You’re surprised by pedophile priests? Here’s how to stop them / Sacramento Bee

What’s happening shows the church is a closed society of men in desperate need of forced transparency … But the problem won’t go away as long as bishops, priests and lay people worship the men in the collars over the people they are supposed to minister, over the law, and over the teachings of God that is supposed to guide the church. (Sacramento Bee)

Since he became the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento a decade ago, Jaime Soto has chosen to remove priests accused of pedophilia or misconduct. This is in contrast to shielding them, as other bishops have in now-infamous coverups of child abuse being investigated by law enforcement authorities in several states.

“Soto learned. The question is, has the rest of the church?

“Mind you, Soto’s approach of hewing to the law over the loyalty to a fraternity of priests and bishops was informed by years when he did the opposite. He acted in a way that showed he cared more about the priests doing the abusing than the children; believed that therapy for pedophiles was the way to go; he would comment on the sexual abuse of priests without really knowing the facts.

“He thought that sex abuse by priests needed to be kept secret.

“Soto believed in all those falsehoods when he was rising through the ranks of the Diocese of Orange County, his home base before moving to Sacramento at the end of 2007, and he acted on them accordingly. What pains him most now is a letter he wrote to a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to plead for mercy for a priest who preyed on altar boys …

“This is what almost never gets discussed among lay Catholics – our own complicity. Soto readily admits now that he was wrong to advocate for Andersen. He was wrong to believe that treatment can help some hardened pedophiles. He was wrong to believe that keeping these abuses quiet was the way to go.

“But plenty of lay people went along for the ride, including parishioners and church lawyers who advised bishops for years to cover up and protect against liability …”

By Marcos Breton, Sacramento Bee — Read more …

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Sanctions, sex abuse and silence: a primer on the pope saga / Associated Press

Here is a look at the scandal, which has split the U.S. Catholic hierarchy and further tarnished Francis’ record on abuse. (Associated Press)

Two weeks after Pope Francis’ papacy was thrown into crisis by accusations that he covered up sexual misconduct by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Francis has refused to respond, his accuser has changed his story and a host of new characters have entered the fray.

“Cardinals, bishops, priests and ordinary faithful are demanding answers, given that the Vatican knew since at least 2000 about allegations McCarrick had bedded seminarians.

“Francis is coming under increasing pressure to respond to claims by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that he rehabilitated McCarrick from sanctions Pope Benedict XVI had imposed.

“Here is a look at the scandal, which has split the U.S. Catholic hierarchy and further tarnished Francis’ record on abuse.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …

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Letter confirms Vatican officials knew of McCarrick allegations in 2000 / National Catholic Reporter

The 2006 letter not only confirms past remarks made by Ramsey, but also elements of a document written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016. (National Catholic Reporter)

A top official from the Vatican Secretariat of State acknowledged allegations made by a New York priest in 2000 concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, according to a letter obtained by Catholic News Service.

“Fr. Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in New York City, told CNS Sept. 7 that he received the letter dated Oct. 11, 2006, from then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute for general affairs, asking for information regarding a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark who studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary and was being vetted for a post at a Vatican office. He made the letter available to CNS.

“Sandri wrote to Ramsey, ‘I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.'”

By Robert Duncan, Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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New York attorney general’s office has issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state / The Washington Post

As Catholics looked to their own leaders to follow Pennsylvania’s and now New York’s example — D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, for one, has said that his phone has been ringing off the hook since the Pennsylvania report — some states have noted they have different laws than Pennsylvania. (The Washington Post)

“The New York attorney general’s office has issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state, becoming the latest U.S. state to embark on a major investigation of sex crimes committed and covered up by Catholic priests. And New Jersey quickly followed on Thursday (Sept. 6), announcing a criminal task force focused on investigating sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“A person familiar with the New York investigation said that the attorney general’s office sent civil subpoenas to the eight Catholic dioceses. The Associated Press first reported the subpoenas.

“The subpoenas are part of an ongoing civil investigation by the attorney general’s Charities Bureau, which is looking into whether the nonprofit dioceses covered up sexual abuse of minors. Separately, the criminal division is working with district attorneys in the state who might convene grand juries to investigate crimes committed by priests. On Thursday, Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced a telephone hotline and an online form for victims and witnesses of child abuse committed by clergy in the state of New York to contact investigators.”

By Julie Zauzmer and Mark Berman, The Washington Post — Read more …

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Study: U.S. religious orders overwhelmingly back women deacons / Associated Press in America magazine

Advocates for expanding the ministry to include women say doing so would provide women with greater role in the ministry and governance of the church, while also helping address the effects of the Catholic priest shortage in parts of the world by allowing women to perform some priestly functions. (Associated Press in America: The Jesuit Review)

A new survey has found that the majority of U.S. Catholic religious orders believe women should be allowed to serve as ordained deacons, lending support to an issue currently under study at the Vatican amid pressure for women to be given greater roles in the church.

Seventy-seven percent of both male and female superiors in the U.S. believe such ordination is theoretically possible, and 72 percent think the church should go ahead and authorize it, according to the study released Thursday by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.

Only 45 percent, however, believe the church will actually do it, the study found.

Deacons are ordained ministers, not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.

Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

Deacons are ordained ministers, not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.

Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Every attorney general in the country must force the Catholic Church to tell the truth / The Boston Globe

The truth we can handle. It is the endless cover-up we must no longer abide. (The Boston Globe)

It is often said that for the Roman Catholic Church, rapid change can take decades. But who knew that law enforcement officials with subpoena power could be equally slow in recognizing their responsibility to bring into full light the hideous crimes by the church that have laid waste to the lives of tens of thousands of children?

“Sixteen years later — too much later — it is now time for a full and final reckoning. In the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, prosecutors in every state should finally find the backbone to force the church to tell the truth. The truth we can handle. It is the endless cover-up we must no longer abide.

“Until recently, few could have credibly argued — as some are now trying — that Pope Francis and his point man on the sexual abuse scandal, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, should resign. They were, after all, the two men in the Vatican who seemed committed to cauterizing the wounds from a scandal that spools endlessly along. But in light of recent allegations about how, or whether, they dealt with the serial sexual misdeeds of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, their reputations, if not their jobs, are in jeopardy.”

By Walter V. Robinson, The Boston Globe — Read more …

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It’s time to choose the painful path of purification / National Catholic Reporter

If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ. (National Catholic Reporter)

The Catholic community has arrived at a point in its history so seared by raw reality that we are all left with nothing to lean against or hide behind. Our leaders, drained of authority and credibility, can only follow as we move beyond overburdened expressions, beyond even the content of our normal prayers. We grasp for some new psalm of lamentation to fit this horrid moment and search for a new way to live as a Catholic community.

“The scandal of children sexually abused by priests whose acts were covered up by bishops has been in the public eye in gruesome detail for more than 30 years. The Pennsylvania grand jury report, for instance, was not the first nor was it worse in detail than others were. Why it should spark the public conscience and the outrage of Catholics as it has doesn’t matter. A new moment is upon us.

“The papacy of Francis, so promising of needed reform, stands at an inflection point. Either he handles this crisis with effective, wide-ranging and concrete actions, or his tenure will go down as a disappointing failure.

“Most important, the current moment must lead to a radical reform of Catholic clerical culture and the meaning of ordination itself. If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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