Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse

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Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months’ detention for child abuse cover-up
“The most senior clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse(link is external), Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been sentenced to 12 months’ detention. Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to August 14 while Wilson is assessed for home detention. He will be eligible for parole after six months. In May, the 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the sexual abuse of children between 2004 and 2006 at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the 1970s.” By Nancy Notzon Australian Broadcasting Company News

Cardinal McCarrick’s removal shows the Catholic Church may be taking sexual abuse more seriously
“‘Credible and substantiated.’ That was the finding of a Catholic Church investigation into allegations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington, sexually abused a minor(link is external) almost 50 years ago. That it took nearly a half-century for these allegations to be dealt with illustrates the church’s wretched track record in combating clerical sex abuse. At the same time, even this belated reckoning shows the church is making some progress in facing up to its problems rather than, as had been its wont, covering them up.” By The Washington Post Editoral Board

Cheyenne Diocese: abuse allegations against retired bishop ‘credible’
“A recent investigation by the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, found that allegations of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) against retired Bishop Joseph Hart are ‘credible and require disciplinary action,’ challenging a past inquiry by a local district attorney that has now been called ‘flawed.’ Hart, who served as Cheyenne bishop from 1976 to 2001, has been restricted from public ministry since September 2015. He has faced allegations of sexual abuse dating back to his time as a priest (1956-1976) in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, Diocese.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution
“The Vatican tribunal Saturday (Jun. 23) convicted a former papal diplomat and sentenced him to five years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography(link is external) in the first such trial of its kind inside the Vatican. Monsignor Carlo Capella admitted to viewing the images during what he called a period of ‘fragility’ and interior crisis sparked by a job transfer to the Vatican embassy in Washington … Tribunal President Giuseppe Dalla Torre read out the verdict after a two-day trial and sentenced Capella to five years in prison and a fine of about $6,000. Capella will serve the sentence in the Vatican barracks, where he has been held since his arrest earlier this year.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Two more Chilean bishops are out as pope cleans house
“Pope Francis on Thursday (Jun. 28) accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops(link is external) (bringing to five the total number of resignations accepted), the latest fallout from a sex abuse scandal whose scope and gravity were initially underestimated by the pontiff. Last month all 31 of Chile’s active bishops offered to quit for collectively failing to protect children from pedophile priests.” By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press

Newspapers, victims sue for release of Pennsylvania grand jury’s clergy sex abuse report
“Several Pennsylvania news outlets and victims of clergy sex abuse sued Friday (Jul. 6) for the release of a grand jury rep(link is external)ort which details cases of abuse in six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses. The state supreme court had blocked the release. Todd Frey, who testified to the grand jury about having been abused by a priest, filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court July 6 … Nine news outlets argued that Pennsylvania law requires that the more-than-800-page report, a ‘matter of extraordinary public importance,’ be released publicly.” By Catholic News Agency

ACCOUNTABILITY

Investigate the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo
“Imagine an organization. It’s well-regarded and has a long, storied history. But it has a dark side. In addition to its many good works, certain members committed some of the worst offenses imaginable(link is external) – crimes against children. Even worse, imagine that administrators had concocted a scheme to hush it all up in an effort to protect the organization. A question inevitably arises: What then is the culpability of the organization? In any setting but a church, the answer would be shouted from the courthouse steps. Should it be different when it is a church? It shouldn’t, but in Erie County, it appears it is.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

French ex-bishop to stand trial for not reporting pedophile priest
“The former bishop of the French city of Orleans, Andre Fort, was ordered Thursday (Jun. 28) to stand trial for failing to report a pedophile priest in his diocese(link is external). Fort, who was bishop of the northern city between 2002 and his retirement in 2010, was charged last June over allegations that he turned a blind eye to child abuse by priest Pierre de Castelet. Fort had moved de Castelet into roles where he did not have contact with children, but did not inform the police about accusations by a man who said he and others had been abused by the priest as a child.” By Expatica.com

Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeks input on secrecy of sex abuse grand jury report
“A lengthy report into allegations of sexual abuse and related cover-ups(link is external) within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic churches remained on hold Monday (Jul. 2), as the state’s highest court gave those who wanted to keep the grand jury report under wraps three days to weigh in. The state Supreme Court, through its filing office, told lawyers for those who have pending appellate challenges to the report’s release that they will have until Thursday (Jul. 5) afternoon to respond to a request to unseal it by The Associated Press and six other media organizations.” By Associated Press in The Morning Call

Have faith that the Catholic Church sex abuse report will be released
“The anger and disappointment over the last-minute hold on a potentially damning grand jury report on priest sex abuse(link is external) in Pennsylvania is understandable. The victims, the Catholic faithful and the public have waited too long already for these secrets to be spilled. We want the names. We want to know whether church officials or others tried to cover up their despicable actions.” By Paul Muschick, The Morning Call

Documents detail Vatican crackdown in troubled Indian archdiocese
“Vatican documents obtained by Crux detail the concerns that led Pope Francis on Friday(Jun. 22) to name an Apostolic Administrator for the troubled mother diocese of the Eastern Rite Syro-Malabar Church(link is external). Those documents show the Vatican is alarmed not only about financial scandals and mismanagement in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, technically known as an ‘archeparchy,’ but also divisions among the clergy, the auxiliary bishops of the diocese and Cardinal George Alencherry.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Melbourne’s archbishop(link is external), who said he’d prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex abuse of children that might be revealed to him in the confessional. The Vatican said Friday that the pontiff has appointed Monsignor Peter Comensoli, 54, to head the archdiocese, replacing Archbishop Denis Hart. At 77, Hart is two years older than the age at which all bishops must offer the pope their resignation.” By Associated Press

Bishop McElroy says ‘lived reality’ at heart of Francis’ pastoral theology, profound moment of renewal
“The ‘lived reality of men and women and children and families’ and their ‘sufferings and challenges and joys’ are at the center of ‘a moment of explicit theological renewal that will contribute enormously to the spread of the Gospel in this new millennium,’ said San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy in a June 26 keynote address. That understanding of the ‘emerging pastoral theology’(link is external) delineated and promoted by Pope Francis ‘both links us to the pastoral action and ethos of the Lord himself’ and is ‘highly attuned to the challenges and culture of the 21st century,’ McElroy told participants at the annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests held June 25-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Pope to make Vatican changes in push for reform, transparency
“Pope Francis will be making several significant changes in the Vatican(link is external) in the next few weeks and months to bring in fresh faces with new ideas and promote others as part of his push for reform. The pope disclosed his decisions in a rare sit-down interview with Reuters at his residence, during which he also spoke of migration, China, freedom of the press, sexual abuse and the role of women in the Church.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Pope affirms women can’t be priests, says Church has ‘woken up’ on sex abuse
“In a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about the ongoing migrant crisis in the United States, Pope Francis also touched on issues such as female ordination, the ongoing Vatican talks with China and the clerical sexual abuse scandals in Chile(link is external). The conversation between Francis and a journalist from British news agency Reuters took place on Sunday (Jun. 17) afternoon, and sections of it were published on Wednesday. Reuters also provided a transcript of portions of the interview to Vatican journalists.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Sights and sounds as Pope Francis creates new Princes of the Church
(Jun. 28, 2018) “Pope Francis will create 14 new cardinals(link is external) on Thursday (Jun. 28), 11 of whom will be in a position to elect, and be elected as, the next pope. They come from 12 countries, including Madagascar, Japan, Pakistan, Iraq, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Italy, in another attempt by the pontiff to make the College of Cardinals a reflection of the universality of the Church. The fact that they come from so many diverse backgrounds makes it understandable that they all have different priorities.” By Inés San Martin

BISHOPS

Archbishop Coleridge demands greater accountability of bishops during visit to Rome
“Brisbane Archbishop and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Mark Coleridge has used a Vatican visit to publicly demand bishops ‘be accountable’ in changing Church culture(link is external) that made child abuse possible. ‘We’re not above the law, we are not a law unto ourselves nor is the Church a law unto herself,’ Archbishop Coleridge said following a conference on safeguarding and child protection held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University on June 18-21.” By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

German bishops resume Communion debate after ignoring pope’s requet
“The German bishops’ conference said when the bishops meet in September, they will continue to examine the issue of Communion for Protestant spouses(link is external) of Catholics. The bishops published an ‘Orientation Guide in the Responsibility of Individual Bishops’ June 27. According to DomRadio, the official news site of the Diocese of Cologne, the guide is the same handout that the bishops’ conference developed in February, but with a changed title. Although it is published, the document is not available for public viewing.” By Zita Fletcher, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Editorial: Sound the horn, bishops, we’re waiting
“On the major issues of the day — immigration, climate change, racism, income inequality, to name a few — we are seeing extraordinary grassroots efforts to combat draconian federal policies that are the antithesis of the Beatitudes. In efforts like the renewed Poor People’s Campaign, students against gun violence, and the Catholic Climate Covenant, we have seen individuals and small groups rise up to confront those who put profits above people and those who steer government budgets and agendas away from supporting the common good to supporting corporate interests and personal gain … The time is ripe to move these grassroots efforts to a new place in the national agenda. To do that will require firm moral leadership. As Catholics, we look to our bishops for that kind of leadership(link is external).” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

PRIESTS

Priests’ social justice concerns shape assembly, resolutions
“More than 200 participants at the annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests(link is external) June 25-28 here heard calls for the church to focus on young Catholics, embrace the pastoral theology of Pope Francis, and affirm the Second Vatican Council’s theological spadework. During two business sessions, the attendees — the vast majority of whom are what researchers denote as “Vatican II priests” — also approved four goals and passed eight resolutions on topics such as women’s status in the church, ordination of married men, climate change, seminary formation and clericalism.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Dolores Leckey bridged the laity – hierarchy gap
“The Second Vatican Council presented alternative roles for believers, those who make up more than 99 percent of all Catholics. In it, the ‘docile flock’ was redefined as the people of God(link is external). Lumen Gentium stated unequivocally that the faithful shared in the ‘priestly, prophetic and kingly functions of Christ’ and as such had a mission both in the world and the church. Yet between the promulgation of these words and the reality there was a huge chasm that would be bridged over the next several decades. There were two issues of importance: how to persuade those with ecclesial authority to respond positively to lay empowerment, and how to educate laity about its mission.” By Dana Greene, National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Rozanski: Catholics want more input, outreach, transparency
“Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is looking forward to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield celebrating its 150th year in 2020 with a plan in place for more welcoming parishes, more involvement of youth in these parishes and more faith outreach beyond parish walls. In other words, an evangelizing look ahead in the spirit of Pope Francis’ proclamation(link is external), ‘Joy of the Gospel’ or ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ rather than a narrative totally framed by recent decades of merged parishes, closed schools and clergy sexual abuse lawsuits.” By Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican

VATICAN

Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse
“Pope Francis has taken measures to address a spiraling sex abuse scandal in Chile(link is external), but he hasn’t moved on a problem closer to home: Vatican City itself does not have policies to protect children from pedophile priests or require suspected abuse to be reported to police.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

CLERICALISM

The clericalist syndrome
“‘How could someone with that on his record ever have become a cardinal?(link is external)’ That question has been asked repeatedly since the disclosure that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 87, former Archbishop of Washington, has been suspended from public ministry by order of the pope in the face of an allegation – deemed ‘credible and substantiated’ by the New York Archdiocese – that he abused a minor there forty-seven years ago.” By Russell Shaw, TheCatholicThing.org

WOMEN DEACONS

Doctrinal chief Ladaria plays down possibility of female deacons
“The leader of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation sought to play down expectations about the possibility of female deacons(link is external) today (Jun. 26), arguing that a commission set up by Pope Francis was focussed on their historical role in the early Church rather than on ordination. Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria told reporters in the Vatican on 26 June, that while women deacons existed in the early Church they were ‘not the same’ as their male counterparts.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women push for more from Vatican, Francis
“Pope Francis’ appointment of Italian journalist Paolo Ruffini as the first layperson to head a Vatican department on July 5 has been welcomed by Voices of Faith, a group promoting women’s leadership in the church … ‘It opens the door for laypersons of both genders to lead Vatican entities,’ Chantal Götz told NCR. But she added, ‘It is also an opportunity missed(link is external).’ She said that women need to be leading dicasteries and councils because that is where decisions are made. ‘Actions or implementations are now expected if the Vatican is serious about women in leadership positions,’ she said.” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter

Roman burial art reveals forgotten women of Christianity
“Is there such a thing as reverent glee? If so, then that’s how I would have described St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk as she bounded among the ruins of ancient Cenchreae, the location of the house church of the deacon Phoebe(link is external) during a travel program I led. There is something about standing in the place mentioned in our Scriptures that stirs us, and reminds us that our ancestors in the faith were real, historical folks. In this case, a first-century woman whom the Apostle Paul called ‘our sister, who is [also] a diakonos of the church at Cenchreae’ (Romans 16:1).” By Laurie Brink, National Catholic Reporter

Women explore their role in the Church
“Sixty women and men from Parramatta Diocese and beyond gathered last week to discuss the place of women in the life of the Church(link is external) and the need for the female voice in leadership. Our Lady of Mercy College, a school deeply committed to women’s participation in Church and society, was a fitting venue for the evening of formation and consultation with the Council for Australian Catholic Women.” By CathNews.com

Women and LGBTQ people must find solidarity in struggle for a just church
“In June 2017, when Jesuit Fr. James Martin was promoting his then-newly published book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, one of many interviews he offered was with Kaya Oakes, published on the website Religion Dispatches. Oakes asked Martin whether he believed there is ‘a common struggle in the church between women and LGBT people(link is external).’ Martin said that while there is an ‘interesting parallel’ between the issues, ultimately ‘that analogy fails, because LGBT people are the most marginalized people in the church today.’” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

As traditional parishes decline, ‘personal parishes’ find new interest
“Sociologists call it the ‘Big Sort.’ Americans are increasingly choosing their own communities, clustering around like-minded people: liberals in coastal cities or college towns, Trump supporters in Southern red states and the middle of the country. For better or worse, Catholics are not immune. Increasingly churchgoers are bypassing neighborhood parishes in favor of faith communities(link is external) that deliver what they are seeking.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Engage young Catholics now, says pastoral expert at priests’ assembly
“A leading expert on pastoral theology has underscored that the Catholic Church must quickly and effectively engage young Catholics(link is external) through dialogue, awareness, listening, respect, humility, patience and creativity — or its future looks dim. In the June 25 opening presentation at the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests’ annual assembly held June 25-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Franciscan Sr. Katarina Schuth did not minimize challenges in reaching millennial Catholics.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Concerns about the future of the Catholic Church
“Parishioners shared their concerns about the future of the Catholic Church(link is external) with Bishop Richard Malone Wednesday (Jun. 20) night along with three other Catholic panelists during a Q & A session. The community talked about the problems facing the church and how to address them for years to come. Before the panel started, Monsignor Robert Zapfel addressed the sex abuse allegations against dozens of priests.” By Rachele Mongiovi, WIVB4 NEWS

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic Church grapples with the high price of clergy sexual abuse
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will need to pay victims of abuse more than $210 million(link is external) in a settlement that has brought them to the seek bankruptcy protection. This money will go to about 450 survivors who are represented in the settlement. About $40 million of the $210 million will be paid by the church; the rest will be paid by insurers. How does the church move on from this? Do parishioners trust the process? Are they confident that the issue of sexual abuse is over within the church?” By Kerri Miller and Manda Lillie, Minnesota Public Radio

Diocese says former St. Theresa priest found stealing from collection
“The Rapid City Police released a statement on Sunday (Jul. 1) saying they have completed an investigation and that Father Marcin Garbacz admitted to being responsible for the theft of the weekly collection(link is external) at St. Therese church. The case has been forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office and they are in the process of determining and filing criminal charges.” By KOTA-TV News

Pope Francis calls a ‘Hail Mary’ pass on Vatican financial reform
“For some time now, Pope Francis’s ambitious attempt at financial reform of the Vatican has seemed like an American football game in which the pope’s team is down late in the fourth quarter, and backed up against its side of the field. On Tuesday (Jun. 26), Francis did what teams in that situation generally do – he called a ‘Hail Mary’ pass, naming a loyal but largely untested ally to take over the Vatican’s main financial center of power(link is external). It is, in a real sense, both the most reassuring and also the riskiest move we’ve seen from the pontiff in some time.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Could Diocese of Providence declare bankruptcy – now facing exposure to tens of millions
“The very idea that the Diocese of Providence could file for bankruptcy(link is external) seems absurd as it historically has been one of the most influential and wealthy institutions in Rhode Island. If it did file for bankruptcy it would not be the first Diocese in the United States to file for bankruptcy to avoid financial claims. Today, the Diocese of Providence is facing a massive lawsuit by the receiver for the St. Joseph pension fund — a lawsuit that alleges, in part, that Bishop Thomas Tobin and other top Diocesan leaders perpetrated a massive fraud.” By GoLocalProv.com

Ex-Diocese of Corpus Christi priest faces charge of ‘severe irregularities’ in audit
“A Catholic priest released from a Port Aransas church last year has been arrested after a financial audit revealed ‘severe irregularities(link is external),’ according to a statement from the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The Rev. Krzysztof Bauta is being charged with a second-degree felony, but it was not immediately clear from the statement what exact charge he is facing.” By Tim Acosta, Corpus Christi Caller Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Inside Chilean abuse survivor’s meeting with Pope Francis
“In Cruz’s (Chilean clergy abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz) case, the encounter began with Francis apologizing(link is external). ‘I felt he was very, very sincere,’ Cruz said. In their time with Francis, the three (Chilean abuse survivors) tried to focus less on their individual stories but rather convey the global scope of the clergy sexual abuse ‘epidemic’ that has many survivors seeking justice, Cruz said. ‘This is a crime, and we spelled it out with all our words.’ ‘I said, ‘Holy Father, we cannot let this go on one more [day]. It’s in your hands to do something,’’ Cruz added. ‘He agreed.’ Specific bishops also came up in the conversations, including Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago and a member of the pope’s nine-member advisory Council of Cardinals.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church finally cracking down on pedophile priests
“To even casual observers of recent news about the Catholic Church, it’s clear that a new day has dawned(link is external). Finally, after decades of stalling, denials and civil lawsuits, Catholic dioceses seem to recognize their accountability for the criminal behavior of pedophile priests.” By Mary Sanchez, Courier & Press

Lessons from McCarrick case: pay attention to misconduct with adults
“When the Archdiocese of New York announced a ‘credible and substantiated’ allegation of sexual abuse(link is external) against a minor was confirmed against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – the former Archbishop of Washington, who had served as a priest in New York – it was the first time an American cardinal was personally charged with a crime involving a minor, against the backdrop of a crisis that’s enveloped the Church for nearly two decades.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

At last, bad news is good news in the Catholic sex abuse scandal
“In the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, what seems like bad news for the church — seemingly daily headlines about clergy being disciplined — is actually good news. The truly bad news of the scandal, of course, has been the horrible abuse of children, which will have negative effects on them for the rest of their lives. The good news is that perpetrators have been caught and exposed. Accusations are being investigated and the guilty are being punished. When the abuse scandal was first uncovered in the United States some 30 years ago, bishops in other countries denied they had a problem. What is clearly a worldwide problem is now getting attention(link is external) at the highest level in the church, thanks to Pope Francis.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Church body (in Ireland) warns of legal barriers to addressing abuse failings
“The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said legal barriers are preventing it from addressing ‘serious and widespread’ failings(link is external) in how some allegations of clerical sexual abuse are handled. Data protection concerns are preventing the National Board for Safeguarding Children from keeping a central database of priests who are facing child abuse allegations, with potentially ‘devastating consequences for children’ the organization’s board told the Department of Justice in April.” By Jack Power, The Irish Times

ILLINOIS

Ex-priest who abused child allowed access to Chicago schools
“Chicago Public Schools correspondence provided to The Associated Press shows that the nation’s third-largest school district gave a former Roman Catholic priest access to its schools for months despite knowing he was forced to leave the priesthood(link is external) for sexually abusing a boy of 6 when he was around 15.” By Michael Tarm, 5News Chicago

At 125th year, activist church St. Agatha has emerged from clergy sex-abuse pain
“The Rev. Larry Dowling still remembers when he got the call from Cardinal Francis George asking him to consider serving as pastor of St. Agatha’s Church in North Lawndale. It was 2007, and St. Agatha’s was in agony. The church at 3147 W. Douglas was at the center of the clergy sex-abuse scandal(link is external) rocking the Chicago archdiocese, with its former pastor, the Rev. Daniel J. McCormack, accused — and later convicted — of abusing five boys.” By Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun Times

LOUISIANA

Archdiocese of New Orleans pays ‘substantial’ sum to resolve rape claims
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans has paid more than a half-million dollars to settle claims that a longtime deacon and teacher repeatedly raped an altar boy(link is external) at Holy Rosary School in New Orleans more than three decades ago. The settlement, paid this month, brought a swift conclusion to a lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused the archdiocese of allowing a ‘sexual predator’ to work among children in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and doing ‘nothing to intervene and prevent such misconduct from occurring.’” By Jim Mustian, The New Orleans Advocate

Questions about Archdiocese of New Orleans’ need to disclose after abuse case against deacon
“Survivor groups have criticized the church for failing to deliver on many of its promises, particularly when it comes to the pledge to identify former priests and deacons accused of wrongdoing(link is external). The inconsistencies continued last week, when New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond wrote a letter to church members insisting the archdiocese acted ‘quickly and pastorally’ in response to an explosive lawsuit filed earlier this year that accused a longtime deacon and Catholic schoolteacher, George F. Brignac, of repeatedly raping an altar boy at Holy Rosary School in the early 1980s.” By Jim Mustian, The New Orleans Advocate

MICHIGAN

Sexual abuse claim against dead Michigan priest is credible, says church
“The Roman Catholic Church in southeastern Michigan is urging people to step forward if they believe they were sexually abused by a priest(link is external) who died in 1993. The archdiocese says it investigated a complaint against Monsignor Arthur Karey and found it credible. Spokesman Ned McGrath says the allegation involved a girl decades ago but was received just last year. Karey died in 1993 at age 74. He was a priest for 50 years in Detroit, Ecorse and Lake Orion. His service included work as a Detroit police chaplain.” By ClickOnDetroit.com

NEW YORK

There are now 74 Catholic priests in Buffalo accused of sexual misconduct
“To date, 74 current or former Buffalo priests have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct(link is external). The Diocese of Buffalo in March 2018 released a list of 42 ‘diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse with a minor.’ It included deceased priests ‘with more than one allegation made against them.’ That list did not include the names of dozens of additional priests …” By Charlie Specht and Christine Streich, WKBW-TV News

Suspended Greene County priest permanently barred from ministry
“Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger announced today (Jun. 30) that he has permanently barred Rev. Jeremiah Nunan, 81, from ministry after the Albany Diocese Review Board found reasonable grounds to believe he had sexually abused a minor(link is external) in the early 1990s. Nunan was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese six years ago. He was barred from officiating at sacraments, wearing clerical garb, or presenting himself as a priest. Bishop Scharfenberger accepted the recommendation of the Diocese Review Board following an independent investigation and confirmed Nunan’s permanent removal from ministry. Nunan has denied the allegation.” By Diocese of Albany

As Pennsylvania investigates dioceses, New York prosecutors stay bystanders
“Special agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office used search warrants and subpoenas last year to seize evidence of a massive cover-up of clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses(link is external) in the state. But despite growing revelations of sex abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo, law enforcement authorities in New York aren’t investigating whether crimes were committed in keeping the abuses hidden for so long.” By Jay Tokacz, The Buffalo News

Accused priest returns to pulpit after diocese finds claims ‘not substantiated’
“The Rev. Dennis G. Riter, in his first Mass since being suspended from ministry due to a sex abuse complaint(link is external), told parishioners he was happy to be back in the pulpit and acknowledged that ‘it’s been a long three months.’ ‘I am so very, very happy to be with you today,’ Riter said during the Saturday evening Mass in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk. ‘I certainly felt your prayers and your support over the past three months.’ Riter didn’t specifically address the abuse claim, reported to the Diocese of Buffalo in March, that resulted in his suspension.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Buffalo Diocese puts four more priests on leave over sex abuse claims
“Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone put four more priests on leave due to complaints of sexual abuse(link is external), said allegations against three other priests were substantiated and exonerated a fourth priest who had been suspended in March. A diocesan investigation determined that the allegations against the Rev. Dennis G. Riter, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk, have not been substantiated. Riter has been returned to active ministry and likely will celebrate Masses in the parish this weekend (Jul. 1). Removed from active ministry this week were four retired priests who assist at area parishes: the Rev. Pascal D. Ipolito, the Rev. Daniel J. Palys, the Rev. Roy Herberger and the Rev. Robert A. Stolinski.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Sisters seek to end gag order in priest sex abuse settlement
“Two sisters asked a judge Monday (Jul. 2) to invalidate broad confidentiality agreements other family members made with a Pennsylvania Catholic diocese so they can speak publicly about sexual abuse at the hands of a parish priest(link is external) more than two decades ago. The lawsuit in county court in Harrisburg by two adult women said their silence was required in settlements made with the Harrisburg Diocese over sexual abuse of two other sisters in the same family by Father Augustine Michael Giella.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Erie bishop calls abuse findings ‘sobering,’ ‘graphic’
“Bishop Lawrence T. Persico sat in front of 23 angry grand jury members(link is external) in April and apologized. ‘I said that I was sorry that they had to sit there and listen for two years to hear all that,’ said the Most Rev. Persico, who heads the diocese of Erie. ‘Well, they were upset. I can understand that. They are trying to get an understanding of what happened.’” By Melissa Klaric, The Tribune-Democrat

Eastern Pennsylvania priest suspended after online sex-abuse lawsuit
“A priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown, Pa., has been suspended after a lawsuit accused him of exploiting a teenage boy’s trust by engaging in sexual acts(link is external)over the internet with him beginning in 2011. The Allentown diocese said in a statement it had just learned of the lawsuit and that Monsignor Francis Nave will be removed from ministry pending investigation. Msgr. Nave was pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Bath, Pa.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TEXAS

Bishop Cantú responds to sexual abuse lawsuit naming Las Cruces parish
“The Diocese of Las Cruces responded on Wednesday (Jun. 20) to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of El Paso alleging sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) 40 years ago by Father Joaquin Resma when he was a priest at Our Lady of Health parish in Las Cruces. Resma died in 1983.” By Las Cruces Sun News

Alleged victim says local priest sexually assaulted her during confession
“A woman who says a former Catholic priest sexually abused her as a child(link is external) told investigators it all began when she was 8 years old, according to court documents. Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested this month after an investigation was launched into the claims of sexual abuse alleged to have happened for several years in the late 1990s.” By Jessica Gonzalez, KFOX14 News

AUSTRALIA

Some Australian bishops advise Wilson to resign
“Amidst the ongoing fallout surrounding the news that Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will appeal his conviction of covering up sex abuse(link is external), the head of the Australian Bishops’ Conference has released a statement wherein he notes that a number of bishops have encouraged Wilson to resign.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Australia’s national compensation plan for child sex abuse victims begins
“On Sunday (Jul. 1), Australia launched a program to compensate the victims of institutional child sex abuse(link is external). ‘The development of the National Redress Scheme was one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and was supported by the Catholic Church in Australia (which was the first non-government entity to join the scheme) and many survivor groups,’ read a statement from the Archdiocese of Sydney. The scheme runs ten years – from July 1, 2018 until June 30, 2027.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

Abuse survivors doubt independence of company running safeguarding standards forum
“Prominent Hunter Valley clerical abuse survivors will boycott a Catholic safeguarding standards forum, saying it is a sham that lacks independence. A consultation forum will be held in Newcastle today (Jul. 1) as part of an Australia-wide engagement with survivors of child sexual abuse(link is external), advocates, Catholic Church personnel and others to discuss draft national Catholic safeguarding standards.” By Gixelle Wakatama and Lix Farquhar, Australian Broadcasting Company

Catholic priests who don’t report confessions of child sex abuse may be charged
“Catholic priests in WA would face criminal charges if they refuse to break the seal of confession to report child sex abuse to police(link is external). But it appears WA is headed towards a stand-off between Church and State, with Perth’s top Catholic saying this week the Church is not backing down and will continue to practice confessional secrecy.” By Kate Campbell, PerthNow.com

CANADA

Catholic diocese slashing funding for priest abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic diocese in Southwestern Ontario has slashed funds to pay for counseling of those abused by pries(link is external)ts and adopted American-style tactics by using a top-dollar legal team to go after those who support victims, a London lawyer says. The change in tactics by the Diocese of London came suddenly and left victims vulnerable, said lawyer Rob Talach of London, who has represented many victims and complainants since becoming a lawyer in 2002.” By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

CHILE

Sacred Hearts priest in Chile investigated for sexual abuse
“The Chilean province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary reported Monday (Jun. 18) that a preliminary investigation is underway on Father Juan Andrés Peretiatkowicz Valdés, accused of sexual abuse and the abuse of power(link is external). According to a June 18 statement, the case involves accusations of acts which ‘allegedly began at the end of the 1980s.’ According to the congregation the priest has had no pastoral responsibilities for five years for health reasons.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Isle of Man diocese to review alleged abuse by clergy
“Last week a report examining the Church’s ‘flawed’ Past Case Review (PCR) said it failed to identify at least 22 cases of possible abuse(link is external). Sodor and Man is one of seven CofE dioceses whose efforts were deemed ‘inadequate.’ A diocese spokesman acknowledged ‘shortcomings’ in its record-keeping.” By BBC News

GUAM

Archdiocese names in $5M sex abuse lawsuit
“A former Guam resident has filed a sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana, alleging he was sexually molested and abused by a priest in 1967. J.V.C., who used initials to protect his identity, now lives in Oregon and alleges he was sexually molested and abused by Antonio Cruz, who is now deceased.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

INDIA

Indian Catholic priest on trial for sex abuse
“A Catholic priest in India who was arrested more than a year ago on charges of raping and impregnating a 17-year-old schoolgirl(link is external), is to stand trial. Father Robin Vadakkancherry of Mananthavady Diocese was parish priest of St. Sebastian’s Church in Kottiyoor at the time of the alleged offense.” By T.K. Devasia, International La Croix

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Catholic clergy sexual abuse: moving toward accountability?

Recent events revolving around Catholic clergy sexual abuse suggest the proverbial tide may be turning in the scandal from the Church’s knee-jerk closing of institutional ranks to action against perpetrators and abettors, both by the Church and civil authorities.

A marked example of how far the institutional response has progressed toward accountability is retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick stepping down from active ministry after the Vatican determined that allegations of sexual abuse were found “credible and substantiated.” The abuse occurred nearly 50 years ago when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. Nothing additional was known about the incident at the time of this writing, but McCarrick is likely the first cardinal to step aside because of sexual abuse.

Another obvious evidence of a change in the Church’s attitude is the change in Pope Francis. Over just a few weeks he has shifted from calling Chilean abuse survivors’ allegations “calumny” to removing three bishops, after he met with Chilean abuse victims and Vatican investigator Archbishop Charles Scicluna turned in his report. Chilean police and prosecutors also raided Catholic Church offices in the Osorno Diocese of Bishop Juan Barros. Scicluna and his colleague, Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, have returned to Chile to help ensure “adequate responses to each case of sexual abuse of minors.”

The Archdiocese of Mexico City’s response has been a partnership with the Survivors of those Abused by Priests on programs to protect children. To date, SNAP has been so critical of the Church for its handling of the scandal that it has become anathema to most bishops, particularly in the United States.

Throughout the scandal’s history, many Catholics have taken a jaundiced view of survivor settlements. Yet, in St. Paul-Minneapolis, which rose out of bankruptcy only recently with a $210 million settlement with survivors, parishioners are actually contributing to the settlement. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Father Daniel Griffith at Our Lady of Lourdes. “We’re all part of the archdiocese, and we all need to be part of the solution.”

States’ attorneys general have long tried to pry open the scandal, with limited results, but momentum is building, most visibly in Pennsylvania. A report is due at the end of this month from a grand jury investigation covering six dioceses (Greensburg, Allentown, Scranton, Erie, Harrisburg, Pittsburg — As of this writing, the Pennsylvania Supreme court has tempoarily blocked release of the report). Those close to the report tout conclusions as the worst ever. Legislators there are hoping the report finally will prompt changes in the state’s statute of limitation for sexual assault, which devastating grand jury reports in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and Philadelphia Archdiocese were unable to achieve; although the 2011 report in Philadelphia resulted in the convictions of two priests.

Where the law allows, national governments have investigated institutional abuse of minors. The Church has figured highly in these investigations, which, for example, have taken place in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and The Netherlands, and a statutory inquiry in the United Kingdom and Wales is ongoing. At least in Australia, the inquiry has led to changes in the law that include attempting to force priests to break the seal of confession where clergy sexual abuse of a minor is involved.

Speaking of Australia, the scandal has ensnared two highly placed prelates there. Cardinal George Pell is now standing trial on multiple counts of historic sexual abuse, while on leave from his position as Vatican treasurer. Archbishop Philip Wilson’s trial for covering up clergy abuse recently resulted in his conviction, and he is to be sentenced next month.

Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron is now appealing his Vatican conviction earlier this spring for “certain accusations” of sexual abuse of minors. He has been removed from office. The Church and lawyers there are attempting to settle more than 170 civil suits brought by abuse survivors (184 people in Guam have said they were abused by clergy or others associated with the Church).

Predicting where all this will lead is risky. These events, however, are not the same as the apologies and promises that too often in the past have not resulted in change. They are examples of the Church and civil authorities actually taking action.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of Australia’s bishop conference told Cruxnow.com that the atmosphere today in the Vatican is totally different than in 2002. Now, “there is a determination to work with all the local churches in really trying to, first of all, understand the phenomenon and the scale and the complexity, and then to tie action, not just wring the hands or have another discussion, but to actually take action … There is absolutely no room for complacency, but there is room for encouragement.”

As Voice of the Faithful was recently quoted in a PennLive.com article on the Pennsylvania scandal, perhaps “we’ve come to a point where the Church has realized this cannot go on.”

(For many more examples of how the tide may be turning on the clergy abuse scandal see Voice of the Faithful’s most recent “Focus” news roundup column.)

Reprinted from Voice of the Faithful’s In the Vineyard e-newsletter.

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Retired Washington cardinal out of ministry after credible abuse accusation
“In a shocking announcement, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 2006, has announced that he is stepping down from active ministry after allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) were found ‘credible and substantiated.’ The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope removes Chile bishop accused of abuse cover up
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial Chilean bishop(link is external)accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse, making it the first such accepted resignation since all the country’s bishops offered to step down in May … The Vatican announced Francis’s decision on Monday (Jun. 11), and said Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo, an auxiliary bishop from the capital Santiago, would serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese. Two other bishops also had their resignations accepted: Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Bishops’ prosecutions may point to new phase in church’s sex abuse crisis
“Pope Francis has been dealing over recent months with what has seemed like an unending saga of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse(link is external) crisis in Chile. After being criticized for saying abuse victims had committed ‘calumny’ during his January visit to the country, the pope has since admitted making ‘serious mistakes,’ met with Chilean victims in Rome, and received offers of resignation from most of the country’s bishops … But if Francis’ response to clergy abuse in Chile has appeared unending, recent developments across the world indicate that an examination into how the global Catholic Church has handled, or mishandled, sexual abuse is just beginning to ramp up.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Expanded background checks among changes to child protection charter
“Incremental changes to the U.S. bishops’ guiding document(link is external) on addressing sexual abuse of minors by clergy were approved Thursday (Jun. 13) during the prelates’ annual spring assembly, marking the first modifications since 2011. In the first of six votes set for day two of the gathering, the bishops voted 185-5, with one abstention, to approve a series of revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Australian prelate: laity could have prevented ‘catastrophic’ abuse crisis
“Arguably, few people in Australia can say they are more on the front lines in picking up the pieces after the recently concluded Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse that was highly critical of the Catholic Church than Archbishop Mark Coleridge, elected as president of the country’s bishops’ conference last month. Despite the challenges, which also include trials of two of Australia’s most renowned clerics … Coleridge is convinced that when it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse, a ‘change in culture’ is needed and is already in motion(link is external).” By Inés San Martin, John L. Allen, and Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

CLERGY ABUSE CRISIS IN CHILE

The clergy abuse crisis in Chile is sending shockwaves through the Catholic community there and reverberating throughout the world as potential changes to how the Church handles such abuse are discussed. Here are some of the news stories that have appeared in addition to those we cite elsewhere in this issue of Focus:

ACCOUNTABILITY

#MeToo, earlier scandals mean pending sex abuse report can’t be ‘a small problem’
“In the mid-2000s, when then-Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham launched an investigation into clergy sex abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she was assailed for waging a campaign against the Roman Catholic Church. It was a virtual repeat of what had played out just a few years prior in 2002 in Boston … At times, both in Philadelphia and Boston, Catholics rallied behind the church and defended their faith as legions came to terms with revelations of the assaults. Nearly a decade later, a pending grand jury investigation report into clergy sex abuse allegations and cover-up across six dioceses in Pennsylvania stands against a markedly changed landscape(link is external).” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Report on Pennsylvania roman Catholic priest sexual abuse to be most extensive ever
“The results of a lengthy probe into the handling of sexual abuse claims by Roman Catholic dioceses(link is external) throughout Pennsylvania, which victim advocates say will be the biggest and most exhaustive ever by a U.S. state, could be made public within weeks. A statewide grand jury spent nearly two years looking into the abuse scandal, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he plans to address the panel’s findings by the end of June. The grand jury investigated six of the state’s eight dioceses, which collectively minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics. The report is expected to reveal details of widespread abuse and efforts to conceal and protect abusive priests.” By Claudia Lauer, Associated Press

Chile prosecutors raid Catholic Church offices amid sex abuse probe
“Chilean police and prosecutors on Wednesday (Jun. 12) launched separate and unexpected raids on Roman Catholic Church offices(link is external) to seize documents relating to mounting claims of sexual abuse and cover-up. The raids came just hours before Vatican abuse investigators sent by Pope Francis met the country’s top prosecutor to discuss collaborating on civil and canonical probes.” By Aislinn Laing and Dave Sherwood, Reuters

Church praised for proactive response on abuse but warned of complacency
“Despite groundbreaking steps the U.S. Catholic Church has taken to prevent the sexual abuse of minors in the past 16 years, a potential ‘complacency’ in following safety protocols could pose a challenge(link is external) to those hard-won advances. Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, shared that view with diocesan safe environment and victims’ assistance coordinators attending the Child and Youth Protection Catholic Leadership Conference in New Orleans.” By Peter Finney, Jr., Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Abuse survivors launch global bishop accountability effort
“Some of the most prominent figures in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are joining forces in a new international effort to end abuse(link is external) and the impunity of bishops and religious superiors who enable it. The multinational initiative, End Clergy Abuse, was announced Thursday at a press conference in Geneva. One after another, more than a dozen members held up their national flags and denounced an individual bishop who had mishandled a case, from the Americas to Africa and Europe in between.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

Priests who don’t report sex abuse confessions could be fined
“Some Catholic priests across the Tasman will soon be facing a $10,000 fine if someone confesses child sex abuse to them and they don’t report it to the police. Both South Australia and ACT have law changes coming to crack open the confessional(link is external). It is expected that the confession-breaking laws could spread nationwide, as part of the federal government’s recently released response to the Royal Commission into child sex abuse’s recommendations.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

Guam’s archbishop, Anthony Apuron, appeals Vatican verdict on sex-abuse charges
“Guam’s controversial archbishop, removed from office in March and barred from living in the U.S. territory, has appealed a Vatican tribunal’s ruling that found him guilty(link is external) of ‘certain accusations’ involving the sexual abuse of minors, the Archdiocese of Agaña said Thursday (Jun. 14). During the last week of April, Rome notified new Archbishop Michael Byrnes, tapped to replace Anthony S. Apuron on March 16, about Apuron’s appeal, according to Tony Diaz, director of communications for the archdiocese.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, on 13NewsNow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis is finally starting to get it
“The world has heard it again and again — heartfelt, ringing pledges by Pope Francis and his predecessors that the Vatican, at long last, has gotten the message on the global epidemic of clerical sex abuse. These often have been followed by half-measures, equivocations, inertia and even outright contempt for accusers, who in most cases were victimized as children. Now, five years into his papacy, there are signs, at last, that Pope Francis is starting to get it(link is external).” By The Washington Post Editorial Board

Pope Francis to be briefed on institutional abuse ahead of Ireland visit
“Pope Francis ‘will be briefed’ before he arrives in Dublin about the abuse of women and children in Catholic-run institutions(link is external) in Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said. ‘It’s a challenge for all of us in the Irish church to recognize the way people have been damaged, the way the church has been damaged,’ Dr Martin said in Maynooth on Monday (Jun. 11) as he announced details of the pope’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

In letter to Chileans, Francis decries church’s ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’
“Pope Francis has become the first leader of the Catholic Church to publicly decry a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up’ in the global institution(link is external), admitting in a strikingly blunt letter to the people of Chile that clergy sexual abuse has continued because church leaders have not taken victims seriously. In an eight-page May 31 message addressed to ‘the Pilgrim people of God in Chile,’ the pope also says Catholic leaders must work to better respect the voices and opinions of non-clerics ‘to promote communities capable of fighting against abusive situations, communities where exchange, discussion, confrontation are welcome.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Council of Cardinals finalizes draft of new document on Roman Curia
“Pope Francis will review a finalized draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Roman Curia(link is external), the Vatican spokesman said. The document, provisionally titled ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ (“Preach the Gospel”), was reviewed by the international Council of Cardinals, and the draft will be ‘given to the Holy Father for the considerations he deems opportune, useful and necessary,’ said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, June 13.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

BISHOPS

Vatican replaces archbishop convicted of concealing child sex abuse
“The Vatican on Sunday (Jun.3) announced a temporary replacement for an Australian archbishop who was convicted of concealing child sex abuse(link is external) by a fellow priest in the 1970s. Pope Francis said in a statement that Greg O’Kelly, the current Bishop of Port Pirie, in the state of South Australia, would temporarily replace Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, who stepped aside after being convicted of covering up abuses last month.” By Delia Gallagher and Sheena McKenzie, CNN

What to expect when the U.S. bishops meet in Florida this week
“While the June meeting of the U.S. bishops(link is external) is often considered to be the more lackluster of their two annual gatherings, at least in terms of news content, as they meet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this week (Jun. 12), major topics are on the agenda including healthcare, immigration, and religious liberty – all of which correspond to pressing issues on the national scene.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

Vatican’s synod document takes inclusive tone towards youth who disagree with church
“The Vatican document outlining the initial working positions for October’s global meeting of Catholic bishops on the needs of young people focuses on considering how church leaders can better help the rising generation deal with unique 21st century challenges(link is external) such as the part-time economy, digital dependency, and even so-called ‘fake news.’ The document, which will guide the opening discussions of the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops in Rome, also takes a notably inclusive tone towards both young Catholics who express disagreement with church teachings and young gay people.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

Vatican reports ‘crisis of vocations’ as seminarian numbers fall worldwide
“The number of seminarians has fallen(link is external) amid what a Vatican document calls a ‘crisis of vocations.’ Between 2012 and 2016, the number of men in seminary training for the priesthood fell by nearly 4,000, to 116,160. The decline has been especially concentrated in the Americas and Europe. In Africa seminary numbers have steadily increased, with Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania and Madagascar (an outlier with a 66 per cent rise) providing an especially large number of future priests.” By Dan Hitchens, Catholic Herald

The Vatican is facing a priest shortage
“The Vatican called Friday (Jun. 8) for courageous proposals to cope with a shortage of priests in the Amazon(link is external), and said it wouldn’t rule out debate on whether married men could step in to fill the ‘precariously-thin presence’ of the Catholic Church in the vast region. In a preparatory document seeking input from South American bishops for the Vatican’s 2019 meeting on the Amazon, organizers also said the church must identify new ‘official ministries’ for women to play in the region.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in Bloomberg News

VATICAN

Vatican’s top sex abuse investigators promise action in Chile
“The Vatican’s top sex abuse investigators arrived in Chile on Tuesday (Jun. 12) saying they had orders from Pope Francis to ensure the Roman Catholic Church responds to “every case of sexual abuse of minors(link is external) committed by clergymen” in the South American nation. New abuse accusations have emerged in recent weeks against the Church in Chile, including allegations against the pope’s own Jesuit order. They follow the resignation of three bishops after an abuse and cover-up scandal that has damaged the Church’s reputation in the country.” By Aislinn Laing, Reuters

Vatican open to official role for women and married men in Amazon
“The Vatican says it is open to discussing the ordination of married men and an official role for women,(link is external) to address a shortage of priests in the Amazon region. A document prepared for a meeting at the Vatican on the issue, due to be held in October 2019, suggests examining what “type of official ministry can be conferred on women.” The meeting is also expected to discuss a previously-mooted suggestion that older married men could serve as priests in the region.” By Delia Gallagher and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Vatican denies protecting Peruvian accused of sex crimes
“The Vatican is denying it is protecting the founder of a Peru-based conservative Catholic community who is accused of sexual and psychological abuse against minors(link is external) and is being sought by Peruvian prosecutors. A letter from the Vatican’s office of religious orders acknowledged it had instructed Luis Figari to stay away from the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae community and required him to seek permission before leaving Rome, but said it never impeded his return to face charges.” By Associated Press in Tampa Bay Times

CHILD PROTECTION

As archdiocese builds new system to address clergy sex abuse, trust grows
“Tim O’Malley moved into a tiny, windowless office in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2014 facing a daunting task: To overhaul the often secretive way it addressed child sex abuse(link is external) by priests. O’Malley, former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, assembled a team of law enforcement leaders that scoured hundreds of abuse files from the past 60 years. They chased paper trails, interviewed witnesses, and laid the foundation for what is now seen as one of the nation’s most comprehensive archdiocesan child-protection systems.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

‘Dark Secret’ documentary now on Amazon
“Dark Secret, a documentary about the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s clergy sex abuse coverup(link is external), is now available on Amazon. It’s released just in time for the newest Grand Jury Report that will detail more coverups in several other Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. It previously aired on PBS and I’m honored to have been interviewed for it. Documentarian Anne MacGregor worked tirelessly to bring the facts forward. It serves as yet another call to action for Catholics, the PA legislature and voters. Please watch and share with anyone who has or cares about children.” By Susan Matthews & Kathy Kane, Catholics4Change.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Jesus founded a movement led by both men and women
“Sometimes it is really difficult to be both female and Catholic. On the one hand, I couldn’t be prouder of the creative leadership taken by the University of Notre Dame and Pope Francis in working with oil executives to address climate change … On the other hand, I am dismayed by yet another statement from the Vatican prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the non-ordination of women to the priesthood. I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive(link is external). It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Vatican asks for ‘new ways’ for access to Communion in Amazon region
“A Vatican document meant to help prepare for a special meeting of Catholic bishops from the Amazon rainforest focuses on how the church’s ministry in the nine-nation region is overextended and calls for consideration of ‘new ways’ to allow laypeople(link is external) ‘better and more frequent access to the Eucharist.’ The 14-page preparatory paper for the 2019 special assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Amazon, released June 8, references the issue of overextension several times. At one instance, it states frankly that the church’s pastoral care in the region ‘has been spread precariously thin.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Polish bishops avoid Communion row in Amoris Laetitia guidelines
“Poland’s bishops have released their long-awaited guidelines on Amoris Laetitia(link is external), sidestepping questions on Communion for the divorced and remarried. The bishops said last year that Amoris had not changed Church doctrine on Holy Communion, and that those in ‘irregular unions’ should be led to ‘true repentance and sacramental reconciliation’ with their spouse.” By Nick Hallet, Catholic Herald

CHURCH FINANCES

Several thousand dollars in collection money stolen from Catholic Church
Thousands of dollars were stolen(link is external) over the weekend from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Father Tony Vilano of St. Francis of Assisi said it happened overnight between Sunday (Jun. 17) night and Monday morning. ‘After we finished our last Mass, sometime in the evening, someone came in and broke into St. Francis of Assisi,’ said Vilano. ‘(They) broke into this parish and went straight for the collections.’” By Stephanie Serna, KSAT-TV News

Priest stood aside amidst parish funds probe
“The Catholic Archbishop of Perth has stood aside a priest and called in police to investigate long-running financial concerns(link is external) at one of Western Australia’s oldest churches he Perth Archdiocese released a statement to The West Australian yesterday (Jun. 12) in which it revealed it had stood aside Father Joe Walsh and referred an internal financial investigation to WA Police.” By CathNews.com

Catholic church administrator accused of embezzling thousands of dollars
“A former employee of a Catholic church in Tuscola County is heading to trial, accused of embezzling money(link is external). Investigators believe Alma Moreno-Babcock, who was the church’s liturgy coordinator, may have been stealing money for at least a couple of years, if not longer.” By Terry Camp, ABC12 News

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Time is running out to help abuse victims
“With only days left in this legislative session, the Republican majority in the state Senate seems determined to acknowledge the plight of young victims of sexual abuse only if it can protect those who are responsible(link is external). That’s quite a trick, but it is at the heart of the GOP alternative to the Child Victims Act which has repeatedly passed the Assembly, which has Democratic support but lacks the vote of even one Republican including those retiring at the end of this term who could go out with this humane accomplishment as part of their legacy.” By Times Herald-Record Editorial Staff

Push for legislation to follow report on Church sex abuse
“A renewed push for legislation to abolish Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations(link is external) in sex abuse cases will follow the publication of a sweeping grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups within six Roman Catholic dioceses around the state, a lawmaker said Tuesday (Jun. 12). Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, said he will be prepared to seek a vote in the state House of Representatives on legislation that carries provisions sought by victims.” By Mark Levy, Associated Press, in U.S. News & World Report

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Hans Zollner: two keys for priests to avoid sexual abuse
“This expert from the Vatican commission for the Protection of Minors explains that to prevent priests from sexual abuse(link is external), two aspects must be stressed. The seminary must closely review candidates before accepting; and once these men have been ordained, they must never lose their spiritual guidance.” By RomeReports.com

Former senior Catholic diplomat charged with sharing ‘large quantity’ of child pornography
“A Catholic priest who once was one of the church’s top diplomats in Washington was indicted by the Vatican on accusations of possessing and sharing ‘a large quantity’ of child pornography(link is external). In a statement obtained by Reuters, the Vatican said Monsignor Carlo Capella would face a trial starting on 22 June. He is being held in a cell in the Vatican’s police barracks.” By Cleve Wootson, Julie Zauzmer, Independent

FLORIDA

Priest shielded from testifying in sexual abuse case
“Pointing to a state religious-freedom law, an appeals court has shielded a priest from testifying(link is external) about his discussion with a teenage girl during the Catholic sacrament of confession about the girl being sexual abused. The ruling Friday by a panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal in an Orange County case sided with priest Vincenzo Ronchi, who argued that the Catholic Church bars priests from disclosing any aspects of communications during confession — more formally known as the sacrament of reconciliation — and that disclosure could even lead to excommunication from the church.” By Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida, on News4Jax.com

LOUISIANA

Lafayette Diocese priest accused of abuse of a minor
“The Diocese of Lafayette was informed this week of an allegation of abuse of a minor(link is external), the Diocese said in a statement released Saturday (Jun. 2) at 4 p.m. According to the statement, the alleged incident occurred several years ago, and the alleged victim is now an adult. The Diocese and the alleged victim have reported the allegation to law enforcement authorities and the Diocese is assisting and cooperating fully with the civil investigation.” By The Daily Advertiser

Lafayette bishop won’t say whether he’ll release names of accused priests; dozens of U.S. dioceses already do
“Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses around the U.S. have released the names of priests who sexually abused minors(link is external), but the Diocese of Lafayette has so far opted against the practice — and the bishop has declined to say whether he plans to do so in the future. The recent announcement of a sexual-abuse investigation into St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry has reignited calls to the Diocese of Lafayette — including from survivors of such sexual abuse — to release the names of abusive priests from the area.” By Lanie Lee Cook, KATC-TV News

MARYLAND

Second allegation of child sexual abuse made against Highlandtown priest
“A few weeks ago, we shared some difficult news with you about Father Luigi Esposito and an allegation of child sexual abuse(link is external) against him from the 1970s. Since then, we have received another allegation from an individual who also claims to have been sexually abused by Father Esposito in the 1970s. This second individual was approximately 15 years old when the abuse occurred. Both alleged victims are females and were members of Our Lady of Pompei at the time the abuse occurred. The second allegation, which was prompted by public reports about the initial allegation, has been reported to civil authorities. The Archdiocese has extended an offer of counseling assistance to both alleged victims.” By Jerri Burkhardt, Archdiocese of Baltimore

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese needs $40M for sex abuse settlement. Here’s where it’s looking.
“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is crafting a plan that leans on budget cuts, property sales and the generosity of Catholics to help the church emerge from bankruptcy and move beyond a clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has plagued it for years. The archdiocese has committed to pay $40 million of the historic $210 million settlement with clergy abuse survivors that isn’t covered by insurance. Officials on Friday (Jun. 8) shared the basics of their proposed payment plan with MPR News.” By Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio

NEW JERSEY

Former Delbarton teacher admits he had sex with 50 boys; school settles five sex abuse suits
“The Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township has settled lawsuits brought by five men who alleged they were sexually abused by five monks(link is external) — including a former headmaster of the school. Six additional lawsuits are pending against the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey and St. Mary’s Abbey, which runs the school — three filed on Tuesday (May 29). Details of the settlements, made over the past couple of months, were not disclosed.” By Abbott Koloff, NorthJersey.com

NEW YORK

Editorial: Malone’s words matter
“Call it what you want – spin control, crisis management or welcome candor – but Bishop Richard J. Malone deserves credit for addressing the clergy sex-abuse scandal head-on(link is external). In last week’s interview with The Buffalo News, Malone addressed many of the questions surrounding the Diocese of Buffalo’s handling of the scandal that has been troubling the Catholic community. At least 58 priests who worked in the Buffalo area have been linked to sex allegations.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Lawyer calls on Catholic church to release ‘secret’ records in Rochester priest scandal
“Saying it is time for ‘the church to stop these evil acts’ a Boston attorney who has spent decades representing victims of sexual abuse called on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester and its bishop to release records it may hold concerning allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) of children by clergy. Mitchell Garabedian stood on the steps of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester on Wednesday (Jun. 13) and named eight priests from the Rochester diocese who are accused of sexually abusing minor children.” By Sean Lahman and Meaghan M. McDermont, Democrat & Chronicle

Parish wonders what happened to pastor removed three years ago
“Nearly three years ago, the Buffalo Diocese abruptly removed the Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak as pastor(link is external) of Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Lancaster. Nobody at the parish was told why. A diocese representative announced Fronczak’s departure at Masses at the church in October 2015, recalled Dick Wagner, 80, a long-time parishioner.” By Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Here’s what churchgoers are saying about sexual abuse claims against priest
“Members of St. Patrick’s Parish in Owego are reacting to the sexual abuse allegations against a local priest(link is external). Thomas Valenti is one of eight priests accused of sexually abusing children in the Rochester Catholic Diocese. He now serves as a parochial administrator at Blessed Trinity, which includes St. Patrick’s. Valenti is accused of abusing a 15-year-old from 1975 to 1977. During that time, he was a deacon at St. Mary’s in Ontario, New York.” By Nicholas Phillips, Spectrum News

Diocese of Rochester has paid $1.6M to 20 sex abuse victims
“At least 20 children, and probably more, have been sexually abused by 24 priests(link is external)in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester since 1950. Over the years, the diocese has paid $1,616,000 in compensation to those victims. The number of victims is likely higher because not all victims accept financial compensation. Some of the payouts date back decades, although most were settled since the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002.” By David Andreatta, Democrat and Chronicle

OHIO

Alleged victim speaks out after sexual abuse case against priest
“It’s been over a week since the Diocese of Steubenville removed retired priest, Monsignor Mark Froehlich after allegations of sexual abuse were deemed ‘credible(link is external).’ But Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, officials and alleged victims are now claiming the Diocese knew about the complaint since January. There is an active investigation ongoing with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office regarding the issue, but according to SNAP, they want to see more being done.” By Falicia Woody, WTRF-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania abuse survivor calls on Pope Francis to intervene
“Mark Rozzi can remember the feeling of the tall grass brushing against his bare legs on the day he and a close friend desperately ran out of the rectory in Hyde Park, Pennsylvania. Rozzi, who was 13 at the time, had just been raped by his priest(link is external), the Rev Edward Graff, and remembers thinking in that moment, as he ran through a field, that he would take his terrible new secret to his grave.” By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

TEXAS

Former Texas Catholic priest arrested in El Paso on sexual assault of a child charge
“El Paso police arrested a former Texas priest who, during an El Paso Catholic Diocese investigation last year, allegedly admitted to sexually abusing a child(link is external). Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested Monday (Jun. 11) afternoon in front of his home in the 3500 block of Keltner Avenue in Northeast El Paso, police said. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to jail records.” By Daniel Borunda, El Pas Times

AUSTRALIA

Priest who confessed to abuse 1500 times ‘proves need for change’
“A paedophile priest who admitted to child abuse on more than 1500(link is external) occasions but was just told to “pray more” should be a ‘prime example’ for the Catholic Church to allow breaking the seal of confession, advocates have told The New Daily. Father Michael McArdle made an affidavit in 2004 stating he had confessed 1500 times to molesting children to 30 different priests over a 25-year period.” By Lucie Morris-Marr, The New Daily

Mother of abuse survivor to sue the Catholic Church
“The mother of clergy abuse survivor, Paul Levey, may be the first parent and secondary victim to sue the Catholic Church(link is external). Anne Levey, who is haunted daily by knowledge of Paul’s horrific abuse by laicized and jailed priest Gerald Ridsdale, said she will be pursuing a case against the Catholic Church as a secondary victim because of the damage and pain suffered.” By Leanne Younes, the Courier

Parish priest stood down over child safety concerns
“A Catholic priest who presides over two parishes in Melbourne’s south has been ordered to take leave while he is investigated for allegedly breaching child safety laws(link is external). Archbishop Denis Hart has asked Father Paul Newton, the parish priest for St Kevin’s Ormond and St Patrick’s Murrumbeena, to take a period of administrative leave while parishioners’ concerns are probed.” By Henrietta Cook, The Age

Australia state makes it easier for abuse victims to sue churches
Survivors of clerical abuse(link is external) in the Australian state of New South Wales will be able to directly sue churches under proposed legal changes announced on Sunday (Jun. 10). Mark Speakman, the attorney general, said the new legislation was in response to Australia’s royal commission into institutional abuse. New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state, and the home of the country’s largest city, Sydney.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

The Catholic Church should not stand in the way of this vital reform
“It is hard to know where to begin with Archbishop Christopher Prowse’s plea on behalf of the Catholic Church for the ACT government to preserve the seal of religious confession, even in instances where a child is being sexually abused(link is external). Thankfully, the ACT Assembly wasn’t swayed as it voted last week to introduce Australia’s toughest new mandatory reporting laws, making it a leader in child safety.” By Michelle James, The Canberra Times

BANGLADESH

Police say prominent Bangladeshi priest had string of relationships
“The mysterious disappearance of a Bangladeshi priest just days before Pope Francis visited the country has taken a new turn. Police suspected that Fr. Walter William Rozario had been kidnapped by radical Muslims when they found his abandoned motorbike and discovered that his mobile phone was switched off. But ucanews.com reported their investigation revealed that the 41-year-old priest allegedly had been involved in a string of relationships with women and at least one girl under 18(link is external), the age of consent in Bangladesh.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Former Bangladesh nun: anti-sex abuse crusader
“Bangladeshi human rights activist Rosaline Costa says reports of clergymen abusing women and children(link is external) have been around Christendom for years. ‘In recent years the media has been very open in this respect and so many victims are coming out and even risking their lives with their claims,’ Costa said. After ucanews.com reported the case of Bangladeshi priest Father William Walter Rozario, the former Maria Bambina nun answered the following questions about the situation in Bangladesh …” By Rock Ronald Rozario, UCANews.com

CHILE

Pope’s abuse investigators headed back to Chile June 12-18
“In what amounts to Pope Francis’s latest attempt to resolve a massive clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external), the Chilean bishops’ conference announced Wednesday (Jun. 6) that his top two investigators will return to Chile June 14-17, visiting a diocese where a controversial bishop has been accused of covering up acts of abuse. The bishops’ statement said that Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a former official of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, a current official of the congregation, will be in the diocese over those three days.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Urgent call for interim report on Catholic Church by national sex abuse inquiry
“We say that the Catholic Church, including Ealing Abbey, is not a safe place for children and it is not something we should wait to act upon. Lawyers have called on Professor Alexis Jay, chair of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse(link is external), urgently to produce an interim report on the Catholic church, saying it is ‘structurally, culturally and doctrinally incapable of implementing and enforcing the minimum standards of safeguarding.’” By The Tablet

GRENADA

Bishop Harvey – Child sexual abuse is unacceptable
“Grenada’s Roman Catholic Bishop, Trinidad-born Clyde Harvey has expressed grave concerns over the rampant occurrence of Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) in the country. Making an appearance on a local radio station, Bishop Harvey said he is hopeful that Catholics are not involved but are exuding better morals than what is being displayed very often in the country with sexual abuse of children. However, he said that while he holds out hope, he will not be fooled into thinking that members of the Catholic church are not involved in this depraved act.” By The New Today

GUAM

184 claims of Guam clergy abuse moving toward mediation
“One hundred eighty-four people said they were sexually abused by members of Guam’s Catholic clergy(link is external) or others associated with the church, but 10 of them decided not to sue, attorneys said at Tuesday’s (Jun. 12) court hearing on the status of efforts to settle the cases through mediation. Mediation is set for Sept. 17 to 21, which is two days longer than initially anticipated.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Pope Francis ‘to meet church abuse victims during summer visit to Ireland’
“Pope Francis will meet victims abused by the Church(link is external) in hellhole institutions during his summer visit to Ireland, top clergymen have predicted. Details of the Pontiff’s €20 million, two-day trip were unveiled today, but he will not be venturing across the border into Northern Ireland. Instead, hundreds of thousands of faithful will turn out to greet him at Knock in Co Mayo and in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.” By Cate McCurry, Irish Mirror

Big spike in Church child abuse cases
“A significant rise in the number of allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) relating to the Catholic Church was recorded in the last year, a report by a safeguarding body reveals. However, the allegations received related to historic cases with the most recent alleged incident dating to 2002. The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) said the figures did not suggest the Church was becoming less safe for children.” By Joe Leogue, Irish Examiner

MEXICO

In Mexico, SNAP and the Church join forces to fight abuse
“When it comes to fighting clerical sexual abuse(link is external), unity creates strength. At least, that’s what the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the local chapter of the Survivors Networks of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) believe, as the two recently announced they will join forces to protect children and young adults.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PERU

Vatican denies protecting founder of Peruvian movement accused of abuse
“Vatican officials have denied protecting the founder of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Peru-based religious movement, who is accused of sexual, physical and psychological abuse(link is external) of minor and young adult members of the group. In a communique dated May 25 and released by the Peruvian bishops’ conference at a news conference June 1, the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life said it was responding to claims that it had ‘hidden’ Luis Fernando Figari in Rome and was ‘protecting him.’” By Barbara J. Fraser, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

SWITZERLAND

New group campaigns to end Catholic Church child abuse
“Child abuse victims and human rights activists from 15 countries, including Switzerland, have launched a new pressure group to campaign against abuse by Catholic clerics(link is external). ‘The church has got away with crime for too long,’ said Peter Saunders, a British survivor of abuse, announcing the creation of the Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA) group at a media conference in Geneva on Thursday (Jun. 7). ‘ECA stands to compel the Roman Catholic church to end clerical abuse, especially child abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims,’ added Saunders, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Agence France-Press on TheLocal.com

Swiss arrest Catholic priest on sex abuse allegations
“Swiss authorities say they have arrested a Catholic priest under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct(link is external) that was brought to their attention by church leaders. Maurus Eckert, a spokesman for canton (state) prosecutors in Graubuenden, said Thursday (May 24) that the priest was taken into custody amid an ongoing investigation of alleged sexual abuse of an adult victim. He declined to provide any further details.” By Associated Press on LeaderPost.com

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Retired Washington cardinal out of ministry after credible abuse accusation / National Catholic Reporter

He is likely the first cardinal to step down from active ministry for sexually abusing a minor. (National Catholic Reporter)

“In a shocking announcement, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 2006, has announced that he is stepping down from active ministry after allegations of sexual abuse were found ‘credible and substantiated.’

“‘The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the direction of Pope Francis, has instructed Cardinal McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,’ according to a statement from the New York Archdiocese where the complaint was lodged.

“He is likely the first cardinal to step down from active ministry for sexually abusing a minor.

“‘I realize this painful development will shock my many friends, family members, and people I have been honored to serve in my sixty-years as a priest,’ McCarrick said in a statement.

“The incident of sexual abuse of a teenager occurred 47 years ago, when McCarrick was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, the statement said. No other details about the allegations were given.”

By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

The witness (a former altar boy) alleged (Archbishop Philip) Wilson told him he was telling lies because (Fr. James) Fletcher “was a good bloke.” The witness said Wilson had ordered him out of the confessional and told him to recite 10 Hail Mary prayers as an act of contrition. (AP on Cruxnow.com)

An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday (May 22) and faces a potential two years in prison.

“Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.

“Wilson, 67, had pleaded not guilty to knowing of the crimes of a pedophile priest in the 1970s. He denied under oath in court last month that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest.

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Francis admits ‘serious mistakes’ in handling of Chile abuse cases / National Catholic Reporter

“I have made serious mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information,” Francis says in the letter. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has admitted making ‘serious mistakes’ in his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases in Chile, telling the country’s bishops in a lengthy letter that he feels ‘pain and shame’ for the ‘crucified lives’ of those who suffered abuse.

“But Francis has not revealed whether he will sack a Chilean prelate accused of covering up abuse, whom he has previously defended to the outrage of abuse survivors. Instead, Francis has asked the country’s bishops to come to Rome en masse for a meeting at some point soon.

“In a letter released late April 11, Francis is reporting to the bishops about the mission of Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, whom the pope sent to Chile in February to interview abuse victims and look into the case of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

“‘I have made serious mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information,’ Francis says in the letter.

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

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Cardinal to face Australian court on sex abuse charges / Associated Press in The Boston Globe

Pope Francis’s former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public. (Associated Press in The Boston Globe)

The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving secret evidence to an Australian court on Monday.

“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.The testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media. Prosecutor Mark Gibson said the complainants would give evidence by a video link.

“Pope Francis’s former finance minister was charged in June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public.

“Monday’s testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media.”

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