Archive for category Voice of the Faithful

U.S. bishops must lead in accountability for clergy abuse / Voice of the Faithful

BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 13, 2018 – Voice of the Faithful believes the U.S. Catholic bishops must take the lead in accountability for clergy abuse regardless of direction coming from the Vatican as the bishops meet in Baltimore this week.

The Vatican has told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not to vote on measures they have proposed recently regarding clergy sexual abuse of children and its coverup. Voice of the Faithful would like bishops to do what is morally right rather than hide behind Vatican directives.

Clergy sexual abuse of minors and its coverup is morally reprehensible, and VOTF and others have repeatedly listed what bishops can do, none of which require Vatican approval and most of which have been done by at least one bishop. For example, bishops can:

  • list publicly all abusers in a diocese and open secret files;
  • report every case of clergy abuse to civil authorities regardless of the diocese’s estimation of credibility;
  • cooperate with civil investigations;
  • resign if guilty of abuse or coverup and hold the guilty within diocesan administration accountable;
  • investigate the extent of abuse and coverup in their dioceses and hold perpetrators and abettors accountable; or
  • remove honorifics awarded previous prelates or diocesan administrators credibly accused of abuse or coverup.

“Bishops also must lead the battle against clericalism, which has led to secrecy and coverup of clergy abuse and resulted in such profound mistrust from the laity,” said Mary Pat Fox, VOTF president. “Regaining the trust of the laity will be difficult at best and will not happen without greater transparency and lay leadership, including involvement in the Pope’s meeting of bishops’ conferences in February. It’s clear from the fact that investigations have been launched by attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia that the Dallas Charter did not go far enough to ensure accountability for the coverup or the protection of children.”

If U.S. bishops implemented practical activities like those mentioned and discussed additional, stronger measures at their meeting, submitting them to the Vatican regardless of its response, their status in the eyes of the faithful would rise measurably. The longer the bishops delay in dealing with the immorality of this crisis, the greater their loss of what little moral credibility they have left.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Nov. 13, 2018
Contact: 
Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org(link sends e-mail), 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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Vatican’s delay of US bishops’ abuse measures leaves even some prelates confused / National Catholic Reporter

The prelates had been set to vote Nov. 14 on two specific proposals: a new code of conduct for bishops and creation of a “special commission” to review complaints made against bishops. (National Catholic Reporter)

A surprise Vatican request that the annual gathering of U.S. Catholic bishops delay planned votes on proposals to address clergy sexual abuse has evoked outcry, even leaving some of the prelates at the meeting confused.

“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the bishops’ conference, announced the request at the opening of the gathering Nov. 12. He told the some 250 prelates taking part that he was ‘disappointed’ but said the Vatican asked for the delay because of Pope Francis’ upcoming February summit on child protection with the heads of all the global conferences.

“The U.S. bishops are facing intense scrutiny over their handling of abuse allegations after revelations this year about the conduct of now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the release of the shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“The prelates had been set to vote Nov. 14 on two specific proposals: a new code of conduct for bishops and creation of a ‘special commission’ to review complaints made against bishops.”

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

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Open Letter to U.S. Catholic Bishops: It’s Over / National Catholic Reporter

As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves. (National Catholic Reporter)

Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,

“We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.

“It’s over.

“All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.

“It’s over.

“Even the feds are now on the trail. They’ve ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you’ve handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren’t alone in this moment, you’ve not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won’t be easy.

“From fable to sacred text, we know how this goes. The point is reached where all realize the king wears no clothes, the righteous accusers read the writing in the sand and fade away, the religious authorities receive the Master’s most stinging rebukes. As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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DiNardo, USCCB head, was bishop during years diocese hid priest’s abuse / National Catholic Reporter

The supervisors of (Rev. Jerome) Coyle (who admitted he sexually abused dozens of Iowa boys), now 85 years old, included (Cardinal Daniel) DiNardo, who served as bishop in Sioux City from 1998 to 2004. (National Catholic Reporter)

The Diocese of Sioux City admitted Oct. 31 that it had concealed for decades the identity of a priest who had abused dozens of Iowa boys, as reported by the Associated Press. One of the bishops during that period was Daniel DiNardo, now cardinal archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The Associated Press obtained a Feb. 12 letter written by the diocese vicar general. According to the letter, AP reports that ‘in 1986, (Rev. Jerome) Coyle reported his ‘history of sexual attraction to and contact with boys’ to Sioux City’s bishop, revealing that he had victimized approximately 50 youths over a 20-year period while serving in several Iowa parishes.’

“Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, acknowledged Oct. 31, in answer to an Associated Press inquiry, that ‘police were not contacted when Coyle self-admitted, but policies have changed since 1986.’

“The supervisors of Coyle, now 85 years old, included DiNardo, who served as bishop in Sioux City from 1998 to 2004.”

By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Failure at the top / The Boston Globe

American bishops promised reform after the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in Boston. But they largely ignored the misdeeds of one group: themselves. (The Boston Globe)

Bishop Robert Finn wasn’t going anywhere.

“He never alerted authorities about photos of young girls’ genitals stashed on a pastor’s laptop. He kept parishioners in the dark, letting the priest mingle with children and families. Even after a judge found the bishop guilty of failing to report the priest’s suspected child abuse — and after 200,000 people petitioned for his ouster — he refused to go.

“‘I got this job from John Paul II. There’s his signature right there,’ Finn had told a prospective deacon shortly after the priest’s arrest in 2011, pointing to the late pontiff’s photo. ‘And that’s who I answer to.’

“Sixteen years after the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded in Boston, the American Catholic Church is again mired in scandal. This time, the controversy is propelled not so much by priests in the rectories as by the leadership, bishops across the country who like Finn have enabled sexual misconduct or in some cases committed it themselves.

“More than 130 US bishops — or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys …”

By By Jenn Abelson, Thomas Farragher of the Globe Staff, Jeremy Roebuck, Julia Terruso and William Bender of the Philadelphia Inquirer Staff — Read more …

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As anger over Catholic clergy sexual abuse intensifies, U.S. dioceses’ average financial transparency score rises only marginally

BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 1, 2018― Anger over clergy sexual abuse has risen dramatically with new revelations in recent months, and Voice of the Faithful’s second annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency, released in October, shows the average score for those dioceses rising only marginally. Voice of the Faithful has long considered secrecy surrounding Catholic Church finances to be linked to secrecy surrounding clerical sexual abuse.

The average overall score achieved by all 177 dioceses comprising the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Voice of the Faithful’s “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency: 2018” was 39.7 out of 60, or 66 percent, which represents a 5 percent increase over the 2017 average score. Thirty-nine percent of dioceses still have not posted audited financial statements on their websites, and 25 percent do not post a financial report of any kind.

Much of the recent anger over clergy abuse is invested in the secrecy surrounding the abuse. “Carrying out a widespread coverup of criminal acts without access to large amounts of untraceable money is impossible,” said Margaret Roylance, Ph.D., a VOTF trustee and Finance Working Group chair.

“In the wake of ongoing revelations about clerical sexual abuse,” she continued, “every Catholic who loves the Church is justly angry and asking serious questions about our Church leadership. This report is one tool in the hands of faithful Catholics who want to know what each of us can do. Genuine financial transparency will be essential in rebuilding U.S. Catholics’ trust in their bishops.”

Roylance continued to point out that:

  • If your diocese does not post its audited financial statement or, worse, not even an unaudited financial report, your diocesan leadership is being less than forthright about its finances.
  • If your diocese does not mandate safe collection procedures, it is failing in its duty to protect the resources you have provided to them.
  • If the names and backgrounds of your Diocesan Finance Council members cannot be found on your diocesan website, you have no way of knowing if they are “truly expert in financial affairs and civil law, outstanding in integrity,” as Canon Law requires.

“We must let our bishops know if their failures of financial transparency prevent us from fulfilling our obligations as good stewards of the gifts God has given us,” she said.

Although the transparency scores of 21 dioceses in the 2018 study dropped from 2017, more than 70 had higher scores and some achieved very significant increases. The Archdiocese of Omaha went from a dismal 26 to 56, and the Diocese of Orlando from 26 to a perfect score of 60, which tied with the Diocese of Burlington. However, Burlington received a qualified opinion from outside auditors, whereas Orlando received an unqualified (good) opinion on its audit. The Diocese of Santa Rosa was the only one of the 177 to post highlights of their Finance Council meetings—another significant factor in diocesan financial transparency.

The highest scoring dioceses in VOTF’s 2018 study are:

  • Burlington, Vermont, and Orlando, Florida, tied at 60
  • Atlanta, Georgia, Baltimore, Maryland, and Sacramento, California, tied at 59
  • Bismarck, North Dakota, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Buffalo, New York, Des Moines, Iowa, Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Omaha, Nebraska, and San Diego, California, tied at 56

The lowest scoring dioceses in VOTF’s 2018 study are:

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Orange, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, tied at 19
  • Salina, Kansas, 18
  • Brownsville, Texas, Knoxville, Tennessee, Lubbock, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, 15
  • Grand Isle, Nebraska, 13
  • Thomas, Virgin Islands, 12

Voice of the Faithful News Release, Nov. 1, 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. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Feds open clergy abuse probe in Pennsylvania
“The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania(link is external), 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.” By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker

Facing scandal and division, U.S. Catholic bishops to hold unprecedented retreat
“The Catholic bishops of the U.S. announced Oct. 23 that at the behest of Pope Francis they will meet for a weeklong retreat in Chicago in January. The unprecedented move reflects the depth of the crisis they are facing with the sexual abuse scandal(link is external) and the long-standing divisions within their ranks over the broader direction of American Catholicism. The pope is even sending an elderly and revered Franciscan priest, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the title of Preacher of the Papal Household, to lead the retreat — just as he does each year at Lent for the pontiff and the Roman Curia.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Voice of the Faithful convenes to discuss church reform in abuse, finances
“While held amidst crisis, the date for the Voice of the Faithful conference here (Providence, R.I.) Oct. 6 couldn’t have been better. ‘Who knew how timely this would be?’ Mary Pat Fox, the group’s president, said in welcoming some 300 participants. Voice of the Faithful, founded in 2002 in the wake of the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandal disclosures, is dedicated to reforming the church’s response to that issue as well as to finances. ‘We have found ourselves in another Earth-shattering moment(link is external),’ said Fox, noting the onslaught of news about sex abuse and cover-ups revealed this year in Chile, via the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and accusations lodged against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. ‘Our trust is broken. We have been betrayed,’ she said.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church’s biggest crisis since the reformation
“The Catholic Church is facing its most serious crisis in 500 years(link is external). 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.” By Massimo Faggioli in Foreign Affairs

Cupich says bishops must cede authority, allow lay oversight of accusations
“Individual Catholic bishops across the United States must renounce some of the supreme authority they have over their dioceses(link is external) to allow for the creation of a new national body to investigate misconduct allegations, Chicago Cardinal Cupich said. When the U.S. bishops meet in November to consider the continuing clergy sexual abuse crisis, Cupich said the prelates ‘have to be very clear about an accountability procedure for accusations about bishops.’” By Joshua J. McElwee and Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Wuerl amid abuse cover-up scandal
“Pope Francis accepted the resignation Friday (Oct. 12) of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl(link is external) 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.” By David Crary and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

O’Malley broadens review of sexual misconduct allegations at seminaries; hires outside law firm
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley is expanding a review of sexual misconduct allegations at a Brighton seminary to include two other seminaries(link is external), and he’s bringing in a new team of investigators with no current ties to the Boston Archdiocese, he said Thursday (Oct. 11) … Former US Attorney Donald K. Stern will lead a group of investigators from the firm of Yurko, Salvesen & Remz in a review of the allegations that surfaced over the summer regarding St. John’s Seminary, as well as a probe of Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston and Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill.” By Travis Anderson, The Boston Globe

Cardinal O’Malley asks Vatican to review reports on Buffalo sex abuse
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley wants Vatican officials to read a series of investigative reports chronicling alleged mismanagement in the Diocese of Buffalo(link is external), where Bishop Richard Malone, a former auxiliary bishop in Boston, is facing calls to step down over his handling cases of clergy sexual abuse. An investigative reporter for WKBW, Charlie Specht, sent his three-part series about Bishop Malone to Cardinal O’Malley, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Victims of Catholic priest sex abuse file lawsuit again Vatican
Holding the Pope accountable for the actions of his priests(link is external); that is what a new lawsuit intends to do on behalf of two priest abuse survivors. The legal action is aimed at stopping the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests by forcing the Vatican to reveal everything it has on the subject. ‘The real problem is at the top,’ Attorney Jeff Anderson said. ‘It is at the Vatican. It is at the Pope. The present Pope and the past Popes.’” By Haaziq Madyun, KRON-TV News

Bridgeport prelate says accountability key for bishops’ fall summit
“Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has become one of the most closely watched American prelates at a time when the Church in the United States is in full crisis mode(link is external), making it perhaps unsurprising that he was the first bishop to raise the issue of clerical sex abuse during this month’s Vatican summit on young people. His name is now often rumored as a potential replacement for Cardinal Donald Wuerl in Washington, D.C. or for Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia when he reaches retirement age next year.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Chile survivors win lawsuit accusing two cardinals of cover-up
“In a decision being hailed as historic, three Chilean survivors of the country’s most infamous pedophile priest reportedly have won a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santiago. The court found two Catholic cardinals guilty of covering up for Fernando Karadima(link is external). The court’s decision hasn’t yet been made official, but it was published on Sunday (Oct. 21) by local newspaper La Tercera, and the three survivors who were suing the archdiocese quickly released a statement celebrating the decision.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Panel confronts abuse crisis, urging care for victims, higher ed reform
“Calls for radical structural reform, a more pastoral understanding of clerical sex abuse, and an informed-rather-than-emotional approach to the church’s sex abuse(link is external)and authority crises were issued by panelists during an Oct. 9 public discussion at Santa Clara University. Titled ‘The Catholic Church and the Catastrophe of Clergy Sexual Abuse,’ the live-streamed event packed the auditorium of the Jesuit university’s de Saisset Museum with a cross-section of students and community members and drew significant Bay Area media attention. Fr. Brendan McGuire, first of the four panelists to present, recounted his own sexual abuse at the age of 18 nearly 35 years ago by a priest he knew well.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Long relegated to counseling and therapy, the clergy sex abuse crisis is now a matter for federal authorities
“The Catholic Church has historically responded to the crisis of the sexual abuse of children by priests as a pastoral challenge(link is external). Victim after victim has been offered counseling and therapeutic services. Priests too were sent off to counseling and, in time, returned to ministry. To this day, hundreds of victims have letters from bishops expressing regrets over the moral failings of priests. Indeed, few clerics or church officials in the U.S. Catholic Church have met with adjudication or criminal convictions. Much has changed.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Catholic Church must reform canon law in wake of child sex abuse royal commission
“So, has the Australian Catholic Church ‘rejected mandatory reporting,’ as Al Jazeera published? Or did The Hindu get it right with their headline: ‘Australian Catholic leaders vow to end abuse cover-up’? The devil is, as always, in the detail. And there is a lot of detail.(link is external) The joint response from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA), which represents nuns, sisters and brothers, monks and friars, says bishops and religious leaders accept most of the recommendations of the royal commission.” By Noel Debien, ABC News Australia

Federal prosecutors could tap several powerful laws to investigate clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania
“Coming one day after the General Assembly failed to advance a statute of limitations reform bill, news that the federal government had launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in Pennsylvania served to advocates a reminder that their fight is not over. ‘I’m not surprised. What was in this latest grand jury report was horrific,’ said Rep. Mark Rozzi, the Berks County Democrat who led the effort to enact a retroactive window into reform legislation.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

The Catholic sex abuse scandal takes down a cardinal
“On Friday (Oct. 12), Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl(link is external), the head of the Archdiocese of Washington. Wuerl submitted his letter of resignation three years ago, when he turned 75, as is customary for bishops. But in September, Wuerl traveled to Rome to urge the pope to finally accept it because of growing accusations over his role in handling sexual-abuse allegations in the Church. It’s the first major American resignation to result from this round of the Church’s sex-abuse crisis.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

Cardinal expands seminary review, brings in outside firm
“Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced in an Oct. 11 statement that he has engaged an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry into conduct and culture at St. John’s Seminary(link is external) as well as expand the scope of the inquiry to include all three seminaries sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston. In August, two former seminarians at St. John’s posted on social media websites, including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page, saying that they had ‘witnessed and experienced activities that are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood.’” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot

McCARRICK CASE

Clerical cronyism and secrecy shielded McCarrick and others
“Two months into the sex abuse scandal that forced Theodore McCarrick to renounce his cardinal’s red hat(link is external) and withdraw to a Capuchin friary in Kansas, Catholics are still asking, ‘How did this happen?’ How does someone like McCarrick advance to the pinnacle of Catholic power and stay there for so long when he carries so much baggage of crime and sin? Was there no vetting? Were there no background checks? Was someone protecting him?” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

The Pope ignores the damage as another prelate falls
“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.(link is external) 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

Pope expels two Chilean bishops from the priesthood over sex abuse
“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(link is external). 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

CARDINALS

Abuse scandal isn’t the only chapter in Donald Wuerl’s story
“Make no mistake: Cardinal Donald Wuerl resigned today (Oct. 12) because of allegations of mishandling cases of clerical sexual abuse(link is external), and if he were to die tomorrow, his role in the abuse scandals would be how his obituary opened. However fair that linkage may be, it doesn’t matter. His resignation at this time, and under these circumstances, effectively sets it in cement.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

Irish primate says Vigano ‘hijacked’ World Meeting of Families
“While Ireland has long enjoyed a privileged place on the global Catholic map, the past few months have been particularly demanding for Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh(link is external)-largely due to the fact that the successor of Saint Patrick has been spending a lot of time with the successor of Saint Peter.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

BISHOPS

Response to sexual abuse crisis tops agenda for USCCB fall assembly
“The firestorm surrounding the clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external) and the way some bishops handled allegations of abuse against priests will be an important part of the agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly. The bishops have had to deal with seemingly endless revelations of allegations of abusive clergy since June, most of which referred to long-past incidents. New reports from media outlets also were expected as the Nov. 12-14 assembly in Baltimore approaches.” By Dennis Sadowski, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis removes Bishop Holley as head of Memphis diocese
“Pope Francis Wednesday (Oct. 24) removed Bishop Martin D. Holley from the pastoral government of the Diocese of Memphis(link is external) and appointed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville to oversee the diocese until further notice … The removal follows a Vatican investigation into the Diocese of Memphis in June to address concerns about major changes Bishop Holley, 63, had made. Among these was the reassignment of up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, according to local media reports.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, in The Pilot

Catholic bishops promising to fix sex abuse problem face cover-up accusations
“As Catholic bishops try to reassure the flock that the church is finally confronting the scourge of sexual abuse by priests(link is external), it has fallen to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, the president of the American bishops conference, to lead the effort. ‘I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures,’ said Cardinal DiNardo, in one of the many statements he has issued on sexual abuse in recent weeks. ‘It will take work to rebuild that trust.’” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Catholic clergy should elect its own bishops
“The recent revelations of corruption, abuse and neglect within the Catholic Church hierarchy have been a trial for every American Catholic. Abuse victims and their families have suffered unspeakably(link is external). Next to them, the greatest sufferers have surely been our innocent American clergymen, who bear the brunt of the shame, contempt, and anger directed at the church every day. A great majority of our clergymen share our outrage at clerical abuse. Priests all suffer for the sins of their brothers. Married deacons see their own children and grandchildren in the faces of the victims.” By Daniel E. Burns, The New York Times

Second deacon urges Buffalo bishop to resign over clergy abuse
“A Catholic church deacon who said he was molested by a priest as a teenager(link is external) has become the second cleric to call for Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign over his handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations. Paul C. Emerson, a deacon at St. Joseph University Church in Buffalo, said in an interview with The News that Malone is complicit in a cover-up of the abuse and needs to step down for healing in the diocese to begin. ‘I think he should resign,’ said Emerson. ‘The guy has lost the confidence of a great number of people, people that need to trust their bishop.’” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

U.S. bishops must recapture spirit of collegial governance
“The Vatican announced last weekend (Oct. 6) that Pope Francis has ordered an internal investigation of all files related to the case of the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The statement clearly indicated that the pope recognized the need to cross the bridge that was deemed too far in 2002(link is external): Bishops will now be held accountable just as other clergy. For us Americans, weeks are an eternity, and so the recent accusation that the Vatican was ‘stonewalling’ requests by the brave U.S. bishops to get to the bottom of the McCarrick scandal seemed credible. In fact, the Vatican moves at its own pace.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Priest shortage forces parishes to alternate Sunday Mass
“People have worshipped at the site of the Catholic Church in Boho in County Fermanagh for more than 1,500 years. The Church of the Sacred Heart stands on the site of an early Christian monastery or nunnery where St Faber worked in the sixth century. In the graveyard stands a carved tenth century Celtic cross. But the continuous tradition of Christian worship in this parish has now been impacted by the shortage of priests(link is external). For the first time anyone here can remember, two weeks ago there was no Mass on Sunday.” By Julian Fowler, BBC News, Northern Ireland

Want to address priest sexual abuse? The Catholic Church needs to overhaul its seminaries
“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 … Many Catholics share a heightened, even unprecedented, level of concern(link is external) 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.” By Rev. Thomas V. Berg, The Washington Post

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

At the synod of bishops, three modes of listening to the young
“One of the buzzwords at the synod of Catholic bishops on young people is ‘listening.’ In the film ‘Casablanca,’ a kiss may be just a kiss, but in the Catholic Church, listening is never just listening. The bishops, who were called to Rome for this month-long meeting to discuss the church’s outreach to the young, have been urged by Pope Francis to listen to one another and especially to young people(link is external) … Not everyone, however, means the same thing when using the word “’listening.’ The word is being used in at least three different ways at the synod.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Catholic teaching on conscience is (again) topic of discussion at Synod
“Cardinals, bishops, priests and laypeople meeting in Rome to discuss how the church relates to young people appear to believe Catholic teaching on conscience deserves more attention(link is external). A round of reports from the synod’s working groups was released on Tuesday (Oct. 16), and some of the English-language groups suggested that young people will benefit from understanding Catholic teaching on conscience, while others seemed to worry that individual believers could be encouraged to rely on their own consciences even if they are at odds with church teaching.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Servant leadership: how the Synod on Young People is changing the hierarchy
“Here at the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, it’s been impossible to ignore the news that continues to rattle the church(link is external) … Still, even as those gathered in Rome absorb these latest developments, the reports from the Synod hall have largely been positive. A Panamanian bishop has described the atmosphere as one of ‘alegría,’ that is, of joy.” By Griffin Oleynick

Anti-abuse pioneer expects Synod of Bishops to take a stand
“As bishops take part in a summit on young people this month at the Vatican, an expert on clerical sexual abuse said Monday (Oct. 15) that he’s confident the question of abuse in the Church will be a part of the document to emerge from the gathering(link is external). ‘I have met a good number of participants at the synod, and I have talked to a good number of participants before it started, and they all told me that they would bring it up and they have brought it up. It has become a very important area of discussion, as I am informed,’ said German Father Hans Zollner, President of The Center for Child Protection (CCP) at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By Claire Giangravé, Cruxnow.com

The highs, the lows and the distractions of the Vatican Synod on Young People
“As the Catholic church’s month-long synod on young people reaches its halfway point here, there has been more excitement outside the synodal hall than inside(link is external). While Catholic bishops from around the world huddle at the Vatican to talk about young people, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un invited the pope for a visit, spurring a debate about how the pope should respond: Can the pope visit a dictator who has no respect for religious freedom? Will he, like President Trump, take the risk of a spur-of-the-moment visit, or will he delay the visit until his diplomats carefully prepare for the meeting?” By Religion News Service

Petition urges women’s votes at synod, but Dutch bishop disagrees”
“Although women’s voices are welcome and included at the ongoing Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome, women should not be allowed to vote during its deliberations, a Dutch bishop said. “This is a bishops’ synod,’ said Dutch Auxiliary Bishop Everard de Jong. ‘We have to listen to women, but there are no women bishops(link is external). We don’t have women cardinals. We have to live with that.’ De Jong, an auxiliary for the diocese of Roermond, Netherlands, spoke at a midday press conference Oct. 12, just hours after 10 organizations launched a petition calling for religious women superiors ‘to work and vote as equals alongside their brothers in Christ at meetings of the Synod of Bishops.’” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

After early votes, it’s clear Pope Francis has ‘his’ Synod of Bishops
“A Synod of Bishops is often described as the ‘Congress of the Catholic Church,’ with the College of Cardinals being the Catholic Senate. Both comparisons are terribly inexact, beginning with the fact that neither Catholic body holds any real power because it’s all in the hands of the pope(link is external). Yet there are certainly parallels, beginning with the fact that a synod, like the House of Representatives, has some procedural quirks that can shape outcomes. One is the sequence in which elections inside the synod are held.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Bishops, sisters discuss declining numbers of U.S. women religious
“The precipitous decline in the number of women in religious life(link is external) and what it means to the church has people thinking about how to prepare for the future. Their actions stem from data gathered by the National Religious Retirement Office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that projects an estimated 300 women’s religious institutes will likely phase out of existence in the next decade. The estimate is fueled by the fact that the overall number of women religious has declined by 75 percent since 1965 with no change in the trend expected.” By Dan Stockman, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

CHILD PROTECTION

Clergy of the Archdiocese of Washington credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors
Listing of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1948(link is external)By Archdiocese of Washington

CLERICALISM

Pope tells Jesuits clericalism a ‘perversion’ in the church
“Speaking to his brother Jesuits in Lithuania last month, Pope Francis solicited their support in moving forward the work of the Second Vatican Council. ‘I believe the Lord wants a change in the Church,’ he told 28 Jesuits during a private meeting during his trip to the Baltics. ‘I have said many times that a perversion of the Church today is clericalism(link is external)…I know that the Lord wants the Council to make headway in the Church.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Issue of married Catholic priests gains traction under pope
“As the Vatican copes with the growing clergy sex abuse scandal and declining number of priests worldwide, it is laying the groundwork to open formal debate on an issue that has long been taboo: opening up the priesthood to married men in parts of the world where clergy are scarce(link is external). Pope Francis has convened a meeting of South American bishops next year focusing on the plight of the church in the Amazon, a vast territory served by far too few priests. During that synod, the question of ordaining married men of proven virtue — so-called ‘viri probati’ — is expected to figure on the agenda.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Editorial: ‘Knock, knock. Who’s there? More than half the church!’
“‘Knock, knock. Who’s there? More than half the church!’ There is a sense of inevitability to the point behind the chant that grabbed global attention when it was shouted out during a peaceful protest at the Vatican Oct. 3 as bishops and cardinals made their way to the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on young people. Organized by the Women’s Ordination Conference, the protest highlighted the fact that no women were permitted to vote at the synod sessions(link is external) … It’s a catchy meter. Speaking of women, as it does, it’s true. Visit any church, anywhere, any Sunday. No one needs a scientific survey to accept the claim.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Listening sessions bring out debate on church’s direction
Tense listening sessions in the archdiocese on the clergy sex abuse crisis(link is external)continued, as Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone met with several dozen Catholics at St. Mary’s Cathedral Oct. 17 and St. Stephen Church Oct. 18. The archbishop reviewed the child protection policies in place, along with a 30 year review of recent cases of clergy sex abuse … In total, the archdiocese has spent $87 million to settle 125 cases brought against the archdiocese for sex abuse claims against clergy and lay people … A significant concern for many was how to keep bishops accountable, with one speaker concerned that the hierarchy only seemed responsive when pressed by the government or the media. By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco

VOICES

Why the stay. Why the can’t: New York Catholics wrestle with their faith over abuse allegations
“New York City is a Roman Catholic stronghold. One out of every three residents identifies as a Catholic. And there are more than four million Catholics in the city and seven surrounding counties. So when a series of scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church unfolded in rapid-fire succession this summer, New York gasped … The revelations have forced a painful reckoning that continues to reverberate across the five boroughs(link is external), among the devout and the lapsed, young and old, newcomers and native-born. Their disparate internal struggles offer a window into the rich complexities of Catholicism in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Here are 10 of their stories.” By Luis Ferré-Sadurni and Mariana Alfaro, The New York Times

Open letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops
“Dear United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: The Catholic Church in the USA is at a defining moment(link is external). Ever since revelations of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests and a subsequent cover up by Catholic bishops shook the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, similar sordid tales have surfaced in other Catholic dioceses across the United States with regrettable regularity. Nor is this a uniquely American phenomenon, as patterns of widespread sexual abuse and ecclesiastical malfeasance have emerged in a number of countries, including Chile, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Brazil, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.  While difficult even to contemplate, this global crisis in the Church is likely to be only in the incipient stages …” By Villanova University Task Force on the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church

Time doesn’t heal sexual assault if victims are silenced
“Christine Blasey Ford’s recent testimony added fuel to an already heated discussion on how we should respond to abuse allegations. Regardless of politics, pastor and author Ed Stetzer called for caution in how we speak about abuse so that we don’t harm victims(link is external) within our own communities. Research confirms that victims stay silent because of a negative community culture toward abuse and often don’t receive emotional support. According to therapist Connie Baker, herself a sexual abuse survivor, our response as a church community can make tragic situations worse or they can help with the healing process.” By Kimi Harris, Christianity Today

The Catholic Church crisis: a personal memoir
“It’s been around 15 years since my firm was retained by an order of the Catholic Church embroiled in a crisis involving charges of pedophilia and cover-up(link is external). Periodically, when new developments occur, such as the massive Pennsylvania abuse scandal(link is external) that surfaced in August, my thoughts naturally revert to that experience. Each time, I ask myself what if anything has been learned. Each time, I wonder too about the larger socio-cultural impact of this seemingly endless ordeal.” By Richard Levick, Forbes

Catholic Church must clean house on priest sex abuse
“On Oct. 8, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and other senior members of the conference just 48 hours after ordering an investigation into Vatican archives concerning former archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, who resigned in July, CBSNews.com reported … The church, from Pope Francis on down, must clean its house. Let justice be done(link is external).” By Journal Times Editorial Board

Catholic Church must expose all abusive priests
“Catholic Church officials in Texas are finally taking the right approach to the horrendous scandal of priests who sexually abused children. The only way to deal with this outrage is to fully expose it and make every effort to ensure it never happens again(link is external). To do that, however, Catholic officials in the Beaumont diocese and others in Texas need to completely follow through on this pledge so that all Texans can be confident in their findings.” By Beaumont Enterprise Editorial Board

Let U.S. Catholics arise and stand ahead of bishop presidents’ Rome summit
“In the United States, our bishops determined that the faithful should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the eucharistic prayer. Elsewhere in the world, the faithful arise and stand after the memorial acclamation. I was thinking of this when reading in NCR that Pope Francis has summoned all of the presidents of the world’s various conferences of Catholic bishops to Rome for a February meeting on clergy sexual abuse. The theme of the meeting, to be held Feb. 21-24, is the ‘protection of minors.’(link is external) As our own episcopal conference prepares to go to this meeting, I was looking to find some tangible sign of hope that we could prayerfully express as the people of God. I kept thinking of how the rest of the universal church arises after the memorial acclamation and stands in prayer. Should we not rise too?” By James Keenan, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

It’s time for churches to account for their cash says sex abuse royal commissioner
All Australian churches should be made to open their books(link is external) to account more thoroughly for their billions of dollars in assets and revenue, a member of the child abuse royal commission has said. Robert Fitzgerald AM, one of the six commissioners who oversaw the five-year royal commission, will call on Wednesday (Oct. 23) for the scrapping of special exemptions that have until now allowed half of church charities, including much of the Catholic and Anglican church networks, to avoid financial reporting to the charities watchdog, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.” By Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders, The Sydney Morning Herald

Principals stole $800,000 from El Paso Catholic school for travel, casinos
“A former principal and assistant principal of an El Paso Catholic school were arrested for allegedly taking $800,000 to fund a lavish lifestyle(link is external), El Paso police officials said Tuesday (Oct. 16). The charges stem from financial irregularities found in a 2016 Diocese of El Paso audit after the retirement of the two administrators of St. Joseph’s School in 2015.” By Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times

Providence Diocese in top half of dioceses in report on financial transparency
A Roman Catholic group that seeks accountability within the church gathered in Providence Saturday (Oct. 6) and released a score sheet on the financial transparency of every Catholic diocese in the United States(link is external). Voice of the Faithful, a non-clergy organization formed in 2002 after news reports on widespread sex abuse in the Diocese of Boston, released its second annual report on financial transparency at a conference that drew about 150 members. The organization again rated 177 Catholic dioceses based on availability of information ranging from audited financial statements to contact information for each diocesan business office and the posting of parish financial guidelines.” By Mark Reynolds, Oct. 6, 2018, Providence Journal

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

New plan would bar clergy sex abuse victims from suing Catholic Church, critics say
“On the last session day of the year for the Pennsylvania Senate, lawmakers are clashing over revisions to a bill to reform child sex crime laws(link is external) that would protect the Catholic Church from lawsuits. Some advocates have urged lawmakers to approve a window to allow clergy sex abuse victims to file civil suits, even if the abuse occurred decades ago and is beyond the statutes of limitation. But critics say a new proposal would bar victims from using that window to sue institutions, including the Catholic Church.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Scarnati: Most GOP senators see problems with bill to help clergy abuse victims
“The top Republican in the state Senate said Tuesday (Oct. 16) that the majority of GOP senators in the chamber agree with him that a pending bill designed to help older victims of child sexual abuse has serious problems and needs fixing(link is external). But Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, also said he has not formally polled his membership to see where they stand on allowing a temporary suspension in the civil statute of limitations so that victims older than 30 can sue their tormentors for decades-old abuse.” By Liz Navartil, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania attorney general calls for not statute of limitations in wake of clergy abuse report
“After the release of a grand jury report detailing some of the alleged sexual abuse of children by members of Pennsylvania’s Catholic clergy, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined advocates for victims of clergy abuse and other elected officials to call change for an end to the statute of limitations(link is external) for child sex abuse. ‘I want to be clear, we unearthed an organized criminal enterprise here in Pennsylvania, for now, they got away with some of it,’ Shapiro said while calling for Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub joined Shapiro and victim advocates to encourage the state legislature to pass reforms to the period of time allowed to pursue sexual abuse cases.” By NBC10 Staff

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

One bishop could lead the way to another bishop being the first charged for sex abuse
“The call last year from Pope Francis’ representative in Washington took the Rev. Steven Biegler by surprise. A priest in South Dakota, Biegler learned he was the choice to become the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., leading the state’s 55,000 Catholics … But as it turned out, one of his first major decisions upon arriving in Cheyenne involved saying no … Bishop Joseph Hart, 87, stands accused of multiple acts of sexual abuse(link is external) now deemed credible by both the Missouri and Wyoming dioceses that he served.” By Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star

New South Wales commits extra $127 million to abuse prevention and support
“The New South Wales Government has committed an extra $127 million to help implement key recommendations from the child sexual abuse royal commission(link is external). The new money, which brings the government’s total contribution to the redress scheme to $570 million, will mostly go towards the prevention of child sexual abuse but will also improve support for children and adult survivors.” By CathNews.com

ALASKA

Reckoning over allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church reaches Alaska
“The Alaska Department of Law will assist in an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct reported to the Archdiocese of Anchorage(link is external), ABC News has learned. On Wednesday (Oct. 24), Archbishop Paul Etienne announced the formation of an independent commission comprised of former law enforcement officials ‘to review all personnel files of clerics and religious men and women’ who have served the archdiocese since its formation in 1966.” By Pete Madden, ABC News

CALIFORNIA

Bay area: 263 Catholic priests on sex abuse accusation list
“As Bay Area Catholic leaders are increasingly under pressure to name priests accused of abusing children, a Minnesota law firm published a report Tuesday (Oct. 23) identifying 212 priests in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco dioceses accused of sexual misconduct involving kids(link is external). The report names 135 accused offenders in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 95 in the Oakland diocese and 33 in the San Jose diocese, though 51 names are duplicates because some of the priests worked in more than one Bay Area diocese. Earlier this month, the San Jose diocese released its own list of credibly accused priests that had only 15 names, which this report calls ‘deficient.’” By Matthias Gafni and Julia Prodis Sulek, The Marin Journal

San Jose bishop names 15 priests accused of child sex abuse
“The Catholic Diocese of San Jose on Thursday (Oct. 18) released the names of 15 clergy members who were known by the church to be child sex abusers(link is external). At least nine priests on the list are dead, and the rest are permanently banned from the ministry. Many of the allegations were already publicly known through lawsuits and news reports.” By Kimberly Veklerov and Ashley McBride

Fresno Catholic diocese ‘pondering’ whether to name local priests accused of sex crimes
“Bishop Armando X. Ochoa is working with a review board to determine what information the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno may release about area priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external), including the possibility of publicly identifying those priests by name. Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said Ochoa in early September raised the issue with the Fresno Diocesan Review Board.” By Yesenia Amaro, The Fresno Bee

FLORIDA

Man sues St. Petersburg Catholic diocese over alleged child sexual abuse by priest
“A former Tampa Bay resident has filed a lawsuit against two Catholic Dioceses alleging that they turned a blind eye against a priest accused of molesting children(link is external). The lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York and the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.” By Mary Stringini, ABC Action News

ILLINOIS

Peoria at center of sex-abuse suit filed against Catholic bishops and dioceses statewide
“Taking particular aim at Peoria, a lawsuit claims Catholic dioceses and bishops statewide conspired to create a decades-long public ‘nuisance’ that endangered children(link is external) by failing to release the names and files of clergy accused of sexual abuse. Filed in Cook County Circuit Court late Thursday (Oct. 19), the suit relies heavily on allegations of pedophilia by two Peoria clergy. One was removed from ministry years ago, while the other never has been publicly associated with such charges.” By Phil Luciano, Peoria Journal Star

Illinois Catholic bishops sued for conspiracy
“Illinois Catholic bishops and a number of dioceses are tied up in a lawsuit linked to sexual harassment and assault cases(link is external). Of those named in the lawsuit, is the diocese in Springfield. Three sexual abuse survivors will be speaking publicly for the first time about sexual abuse and how their reports are being handled in the dioceses of Springfield, Rockford and Peoria.” By Leslie Moreno, Fox News Illinois

List of Louisiana clergy accused of sex abuse remains mystery; financial toll gives clues to why
“Archbishop Gregory Aymond, clad in purple vestments symbolizing atonement, lay prostrate on the altar of St. Joseph Church during a special Mass of healing in August, a demonstration of contrition for the horrific acts of rape and abuse suffered by children at the hands of priests. His homily called for reflection on the sins of the Catholic Church. Standing before the faithful, he said, ‘As leaders of the church, it is time for us to repent.’ So far, that confession has translated into weeks of public apology, but not the release of a full accounting of priests and other church leaders accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) that many victims have demanded.” By Jerry Dicolo, The New Orleans Advocate

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest on list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse changed his name
“The pain of the sexual abuse(link is external) that Mark Powell says he suffered while studying at a religious order in Iowa 41 years ago, deepened after learning his abuser later became a Catholic priest. ‘Even when I was being abused I was praying the Hail Mary, I’d be praying the Our Father that it would stop,’ he told the I-Team.” By Cheryl Fiandaca, WBZ-TV News

NEW MEXICO

Federal judge orders accused pedophile priest to remain in jail
“An accused pedophile priest who was on the run(link is external) for nearly three decades has lost his fight to get out of jail. Arthur Perrault, 80, was brought back to the U.S. last month to face rape charges stemming from the 1990s. Prosecutors argued given his history he was a flight risk, and the judge ordered him to stay locked up until his trial.” By KRQE Media

NEW YORK

Fr. Joe Gatto, president of Buffalo Diocese seminary, placed on leave after misconduct allegation
“The Rev. Joseph C. Gatto, who runs the seminary for the Diocese of Buffalo, has been placed on administrative leave by the diocese, as he faces an allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external). On Thursday (Oct. 18) morning, Gatto told I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht that he is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, which prepares men for the priesthood in the Buffalo Diocese.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Malone cannot do the job as Buffalo’s bishop
“It is a sign of the Catholic church’s peril that the question of who leads the Buffalo Diocese is among the least of its worries. Any organization that countenances pedophilia among its leaders is on the road to perdition. For a church to have done it is unimaginable. Nevertheless, local leadership matters and, for the second time, a deacon has called for Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign(link is external) over his handling of credible accusations of sexual abuse by clergy. Malone, who has previously declared his intention to stay on, needs to heed the advice. He is a symbol of the church’s unwillingness to confront its culpability.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Teen sex-abuse victim uses Rockville Centre Diocese, Patchogue church
“The former music director at a Roman Catholic church in Patchogue sexually abused a teen girl repeatedly for more than a year(link is external) as church workers ignored policies put in place to protect children, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. The girl, who was 15 when the alleged abuse started in 2015, was sexually assaulted in a chapel and in a classroom at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, as well as in the music director’s car and at a motel in Patchogue, states the lawsuit, which was filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau County.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Alleged child sex-abuse ‘substantiated’ against second Staten Island pastor
“‘Credible’ child sex-abuse allegations have been made(link is external) against a second monsignor who was a pastor and Irish musician on Staten Island, according to the Archdiocese of New York. Monsignor Charles Coen is one of four monsignors and a priest “who had an allegation of sexual abuse of minors brought against them in the Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program [IRCP],” according to Catholic New York.” By Maura Grunlund, SILive.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Justice department issues subpoena to Altoona-Johnstown diocese in priest child sexual abuse probe
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown became the last of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses to confirm it had been served a subpoena as part of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged child sexual abuse and cover-ups(link is external) carried out by the Catholic Church within the commonwealth. ‘In recent days, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown received inquiries about a federal grand jury subpoena that has been acknowledged by the other dioceses of Pennsylvania,’ according to a statement emailed by Tony DeGol, Altoona-Johnstown’s secretary for communications, on Tuesday (Oct. 23).” By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

‘It’s a beginning’: Catholics vent anger over sexual abuse in Greensburg
“More than two months after a landmark state grand jury report told a devastating history of sexual abuse by priests, more than 200 Catholics gathered at Greensburg’s cathedral to report back(link is external). In short, they were angry at the reports of sexual abuse by priests and the cover-ups that followed. At the first of a series of listening sessions being held throughout the Diocese of Greensburg in the coming weeks, Bishop Edward Malesic paced the center aisle of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, listening as the microphone passed from one person to another, each angered over the reports of abuse, but often for different reasons.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburg Post-Gazette

History of priest abuse in Altoona
“To understand how wide this abuse within the Catholic Dioceses spans, you really have to look at where it all began(link is external). The first reports that stemmed a further investigation and pushed for change to the current Statute of Limitations came after allegations against priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese. The first reports of abuse publicly happened back in March of 2016.” By Emma Catalano, WTAJ-TV News

Former Erie diocese priest admits to sexual assault
“A former priest in the Diocese of Erie has admitted to sexually assaulting one boy and attempting to assault another boy(link is external), the state attorney general’s office said Wednesday. David Poulson pleaded guilty to two felony crimes – corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children – in a hearing in Jefferson County Common Court.” By Ron Southwick, PennLive.com

Catholic Church sex abuse survivors speak in Harrisburg
“Just after 10 a.m., a group of people standing in Pennsylvania’s state capitol building was given a cue: begin reading. But the words were difficult to say, especially out loud. Sentences like ‘One of the victims was as young as 13 years old(link is external),’ began spilling from their lips. Their words couldn’t be posted on Facebook or found in an adult bookstore. But they echoed down the hall outside Senate chambers.” By Jaccii Farris, WFMZ-TV News

Priest put on leave after allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, Pittsburgh diocese says
“A Diocese of Pittsburgh priest has been put on leave after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) were presented to Bishop David Zubik, the diocese announced Saturday (Oct. 13). Father Joseph Reschick, 67, who was serving as pastor of St. Rosalia Parish in Greenfield, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Father Reschick denies the allegation, but has been placed on administrative leave.” By Sam Ruland, York Daily Record

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ex-Catholic priest, 75, gets 20 years in South Carolina prison for child sex abuse
“A judge in South Carolina has sentenced a former Catholic priest to 20 years in prison for sexually molesting children(link is external). Wayland Brown, 75, was sentenced to prison Tuesday (Oct. 23) by a circuit judge in Jasper County after pleading guilty to six child sex abuse charges. Brown was originally charged with nine counts of first degree and second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor when state prosecutors indicted him in August 2017.” By Drew Tripp, ABCNews4

TEXAS

Former Catholic priest gets 20 years in child rape case
“A 76-year-old former Catholic priest who already has served jail time for molesting boys in Maryland was sentenced Tuesday (Oct. 23) to 20 years in prison in South Carolina for raping boys from a middle school(link is external) four decades ago. Wayland Yoder Brown wore his priest collar while attacking the boys, then prayed the rosary with them, Solicitor Duffie Stone said.” By Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press on MySanAntonio.com

VIRGINIA

Virginia attorney general investigating the Catholic Church, adding to growing list of state probes
“The attorney general of Virginia said Wednesday (Oct. 24) that he is investigating clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external), adding to a rapidly growing list of state investigations. Attorney General Mark R. Herring said his probe was motivated by the Pennsylvania grand jury report, issued in August, that found more than 300 ‘predator priests’ had abused more than 1,000 children in that state since 1947.” By Daniel Burke, CNN

Survivors group calls for Virginia to conduct Catholic priests’ abuse investigations
“The Archdiocese of Washington released a list Monday (Oct. 15) of 28 former priests ‘credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.’ A group representing survivors of clergy sex abuse quickly responded(link is external) by labeling the list ‘incomplete.’ SNAP called for the attorneys general in Virginia, Maryland and Washington to begin independent investigations when it released its findings. Virginia’s Attorney General is Mark Herring.” By CNN Wire on WTKR-TV

WASHINGTON, D.C.

D.C attorney general opens inquiry into sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Washington
“D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said Tuesday (Oct. 23) that his office has begun an investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Washington(link is external), the latest in a string of state-level law enforcement officials now looking into the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse complaints. The investigation, announced by Racine at a regularly scheduled breakfast among the District’s elected officials, will bring scrutiny to Catholic leaders who have come under intense criticism in recent months.” By Peter Jamison and Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

WEST VIRGINIA

Vest Virginia Catholic Church promises full disclosure on sex scandal
“The Catholic Church sex abuse scandal is one of the great tragedies of our time, with thousands of instances where men in positions of respect and authority abused children(link is external). The scandal was made even worse by church leaders who covered up the abuses. Most recently, a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed how the Catholic Church concealed 70 years of child sexual abuses by priests. The investigation identified more than 1,000 child sex abuse victims in six Pennsylvania dioceses.” By Hoppy Kercheval, MetroNews.com

AUSTRALIA

Former Catholic priest faces fresh allegations of assaulting boy
“A former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting multiple girls and boys(link is external) in Perth has been charged with another offence. Patrick Holmes, 83, originally faced 15 charges of child abuse over a 25 year period, but another charge involving the indecent assault of a young boy now brings his total charges to 16.” By Laura Hedges, Daily Mail Australia

Redress scheme amended after survivor outcry
“Child sexual abuse survivors will no longer be forced to disclose the impact of the abuse(link is external) to the institutions involved in order to join a national redress scheme. The federal government says it will ‘fine tune’ an application form for joining the scheme, so applicants can choose whether or not share an impact statement with the institution in which they were abused.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Oblate religious order covered up decades of sexual abuse of First Nations children, victims allege
“‘He’d let us drive. He knew how to do everything. We were impressed to see a priest act that way,’ recalls Jason Petiquay. Petiquay was 11 when he was sexually abused by Raynald Couture, an Oblate missionary(link is external) who worked in Wemotaci, Que., from 1981 to 1991. The Atikamekw community was one of many remote First Nations communities in Quebec where priests belonging to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate were spiritual leaders and authority figures for generations.” By CBC News on ca.news.yarhoo.com

Calgary priest faces allegations of sexual misconduct; bishop outlines new abuse protocol
“As Calgary’s Catholic bishop outlined steps being taken to prevent sexual abuse Wednesday (Oct. 10), officials said the diocese is facing allegations of sexual misconduct involving a Calgary priest(link is external). According to the diocese, the allegations involving a minor and an adult stem from the priest’s time at a Vancouver parish. The priest has been suspended in Calgary as the investigation in Vancouver takes place. Bishop William McGrattan said the allegations were announced in parishes in Vancouver, Edmonton and three in Calgary over the weekend.” By Yolanda Cole, Calgary Herald

CHILE

Chile abuse survivors say pope’s iron fist offers glimmer of hope
“For survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Chile, much about the Church’s response from Pope Francis and others in the hierarchy strikes them as too slow, too ambiguous, and too little. They say a recent case in which the pontiff acted with more of an iron fist, however, offered a glimmer of hope(link is external). ‘I can say that this is a small door of hope for victims and survivors who still haven’t been able to recognize their pain, who cannot speak or even comprehend the suffering they were put through,’ said Abel Soto, a man who was abused by former Archbishop Francisco Cox of Chile, who was expelled from the priesthood by Francis last week.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Government inquiry documents abuse at Catholic orphanages in Scotland
“A new report published Thursday (Oct. 5) in Scotland shows that children suffered abuse at two children’s care homes run by a Catholic religious order(link is external), both of which have been closed for decades. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) said that the two children’s facilities run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul – Smyllum Park in Lanark and Bellevue House in Rutherglen – were ‘places of fear, coercive control, threat, excessive discipline and emotional, physical and sexual abuse, where they found no love, no compassion, no dignity and no comfort.’” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

GUAM

Another Catholic priest accused of abuse in Guam
“A lawsuit filed on Guam has accused another Catholic priest of child sex abuse in the 1970s. The 5-million dollar lawsuit alleges that Father George Maddock abused the 9-year-old altar boy while swimming. This is the first lawsuit against Father Maddock, who died recently in New York. But several other priests on Guam – including former Archbishop Anothony Apuron – face nearly 200 lawsuits alleging abuse and a subsequent cover-up.” By Radio New Zealand

INDIA

Telangana priest held in U.S. for sexual abuse of minor
“A Catholic priest from Telangana, preaching in Rapid City diocese in South Dakota state, was arrested in the United States for sexual contact with a minor(link is external). Thirty-eight-year-old John Praveen, also known as John Praveen Kumar Itukulapati, was arrested on Tuesday (Oct. 16) (Wednesday in India). He has been charged with two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16, a class 3 felony which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $30,000 on each count.” By MSN.com

NEW ZEALAND

Police investigating former Catholic priest
“An ex-Catholic priest living in Asia who was nicknamed ‘the Phantom Feeler’ by boys at a leading Wellington Catholic school is being investigated by police(link is external). A witness to the priest allegedly groping boys in the 1970s said the Church and school must do more to uncover the extent of Father AM Donnelly’s alleged crimes. Police recently interviewed two men in their 50s who said they saw the dormitory master groping a boy under the sheets one night in a dorm at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, in 1974.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

POLAND

Poland’s ruling party pressures cinemas to stop showing blockbuster film about Catholic Church abuse
“A new film exposing the ills of the Catholic Church(link is external) has proved a surprise hit in Poland and become a target of the Right-wing government. Kler (‘Clergy’) has drawn 3 million viewers in just two weeks, becoming one of the country’s biggest box office successes. The film has been praised for its handling of clerical child abuse, a major taboo in the deeply Catholic country.” By Dariusz Kalan, The Telegraph

SPAIN

How the Spanish Catholic Church has been hiding abuse cases for decades
“For decades, the Spanish Catholic Church has been keeping quiet on the majority of sexual abuse cases involving minors(link is external) of which it had knowledge or tried in its ecclesiastical courts. The facts of these incidents were not passed on to the public prosecutor, nor were sentences imposed against pedophile priests made public, apart from a handful of exceptions – most of which were forced.” By Jose Manuel Romero and Julio Nunez, El Pais

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