Posts Tagged child sexual abuse
“It’s groundbreaking if we’re going to see one of the U.S. attorneys pursuing the Catholic cases,” said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and chief executive of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank focused on preventing child abuse. “The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.” (Associated Press)
The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe.
“The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.
“Now federal prosecutors are bringing the Justice Department’s considerable resources to bear, according to two people who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
“‘It’s groundbreaking if we’re going to see one of the U.S. attorneys pursuing the Catholic cases,’ said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and chief executive of Child USA, a nonprofit think tank focused on preventing child abuse. ‘The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.'”
By Maryclaire Dale and Eric Tucker, Associated Press — Read more …
Its (Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s letter) unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks amounted to an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis’ papacy … (The New York Times)
On the final day of Pope Francis’ mission to Ireland, as he issued wrenching apologies for clerical sex abuse scandals, a former top Vatican diplomat claimed in a letter published on Sunday (Aug. 25) that the pope himself had joined top Vatican officials in covering up the abuses and called for his resignation.
“The letter, a bombshell written by Carlo Maria Viganò, the former top Vatican diplomat in the United States and a staunch critic of the pope’s, seemed timed to do more than simply derail Francis’ uphill efforts to win back the Irish faithful, who have turned away from the church in large numbers.
“Its unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks amounted to an extraordinary public declaration of war against Francis’ papacy at perhaps its most vulnerable moment, intended to unseat a pope whose predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.
“Archbishop Viganò claimed that the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and that Pope Francis knew about the abuses by the now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public. Yet, the letter contended, Francis did not punish the cardinal, but instead empowered him to help choose powerful American bishops.
By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …
“It’s heartening that finally after all these years, and we hope it’s more than just verbiage, that the very things that the bishops attacked us for saying, they’re saying it now,” she (Donna Doucette, Voice of the Faithful Executive Director) added. (Catholic News Service)
An independent lay-run board that would hold bishops accountable for their actions, a national day for Mass or prayers of reparation, and encouragement to parishioners to become more involved in their diocese are among steps suggested by prominent lay Catholics to right the U.S. church as it deals with a new clergy sexual abuse scandal.
“Those contacted by Catholic News Service said that it was time for laypeople to boost their profile within the church and help begin to dismantle long-standing clericalism that has sought to preserve the reputation of offending clergy at the expense of the safety of children.
”Their credibility is gone and the trust of the faithful is gone,’ Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, said of the U.S. bishops as they worked to develop steps to promote greater accountability on abuse …
Cesareo was not alone in calling for a separate body to be established to handle accusations of abuse involving bishops. While details varied, the basic premise envisions that such a board would review abuse allegations or complaints of improper handling of an abuse claim by any bishop.
Just such a body has been sought since 2002, when the abuse scandal arose in the Archdiocese of Boston, by the church reform group Voice of the Faithful, said Donna Doucette, executive director.
By Dennis Sadowsky, Catholic News Service — Read more …
Francis says Catholic Church ‘abandoned’ children, letting them be abused / National Catholic Reporter
“We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” the pope states (in a letter Aug. 20 addressed to the People of God). (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope Francis has acknowledged that the Catholic Church ‘did not act in a timely matter’ to protect children from sexually abusive priests over a period of decades, saying in a new letter to members of the Catholic faith around the world that the church ‘abandoned’ minors to those who would abuse them.
“‘With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been … realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,’ the pontiff says in the letter, released Aug. 20 in response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
“‘We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,’ the pope states.
“In the three-page letter, addressed to the ‘People of God,’ Francis also says the church has “delayed” in implementing measures to protect children and to hold those who have abused them to account.
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
A Grand Jury report of widespread Catholic clergy abuse and coverup in Pennsylvania is no surprise / Voice of the Faithful
BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 15, 2018 – The findings of a grand jury in Pennsylvania that investigated sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy in six dioceses there cannot be called a surprise. Not after grand juries examining clergy sex abuse in two other Pennsylvania dioceses found the same pattern. Not after grand juries in other states and government commissions around the world have unearthed the same crimes and the same failures again and again.
What would be a surprise is if, this time, the Church hierarchy follows up on its numerous promises and expressions of sorrow and finally brings to account all those who participated in the crimes and coverups. Although Church officials can point to the positive efforts made to introduce child protection safeguards and abuse reporting going forward, such efforts cannot substitute for full justice – the Church and the Catholic faithful must hold accountable the many bishops, chancery officials, and even lay persons who knew of abuse, looked the other way, and allowed the predators to claim additional victims.
The latest report goes further than many others in the United States in naming the bishops who allowed abuser priests to escape justice. Now the test for the hierarchy will be whether these bishops face any sanctions for their failures, and whether all priests named as abusers are out of ministry. It is no longer sufficient to say a statute of limitations has passed or that the bishop now knows better. Justice and morality are not defined by legal stipulations. It’s long past time to do what’s right.
Voice of the Faithful has called for such accountability since its founding in 2002. As a lay organization seeking reform within the Church, we work with lay people, priests, and a few brave bishops to bring forward the changes that could guard against such abuses in the future. We promote programs that encourage both transparency and accountability, offer pathways to healing for those damaged by the abuse, and ask all Catholics to exercise vigilance.
However, given the administrative structure of the Roman Catholic Church, such efforts by the Catholic faithful must be endorsed and then implemented by the hierarchy if we are to obtain full transparency and accountability. Recent calls by some bishops, in the wake of news about former Cardinal McCarrick, for lay participation in holding bishops accountable would be a good start. The second step would be to address the clericalism that fosters such systemic failures.
Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 15, 2018
Contact: Nick Ingala, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity, and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
More than 300 accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse / The Washington Post
The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston. (The Washington Post)
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Aug. 14) released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing more than 300 accused clergy and detailing a ‘systematic’ coverup effort by church leaders over 70 years.
“State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but the grand jury believes there are more.
“The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.
“Shapiro said that the report details a ‘systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.'”
By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Read more …
(Cardinal Sean) O’Malley said he was “deeply troubled” by the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and that it and others “raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse.” (Reuters)
A leading Roman Catholic cardinal and key adviser to Pope Francis called on Tuesday for the Vatican to ‘swiftly and decisively’ adopt strict policies for cases of sexual abuse involving bishops and top clergy.
“Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston issued the appeal with the Church in the United States still reeling from allegations that another cardinal was involved in abuse of minors and sexual improprieties with adult seminarians years ago.
“O’Malley said he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the case of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and that it and others ‘raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse.’
“His forceful statement also comes as the Vatican has been hit by a major scandal that has engulfed the Church in Chile.
“Last month, the Vatican ordered McCarrick, 88, the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., to cease public ministry after finding that allegations he sexually abused a teenager almost 50 years ago were credible.”
By Philip Pullella, Reuters — Read more …