Posts Tagged Catholic issues

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


Cardinal to face Australian court on sex abuse charges
“The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged(link is external) in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving secret evidence to an Australian court on Monday (Mar. 5). Australian Cardinal George Pell wore his clerical collar for the first day of the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. The committal hearing is scheduled to take up to a month.” By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Irish bishop resigns after criticism of his treatment of abusive priest
“An Irish bishop announced his resignation(link is external) March 1 after increased criticism over how he dealt with revelations of an abusive priest. Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore was criticized in a program on BBC Northern Ireland Feb. 28, after it emerged that he concelebrated a parish anniversary Mass in 2000 with a priest he knew had stepped down after being sent for treatment following complaints of abuse.” By Michael Kelly, Catholic News Service, on

Bishop at heart of abuse cover-up claims testifies in Chile
“The Chilean bishop accused of covering up sex abuse(link is external) by a pedophile priest has testified before a Vatican mission looking into the allegations, a priest involved in the interviews said Friday (Feb. 23). Bishop Juan Barros has been among those interviewed by the team, said Father Jordi Bertomeu, who has been handling recent interviews in the investigation. But he did not say when the interview occurred, or whether Barros appeared voluntarily or was summoned.” By Associated Press on

Former papal advisor says Francis need to make sex abuse a priority
“A former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has charged that Pope Francis is not making the fight against sexual abuse a priority(link is external), and expressed her frustration with the procedures and limitations of the group, which she said led her to hand in her resignation last year …French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet said she tendered her resignation letter in June to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a member of the C9 group that advises the pope and the president of the commission, after she failed to convince the majority of its members to enact changes she perceived as necessary.” By Claire Giangrave,


The shocking case that shows how far the Vatican has to go in child protection
“We canon lawyers, unfortunately, spend a lot of time dealing with tragic, disturbing, sometimes appalling situations. It’s all too easy to become inured. But even among canonists who routinely deal with cases of child sexual abuse, the news that Mgr Pietro Amenta, a senior Vatican judge, has been convicted of possessing child pornography(link is external) is shocking.” By Ed Condon, Catholic Herald

St. Cloud Diocese to declare bankruptcy after sex abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud will become the fourth Minnesota Catholic institution to declare bankruptcy following a flood of clergy sex abuse claims(link is external). Its announcement reinforced Minnesota’s position as the state with the largest number of bankruptcies related to clergy sex abuse. It follows dioceses in New Ulm and Duluth, as well as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which filed for Chapter 11 in 2015.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Vatican inspector meets bishop mired in child abuse case
“A Vatican investigator sent to Chile(link is external) by Pope Francis to interview sex abuse victims met on Friday (Feb. 23) with Chilean Bishop Juan Barros about accusations that he covered-up sexual abuse of minors committed by a priest. The investigator, Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, declined to share details of the interview with Barros, but told reporters the meeting was ‘cordial and friendly.’” By

Santiago sex abuse victims ask Vatican to investigate another case
“A group of people who say they were sexually abused by members of the Marist Brothers congregation(link is external) in Santiago asked on Thursday (Feb. 22) that their cases be considered by Vatican representatives who are in Chile to investigate other abuse claims. The group’s spokesman, Isaac Givovich, has requested a meeting with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a Vatican envoy who traveled to Santiago to meet with witnesses accusing a bishop of covering up the sexual abuse of minors by a priest.” By Antonio de la Jara, U.S. News & World Report

Vatican sex crimes investigator meets Chile Marist victims
“The Vatican’s sex crimes investigator interviewed several victims(link is external) of sexually abusive members of the Marist Brothers religious order Tuesday (Feb. 27), suggesting that his mandate has expanded beyond investigating alleged abuse cover-up by a lone Chilean bishop. Archbishop Charles Scicluna, tasked by Pope Francis with investigating Bishop Juan Barros, was forced to extend his trip in Chile by several days after having undergone emergency gall bladder surgery. He and his colleague from the Vatican, Father Jordi Bertomeu, have taken advantage of the extra time to add more interviews, including with victims of the Marist Brothers.” By Patricia Luna,


Pope Francis still highly regarded in U.S., but signs of disenchantment emergy
Five years into Francis’ papacy(link is external), the vast majority of U.S. Catholics continue to have a favorable opinion of the Argentinian pontiff, and most say he represents a major – and positive – change for the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time, a new Pew Research Center survey finds signs of growing discontent with Francis among Catholics on the political right, with increasing shares of Catholic Republicans saying they view Francis unfavorably, and that they think he is too liberal and naïve.” By Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life

Pope Francis and reform: clergy sexual abuse
“Pope Francis was elected largely on the basis of reforming the Church’s handling of clerical sex abuse(link is external) and streamlining a Vatican beset with financial scandals, bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. So as the Holy Father approaches the fifth anniversary of his pontificate, how has he fared in these areas? When it comes to reforming the Vatican’s handling of clerical sex abuse, the verdict is mixed.” By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register

Reflections on Francis and the deconstruction of the ‘Imperial Papacy’
“Sometimes ideas arrive fully formed, springing like Athena from the head of Zeus, but other times they’re more of a slow burn, requiring multiple pieces of the picture to fall into place before they really take shape. I’ve been working on one of those slow burn ideas recently, to wit: As we near the five-year anniversary of Francis’s election(link is external) to the papacy next month, it’s becoming steadily clearer that a core aspect of his legacy may be a deconstruction of the strong ‘imperial papacy’ many observers believe has taken shape over the last century or so.” By John L. Allen, Jr.,

Five years into Pope Francis’ papacy, there is much more noise to be made
“Three years ago this March, Pope Francis made a startling observation during an interview with the Mexican media company Televisa: ‘I have the sense that my pontificate will be brief: four or five years.’ Since two years had already passed since his election on March 13, 2013, Francis’ offhand remark seemed to put an unexpectedly short timeline on his papacy. We now mark five years of Francis’ pontificate(link is external). The editors of America wish him many more. ‘Hagan lio,’ he told a crowd of millions at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, ‘Make some noise,’ and there is no question that this pontificate has done just that.” Editorial in America: The Jesuit Review

One key to understanding Pope Francis? His approach to judgment
“For good or ill, a single sound bite sometimes sums up the essence of an entire papacy(link is external) … Those sound bites help us understand the priorities and personalities of the popes, and while it’s perhaps too early to speculate which sound bite will ultimately define Pope Francis, it’s hard to imagine anything coming close to a question he asked in 2013: “Who am I to judge?” … It was a simple question that nonetheless would go on to define the papacy of a pastor whom the world was just getting to know.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Leading Vatican observer claims ‘Francis revolution almost over’
“Massimo Franco, the political editor of Corriere della Sera and widely respected commentator on the Vatican, said this week (Wednesday, Feb. 21) that he believes the ‘revolutionary appeal of Pope Francis is almost over(link is external).’ Speaking without reporting restrictions at London’s Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs independent think tank, he contrasted the expectations of reform that followed Jorge Bergoglio’s election in 2013 with the actual results five years on. Referring to Francis’ remark in his annual Christmas speech to the curia on 21 December last year, that reforming the Vatican is like ‘cleaning the Sphinx with a toothbrush,’ he said that this comment was an indication of Francis’ powerlessness.” By James Roberts, The Tablet


Vatican magazine denounces nuns’ servitude
“A Vatican magazine has denounced how nuns are often treated like indentured servants(link is external) by cardinals and bishops, for whom they cook and clean for next to no pay. The March edition of ‘Women Church World,’ the monthly women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, hit newsstands Thursday (Mar. 1). Its expose on the underpaid labor and unappreciated intellect of religious sisters confirmed that the magazine is increasingly becoming the imprint of the Catholic Church’s #MeToo movement.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in the Sacramento Bee


Abuse commission needs working time with Pope Francis, former member says
“Pope Francis’ clergy sexual abuse commission could be more effective in protecting children(link is external) if the group were granted more time to work directly with the pope and given resources to hold more in-person meetings each year, a former member has suggested. French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet, who was among a group of six founding members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors not reappointed by Francis last month, said the ‘most important thing’ is that the group does not have adequate time to explain its proposals directly to the pontiff.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Papal adviser on sex abuse wants Church to offer experience to the world
“A Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to advise him on the fight against sexual abuse(link is external) now is looking to repair its relationship with victims and to ‘go forward’ in order to lend its expertise and resources to the outside world, according to a recently appointed member. Last week (Feb. 17), the Vatican announced that Francis had confirmed seven members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and appointed nine new members, some of whom are former victims of sexual abuse.” By Claire Giangrave,

Member of Pope’s anti-abuse panel insists, ‘the church is not failing’
“In a Feb. 20 Crux interview, Kettelkamp also insisted that ‘the Church is not failing’ when it comes to the effort to prevent sexual abuse(link is external). ‘Sometimes, people just love for the Catholic Church to fail,’ she said. ‘The Church is not failing on this issue, the Church is aggressively addressing it … maybe not as fast as other people would want to see done, but it’s a change in culture, in a lot of cultures … People who want things to change faster are not realistic about how things change.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin,

Trust in the Catholic Church has been ‘broken,’ says top nun
“The Church has to change a ‘deep-seated culture’(link is external) that resists transparency and accountability when dealing with clerical sexual abuse, according to one of the new members of Pope Francis’ child protection body. Sister Jane Bertelsen, named last week to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told The Tablet that this culture has been around for centuries and that the Pope had made attempts to change it. ‘We have to restore credibility. Trust has been broken. And we have got to keep trying to restore that credibility, with truth-seeking, compassionate listening and in whatever way we can,’ she said.” By The Tablet


Celibacy revisited
“Writing in the first person is always a risk, but the subject matter of this column is best done, I feel, through personal testimony. In a world where chastity and celibacy are seen as naïve(link is external) and to be pitied and where there’s a general skepticism that anyone is actually living them out, personal testimony is perhaps the most effective protest.” By Fr. Ronald Rolheiser

Catholic Church considers married priests to ease Amazon clergy shortage
“In the remote Brazilian town of Tabatinga, João Souza da Silva helped construct the Roman Catholic church where he got married 31 years ago, a wedding that officially ended his boyhood dream of becoming a priest(link is external). He may get a second chance, as Catholic leaders in the vast Amazon basin consider whether the church should let married men become priests in certain cases. The issue is likely to be discussed at a gathering of bishops Pope Francis has called for next year about the church in the Amazon.” By Luciana Magalhaes and Francis Rocca, The Wall Street Journal


What’s the problem with women deacons? Nothing, says this scholar of women’s ordination in the early church
“At least 25 years ago the late Archbishop of New York Cardinal John O’Connor told me there were secret discussions in Rome about restoring women to the ordained diaconate(link is external). The problem, he said, was that they could not figure out how to ordain women as deacons and not as priests. The confusion remains. One priest, a convert to Catholicism, wrote me recently: ‘It seems somewhat disingenuous for an expert in women’s ordination to the diaconate to then insist that there is no connection with women priests.’”By Phyllis Zagano, U.S. Catholic


Signs suggesting a turning point for the role of women in the Church
“While tensions over women in the Church have been a constant in Catholic life for a long time, recent signs suggest a turning point may be looming(link is external), with conferences, assemblies and media outlets both within and outside the Vatican speaking up in a new way about perceived injustices. Women meeting at a Voices of Faith conference this week (Mar. 8) in Rome, for instance, are saying the ‘Church is at a very important crossroads.’” By Claire Giangrave,

Christ reduced to ‘misogynistic’ figure by church leaders, McAleese says
“Former president Mary McAleese has said she fears the Catholic Church’s hierarchy has ‘reduced Christ to this rather unattractive politician who is just misogynistic and homophobic and anti-abortion’ … and criticized ‘the patronizing platitudes that women have heard from a succession of popes and cardinals(link is external)’ … Ms McAleese also said Pope Francis should visit Newry, Co Down, if he comes to Ireland next August, in the wake of clerical child sex abuse revelations there which led to the recent resignation of the Bishop of Dromore.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Thoughts on women in ministry, in a bit more than two sentences
“One wedding and two children ago, I seriously considered becoming a priest(link is external). I looked into two orders and my home diocese, as well as the archdiocese I was living in at the time. Things progressed far enough with one of those entities that I received — and for some reason still have — the application materials for acceptance into the seminary … And so, on this the start of Women’s History Month, I thought I’d finally answer one of those questions, and perhaps you the reader would like to join me …” By Mark Piper, National Catholic Reporter


Where are the millennial Catholic activists
“Looking back on the ‘Catholic Day of Action to Protect Dreamers’ in late February—when dozens of Catholics, many of them members of religious orders, were arrested while demonstrating in support of undocumented people(link is external) who were brought to the United States as children—it was difficult for me not to notice something striking: the average age of the protestors. Perhaps it was because so many of the photos were taken from above, capturing the gray- and white-haired heads of peaceful protesters in concentric circles flanked by the Capitol police officers who would later arrest them.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

A wake up call to liberal theologians: academic theology needs the church as much as the church needs theology
“The estrangement between academic theology and the institutional Church is one reason many younger Catholics are now turning to neo-traditionalist circles(link is external) for instruction. A new generation is re-examining what’s happened in the church since the 1960s and reacting against the theology that came out of the Second Vatican Council. Some younger Catholics are also questioning the legitimacy of the secular, pluralistic state. This is why the concerns of academic theology are no longer merely academic.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese calls for more deacons as reorganization approaches
“By day, he’s a the chief clerk of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Pittsburgh, but after hours and on weekends, John Vaskov has been called to be something else — a deacon in the Catholic Church. ‘It is a call to serve the church and serve the people(link is external),’ says Vaskov. And Bishop David Zubik wants to find more like him, requesting his priests to nominate men in their parishes for a deacon-in-training program.” By Andy Sheehan, Pittsburgh,


Cardinal lays out plan for parishes to implement Amoris Laetitia
“Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued a broad and detailed pastoral plan for parishes to implement Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’). ‘Amoris Laetitia is a call to compassionate accompaniment(link is external) in helping all to experience Christ’s love and mercy,’ the Archbishop of Washington said in the 58-page pastoral plan.” By Catholic Herald

World Meeting of Families’ congress to center on ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“Some of the church’s best-known prelates have been lined up to expound on church teachings on the family for the ninth World Meeting of Families(link is external). On Feb. 28, organizers of the international gathering, to be held in Dublin Aug. 21-26, unveiled the preliminary program for the Pastoral Congress, Aug. 22-24 … The Vatican has not confirmed that Pope Francis will attend.” By Sarah Mac Donald, Catholic News Service, on

Understanding ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“University President William P. Leahy, S.J., welcomed 15 U.S. Catholic bishops to Boston College on February 19 for a daylong seminar designed to help them better understand and implement Amoris Laetitia(link is external) (‘The Joy of Love’), Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation on the family. The event was the first of three—held on separate days at Boston College, the University of Notre Dame, and Santa Clara University—organized by BC Jesuit Institute Director and Canisius Professor of Theology James F. Keenan, S.J., with Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase Cupich and Vatican Prefect Cardinal Kevin Farrell.” By Boston College News


Law, politics and media make abuse scandals different in U.S. than Chile
(Mar. 2, 2018) “As Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta returns from his on-the-ground investigation of alleged sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros of the Chilean diocese of Osorno, some American Catholics have likened this latest chapter of the Church’s clerical sex abuse scandals to post-traumatic stress disorder(link is external) … It’s not clear there would be a major contrast between America and anywhere else in a case in which the accusation against a bishop is not abuse itself, but cover-up. However, fundamental differences between the U.S. and much of the rest of the world in terms of legal, political, and media pressures suggest that something like the Barros saga would, nevertheless, play out differently.” By Christopher White,


Vatican studying ways to speed up sexual abuse cases
“The topic was a main point of discussion in three days of meetings between the pope and a group of nine cardinals from the around the world who gather four times a year at the Vatican to discuss reform, Church finances and other issues. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said they had discussed ‘various options’ to shorten procedures in cases of abuse(link is external). They are currently handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican’s doctrinal department.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters


Houston woman sentenced for defrauding Catholic mission
“A 38-year-old Houston woman has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding more than $1.1 million from a Catholic mission(link is external) that supports schools in Mexico and Colombia.U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas also placed Rosina Blanco on probation for three years following her prison term and ordered her Monday (Mar. 5) to repay the more than $1.1 million as restitution.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

Ex-head of Vatican Bank sent to trial on embezzlement charge
“A former president of the Vatican Bank has been ordered to stand trial on charges of embezzlement and money laundering(link is external), the Vatican said, the highest ranking Holy See financial official to be indicted. A statement by the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), said the former president’s legal counsel was also indicted … It said damages had been estimated to be more than 50 million euro and that the IOR would be seeking compensation for damages. The trial is due to start on March 15.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, in U.S. News & World Report


Abuse survivors push to change New York statute of limitations
“After three metro area dioceses offered programs to compensate victims of church sex abuse, Brian Toale was one of those who applied. Toale describes a horrific series of events in the early 1970s when, he wrote, as a student at Chaminade High School in Mineola, Long Island, New York, he was systematically groomed and abused(link is external) by the Marianist school’s radio club moderator.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter


Chileans lose faith as Vatican scrambles to contain sex abuse scandal
“Providencia is home to El Bosque, the former parish of priest Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years(link is external), spurring a chain of events leading to this week’s visit by a Vatican investigator. A Chilean judge in the same year determined the Vatican’s canonical sentence was valid but Karadima was not prosecuted by the civil justice system because the statute of limitations had expired.” By Cassandra Garrison, Reuters

Catholic priest sex abuse isn’t new. Diocese bankruptcies started in the Northwest
“It started in Portland. The Catholic Church there — as similar allegations spread worldwide — faced accusation after accusation of child sexual abuse by clergy(link is external). Then the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland reached financial strain it could no longer withstand … It became the first diocese in the country to declare bankruptcy due to sexual abuse cases … Since then, the 15 dioceses nationwide that have declared bankruptcy have paid out a total of about $542.6 million in settlements to victims, though not all of the cases are closed.” By Michael Katz, Idaho Statesman


Presentation High: new independent office to handle sex abuse complaints
“A prominent San Jose Catholic girls high school, rocked by accusations that it failed for years to report sexual misconduct complaints(link is external) against teachers and staff, announced Tuesday (Feb. 20) it will create a new independent office to handle such claims from students in the future. The announcement came after Presentation High School officials spent months insisting they’ve had sound policies in place for protecting students from sexual harassment or abuse and properly handled complaints brought to their attention.” By John Woolfolk, The Mercury News


Retired Boise priest accused of crimes must leave diocese house. Where will he go?
“It took four attempts to hand-deliver the eviction notice, but the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher received official word Feb. 13 that he must move out of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise house that he leases by mid-April, according to the priest who delivered it … The move to evict the 72-year-old priest came on the heels of his Feb. 2 arrest on child porn and drug possession charges(link is external).” By Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman


Did some nuns, teachers know of child sex abuse in Baltimore Catholic schools
“For some time now, WJZ has been investigating a dirty secret: child sex abuse at the hands of priests(link is external), police and a teacher back in the 1960s and 1970s. Many asked how it was possible that no one noticed. Multiple sources have told WJZ’s Denise Koch that many people, including some nuns in positions of authority, did know about the abuse but instead of reporting it, they looked the other way.” By Denise Koch, CBS News Baltimore


Police hear from dozens more potential victims in priest sex abuse case
“A Saginaw County District Court judge formally charged Father Robert DeLand, Jr. Monday (Feb. 26) with three crimes. The most serious is second degree criminal sexual conduct(link is external), a 15 year felony. Tittabawassee Township Police Detective Brian Berg told ABC12 dozens of people have come forward since the public learned of DeLand’s arrest.” By ABC12 News


Twin Cities archdiocese backruptcy drags on, taking a toll on all parties involved
“David Lind has waited three years for justice. But the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis still drags on — entering its fourth year with no settlement in sight and no relief for Lind and more than 400 other men and women who claim they were abused by local priests(link is external) when they were children and teenagers. The case is now on track to be one of the longest archdiocese bankruptcies in the nation, and the protracted dispute is placing mounting strains on all parties involved.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune


Middlesex priest accused of sex abuse
“The pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish has been accused of sexual abuse by three people(link is external) when they were minors more than 30 years ago, Diocese of Metuchen Bishop James F. Checchio said in a letter to parishioners Sunday (Feb. 25). Checchio said the Rev. Patrick J. Kuffner is on a leave of absence and the Rev. David Skoblow will serve as temporary administrator of the parish.” By Suzanne Russell,


Bishop Malone: ‘We’re are so very, very sorry for the pain of abuse’
“Days after a retired priest admitted sexually abusing ‘probably dozens’ of teenage boys(link is external), the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Thursday (Mar. 1) said it was taking steps to compensate other victims while attempting to address the pain its inaction has caused. During an afternoon news conference at the Catholic Center downtown, officials announced the creation of a fund to settle claims of alleged sex abuse against clergy in the diocese, a move officials said promotes healing and would offer closure to victims.” By Aaron Besecker, The Buffalo News

Diocese of Ogdensburg to offer compensation to those alleging they were abused by north country clergy while minors
“The Diocese of Ogdensburg is allowing an independent, two-person panel to determine whether financial compensation will be given to those alleging sexual abuse as children(link is external) at the hands of Catholic clergy across the north country … Catholic officials in Ogdensburg said Thursday (Mar. 1) that the Diocese of Northern New York has established an ‘Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program’ to assist victims of clergy sex abuse.” By Larry Robinson, Watertown Daily Times

Advocate: many stories of sexual abuse by priests yet to be told
“For the past 22 years, Judith Burns-Quinn has listened to the shocking and heartbreaking stories of people who were sexually abused by priests(link is external). Most of them, she said, are adult men who were molested as young boys and teenagers. ‘Every victim I’ve talked to has their own story, but for every one, the experience of being molested by a priest has had a profound impact on their life,’ said Burns-Quinn, 74.” By Dan Herbeck, Buffalo News

Man says he was abused as teen by Buffalo-area priest
“A South Buffalo man is alleging he was sexually abused by a Buffalo-area Catholic priest(link is external) when he was a teenager nearly 40 years ago. Michael F. Whalen Jr., 52, said the alleged abuse occurred during a weekend ski trip south of Buffalo in 1979 or 1980 when he was about 14 years old. Whalen named the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits as his abuser. The Diocese of Buffalo on Tuesday (Feb. 27) would not answer specific questions about the allegations made against Orsolits, but said in a written statement that he was removed from the ministry in 2003.” By Aaron Besecker, Buffalo News

Defrocked Long Island priest, sex offender found dead in Saratoga jail
“A former Long Island Catholic priest and convicted sex offender was found dead in his Saratoga County jail cell after an apparent suicide on Tuesday (Feb. 27), just days before he was to be sentenced to state prison for molesting a child(link is external). Michael L. Hands, 51, admitted in September to twice molesting a child younger than 17 in July in Charlton.” By Steve Hughes, Times Union


Hollidaysburg woman protests on anniversary of Kane report
“Rosalind Merritts, a retired nurse from Hollidaysburg, stood Thursday (Mar. 1) on the front lawn of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, displaying photos of children allegedly abused by priests(link is external) and hoping to catch the attention of motorists along busy Logan Boulevard. Despite a driving rain and a bleak sky, motorists were able to spot Merritts, clad in a long, bright yellow rain coat and carrying a large sign bearing the inscription, ‘PROTEST.’” By Phil Ray, Altoona Mirror


Former Catholic priest sentenced to 60 years for raping 13-year-old girl
“A former Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted in Texas of raping a teenager(link is external) in 2011. Jurors on Thursday (Mar. 1) convicted 61-year-old Stephen Tarleton Dougherty of aggravated sexual assault. He was then sentenced. Another jury in 2017 deadlocked on the charge.” By Associated Press on


Survivors will soon be able to sue Catholic Church under new law
“Victoria will abolish the so-called Ellis defense, an ‘unfair legal loophole’ which has prevented child sexual abuse survivors(link is external) from suing organizations like the Catholic Church. Under proposed laws introduced to parliament on Tuesday (Mar. 6), unincorporated associations such as churches, would have to nominate an entity able to pay damages.” By Georgie Moore, The Courier

Child sex abuse commissioner hits out at lawyers who attack victim credibility
“One of the six commissioners who oversaw the landmark child sexual abuse royal commission has criticized defense lawyers who ‘mischievously’ attack the credibility of abuse victims(link is external). Robert Fitzgerald said that the country’s criminal justice system has previously favored alleged abusers, and even today ‘the pendulum has barely moved.’ He criticized defense lawyers for attacking the credibility of survivors over the length of time they took to report abuse.” By Australian Associated Press in The Guardian

Cardinal Pell’s barrister: loud, socially progressive and an avowed atheist
“Robert Richter is not the obvious choice to defend Catholic Cardinal George Pell(link is external)against historical sex charges. But the celebrity silk’s reputation for skewering witnesses – and winning cases – has delivered him the most high-profile case in his long and storied career.” By Tim Elliott, The Sydney Morning Herald

Senior Catholic leader faces sex abuse accusers via video link
“The most senior Catholic Church leader to be charged with sexual abuse(link is external) came close to confronting his accusers on Monday (Mar. 5) in a video-linked Australian court hearing to test the strength of the prosecution’s case. Cardinal George Pell’s alleged victims began testifying in the Melbourne Magistrates Court against Pope Francis’ former finance minister in testimony that cannot be made public.” By CBS News


Sex abuse at Chilean church school was an unending ‘perverse game’
Sexual abuse at the hands of priests(link is external) marked the childhood of Jaime Concha since the day when, at age 10, he entered a school run by the Marist Brothers religious order in Santiago. He is now 55 years old and a doctor. After all these years, his case is one of the dozens finally being investigated by the Catholic Church in Chile — a church rocked by the scale of a sex-abuse scandal that tainted the recent visit of Pope Francis. Concha told AFP his treatment at the hands of the Marist Brothers was like ‘an everlasting perverse game.’” By The Sun Daily

Chileans lose faith as Vatican scrambles to contain sex abuse scandal
“To understand why Chile, one of Latin America’s most socially conservative nations, is losing faith in the Roman Catholic Church, visit Providencia, a middle-class area of Santiago coming to terms with a decades-old clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external). Providencia is home to El Bosque, the former parish of priest Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years, spurring a chain of events leading to this week’s visit by a Vatican investigator.” By Cassandra Garrison, Reuters, in U.S. News & World Report


German ex-priest convicted of sexually abusing boys
“A court in southeastern Germany has sentenced a former Catholic priest to 8 ½ years in prison for child sex abuse(link is external). The regional court in Deggendorf, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Munich, found the defendant guilty Thursday (Feb. 22) of abusing five boys on more than 100 occasions since the mid-1990s. He was also convicted of bodily harm, forging documents and possessing child pornography.” By Associated Press in The Washington Post


Former Capuchin brother wants clergy sex abuse claims dismissed, accusers object
“Former Capuchin brother Vernon T. Kamiaz has asked the federal court to dismiss three clergy sex abuse claims(link is external) filed against him over failure to timely serve him with the summons and complaints. His accusers separately said the service of process on Kamiaz was timely.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Island bishop accused in two Guam clergy sex abuse cases dies
“Saipan’s Bishop EmeritusTomas A. Camacho, one of several Catholic clergy members accused of sexually abusing altar boys(link is external) on Guam, died Monday (Mar. 5) after a long illness, church leaders said.Camacho was 84 and had been Saipan’s highest-ranking Catholic Church leader for some 25 years, from 1984 until his retirement in April 2010, according to Father James Balajadia of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, on

Counseling for clergy sex abuse accusers continues
“Professional counseling services continue for victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external), nearly a year since the Archdiocese of Agana created Hope and Healing Guam in April 2017 amid efforts to try to settle clergy abuse lawsuits. Hope and Healing’s mission to provide counseling, treatment and spiritual healing doesn’t overlap or duplicate the work of the attorneys representing the archdiocese in the clergy sex abuse cases, said Andrew Camacho,the organization’s president.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News


Survivors of Catholic Church abuse in Ireland demand papal meeting
Survivors of sexual and physical abuse(link is external) in schools run by the Catholic church in Ireland have demanded a meeting with Pope Francisduring his visit to the country in the summer to discuss compensation.The Irish Catholic church has invited the pontiff to a religious conference in August. It will be the first papal visit to Irelandsince John Paul II’s tour in 1979.” By Henry Mcdonald, The Guardian

Lawyers and rights groups call for clerical abuse inquiry
“Lawyers and human rights groups have called for a public inquiry into allegations of clerical child sex abuse(link is external) in Northern Ireland. Amnesty International said recent revelations of abuse by Father Malachy Finnegan, former president of St Colman’s College in Newry, strengthened the case for an inquiry.” By

County Down GAA club urged any victims of pedophile priest Malachy Finnegan to come forward
“A CO Down GAA club has urged any victims of abuse by pedophile priest(link is external) Malachy Finnegan to come forward. Clonduff GAC in Hilltown said anyone affected by the actions of Finnegan, a former president of the club, should ‘bring this to the attention of the PSNI.’ It comes as it was revealed that parents at four Co Down primary schools have said they do not want the Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey to officiate at their children’s confirmation after he said Requiem Mass for Finnegan.” By Suzanne McGonagle, The Irish News

Priest guilty of sexually assaulting schoolboy 36 years ago
“The jury of nine men and three women returned to Courtroom one at the courthouse on Washington St, Cork, before 3 p.m. with their unanimous guilty verdict. The 74-year-old priest had denied indecently assaulting the boy at a sch(link is external)ool in Co Cork early in the 1980s. Tadgh O’Dalaigh was convicted yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on a charge of indecently assaulting the boy on an unknown date between Sept. 1, 1980, and Jan. 28, 1981 at the Sacred Heart college, also known as Coláiste An Chroí Naofa, Carraig Na Bhfear, Co Cork.” By Liam Heylin, Irish Examiner


New Zealand PM urged to expand royal commission over St. John of God child-sex abuse
Australian victims of notorious St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath(link is external) have urged New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to include churches in a child abuse royal commission after McGrath’s fight against extradition from New Zealand stopped the Australian royal commission from a public inquiry into the Catholic order.” By Joanne McCarthy, The Sydney Morning Herald


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Voice of the Faithful Focus

July 18, 2017


Cardinal Pell returns to Australia, charged with sexual offenses
“Cardinal George Pell returned on Monday (Jul. 10) to his native Australia, where he has been charged with sexual offenses(link is external), as a commission released a new trove of documents from its investigation into the Roman Catholic Church’s past response to abuse allegations in the country. Cardinal Pell, 76, one of the highest-ranking figures in the church’s global hierarchy, was met by the Australian Federal Police at Sydney’s international airport, where his flight from Singapore landed just before 6 a.m.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times
— Cardinal’s sex abuse charges raise questions about pope’s record(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
— Prominent cardinal returns to Australia to face sex abuse charges(link is external)By Camila Domonoske, National Public Radio

Pope Francis defrocks Italian priest convicted of child sex abuse
“Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse(link is external), three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light. Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012 after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014 … On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a ‘definitive ruling’ that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

The Vatican’s failure in the abuse scandal
“For all of Pope Francis’ deserved acclaim in leading the Roman Catholic Church to new directions, he is failing badly on his promise to address the child abuse scandal(link is external) at the crucial level where ranking churchmen systematically protected priests who raped and molested children.” Editorial in The New York Times
— The Catholic Church and sex abuse(link is external)By Marci Hamilton, Letter to the Editor, The New York Times

More power for Catholic bishops? Not so fast
“A lot has been written about Pope Francis’s goal of making the church more democratic, with less control by the Vatican and more power to individual bishops(link is external) … However, unless the institutional church actually reaches that goal, and power truly devolves to the grassroots, giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops might make things worse, not better, at least for progressive Catholics.” By Celia Wexler, Contributor, Huffington Post

Francis replaces Cardinal Muller with deputy Ladaria as head of doctrinal congregation
“Pope Francis has decided not to renew the expiring term of Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Muller(link is external), choosing instead to replace the German prelate with his deputy, a Spanish Jesuit theologian known for keeping a relatively low public profile. The pontiff has appointed Archbishop Luis Ladaria, 73, as the new prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He had previously served as the office’s secretary.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


Vatican money man says abuse charges are a smear campaign
“A senior Vatican cardinal charged in Australia with multiple historical sexual offenses has denied the accusations(link is external) and denounced what he called a ‘relentless character assassination.’ Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’s chief financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic, said he would take a leave of absence as the Catholic Church’s finance tsar and would return to Australia to fight the charges. Cardinal Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official charged in the church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal.” By Nicole Winfield and Kristen Gelineau, Scotland Sunday Herald
— Vatican No. 3 charged with sexual abuse by Australian court,(link is external) By Elliot Hannon, Slate
— Senior Catholic Church officials have rarely faced charges in the sexual abuse of children. Here are a few who did(link is external)By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
— Cardinal George Pell charged: What a mess?(link is external) By David Armstrong, LaCroix
— Vatican cardinal charged with ‘historic sexual offenses’ in Australia(link is external)By Laurel Wamsley, National Public Radio

Secrecy over clergy abuse standards causes confusion in India
“Three months after India’s theologians and Catholic religious pressed a congress of bishops to act aggressively against a wave of sex abuse cases involving priests(link is external), no official response has come. But top church leaders told National Catholic Reporter in exclusive interviews that bishops in India are following Vatican-approved guidelines for handling clergy abuse cases. The guidelines took effect in 2015 but have not been shared beyond bishops and religious superiors to protect the policy from being misused, an officer in the bishops’ conference told NCR.” By Jose Kevi, National Catholic Reporter


Francis makes clear his mission as pope is far from ended
Pope Francis made it clear(link is external) this morning (Jun. 27) that he believes his mission as successor to St. Peter and leader of the Catholic world is far from over. The message can be read as an answer to those who hope his pontificate may end soon. He said that his mission entails being able ‘to dream’ and to share this dream and experience of life with young people today so that they may live prophetic lives.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review


Marie Collins: Cardinal Pell’s leave from Vatican service comes ‘far too late’
“A former member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has responded to news that Australian police are pursuing charges against Vatican financial chief Cardinal George Pell over allegations of historic sexual abuse against minors(link is external). Marie Collins, an Irish clergy abuse survivor, said she will not pre-judge Pell’s guilt or innocence regarding the charges against him. But she said Francis should not have appointed the cardinal the prefect of the new Secretariat of the Economy in 2014.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Pell’s situation may be unique, but there are plenty of parallels
“Although Cardinal George Pell of Australia is the first cardinal and Vatican official to face criminal charges related to sexual abuse(link is external), he’s hardly the first Catholic bishop to be prosecuted on those grounds, and also not the first Vatican official to face a criminal indictment. A rundown of several such recent cases allows one to compare and contrast with the Pell situation, including the fact he’s not playing the immunity card.” By Ines San Martin,

Francis tells new cardinals to look at reality facing today’s Catholics
“Pope Francis has told the world’s Catholic cardinals not to seek privilege(link is external) but to look at the situations Catholics in their care are facing today and to serve them as brothers and sisters. Speaking during a formal ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica marking the creation of five new cardinals, the pope told the prelates that God is calling them ‘to look at reality, not to let yourselves be distracted by other interests or prospects.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Francis names five new cardinals, including associate of Oscar Romero(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


Pope names Bishop Nelson J. Perez as new leader of Cleveland diocese
“Bishop-designate Nelson J. Perez, born in Miami but most recently serving in New York state, has been named the new leader of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese(link is external). Pope Francis’ decree was made public this morning (Jul. 11), and the new bishop will be introduced at a 9 a.m. news conference.” By Karen Farkas,

Pope Francis names Atlanta auxiliary bishop to head Diocese of Raleigh
“Pope Francis has named Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama to head the Diocese of Raleigh(link is external), North Carolina. He succeeds Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, who last October was named to head the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, where he was installed Dec. 6. Zarama, 58, has been an Atlanta auxiliary bishop since 2009. A native of Colombia, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1993.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis accepts Scola’s resignation, appoints native son Delpini to Milan
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Scola as archbishop of Milan and appointed Bishop Mario Delpini(link is external), 66, a man of spartan habits who rides a bicycle and lives with elderly priests, as his successor. The Vatican made the announcement on July 7, confirming rumors that had been circulating in the Italian media in recent days.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Local priest named fifth bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania
“On Tuesday (Jun. 27) the Vatican announced Pope Francis’s pick of Monsignor Alfred A. Schlert to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Allentown(link is external) in Pennsylvania, himself born and raised in the diocese … It is the first time a priest of the diocese has been named its bishop.” By Hannah Brockhaus,


Crisis in Irish priesthood revealed at meetings of clergy
“Eight priests have taken their own lives in the past 10 to 15 years in Ireland, a meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests(link is external) (ACP) in Cavan has been told. At another such meeting in Co Limerick, there was a call for the setting up of a national confidential priests’ helpline. Minutes of the latter meeting in Caherconlish quote one attendee as saying: ‘Our morale is affected because we are on a sinking ship. When will the ‘counter-reformation’ take place? We’re like an All-Ireland team without a goalie. We need a national confidential priests’ helpline. We’re slow to look for help.’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times


Four-day convocation in Orlando called ‘a journey’ for U.S. church
“Theirs was a monumental responsibility(link is external): shepherding lay leaders, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, religious, deacons, musicians, event staff and a legion of volunteers at the historic ‘Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America’ July 1–4 in Orlando.” By Laura Dodson, Catholic News Service
— Lofty rhetoric aside, why the U.S. bishops’ ‘Convocation’ mattered(link is external)By John L. Allen, Jr.,


Top theologian is out in Pope Francis’ move to be more inclusive
“Pope Francis took the decision to replace Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller(link is external) , a German, with Jesuit Luis Ladaria Ferrer, a Spaniard, as the prefect of Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith. The outgoing chief theologian was at odds with the pope as the latter tried to open the Catholic church to ‘imperfect’ Catholics like divorced ones.” By Kelly Frazier, World Religion News
— Was Muller’s exit really a ‘night of the long knives’ move?(link is external) By John L. Allen, Jr.,


New Swedish cardinal suggests high-level advisory group of women
“One of the five prelates Pope Francis just made a new cardinal of the Catholic Church has suggested the pope consider creating a special advisory body of women akin to the College of Cardinals(link is external) to offer more opportunity for women’s leadership in the church. Stockholm Cardinal Anders Arborelius, whom Francis made Sweden’s first cardinal in a consistory Wednesday, June 28, said he thinks ‘it’s very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


Editorial: Time to welcome married priests
“… It’s time the Vatican considered what other Christian denominations have long accepted: the ability of clergy to marry(link is external). While the male-only priesthood is Catholic doctrine and cannot be reversed by papal decree, clerical celibacy is only a discipline of the church. Were he so inclined, Francis could begin ordaining married priests tomorrow …” Editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Leader of largest U.S. Catholic church advocates for married priests
“The leader of the largest Catholic church in the U.S. said he would support allowing married men to become priests(link is external), among other church reforms. Monsignor John McSweeney said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer Friday (Jul. 7) about his upcoming retirement that he would support a reversal of the church’s celibacy requirement for priests.” By Joshua Gill, The Daily Caller

The pluses and minuses of married priests
“Ten or 12 years ago, I wrote a feature story for The Kansas City Star about a married Catholic priest(link is external) in southeast Kansas. He was, as no doubt you’ve already guessed, a convert from the Episcopal Church, which he had served as a priest. He was also conflicted. He loved his wife and loved the Catholic Church. He said he felt married to both, but that divided loyalty wasn’t easy. Indeed, he told me that if he had been a Catholic official with the authority to approve his request to convert to Catholicism and become a priest, he might well have said no.” By Bill Tammeus, National Catholic Reporter


Why the Catholic Church must continue soul-searching
“The news that a high-ranking Vatican official has been charged with sexual abuse is a reminder that the church’s sex abuse crisis is not over(link is external) — and that it has potential to affect the entire church, across so-called liberal or conservative lines, even to the top echelons of the church hierarchy. Cardinal George Pell, former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne and current head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, denied the allegations that will require him to return to Australia from Rome to face multiple charges of sexual assault.” By Heidi Schlumpf, CNN

Lay groups lament Paprocki’s decree denying same-sex Eucharist
“Although response from Catholic clergy has been muted in the wake of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s June 12 decree that prohibits Catholics in ‘same-sex marriage’ from receiving Communion(link is external), lay organizations have been vocal about their disdain for the decree. The decree bars Catholics in same-sex marriages from receiving Communion as well as from receiving “ecclesiastical funeral rites,” unless they show signs of repentance before death.” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican II being unleashed through Pope Francis
“People are free to raise questions about certain teachings(link is external) but should remember Peter is the rock of the Catholic faith, according to the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl was in Orlando for the July 1-4 ‘Convocation of Catholic Leaders,’ and spoke with Crux about the impact of the pontificate of Pope Francis. ‘We are 50 years after the [Second Vatican] Council. What’s happening is all that Pentecostal energy that the Council unleashed is now, with this Holy Father, being felt,’ Wuerl said.” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin

U.S. priests’ association wants to focus on formation
“‘All means all — no exceptions, no small print. God loves all of us, whatever our differences,’ Fr. Bryan Massingale said as he recalled the anniversary of the Orlando massacre of LGBT people in the Pulse nightclub a year ago. Amid sustained applause from 170 members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests(link is external), the Fordham University theology professor challenged the sixth annual assembly gathered in Atlanta, June 19-22, to retrieve a crucial insight of Martin Luther King Jr. — the need to ‘redeem the soul.’” By Jeannine Gramick, National Catholic Reporter


Millions missing from Catholic church near Lansing
“An audit so far has found that nearly $5 million is missing from a Roman Catholic church(link is external) near Lansing. The disclosure was made Friday (Jul. 7) during a court hearing for the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle, who is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos. Wehrle’s attorney, Lawrence Nolan, says $5 million is a ‘new high-water mark.’” By
— Alleged embezzlement by Lansing priest approaches $5 million(link is external)By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Abuse charges against Pell not good news for Vatican financial reform
“With criminal charges of sexual abuse having been filed against Cardinal George Pell in his home country of Australia, many questions will be asked, most about the accusations and Pell’s defense. From a Vatican point of view, however, a key question is what all this means for the prospects of financial reform(link is external), and the best answer probably is, ‘Nothing good.’” By John L. Allen,


Survivors of non-recent abuse in Scotland can now bring civil claims
“The three-year time limit on cases of childhood abuse has been lifted(link is external) by Scottish Parliament. This is a monumental step forward for survivors of abuse who previously may not have been able to bring civil claims for damages. The time bar has been removed by the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill, which was unanimously approved when MSPs voted.” By

The silence of children (locked away in secret archives of the Archdiocese of New York City)
“New York lawmakers last week (Jun. 26) closed their 2017 session in ‘legislative hell,’ as one Senator called it, without resolving a number of important issues, including the Child Victims Act, which would reform New York’s antiquated child sex abuse statutes of limitations(link is external) (SOLs). It would extend the civil and criminal SOLs, revive expired civil SOLs for one year, and eliminate the ‘notice of claim’ requirement that has hobbled public school victims’ access to justice.” By Marcia A. Hamilton,


Pope Francis’ toleration of sexually abusive clergy leaves a stain
“Pope Francis, who pledged a policy of “zero tolerance” for sexually abusive clergy in the Catholic Church, has turned out to be all too tolerant(link is external). On Thursday (Jun. 29), Australian police brought criminal charges against Cardinal George Pell, a top Vatican official and kitchen- cabinet adviser to the pope, for multiple alleged incidents of sexual assault. The charges against Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief and the pope’s hand-picked agent of administrative reform, shook the Holy See, notwithstanding long-standing allegations that he ignored, dismissed and excused cases of sexual misconduct during his pre-Vatican years as a priest and church official in Australia.” Editorial in The Washington Post

In fighting abuse by members of Catholic Church clergy, victim sees resistance to change
“Has the Catholic Church made enough progress in fighting abuse by its priests(link is external)? That question has renewed urgency after George Pell became the highest-ranking member of the clergy to be formally charged. Cardinal Pell of Australia is a close adviser to the pope. He’s been charged with sexual assault … Joining us to talk about the case from Dublin and the broader questions it raises is Marie Collins. She was until recently on a papal commission dealing with the sexual abuse of children by clergy.” By Lulu Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio

Editorial: On abuse, church has changed, but not enough
“… this is not 1985, when the U.S bishops’ conference and the Vatican could bury detailed reports on the abuse of minors(link is external) and cover-up in Lafayette, Louisiana, and ignore advice from a priest, a lawyer and psychiatrist on how to proceed in transparency and justice. The U.S. bishops would go blithely on for another decade before some individual dioceses would begin to implement policies to handle abusive priests.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Timeline: A look at the Catholic Church’s sex abuse
“For more than three decades, the Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals spanning the globe(link is external). And for decades, the church has been accused of protecting itself rather than the victims of child sexual abuse. Here are some major scandals and revelations involving the Catholic Church and allegations of abuse.” By Madison Park, CNN


Molestation claims resurface against former DeKalb priest
“The allegations against Father Stanley Idziak(link is external) never really went away. Even as they receded into memory for most as a dark part of DeKalb County history, the boys who say he molested them still carried the weight of his sins.” By Joshua Sharpe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Priest who abused child still working with kids
“The Claretians Roman Catholic order has settled a lawsuit from a man sexually abused as a 6-year-old(link is external) by a teenager who later became a prominent priest in Chicago, confirming in the settlement obtained by The Associated Press that the longtime cleric recently left the priesthood. But Bruce Wellems, 60, still works as executive director of a non-profit that offers youth mentoring, alternative schooling and other programs for children, according to a staff list at the Peace and Education Coalition. Its head office is also located in the same southwest side Chicago church where he served as priest for two decades.” By Michael Tarm, Associated Press

Man says Chicago Archdiocese, Catholic bishop responsible for priest’s sex abuse
“An individual is suing The Archdiocese of Chicago and The Catholic Bishop of Chicago, alleging battery and sexual abuse by a member of the clergy(link is external). An unnamed man filed a complaint on June 15 in Cook County Circuit Court against the defendants alleging defrocked Catholic priest Daniel McCormack sexually abused the plaintiff while he was still a practicing member of the clergy in Chicago.” By Louie Torres, Cook County Record


Louisville priest now faces nine years in prison for sexual abuse
“A Catholic priest is facing an additional two years in prison after a sentencing hearing in Meade County Thursday (Jun. 29) for sexually abusing a boy(link is external) at a summer camp in the 1970s. Father Joseph Hemmerle, 74, who was serving seven years for the sexual abuse of another victim, was sentenced to an additional two years in prison as well as eight years of probation.” By Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal


Netflix’s ‘Keepers’ prompts call for archdiocese to release priest’s files
“The release of ‘The Keepers,’ a Netflix documentary series examining the unsolved death of a Catholic nun and abuse at then-Archbishop Keough High School(link is external), has sparked calls for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release files on the priest at the center of the story. An online petition on has more than 11,000 signatures urging church officials to make public its files on A. Joseph Maskell, who died in 2001.” By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun


Man claims monk sexually abused him more than 100 times as a kid
“A New Jersey man who attended the now-shuttered St. Elizabeth of Hungary School more than four decades ago has anonymously stepped forward and accused a Benedictine monk of abusing him on more than 100 occasions(link is external) as a teenager. In a lawsuit filed Friday (Jul. 7) morning, a plaintiff identified as John Doe III alleges he was sexually abused on numerous occasions by the Rev. Timothy Brennan between 1968 and 1971 while a student at St. Elizabeth’s School.” By Justin Zaremba, NJ Advance Media on


Diocese places priest on leave for alleged misconduct involving minor in mid-1980s
“A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was placed on leave from public ministry(link is external) Wednesday (Jul. 5). Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the diocese, said in a release that Rev. Anthony J. Petracca has been placed on leave from public ministry.” By Ron Musselman, WJAC-TV


Laws introduced to help prevent child abuse
“New laws have been introduced in Victoria to help protect children from abuse(link is external), holding religious, childcare, government and community organizations to account and modernizing child pornography laws. The Wrongs Amendment (Organizational Child Abuse) Act 2017 came into force on Saturday (Jul. 1) with new duty-of-care requirements for organizations that care for or have authority over children.” By

The case of Cardinal Pell raises hope of reform among Australian victims of clerical abuse
“The Catholic Church, long damaged by sex abuse scandals(link is external), is facing a fresh crisis following the laying of charges of child sex abuse against one of its most senior clerics, the Australian cardinal George Pell. The 76-year-old Pell, who as the Church’s treasurer is the most senior Vatican figure to be charged with sexual abuse, returned home to Australia from the Vatican early Monday (Jul. 10), where he was met at Sydney airport by police. He is due in a Melbourne magistrate’s court on July 26 for the hearing of charges that he has strenuously denied.” By Sharon Verghis, Time

Catholic priest’s alleged inappropriate conduct kept hidden from school nearby his residence for ‘privacy reasons’
“The Catholic Church decided not to tell a Canberra primary school a priest living next door had been accused of inappropriate conduct with children(link is external) because it was concerned about his privacy, an independent report has found. The historical allegations involve two girls, and include the priest putting his arms around an 11 or 12-year-old from behind and nibbling her ear when they were alone in a Tumut church in the Riverina.” By Jesse Dorsett, ABC News Australia

Catholic boys school in Ballarat apologizes to victims of child sex abuse
“A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse(link is external) has called on Catholic institutions in Melbourne to take the lead of a Ballarat school, after it offered the first public apology to its abuse victims. St Patrick’s College is one of Ballarat’s most enduring Catholic institutions. Some students have graduated to become priests, archbishops and even a cardinal.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia


Catholic Church to fingerprint priests, other workers
“Catholic priests and church workers in Quebec will have to give their digital fingerprints in order to work with minors, the elderly and the sick by 2020, according to several news outlets. This new rule is part of larger pilot project initiated by the Montreal Catholic Church in the fall of 2016. It aims to protect anyone considered to be at-risk or vulnerable(link is external). The 10-part process includes obligatory background checks on all personnel and having more than one adult present with minors.” By Montreal Gazette


Vatican judges to deliberate
“A panel of Vatican judges will soon begin deliberating the fate of suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who is facing accusations of child sex abuse(link is external) when he was a Guam priest decades ago. Apuron’s ongoing canonical trial in the Vatican is in its penultimate phase, Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes said during a press conference yesterday (Jul. 6).” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post
— Guam Catholic look to Vatican, court process for closure,(link is external) Editorial in the Guam Daily Post

Stop fighting accusers in civil courts
“The world’s largest group of clergy sex abuse survivors(link is external) said Thursday (Jul. 6) the only way the Archdiocese of Agana can now make amends is to stop fighting accusers in the civil courts.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

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Voice of the Faithful Focus


June 14, 2017


Pope tells Nigerian priests accept bishop or be suspended
“Pope Francis is giving priests belonging to the Diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, 30 days to write a letter promising obedience to him(link is external) and accepting the bishop appointed for their diocese; priests who do not write will be suspended, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
Online campaign tries to raise doubts about Pope’s Nigeria edict(link is external), By Ines San Martin,

Annual audit of church abuse allegations shows work still needed
“The 14th annual report on diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People shows that church leaders have taken steps to help many find healing as victims of clergy sexual abuse, but there is still work to be done(link is external) … Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance.” By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service

No one is monitoring former abusive priests
“The parents of boys who accused a priest of sexual abuse(link is external) wrote to the Chicago Archdiocese more than two decades ago: ‘You’re repeatedly asking ‘what do we want’? It’s one more insult. ‘What we want’ should be totally obvious. We want something done about these priests.’” By Nicole Sotelo, National Catholic Reporter

Married priests: Groups call on U.K. church to have national, courageous conversation
“The ordination of married men to the priesthood(link is external) ‘needs to be explored openly within the church in England and Wales at national and diocesan levels,’ the retired bishop of Portsmouth, England, has said. Speaking to NCR, Bishop Crispian Hollis said he was ‘increasingly aware’ of the pressure which priests are under due to the shortage of priests.” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter
Priests’ group accuses bishops of refusing to support pope’s openness to reform(link is external), By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, La Croix International

French cardinal to face new legal action over pedophile cover-up
“Almost a year after the French justice system decided to drop criminal proceedings against Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, and six others for failing to report sexual abuse of boy scouts committed by a priest, the case has been reopened(link is external) … ‘If we stop now, who will bring the debate into the public domain?’ said François Devaux, the head of La Parole Libérée (‘Lift the Burden of Silence’).” By Bénévent Tosseri, La Croix International

The church must build ‘spiritual ramps’ to sex abuse survivors
“ … But what about the Catholic faithful who are inhibited from entering the church(link is external), not by a physical disability but a sacramental one? When survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy encounter the symbols of Christianity through which they were abused, they may experience feelings ranging from severe discomfort to panic attacks. I consider these ‘sacramental disabilities.’ By Lea Karen Kivi, America: The Jesuit Review (Ms. Kivi is a member of Voice of the Faithful’s Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles program leadership committee)


We’re watching Pope Francis institutionalize his vision
“Pope Francis on Friday(Jun. 9) took part in a dedication ceremony for a new Vatican headquarters for ‘Scholas Occurentes,’ dedicated to building networks of schools around the world(link is external). Like the World Meeting of Popular Movements, Francis is institutionalizing his vision, ensuring that his initiatives to promote social activism and hear the voices of the base will survive his papacy and form part of his legacy.” By John L. Allen, Jr.,

Pope’s friend says Francis simply doesn’t fit any ideology
“Marcelo Figueroa, a Protestant and a close friend of Pope Francis who is now editing the Argentinian edition of the Vatican newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano(link is external)‘ in order to get past the local spin on the pope’s words, says that ‘trying to match or relate Francis to an ideology, be it an economic or political one, whatever the name of the ideology, is a mistake.’” By Ines San Martin,


Council of Cardinals considers decentralizing authority over permanent deacons
“The group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy has considered specific ways to decentralize authority in the Catholic church, proposing in particular that more responsibility for permanent deacons could move from Rome to local bishops’ conferences(link is external). The nine member Council of Cardinals spoke in their June 12-14 meeting about ‘transferring some faculties from the Roman Curia to local bishops or bishops’ conferences,’ Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said in a short briefing June 14.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope names five new cardinals, all from outside Italy and Vatican
“Pope Francis is to elevate five Roman Catholic prelates(link is external) from outside Italy and the Vatican to the rank of cardinal, the elite group of churchmen who are his closest advisers and can enter a conclave to choose his successor.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, on Religion News Service
Francis names five new cardinals, including associated of Oscar Romero(link is external), By Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Eyeing Catholic demographics, and maybe his successor, Pope Francis shakes up his cardinals
“Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has been appointing cardinals from far-flung parts of the world — choosing men who appear to be toiling away at pastoral work with little or no interest in becoming ‘princes of the church.’(link is external) Next month (July), during their council, or consistory, Francis will formally induct five more of them into the exclusive club, meaning that he will have appointed close to half of those who will elect his successor. It is these prelates who, at an unspecified date in the future and providing they are under the age of 80, will process into the Sistine Chapel during the next conclave.” By Christopher Lamb, Religion News Service


Fostering safe environments in the Church
“On June 14, as they begin the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Indianapolis, the bishops of the United States will celebrate a ‘Mass of Prayer and Penance’ for survivors of sexual abuse within the Church(link is external). This is a good and important occasion. Sexual abuse is a heinous crime, one that cries out for penance and prayer. This is especially true when the Church, the sacrament of salvation, is the setting in which sexual abuse has taken place, violating sacred trust and causing real spiritual harm.” By J.D. Flynn, National Catholic Register

Immigration, religious liberty and synod on agenda for bishops’ meeting
“The proverbial plate is full of issues for U.S. bishops(link is external) to tackle at their upcoming spring assembly June 14-15 in Indianapolis. They will discuss issues ranging from immigration to religious freedom, as well as the Synod of Bishops on youth and the Fifth National Encuentro gathering, both coming up in 2018. ‘We’re certainly going to talk about the upcoming convocation in Orlando, some of the specific plans,’ said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, referring to the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, July 1-4, in Orlando, Florida.’” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Pope tells Nigerian priests to accept bishop or be suspended
“Pope Francis has demanded obedience from priests(link is external) in a Nigerian Diocese where the bishop has been unable to take up residence. Nigerian church leaders met Francis to discuss the situation of Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, who was appointed bishop of Ahiara by then-Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, but has been rejected by the clergy because he is not from the diocese.” By Cindy Wooden,
Three ironies about a dramatic show of papal muscle in Nigeria(link is external), By John L. Allen, Jr.,


From ‘Spotlight’ to ‘Keepers,’ Richard Sipe sees celibate priesthood as problem for the Catholic Church
“Richard Sipe, the former priest who spent 25 years studying the sexual behavior of the Catholic clergy, appears in ‘Keepers,’ the Netflix documentary series about the unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnick and the monstrous abuse of some of her students … Sipe famously helped the Boston Globe reporters who broke the story of widespread abuse by priests in Massachusetts … He argued then, and argues now, that child sexual abuse by the clergy should be addressed as part of an examination of celibacy(link is external), which, he says, stunts the psychological development of priests, leaving them emotionally unprepared for the celibate life.” By Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun


No more audible gasps in church, please
“Recent events in the Hartford Archdiocese underscore our church’s profound challenges(link is external), yet also point the way to toward a better future. Archbishop Leonard Blair recently announced a sweeping and painful reorganization: consolidating 212 churches down into 126 … As part of that process, one parish’s congregants were briefed about the broader context. Since 1969, the number of Catholics in the archdiocese had declined by 69 percent; the number of priests had fallen by roughly two-thirds. One parishioner told National Catholic Reporter that such statistics were greeted by an audible gasp in the church … Consider that ‘audible gasp’ as an indictment of sorts and a cry to do things differently from now on: parishioners should never be in a position to be shocked by news about the ongoing health of their own parishes and diocese.” By Chris Lowney, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic parishes prepare for changes to take effect June 29
“Parishes across the Archdiocese of Hartford are facing big decisions as they prepare(link is external)for a long-anticipated reorganization plan, which takes effect June 29. Creating single parishes by merging two or more has broad implications, ranging from the emotional to the pragmatic, including questions of what will be done with church buildings, stained glass windows and other religious items, and how best to consolidate parish staff.” By Jordan Otero Sisson, Hartford Courant
Long decline in attendance led to Catholic church mergers(link is external), By Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant


The Case for Women Deacons
Dr. Phyllis Zagano discussed the ordination of women deacons recently with Sebastian Gomes of Salt + Light Catholic Media in Canada. Listen to the conversation(link is external) as Phyllis cites the presence of women deacons from the first years of the Church through the 12th century and how a focus on priesthood gradually eliminated the idea of permanent deacons. Now that the permanent diaconate has been restored by the Second Vatican Council, why shouldn’t it extend to women as well, just as in the past? By Salt+Light Catholic Media in Canada


Patriarchy, not nature, makes women unequal
“In a new collection of papers published by an Indian pontifical college, a diverse range of bishops, theologians and lay professionals challenges the global Catholic church to break down ecclesial structures that place women on an unequal or subservient standing(link is external). As Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios, one of the contributors to ‘Gender Justice in the Church and Society: Papers of the Second DVK National Seminar on Moral Theology’ (Dharmaram Publications, 476 pages, $25), puts it: The women who prayed with men in the Gospel accounts were there ‘not to cook for them but to pray along with them.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic young women launch self-led initiatives across U.S. after forum
Catholic women from dioceses across all 50 U.S. states(link is external) have decided to put their faith into action. In a forum sponsored by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious more than 300 women carried out ‘action plans’ following the June 2016 Given Forum at The Catholic University of America.” By Catholic News Service on

Uphold a woman’s right to contribute fully to society, pope says
“The more women are involved in and contribute to communities, politics, economics and the church, the more positive changes will come about, Pope Francis said. ‘Women are fully entitled to actively take part in all settings,(link is external) and their rights must be affirmed and protected, including through legal instruments wherever it may prove necessary,’ he said June 9. The pope was speaking to members, consultors and guests of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which was holding its plenary assembly in Rome June 7-9. Participants had discussed the role of women in teaching universal fraternity.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter


Cardinal-designate from Mali charged with hiding funds in Swiss bank accounts
“An investigative report in the French daily Le Monde charges(link is external) that Catholic bishops in Mali—including one recently named by Pope Francis to become a cardinal—have placed €12 million ($13.5 million) in Swiss bank accounts.” By


Cuomo’s silence is deafening as time runs out on child sex abuse bill
“As the state’s legislative session winds to a close, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to announce his support for the Child Victims Act(link is external) despite his promises to survivors that he’d help get a bill passed this year. The act, which would extend the restrictive time frame for victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice, recently sailed through the Assembly with a vote of 139 to 7 before stalling, as such bills do, in the state Senate.” By Lauren Evans, The Village Voice

Assembly passes child victims act
“In a historic moment and after years of lobbying, an emotionally charged State Assembly today passed the Child Victims Act legislation(link is external), 129-7, extending the statute of limitation for criminal and civil child sex abuse cases. It was the first time that either chamber of the legislature has approved the measure after 10 years of lobbying.” By Kings County Politics

Statute of limitations bills stalled
“It’s been several months since I’ve written about efforts to extend legislative justice to more victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania. That’s mostly because those efforts are stalled(link is external). I’ll get back to that.” By Bill White, The Morning Call

Sexual abusers shouldn’t be allowed to run the clock
“I was only 9 years old when my landlord’s teenage son led me into the basement with the promise of new toys. Instead, he forced me to touch him. He made me do things(link is external) my young body and mind weren’t prepared to do. I distinctly remember how the damp floor and walls smelled of mildew, and how cold it was. I begged him to stop.” By Fabio Cotza, The New York Times


Let’s call child sexual abuse in the church what it is: Catholic extremism
“…The royal commission has heard from victims of abuse in many religious and state-run institutions, but the Catholic church (my church, and Abbott’s too) stands out(link is external). Over 4,000 cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic church were reported to the royal commission. These reports showed wilful ignorance by church leaders, systematic shielding of abusers and a continual preference for the perpetrator and the institution over the victim. …” By Kristina Kelly, The Guardian

Fifteen years after Dallas, a seven-part series
“The 2002 Dallas Bishops’ Conference was a barn-burner. On the heels of the Spotlight series and scandals in dioceses across the nation, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops got together at their annual June meeting to put together ‘massive reforms.’ Those reforms became the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its accompanying Norms … So, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Dallas Charter, I thought I would take a look at some recent scandals that show us that the problem is far from over(link is external) and that any glad-handing on behalf of the members of the USCCB this week is just for show. Nothing has changed, except the window dressing. The Charter, which the Bishops have been hailing as ‘watershed’ document in child protection, I contend, is a massive failure. Fifteen years after Dallas, the protesters may be gone, but the disgust remains.” By Joelle Casteix, The Worthy Adversary

‘I lost faith in God … But I’m now pursuing faith in justice’: child sexual abuse survivors lobby for reform
“Inspired by his oath of honesty when enlisting in the Navy, 21-year-old recruit Shaun Dougherty decided to be truthful about what had happened to him as a child. He finally opened up to his parents on his first Christmas break from the boot camp in 1991. Dougherty told them about the three-year long sexual abuse(link is external) he had endured in 1980 starting at age 10 as a fifth-grader at St. Clement School in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. His abuser was George Koharchik ― a longtime Catholic priest, pastor at St. Clement Church, and Dougherty’s basketball coach and religion teacher. His parents, who had attended the Mass conducted by Koharchik for many years at the same church where young Shaun was an altar boy, did not believe him.” By Ilgin Yorulmaz, Huffington Post


Settlement paid to sexual abuse victim from Norwalk Catholic Church
“A male victim of sexual abuse(link is external) at the hands of a Norwalk Catholic priest in the 1970s and ’80s will be paid an undisclosed financial settlement, one of five such settlements in Connecticut recently approved by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, reports the Stamford Advocate.” By Alfred Branch, Norwalk Patch


Judge denies new trial for St. Louis priest’s accuser; orders her to pay
“A judge has denied a woman’s request for a new civil trial seeking damages against a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) after a Lincoln County jury in April found insufficient evidence that he fondled her at her home. St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer on Monday also ordered the woman to pay legal expenses of the St. Louis Archdiocese and the Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang totaling $48,516.84. Ohmer’s order requires she pay $19,316.51 to the archdiocese and $29,200.33 to Jiang.” By Joel Currier, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Kentucky Catholic priest reaches plea deal on sex abuse
“A Catholic priest has reached a plea agreement on sexual abuse charges(link is external) that occurred at a summer camp that he ran for decades in Kentucky. R. Joseph Hemmerle was facing allegations of abuse from a second person who said Hemmerle abused him at Camp Tall Trees in Meade County. Hemmerle was also convicted in November of abusing a boy who attended the camp in the 1970s and sentenced in February to seven years imprisonment. Prosecutors say Hemmerle’s plea deal for sexual abuse and wanton endangerment calls for an additional two years imprisonment and eight years of probation.” By Dylan Lovan, Associated Press in The Washington Post


Court rejects child molesting priest’s appeal
“An appeals court has rejected the appeal of a former priest convicted of rape(link is external), molestation and sexual battery of children. Mark Broussard was convicted by a Calcasieu Parish jury last spring of five child sex charges. The crimes occurred while he was a Catholic priest in the 1980s. He’s no longer a priest; he left the church in 1994, according to evidence presented at his trial.” By KATC-TV


‘Keepers’ priest Maskell spent time in Ireland, now under scrutiny
“Public health officials in Ireland say they are reviewing the work history of the Catholic priest profiled in the Netflix series ‘The Keepers,’ who was employed as a psychologist in that country after leaving Baltimore amid sexual abuse allegations(link is external). The priest, A. Joseph Maskell, worked in Wexford for about seven months in 1995 as a temporary clinical psychologist for an Irish public health board, according to the national health agency there. He later worked in private practice in Ireland between 1995 and 1998, church officials in Ireland say.” By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun


Judge laments $15 million in legal fees in St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese bankruptcy
“The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis expressed concern Thursday (May 18) over the legal fees being racked up in the case — about $15 million to date. ‘It bothers me so much that all these attorney fees are being run up,’ U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel said at a hearing Thursday(May 18), adding that legal fees are consuming funds that could be directed to survivors(link is external) of archdiocese clergy sex abuse.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune


Syracuse diocese, former priest facing lawsuit over sexual abuse claims
“A California man is suing the Syracuse Catholic Diocese and a former priest for $25 million, claiming that he was sexually abused(link is external) nearly 30 years ago, according to the criminal complaint. The lawsuit was filed on Friday, June 2, in Connecticut by Matthew Strzepek who alleges former priest, Felix Colosimo, molested him from 1987 through 1990 when he was only 12-15 years old.” By Justine Marschner,

Seven victims name priests who sexually abused them as children
“Seven men who were abused as children by priests(link is external) of the Archdiocese of New York revealed on Thursday (May 18) some of the details of the settlements they had received through the archdiocese’s new sexual abuse survivor compensation fund. Since October, more than 100 victims have settled their sex abuse cases with the archdiocese by taking their claims to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. But very few details have been revealed because the program keeps the cases confidential, and no victims have yet spoken out.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times


Allentown Diocese Catholic priest pleads guilty to child pornography charges, but says has no memory of images
“A Roman Catholic priest who was forced to step down after child pornography was discovered on his computer(link is external) pleaded guilty Thursday (Jun. 8) in Lehigh County Court. Monsignor John S. Mraz, formerly of St. Ann Catholic Church in Emmaus, told Judge Maria L. Dantos that he didn’t remember downloading the child pornography but didn’t contest that he possessed it.” By Laurie Mason Schroeder, Allentown Morning Call
Priest who had child pornography on computer pleads guilty(link is external), By Associated Press in Pocono News


Priest removed from ministry after allegations of abuse
“A Catholic priest in the Yakima Valley town of Granger has been removed from all public ministry following allegations by a young man that the priest sexually abused him(link is external). The Catholic Diocese of Yakima said Monday (Jun. 12) that it took the action against the Rev. Gustavo Gomez Santos from Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.” By Associated Press in The Dispatch, Granger, Washington


Former Catholic priest, 75, jailed for just four months
“A predator Catholic priest who fondled an eight-year-old girl(link is external) in 1974 will spend just four months behind bars after pleading guilty to the historic sexual abuse offences. Friar Anthony Colbourne, now aged 75, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday (May 23) to indecently assaulting the girl on four separate occasions in the presbytery and his office.” By Daniel Peters, Daily Mail Australia

Fifty years on, Melbourne priest charged with sexual assault of Aboriginal girls
“A retired Catholic priest from Melbourne has been charged with the sexual assault of four Aboriginal girls(link is external) at a West Australian orphanage more than 50 years ago. Father Allan Mithen, 78, was recently arrested in Clifton Hill over the sexual abuse that allegedly occurred when he served as rector at the Wandering Mission between 1965 and 1969.” By Cameron Houston, The Age, Victoria

Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson seeks to have charge of hiding child sex abuse thrown out
“Lawyers for Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson, accused of concealing child sex abuse(link is external) in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, have fronted court again for their third attempt to stop the case against him from going ahead. Wilson, who has retained his position amid the criminal proceedings, is accused of failing to pass onto police information he had between 2004 and 2006 that might have helped convict Father Jim Fletcher.” By Karl Hoerr, ABC News Australia
Archbishop Philip Wilson failed in third bid for permanent stay against conceal charge(link is external), By Sam Rigney, The Newcastle Herald

Australian police closer to deciding Vatican abuse charges
“Australian police said Wednesday (May 17) they were a step closer to deciding whether to charge a top Vatican cardinal over allegations of sexual assault(link is external) dating back decades. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic, has long been dogged by allegations he mishandled cases of clergy abuse when he was archbishop of Melbourne and, later, Sydney. More recently, Pell has faced accusations of child abuse himself when he was a young priest in the 1970s. Pell, who runs the Vatican’s economy ministry, has repeatedly denied all the allegations.” By Associated Press on ABC-TV News Australia

Catholic Priest who repeatedly raped and assaulted boys is facing jail
“Father Eugene Fitzpatrick, 68, was found guilty of the horrific attacks(link is external) at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday after he denied all charges. He raped one boy multiple times between 1986 and 1992 while working at Our Lady and Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Balls Pond Road, Islington.” By Sam Gelder, Islington Gazette


Catholic Church sent pedophile priests away ‘for them to be fixed’: prosecutors turned blind eye to abuse
“The Catholic Church in Scotland has admitted it made a ‘huge mistake’ by sending pedophile priests away to be ‘fixed’(link is external) rather than prosecuting them. A senior cleric said yesterday (Jun. 7) that abuse was seen as a ‘sin’ and the church focused more on ‘treating’ child molesters than on helping their young victims. He said there were occasions when prosecutors turned a blind eye and agreed not to bring charges on the condition abusers received therapy, with their crimes seen as a ‘moral fault that could be fixed by prayer and retreat.’” By Graham Grant, Daily Mail


New priest named in sexual abuse lawsuit
“A 14-year-old altar boy who aspired to be a priest in the early 1980s is the latest victim to come forward alleging sexual abuse by a member of the clergy(link is external). Francis Charfauros, who now resides in Arizona, filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Guam against the Archdiocese of Agana and the Capuchin Franciscans accusing the late Father John ‘Jack’ Niland of sexually abusing and molesting him when he was a young boy.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Guam reaches Vatican, global audience a year since clergy sex abuse exposed
“Within a year since former altar boy Roy Quintanilla came forward on May 17, 2016 to accuse Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually abusing him in the 1970s, not only has the Vatican promptly stepped in but also placed a global spotlight on Guam’s clergy sex abuses(link is external). ‘We’ve come a long way,’ Quintanilla told Pacific Daily News. ‘We wouldn’t have come this far were it not for the Catholic community’s support. It’s amazing what we can do as a community.’” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
11 Guam Catholic priests involved in sex abuse lawsuits(link is external), By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, in USA TODAY

Former priest named in suits may reside in Barrigada
“A former Catholic priest who has been named in at least five sex abuse complaints(link is external)may still be residing on island. Raymond Cepeda, a former priest who was defrocked in December 2009 following an investigation into abuse allegations, is believed to be currently residing in Canada, Barrigada, according to attorney Gloria Rudolph, of the Law Office of Lujan and Wolff LLP, which represents the plaintiffs in the cases currently pending in federal court.” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post


Downward trend in reports of new clerical child sex abuse allegations continues
“The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog received reports of 72 new allegations of clerical child sex abuse as well as 10 of physical and emotional abuse in the year to March 31st 2017, as a downward trend in such allegations continues … Teresa Devlin, NBSC (National Board for Safeguarding Children) chief executive, noted however that an examination of the downward trend ‘shows we cannot assume the work is complete(link is external).’ Since 2009, when the NBSC began compiling such figures, ‘there have been years where the figures rose and only constant vigilance will keep children safe,’ she said.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times


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