-overdue adjustments and enhancements to seminary training. In retrospect, many of our institutions have too often failed miserably in preparing men for ministry, and many still fall far short of the goal of forming happy, healthy, holy priests. The church urgently needs new approaches to preparing men for priestly ministry given today’s sexualized, secularized culture and the personal challenges facing seminarians.”

By Rev. Thomas V. Berg, The Washington Post — Read more …

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The Catholic Church’s biggest crisis since the reformation / Foreign Affairs

In desperate need of institutional reform and facing growing political, theological, and geopolitical rifts, the church has not experienced so great a crisis since the Protestant Reformation. (Foreign Affairs

The Catholic Church is facing its most serious crisis in 500 years. In these last few months, a new wave of clerical sexual abuse revelations left the world in shock. From Australia to Chile to Germany to the United States, horrifying reports revealed thousands of cases of child molestation by members of the clergy. One U.S. grand jury report documented 1,000 children abused by 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania alone over seven decades …

“In desperate need of institutional reform and facing growing political, theological, and geopolitical rifts, the church has not experienced so great a crisis since the Protestant Reformation. Unlike that of the sixteenth century, the current situation probably won’t result in a schism or the establishment of new churches. But to understand the magnitude and complexity of what is now taking place, we have to look that far back, and to so significant a rupture.”

By Massimo Faggioli in Foreign Affairs — 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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Synod English Groups: Abuse crisis undermines church ‘in practically every way’ / National Catholic Reporter

Naming some of the effects of abuse — “shattered trust, the trauma and lifelong suffering of survivors; the catastrophic failures in case management; the continued silence and denial” — the group added: “these issues cry out to be named openly by the Synod.” (National Catholic Reporter)

Two of the four working groups for English-speaking prelates at the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on young people have spent time considering the impact of clergy abuse scandals on the global church’s credibility.

“In the first of three reports expected from the working groups during the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops, one of the English groups said bluntly that in the gathering’s expected final document clergy abuse ‘cannot be skimmed over tangentially in a few short sentences.’

“Naming some of the effects of abuse — ‘shattered trust, the trauma and lifelong suffering of survivors; the catastrophic failures in case management; the continued silence and denial’ — the group added: ‘these issues cry out to be named openly by the Synod.’

“‘If priests themselves are afraid to minister among the youth, then how can our Synod get out the message that young people, their faith and their vocational discernment are important to us?’ asked that group, which is being led by Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

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

 

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