Posts Tagged Catholic Church reform

Francis summons world’s bishop presidents to Rome for meeting on clergy abuse / National Catholic Reporter

Although the pope meets frequently with groups of bishops from particular countries, a pontiff has never before called all the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences to Rome. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has called all of the presidents of the world’s various conferences of Catholic bishops to Rome for a February meeting on clergy sexual abuse, in the first such global summons by a pontiff.

“Paloma García Ovejero, the vice director of the Vatican press office, announced the decision in a Sept. 12 briefing, saying the pontiff decided to make the move during a meeting of his advisory Council of Cardinals and has already set the dates for the encounter as Feb. 21-24.

“‘The Holy Father, hearing from the Council of Cardinals, has decided to call a meeting with the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of ‘protection of minors,” said García. ‘The meeting with the pope will take place at the Vatican.’

“Announcement of the first-of-its-kind meeting comes as Francis is under intense global scrutiny for his handling of clergy sexual abuse after former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Vigano released a document Aug. 26 alleging a systemic cover-up of allegations against now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — 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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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup



TOP STORIES

Catholic priests abused 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says
“Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years(link is external), persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday (Aug. 14). The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Cardinal Wuerl proposes national panel to investigate allegations against bishops
“Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl has proposed that the national conference of U.S. Catholic bishops create a new high-level panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by one of its member bishops(link is external). In an NCR interview focused on how the American church should address the wider systemic questions raised by the revelations of sexual abuse by his predecessor, now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Wuerl also suggested that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel’s findings.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Albany bishop says laypeople should investigate misconduct by U.S. bishops
“Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany said today (Aug. 6) that laypeople, not bishops, should lead inquiries into allegations of misconduct by U.S. bishops(link is external). Bishop Scharfenberger was responding to an idea advanced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in an interview published on Aug. 6 by The National Catholic Reporter. He suggested that the U.S. bishops might create a commission of bishops to investigate rumors of sexual misconduct by other bishops, passing concerns on to a Vatican office.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigns amid sexual abuse scandal
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, from the College of Cardinals, ordering him to a ‘life of prayer and penance’ after allegations that the cardinal sexually abused minors and adult seminarians(link is external) over the course of decades, the Vatican announced on Saturday (Jul. 28). Acting swiftly to contain a widening sex abuse scandal at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope officially suspended the cardinal from the exercise of any public ministry after receiving his resignation letter Friday evening (Jul. 27). Pope Francis also demanded in a statement that the prelate remain in seclusion ‘until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.’” By Elisabetta Povoledo and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

Church sex scandal: abuse victims want a full reckoning
“Six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania joined the list this week of those around the U.S. that have been forced to face the ugly truth about child-molesting priests in their ranks. But in dozens of other dioceses, there has been no reckoning(link is external), leading victims to wonder if the Church will ever truly take responsibility or be held accountable.” By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Boston, Lincoln open inquiries into misconduct among seminarians, priests
“Two U.S. bishops opened investigations this month following a series of online allegations reporting sexual misconduct, excessive alcohol abuse and behavior unbefitting the priesthood among seminarians(link is external) and by those overseeing their development. In Boston, the accusations involved St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, with two former seminarians alleging a culture of heavy drinking and illicit sexual behavior among students and with faculty. The other probe focuses on Lincoln, Nebraska — regarded as perhaps the most orthodox diocese in the country — where a series of allegations have emerged, including against a popular, now-deceased vocations director accused of making sexual advances while having seminarians help him shower.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican lawyers explain how Vatican abuse trials function
“Any member of the clergy accused of the sexual abuse of a minor is tried according to procedures outlined in the Code of Canon Law(link is external) and specific norms spelled out in Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (‘Safeguarding the Sanctity of the Sacraments’). Normally those trials take place in the diocese where the crime occurred, but under the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, when the accused is a bishop, it is up to the pope to determine the way to proceed.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Cruxnow.com

On Cardinal Sodano and the meaning of ‘accountability’
“Where it gets stickier is when the charge isn’t committing a crime or a cover-up, at least not directly, but simply being on the wrong side of history – showing such poor judgment, such tone-deafness and insensitivity, as to suggest ignorance of the magnitude and depth of the abuse crisis, thereby rendering the Church’s response weaker and less convincing. If there is accountability for that sort of lapse in the Catholic Church(link is external), you certainly couldn’t tell it judging by the current Dean of the College of Cardinals.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Past review board members: independent inquiry into seminarian abuse needed
“In 2002, in the aftermath of the clergy sex abuse scandal, the U.S. bishops created a National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People as a watchdog on the anti-abuse policies, known as the ‘Dallas Charter,’ which the bishops had made the law of the land. Now some members of that initial board are calling for an independent investigation(link is external) of sexual abuse of seminarians and other vulnerable adults, including allegations against one of the country’s most prominent church leaders, retired Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

U.S. sisters demand action on sexual abuse crisis
“A group representing 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States is adding its support to other sisters around the world who are calling for an end to sexual abuse and harassment of women religious(link is external), an issue brought to light most recently by a story written by The Associated Press. ‘We join with all those demanding the end of a culture that ignores or tolerates sexual abuse of Catholic sisters or any other adult or minor perpetrated by those in positions of trust in the church community,’ the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said in a statement.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

How can the church punish bad bishops?
“The recent sex abuse scandal involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick raises once again the question of how the church can punish bad priests and bishops(link is external), especially when the state cannot because of the statute of limitations or other reasons. In the bad old days when the church had the Inquisition, the church could sentence bad clerics to prison, torture or death. So, what can the church do today?” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Australian archbishop convicted of sex abuse cover-ups resigns
“In his second major move on sex abuse in just three days, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson(link is external) of Adelaide following a conviction earlier this month of failure to report allegations of child sexual abuse. The Vatican announced Wilson’s resignation July 30, just three days after Francis made a historic move in accepting the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals after accusations arose that he sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Honduran auxiliary bishop accused of sexual misconduct resigns
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Juan José Pineda, auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa(link is external), Honduras, following a Vatican investigation into accusations of financial mismanagement and sexual misconduct against seminarians. The bishop, 57, has long been the subject of accusations of financial misdealings, as well as rumors that he offered support to a male companion using archdiocesan funds. He serves under papal advisor and archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga (head of Pope Francis’ council of nine cardinal advisors), who has also been accused of financial misconduct.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT

List: Names, details of 301 Pennsylvania priest sex abuse allegations in Catholic dioceses
“On Aug. 14, Pennsylvania released a statewide grand jury report on what the state attorney general’s office called an ‘honest and comprehensive accounting of widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests(link is external).’ The report, more than 800 pages long, lists the name of 301 priests and provides details into specific accusations. The investigation included six dioceses in the state – Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Below are the names listed in the grand jury report, along with where clergy members served and details of allegations …” By Anthony J. Machcinski, Sam Ruland, Rick Lee and Matt Allibone, York Daily Record

Clergy sex abuse report delivers a scathing rebuke on Catholic Church officials
“In 1967, Father Gregory Flohr of the Diocese of Greensburg began to sexually molest a 10-year-old boy. The first time he molested the boy, he told him, ‘God loved all His children’ … The story of Flohr’s victim illustrates the devastation that is the latest chapter of the long-running clergy sex abuse of children(link is external) in the Catholic Church in this country.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

‘It’s really hard to be a Catholic’: the pain of reading the sex abuse report
“John Cabon stood quietly and crossed himself before a statue of the Virgin Mary outside St. Paul’s, the mother church of the Pittsburgh Diocese. ‘I keep the faith,’ said Mr. Cabon, 64, on the way to noon Mass. His sister, he said, had left the faith when explosive revelations of sexual abuse rocked the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. He had refused. ‘You don’t really believe everything, you know.’ But inside the church, there was no escaping the abuse scandal(link is external), which has entered a new chapter after monstrous revelations were released in a grand jury report on Tuesday (Aug. 14), describing the abuse of more than 1,000 young people at the hands of hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania.” By Campbell Robertson and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external), listing more than 300 accused clergy and detailing a “systematic” coverup effort by church leaders over 70 years. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but the grand jury believes there are more.” By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post

Pennsylvania grand jury accuses over 300 priests of abuse, bishops of cover-up
“More than 300 Pennsylvania priests were accused of committing sexual assault and their bishops covering up(link is external) for them in a wide-ranging grand jury report that detailed some of the most damning accusations brought against the Catholic Church. ‘There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church; the grand jury wrote in a report released today. ‘But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: It happened everywhere.’” By Mark Dent, National Catholic Reporter

Pennsylvania report documents over 1,000 victims of priest abuse
“In an emotional press conference on Tuesday (Aug. 14), Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro unveiled a more than 800-page grand jury report that chronicles seven decades of sexual abuse of children(link is external) by priests in six Catholic dioceses and the ‘systematic cover up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.’ Mr. Shapiro said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims. He said members of the grand jury told him they believe the number of victims is much larger.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Some coverage leading up to Aug. 14 release of Pennsylania’s grand jury report

CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK RESIGNATION

Change the clerical culture: why is predatory behavior by priests permitted?
“Emerging details about the scope and duration of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexually abusive behavior once more underscore the fact that an institutional sickness afflicts the Catholic Church(link is external). A predator priest can ascend to princely rank only if the clerical culture around him enables those who are complicit by their silence and failure to act. The behavior of ‘Uncle Ted,’ as the cardinal insisted he be called by his preferred victims, was something of an open secret at elite levels of the church.” By John Gehring, Commonweal

How to respond to the McCarrick scandal
“In the weeks since reports of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse of seminarians and minors began to appear, there has been a chorus of cries for an investigation—not just into how the incidents of abuse took place, but also into how McCarrick advanced in the hierarchy despite them. The investigation must find the culprits who, knowing McCarrick’s misdeeds, were responsible for his ecclesiastical advancement … The good news is that there is an alternative to a convict-and-punish response(link is external) to the scandal. Rather than embarking on a lengthy, frustrating, and probably fruitless search for justice through identifying culprits in the McCarrick case, the American bishops can immediately begin to address the systemic issues embodied in that scandal.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

McCarrick renounces place in College of Cardinal after revelations of abuse
“Retired Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has renounced his position in the College of Cardinals(link is external), leaving the global Catholic Church’s most symbolic and powerful group in the wake of revelations that he sexually harassed or abused several young men during his meteoric rise to become one of the U.S. church’s most senior prelates. The move, announced in a press release from the U.S. bishops July 28, is without precedence since the founding of the American church with the creation of the diocese of Baltimore in 1789. While several U.S. cardinals have come under scrutiny in recent decades for their handling of abuse cases, none prior had set aside their red cardinalatial robes.” By Joshua J. McElwee and Heidi Schlumpf

Former papal advisor on abuse reacts to Wuerl’s statement on McCarrick scandal
“A former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has said that proposals made by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal do not go far enough(link is external). Marie Collins, who is herself a survivor of clerical abuse, also said that the actions taken by Church leaders thus far in response to the McCarrick allegations, are not sufficient to resolve the problem.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

POPE FRANCIS

Pennsylvania sexual abuse report is another setback for Pope Francis
“The damning report on the sexual abuse of potentially thousands of children by priests in Pennsylvania, and the subsequent cover-up by a Catholic church primarily interested in self-protection, is another blow for Pope Francis(link is external), who is already reeling after a series of damaging scandals over recent months.” By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

Pope Francis meets with Chilean abuse prevention council
“Pope Francis met on Friday (Aug. 10) morning with Chilean Bishop Juan Ignacio González of San Bernardo and Ana Maria Celis Brunet(link is external), President of the Chilean National Council for Abuse Prevention and the Care for Victims. The meeting took place at the Pope’s residence in the Casa Santa Marta. A statement from the Holy See Press Office said the purpose of the meeting was ‘to update each other and exchange opinions on the steps being taken in Chile to address the cases of abuse and ensure they never happen again.’” By Vatican News

Chilean bishops’ efforts to prevent sex abuse affirmed by Pope Francis
“Pope Francis on Friday (Aug. 3) wrote to the Chilean bishops’ conference(link is external) to express his approval of their newly-adopted plan to prevent future instances of sex abuse within the Church. ‘I was impressed by the work of reflection, discernment, and decisions that you have made,’ the Pope wrote in his Aug. 5 letter to Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales of Chile’s military diocese, who is president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.” By Catholic News Service

Will Pope Francis solve the abuse crisis
“Since taking office five years ago, Pope Francis has carried the torch for progressive Catholic reform. His modest lifestyle and commitment to ‘a poor Church for the poor,’ his emphasis on mercy, and his attacks on clericalism, have set him at odds with the doctrinaire and the traditionalist … But in confronting the biggest challenge to the Church’s credibility since the Reformation(link is external), the sexual abuse crisis, Francis stumbled badly. Indeed, he seemed for a while to be retreating from the relatively tough approach of his immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI.” By Mark Silk, Religion News Service

No question, Pope Francis made history Saturday on McCarrik
“It’s really not that often one can say with certainty that we witnessed history being made at a specific moment, but Saturday (Jul. 28) brought such an occasion with a Vatican announcement that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external) from the College of Cardinals. It’s an unprecedented move in the United States, the first time an American cardinal has ever renounced his red hat, and it’s the first time anywhere in the world has exited the college altogether facing accusations of sexual abuse. It is, therefore, the most tangible confirmation to date from Francis that when he says ‘zero tolerance,’ he means everybody.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis has utterly failed to tackle the church’s abuse scandal
“ … But the church is now reaping what it sowed(link is external): like long-festering sores, the suppressed scandals are erupting everywhere. The greatest of those involve accusations about members of the hierarchy themselves as abusers. Some remained hidden until now because pliant priests have been reluctant to ‘shop’ their bishops, even when they themselves have been abused as young altar boys and seminarians.” By Catherine Pepinster, The Guardian

CARDINALS

Cardinal Errázuriz of Chile responds to Crux series
“Crux recently published a three-part series by senior correspondent Elise Harris exploring ties between Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz of Chile, a close papal confidante, and Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, who’s now accused of sexual abuse and abuses of power and conscience(link is external) within the prominent lay movement he founded. Part one can be found here(link is external), part two here(link is external), and part three here(link is external). In response, Errázuriz wrote a letter to Crux which was published in a Chilean newspaper and is reproduced here, in full, in English translation.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Chilean cardinal may be next test for Pope on sex abuse reform
“Having accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis seems to have passed one important test(link is external) in terms of his willingness to impose accountability for clerical sexual abuse even on the highest-ranking clerics in the Catholic system. If Francis is looking around for an opportunity to scale that second mountain in his reform campaign, there’s an increasingly strong case to be made that retired Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz may just be his man.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

Abuse letter to Cardinal O’Malley was second priest sent officials
“In a June 2015 letter to Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley obtained by Catholic News Service, a New York priest tells the prelate about ‘sexual abuse/harassment/intimidation’ allegations(link is external) he had heard concerning then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and asks that if the matter doesn’t fall under his purview, to forward it to the ‘proper agency in the Vatican.’” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
— Details of second letter priest sent to Cardinal O’Malley describing McCarrick abuse(link is external)By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

U.S. bishops call for apostolic visitation into McCarrick abuse case
“The head of the U.S. bishops said they will invite the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation to the country(link is external) to lead a ‘full investigation” into questions still surrounding revelations of sexual abuse by former cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. In addition, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the bishops will take steps to create channels for easier reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops, and will push for better procedures under canon law to resolve complaints made against bishops.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Pennsylvania grand jury report: details of how Harisburg bishops ‘enabled the offenders’
“On Aug. 1, the Diocese of Harrisburg said that the name of every one of its bishops since 1947 would be removed from any building(link is external), facility or room in the diocese. The diocese made that announcement as it released the names of more than 70 clergy members accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct with children, and as Bishop Ronald W. Gainer apologized for the abuse and the leaders who failed to respond appropriately.” By Ed Mahon, York Daily Record

U.S Bishops’ Conference: ‘We are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omission’ by clergy
“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement on behalf of Conference President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galviston-Huston and Chairman for the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana, following the release of the grand jury report(link is external) …” By Becky Metrick, PennLive.com

Pennsylvania lawmaker criticizes Catholic bishops for putting church’s reputation ahead of child protection
“Learning that a statewide grand jury looking into clergy sex abuse(link is external) suggests their child victims likely numbered in the thousands, a state lawmaker said that alone should be enough to prompt state lawmakers to change the law to tip the scales of justice in abuse victims’ favor.” By Jan Murphy, PennLive.com

U.S. Catholic bishops could be forced out of office by a horrific dossier on sex abuse
“A Pennsylvania grand jury report released last night (Aug. 14) has revealed that the Catholic Church in six dioceses systematically and sneakily covered up sexual abuse(link is external) by priests on a horrifying scale. The American Church has now been plunged into the worst crisis in its history.” By Damian Thompson, The Spectator

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory’s statement in response to the resignation of Theodore McCarrick
“As shepherd of the Catholic Church in Atlanta and united with my brother bishops under Pope Francis in service to Jesus Christ and His Church, I express my profound anger, sadness, and distress concerning sexual abuse by Church leaders(link is external) of children, young people and those over whom they exercised authority … While the current leadership of the USCCB considers next steps, I strongly encourage that they engage the laity in reviewing and recommending courses of action that will assure the faithful that we are serious in curing this blight from our Church and from episcopal governance once and for all.” By Atlanta Archbishop Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, in The Georgia Bulletin

Amid McCarrick revelations, Anchorage archbishop outlines an action plan
“As a number of bishops float ideas for how the U.S. church should respond in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse by one of its highest prelates, at least one bishop’s proposal stands out for its specificity(link is external). Archbishop Paul Etienne of Anchorage, in an Aug. 1 blog post titled ‘The Body of Christ is Hurting,’ has put forth a seven-point plan ‘for further study and review,’ which suggests the immediate formation of an ad hoc committee of bishops, the creation of a National Review Board of bishops and lay people that reports directly to the Vatican and a timeline of 60 days for transparency to the wider church.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

‘Dear Troubled Catholics’: Church needs spiritual renewal
“Since I have returned from Bolivia, I have become aware of the developments regarding now-Abp. Theodore McCarrick. I, along with all those who love the Church, am dismayed, disgusted, and numbed when I think of those who have been harmed by his behavior. While I would rather not address the situation publicly, to not address it is to stick my head in the sand. The following article, condensed from a longer article by Ralph Martin at Renewal Ministries, expresses my feelings and perhaps your feelings(link is external), too. It is entitled, ‘Dear Troubled Catholics’ (following is the full letter) …” Posted by Bishop Edward M. Rice, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau on diocesan website

Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley: legal transparency and pastoral accountability needed
“Following is the text of a statement from Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley released by the Archdiocese of Boston Aug. 15 following release of Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy abuse in six diocese: ‘There are times when words fail us – when they do not capture the depth of overwhelming situations we sometimes face in life. For the Church in the United States this is one of those times …’” By The Pilot Staff

President of U.S. Bishops Conference issues statement on course of action responding to moral failures on part of Church leaders
“Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement noting the steps the U.S. Bishops Conference will take(link is external) in addressing the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God.” By USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo

The Catholic Church needs a way to deal with bad bishops
“As the sexual abuse scandal surrounding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick continued to spread in the past week, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, acknowledged on Monday (July 23) that ‘a major gap still exists in the church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse(link is external).’ O’Malley, who is also the archbishop of Boston, noted that while the church has a zero-tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of minors by priests, there is a need for clearer norms and procedures for investigating and judging bishops. But O’Malley’s statement raises further questions.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

Bishop Barron calls for evangelization, apologetics in upcoming youth synod
“The upcoming synod on young people is an opportunity(link is external) for evangelization, especially to those who have left the Catholic Church or organized religion altogether, said one of the bishop delegates ratified by Pope Francis this week. “I don’t know any issue more pressing now in the life of the church than addressing the problem of the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young,” Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron told NCR in an email interview.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Sex abuse expert: crisis is a call to a new vision of the priesthood
“A Jesuit priest who has been on the frontline of advocating for survivors of clerical sexual abuse and developing detailed programs to prevent abuse said the crisis unfolding, again, in the United States is a summons to a new way of envisioning the church and taking responsibility for it(link is external). ‘I am not surprised’ by the new reports of abuse, ‘I do not think it will stop soon and, at the same time, I think it is necessary and should be seen in the framework of evolving a more consistent practice of accountability,’ said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Upcoming LCWR assembly will continue the call to communion
“The 2018 assembly for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is picking up exactly where last year’s meeting left off: with a call to communion inspired by 2017’s Outstanding Leadership Award recipient(link is external), Carmelite Sr. Constance Fitzgerald. Roughly 800 sisters in leadership in their respective communities will gather Aug. 7-10 in St. Louis to reflect on this year’s theme: ‘Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Communion.’ LCWR, which represents approximately 80 percent of about 48,500 women religious in the United States, sees ‘being the presence of love’ as one of the most important roles of women religious in this era, said Sr. Annmarie Sanders of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, LCWR’s associate director of communications.” By Soli Salgado, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Irish sex abuse survivors say Francis should admit to Vatican’s cover-up
“Several prominent Irish clergy sexual abuse survivors are calling on Pope Francis(link is external) to use his upcoming visit to their country at the end of August to admit to the Vatican’s role for decades in helping cover-up abuse cases on the island. Noting that the pontiff publicly decried a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’ in the Chilean Catholic Church in a letter to the people of that country in May, the Irish survivors say they are owed a similar admission about how the church sought to silence them and fellow victims.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

Study: Most U.S. superiors think women deacons ‘theoretically possible’
“A major new study has found that more than three-quarters of the leaders of religious orders of priests, brothers and sisters in the U.S. believe it is ‘theoretically possible’ to ordain women as deacons(link is external) in the Catholic Church. Nearly as many, according to the just-released report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, believe the church ‘should authorize’ the ordination of women to the diaconate.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Parishes must adapt to become all they can be
“The declining numbers of clergy and of church-goers, and our new, multicultural society pose challenges to our Catholic-identity communities(link is external), says Fr. Éamonn Fitzgibbon. The notion of parish is deeply embedded in Irish culture. A parish gives us a sense of where we are from and where we belong. It is tied up with our sense of identity and place. Partly because of the GAA’s ‘parish rule’ and the proliferation of clubs throughout Ireland, and partly as a means of marking territory and setting boundaries, the Irish parish has always been about more than religion.” By Irish Examiner

VOICES

What can I say to my kids when they ask why we keep faith in this church?
“We make the effort, however imperfectly, because I want my son and daughter to know that our faith is important(link is external), because I want them to choose to live it themselves one day, because I believe it is good. And my belief in the good at the heart of our faith is why I have tried hard to contribute to the institution, too: to find community in our parish, to spend hours researching local Catholic schools, saving to pay for them, budgeting to make donations to the church, to Catholic charities. And then I came home from Mass, and while the kids napped beside me, I started reading the grand jury report of sexual abuse in several dioceses of Pennsylvania.” By Kerry Weber, America: The Jesuit Review

The virtues of Catholic anger
“Every American Catholic I know is angry — with good reason. The recent release of a grand jury investigation into 70 years of sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania is appalling in its breadth and detail … Catholic wrath burns hot(link is external). Chief among those enraged are victims and their families, several of whom I know, many whose lives have been destroyed by sexual violence. Catholics not directly affected by the abuse are furious at both abusive priests and the bishops who covered up their crimes, and many have had their faith in the church severely shaken. Many believed that after the sex abuse scandals of 2002, the church had “moved on” and so feel poleaxed by these new stories.” By James Martin, S.J., The New York Times

A priest responds to the Catholic Church’s ‘summer of shame’
“A few weeks before I was ordained a Catholic priest in the late autumn of 1994, my superior in the seminary told me that, in his opinion, it was probably the most difficult time in a century to become a priest(link is external). Yet, he went on, it was also the most exciting time. I really did not take much notice of what he said. In fact, in my overconfidence, I thought he was talking nonsense.” By Benedict Kiley, National Review

Money talks: should Catholics cease their stewardship in wake of latest scandal
“When Ralph Martin of Renewal Ministries wrote his ‘Letter to Troubled Catholics’ in response to the latest clergy sexual-abuse scandal, he quoted a Catholic who suggested sending Church leaders a message by withholding donations(link is external). Martin said the disaffected Catholic told him the only way things will change is if the faithful stop giving to the bishops’ national collections and to diocesan and parish collections — ‘unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade and govern accordingly.’” By Judy Roberts, National Catholic Register

On the immoral cover-up of abuse in Catholic Church
“In anticipation of findings, however redacted, of a statewide grand jury investigation into sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, I revisited a 2005 grand jury report on the same topic in Philadelphia(link is external). Thirteen years later, it’s as horrific as it was back then. Findings included ‘how dozens of priests (at least 63) sexually abused hundreds of children’ and ‘how Philadelphia Archdiocese officials — including Cardinal (Anthony) Bevilacqua and Cardinal (John) Krol — excused and enabled the abuse.’ Details were sickening.” By John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News

Is transparency a cure-all?
“The history of the church is a history of saints and sinners. Lately the sinful part is certainly more visible than the saintly. In the run-up to the great jubilee year 2000, John Paul II officially apologized for the church’s sins(link is external), and this seem to have had an impact on public opinion. But all that seems like a long time ago now … It is now clear to many that the scandal of clerical sexual abuse is the most serious crisis the church has faced since the Reformation.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Reflections on the abuse saga: it’s not just about McCarrick
“In recent days, I’ve found myself diving deeply into the drama that the Catholic Church is living in Chile(link is external) amid one of the most colossal clerical sexual abuse crises ever to erupt. It’s disgusting. It’s criminal. It’s unforgivable. It has the capacity to undermine one’s faith. Yet time and time again, when I shared what I’ve written about it, including a 4,000-word report on a ring of homosexual predators that make the misdeeds of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick seem mild in comparison, I get messages on social media and in my email with Americans demanding I look into the fallen U.S. cardinal.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

McCarrick scandal illustrates the harm clericalism has done to the Church
“Twenty-five years ago, I published a book about clericalism in the Catholic Church(link is external)with the title ‘To Hunt, To Shoot, To Entertain’—a quotation from a 19th-century British monsignor capsulizing his view of what the laity are competent to do. The book was positively, though sparsely, reviewed and enjoyed modest sales. As far as I can tell, it accomplished little or nothing of a practical nature beyond earning me a reputation as a sorehead.” By Russell Shaw, AngelusNews.com

DiNardo should take real action for victims of pedophile priests
“It is too soon to know if a recent statement by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo signals a new — and more welcome — direction in the way the Catholic Church responds to accusations of sexual abuse by priests(link is external). Too soon to know if the words from DiNardo, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, will lead to substantive penalties against those who prey on children.” By Houston Chronicle Editorial Board

With McCarrick scandal, #MeToo arrives for the church
“On July 28, we woke up to front-page news about my former archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals. He is the first and only cardinal to resign from the college as a part of the worldwide sexual abuse scandal(link is external). While two of McCarrick’s victims were minors, it appears that most were adult males. Most often, they were seminarians and priests under his authority. In McCarrick, the child abuse scandal is joined to the #MeToo movement. By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Why would a priest or seminarian not report sexual harassment by a superior?
“Why would Catholic priests and seminarians be so reluctant to report allegations of sexual harassment or abuse from bishops(link is external), priests or religious superiors? This question has been raised repeatedly in the wake of the allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who on Saturday resigned from the College of Cardinals. McCarrick is accused of abusing a minor as well as sexually harassing seminarians and young priests.” By James Martin, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

‘There’s going to be a raid’: a Chilean prosecutor forces Catholic Church to give up secrets
“Two special envoys sent by Pope Francis to investigate a child sex abuse scandal in Chile were meeting priests and Church workers at a university in the Chilean capital last month when aides rushed into the room with an alarming development: police and prosecutors were about to start raiding Church offices(link is external). The envoys were 90 minutes into a seminar on how to investigate allegations of sex abuse committed by fellow clergy following revelations that hundreds of children might have been molested. For decades, the Roman Catholic Church in Chile quietly investigated such allegations without alerting police, but it now stands accused, even by Pope Francis himself, of a cover-up that allowed abusers to operate with impunity.” By Aislinn Laing and Cassandra Garrison, Reuters

Three things that should happen now that McCarrick is no longer a cardinal
“Now that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick has resigned his cardinalate, what happens next? The canonical case against him will continue(link is external), but what have we learned in the past couple of months? What remains to be done to combat this cancer that is killing the church, a cancer that metastasized beyond the abuse of children to the abuse of adults? There are three parts to the ecclesial conversion that the McCarrick scandal makes clear. First, we need institutional mechanisms and procedures to hold bishops accountable … [second] a further conversion of the clerical culture … the third and final conversion must be spiritual.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Can Pope Francis’ council of cardinals still deliver on reform?
“By most accounts, Pope Francis was elected with a mandate to reform the Roman Curia(link is external) — the complex network of dicasteries, commissions, and councils charged with the central administrative work of the Catholic Church- a network that, even to insiders and experts, more often resembles a rabbit warren than a well-defined system of governable offices with clear responsibilities.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

CHURCH FINANCES

Former Tulare Catholic priest won’t go to jail after embezzling $200K
“A former reverend at Tulare’s St. Rita’s Catholic Church was sentenced Wednesday (Aug. 8) to five years of probation(link is external), a recommendation from the county’s probation department and a request from the Fresno diocese. The sentencing was issued despite Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward asking for a stiffer penalty.” By Luis Hernandez, Visalia Times-Delta

‘Married’ Catholic bishop faces court case for embezzlement
“Catholics in a south Indian diocese want their bishop removed for allegedly misappropriating diocesan funds to lead a luxurious life with his wife and son. Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah, however, has denied the charges as baseless and aimed at tarnishing his image(link is external). Aggrieved Catholics filed a criminal complaint in a trial court in Andhra Pradesh state seeking action against the 56-year-old prelate after their efforts to get justice from the Vatican failed, Mesa Ravi Kumar, one of the two complaints in the case, told Matters India Aug. 3, a day after appearing before the court. He had filed the complaint in the court in June this year.” By Jose Kavi, National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Backing civil statute of limitations reform would be the best way bishops could help child sexual abuse victims
“If Bishop Gainer and his fellow Catholic bishops in Pennsylvania genuinely want to redress that harm, they should drop their opposition to reform of the commonwealth’s civil statute of limitations(link is external). A victim of child sexual abuse now has only until his or her 30th birthday to bring a civil suit in Pennsylvania (a criminal case must be brought before a victim’s 50th birthday).” By Lancaster Online Editorial Board

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Timeline of Catholic clergy child sex abuse claims: 1985 to now
“The following is a look back at the global timeline of clergy sex abuse cases(link is external) …” By PennLive Staff and Wire Reports

Catholic sexual abuse crisis deepens as authorities lag in response
“A two-year grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania resulted in what the state’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, called ‘the largest, most comprehensive report into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States(link is external).’ But the report, released Tuesday (Aug. 14), was not the first. In 2002, The Boston Globe revealed that Catholic authorities in the Boston Archdiocese had engaged in a massive cover-up of sex crimes committed by area priests, and investigations in other parts of the country have since uncovered similar patterns of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. The ongoing scandals amount to a deepening church crisis.” By Tom Gjelten, National Public Radio, on WBUR-FM News

Richard Sipe helped uncover pattern of clergy sex abuse
“When the Globe Spotlight team began its investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Richard Sipe was our guide(link is external), our teacher, our chief cheerleader. A gentle man with an easy laugh, he was also a former monk and priest, a psychotherapist, a scholar, and ideally suited to explain that the horrors we were discovering in Boston were not unusual — and quite probably part of a pattern throughout the church. Sipe, who was 85, died Wednesday in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego.” By Michael Rezendes, The Boston Globe

Lay woman’s saga illustrates clerical sexual abuse of adults
“Although most attention amid the clerical sexual abuse crisis has been on minors, recent cases of priests and bishops(link is external) who have taken advantage of vulnerable adults or those under their guidance also have come to light. One such case involves Theodore McCarrick, the 88-year-old retired Archbishop of Washington and Newark who resigned his post in the College of Cardinals following ‘credible and substantiated’ accusations of sexual abuse of minors and multiple accounts of sexual misconduct with seminarians.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Alleged misconduct at Brighton seminary prompts inquiry
“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Friday (Aug. 10) that he was placing the rector of a Brighton seminary on leave while an outside legal consultant investigates allegations of unspecified misconduct(link is external) at the educational facility. In a statement, O’Malley did not provide details of the alleged wrongdoing at St. John’s Seminary but said the accusations came from two seminarians who were enrolled at the theological school, which trains priests for ordination.” By Travis Andersen and Danny McDonald, The Boston Globe

MINNESOTA

Diocese names two Duluth priests as ‘credibly accused’
“A Duluth priest suing a man who has accused him of sexual abuse(link is external) has been added to the Diocese of Duluth’s list of priests it has determined to be ‘credibly accused.’ The Diocese announced on Sunday (Aug. 5) that the Rev. William C. Graham, who is arguing in his lawsuit that he has been falsely accused, and the Rev. Roland Antus were found to be credibly accused of sexual abuse following the Diocese’s investigation into the allegations.” By Lisa Kaczke, Duluth News Tribune

MONTANA

Judge approves $20 million settlement between diocese and sexual abuse victims
“The settlement ended a seven-year lawsuit involving 86 plaintiffs who had they had been sexually abused by Catholic nuns and priests(link is external) from the 1950s through the 1990s, according to a news release from Tamaki Law Offices, which represents 38 of the victims. The diocese’s insurer, Catholic Mutual, will pay $8 million of the settlement. The remaining $12 million will be divided as follows: $5 million from the Diocese, $4 million from individual parishes, $2 million from the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana and $1 million from St. Labre Indian School.” By KPAX-TV News

Montana Catholic diocese must identify 27 former clergy as abusers, settlement says
“The Great Falls-Billings Diocese will soon post online the names of 27 former clergy whose 50 years of sexual abuse in Eastern Montana(link is external) prompted two lawsuits and led the diocese to declare bankruptcy in 2017. The 86 individuals who were abused between 1943 and 1993 are now voting on the proposed $20 million settlement, announced in April.” By Phoebe Tollefson, Billings Gazette

NEBRASKA

‘We can’t sit back anymore’ – Lincoln diocese named in allegations
“It’s been a turbulent month so far for Lincoln’s Catholic leaders, who are facing fire for their mishandling of three priests accused of sexual assault(link is external), moral misconduct and an inappropriate relationship with an altar server. The allegations span two decades, but they only recently surfaced broadly and publicly in a wave of online articles and Facebook posts.” By Peter Salter, Lincoln Journal Star

Bishop says no cover-up in priest’s case but admits lack of transparency
“Lincoln Bishop James D. Conley apologized Aug. 4 for failing to be more transparent about a pastor removed from ministry and sent to treatment last year because the priest had developed ‘an emotionally inappropriate, non-sexual relationship with a 19-year-old(link is external) male which involved alcohol.’ He sent Father Charles Townsend, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Lincoln, to the Shalom Center in Houston for treatment.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

NEW JERSEY

Newark archdiocese to audit files in alleged abuse cases in wake of McCarrick scandal
“The head of New Jersey’s largest Catholic diocese has ordered a re-examination of sexual abuse cases involving clergy(link is external), officials said Friday (Aug. 10). With recent disclosures of secret settlements going back decades, and ongoing revelations by former seminarians and others about abuse allegedly suffered at the hands of priests, Cardinal Joseph Tobin has ‘arranged for an external firm to audit all the personal files’ of the Newark Archdiocese, according to a spokesman for the archdiocese.” By Ted Sherman, New Jersey Real Time News

How should priests report sex abuse by priests? N.J. diocese asks after McCarrick scandal
“One of New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses is bringing together a group of senior advisers to consider changing how priests can report sexual misconduct by fellow priests(link is external), church officials said Tuesday (Aug. 7). Bishop James Checchio, head of the Diocese of Metuchen, said the recent resignation of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has raised questions about whether his diocese needs to make big changes.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJAdvanceMedia

New Jersey native priest says he was sexually assaulted by two clergymen in Newark
“A priest who grew up in New Jersey is alleging that he was sexually assaulted decades ago by two clergymen(link is external) who continued working in the Newark Archdiocese after church officials determined his accusations to be believable but unproven.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK

Church helped priest accused of sex abuse get Disney World gig
“A Pennsylvania priest tortured an altar boy for over a year, sexually abusing him and beating him with a metal cross(link is external), then left the church for a gig at Walt Disney World — with a reference from the diocese, a grand jury report found.” By Tamar Lapin, New York Post

Complaints of Buffalo Diocese investigations reach the Vatican
“Complaints about how the Diocese of Buffalo investigates allegations of sexual abuse have reached the Vatican(link is external) and one of the pope’s chief confidants. Michael Taheri, the attorney for The Reverend Samuel Venne, says the preliminary investigations process run by the diocese is flawed. His complaints include how the Diocese of Buffalo does not always provide priests with copies of the accusation or allow the accused to meet with the Review Board that makes recommendations to the bishop on the merit of sexual abuse allegations.” By Daniel Telvock, WIVB-TV

Priest abused him as boy, man says
“Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary of Lochland Road was a place where young men considered life as a Capuchin friar. But for Peter Saracino, it was a place where he said he lost his soul. Saracino, a retired Marcus Whitman teacher who grew up in Seneca Falls and now lives in Phelps, claims a Capuchin priest abused him when he was 8 or 9(link is external) at the former Catholic seminary, which is now the upscale resort Geneva On the Lake.” By Steve Buchiere, Finger Lakes Times

Critic of clergy abuse compensation program: ‘it’s a virtual black hole’
“Administrators of a Diocese of Buffalo program to compensate childhood victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) will consider whether the diocese had ‘prior notice’ of an alleged abuser’s conduct as they determine how much money the victims should get. But it’s unclear if diocesan officials are under any obligation to hand over personnel files that show whether the diocese knew a priest was prone to abuse. That’s one of the compensation program’s major shortcomings, according to lawyers for some of the victims. People who make claims of abuse with the diocese aren’t told what information, if any, the diocese provides to program administrators.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Alleged victim interviewed by diocese a month after priest returns to service
“A priest cleared after accusations of abuse is under investigation(link is external) a second time a month after returning to service. A victim was interviewed by diocesan officials Monday (Jul. 30), claiming Father Dennis Riter of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Dunkirk abused him years ago.” By Katie Gibas, Spectrum Local News

Buffalo priest sex abuse scandal
“A third alleged victim of Father Dennis Riter testified(link is external) before the Diocese of Buffalo this morning, one month after the diocese made a controversial decision to return the accused priest to his Dunkirk parish.” By WBKW-TV

PENNSYLVANIA

Our Mother of Consolation priest on leave after allegation of sexual abuse
“Rev. Mark Plaushin, a priest at Our Mother of Consolation, was placed on administrative leave on July 16, following an allegation of sexual abuse(link is external) … According to the statement from the archdiocese, church officials moved to remove Plaushin from active service as soon as they learned of the allegation.” By Sue Ann Rybak, Chestnut Hill Local

Bishop Zubik Pittsburgh Diocese will name clergy accused of sex abuse
“The Diocese of Pittsburgh plans to follow other dioceses across the state and reveal the names of clergy members who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external). In a letter read during Roman Catholic Masses across the six-county diocese this weekend (Aug. 5), Bishop David Zubik said he will release the names once a grand jury report investigating sex abuse is released.” By Daveen Rae Kurutz, The Pittsburgh Times

Priest who served 30-plus years in one church added to list of clergy accused of child sex crimes in Harrisburg Diocese
“The name of a prelate who was in ministry for more than 30 years at a church has been added to the list of individuals accused of child sex crimes(link is external) in the Diocese of Harrisburg. The diocese on Monday (Aug. 6) added Monsignor Joseph Bradley, who served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel between 1963 and 1996, to a list of clergy and seminarians who over the years have been accused of child sex crimes. Bradley’s name brings the list to 72.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Woman says she was sexually abused by Catholic school teacher in 1970s
“A woman who says she was sexually abused in the 1970’s by a teacher(link is external) in the Erie Catholic Diocese is speaking out for the first time. The teacher died several years ago. Fifty-five year old Leila Said Gutowski said she was abused when she was 12-13 year old, a student at Immaculate Conception School in Clarion.” By Erie News Now

Pennsylvania priest pleads guilty to sexually molesting fourth-grade boy
(Jul. 31, 2018) “As Catholic officials across Pennsylvania brace for what has been described as a graphic and blistering investigation report into clergy sex abuse, a Greensburg Diocese priest charged with child sex crimes(link is external) on Tuesday (Jul. 31) pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a boy.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

TEXAS

Catholic priest forced to resign after writing sex-fueled letter to another priest, bishop says
“A priest in the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese has resigned after a letter he wrote to another priest in Dallas was deemed intimidating, manipulative and inappropriate(link is external) by Bishop Michael Olson. The Rev. Richard Kirkham, former pastor of St. Martin de Porres in Prosper, is also accused of failing to report knowledge he had of alleged sexual misconduct and predatory sexual harassment in the workplace regarding the Dallas-area priest.” By Nichole Manna, The Olympian

AUSTRALIA

Bishops to release formal Royal Commission response
“The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will release its formal response(link is external) to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by the end of the month. It will also release the four volumes of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council’s final report. The bishops met in Melbourne last week to consider the Church’s formal response to the royal commission.” By CathNews.com

Vatican requires bishops ‘to cover up child sex abuse’ in absence of reporting laws, expert says
“A confidential instruction from the pope in 1922 directed bishops to treat canonical crimes such as ‘obscene acts with animals,’ ‘Solicitation of sex during confession,’ and ‘gravely sinful offences perpetrated against children’ with the utmost secrecy(link is external). ‘And that secrecy has been confirmed, continued by every pope since, including the current one, Pope Francis,’ said Kieran Tapsell, an expert witness on a 2017 royal commission panel on canon law.” By Charlotte King, Australia Broadcasting Corporation

CHILE

Catholic Church faces reckoning in Chile as sex abuse scandal widens
“The 20 men and women rose quietly from their pews during Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago one day last week, unfurled a banner and held up signs. ‘All Bishops Resign(link is external),’ one read. Looking back from the altar was Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago and a focal point in a growing reckoning over allegations that leaders of the Catholic Church in Chile repeatedly covered up the sexual abuse of minors by priests.” By Pascale Bonnefoy, The New York Times

Chilean officials raid bishops’ conference amid abuse investigation
“Officials of the Investigative Police of Chile (PDI) raided Tuesday (Aug. 14) the offices of the Chilean bishop’s conference to seize information and statements from alleged victims of abuse(link is external) perpetrated by the Congregation of the Marist Brothers. According to Chilean officials, police are investigating 38 claims of sexual abuse related to the Marist congregation.” By Catholic News Agency

Chilean prosecutor raids office of the military’s Catholic bishop
“A Chilean prosecutor said on Thursday (Aug. 8) that the office of the bishop to the armed services had been raided as part of investigations into accusations that senior Roman Catholic Church officials covered up claims of sexual abuse by clergymen in Chile(link is external). Emiliano Arias, a provincial prosecutor leading the investigations, told Reuters that the raid on the office of Santiago Silva had been conducted by court order and authorized by the defense minister and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Silva is also president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Pope thanks Chilean bishops for ‘decisive’ efforts against abuse
“Pope Francis has praised the bishops of Chile for their ‘decisive’ efforts against clerical sex abuse(link is external) following a recent meeting. In a handwritten letter sent on Sunday (Aug. 5), the Pope says Chile’s bishops have come up with ‘realistic and concrete’ measures against the abuse crisis gripping the Catholic Church in the country.” By Devin Watkins, Vatican News

Victims recount sexual abuse horrors in Chilean seminary
“‘We need for the Church to understand that those of us who come forth are not the enemy(link is external). We want to help the Church clean itself, so there are no other Mauricios drugged and raped in the seminary, so there are no other Sebastians forced to massage a bishop so he feels pleasure, so there’re no other Marcelos forced to receive oral sex, and so there’re no other Johns raped by their spiritual directors.’ The stories are real. They belong to Mauricio Pulgar, Marcelo Soto, Sebastian del Rio and a fourth person, who will be described as ‘John Doe.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Two Chilean priests present their resignation amid sex ring allegations
“Two priests from a troubled Chilean diocese, part of the 14 local priests suspended after they were accused of being part of a ring of sexual misconduct(link is external) that included gay prostitution and sexting with minors, have requested to be removed from the priesthood. Fathers Hector Fuentes and Freddy Gorigoitia are currently suspended from ministry because of the ongoing investigation against them and other priests who were part of the group calling itself ‘The Family.’ The two requested to be laicized on July 28.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chile’s national prosecutor requesting Vatican sex abuse files
“Chile’s national prosecuting authority said on Wednesday (Aug. 1) that it had asked the government to submit a formal request to the Vatican for information about nine clergymen and lay workers who have been accused of sexual abuse of children(link is external).” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Chilean prosecutor vows ‘historic trial’ on clerical sexual abuse
“A Chilean prosecutor this weekend (Jul. 28) announced plans to bring an ‘historical trial’ against the Catholic Church for attempting to hide or eliminate evidence related to clerical sexual abuse(link is external), confirming what Pope Francis said in May in a letter to the country’s bishops’ conference: ‘We know that there were religious who destroyed evidence.’ In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, prosecutor Emiliano Arias compared the decision of the Chilean Church not to cooperate with civilian authorities to having unreported ‘dead bodies’ under a chapel.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chilean archbishop questioned on cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy
“A sex abuse probe involving the Roman Catholic church(link is external) in Chile is widening. The leader of Chile’s church has been summoned by prosecutors to answer questions about an alleged cover-up of sex abuse of children by the clergy. This comes after prosecutors this week published a report about the scope of abuse by members of the church.” By Joel Richards, America.cgtn.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

New reports of sexual abuse rock Benedictine abbey schools in England
“Since 2014, when it was set up by the then-interior minister Theresa May, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) has investigated 13 discrete areas of public life in England and Wales, secular and religious, where there were grounds to suspect that child protection rules were inadequately observed. Among the investigated institutions were two Benedictine abbey schools, Ampleforth and Downside, situated at opposite ends of England. The Inquiry’s findings, just published, have rocked the Order of St. Benedict and the Catholic Church here.” By David Stewart, America: The Jesuit Review

Former Catholic priest groomed teenage girl before subjecting her to campaign of indecent assault
“A former Catholic priest in Wythenshawe has been jailed for grooming a teenage girl before subjecting her to a campaign of indecent assault(link is external). Vincent Whelan, 71, used his position at St Peter’s Catholic Church to sexually exploit the girl, who was under 16, in the 1980s. The parish priest, who now lives in Wirral, Merseyside, was aged 41 when he began grooming the ‘vulnerable’ teenager after befriending her family.” By Sophie Halle-Richards, Manchester Evening News

GUAM

Guam archdiocese guts a former seminary to raise money for clergy sex abuse settlements
“A former seminary building was packed with hundreds of shoppers Saturday (Jul. 28) after the Archdiocese of Agana, which owns the property, announced they were selling everything inside and using part of the proceeds to fund potential settlements for Guam clergy sex abuse victims(link is external). Approximately 350 people were camped outside the former Accion Hotel at 5 a.m. Saturday. That was three hours before the sale even began, Leonard Stohr, deacon for Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Yigo, told the Pacific Daily News.” By Kevin Tano, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Vatican ‘sought deal’ with Irish state to bury church documents
(Aug. 7, 2018) “Former president Mary McAleese says she refused to discuss an attempt by the Vatican in 2003 to secure an agreement with Ireland that it would not access church documents. Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms McAleese has revealed what she described as ‘one of the most devastating moments in my presidency(link is external).’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Clerical abuse scandals entering disturbing phase, says McAleese
“The abuse scandals in the Catholic Church were now entering ‘an even more disrupting chapter(link is external),’ former president Mary McAleese has said. She quoted veteran Vatican correspondent Robert Mickens as saying that, in order to solve the underlying problem, Pope Francis will ‘have to devote the rest of his pontificate almost exclusively to this gargantuan endeavor.’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Pope will meet abuse survivors as part of his visit to Ireland
“The Pope will meet abuse survivors(link is external) as part of his visit to Ireland later this month (August), it is understood, though details of when and whom he will meet will not be released in advance to protect the anonymity of survivors. Sources indicated the meeting would take place a day after the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said ‘time is very tight’ for Pope Francis to meet survivors of church abuse during his visit.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

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Francis says Catholic Church ‘abandoned’ children, letting them be abused / National Catholic Reporter

“We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” the pope states (in a letter Aug. 20 addressed to the People of God). (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has acknowledged that the Catholic Church ‘did not act in a timely matter’ to protect children from sexually abusive priests over a period of decades, saying in a new letter to members of the Catholic faith around the world that the church ‘abandoned’ minors to those who would abuse them.

“‘With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been … realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,’ the pontiff says in the letter, released Aug. 20 in response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“‘We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,’ the pope states.

“In the three-page letter, addressed to the ‘People of God,’ Francis also says the church has “delayed” in implementing measures to protect children and to hold those who have abused them to account.

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

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Jesus founded a movement led by both men and women / National Catholic Reporter

I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive. It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side. (Christine Schenk in National Catholic Reporter)

Sometimes it is really difficult to be both female and Catholic.

“On the one hand, I couldn’t be prouder of the creative leadership taken by the University of Notre Dame and Pope Francis in working with oil executives to address climate change. It is amazing that dozens of Catholic institutions, including Caritas Internationalis, have divested from fossil fuels.

“On the other hand, I am dismayed by yet another statement from the Vatican — this time from Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria — prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — about the non-ordination of women to the priesthood.

“I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive. It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side.

“As a contribution to the ongoing conversation about women’s roles in our church, I present here a few examples from mainstream scholarship about Jesus and the female exercise of authority in early Christianity.”

By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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