Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup



TOP STORIES

Thirteen states now investigating alleged sexual abuse linked to Catholic Church
“Florida’s attorney general said Thursday (Oct. 4) she is launching an investigation of potential sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic church, making Florida at least the 13th state with an ongoing statewide probe of the church … NBC News has contacted the offices of the attorney general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and found that at least 13 states are either currently probing allegations of sexual abuse in the church or about to launch an investigation(link is external).” By Anna Thompson, Clare Duffy, Rich Gardella and Cory Dawson, NBC News

Pope orders new inquiry into abuse accusations against McCarrick
“Pope Francis has ordered a deeper investigation into the accusations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick(link is external), the Vatican said Saturday (Oct. 6), including a ‘thorough study’ of archival documents to determine how he climbed the church hierarchy despite allegations he had slept with seminarians and young priests.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Bishops’ plan to address abuse falls short on accountability
“After a horrible summer of depressing news about how the church hierarchy has mishandled the sexual abuse crisis and misled the faithful willfully and through neglect, expectations were high for the action plan the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to deliver this fall. The four points outlined are, for the most part, good beginnings. Given the intensity of feelings on this subject, probably no plan could satisfy Catholics in pews, but even with that caveat, we had hoped the plan would be stronger and more specific than what was delivered(link is external).” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Francis removes Chilean abuser Fernando Karadima from priesthood
“Pope Francis has removed notorious Chilean child sexual abuser Fernando Karadima(link is external) from the Catholic priesthood, toughening an earlier sanction of a lifetime of prayer and penance, in what the Vatican said was an invocation of the pontiff’s ‘supreme’ power in the church. By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Synod English Groups: Abuse crisis undermines church ‘in practically every way’
“Two of the four working groups for English-speaking prelates at the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on young people have spent time considering the impact of clergy abuse scandals on the global church’s credibility(link is external). In the first of three reports expected from the working groups during the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops, one of the English groups said bluntly that in the gathering’s expected final document clergy abuse ‘cannot be skimmed over tangentially in a few short sentences.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

‘Spot fires’ of reaction to abuse scandal pop up across U.S.
Grassroots reactions to the church crises of authority and sex abuse(link is external) have taken place at cathedrals, parishes, universities, public squares and pubs. Catholic News Service’s Carol Zimmerman recently pulled together a representative list of episcopal or diocesan-organized events — listening sessions, rosaries, novenas, and even a Facebook Live Q-and-A with the Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Bishop Michael Sheridan.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Franciscan University vows to stop sexual assault, but victims need convincing
“Franciscan University of Steubenville, nestled in the hills of northeast Ohio, is an institution with a reputation for traditional Catholic piety. It is a place where charismatic prayer is frequently invoked, the Rosary recited, and course descriptions across all subject areas commit to what the school describes as dynamic Catholic orthodoxy. This year, the school’s administration has made a public commitment to stop sexual violence and harassment on campus(link is external).” By Jenn Morson, National Catholic Reporter

Church leaders must face the truth of abuse, Cardinal DiNardo says
“The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference welcomed Pope Francis’ pledge to fight attempts to cover up cases of sexual abuse(link is external) and to stop offering special treatment to bishops who have committed or covered up abuse. ‘On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of Oct. 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault,’ Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo said in a statement released Oct. 7 in Rome.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

At ‘authentic reform,’ conservative Catholics rally to ‘fix’ church failures
“A gathering of conservative Catholics who want ‘Authentic Reform’ in response to the church’s latest sex abuse scandals(link is external) ended with plans for a statement and a call for like-minded organizations to band together to force church leaders to act against sexually active priests and bishops, as well as those who abuse minors. While some called for changes in canon law to allow more lay oversight in church governance, others admitted that was unlikely and instead urged attendees — many of them wealthy donors — to use their moral authority as baptized Catholics to effect change by withholding donations and pressuring bishops to demand an independent Vatican investigation of the U.S. church.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Pope adviser says systematic reforms needed to address abuse
“One of Pope Francis’ top advisers warned Friday (Oct. 5) that the Catholic Church risks increased police and government intervention if it doesn’t address the clergy sex abuse(link is external) scandal with system-wide reforms about the way power and sexuality are expressed. German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told a conference on child protection that the church’s ‘weak excuses’ to dismiss, minimize or cover-up abuses were no longer acceptable to the faithful, and that anyone who uses them is actually complicit in the crimes of the perpetrators.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT SET FOR FEBRUARY 2019

Vatican expert urges accountability at pope’s abuse summit
“The pope’s summit early next year on preventing sex abuse should also address holding bishops accountable when they fail to protect their flocks from pedophile priests, the Vatican’s leading sex abuse expert said Monday (Oct. 8). Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna said the February summit of global church leader is the appropriate venue for discussing ‘a great expectation for more accountability’ among Catholic faithful worldwide(link is external).” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on WCJB-TV News

McCARRICK CASE

Scandal-plagued cardinal a key figure in McCarrick/Vigano saga
“As the saga surrounding allegations raised by a former papal ambassador to the U.S. that Pope Francis covered up the misconduct of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick continues, taking increasingly unprecedented twists and turns, questions still abound regarding some of the key figures involved(link is external). One of these figures is Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was accused in an Aug. 25 statement by fellow Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as the pope’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2011-2016, of ignoring repeated warnings about McCarrick.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

McCarrick case: Vatican starting to acknowledge mistakes
“Pope Francis, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and an official Vatican statement seem to be laying the groundwork for an admission that mistakes were made(link is external) in handling allegations that Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick engaged in sexual misconduct and even abuse. But they also make clear that his ordination as a bishop (of Metuchen, New Jersey), appointment as archbishop — first of Newark, New Jersey, and then Washington — and his induction into the College of Cardinals all took place during the pontificate of St. John Paul II.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Expert doubts U.S. bishops’ authority to get to bottom of McCarrick case
“As the U.S. bishops gear up for their own probe(link is external) of four dioceses after Pope Francis turned down an apostolic visitation related to ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, they face many questions, not least of which is whether there are precedents in Church law for such a review to be carried out by bishops rather than the pope.” By Elis Harris, Cruxnow.com

Vatican official reportedly pushed back on McCarrick career advances
“Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, a longtime veteran in Vatican diplomacy and service within the Roman Curia, has emerged as yet another key figure in the ongoing saga(link is external) of scandals surrounding ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

How the USCCB could pitch a Vatican-backed McCarrick probe
“Two weeks after the fact, three points seem clear about a Sept. 13 audience between Pope Francis and the leadership(link is external) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the conference president, and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the vice president.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Do Vatican officials see abuse crisis as a referendum on the Pope?
“Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta told reporters Monday (Oct. 8) that Catholics should ‘trust Pope Francis that there is going to be a solution’ to the Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external). The support of bishops from around the world, Scicluna said, means that the pope is now ‘empowered’ to do what he wants for the Church, namely, ‘to make the church a safer place.’” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

CARDINALS

Cardinal DiNardo admits mistake in handling pedophile priest
“The leading voice in the clergy sex abuse crisis, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo admitted to mishandling the case of a pedophile priest(link is external), KHOU 11 Investigates found. The case dates to DiNardo’s time in Sioux City, Iowa, years before the recent arrest of a Texas priest for indecency with a child. Although the cases are years and miles apart, the similarities are troubling – accusers claiming DiNardo did not do enough to protect them.” By Jeremy Ropaiski, KHOU-TV

‘Red Hat Report’ to ‘audit’ cardinals, ahead of next conclave
“A group of Catholics calling itself the Better Church Governance Group is gearing up to compile dossiers ‘in the manner of political opposition research’ on cardinal electors(link is external) ahead of the next conclave, the gathering that elects a new pope. Although its publicly available literature casts the effort as non-political and one that is interested in gathering and collating information, an early memo associated with the effort drew severe conclusions about one of its targets, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state and a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal DiNardo, at center of clergy abuse crisis, accused of mishandling cases in Iowa and Texas
“A U.S. cardinal at the center of the Vatican’s response to the sex abuse crisis besetting the Catholic church is being accused this month by clergy abuse survivors of mishandling cases in Iowa and Texas(link is external). Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led a delegation of Catholic leaders this month to meet with Pope Francis about the crisis.” By Lee Rood, Des Moines Register

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

Archbishop Vigano issues new letter on Pope Francis and McCarrick
“Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has issued a new letter addressing his allegation(link is external)that senior prelates have been complicit in covering up alleged sex abuse by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Headed with Viganò’s episcopal motto, Scio Cui credidi (I know whom I have believed), the letter, dated Sept. 29 – the feast of St. Michael – was released Sept. 27.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Abuse survivor sues California bishops, dioceses, seeking offenders’ names
“A lawsuit against the California bishops and 11 dioceses in California, including the archdioceses of Los Angeles and San Francisco, for covering up child sexual abuse(link is external)was filed Oct. 2 by survivor Tom Emens and Jeff Anderson & Associates. Emens isn’t filing the lawsuit for money. He’s requesting the release of the names and documented histories on all clerical offenders in each diocese.” By Heather Adams, National Catholic Reporter

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Vatican’s meeting of bishops is overshadowed by abuse allegations
As clerical sex abuse scandals buffet the Catholic Church(link is external), a three-week assembly of bishops is under way in Rome on how to make the Church relevant for young people. But the assembly, known as a synod, will likely be dominated by what many analysts call Catholicism’s worst crisis since the reformation. Roughly 250 priests, bishops, cardinals and some younger laypersons are participating in the synod.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio

Papal allies and friends tapped to shape synod’s conclusions
“On Wednesday (Oct. 10) the Vatican released the list of figures who will shape the concluding document(link is external) of the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, and based on the composition of the group, conservatives in the Church may feel anew that they’ve been given a cold shoulder. Elected by region, the five prelates chosen by a vote within the synod hall to draft the final document are …” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

French nun counsels Church to listen to youth first, then act
“Nearly a decade before Pope Francis launched this month’s Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment, the Church in France was already attempting to address those same concerns by combining its separate national offices for young people and vocations into one powerhouse department. At the helm of that office, up until last month, was Sister Nathalie Becquart, who during that time emerged as not only one of the most important voices in the French Church, but a globally sought-after expert on young people and, for many, proof that the Church is at its best when women are given the chance to lead(link is external).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Archbishop Scicluna does not expect ‘quick answers’ from Synod on abuse
“While the question of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy has been raised in every working group at the Synod of Bishops on young people, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor in this field, said he did not expect any ‘quick answers’ to this question to come from the synod(link is external). At a Vatican briefing on Oct. 8, the archbishop reminded reporters that ‘the synod is not about the abuse of minors, it has to deal with many other questions, too.’ He stated that ‘the proper forum’ for addressing the abuse question is the meeting with presidents of the more than 130 bishops’ conferences that Pope Francis has called for Feb. 21 to 24, 2019.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

What you need to know about the 2018 Synod on Young People
(With links to reporting by America correspondents in Rome)
“The 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment—which began Oct. 3 and will conclude Oct. 28—is the culmination of focused work that began in 2017(link is external). In a letter on Jan. 2017, Pope Francis announced the synod and presented a preparatory document. The bishops’ task for 2017 was to listen to young people. They disseminated a survey of young people’s experiences in dioceses worldwide before the synod. Additionally, a pre-synodal meeting of 300 young people from around the world was held in March 2018. The young people produced a document ‘on the state of things, their ideas, their feelings and their recommendations.’ This document, along with the synod of bishops’ Instrumentum laboris, or working document, will inform the Synod on Young People.” By the Editors at America: The Jesuit Review

Around Synod of Bishops, women press for greater space
“Women meeting around the edges of an Oct. 3-28 summit of bishops in Rome trying to press the Church, seemingly sometimes against all odds, to open up greater space for female leadership(link is external) had a consistent message: ‘We’re not giving up our dream.’ While getting more women to have a say in the Church may appear a Quixotic quest, speakers at the event insisted on making it a reality.” By Claire Giangravé, Cruxnow.com

Synod doesn’t waste time taking up abuse, LGBT issues and migration
“One day after Pope Francis kicked off this month’s Vatican summit on young people by warning against a temptation to focus on ‘abstract ideologies’ detached from the realities of young people, concrete topics ranging from sex abuse, LGBT issues, migration, and technology took center stage(link is external) on Thursday (Oct. 4).” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Cloud of sex abuse scandal hangs over Vatican youth
“Pope Francis opens a month-long meeting of bishops Wednesday (Oct. 3) on engaging young Catholics as his church is again under fire for the way it covered up for priests who raped and molested young people(link is external). One American bishop suggested postponing or cancelling the synod, given the poor optics of assembling the church hierarchy to discuss a demographic harmed by the culture of concealment the same hierarchy has been accused of fostering.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in USA TODAY

Four challenges for the bishops at synod on young people
“The future of the Catholic Church is with the young, which is why Pope Francis has called bishops from all over the world to meet in Rome Oct. 3-28 for a synod on young people. If the church cannot attract and keep young people, it has no future(link is external). This is the 15th general synod since Pope Paul VI called the first one in 1967 as a way to get advice from bishops. Earlier synods have dealt with topics like the family, priesthood, the laity, evangelization, the Eucharist, religious life, and justice and peace. The process involves speeches and small group discussions and usually concludes with nonbinding recommendations.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Synod to prepare young Catholics for discernment, future
“The Synod of Bishops will meet in October to discuss teenagers and young adults in the Catholic Church(link is external) and find ways to encourage their enthusiasm and dreams, help them sift through the possibilities to serve others and resist temptations. Pope Francis will preside over the synod, which is scheduled for Oct. 3-28, and will bring together more than 300 cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay experts, including young people.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

‘Nuns on the Bus’ launch new nationwide tour ahead of midterms
“A progressive Catholic group is kicking off a new nun-led bus tour ahead of the midterm elections(link is external) that organizers say is designed to ‘hold congressional Republicans accountable for their votes’ on taxes and health care. Sister Simone Campbell, a nun and lawyer who heads the Catholic social justice lobbying group Network, launched the ‘Nuns on the Bus Tax Justice Truth Tour’ at a press conference Monday morning (Oct. 8) in Santa Monica, Calif. Organizers said the new campaign will involve 30 Catholic nuns attending 54 events in 21 states, concluding Nov. 2 outside Mar-a-Lago — President Trump’s Florida golf resort — with a ‘Fiesta for the Common Good.’” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Livestreamed panel at Santa Clara U. to examine sex abuse ‘catastrophe’
“A ‘powerful, new moment in the ongoing crisis’ of sexual abuse and authority exploitation in the Catholic Church(link is external) will be the focus of an Oct. 9 panel discussion at Santa Clara University. Titled ‘The Catholic Church and the Catastrophe of Clergy Sexual Abuse,’ the noon event at the Jesuit university’s de Saisset Museum will feature four panelists, including Thomas Plante, a former vice chair of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board on sexual abuse issues; and Fr. Brendan McGuire, a pastor in San Jose, California, who made national headlines last month when he revealed for the first time during a homily that he had been abused by a priest 35 years ago.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

California man sues Vatican for names of abusers worldwide
“A California man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is suing the Vatican, seeking the release of the names of all offenders within the church worldwide. Manny Vega, a 52-year-old former police officer and Marine, said Thursday(Oct. 4) that he’s fighting for the truth for himself and other victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests(link is external). ‘We were raped,’ Vega said. ‘It happened to me, it happened to my friends, and it happens to children all across the world, and it continues to happen at the hands of the Catholic church, whose inaction continues to damage children.’” By Amada Lee Myers and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Vatican’s handling of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct complaints reveals a log about the Catholic Church
“In November 2000, a Manhattan priest got fed up with the secrets he knew about a star archbishop(link is external) named Theodore McCarrick and decided to tell the Vatican. For years, the Rev. Boniface Ramsey had heard from seminarians that McCarrick was pressuring them to sleep in his bed … Ramsey called the Vatican’s then-U.S. ambassador, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who implored the priest to write the allegation so it could be sent up the chain in Rome. ‘Send the letter!’ Montalvo demanded, Ramsey recalls. He never heard back from Montalvo, and Ramsey has since destroyed his copy of the 2000 letter, he said.” By Michele Boorstein, The Washington Post

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Bishop McKenna open to considering married clergy
“Bathurst Bishop Michael McKenna says he is willing to seriously consider the issue of married priests but he sees the benefits of celibate clergy(link is external). ‘I’m very glad to be looking at it seriously, and looking at it seriously does mean looking deeply into it. It may be one of those areas where more latitude is given to individual bishops or perhaps national bishops’ conferences to decide on cases rather than every case having to go through Rome,’ Bishop McKenna said. However, Bishop McKenna said celibate priests were an advantage for the diocese.” By CathNews.com

‘Celibacy is not a dogma’: German Catholic Church to examine practices
“The German Catholic Church vowed Thursday (Sept. 27) a thorough look at its practices including the issue of celibacy(link is external), in a shakeup of the system following a damning child sex abuse scandal. In the latest of a series of sex assault scandals to rock the Catholic Church worldwide, the German institution this week published a study showing that at least 3,677 minors were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014.” By Agence France-Press on The Local.de

VOICES

What happened to the Catholic Church: money, sex and absolute power corrupting absolutely
“‘Lessons to be Learned from the Catholic Church,’ a study of management practices by the American Institute of Management(link is external) in the 1940s and updated in 1960 made the following recommendations: avoid nepotism; haste in some directions, delay in others; use of elderly men in staff capabilities …” By Arthur Jones, National Catholic Reporter

The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia—and silencing would-be whistleblowers
“Widespread public shock followed the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse. In fact, as I know through my research, the Vatican and its American bishops have known about the problem of priestly pedophilia since at least the 1950s(link is external). And the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its own ranks.” By Brian Clites, Case Western Reserve University, in Greenwich Time

After decades of left v. right, is it now bishops v. everybody else?
“Moments of great crisis generally affect institutions in multiple ways, some of which are immediately evident and others that take longer to discern. Amid the clerical abuse scandals currently rocking Catholicism, it’s worth asking if one such long-term result is playing out before our eyes. To wit, are we seeing a redefinition of the traditional left/right divides in the Church(link is external) because the focus of popular complaint is no longer really teaching, one of the three traditional duties of a bishop, but rather governing?” By John L. Allen Jr. Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

What could bankruptcy look like for the Pittsburgh Diocese
“Most of the financials of Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses’ are a mystery to outsiders. As religious institutions, they don’t have to report income or spending. But bishops across the state claim changes proposed by lawmakers in Harrisburg could cause the church to take a big financial hit(link is external). Pennsylvania’s legislature is considering changes to the state’s statute of limitations law. Among the proposed amendments is a ‘civil window,’ which would allow victims of sexual abuse to sue in cases where the statute of limitations has run out.” By Virginia Alvino Young, WESA-FM, Pittsburgh NPR News Station

Churches should account for cash: royal commissioner
“A member of the child abuse royal commission is calling for Australian churches and their charities to have more financial transparency(link is external). Robert Fitzgerald AM, one of the six commissioners who oversaw the five-year royal commission, will today (Oct. 10) call for the scrapping of special exemptions that have until now allowed half of church charities, including much of the Catholic and Anglican church networks, to avoid financial reporting to the charities watchdog, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.” By CathNews.com

Winchester parishioners seek answers on finance, personnel questions
“The community of St. Mary Church held a meeting Sept. 20 to discuss matters concerning the parish’s finances and personnel(link is external) that had been made public by a Boston Globe report a few days earlier. The Boston Globe ran a story Sept. 16 about a past investigation of suspected financial impropriety at St. Mary’s and the more recent controversy over the parish’s suspension of its youth minister of 23 years, Salvatore ‘Sal’ Caraviello.” By Jacqueline Tetrault, The Pilot

The Catholic Church is rich enough to settle sex abuse cases forever
“Last week, the Diocese of Brooklyn and an after-school program settled with four people who were frequently abused as children at a Catholic Church, agreeing to pay a total of $27.5 million … Considering the unlikelihood of criminal consequences for those at the clergy’s top levels, and the fact that many of these sex abuse cases have far surpassed the statutes of limitations, the endgame seems increasingly a financial—that is, a civil liability—question(link is external). But can the Church settle with survivors forever? Will it ever, somehow, completely run out of money with which to do so … Specifics on the Church’s finances, like virtually everything else that goes on behind those holy gates, are hard to come by. Just ask Jack Ruhl.” By Alex Norcia, Vice.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Bill would extend statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse victims to file suit
“A bill sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk could give survivors of childhood sexual assault much more time — in some cases, decades — to sue(link is external) those who might have stopped their abuse. The proposed law, written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), would allow victims to file abuse claims until they are 40 years old. It would also permit those who have repressed memories of abuse to sue within five years of unearthing the cause of their trauma.” By Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

A Catholic society used dreams of a medieval life and rebellion to groom young victims of abuse
“On Dec. 18, 2001, a desperate North Carolina dad wrote a letter to the Vatican asking the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to discipline a group of priests at a Pennsylvania boys’ boarding school who he said took turns sexually abusing his teenage son(link is external). The priests were members of an organization called the Society of Saint John, the father wrote, and Bishop James Timlin, then the head of the Diocese of Scranton, had allowed them to take up residence at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania.” By Corky Siemaszke, NBC News

Church must answer abuse survivors’ thirst for justice, archbishop says
“Responding to clerical sexual abuse demands truth and justice, not just admitting a sin(link is external) was committed, said Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta. When he speaks with survivors, ‘I find a great thirst and a great hunger for justice, which I share,’ he told reporters at a synod briefing Oct. 8.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Want to end child sex abuse in the church, Pope Francis? Change canon law
“Last week (Sept. 29) Pope Francis acknowledged that the way the Church’s leadership has handled child sex abuse was driving away those who are the future of the Church: young people … The pope, rather than asking for forgiveness, or having the Church’s leadership undergo an unspecified ‘conversion,’ should focus on some basic institutional reforms. The first among those is revising the Code of Canon Law(link is external)—the legal rules by which the Church operates.” By Carolyn Warner, Newsweek

CALIFORNIA

Diocese of San Bernardino lists 34 priests accused of abuse
“A Southern California Roman Catholic diocese on Monday (Oct. 8) released a list of 34 priests who were accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), including six who were convicted of criminal charges. The Diocese of San Bernardino County listed clergy who were the subject of ‘credible allegations’ of molestation since the diocese formed in 1978, according to its website.” By CBS News

California’s Catholic bishops targeted in sex abuse lawsuit
“A man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by his parish priest said he is suing all Catholic bishops in California and the Archdiocese of Chicago(link is external), seeking to compel church officials to release records on clergy abuse. The filing Tuesday (Oct. 2) in Los Angeles by Thomas Emens claims a civil conspiracy among church officials to cover up clergy sexual assault and move offending priests to other parishes.” By The Associated Press on ReligionNews.com

San Jose bishop: ‘Deeds, not word’ needed in sex abuse claims
“San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath met with the outrage and clamor for immediate accountability of the clergy(link is external) accused of sexual abuses at the first of three scheduled listening sessions at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Palo Alto Sept. 29. McGrath said the involved clergy ‘say ‘sorry’ but it’s not enough. Deeds, not words are what we need. This is the beginning of the process.’” By Harvey Barkin, Mercury News

FLORIDA

Florida, investigating Catholic priest sex abuse, creates new tipline
“Florida is taking new steps to get people to come forward to report sex abuse by priests. Attorney General Pam Bondi launched an online portal where people can submit tips about possible sex abuse by Catholic priests(link is external) in Florida. ‘Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the church and a threat to society,’ said Attorney General Bondi.” By Gary Detman, CBS12 News

INDIANA

Two more priests linked to ‘credible’ sex abuse claims in northern Indiana
“Two more priests are being added to the list of 18 priests within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who are linked to credible claims of sexual abuse(link is external). ‘The two additional names of priests who have served in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and have been credibly accused of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor are Michael Paquet and Bruce Schutt,’ the diocese said in a news release. ‘Two more allegations have been added to the previously released name of Elden Miller.’” By Kurt Daring, WIBC-FM

INDIANA

Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese names two more priests accused of sex abuse
“Weeks after naming more than a dozen priests ‘credibly’ accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external) in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has named two more. Michael Paquet, the subject of one allegation, was ordained in 1978, removed from ministry in 2002 and dismissed from the clerical state in 2005, according to the diocese.” By Holly V. Hays, IndyStar.com

Lawsuit claims Lafayette Diocese knew about priest abusing children
“A new lawsuit claims the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette allowed one of its priests to sexually abuse children(link is external). We are combing through all the court papers, which were filed this week (Sept. 28). An anonymous victim claims he was abused by Father James Grear at a Catholic youth rally at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1982. The underaged victim – named in the suit as John Doe – also claims he confessed the alleged abuse to another priest and was told to ‘forget about the abuse, to ask God to forgive him, and not to disclose the abuse to anyone else.’” By WTHR.com Staff

MARYLAND

The Catholic Church: a history of inaction toward pedophiles
“Before The Sun moved offices last month, we were told we had to pare down what was in many cases years of accumulated notes and files — drawers full of interviews, court records, gang manifestos and whatever else we’d managed to collect and save in case we might need it again for another story, another day. I chucked two decades worth of papers to get to the goal: bringing a single box. Inside, along with personal items and performance evaluations, I put two large, white binders, each several inches thick — files from the only story I was certain wasn’t over. They contain much of what I know about John Merzbacher, the child rapist accused of terrorizing dozens of Catholic students(link is external) in Baltimore in the 1970s.” By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

Clergy sex abuse probes grow: Maryland launches investigation
“Archbishop William E. Lori has told clergy members of the Archdiocese of Baltimore that state authorities are investigating the archdiocese’s records related to the sexual abuse of children(link is external). Lori told priests and deacons in a letter Monday (Sept. 24) that the office of the Attorney General Brian Frosh has informed the archdiocese that it plans to ‘conduct an investigation and thorough review’ of the records.” By Jonathan M. Pitts, Tribune News Service

MICHIGAN

Michigan AG seizes Catholic dioceses’ records in sex abuse investigation
“Michigan authorities have seized records from every Catholic diocese in the state as part of an investigation into possible sexual abuse by clergy(link is external), the dioceses said in separate statements released Wednesday (Oct. 4). The Archdiocese of Detroit, and dioceses in Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette and Saginaw said their offices were served search warrants Wednesday morning from Attorney General Bill Schuette.” By Steve Almasy and Susannah Cullinane, CNN

MINNESOTA

As St. Paul Archdiocese bankruptcy wraps up, many call for church leaders to be held accountable
“The church bankruptcy settlement last week (Sept. 28) closed a key chapter of the often contentious relationship between clergy abuse survivors and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, but both sides acknowledged this isn’t the end(link is external). Abuse survivors are asking if action will be taken against archdiocese officials in charge during more recent abuses, including former vicar general the Rev. Kevin McDonough and former St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Judge approves Minnesota archdiocese’s $210 million settlement plan
“A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Sept. 25 approved the reorganization plan of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including a $210 million settlement for victim-survivor remuneration(link is external). During the hearing at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda gave a statement not as a lawyer, he said, but as the shepherd of the archdiocese.” By Maria Wiering, Catholic News Service, America: The Jesuit Review

MISSOURI

Retired Catholic priest who pastored several Southeast Missouri churches accused of abusing children
“A retired Catholic priest is accused of sexually abusing a child(link is external) while he was a ‘transitional deacon’ at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cape Girardeau in the early 1970s, a church official said Monday (Oct. 8). The allegation against the Rev. Fred Lutz was reported to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 2006 but not disclosed publicly until this week, said Leslie Anne Eidson, communications director for the diocese.” By Mark Bliss, Southeast Missourian

Advocates want Gov. Mike Parson to give Haley subpoena power in Catholic clergy probe
“Advocates for survivors of Catholic clergy sex abuse gathered outside the state Capitol on Wednesday (Sept. 26) urging Gov. Mike Parson to give Attorney General Josh Hawley subpoena power in his ongoing investigation of possible sex crimes within the Catholic Church(link is external). The attorney general’s office told the Post-Dispatch last week that it can gain special prosecutor status — and thus, subpoena power — with the help of either the governor or a local prosecutor who requests aid.” By Jack Suntrup, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NEW YORK

64 Syracuse area clergy abuse victims among 981 New Yorkers to get paid by Catholic Church
“Sixty-four Central New Yorkers are among the nearly 1,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse in New York state who plan to take settlements from the Catholic church(link is external). The victim compensation program offered through the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is nearing its conclusion after about seven months. Victims have started to receive and accept financial offers in Syracuse and across the state.” By Julie McMahon, Syracuse.com

OHIO

Cleveland Catholic Diocese to release clergy sex abuse list as nightmarish scandal deepens
“Trapped in the midst of a global public relations nightmare, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is drastically expanding its effort to publicly identify clerics who were removed from their positions because of credible sexual assault allegations(link is external). The diocese has already released the names of accused clergy from 2002 to the present, but now, local religious officials will compile a list that dates back through the 1900s.” By John Deike, WOIO-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie Catholic Diocese updates list of clergy, laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse
“The Erie Catholic Diocese has updated its list of clergy and laypersons who are credibly accused(link is external) of actions that the Diocese believes disqualifies them from working with children. Two lay persons and one priest, all of whom are deceased, have been added to the list. Another deceased priest is under investigation. All of the allegations date from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.” By Erie News Now

Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro: New information has surfaced since Catholic sex abuse report
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had no idea the flood gate he was opening(link is external) last month, when he went public with a grand jury report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse. The clergy sexual abuse hotline in the attorney general’s office has been ringing day and night for six weeks, tallying 1,181 new calls as of Thursday, he said … Shapiro said he also has fielded calls from attorneys general in 40 other states seeking to launch their own investigations. Within 10 days of the release of the Pennsylvania report, attorneys general in Missouri and Illinois launched investigations. Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette did the same. Likewise, the U.S. Justice Department has reached out to Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor.” By Deb Erdley, TribLive.com

Pennsylvania justices to hear arguments whether to name clergy accused of sexual abuse, cover-up
“The intense and largely secret fight over whether to permanently shield the names of some Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children or concealing it will for the first time be aired in open court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday (Sept. 26) is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case that will determine whether sections of the state grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse that are now blacked out should remain redacted(link is external). Those marks shield the names of a group of former and current clergy who contend that passages about them in the report are inaccurate or unfairly harm their reputations.” By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

TEXAS

Third accuser comes forward against Houston priest
“A third person accused a Houston-area Catholic priest on Thursday (Oct. 4) of sexually touching him when he was a teenager, in a case that has brought unwelcome attention to the high-profile cardinal(link is external) leading the American church’s response to sexual abuse. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is already accused by two other people of disregarding their reports against Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, the pastor at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in the Houston suburb of Richmond. La Rosa-Lopez was arrested in September and charged with four counts of indecency with a child.” By Nomaan Merchant, Associated Pres

VERMONT

The secret results of Vermont’s investigation into sex abuse by priests
“In the wake of a recent BuzzFeed News investigation that revealed widespread abuse of children at a Catholic orphanage in Vermont(link is external), the state’s attorney general convened a task force last month to investigate, pledging to stand up for the victims of abuse. But that office undertook a previous investigation into the abuse of Vermont children by Catholic clergy, in 2002, the results of which were never released.” By Chris McDaniel, BuzzFeedNews.com

Orphanage abuse: Bishop Coyne ‘open’ to releasing survivors from NDAs
“Bishop Christopher Coyne said he would consider releasing abuse victims from nondisclosure agreements(link is external) they signed with the diocese. Some survivors of abuse at St. Joseph’s Orphanage said they signed the agreements, known as NDAs, in exchange for as little as $5,000, which they said diocese gave them to compensate for the cost of therapy.” By Nicole Higgins DeSmet, Burlington Free Press

VIRGINIA

Richmond Catholic diocese commits to independent audit of abuse allegations in letter to congregants
“The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says it will audit abuse allegations made against priests and clergy(link is external) and make their names public. In a nine-page letter sent to the region’s Catholic churches, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said the Diocesan Review Board will have some oversight but an independent party will conduct the audit. The move comes in response to a Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting sexual abuse in the Catholic church there.” By Amy Poulter, The Virginian-Pilot

WISCONSIN

Catholic diocese of Green Bay: firm to review clergy files in wake of sexual abuse crisis
“The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, with the help of a third party investigator, is launching an investigation next month into all of its priests and Deacons(link is external). A Texas-based independent investigative firm will be conducting an ‘outside review of the files of all priests and deacons who have served in the diocese,’ according to a Catholic Diocese of Green Bay news release.” By Shelby Le Duc, Green Bay Press-Gazette

WYOMING

Wyoming reopens dormant clergy sex abuse case
“Following the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse by clergy, there has been a nationwide call for action and accountability(link is external). But in many states prosecutors have run out of time to press charges. There are just a handful of states with no statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes. One of them is Wyoming, and that’s given the Diocese of Cheyenne and the police there a chance to reopen an old case.” By Tennessee Watson, National Public Radio

AFRICA

Catholic Church distances itself from explosive sex abuse claims
“The Catholic church in South Africa has distanced itself from explosive claims about child abuse which have been leveled against a priest(link is external). At a media conference held in Johannesburg on Tuesday (Oct. 9)‚ Limpopo resident William Segodisho revealed how he had allegedly been abused in the 1980s by a UK priest‚ and that the church had apparently covered up the abuse when he tried to report it.” By Graeme Hosken, TimesLive.co.za

Catholic Church in Cape Town tightens measures to prevent sexual abuse by clergy
“The Catholic Church in Cape Town says it has implemented tighter measures to prevent sexual abuse by its clergy(link is external). It has welcomed the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s approach to stopping sex predators from entering its pews. The church held a meeting last week discussing incidents of sexual abuse in Anglican parishes that made headlines earlier in 2018.” By Monique Mortlock, EWN.co.za

CANADA

Canadian bishops unanimously adopt new abuse policies
“New sexual abuse policies that Canada’s bishops have vowed to implement will focus on prevention, but will not include a mechanism to censure a bishop who commits or covers up an offence(link is external). More than 80 bishops and eparchs from across Canada pledged unanimously to implement sexual abuse document that has been six years in the making and is now set to be released.” By Deborah Gyapong, The B.C. Catholic

Ottawa priest defrocked by Vatican following abuse admissions, allegations
“An Ottawa priest who is to stand trial next year on historic sex abuse charges(link is external) has been defrocked by the Vatican. Barry McGrory, 83, is the second Ottawa priest to be dismissed from the priesthood in the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The Catholic Church calls the dismissal process ‘laicization,’ and it is considered the harshest penalty the Vatican can deliver.” By Andrew Duffy, Edmonton Sun

CHILE

Vatican investigates former Chilean archbishop
“The Vatican is investigating an accusation of abuse against a controversial Chilean archbishop(link is external), the Schonstatt Fathers confirmed. In a statement released Oct. 6, Schonstatt Father Fernando Baeza, the order’s provincial superior in Santiago, Chile, said an accusation of abuse that occurred in Germany in 2004 against retired Archbishop Francisco Jose Cox was reported in 2017.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

221 priests, eight bishops face probes for abuse and cover-up in Chile
“According to the latest count by the Chilean national prosecutor’s office, some 221 priests and 8 bishops are being investigated up and down the country on charges of sexual abuse and cover-up(link is external), all due to allegations made from the year 2000 to date. In the total is Fernando Karadima, the country’s most infamous predator priest, who was removed from the clerical state by Pope Francis on Thursday in an ‘exceptional’ decision communicated by the Vatican on Friday (Sept. 28), the same day the man who once led an impressive lay movement in Santiago was informed.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chilean Church apologizes after issuing guidelines
“The Catholic Church in Chile, which is embroiled in a widespread sexual abuse crisis, faced more criticism this week (Oct. 5) after it published guidelines for priests’ behavior(link is external) on the Santiago archdiocese’s website. Critics slammed church officials for the obvious nature of the recommendations and for not getting to the root of the abuse crisis plaguing the church internationally. The document suggested, for example, that priests should not ‘touch the genitals’ of children or sleep with or beside them. It also said priests should not photograph minors while naked because such photos could be ‘misinterpreted.’” By Siobhan O’Grady, The Washington Post

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Scottish prelate voices shame, resolve on sex abuse crisis
“With clerical abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church in all corners of the globe, Scottish Archbishop Leo Cushley said that as someone who has given his life to the institution, he’s ashamed but also convinced that the Church, especially in Scotland, is in a ‘dramatically different’ place today(link is external). Referring to scandals that have erupted in Chile, Peru and the United States, among others, Cushley said each one is a cause of concern, ‘because this is an institution that I love and that I’ve given my life to, and I’m very dismayed when I see these things.’” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

‘Shame and sorrow’: English bishops promise independent review of safeguarding procedures
“The bishops of England and Wales have released a statement addressing the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Church(link is external), both in the UK and abroad. They also announced an independent review of current policies and procedures for child protection and for handling complaints of sexual abuse. The statement was released Sept. 24 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales ahead of the bishops’ five-yearly ad lima visit to the Holy Father and the departments of the Roman Curia.” By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Allegations against priest who helped lead football team to national title in Ireland
“A Catholic priest who helped lead his county’s football team to the national championship has voluntarily and temporarily stepped aside as a pastor in Northern Ireland after ‘concerns’ were brought to his archdiocese about an alleged incident from before his ordination(link is external). Father Gerard McAleer is currently the parish priest of St. Patrick’s Church in Donaghmore in the Archdiocese of Armagh, and a longtime figure in the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

POLAND

Movie about church sexual abuse is a contentious hit in Poland
“‘Clergy,’ a new movie by the director Wojciech Smarzowski, starts with three priests drinking vodka until they can barely speak … The picture of Poland’s priesthood only goes downhill from there. The priests steal money from their congregations, spy on each other, and exploit their connections with politicians, journalists and the police. But much of ‘Clergy’ focuses on one issue: Clerical child abuse, which the movie says the church covered up. In one scene, it incorporates accountshttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/arts/poland-clergy-movie.html(link is external) from real people who say they were abused.” By Alex Marshall, The New York Times

Warsaw protest to demand investigation of pedophilia in Poland’s church
“Child sexual abuse survivor and victims’ advocate Marek Lisinski is leading a march Oct. 7 in Warsaw to protest pedophilia in Poland’s Catholic Church(link is external). Lisinski, 50, is president of Don’t Be Afraid Foundation, an organization that counsels and operates a hotline for survivors of sexual abuse. In the spring of 1981, when he was a 13-year-old altar boy, Lisinski’s life took a tragic turn. A Polish priest befriended him and exploited his troubled young life, said Lisinski in a telephone interview. Lisinski’s father had abandoned his family three years earlier, leaving his mother and grandmother to raise him in poverty.” By Donald Snyder, National Catholic Reporter

Church in Poland begins publishing sex abuse data
“In the last week, three dioceses in Poland have published their data on clerical sex abuse(link is external), saying they are trying to better understand the issue and find effective measures to stop it. On Sep. 27, the Diocese of Warsaw-Prague – located in the eastern part of greater Warsaw – said in the last 26 years twelve priests were accused of abusing minors, and that all of the cases were reported to the Vatican. It added that two of the accused were cleared of charges.” By Paulina Guzik, Cruxnow.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Over half of Dutch bishops shielded priest-abusers, according to report
“A sensational new report on sexual abuse in the Netherlands claims over half of the bishops in the country from 1945-2010 were involved in either covering up abuse or abusing children(link is external) themselves. The report appearing in NRC Handelsblad, the Netherlands’ most prestigious newspaper, charges the Dutch hierarchy had a ‘policy of transfers and turning a blind eye’ to abusive priests in the country.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

U.S. bishops voice support for ‘full investigation’ of McCarrick scandal
“After a meeting between Pope Francis and the leadership of the US bishops’ conference last Thursday (Sept. 13) following which no plans for a probe of the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick were announced, the bishops on Wednesday (Sept. 19) announced their support for a ‘full investigation.(link is external)’ A statement from the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also announced various plans for establishing reporting systems and codes of conduct with regard to bishops and the sexual abuse of minors.” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

The Catholic Church’s unholy stain
“Pope Francis has summoned senior bishops from around the world for the first global gathering of Roman Catholic leaders to address the crisis of clerical pedophilia(link is external). The action is long overdue, and the outcome cannot be yet more apologies and pledges of better behavior. The unending revelations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups demand radical, public, convincing systemic change.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

‘Elitist, clericalist’ church allows abuse to thrive
“Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where the Catholic Church is ‘elitist and clericalist(link is external),’ Pope Francis told Jesuits in Ireland in August. ‘There is something I have understood with great clarity: this drama of abuse, especially when it is widespread and gives great scandal — think of Chile, here in Ireland or in the United States — has behind it a church that is elitist and clericalist, an inability to be near to the people of God,’ the pope told the Jesuits during a meeting Aug. 25 in Dublin.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter
Resignations, Rome meetings and investigations: a week of major developments in the sexual abuse crisis
“‘It just doesn’t stop.’ That sentiment, shared on Twitter Thursday (Sept. 13) morning by Associated Press Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield, captures the feelings of many Catholics trying to keep up with the seemingly endless cycle of new revelations about sexual abuse, harassment and misconduc(link is external)t in the U.S. church.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Georgetown panel deals with ‘moral catastrophe’ of church’s own making
“Sept. 25 was a night of powerful admissions in a packed lecture hall at Georgetown University. Perhaps that was not surprising, given the topic up for discussion — ‘Confronting a Moral Catastrophe: Lay Leadership, Catholic Social Teaching, and the Sexual Abuse Crisis.’ Still, those in the audience of the latest dialogue put forward by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life could not have been fully prepared for the alternating tones of anger and anguish(link is external) that characterized the evening’s conversation.” By Julie Bourbon, National Catholic Reporter

Secret files suggest Catholic bishop shielded alleged ‘predator priests’ from the public
“In this hardscrabble Rust Belt city with deep Catholic roots, the Catholic Church’s top official is facing calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests(link is external). Documents obtained by CNN suggest Bishop Richard J. Malone did not sanction priests accused of sexual abuse and concealed the identities of alleged ‘predator priests’ from the public. In a preemptive move in March, Malone released a list of 42 priests in the Buffalo diocese who had left the priesthood after facing accusations of sexually abusing minors … But a trove of secret diocesan records, first reported by CNN affiliate WKBW and obtained by CNN, show the number of accused priests could be up to 200.” By Rose Flores and Kevin Conlon, CNN

The latest Catholic abuse scandal shows that nothing was ever resolved
“ I’m having a hard time understanding why the recent Pennsylvania grand-jury report dealing with the Roman Catholic Church’s child-rape scandal sparked so much shock and outrage. Indeed, the allegations contained in the report are shocking and outrageous. But, as someone who reported extensively on the issue in Southern California 10 to 15 years ago, I’m not surprised by the revelations(link is external). Obvious questions jump to mind.” By Editorial Board of The Press-Enterprise

Church sex abuse review is ordered by Cardinal Dolan
“Seeking to restore the trust of New York Catholics shaken by recent revelations of abuse, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announced on Thursday (Sept. 20) that he had appointed a former federal judge to review how the Archdiocese of New York handles cases of sexual abuse of minors and sexual harassment of adult(link is external)s. The review, led by Barbara S. Jones, a former judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan, will primarily focus on whether the archdiocese is following the protocols to protect minors from abuse that were approved by the nation’s bishops in 2002.” By Sharon Otterman, the New York Times

Former F.B.I. agent who led 2002 child protection efforts says bishops ‘can’t police their own’
“I think what was most surprising to people is that it was possible for an offender [like Archbishop Theodore McCarrick] to manage to rise to the very highest levels in the church and that other members of the church hierarchy may have been aware of his offenses(link is external). If proven, it is reprehensible. How does that happen? Has it happened with others? Have other clerics ignored or protected such secrets and crimes?” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Class action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, including Pittsburgh, Greenburg
“Eight Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses, including those in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, are named in a class action lawsuit filed Monday (Sept. 17) that alleges they didn’t obey state laws requiring them to report child sexual abuse(link is external). ‘I have not lost faith in my religion,’ said the lead plaintiff, Ryan O’Connor. ‘I have lost faith in the men who are pulling the purse strings.’ O’Connor was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest in the Johnstown-Altoona diocese when he was 9 years old. He now has two children in Catholic schools. O’Connor, his fellow plaintiffs and their attorneys are seeking a massive release of previously confidential internal church files.” By Bob Mayo, Pittsburgh’s Action News 4

For survivors of priest child sex abuse, what would real justice look like?
“There are crimes for which justice can seem like a remote concept. There are crimes, like the sexual abuse of children, from which many turn away – using language like ‘unspeakable,’ ‘unimaginable,’ or even ‘inhuman.’ Even survivors create their mental shields from the crimes they endured. ‘This form of abuse is really completely and utterly spiritually annihilating(link is external),’ says Christa Brown, a survivor of abuse at the hands of a Baptist minister decades ago, and an author who now lives in Colorado. ‘It’s been called ‘soul murder,’ and I think that’s a very apt word for it.’” By Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor

Fall of a West Virginia bishop widens the Catholic Crisis over sex abuse
“The blows seem to land nearly every day: Bishops are accused, investigations are ordered, resignations are demanded, damning documents are leaked. The sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church keeps spiraling through the church hierarchy(link is external), threatening the standing of Pope Francis. On Thursday (Sept. 13), an American bishop in West Virginia was brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct, even as a delegation of American church leaders met urgently with the pope behind closed doors over whether the Vatican had ignored past warnings of abuse by a prominent cardinal.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK RESIGNATION

Sambi, a veteran papal diplomat, allegedly told Rome about McCarrick
“Although his biggest public turn in the United States may have been welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the country in 2008, Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi turns out, at least according to one reconstruction, to have had a fairly important behind-the-scenes part in the saga of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external). Sambi, a veteran Vatican diplomat, served as the pope’s ambassador to the United States from 2005 until his death in 2011.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

If there were secret sanctions on McCarrick, it wouldn’t be a first
“Three weeks after a bombshell accusation of abuse cover-up against Pope Francis by an ex-papal ambassador, an element of that charge still remains an enigma: Were there, or were there not, secret restrictions on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick(link is external) imposed under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI? It’s been a tough claim for some to swallow, given that there’s abundant evidence that McCarrick hardly behaved like a man under a cloud during the Benedict papacy – he was often seen with the pope, and even with Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Francis’s accuser and, at the time, papal ambassador in the U.S.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT

Pennsylvania bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse
“The bishops of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse(link is external). Ever since the Aug. 14 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that graphically detailed the alleged sexual abuse of more than 1,000 boys and girls by some 300 priests and church workers in the state over 70 years, the bishops had ‘reflected deeply on the ugly record’ of abuse’ and how church leadership failed to protect our people over a period of decades.’” By Matthew Gambino, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

POPE FRANCIS

Francis: young people ‘outraged’ at Catholic Church over sexual abuse
“Pope Francis has acknowledged that some young people are angry with the leaders of the global Catholic Church, saying that a perceived lack of ‘clear condemnation’ of clergy sexual abuse has resulted in youth becoming ‘outraged(link is external).’ In a Sept. 25 address to an ecumenical meeting on the last of his four-day visit to the three Baltic countries, the pontiff also noted that many youth no longer even think of the church as being able to offer them counsel or life advice.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Francis defends response to clergy abuse, says church has ‘spared no effort’
“Pope Francis has defended the measures undertaken by the Catholic Church in recent years to respond to clergy sexual abuse, saying the global institution has grown in its understanding of the ‘monstrous’ problem and has ‘spared no effort’ to protect children(link is external). In a press conference aboard the Sept. 25 papal flight back to Rome after a four-day visit to the three Baltic States, the pontiff said that the number of children abused over past decades ‘has diminished because the church has realized that it must fight in a different way.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

For Francis, February bishops’ meeting will be a defining moment
“Could this be the moment for which Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was called from ‘the ends of the earth’ to be pope?(link is external) Let’s not forget how when Bergoglio was introduced to us as Pope Francis — the name of not a previous pope or apostle, but of a reforming saint — he captured the world’s imagination with his humble request for all those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, and he bowed before them. Let’s not forget that he was elected by a conclave of cardinals who knew they wanted a freshness brought to the papacy and reform to the church. That was his mandate.” By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

In private letters, Benedict rebukes critics of Pope Francis
“The remarkable letter last month calling on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly shielding an abusive American cardinal also served as a public call to arms for some conservative Catholics who pine for the pontificate of the previous pope, Benedict XVI. For years now, they have carried his name like a battle standard into the ideological trenches. Benedict apparently would like them to knock it off(link is external).” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

CARDINALS

Pressing pope to accept his resignation, Cardinal Wuerl does the right thing
“Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has done the right thing. He has asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation, which he submitted three years ago when he reached 75, the age at which all Catholic bishops submit their resignations. The cardinal has been under heavy pressure to resign(link is external) ever since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in August, in which Wuerl was criticized for his handling of abusive priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh (1988-2006). He is the first U.S. cardinal to resign his archdiocese as a result of the abuse crisis since Cardinal Bernard Law did so in 2002 for his failure to deal with abusive priests in Boston.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter

ARCHBISHOP CARLO VIGANO’S LETTER

A closer look at the Vatican’s would-be whistleblower
“(Archbishop Carlo Maria) Vigano’s history of would-be whistleblowing(link is external) and controversy began long before the McCarrick affair, going back to his days serving as an official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Not only was he a central figure in the infamous 2011-2012 “Vatileaks” scandal that erupted shortly after his transfer to the U.S., but even there, he managed to be an object of controversy.” By Elise Harris, Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Catholic bishop in West Virginia resigns amid sexual harassment investigation
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a West Virginia bishop and has ordered a church-run investigation into allegations that the bishop sexually harassed adults(link is external), church officials said Thursday (Sept. 13). Michael Bransfield submitted his resignation as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Diocese upon turning 75 last week — and 75 is the age at which bishops are required to offer to step down. Francis not only accepted Bransfield’s resignation but also ordered the archbishop of Baltimore to oversee Bransfield’s diocese temporarily and investigate ‘allegations of sexual harassment of adults against’ Bransfield.” By Jason Hanna, CNN

Abuse crisis is like a fire purifying the church, says head of Canadian bishops
“The sexual abuse crisis is like a fire(link is external) that should be left to burn to purify the church, said the president of the Canadian bishops’ conference. ‘When there is a fire, our first instinct is often to try to put it out to prevent damage,’ said Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec. He spoke Sept. 24 to more than 80 bishops and eparchs at the annual plenary meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘In this case, however, we may need to allow this fire to keep burning,’ he said.” By Deborah Gyapong, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Germany’s bishops apologize for sex abuse and pledge to pursue justice
“The head of the German Bishops’ Conference apologized on Tuesday (Sept. 25) for the ‘pain and suffering’ caused by the Catholic Church’s decades-long failure(link is external) to take abuse of children at the hands of clergy members seriously enough, and pledged to pursue justice. The apology came as a new report that found over 3,600 children in Germany had been victimized by clergy members.” By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times

U.S. bishops won’t restore trust with announced plans to stop abuse”
“Are the U.S. bishops up to the task of restoring trust? Early indications are mixed. The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement last week pledging to use ‘every bit of the strength God provides us’ to protect the church — from themselves(link is external). As is not infrequent in such cases of self-management, and if the steps they announced are any indication, the bishops have a long way to go before they can rest easy that their efforts to heal the church will not, in fact, make an already terrible situation even more dreadful.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Retired Green Bay auxiliary Bishop Morneau withdraws from public ministry
“Retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau of Green Bay has requested and has been granted a withdrawal from all public ministry(link is external). In a letter dated Sept. 14 and addressed to Bishop David Ricken, the head of the diocese, Morneau stated that he failed to report to authorities an incident of priest sexual abuse of a minor in 1979.” By Sam Lucero, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath announces diocesan actions to address clergy abuse
“Recent revelations of the horrific and heartbreaking crime of the sexual abuse of minors by priests – and the systematic cover-up by bishops – have fueled a crisis, unprecedented in modern times, in the Catholic Church(link is external). There is a need for reform; there is a need for transparency in the way the Church responds to allegations of the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, even as we continue our efforts of preventing abuse and fostering a safe environment for all.” By Bishop Patrick J. McGrath on DSJ.org

Bishop Bransfield and the Catholic crisis
“The worldwide Roman Catholic Church has been battered for decades by sexual misdeeds of priests. Predatory abuses against altar boys, other vulnerable children and adults have been the worst aspect. Almost monthly, new reports of victims arise — in Boston, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Germany, nearly everywhere. Now, West Virginia’s Bishop Michael Bransfield is drawn into the morass(link is external). He’s accused of molesting teen-age boys in Philadelphia in the 1970s or early 1980s when he was a Pennsylvania priest and vice principal of a Catholic high school.” By Charleston Gazette-Mail Editorial Board

SYNOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

What can we say about the synod of bishops? The optics are not good
“As the church worldwide recoils at the renewed wave of sexual abuse, several hundred bishops will soon gather in Rome to talk about young people. The optics are not good(link is external). Don’t get me wrong. Of the voting members, most — if not all — are upstanding men. Only one is currently under indictment. But, like water dripping on a stone, the same story — from Chile, from the Netherlands, from the United States, with variations on the theme from India and Africa — is wearing people’s patience thin … The working document notes that the synod’s March 2018 preliminary meeting, at which young people were able to voice their opinions, found great distance between what the church says and what the church does.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Young Catholics on healing from the clergy sex abuse crisis
“Inspired by their Vatican II forebearers, many young Catholics are planning to stay in the church and fight for reform of the power structures(link is external) that allowed clergy sexual abuse to happen and that protected church leaders who tried to cover it up. On the show today: Brian Harper, NCR Young Voices columnist and graduate student in Fordham University’s International Political Economy and Development program. He currently interns with the Americas Society and Council of the Americas. Julie Bourbon, NCR contributor, based in Washington, D.C. Annie Selak, Catholic(link is external) lay minister and PhD candidate in Systematic Theology at Boston College.” By National Catholic Reporter Staff

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal appointees
“To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops’ conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, bishops from another 10 nations, as well as 10 priests who be full voting members of the gathering. The pope’s appointees to the synod were announced Sept. 15 and included Canadian Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec and U.S. Cardinals Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago. The synod will meet Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican to focus on ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment(link is external).’ By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

LAITY & THE CHURCH

Anti-abuse activists pan U.S. Catholic bishops’ new proposals
“Lawyers and advocates for victims of clergy sex-abuse are assailing as inadequate some new steps announced by U.S. Catholic bishops to curtail the abuse scandals(link is external)that have deeply shaken the church this year. The initiatives, announced Wednesday (Sept. 19), include developing a code of conduct for bishops regarding sexual abuse and harassment, and establishing a confidential hotline — to be run by a third party — to receive complaints of sexual misconduct by bishops, and relay such complaints to appropriate church and civil authorities. Critics called on the bishops to go further by allowing outside investigators full access to church sex-abuse records and by supporting changes to statute-of-limitation laws so that more cases of long-ago sex abuse could be addressed in court.” By David Crary, Associated Press, on FOX News

At the church she called home, she found her own quiet way to protest
“On the first Sunday morning in September, Rebecca Shipman Hurst gathered up her things — her small quilted purse, her car keys, the sealed pink envelope containing her weekly offering to the Catholic Church — and walked out the door of her weathered gray farmhouse … At 69, she was deeply invested in the faith she’d worked so hard to nurture, but today was, for her, a day of protest. Hurst had dressed in white for the noon Mass(link is external). She’d chosen the color to signify purity and innocence. And she had asked others to wear white to Mass too, to join her in a silent, symbolic call for action.” By Jeanna Russell, The Boston Globe

CLERICALISM

Clericalism led to abuse
Homily at St. Partick’s Church(link is external), Erie, Pennsylvania, Sept. 19, 2018

Abuse in Germany: Cardinal Marx, ‘We have often promoted a clericalism which has in turn facilitated violence and abuse’
“While presenting the report on sexual abuse in the Church in Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx wondered whether the efforts made so far have been sufficient: ‘Justice should be rendered to sexual violence victims(link is external). We do not want to fight sexual abuse in the Church without taking into account the victims. We must create a climate in which also others have the courage to expose their sufferings and wounds. For far too long, we have looked elsewhere, out of love for the institution and to defend ourselves, bishops and priests.’” By AgenSir.it

Canadian cardinal: women should help screen, train priest applicants
Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests(link is external) is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future sex abuse, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. ‘We would need participation of more women in (training) of priests,’ the Canadian cardinal told reporters at a recent meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, a four-day assembly in Poznan, Poland.” By Catholic News Agency Staff in The Pilot

Women’s Catholic leadership program, GIVEN Institute, officially launches
“A Catholic women’s leadership organization, the GIVEN Institute, which aims to encourage and train young women in leadership roles in the church and society(link is external), officially launched Sept. 12. ‘There are plenty of leadership programs in the private sector; there is no reason we can’t do it with a faith component,’ the organization’s founder, Elise Italiano, said Sept. 11. Italiano, who also writes for the Catholic News Service column ‘In Light of Faith,’ noted that there also are plenty of innovative programs in the church but leadership development for women is especially needed, particularly in the current moment in the church.” By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Eight lessons to be learned from the sex abuse crisis
For me, clerical sexual abuse is personal, professional and institutional(link is external). It has haunted my service of the church for more than five decades, involving the abuse of people, power and trust and a clerical culture that enabled it and covered it up. My experiences have taught me several lessons that I believe will be helpful as the church moves forward.” By John Carr, America: The Jesuit Review

Church crisis response: healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting
In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church(link is external), Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, and being urged to pray and fast for church healing. They’ve gathered in cathedrals and parishes across the country for healing Masses said by bishops who have often prostrated themselves before the altar in a posture of repentance. They’ve met in parish halls to ask church leaders what went wrong and how the church should move forward. Their bishops have issued multiple statements on the crisis and many also have begun to urge Catholics to pray and fast for the church to find healing and restoration.” By Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

VOICES

Don’t ignore local community in thinking about the abuse crisis
“In the on-going disclosures of sexual abuse and cover-ups that are rocking the Catholic Church, high churchmen and great thinkers have scurried to provide explanations(link is external), observations, and programs for reform. It seems everyone has an opinion. And yet, for all such conversations and printed words, there has oddly been one essential group that has been neglected, namely, the local Catholic community. The local Catholic community is the distinct community of faith whose children were abused and whose own trust was violated. Yet, in the dash to name the problem and propose its solutions, such a community is being taken for granted. Falling into some universalized ‘Catholic community’ or ‘Catholic faithful,’ the particular and specific local community is being absorbed into some enlarged entity.” By Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, Cruxnow.com

For real change, we must get at four roots deeper than church structures
“In the midst of the angst that has accompanied the revelation of unparalleled amounts of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, the cry for reform gets louder by the day(link is external). For some, it’s a call for the elimination of celibacy as an unnatural and therefore impossible way of life. For others, it’s about barring homosexuals from the priesthood, as if homosexuality was in essence a model of immorality rather than simply another state of nature … For many, it’s about a lack of psychosocial development in seminaries … But there is one element on which everyone seems to agree: There must be repentance. There must be accountability. There must be reform. Good. And that looks like what?” By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter

Why I’m staying Catholic
“I always come back to the question in times of scandal: Why am I a Catholic? Why stick around? Two reasons — one practical, one ethereal(link is external) — go back to Katherine ‘Roma’ Jacobson, my Irish-Catholic grandmother who was born 100 years ago this week … So the practical reason I’m Catholic is that Roma was Catholic — very, very Catholic. My grandfather had been raised Episcopalian and converted, developing a love of the faith for himself that must have been inspired at least somewhat by his vivacious wife. My mom married my Jewish dad with the understanding the kids would be Catholic.” By Mike Jordan Laskey, National Catholic Reporter

Are children safe from sexual abuse in Catholic Church
“In a letter from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath last week the Catholic diocese of San Jose became one of the first in the nation to announce plans to disclose all of the names of priests who had credible accusations of sexual abuse who ministered in the diocese. Additionally, the bishop offered several listening sessions and announced the hiring of a distinguished former FBI executive, Kathleen McChesney and her consulting team, to review diocesan personal files. This effort on the part of the diocese to offer full transparency and accountability(link is external) is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of the efforts by the local church to deal with their history of clergy abuse and to try to do the right thing for victims and their families as well as for rank-and-file Catholics.” By Thomas G. Plante, Mercury News

Time for a federal commission on sex abuse of children
“But no matter how many separate state inquiries are initiated, I predict that the findings will all repeat the vocabulary of ‘cover-up,’ ‘collusion,’ ‘enabling,’ ‘sacrificing children for the sake of the institution’s reputation’ — the same script gets replayed over and over. The time is long past for the criminality of the Roman Catholic Church to be treated as just a local or state problem — this is a national problem that is part of the global epidemic of child abuse(link is external). We must insist that this country hold a national, federal inquiry that covers all 50 states.” By Arthur McCaffrey, Philadelphia Inquirer

Father Hans Zollner: post abuse crisis, how can we get back to our Christian roots
“Hans Zollner, S.J., is a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors. He is the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Congregation for the Clergy. America spoke with Father Zollner in July and followed up recently as the sexual abuse crisis in the United States continues to roil the church(link is external). This is the first of three interviews James McDermott, S.J., is conducting about the abuse crisis.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Clergy in a candy store
“In the 1970s, when I attended St. Joseph’s School in Mendham, NJ, I didn’t know what a pedophile priest was but I knew a creepy priest when I saw one, and that was our pastor, Father James T. Hanley. He abused scores of boys in my town during the 1970s and 80s. He never went to jail but the Diocese of Patterson paid close to $5 million to his victims(link is external). I, like many people, didn’t think the abuse was widespread and that St. Joe’s was an anomaly. But as the years went on and more accusations came from all over the world, I started to believe that the church gave the nod to this behavior, which would explain why the abuse seemed to stop at the priest level. The church had to be protecting the abusers who had been promoted to bishop and cardinal.” By Kathleen Thometz, TheLatest.com

Tim Busch, Napa Institute tout ‘authentic reform’ at upcoming event
“In 2002, in the wake of the Boston-centered clergy sex abuse scandal, lay Catholics gathered in a church basement to pray and try to change the church through what would become the reform group Voice of the Faithful. Now another group of reformers is emerging. But it’s quite different from Voice of the Faithful(link is external), which tried to avoid ideological issues to focus on supporting victims, fighting clerical culture and promoting lay leadership. The Napa Institute, known for its blend of conservative theology and libertarian economics, hosts annual conferences that attract wealthy Catholics to California’s wine country. The organization’s focus on apologetics, sexual ethics and the need to counter secularization is shared by its ecclesiastical adviser, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, a darling of the Catholic right.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Head of USCCB vows ‘independence’, ‘accountability’ in addressing abuse, urges Diocesan finance leaders to pray
“At a time when the church is facing increasing pressure to be accountable(link is external) over the issue of clergy sex abuse, diocesan finance officials were urged by the nation’s leading Catholic bishop to approach their task with the mindset of a servant and a shepherd. “It’s extremely important that everyone in church finance work has a disciple’s heart, especially right now,’ Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told hundreds of local Diocesan officials during the 2018 Diocesan Financial Management Conference Sept. 17.” By Jeff Grant, The Catholic Sun

Erie Catholic diocese spends over $4 million on legal fees
“The investigation into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church is costing the Diocese of Erie around $4 million(link is external). We looked into where that money came from. That $4 million pertains to just the last two years investigating cases of clergy abuse within the Diocese spanning several decades. The bishop says the investment was worth it, but not everyone agrees.” By Jackie Roberts, YourErie.com

After allegations of theft at Winchester church, a youth minister asked questions. Now, he may lose his job
“In the spring of 2016, officials at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston began suspecting that someone was stealing from the collection plate at St. Mary’s(link is external), a Catholic parish in Winchester. Local police and the FBI investigated, but no one was ever charged. Parishioners, who had heard a swirl of rumors about stolen donations and quiet staff departures, never learned what had actually happened. But Salvatore Caraviello, St. Mary’s longtime director of youth and family ministries, was rankled by the silence of church officials.” By Maria Cramer, The Boston Globe

Catholics, keep your wallets closed until the Church reforms from the Vatican on down
“It is hard to be a Catholic today. It is clear from this summer’s Pennsylvania grand jury report, the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal and, most recently, the dodge by Pope Francis to a Vatican diplomat’s testimony that the pontiff rehabilitated McCarrick, that the Catholic Church has been betrayed by her leaders(link is external).” By Charles Rice, NorthJersey.com

Leaders of Sistine Chapel choir face Vatican fraud investigation
“The leaders of the Sistine Chapel Choir have landed in the cross hairs of an investigation by Vatican prosecutors into possible money laundering, fraud and embezzlement(link is external). The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had authorized an ‘investigation into some economic-administrative aspects’ of the choral ensemble, the world’s oldest. The targets of the investigation, the Rev. Massimo Palombella, choirmaster, and Michelangelo Nardella, administrative director, denied any wrongdoing through their lawyers.” By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Pennsylvania House advances bill allowing older victims of child sexual abuse to sue
“After protesters flocked to the Capitol on Monday (Sept. 24), the state House advanced a measure that would allow more victims of child sex abuse to sue their attackers decades after being assaulted(link is external). The House voted, 171-23, to amend a bill to lift for two years the state’s civil statute of limitations that bars accusers older than 30 from suing over abuse that occurred when they were children. The change was a major recommendation in last month’s state grand jury report that outlined decades of sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic clergy across the state.” By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Will clergy sex abuse allegations spur change in statute of limitation laws?
“The Pennsylvania report has prompted attorneys general in at least six states to review or investigate clergy sex abuse cases. But the concern is not just with the Catholic Church. Recent events have brought attention to sexual abuse, assault and harassment in Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, Hollywood and the halls of government. Amid this national conversation, a growing number of lawmakers want to expand the window that victims of child sex abuse(link is external) have to file civil and criminal lawsuits. Some want to eliminate these time limits altogether. If history is any indication, it will likely be an uphill battle.” By Candice Norwood, Governing.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

In a show of contrition, Catholic dioceses begin long road of healing
“In the end, it didn’t matter much what the bishop said during the Mass of Reparation and Prayer for Healing for victims of the sex abuse scandal(link is external). His gesture said it all. Standing in front of the altar Tuesday (Sept. 25) in Raleigh’s Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama took his violet zucchetto from his head and fell to his knees … The Mass was one of many such healing services specifically tailored to address the clergy sex abuse crisis, which got new life last month after the Pennsylvania attorney general released the report on a two-year grand jury investigation into widespread sexual abuse and cover-up within six Catholic dioceses across that state.” By Yonat Shimron and Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Take-aways on the latest twists in the clerical abuse saga
“When a news cycle goes supernova, generally developments come far too fast and furious for anyone really to absorb them in anything other than bite-size, superficial form. Over just the last 72 hours, there have been at least three new twists to the clerical sexual abuse scandals(link is external) once again rocking the global Church.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Priest sex abuse reports continue to spike after Pennsylvania investigation
“A statewide priest abuse investigation in Pennsylvania has inspired widespread inquiries in other states and dioceses across the country(link is external). Most recently, dioceses in Salt Lake City, Utah, and San Jose, California, said they would reveal the names of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.” By Candy Woodall, York Daily Record

New director named, former leader returns to SNAP after legal threats, leadership upheaval
“The St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests named a new executive director(link is external) Friday (Sept. 14) following a turbulent year that saw a serious legal threat and resignations of longtime leaders. Zach Hiner, who began his eight-year career in child abuse and neglect prevention as an assistant to SNAP founder Barbara Blaine and longtime executive director David Clohessy, will take the reins Sept. 24 as head of the nation’s oldest and largest self-help group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.” By Nassim Benchaabane, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ALASKA

Little Rock Diocese makes list of credible abuse allegations public
“The Diocese of Little Rock released a list of clergy who had assignments in Arkansas and against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were filed(link is external). Released Sept. 10, the list was gathered through an internal review of diocesan files, the diocese said. The list contains the name of one former priest who was previously identified and 11 former priests who were identified for the first time.” By Catholic News Service in America: The Jesuit Review

CALIFORNIA

Angry parishioners blast San Jose Diocese, Catholic Church over sexual abuse allegations
“Angry and hurt over national reports of clergy abuse that have again rocked the Catholic Church to its core, dozens of residents confronted Bishop Patrick McGrath Saturday (Sept. 22) to demand transparency as the Diocese of San Jose prepares to launch its own investigation(link is external). About 70 people — including alleged victims of abuse — gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary for a listening session hosted by the diocese to allow people to ask questions, express concerns and, in some cases, outrage over recent revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania and beyond. Calling on the bishop to launch a criminal investigation into any local allegations of abuse, many criticized the Catholic Church for waiting so long to take action and said it’s caused them to lose hope in church leaders. Some said they’re abandoning Catholicism altogether.” By Tatiana Sanchez, The Mercury News

Priest abuse: Bay Area politicians call for statewide probe of Catholic Church
“Four Bay Area state legislators and an East Bay congressman are calling for the state’s top attorney to launch an investigation into Catholic Church priest abuse(link is external), similar to the groundbreaking Pennsylvania grand jury report released last month that has thrust the scandal back into international headlines.” By Matthias Gafni, Mercury News

Catholic Church abuse victims call for California investigation
“Catholic Church sexual abuse survivors from the Bay Area will head to the state capital Monday (Sept. 17), focused on calling California’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation(link is external) into the alleged abuse. The victims want a statewide probe similar to the one recently concluded in Pennsylvania and are also clamoring for local law enforcement and prosecutors to be more aggressive when it comes to dealing with the cases.” By NBC-TV Staff

San Jose Diocese to release names of every priest believed to have abused minors
“Catholic leaders in San Jose are working to be more transparent about sexual abuse by priests(link is external). By mid-October, they plan on releasing the names of every priest throughout the city who is believed to have abused minors. This is just one step towards improving transparency regarding sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.” By Amanda del Castillo, ABC7 News San Jose

COLORADO

Colorado Springs Catholic bishop to address sex-abuse scandal on Facebook Live
“Bishop Michael Sheridan, head of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, will appear in a first-ever interactive Facebook live session at 7 p.m. Thursday (Spt. 14) to answer questions from the public about the Catholic Church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal(link is external) … Sheridan has received ‘a good response,’ in terms of questions posed in advance of Thursday night’s event, said Veronica Ambuul, editor of the Colorado Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper.” By Debbie Kelley, The Colorado Springs Gazette

CONNECTICUT

Bridgeport Diocese hit with abuse lawsuits against three priests
“Five men claim in lawsuits filed Friday (Sept. 21) that they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport(link is external). The lawsuits, filed in state Superior Court in Bridgeport, claim the abuse occurred from the late 1980s to the early 2000s and was perpetrated by three priests — the Rev. Walter Coleman, the Rev. Robert Morrissey and the Rev. Larry Jensen, in Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury and Ridgefield.” By Daniel Tepfer, Connecticut Post

INDIANA

Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese releases names of 18 priests or deacons accused of sex abuse
“A Catholic diocese in northern Indiana on Tuesday (Sept. 18) released the names of more than a dozen clergy accused of sexual abuse(link is external). At the direction of Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend published the names of 18 priests or deacons who the church said were ‘credibly’ accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Eight of the men listed are deceased, and two are incarcerated, according to the diocese. The remaining men have either been dismissed or removed from their ministerial or clerical duties.” By Holly V. Hays, IndyStar

Bishop Kevin Rhoades cleared of any wrongdoing following referral by diocese
“After a full investigation, the Dauphin County District Attorney has determined that there is no basis to conclude that Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes ever engaged in a criminal(link is external) or otherwise improper relationship with a person whom we will refer to at J.T. to protect the privacy of his family … No witness has alleged observing any criminal or improper conduct by Bishop Rhoades with respect to J.T. Bishop Rhoades and the family of J.T. fully cooperated in the investigation.” By Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office

ILLINOIS

Priest in sex abuse probe to move away from Catholic grade school amid furor
“When a student reported last year that she had seen an image of a naked boy on the Rev. Richard McGrath’s cellphone(link is external), the priest, who was president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, was asked by the school and the police to hand over the phone. McGrath refused, which officials say effectively killed an investigation by the police. Their focus later turned to accusations that the priest sexually abused another student at the far southwest suburban school in the 1990s — allegations that Will County prosecutors are reviewing and which also are the subject of a lawsuit by that former student.” By Robert Hurguth, Chicago Sun Times

Man comes forward with sex abuse allegations against Catholic priest
“Larry Antonsen was 16-years old and on a church trip in Wisconsin, when he said he was molested by his priest in a motel room(link is external). ‘Frozen. I couldn’t move. I was just paralyzed. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know where to go,’ said Antonsen. It was a night he wanted so badly to forget.” By Beth Sweeney, WFIE-TV

INDIANA

Indiana dioceses issues list of priests, deacons with credible accusations
“The Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese’s release of the names of priests and deacons credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) ‘is an appropriate step and part of a commitment to openness and transparency by the church in this area,’ said a member of the Diocesan Review Board. ‘I am hopeful too that it will bring some solace and healing to the victims and their families,’ said Donald Schmid in a Sept. 19 statement, a day after the diocese released the list.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

KENTUCKY

Kentucky legislature shouldn’t bow to Catholic church on priest abuse
“As reported in the Courier Journal on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2018, Kentucky Attorney General Andrew Beshear, announced that he ‘will seek the legislature’s permission to form a statewide grand jury to investigate Kentucky’s Catholic dioceses(link is external) in line with last month’s damning report on Pennsylvania Catholic churches.’” By William F. McMurry, Couier Journal

LOUISIANA

Louisiana Catholic Church should name pedophile clergymen, victims’ advocates say
“Advocates for victims of the Catholic Church’s pervasive clergy sex abuse scandal are calling upon Louisiana bishops to release the names of pedophile priests and clergy members(link is external) whose actions have thrown one of the world’s oldest religious institutions into crisis. The calls come as New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond(link is external) on Thursday (Sept. 20) said he and the state’s six other bishops are mulling whether to release the names of clergy members against whom credible accusations of abuse have been made. He said the issue was a topic of discussion at a meeting of the bishops last week.” By Kim Chatelain, New Orleans Times-Picayne

In New Orleans, more quietly settled, decades-old Catholic Church sex abuse cases surface
“Other cases have surfaced involving quietly settled, decades-old sexual abuse claims(link is external) against the Catholic Church in New Orleans, naming a pair of diocesan priests as well as an educator. Three separate, unnamed plaintiffs pursued claims against Malcolm Strassel, once a priest at Our Lady of Lourdes; Michael Fraser, once a priest at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church; and Nolan Delatte, once an educator at St. Pius X School, according to documents filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.” By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The New Orleans Advocate

MARYLAND

Archbishop: Maryland AG investigating records in abuse probe
“Maryland’s attorney general is delving into records of the Baltimore archdiocese(link is external) as part of an investigation into child sex abuse, the latest U.S. state seeking confidential church files since a Pennsylvania grand jury released an explosive report alleging widespread abuse and a cover-up scandal. Archbishop William Lori said in a statement Monday (Sept. 24) that he has written priests and deacons in the archdiocese advising them he’s been informed by Attorney General Brian Frosh of ‘an investigation of records related to the sexual abuse of children.’” By David McFadden, Associated Press

MASSACHUSETTS

Priest abuse lawsuits in Massachusetts name Catholic order in Bellevue
“A Catholic order based in Bellevue is now a defendant in two lawsuits in Massachusetts that allege sexual abuse of two children by a priest(link is external) in the 1970s. The lawsuits say officials with the Columban Fathers of Bellevue, as well as those with the Archdiocese of Boston, knew that a now-deceased priest, the Rev. Brian Gallagher, was an abuser, yet assigned him to serve a parish and nursing home in Dorchester, Massachusetts, granting him ‘unchecked power to sexually abuse Catholic boys.’ By Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

MINNESOTA

Alleged abuse victim searches for justice in the Diocese of Crookston
“In 1971, when Ron Vasek was 16 years old, a priest invited him to take a trip. The priest, Fr. Roger Grundhaus, was a family friend, and Ron’s parents supported the idea. Fr. Grundhaus, a priest of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, was going to a canon law convention in Columbus, Ohio. He said he wanted Vasek to come along to help with the drive … After dinner, Vasek said, the priest sexually assaulted him(link is external) in their hotel room.” By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey Catholic diocese releases priest sex abuse victims from agreements
“Victims of priest sexual abuse who signed confidentiality agreements with Catholic dioceses in New Jersey are free to ignore those deals and speak publicly about their experiences(link is external), church officials said in a statement Tuesday (Sept. 18). The announcement means all victims who reached financial settlements with the Catholic Church in New Jersey can call a new hotline established by the state Attorney General’s office earlier this month to speak to investigators gathering evidence of clergy sexual abuse in the church.” By Kelly Heyboer, NJ.com

New Jersey hot line to report abuse in Catholic Church inundated with calls, attorney general says
“A hotline the New Jersey attorney general set up to report sexual abuse within the Catholic(link is external) Church has been ‘ringing off the hook’ for nearly two weeks, the state’s top prosecutor said. ‘We’ve had to put extra resources into taking those calls,’ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday (Sept. 18).” By James Nash and Nicholas Pugliese, NorthJersey.com

NEW MEXICO

We are starting to listen to victims – finally
“Arthur Perrault is behind bars, finally. The 80-year-old priest is back from Morocco and in federal custody as he awaits trial on charges that he molested an 11-year-old boy(link is external) at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. A U.S. magistrate judge earlier this week agreed that Perrault should remain in federal custody until his trial. Authorities, correctly, do not trust the man who fled the country in 1992. They fear the priest could use the force of his charming personality to find help and escape again … For his many accusers this reckoning has been a long time coming.” By The New Mexican Editoral Board

NEW YORK

Brooklyn Diocese is part of $27.5 million settlement in four sex abuse cases
“Four men who were repeatedly sexually abused as children by a religion teacher at a Roman Catholic church(link is external) reached a $27.5 million settlement with the Diocese of Brooklyn and a local after-school program on Tuesday (Sept. 18), in one of the largest settlements ever awarded to individual victims of abuse within the church. The victims were repeatedly abused by Angelo Serrano, 67, who taught catechism classes and helped organize the religious education programs at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Long Island diocese settles nearly 300 claims filed by clergy sexual abuse victims
“Nearly 300 men and women will be compensated by the Diocese of Rockville Centre for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of priests(link is external), in some cases decades ago. The diocese has received 293 claims since it established a special compensation program last fall, said Camille Biros, the program’s co-administrator. So far, she said, 221 victims have been offered financial settlements and the others will receive offers within a few months.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

OHIO

Three Ohio dioceses to release abusive priest list
“Three of Ohio’s six Roman Catholic dioceses now say they will release new lists of priests who have been removed from parishes because of sexual abuse(link is external) and misconduct allegations, The Associated Press has learned. The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said Wednesday (Sept. 26) it would release a list in the next few months that will include the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of abuse, whether they are living or dead. The announcement comes a day after the Steubenville diocese said it will make public the names of abusive priests by the end of October and several weeks after the Youngstown diocese made a similar announcement.” By Mark Gillispie and John Seewer, Associated Press, on WJHG-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

As Catholic sex abuse investigations begin, questions remain
“‘Our work in Pennsylvania has spurred a movement,’ Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, said earlier this month as New York and New Jersey announced they would, like Pennsylvania, investigate child sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses within their borders. Since Shapiro unveiled a grand jury report in August detailing decades of allegations of child sex abuse by Catholic priests(link is external), at least nine states have initiated some form of investigation of their own. The issue also continues to rage in Pennsylvania courts … But as new investigations begin, questions remain as to what exactly will be revealed, and how much of it will result in legal action.” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

Some priests impregnated the girls they abused—one even helped her get an abortion
“Found within the depths of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse is a letter written by a former Diocese of Scranton bishop. A priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion(link is external), according to the grand jury report. And then-Bishop James C. Timlin wrote a letter expressing his feelings: ‘This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.’ But the letter was not for the girl. It was addressed to the rapist.” By Sue Ruland, York Daily Record

Pennsylvania Catholics weigh in on priest sexual abuse scandal: ‘I was heartbroken’
“New details are emerging about the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal(link is external) that has rocked the church. The diocese of Brooklyn, New York, has agreed to pay $27.5 million to four men who were sexually abused as boys by their religion teacher. The archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, is also reportedly set to resign. These developments come after a Pennsylvania grand jury report accused Wuerl of not doing enough to deal with pedophile priests when he ran the Pittsburgh diocese. CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor recently sat down with a group of Catholics in Pennsylvania to discuss how the scandal has affected their faith.” By CBS Evening News

Woman accuses Pennsylvania cardinal of abuse in new lawsuit
“Then, she (Heather Taylor) was escorted into a nearby room for a private audience with the bishop. There, she said, under the guise of adjusting her school uniform, a plaid jumper, he groped her(link is external). The bishop was Anthony Bevilacqua, she said, a man who would, one day, attain the title of cardinal.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Bethlehem Township priest accused of sex abuse says he can prove his innocence
“The Allentown Diocese has removed a monsignor from ministry as authorities investigate a sexual abuse allegation against him(link is external), spokesman Matt Kerr said Tuesday (Sept. 18). Monsignor Edward Sacks, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bethlehem Township, is the third Allentown Diocese priest removed from ministry since a statewide grand jury report was released Aug. 14. One of the three faces criminal charges, and one was reinstated last week after the accusation against him was found to be false.” By Daniel Patrick Sheehan, The Morning Call

Clergy sex-abuse survivor files defamation lawsuit against Catholic Church
“A woman who reported that she had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Pennsylvania when she was a teenager is now suing the Catholic Church after finding out the church investigated her and her family(link is external). Juliann Bortz, now 68, had become a member of a survivors’ group and an outspoken critic of the church and its efforts to conceal the abuse perpetrated by its clergy.” By Mike Argento, York Daily Record, in USA TODAY

TEXAS

Dear Attorney General Paxton—It’s time to investigate the Catholic Church
“It is a difficult time to be a Roman Catholic. Barely a month after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, accusations of sexual misconduct, abuse and coverups have quickly enveloped multiple dioceses(link is external) in several states and implicated high-ranking prelates in the U.S. and in Rome … At least seven states now see it that way. In the weeks since the Pennsylvania report, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska have opened investigations into sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have asked local dioceses for records. Take note, Attorney General Paxton. Texas should waste no time in following suit.” By Cynthia M. Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

UTAH

‘Credible allegations’ of sexual abuse against Catholic priests received, Diocese of Salt Lake City says
“In a letter from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City published Thursday (Sept. 13), officials said the Diocese received ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse against 16 priests(link is external)’ since 1990. Those reports – detailing incidents which date back to between 1962 and 1994 – all involved minors, the Diocese said.” By Andrew Reeser, Good4Utah.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.

In the Church scandals, all roads lead to Rome, and many run through D.C.
“While all roads in the scandals involving sexual abuse by Catholic priests(link is external) lead back to Rome, it appears that one of those roads runs through the lush landscaping of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the U.S. capital. A disproportionate number of the American bishops and cardinals entangled in the latest revelations of abuse and cover-up have spent significant time in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.” By Anne Hendershott, National Review

WEST VIRGINIA

The latest: West Virginia AG plans review of allegations
“The latest on the sex abuse and cover-up scandal rocking the Vatican (all times local): 11:45 p.m. (Sept. 14). West Virginia’s attorney general says allegations that a U.S. Roman Catholic bishop sexually harassed adults(link is external) warrant ‘a close review’ by the state. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement Thursday after Pope Francis accepted Bishop Michael Bransfield’s resignation and authorized Baltimore Archbishop William Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations against Bransfield.” By Associated Press in The Washington Post

ARGENTINA

Pope role in study of Argentine sex abuse case in spotlight
“Pope Francis’ role in Argentina’s most famous case of priestly sex abuse is coming under renewed scrutiny(link is external) as he faces the greatest crisis of his papacy over the Catholic Church’s troubled legacy of cover-up and allegations he himself sided with the accused. Francis, who at the time was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in 2010 commissioned a four-volume, 2,000-plus page forensic study of the legal case against a convicted priest that concluded he was innocent, that his victims were lying and that the case never should have gone to trial.” By Luis Andres Henao and Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

AUSTRALIA

Reforms to clear way for abuse survivors to sue
“Legal barriers that have prevented child sexual abuse survivors from suing institutions will be removed(link is external) following the introduction of new civil litigation laws in the NSW Parliament. State Attorney General Mark Speakman yesterday (Sept. 26) said the reforms stem from royal commission recommendations and will include the removal of the ‘Ellis defense,’ which enabled certain institutions to avoid liability.” By CathNews.com

Australian bishop who was victim of sex abuse speaks on U.S. church’s crisis
“Bishop Vincent Long is the Bishop of Parramatta, a diocese northwest of Sydney. A former Assistant General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, he is Australia’s first Asian-born bishop and the first Vietnamese-born bishop to head a diocese outside of Vietnam. In 2017 Bishop Long testified before Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse(link is external). … This is the third in a series of interviews Jim McDermott, S.J., is conducting on the sexual abuse crisis. This interview was conducted by e-mail.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

Faith and survivor groups form committee to tackle child abuse
“Representatives from 20 faith-based organizations and major survivor advocate groups in New South Wales and the ACT have formed a joint standing committee to tackle child abuse within religious settings(link is external). A gathering was held earlier this month at New South Wales Parliament House with the view to establishing the committee, which was instigated by the NSW Ombudsman’s Office and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Admitted abuser removed from university post in Canada
“A liturgical canonist and teacher who had admitted abusing a minor while serving as an associate pastor(link is external) in the United States is no longer teaching at the Canadian pontifical university where he had been a full professor. St. Paul University confirmed that John Huels is no longer teaching at the university, after Huels’ victim contacted Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and NCR ran a story about the abuse. In the article that NCR published Sept. 12, survivor Michael Bland wondered if he would find justice amid the renewed attention to clergy sexual abuse, telling NCR that he had hope but little trust. ‘I think I have found healing, but I have not found accountability,’ he said.” By Heidi Schumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Canadian bishops to approve new sex abuse protocols
“Canada’s Catholic bishops are set to approve a long-awaited document on sexual abuse when they meet for their annual plenary Sept. 24-28 in Cornwall, Ont. The new document, entitled Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Faithful of Canada for Healing, Reconciliation and Transformation(link is external), comes as the Catholic Church grapples with a worldwide crisis from Chile, to the United States, to India, to Germany and other European countries.” By Deborah Gyapong, The B.C. Catholic

CHILE

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis
“Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down since June in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandal in their country(link is external). The Vatican announced Sept. 21 the resignations of 60-year-old Bishop Carlos Pellegrin Barrera of San Bartolome de Chillan and 71-year-old Bishop Cristian Contreras Molina of San Felipe … Pope Francis accepted the resignations June 11 of three Chilean bishops, including Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who had been accused of witnessing and covering up abuse by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The pope accepted the resignations of two other bishops June 28.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Chilean hero expelled from priesthood over sex abuse charges
“A priest who was once a national hero in Chile, and who now finds himself another casualty of that country’s massive clerical sexual abuse crisis, has been expelled from the priesthood by Pope Francis after being found guilty of abusing minors and vulnerable adults(link is external). The Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile released a statement on Saturday (Sept. 15) saying that Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had notified the Chilean Church that on Sept. 12 Francis had decreed, ‘with no possibility of appeal,’ the ‘removal from clerical state ‘ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae’’ of Father Cristián Precht Bañados.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Chile authorities raid four dioceses in clerical abuse probe
“Chilean authorities raided four dioceses on Thursday (Sept. 13) as part of an investigation into clerical sex abuse of minors and alleged cover-ups by bishops(link is external). Prosecutors said the surprise raids took place at the dioceses of Valparaiso, Chillan, Osorno and Concepcion. Images published by local media showed authorities walking out from the buildings after seizing documents.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press

GERMANY

New report details more than 3,600 sex abuse cases spanning decades in the German Catholic Church
“A report on sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Germany says 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014(link is external), two leading German media outlets said Wednesday (Sept. 12). Der Spiegel Online and Die Zeit said the report they obtained — commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and researched by three universities — concludes that more than half of the victims were 13 or younger and most were boys. Every sixth case involved rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, both weeklies reported. Die Zeit wrote that 969 abuse victims were altar boys.” By Kristen Grieshaber, Associated Press, in Time magazine

SPAIN

Vatican suspends priest in Spain over child sex abuse claims
“Church officials in northern Spain say the Vatican has suspended a priest for 10 years over allegations that he abused schoolchildren(link is external) more than three decades ago. The priest, Jose Manuel Ramos, is required to serve out his suspension in a monastery outside of his Astorga diocese, according to bishop Juan Antonio Menendez. Menendez said Monday (Sept. 18) that the Holy See’s orthodoxy watchdog decided the punishment following an internal investigation concluding that Ramos ‘had committed a serious crime of sexual abuse of minors’ between 1981 and 1984.” By Associated Press on WSBTV.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup



TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK RESIGNATION

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

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

PRIESTS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

VATICAN

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VOICES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MINNESOTA

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

MONTANA

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

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

NEBRASKA

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

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

NEW JERSEY

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

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

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

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

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

TEXAS

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CHILE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

GUAM

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Chile’s two cardinals become focus of clerical abuse investigation
“Pope’s Francis’s recent about-face on Chile’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, pivoting from strongly defending a bishop accused of cover-up to ordering investigations and summoning bishops to Rome to read them the riot act, appears to have been read as a green light to investigate by Chile’s civilian authorities(link is external), who in recent months have conducted multiple raids in several dioceses looking for evidence.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

U.S. Catholic Church’s former public face on sex abuse faces decades of misconduct allegations
“One of the most recognized faces of the American Catholic Church was removed from the public ministry last month, making Cardinal Theodore McCarrick the highest ranking Catholic official in the nation to be removed(link is external) for sexual abuse of a minor. Now the New York Times reports that McCarrick touched young adult seminarians. John Yang learns more Rev. James Martin of America magazine.” By Judy Woodruff and John Yang, PBSNewsHour

Catholic priests raise five main objections against grand jury report
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Jul. 17) is expected to release the latest salvo in a last-ditch effort to amend what is expected to be a blistering report on the Catholic Church(link is external) statewide. The court is slated to release the response of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro to efforts by at least two dozen priests seeking to revise the report from the 40th Statewide Grand Jury. The priests, current and former, whose names have been redacted from the report, have petitioned the court seeking to revise or block the release of the forthcoming 800-plus page report.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Vatican expert: to fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women
“One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today ‘there is much more awareness about the issue,’ the church has to invest more resources and include more women(link is external), especially where the church is growing fastest. ‘What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,’ Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday (Jul. 19). He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as ‘one topic among others’ and have not grasped that ‘this has to be a priority for the church.’” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Man says Cardinal McCarrick, his ‘uncle Ted,’ sexually abused him for years
“James was 11 years old when Father Theodore E. McCarrick(link is external) came into his bedroom in Northern New Jersey, looking for the bathroom. Father McCarrick, then 39 and a rising star in the Roman Catholic church, was a close family friend, whom James and his six siblings called Uncle Teddy. James was changing out of his bathing suit to get ready for dinner.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York times

Addressing abuse, church must address the betrayal of community
“A particularly heart-freezing detail emerges in a 60-year-old man’s account of how he was abused as a boy by then-Fr. Theodore McCarrick(link is external) … To fully grasp the sense of betrayal ordinary Catholics feel toward their hierarchy, you must fully grasp the horror of this detail: James was abused by the man who baptized him. The man who stood in persona Christiat the baptismal font, at the family dining table, around the backyard family pool, abused a child of God. That fact that this same man would rise to the highest ranks of the Catholic Church only heightens the sense of betrayal.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Ex-chancellor’s arrest spotlights big picture in Chile abuse crisis
“Already the most serious clerical sexual abuse crisis(link is external) since the United States in 2002-2003 and Ireland in 2009-2010, the unfolding situation in Chile took another turn this week (Jul. 15) when the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santiago, the national capital, was arrested on seven counts of abuse and rape between 2002 and 2018, involving minors between 11 and 17, five of whom reportedly were his own nephews. The arrest was accompanied by a police raid of archdiocesan offices, which reportedly produced evidence that Church officials were aware of the accusations but did not report them to civil authorities.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Auxiliary bishop serving top papal aide resigns after sex misconduct allegations
“An auxiliary bishop serving a top advisor to Pope Francis has resigned from office in Honduras after allegations that he sexually abused seminarians(link is external). Bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle served under Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga in the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. The cardinal is the coordinator of the C9 Council of Cardinals which advises the pope on the reform of the Vatican curia and the governance of the Church, and he is considered one of Francis’s closest confidantes.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Melbourne archbishop-elect says Adelaide archbishop should resign
“Bishop Peter Comensoli, who will soon lead Australia’s largest Catholic diocese, is calling on Archbishop Philip Wilson to resign(link is external) following his conviction for neglecting to report sexual abuse. Comensoli, who currently leads the diocese of Broken Bay and will be installed as archbishop of Melbourne later this month, adds his voice to the growing number of Australian bishops who believe the disgraced head of the archdiocese of Adelaide should step aside.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

Australia’s bishops are under increasing pressure to make child abuse reports public after nuns, brothers and friars ‘favor’ release
“Australian orders of nuns and brothers have broken from Catholic bishops and called for public release of church-commissioned reports(link is external) responding to the child abuse royal commission. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will hold an extraordinary meeting in early August to discuss its next move after Catholic Religious Australia, representing 150 orders and a partner with the ACBC in commissioning the Truth Justice and Healing Council reports, said members were ‘in favor of releasing’ them.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

A Catholic trifecta of disgrace: next step in abuse saga is due
“The Academy Award-winning movie ‘Spotlight’ offered a summary of the first part of what I predict will be a Catholic trifecta of disgrace(link is external). ‘Spotlight’ showed priests abusing minors and clerical higher-ups covering for them, making for a grim, ongoing tale of betrayal and corruption. The second aspect came into sharp focus in Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman’s recent Pulitzer-worthy article, ‘He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal’ in which they spell out the dastardly deeds of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The authors made clear that McCarrick’s sexual exploits were many, widely known, and just as widely ignored on his way to a red hat. The third leg of this trifecta remains unexplored, but I predict/believe it will soon explode onto the scene: some priests’ use and abuse of women.” By Mary E. Hunt, National Catholic reporter

POPE FRANCIS

How Pope Francis could get back into the game on sex abuse reform
“For many victims of clerical sexual abuse and their advocates, last week offered a stark reminder of how far the Church has to go in cleaning house(link is external). Not only did Cardinal Theodore McCarrick face further accusations of abuse, including minors, but the right-hand man of one of Pope Francis’s chief advisers also resigned after accusations he had targeted seminarians for sexual favors in Honduras.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis hit by triple run of sex scandals
“Sexual abuse scandals and revelations across three countries(link is external) at the weekend (Jul. 20-22) delivered a blow to the Pope’s zero tolerance for the culture of cover-up. One of the biggest headaches facing Francis is retired Washington archbishop Theodore McCarrick, 88, a leading church liberal. Cardinal McCarrick stood aside from ministry a month ago after a church investigation found an allegation that he abused a teenager 47 years ago in New York was ‘credible and substantiated’ …” By Tess Livingstone, The Australian

After new appointments, will Pope Francis’ stalled curial reform start moving?
“A long-time priority of Pope Francis, curial reform – specifically the overhaul of Vatican finances and communications(link is external) – has been hanging by a thread for the past few years, and some wonder about the pope’s ability to make any meaningful or lasting changes in the Vatican’s way of doing business.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

PM Malcolm Turnbull calls on Pope Francis to sack Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson
“Malcolm Turnbull has called on Pope Francis to sack Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson(link is external), who has defied calls to resign his position despite his conviction for concealing child sex abuse. The Prime Minister, who meets with the nation’s most senior Catholics today (Jul. 19), said the head of the church must now intervene to force Wilson from office.” By Ben Packham, The Australian

CARDINALS

Amid new sex abuse scandal, O’Malley issues warning to church
“Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Tuesday (Jul. 20) he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the allegations of sexual abuse(link is external) by one of the most respected US cardinals, Theodore McCarrick — and laid out steps the Roman Catholic Church needs to take to address its continuing clergy sex abuse problems. McCarrick’s ‘alleged actions, when committed by any person, are morally unacceptable and incompatible with the role of a priest, bishop or cardinal,’ O’Malley said in a statement, warning that the church could lose its ‘already weakened moral authority’ if it doesn’t make changes.” By Martin Finucane and Danny McDonald, The Boston Globe

BISHOPS

Pope Francis approves USCCB delegates for October’s Synod of Bishops
“Pope Francis has ratified the members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to represent the United States at Synod(link is external) of Bishops Oct. 3-28. The synod will meet at the Vatican to discuss ‘young people, faith and vocational discernment.’ The USCCB announced July 23 that the U.S. Church’s delegates will be …” By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

VATICAN

Vatican suspends Chilean deacon accused of child abuse
“The Vatican dismissed a Chilean deacon over sexual abuse accusations(link is external) in central Chile, the archdiocese of the city of Rancagua said Friday (Jul. 20), amid a widespread abuse scandal gripping the country’s Catholic Church. Luis Rubio was arrested for improper conduct and sexual abuse of minors when he was in charge of a Las Cabras school in 2013.” By Agence France-Press on Yahoo.com

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Policy needed to address bishops’ violations of the vows of celibacy
“For the past several days, articles in the national media have reported accusations of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual improprieties with several adults and his criminal violations of the sexual abuse of minors … These cases and others require more than apologies. They raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse(link is external). While the Church in the United States has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests we must have clearer procedures for cases involving bishops.” By Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, The Pilot

Priests, celibacy and sex
“Recent news stories about financial settlements with adults who had sexual encounters with a bishop show that the issue of sex abuse in the Catholic Church is not limited to the abuse of minors(link is external). When Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was suspended from the priesthood after being credibly accused of abusing an altar boy, it was also revealed that financial settlements for his actions had been made earlier with two adults.” By Religion News Editorial Board

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Young women ask difficult questions to challenge church at recent Joan Chittister institute
“Eight female-identifying Catholics in their 20s and 30s, all of them students or recent graduates of programs in theology or divinity, gathered June 17-30 at Mount St. Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania, for the inaugural Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality(link is external): A Feminist Benedictine Option. The institute was a two-week intensive course on the work of author and lecturer Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, especially her writings on monasticism and women in the Catholic Church.” By Breanna Mekuly and Jacqueline Small, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

#MeToo, your excellency
“Can we face the heartbreaking facts? It is time for #MeToo in the Catholic Church. There is too much abusive behavior by — or ignored by — Catholic bishops(link is external). Washington, D.C.’s former archbishop, Cardinal Theodore (‘Uncle Ted’) McCarrick, reportedly was overly fond of his seminarians, and was finally punished for abusing a minor 47 years ago. Everybody knew. Nobody did anything … It’s time for the church worldwide to face up to abuse of power by bishops, especially but not only the physical and emotional abuse whispered about in seminaries, chanceries and gay bars. In the U.S., the famous (infamous?) 2002 ‘Dallas Charter’ is all about priests, deacons and minors. Bishops are not under the charter’s jurisdiction. Yet the root of this problem is at the top, not the bottom. The problem is endemic, and the problem is real.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Melbourne’s new archbishop says promoting the Church as an ‘institution’ allowed ‘great evils’ to happen
“The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that seeing the Church as an institution rather than the ‘people of God’ allowed for ‘great evils’(link is external) to be committed and has pledged himself to rebuilding trust in light of the clerical sexual abuse scandal. Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli, who will take up the leadership of Australia’s largest Catholic diocese on 1 August, said the abuse crisis was ‘paramount’ in everyone’s thinking and required a response at every level in the Church. Devastating findings by a recent royal commission found that 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse against the Church, many of them covered up by bishops who had pursued a strategy of protection of assets against legal claims.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

500 theologians to gather in Sarajevo to talk ethics, action
“Nearly 500 moral theologians and ethicists are to gather at the end of July for a first-of-its-kind meeting(link is external) focused how they can respond to the shifting global geopolitical environment and address contentious issues such as climate change and migration. Participants from about 80 countries are expected to take part in ‘A Critical Time for Bridge-Building: Catholic Theological Ethics Today,’ a July 26-29 event being held in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

$63K found stashed above the ceiling in priest’s basement
“Police said they found more than $63,000 in cash during a second search of the home of a Catholic priest charged with embezzling more than $5 million(link is external) from an Okemos parish. The money was found above ceiling tiles in the basement of the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle’s lavish home on Noble Road, Michigan State Police said Wednesday (Jul. 18) in a news release.” By Ken Palmer, Lansing State Journal

Rapid City priest charged with stealing from collection plate
“Prosecutors have formally charged a Rapid City priest who acknowledged he was responsible for stealing from the weekly collection plates(link is external). Father Marcin Garbacz is charged with first-degree embezzlement of property and petty theft for taking money from donations at St. Therese Catholic Church in Rapid City.” By Associated Press in Argus Leader

In Minnesota, Catholic Charities sues near-bankrupt diocese
“The fate of a children’s home is the subject of a lawsuit against the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minn., by the diocese’s Catholic Charities affiliate, which fears the diocese’s planned bankruptcy could disrupt services at the facility(link is external) … After 74 claims related to clergy sex abuse were made, the diocese made a Feb. 28 announcement that it would seek bankruptcy protection, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.” By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Survivors now have more time to sue for clergy sex abuse
“A new law in Hawai’i now gives survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file claims(link is external) against their abuser. Reforms to the state’s statute of limitations have been key in exposing the extent of child sexual abuse at various institutions, most notably the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. Nearly 60 priests associated with Hawaiʻi’s Roman Catholic Church have been accused of child sexual abuse. That’s according to a recent report by attorneys of abuse victims.” By Ku’uwehi Hiraishi, Hawaii Public Radio

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic Church finally delivering on promises about clerical abuse
“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, Sun-Sentinel

Leaked letter adds to pressure on Chile cardinal over sex abuse scandals
“Despite repeated attempts to distance himself from his country’s sexual abuse crisis, including recently asserting there’s a climate of ‘slander’ against the Catholic Church, Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago is facing mounting scrutiny(link is external) for his role in the scandals both from outside the Church and in. The latest headache for Ezzati, who heads the Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile’s capital, has come with the revelation of a letter by a brother archbishop, Alejandro Goic, who until recently led the Archdiocese of Rancagua.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

HAWAII

Survivors of childhood abuse urge others to seek justice
“June Johnson Cleghorn, 59, a Kailua mother of two, is urging victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their abusers(link is external). Cleghorn did just that — and reached a court settlement in 2016 — after a teacher allegedly sexually abused her over a six-year period beginning in 1971 when she was a 12-year-old boarding student at Hawaii Preparatory Academy on Hawaii Island. Cleghorn and others spoke at a news conference last week with her attorney, Mark Gallagher, to raise awareness that the state has lifted the statute of limitations to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse until April 24, 2020, to file retroactive civil law suits against their alleged abusers and the organizations that allowed the abuse to continue.” By Denby Fawcett, Honolulu Civil Beat

ILLINOIS

Defrocked priest committed indefinitely to state facility for sex offenders
“Arguably Chicago’s most notorious figure in the national Roman Catholic priest sex abuse scandal(link is external) was committed indefinitely Wednesday (Jul. 17) to a state facility for sex offenders. In refusing to release Daniel McCormack under strict monitoring, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter noted that the defrocked priest had never cooperated with treatment or even admitted to a problem.” By Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune

LOUISIANA

NOPD launches criminal investigation after church sex abuse allegations
“A former Catholic deacon accused of molesting young boys(link is external) is now the subject of a criminal sexual abuse investigation. The attorney who represented one of the alleged victims in a large settlement with the Archdiocese of New Orleans hopes this will create lasting change. A man who suppressed memories for years claims former Deacon George Brignac raped and sexually abused him at Holy Rosary church.” By Amanda Roberts, F0X8 News

MASSACHUSETTS

Lawsuit accuses priest of denying aid for sex abuse victim
“A man who says he was sexually assaulted as a child by a Catholic monk(link is external) in Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit accusing a priest of trying to conceal the abuse and refusing to help pay for his mental health treatment. The man said in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday (Jul. 18) that he was raped by Brother Joseph Martin while he worked at Saint Benedict Abbey in Harvard, Massachusetts in the 1970s.” By Alanna Durkin Richer, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Catholic order pays $1 million settlement to eight victims of clergy sex abuse dating back decades
“A Catholic order has paid a total of $1 million to eight people who were sexually abused by two Catholic priests in the 1970s and early ’80s(link is external) in Massachusetts, the victims’ lawyer said Tuesday (Jul. 17). One of the priests, John J. Gallagher, was the subject of a letter written in 1992 by one of the victims to the late Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who at the time headed the Archdiocese of Boston. The letter, released by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, graphically detailed abuse the woman experienced in Lawrence in the mid-’70s, and serves as further evidence that Law had knowledge of sexual abuse by Catholic priests before it was widely publicized.” By J.D. Capelouto, The Boston Globe

NEW JERSEY

Catholic order says 30 victims have alleged sexual abuse
“Leaders of a Catholic order in New Jersey said in a letter posted on its website that 30 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse(link is external) by the monks or lay faculty associated with a private school. In a joint letter written to the community on July 20, the head of St. Mary’s Abbey and the Delbarton School headmaster said the order had settled eight lawsuits with alleged victims, while seven others were pending.” By Associated Press in Minneapolis Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Sexual assault charge dropped against former Hobbs priest
“The case against a former Hobbs Catholic priest accused of criminal sexual contact(link is external)has been dismissed. The Hobbs News-Sun reported that the criminal charge against former St. Helena Catholic Church priest Ricardo Bauza was tossed last week just days before he was slated to stand trial.” By Associated Press in Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Will Buffalo Diocese pay victims of sex abuse by religious order priests?
“Gary Astridge and Robert Swierat are two Buffalo area men in their early 60s who say they were repeatedly raped by Catholic priests(link is external) decades ago. The two have something else in common – they say the Diocese of Buffalo has so far refused to accept any responsibility for the incidents because the abuser priests were members of religious orders and not ordained by the diocese.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Erie Catholic Diocese adds new names to list of clergy, laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse
“The Erie Catholic Diocese has released an update to the list of clergy and laypersons who are credibly accused of actions(link is external) that the Diocese believes disqualifies them from working with children. The new names include Father William A. Rice, who is retired and living in Fryburg, Pa. The Diocese of Erie said it has received sexual harassment allegations concerning Father Rice involving both children and adults.” By Erie News Now

Clergy sex abuse revelations stun, anger Catholics in Buffalo
“Catholics in Buffalo, New York, are undergoing their Boston moment on sex abuse(link is external), 16 years removed from the events that rocked the wider church in the United States … On Feb. 27, Michael Whalen, 52, held a press conference at which he accused retired priest Fr. Norbert Orsolits of abuse inflicted when Whalen was a minor … Orsolits’ story was news to Catholics in Buffalo, who were never told that the priest was an accused sex abuser. The diocese was taken to task for a policy of not revealing the names of accused priests. Within weeks, Bishop Richard Malone, who came to the diocese in 2012, revealed the names of 42 accused clergy.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

PENNSYLVANIA

Abuse accusations against priests, bishops and cardinal reach levels not seen in years
“…But scandals are flaring up in Catholic dioceses(link is external) throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, and in countries ranging from Chile to France to Australia to the upper ranks of the Vatican. Pope Francis himself, after initial defensiveness, is now removing bishops in Chile and lamenting a ‘culture of abuse and cover-up.’” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Clergy abuse survivors finding their voices, and each other
“Jim VanSickle recalls the ‘long walk’ into the room where members the 40th statewide grand jury waited to hear him. ‘I was nervous, I was sweating, thinking, ‘Lord, give me the words that I need,’ recalled Mr. VanSickle, 55, of Coraopolis. He sensed an assurance from that Lord, in whom he has retained faith in spite of the betrayals(link is external) he felt from its purported ministers: ‘Just be true to yourself and your story.’” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Supreme Court considers clergy abuse report
“The state Supreme Court continues to weigh whether or how to release a grand jury report detailing allegations of widespread sex abuse by priests(link is external) in six of Pennsylvania’s dioceses. As arguments come in from both sides, the head of a watchdog group that tracks efforts to hold the Catholic Church accountable for covering up sex abuse by priests said he’s unaware of any previous case where an appeals court intervened to consider whether individuals should be named in such court documents.” By John Finnerty, The Danville News

AUSTRALIA

Bishops to release Catholic Church response to royal commission
“Australia’s Catholic bishops will release the Catholic Church response to the child abuse royal commission ‘as soon as possible(link is external)’ after an extraordinary meeting in Melbourne next week. Bishops will meet on August 2 and 3 after months of criticism from Catholic reform groups and some politicians about the failure to release a church-commissioned Truth Justice and Healing Council report handed to bishops in March.” By Joanne McCarth, Newcastle Herald

Diocese faces Victoria’s largest abuse group action
“Victoria’s largest ever child sexual abuse group action(link is external) was set to be launched yesterday against the Sale Diocese … The diocese, named in the recent Royal Commission report as having the highest percentage of alleged pedophile priests in Australia, already has two other major ongoing child sexual abuse group actions underway. These legal actions, against St Patrick’s College/Catholic College Sale, and St Paul’s/Lavalla in Traralgon have bought forward more than 46 new alleged victims since March this year.” By CathNews.com

Catholic priest faces more historical sex charges
“A former Catholic priest is facing more charges of child sexual abuse(link is external), relating to incidents dating back to the 1970s. In April, the 83-year-old man from Subiaco was charged with physically and sexually assaulting seven boys and girls aged between six and 12-years-old while he was the priest at a Catholic church in Shenton Park.” By PerthNow.com

CHILE

Chilean prosecutors probing 36 claims of Catholic Church sex abuse
“The Chilean civil authorities are investigating 36 accusations of sexual abuse against bishops, clerics and lay workers in the Roman Catholic Church, the national prosecutor’s office said on Monday (Jul. 23). The investigations are among 144 reports of sexual abuse(link is external) implicating 158 Church workers made since 2000, it added in a statement.” By Aislinn Laing and Cassandra Garrison, Reuters

Chilean priest accused of sexually abusing minors is arrested
“Authorities arrested a priest Thursday (Jul. 12) on accusations of sexually abusing minors(link is external), the latest turn in a scandal engulfing Chile’s Roman Catholic Church for having covered up abuses for decades. Oscar Munoz Toledo, a priest who was once the chancellor of Santiago’s archbishopric, was arrested by police on the orders of prosecutor Emiliano Arias, who is investigating 14 other suspended priests in the southern diocese of Rancagua for allegedly participating in a network of abuse.” By Associated Press in Star Tribune

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

NEW ZEALAND

Victim of Catholic priest asks others to come forward
“The Catholic church said Father Michael Shirres, who died in the 1990s, abused at least five children(link is external). Annie Hill said she was one of them, abused at five when Shirres was her local parish priest. ‘We think that the worst thing that can happen is what happened to us – but the worst thing I believe the can happen is that we do nothing and it happens to the next generation,’ she said.” By John Boynton and Rowan Quinn, Radio New Zealand

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

TOP STORIES

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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