Posts Tagged Catholic news

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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