Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

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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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

You can also read “Focus” on Voice of the Faithful’s website …

TOP STORIES

Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse
“An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday (May 22) and faces a potential two years in prison(link is external). Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

All of Chile’s bishops offer resignations after meeting pope on abuse
Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis(link is external) after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal. “We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country’s bishops. The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Francis.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Pennsylvania dioceses say they won’t block report on clerical sexual abuse
“Several dioceses in Pennsylvania have said they will not try to block a report from a grand jury investigation into clerical sexual abuse(link is external) in the state. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is overseeing the grand jury investigation into six of the eight Catholic dioceses in the state: Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton, Erie, Greensburg and Pittsburgh. ‘We will not challenge the release of the grand jury report.’” By Cruxnow.com Staff

The Pope opens his eyes to abuse
“The abuse of minors by pedophile priests has been among the most painful sagas of our time, the horror compounded by the knowledge that hierarchs could have stopped the predators if only they had not chosen, for so long, to cover up their actions. Now, at long last, Pope Francis seems to have glimpsed the depth of the global crisis(link is external).” By The New York Times Editorial Board

ACCOUNTABILITY

Francis should seize momentum of Chile resignations
“As dramatic as the resignations of the Chilean bishops are, the actual process for obtaining them differed little from the process that forced Finn, Nienstedt and Piché to resign. The church still has no system and no independent authority to investigate and hold accountable bishops(link is external) and religious superiors who enable abuse. The shock of these mass resignations creates an opportunity and momentum that Francis should seize upon to implement the tribunal he proposed three years ago. No more delays. He should act now.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Vatican needs new means to adjudicate bishops’ roles in sex abuse
Only twice in history has a pope asked for the resignation of an entire episcopate(link is external): Last week, when the entire episcopate of Chile offered their resignations to the pope, and in 1802, when Pope Pius VII removed both the orthodox, validly installed bishops of France and the rival slate of schismatic bishops never recognized by Rome and installed by the revolutionary regime. In 1945, seven bishops who had collaborated with the fascist Vichy regime were sacked. Covering up the sexual abuse of children, therefore, has now joined collaborating with Robespierre or Hitler as one of the things that forces a pope to take the extraordinary step of removing a bishop from office.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

The Pope’s turnaround on sex abuse may have a ‘tsunami effect’
“The quickly unfolding events suggest an aggressive redirection for Pope Francis(link is external), who elevated the Chilean scandal into a full-on crisis in January, whenche vigorously defended Barros during a papal visit to Chile and Peru. As the Church continues to wrestle with the aftershocks caused by clergy sex abuse around the world, its efforts to make amends in Chile may be a sign of a new approach ahead—or the extreme difficulty of recovering from years of misconduct and mishandled allegations.” By Emma Green, The Atlantic

Shapiro says grand jury report on sex abuse in Catholic dioceses coming in June
“The agreements clear the way for the release of the report next month(link is external). ‘I expect to speak publicly on this comprehensive investigation by the end of June,’ Shapiro said. ‘The only thing that could stop these findings from becoming public at that time is if one of the bishops or dioceses would seek to delay or prevent this public accounting.’” By Tim Darragh, The Morning Call

Survivors, advocates see lessons for wider church in Chile resignations
“Survivors of clergy abuse and their advocates praised Pope Francis(link is external) for his confrontation with Chile’s bishops over their handling of abuse cases, which led to a mass resignation today, and the survivors and advocates urged the pope not to allow the momentum for reform to slow. ‘We didn’t expect it and it is a powerful gesture,’ said Juan Carlos Claret, spokesperson for Lay Catholic group in Osorno, Chile, who opposed the 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to Osorno because of his alleged complicity in covering up the sexual abuse of minors.” Editorial by National Catholic Reporter Staff

Chilean bishops open to resignations, reparations for clergy abuse
“Chile’s Catholic bishops said Monday (May 14) they were open to whatever Pope Francis proposes(link is external) to overhaul the Chilean church, including the removal of bishops, reforms of seminaries, and paying financial reparation to victims of a clergy sex abuse and coverup scandal. Representatives of the Chilean bishops conference told reporters they were heading into three days of meetings with Francis humbled, pained, and shamed for their own errors in handling abuse cases. They said they wanted to listen to Francis and would follow his lead in asking forgiveness of the victims they had discredited.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Two Franciscan friars plead guilty to endangering children in Pennsylvania
“Two Franciscan friars who served as superiors of their community in Pennsylvania have pleaded guilty to charges of endangering children(link is external), for allowing a friar suspected of sexual abuse to continue to work with children. Father Robert D’Aversa, 70, and Father Anthony Criscitelli, 63, were each charged with first-degree misdemeanors for their role in assigning Brother Stephen Baker to positions in which he had access to children, even after several credible accusations of abuse were brought against him.” By Catholic News Service/EWTN News in National Catholic Register

POPE FRANCIS

Pope to meet more survivors of Chile’s most infamous abuser priest
“Continuing efforts to clean up the Catholic Church in Chile(link is external), whose leadership is charged with covering up cases of clerical sexual abuse, abuses of power and conscience, Pope Francis will welcome more victims of the country’s most infamous abusive priest to Rome as papal guests. On June 1-3, a group of nine people, including seven priests and two lay people, will stay at the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence where Francis has been living since the beginning of his pontificate. The Vatican confirmed the meeting in a statement released late Tuesday (May 22) Rome time.” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

‘Pope cannot claim he was misinformed’: Chilean abuse survivor after Vatican meeting
“In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse(link is external). In the weeks that followed, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.” By Alex Leff, Morning Edition, National Public Radio
— Chilean bishops say pope’s meetings with survivors show them path to follow(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Canadian House passes motion calling on Pope Francis to issue an apology
“In a rare show of unanimity, the House of Commons overwhelmingly supported a motion to call on Pope Francis to apologize(link is external) on Canadian soil for abuses that occurred at church-run residential schools. What happens next, however, remains unclear. The motion is not binding. The motion received all-party support in a May 1 vote, 269-10.” By Catholic Courier

CARDINALS

Francis names 14 cardinals, surpassing numbers appointed by Benedict and John Paul
“Pope Francis named fourteen new Catholic cardinals(link is external) May 20, again diversifying representation in the most elite body of church prelates with selections from places as far-flung as Iraq, Pakistan and Japan and solidifying his influence on the group that will one day elect his successor. In a surprise announcement at the end of his traditional Regina Coeli prayer with crowds in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff said he would install the new cardinals during a consistory at the Vatican June 29.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Pope Francis has made 14 new cardinals. Here’s what you need to know(link is external)By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

BISHOPS

U.S. bishops search for next compliance auditor for charter to protect children
“The search process has begun for the next compliance auditor for the U.S. bishops’ clergy sexual abuse policies(link is external). In a press release April 30, the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a request for proposals for firms to conduct the 2020-2022 annual audits of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Chilean bishops: We have come to Rome in ‘pain and shame’
“The 34 Chilean bishops have come to Rome ‘in pain and shame(link is external)’ because of the victims who have suffered abuse in their church, and they are conscious that as bishops they have erred. They have come ‘in a spirit of humility and openness,’ willing to hear what Pope Francis has to say to them, and ‘ready to collaborate with him and do whatever he asks.’ That was the message that two representatives of the Chilean bishops communicated to the international press at a conference at the Vatican Radio center on May 14.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

In career defined by the priest abuse scandal, Bishop LaValley seeks a path forward
“Bishop Terry LaValley grew up in the Plattsburgh area and says the priest abuse scandal has been devastating(link is external). His decisions shape the experience of dozens of victims and define his own legacy. Yesterday (May 10) we heard from Bishop Terry LaValley about his decision not release the name of dozens of former Roman Catholic priests in the North Country who faced credible allegations of sexual misconduct. This morning, we’re going to hear more from Bishop LaValley about how the Diocese of Ogdensburg is still coping with the clergy abuse scandal more than a decade after it erupted.” By Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio

Chilean bishops say pope’s meetings with survivors show them path to follow
“Under increasing scrutiny about the handling of clergy sexual abuse cases(link is external) over decades, Chile’s Catholic bishops say that Pope Francis’ recent emotional meetings at the Vatican with three abuse victims ‘shows us the path that the Chilean Church is called to follow.’ In a May 10 statement from the standing committee of their bishops’ conference, the Chilean prelates also confirm they will be meeting with Francis over four days May 14-17. The pope called the bishops to Rome en masse last month.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

PRIESTS

How the Church can ordain a better priest
“But most disturbing for the laity and the more seasoned clergy is the younger clergy’s ecclesiology or vision of church. Though having never lived in the pre-Vatican II church, they want to revive a clerical culture(link is external), Eucharistic adoration, Benediction, the Latin Mass, novenas and a ‘Father knows best’ mentality. These made sense in the 1940’s because the church’s theology supported them. Not anymore. One solution is to revise the way we train priests in the seminary. At its recent convention, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) called on the U.S. bishops to make sure teachings of the Vatican II become the foundation of priestly formation.” By Alexander Santora, NorthJersey.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican reminds cloistered nuns not to tweet too much
“The Vatican has issued new guidelines for cloistered nuns(link is external), reminding them that they’re supposed to live separated from the world and in silence — and therefore shouldn’t be tweeting too much or downloading too much news. The instructions from the Vatican’s office for religious orders cover a host of administrative and financial issues. Included are norms for when a monastery must be closed because the number of nuns shrinks to the point that the community is no longer viable — an increasingly frequent occurrence.” By Associated Press in Miami Herald

VATICAN

More Chilean sex abuse victims speak up during pope summit
“Another group of Chilean church sex abuse victims(link is external) is making its voice heard as the country’s Catholic leadership meets with Pope Francis, demanding that the Vatican recognize crimes, cover-ups and the need for reparation. A statement from six named victims of the Marist Brothers religious community – and other unnamed survivors of Marist assaults – was issued Wednesday on the second day of the emergency summit Francis convened with 34 Chilean bishops.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press

Vatican treasurer’s trial on historical sex offenses to last 10 weeks, court hears
“The trial of Vatican treasurer George Pell(link is external), who has pleaded not guilty to charges of historical sexual offenses, is expected to last 10 weeks, an Australian court heard on Wednesday (May 2). The County Court of Victoria state will hold a second hearing on May 16 to plan how to proceed, with the prosecution and defense agreeing to press for two separate trials, each estimated to take about five weeks.” By Reuters in Straits Times

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Former member of pope’s sex abuse commission looks back at tenure
“Bill Kilgallon is looking back on his three years as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors(link is external) with sense of achievement, alongside a certain sense of frustration. Kilgallon’s three-year term on the commission came to an end last year, and he was not reappointed to a second term, an outcome he had anticipated. When asked to point to the achievements by the commission in its first term, he pointed first to the establishment of the body itself, which involved the bringing together of people from different professional backgrounds from all around the world to work as a team.” By Michael Otto, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Pope calls dicastery to promote reflection on role of women
“Pope Francis has updated the statutes of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, adding among other things a specific reference to the office’s responsibility for promoting a deeper reflection on the role of women in the church(link is external) and society. ‘The dicastery works to deepen the reflection on the relationship between men and women in their respective specificity, reciprocity, complementarity and equal dignity,’ the new statutes said. ‘Valuing the feminine ‘genius,’ it offers a contribution to ecclesial reflection on the identity and mission of women in the church and in society, promoting their participation.’” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

VATICAN II

The end of the affair? ‘Humanae Vitae’ at 50
“On July 29, 1968, Pope Paul VI published his encyclical on the regulation of birth, introducing what we call here the Humanae Vitae affair. Now approaching its golden jubilee, the encyclical was published at a time of twofold crisis, one theological, the other cultural(link is external). Paul’s theological teaching, ‘each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life,’ had never been taught before in the Catholic tradition and further fueled the post-Vatican II theological wars in the church. Humanae Vitae (‘Of Human Life’) itself further fueled the post-World War II culture wars over the meaning of sexuality. The scars from both these wars are still evident. They have inserted themselves into the papacy of Pope Francis, oblivious to the fact that he has moved away from the Catholic obsession with sex and birth control toward the beauty of a virtuous, just and loving marriage. His focus is on the complexity of human experience and relationships, which Humanae Vitae failed to adequately consider.” By Michael G. Lawler and Todd A. Salzman, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

A deeper reckoning
“When Pope Francis appointed Juan Barros Madrid bishop of Osorno, Chile, in 2015, violent protests broke out in the streets and in the cathedral at his installation Mass. Barros was a protégé of the notorious priest Fernando Karadima, a charismatic and influential figure in the church of Santiago who had engaged in the sexual abuse of minors over the course of three decades. Karadima was sentenced by an ecclesiastical court in 2011 to a life of prayer and penitence. Yet four of Karadima’s favorites, who had turned a blind eye to his abusive behavior and defended him when he was initially accused, were later made bishops; Barros was one of those four. When Pope Francis proclaimed Barros’s innocence and expressed belief in his side of the story over the victims,’ it immediately became an international scandal. Much is at stake in this troubling case(link is external).” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Vatican silence on Cardinal Pell’s trial is a turn from a long history
“Cardinal George Pell is going on trial in Australia to face charges he sexually abused minors. As victims’ advocate Anne Barrett Doyle told my colleague Josh McElwee, this trial is a ‘turning point’ in the long saga(link is external) of compelling accountability by church leaders. It is even more of a turning point than Doyle may realize. Because the big story here is the dog that did not bark, the fact that the Vatican has made no protest at the prospect of a prince of the church standing trial before a civil magistrate.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

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

Ahead of pope’s meeting with Childe bishops, laity calling for more power
“Days before Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with over 30 Chilean bishops to discuss the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the country, victims are speaking out, and the laity of the diocese at the center of the story are demanding to have a voice in the naming of their bishop(link is external) … The statement also demands that the laity be consulted in the decisions that need to be made to resolve the crisis, instead of being ‘mere observers and receptors of important decisions already taken – either in Rome, the bishops’ conference, or the Apostolic nunciature.’ The statement called for an end to ‘unilateral decision-making,’ adding that the Church is living through a moment which is calling it to a ‘profound and genuine conversion.’” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

As Chile bishops arrive in Rome, recalling 48 hours that shook the Church
“In one of our earliest talks over the years, the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago gave a precocious young reporter a valuable piece of advice: ‘Be careful about using the word ‘unprecedented,’ he said. ‘In the Catholic Church, everything has happened at least once(link is external).’ Thus it is that as the bishops of Chile arrive in Rome this weekend for meetings with Pope Francis Tuesday through Thursday (May 15-17) on that country’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, we can certainly call the summit ‘extraordinary,’ but not a complete novelty.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Theologians call for regular consultation of laity in church decisions
“The Catholic Church needs to seek the input, commitment and talents of all of its members if it is to be truly catholic and to evangelize effectively, said a new document from the International Theological Commission … The document explored ways the church already exercises synodality(link is external), including through parish councils, diocesan presbyteral councils, national bishops’ conferences, regional councils of bishops, the synods of bishops of the Eastern Catholic churches, the world Synod of Bishops and ecumenical councils, like Vatican II. While synodality is based on the baptismal gifts and responsibilities of each Catholic, the document said, it is not a call for some form of a Catholic parliament. The pope and the bishops, assisted by their priests, still retain their decision-making authority.” By Catholic News Service in The Catholic Spirit of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican’s financial critique failed to address structural flaws, systemic rewards
“The ‘order’ of our postmodern milieu is defined by markets. Once markets were mere economic exchanges. Now market-like forces shape our tastes, our values, our morals and, as President Donald Trump reminds us each day with his morning tweets, even our truths. Yet, much as fish might not perceive the very waters in which they swim, so too we but dimly perceive the operation of market forces at work around us(link is external) and at work in our souls.” By Stephen Schneck, National Catholic Reporter

Priest in Johnson County allegedly stole more than $40,000 from his church
“A Catholic priest in Johnson County has been charged with stealing more than $40,000(link is external) from a Gardner parish while he served as pastor. Father Joseph Cramer was booked into the Johnson County Jail Tuesday (May 8) night and was released after posting a $5,000 bond.” By Tony Rizzo, The Kansas City Star

Ex-head of Vatican bank goes on trial for embezzlement
“The former president of the Vatican bank went on trial(link is external) Wednesday (May 9) on charges he and his lawyer embezzled 57 million euros ($68 million) in Vatican real estate sales, a case that shows the Holy See’s willingness to prosecute shady financial deals that may have involved top cardinals. Angelo Caloia appeared in the Vatican courtroom, while his onetime lawyer and 95-year-old co-defendant, Gabriele Liuzzo, was absent, citing his age. A third suspect died during the investigation.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Sacramento Bee

Man stole identity, sought $1M from Catholic Church sex abuse settlement
“A Covington man used another person’s identity to try to collect $1 million from a settlement fund for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church(link is external), court documents say. According to a federal indictment unsealed this week, the 32-year-old Covington man had already been awarded $750,000 for a claim he filed in 2006. The charges he faces do not involve that claim.” By Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati Enquirer

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Pending report on Catholic child sex abuse in Pennsylvania could renew efforts to amend statue of limitations law
“A statewide grand jury report on sexual abuse within Catholic dioceses, including the ones in Greensburg and Pittsburgh, could be an opening for another effort to abolish Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations(link is external) for child sexual assault. At least that’s what state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks County, said he intends to push for when the widely-anticipated report is released.” By Debra Erdley, TribLive.com

Statute of Limitations reform: no clock on this crime
“The state Legislature needs to address the statute of limitations regarding child sex cases(link is external). There are far too many cases that cannot be prosecuted because victims did not report these heinous crimes when they were children. ‘Children are targeted by predators because they are vulnerable, they are young and they struggle with shame, confusion or fear,’ state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. ‘But once a victim finds the courage to come forward, law enforcement must take action.’” By Tribune-Review Editorial Board on TribLive.com

Local rep sponsors bill to help victims of sexual abuse
“Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee has joined with other advocates for victims of sexual abuse to fight to abolish the statute of limitations(link is external) for pressing civil charges against alleged sexual abusers. Introduced in the House by McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and in the Senate by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), the legislation proposed would eliminate the current seven-year civil statute of limitations (SOL) for injuries suffered as a result of sexual abuse.” By Kendra Gravelle, the Narragansett Times

Legislators weighing time limits on sex abuse lawsuits
“Legislation introduced in response to the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University, approved last month by the state Senate, would retroactively extend the civil statute of limitations(link is external) for victims who were younger than 18 at the time they were assaulted. It would give victims a one-year window to sue for incidents dating back as far as 1997 … For future abuse, minor victims would have up to their 48th birthday to pursue criminal charges or up to a decade to file lawsuits against abusers or enabling institutions. The proposed extensions, especially the window for civil suits, face opposition as they await House consideration.” By Jonathan Oosting, Detroit News

New York’s Catholic bishops ramp up lobbying against Child Victims Act
“The state’s Catholic Conference has spent $1.8 million over six years lobbying Albany to, among other things, derail a bill to make it easier for sex abuse victims to sue(link is external). The Democratic-led state Assembly approved the Child Victims Act last week, but its prospects for passage in the Republican-led Senate are less likely … But the Catholic Conference says the act would force institutions to defend misconduct ‘about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role.’ By Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Abuse victims meet with Pope Francis: ‘We need concrete actions’
“Mr. (Juan Carlos) Cruz joined James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, also victims in their youth of a notorious Chilean pedophile priest, at a news conference in Rome on Wednesday (May 2) to discuss their intense and emotional sojourn(link is external) this past week as guests of the pope in the Vatican. But even as the three men expressed gratitude for the meeting — ‘I have never seen anyone so contrite,’ Mr. Cruz said of Francis — they urged the pope to transform ‘his loving words’ of apology into ‘exemplary actions’ to end sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Time

Victims of clergy abuse across Pennsylvania brace for ‘very bad storeis’ in huge grand jury report
“After nearly two years of investigating sexual abuse of children within six Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania, a grand jury is getting close to issuing its report(link is external). State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a survivor of clergy abuse and an advocate for statute of limitations reform, has told The Morning Call and PennLive that the grand jury investigation would be wrapping up this month or next.” By Brandie Kessler, York Daily Record

Editorial: Catholic Church’s responsibility is to victims, not its coffers
“Entering into a fight is sometimes the only way to get what you want. Other times, it just leaves you with a black eye. That’s what is happening to the Catholic Church as it fights to keep some victims of sexual abuse from seeking redress(link is external). A story in Monday’s (May 7) Buffalo News detailed how the New York State Catholic Conference spent $1.8 million over six years on lobbying in Albany, including a push to stop the Child Victims Act, a bill that would make it easier for victims of child molestation to file lawsuits or bring criminal charges against their abusers.” By The Buffalo News Editorial Board

Convicted Guam archbishop’s presence at papal event alarms survivor advocates
“Abuse survivor advocates are expressing alarm after a Catholic archbishop accused of molesting young men(link is external), who was recently convicted in a canonical trial, appeared on a stage with other prelates at an event in Rome with Pope Francis. Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron was seen at a May 5 event for the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way. He was sitting alongside dozens of other prelates behind Francis as the pontiff took part in a meeting with some 100,000 members of the community in a field on the edge of Rome.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

More action urged against sexual abuse by priests
“Pope Francis has yet to comment on the latest developments regarding Cardinal George Pell(link is external), the highest-ranking Catholic Church official charged with sexual offenses, who faces trial in Australia. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome calls have been mounting for greater efforts in the worldwide fight against pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church.” By Sabina Castelfranco, Voice of America News

In the Catholic Church abuse scandal, things can always get worse
“It what was perceived to be the height of the clerical child abuse scandal(link is external) in the Catholic Church. I had some good priests and involved laypeople tell me that the next shoe to drop was going to drop overseas, in the Catholic missions to remote areas in places like Africa and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Surely, they told me, if predatory priests were enabled to commit their crimes in the crowded urban areas of the United States, the same thing, or worse, must have been going on in distant places beyond the reach of the spotlight, or of ‘Spotlight.’” By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

CALIFORNIA

Alums accuse Catholic school in San Jose for failing to handle past sex abuse claims
“Dozens of people gathered Wednesday (May 16) night in San Jose over growing concerns an all-girls Catholic high school failed to handle past sexual abuse claims(link is external). Former students organized the meeting. One of the organizers said a teacher touched her inappropriately but the school failed to act. Now, she and other alums are demanding the principal and the president of the school’s board of directors to resign.” By Azenith Smith, KTVU-TV Fox News

IDAHO

A Boise priest abused him and kept him quiet with beer. He was 12. Police never knew.
“For two decades, Mark Holden kept the secret of the man who abused him: a man he believed was next to God(link is external), a man he thought was untouchable. Holden met the Rev. James McSorley in 1971 at Boise’s Sacred Heart parish. In public, Holden served McSorley as an altar boy. In private, Holden said, the 50-year-old priest soon became exploitive, using secluded time with the children to fondle Holden — and possibly others — on multiple occasions over the course of a year.” By Ruth Brown, Idaho Statesman

ILLINOIS

Two decades later, pastor charged with sexual assault of boy in Evanston hotel
“A former Catholic priest with Chicago ties is facing criminal charges for the first time, nearly two decades after he resigned from his post amid several allegations of child sex abuse(link is external). The case that eventually landed 56-year-old Kenneth Lewis in the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Saturday (May 19) in Chicago stems from a decade-old allegation of child molestation in an Evanston hotel room, according to a police source in the northern suburb.” By Nader Issa, Chicago Tribune

MARYLAND

Baltimore Archdiocese removes priest over allegations of child sexual abuse from 1970s
“The following news release was issued by the Archdiocese of Baltimore May 21 concerning the pastor of Our Lady of Pompei in Highlandtown: The Archdiocese of Baltimore has learned of an allegation of child sexual abuse(link is external) against Father Luigi Esposito, 77, pastor at Our Lady of Pompei Church in Baltimore. The alleged abuse occurred in the 1970s while Father Esposito was serving as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Pompei. The alleged victim claims the abuse began at the age of 14 and occurred multiple times while the minor was at Our Lady of Pompei.” By Catholic Review Staff, Archdiocese of Baltimore

Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of minor students
“Today (May 17), Murphy, Falcon & Murphy filed a class action lawsuit against Saint Frances Academy, a private Roman Catholic high school located in Baltimore City, on behalf of Jill Doe1, a current Saint Frances Academy student, and all current and former students at Saint Frances Academy who were harassed, sexually assaulted, abused, exploited, and/or inappropriately touched by Ryan Penalver(link is external), a former teacher and administrator at Saint Frances Academy.” By Murphy, Falcon & Murphy on PRNewswire

MICHIGAN

Saginaw diocese official, prosecutors meet on abuse claims
“A retired judge who’s reviewing complaints of sexual abuse by priests(link is external) for the Saginaw Roman Catholic Diocese say he’s had an initial meeting with prosecutors. Michael Talbot said Wednesday (May 2, 2018) he met with Saginaw County prosecutors in a spirit of cooperation and asked whether they knew of any allegations against priests who haven’t been removed from ministry.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

MINNESOTA

Former Catholic priest sentenced for criminal sexual conduct
“Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Monday (May 7) 35-year-old Jacob Andrew Bertrand, who was an ordained Catholic priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Calf., was sentenced after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct(link is external). In January, Bertrand pled guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct that occurred in 2010.” By KSTP-TV Eyewitness News

Minnesota priest accused of abusing 60 boys on Guam
“The Rev. Louis Brouillard has kept a low profile at his home in Pine City. But the Catholic priest faces growing notoriety on the island of Guam, where he’s been sued by at least 60 men who say he sexually abused them as children(link is external). The tiny Pacific island is reeling from a clergy sex abuse scandal not unlike the one that rocked Minnesota a few years back, with tearful victims revealing memories of sexual indignations committed decades ago. The priest most frequently accused is a 96-year-old man in a senior apartment 7,000 miles away.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Minneapolis Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Seven men sue former priest, alleging child sex abuse
“For the countless victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external) in New Mexico, many feel let down by police, prosecutors and other adults who should have helped them. The fight isn’t over. In a new lawsuit, seven men allege that former Catholic Priest Sabine Griego raped them repeatedly between 1968 and 1984. ‘The goal in these seven survivors in focusing on Griego specifically is to draw attention to the fact that he has escaped any kind of prosecution, even though he has been known as a credible abuser for more than 20 years,’ said Levi Monagle, who is one of the attorneys in the case.” By Chris Ramirez, KOB4-TV, Albuquerque, New Mexico

NEW YORK

The men who helped cover up Catholic Church abuse
“The recent revelations of Catholic priests who have been accused of sexual abuse show cases that date back decades(link is external). But why did it take this long for the information to be made public? Below are key figures in the Buffalo diocese dating back to the 1970s. Our I-Team has what they knew and when and the steps they took to keep the abuse out of the public eye.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV News

Clergy abuse victims in Syracuse Diocese have a decision to make
Some people abused as children by clergy(link is external) in the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese must decide by June 18 whether to participate in the diocese’s compensation program, or wait to see if state lawmakers pass a bill that would extend the statute of limitations, so they could sue later … That bill is the Child Victims Act. Besides extending the statute of limitations for people abused as children to sue, it would also open a one-year window, so that those previously barred through the statute of limitations to bring their case to court could do so.” By Gabe Altieri, WSKG-FM

‘I didn’t think anyone would believe me,’ Buffalo woman says she was abused by a Buffalo priest
Another person who claims sexual abuse(link is external) by a member of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese is coming forward Wednesday (May 9). But for the first time, we’re hearing from a woman, who says she was abused by a Priest in Buffalo in the 90’s. ‘I didn’t think anyone would believe me.’ It’s been 25 years since Evelyn safe says she was sexually abused by Father Robert D. Moss. For the first time, she wants to talk about it. ‘I think it’s disgusting that somebody in power would do something like that.’” By Marissa Perlman, WIVB-TV News

Clergy abuse victims call for Bishop Malone’s resignation
Sexual abuse victims(link is external) on Monday (May 7) called on Bishop Richard Malone to reveal more information on sexually abusive Buffalo priests or resign as bishop. ‘I think Buffalo, New York is ‘Boston, Massachusetts West,’ said Robert Hoatson, a former priest who runs Road to Recovery Inc., which helps victims of clerical sex abuse. ‘The same level of cover-up that occurred in Boston has occurred in the Diocese of Buffalo.’” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

Priest accused in 1995 of having sex with teen still offering Masses
“Diocese of Buffalo officials assigned the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski to work in parishes for more than a decade after he was accused of having sexual contact(link is external) with a teenage girl in a church rectory. The priest started his sexual advances on the girl when she was a 15-year-old parishioner at St. Patrick Church in Barker, according to a 1995 letter sent by her lawyer to diocese officials. The letter from Rochester attorney Charles A. West Jr. to then-Bishop Edward D. Head alleged that Maryanski’s sexual advances escalated from hugging and kissing to sex. The abuse is alleged to have started in the mid-1980s, when Maryanski was pastor of St. Patrick Church.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

NORTH CAROLINA

Why don’t we know names of former North Country priests who face allegations of sex crimes
“The Diocese of Ogdensburg is moving forward with a program to compensate victims of sexual assault and rape by Roman Catholic priests(link is external). But unlike some other Catholic leaders, North Country Bishop Terry LaValley chose not to release names of priests who face credible allegations of wrong-doing.” By Brian Mass, North Country Public Radio

Former priest accused of sexually assaulting multiple children
“Authorities confirmed on Monday (May 7) that a former western North Carolina priest has been arrested on child sex crimes(link is external). Howard Willard White was taken into custody on Thursday and is charged with first-degree forcible sex offense, two counts of indecent liberties with a child, first-degree rape, second-degree forcible rape and second-degree rape.” By Amanda Shaw, FOX Carolina

NORTH DAKOTA

Priest extradited from Philippines pleads guilty to two counts
“A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys(link is external) in North Dakota in the 1990s has pleaded guilty to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition. Court documents show that Fernando Sayasaya entered the pleas Thursday (May 17) during a scheduling conference. He’s accused of abusing two underage siblings from 1995 to 1998, while he was assigned to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Fargo area.” By Associated Press on CacheValleyDaily.com

OKLAHOMA

Former Tulsa Catholic priest arrested, charged with sexual assault on minor
“A former Tulsa Catholic priest has been arrested and charged with sexual assault of a minor(link is external) in Evanston, Illinois. Evanston police said Kenneth Lewis, 56, allegedly molested a then 13-year-old Tulsa boy at an Evanston Hotel in July 2001. Lewis was with the family on the trip when the incident took place, officers said.” By KJRH-TV News

PENNSYLVANIA

Trail of trauma: Grand jury report expected to shed more light on sexual abuse in dioceses
“Horror stories like these have emerged the world over for more than three decades now, of Roman Catholic priests and others associated with the church exploiting their positions of trust to gain access to children they would molest(link is external). Often, such priests stayed in ministry under knowing bishops and other church higher-ups who put a premium on minimizing scandal and often thought that predators’ criminal impulses could be controlled through spiritual or therapeutic means.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburg Post-Gazette

Former Erie Diocese Bishop: ‘There Was No Such Cover-Up’ in Sex Abuse Case
“Father David Poulson, 64, of Oil City, was a priest in the Erie diocese for four decades until he left in February 2018. Bishop Emeritus Donald Trautman of the Erie Diocese issued a new statement Monday (May 14) regarding the charges filed against former priest David Poulson for the sexual abuse of two young boys(link is external). It reads: The Erie Times News stated in its May 14, 2018, edition ‘that the Diocese of Erie engaged in a cover-up of David Poulson’s behavior under the administration of Bishop Donald Trautman,’ according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro. There was no such cover-up. Why would I cover up Father Poulson’s behavior when I had reported to several district atttorneys the behavior of other priests?” By ErieNewsNow.com

AG Shapiro announces arrest of Erie priest on charges of sexual abuse
“Eight years ago, the Rev. David L. Poulson admitted to his bishop that he was aroused by a boy, had sent sex-themed texts to minors(link is external) and was spending time alone with them in violation of diocesan rules, according to a grand jury report accompanying the Roman Catholic priest’s arrest Tuesday (May 8). The now-retired Bishop Donald Trautman ‘admonished’ Father Poulson and told him to ‘cease and desist’ from such behavior, according to an internal church memo cited by the grand jury.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Former Erie bishop says there was no cover-up of child sexual abuse on his watch
“The bishop who was at the helm in the Diocese of Erie during the years in which state investigators say a priest was abusing two boys, even as the diocese knew about it, is saying there was no cover-up of sexual abuse(link is external). Bishop Emeritus Donald Trautman on Wednesday (May 9) said in a written statement that in 2010, he had received a fourth-hand allegation about Father David Poulson’s contact with a young adult man. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Tuesday announced the arrest of Poulson, 64, of Oil City, on charges he sexually assaulted two boys over the course of many years.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Pennsylvania Catholic priest sexually abused at least two boys, made one say confession, AG says
“A Roman Catholic priest was arrested and charged Tuesday (May 8) with sexually abusing at least two boys(link is external) during his four decades in the Erie, Pennsylvania, diocese, and making one of them say confession after the alleged assaults. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of the 64-year-old Rev. David Poulson, of Oil City, as part of a statewide grand jury investigation.” By Claudia Lauer, Associated Press, in York Daily Record

Handling of child molester colleague nets two friars probation
“Two Franciscan friars who supervised another friar who fatally stabbed himself in the heart while facing child molestation claims(link is external) pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges Friday(May 4) and were sentenced to five years of probation. Prosecutors say Robert J. D’Aversa, 71, of Hollidaysburg, failed to tell officials at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown that he reassigned the friar, Brother Stephen Baker, in 2000 because of new credible allegations about Baker’s past.” By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Former Gonzaga priest and professor sentenced for child porn possession
“A former Gonzaga University priest and professor was sentenced Wednesday (May 16) to six months in jail for downloading and viewing child pornography(link is external). Gary Uhlenkott, 67, pleaded guilty in February to viewing depictions of minors engaged in sexual explicit conduct in the 2nd degree back in April 2013. Uhlenkott had been a Jesuit priest for 25 years at the time and was a professor of music at Gonzaga.” By Rachel DeYoung, KXLY-TV News

WISCONSIN

Diocese of Madison statement regarding sexual abuse of a minor
“The Diocese of Madison offers the following brief statement, regarding the recent arrest and initial appearance in court of a retired priest of the diocese, Fr. William Nolan: The diocese recently learned that Fr. William Nolan (64) was arrested by the Fort Atkinson police, with charges pending. Today (May 17), we were informed that he has been charged with six counts of second-degree sexual assault of a minor(link is external) (under the age of 16), as documented in the formal criminal complaint, filed today in Jefferson County Circuit Court.” By Diocese of Madison in diocese’s newspaper, Catholic Herald

Sex abuse victims ‘appalled’ that archdiocese ‘fixer’ Matt Flynn is running for governor
“Upon the news that Matt Flynn was running for the Democratic nomination for governor, a state GOP spokesperson said, ‘Matt Flynn has sought to cover-up the crimes(link is external)committed against those who are most vulnerable.’ Even as some progressive donors line up behind the 71-year-old former Wisconsin Democratic Party chair, the GOP accusation is, if anything, an understatement.” By Louis Weisberg, Wisconsin Gazette

ARGENTINA

Argentine priest jailed for 25 years for abuse of minors
“An Argentine court sentenced a Catholic priest to 25 years in jail on Monday (May 21) for sexually abusing seven children(link is external) over a period of years. Justo Jose Ilarraz had initially been held under house arrest until the 25-year sentence was confirmed on appeal.  Ilarraz, 57, carried out the abuse at a diocesan school in the city of Parana, 600 kilometers (400 miles) north of Buenos Aires, where he was in charge of discipline and spiritual guidance.” By Agence France-Press on Yahoo.com

AUSTRALIA

Cardinal George Pell’s Sexual Abuse Trials May Be Held in Secret
“An Australian court is to decide on Wednesday (May 16) whether two planned trials for Cardinal George Pell(link is external), the senior Vatican official accused of sexual abuse, will be conducted in secret with the public barred from knowing what took place until the proceedings are over. On Friday (May 11), prosecutors in the state of Victoria applied for a ‘super injunction’ against news coverage of the separate trials. Legal experts described the application as an extreme move aimed at keeping juries in both cases from learning anything that might cause bias.” By Damien Cave, The New York Times

Safeguarding body conducts pilot audit
“Adelaide Archdiocese has participated in a pilot audit of child protection policies and practices(link is external) by the Church’s new national safeguarding body. The Archdiocese is well advanced in aligning its safeguarding practices with the royal commission’s Child Safe Standards and compliance with mandatory reporting laws which was a key factor in the choice of Adelaide for the first pilot audit, according to Tania Stegemann, Director of Compliance, Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL).” By CathNews.com

Church urged to keep up royal commission ‘momentum’
“The chair of the Church’s new safeguarding body has told a meeting of Australian bishops that the Church needs to maintain the momentum created by the royal commission(link is external). Speaking at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Plenary Council in Sydney yesterday (May 10), Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL) chair Geoff Giudice said that no matter how much better informed the community and the Church is as a result of the royal commission, the danger has not passed.” By CathNews

New body to monitor Church’s ongoing response to abuse tragedy
“A new advisory group announced yesterday is set to play a crucial role in influencing and monitoring the Church in Australia’s ongoing response to the child sexual abuse scandal(link is external). The Implementation Advisory Group has been established by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia. Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the new group will monitor the response to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which led the Church’s engagement with the commission.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Confessions from pedophile priest could help Quebec sex abuse lawsuit
“A convicted pedophile priest has left behind a confession meant to help his victims sue the church. Paul-Andre Harvey died of natural causes May 3 at a minimum security prison in Laval, Que. He was serving a six-year sentence for the sexual abuse of 39 girls(link is external). Over the last several months, Harvey wrote a series of documents in French, explaining his crimes and laying out how he got away with them for decades.” By Mike Armstrong, Global News

CHILE

Chilean bishop suspends 12 priests, apologizes for not acting sooner
“Over the weekend (May 20), Chilean Bishop Alejandro Goić Karmelić suspended several priests after allegations of sexual misconduct(link is external) were raised against them. He apologized for not following up when the accusations were first brought to his attention. ‘I would like to ask forgiveness for my actions in this case,’ the bishop said in a May 19 statement.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Chilean bishop says mistakes were made in handling abuse cases
“A Chilean bishop acknowledged the damage inflicted on survivors of clerical sex abuse and the mishandling of cases by church leaders in the country. ‘I am not saying that perhaps we have made mistakes. We have made mistakes(link is external),’ said Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo. Bishop Gonzalez, along with Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of Santiago, met with journalists May 14 on the eve of a three-day meeting between Pope Francis and 34 Chilean bishops.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

Chileans denounce suffering sex abuse by Marists, priests
“Even as Pope Francis apologized for his failures in connection with Chile’s most famous case of clerical sex abuse, the pope and that country’s deeply discredited Catholic Church are under mounting pressure to address another, even bigger sex scan(link is external)dal. The blooming scandal of the Marist Brothers, a congregation dedicated to education, has not yet drawn great attention worldwide — unlike allegations that a bishop covered up the crimes of a pedophile priest, Rev. Fernando Karadima.” By Eva Vergara, Associated Press, on NewsOK.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

All priests who have been ‘credibly’ accused of abuse should be named
“Abuse survivors have criticized the Catholic Church for tokenism and a ‘lack of humility’ and called for priests accused of child abuse to be named(link is external), as the Bishops Conference attempted to draw a line under the issue. The comments came as the Church published new guidelines, titled ‘In God’s Image,’ as a final response to the 2015 McLellan Commission and its findings.” By Stephen Naysmith, The Herald, Scotland

Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland
“The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland wish to ensure that there is transparency in the arrangements for Safeguarding in Catholic parishes and organizations throughout Scotland. In 2011 the Bishops established the McLellan Commission to review Safeguarding practice in the Catholic Church in Scotland(link is external). Its report was published in 2015, at which time we published our own plan for implementing its recommendations. This plan has led to the publication of IN GOD’S IMAGE which is an ‘Instruction’ from the Bishops of Scotland directing the approach to Safeguarding which must be followed in every Catholic Diocese in Scotland, with effect from 21st May 2018.” By The Bishops Conference of Scotland on bcos.org.uk

Cardinal Nichols should give evidence at sex abuse inquiry, say lawyers
“It is ‘vital’ that Cardinal Vincent Nichols give evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)(link is external), a lawyer has told a hearing. Sam Stein QC, said at a preliminary hearing into the Archdiocese of Birmingham, that he has been pressing ‘for some time’ for Cardinal Vincent Nichols to appear in person. Mr Stein said that whilst he appreciated counsel to the inquiry is ‘wanting to take a step-by-step process’ in terms of potentially calling him as a witness, ‘it is obvious that where he was the Archbishop of Birmingham from the year 2000 to 2009, he is key to many of these events.’” By Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet

Child abuse survivors who grew up in ‘hellholes’ run by Home Office and other institutions have been ‘ignored’
“The Home Office, local authorities, their insurance companies, police and social workers who disbelieved abused children, all came under fire. The inquiry set up by Theresa May as Home Secretary heard how these institutions had all failed shockingly to protect many of Britain’s most vulnerable children(link is external) who were in their care. Testimony was heard of how children reporting and fleeing appalling abuse at children homes, were disbelieved by police officers and social workers. How they were returned to ‘the hands of their abuser.’” By Ben Gelblum, The London Economic

GUAM

Archdiocese acknowledges latest allegations of sex abuse
“The Archdiocese of Agana on Thursday (May 10) acknowledged the latest allegations of child sexual abuse(link is external) and lawsuit filed against the church this week, which brings to 168 the total number of clergy sex abuse cases in local and federal courts since 2016. Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, in a statement, extended prayers for accuser A.A. and all people who have come forward recently with claims of sexual abuse by Guam Catholic clergy or lay person.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Father Antonio C. Cruz, two others told altar boy he would go to hell if he told of sex abuse
“A now deceased priest, an older male active at the Tamuning parish and an altar boy sexually abused(link is external), in or around 1981 or 1982, another altar boy who was told he would go to hell if he said anything to anyone, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday (May 9) states. The lawsuit states the boy also was told he would be shamed and disowned by his own family if he told them anything.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Former church chancellor accused of 15 years of abuse
“A 33-year-old man has come forward alleging he endured nearly 15 years of sexual molestation and abuse(link is external) at the hands of Father Adrian Cristobal, the former Archdiocese of Agana chancellor, leading him to drugs for self-medication. A lawsuit filed in the District Court of Guam by J.C.C., who used initials to protect his identity, alleges the abuse began when he was 11 years old and an altar boy at San Vicente Ferrer/San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada, where Cristobal served as parish priest and continued until 2013.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

INDIA

The church has been plagued with cases of sexual abuse, and it’s time the ‘omerta’ is broken
“The 2015 movie ‘Spotlight’ had a profound, lasting impact worldwide, not only because it was a finely made motion picture that spoke about the long-standing issue of child sexual abuse by the church(link is external), but also for the manner in which it highlighted the fact that the church and the whole organizational system of Christian authorities go to elaborate lengths to deny, hide, hush up the crimes and take great measures to shelter and rehabilitate the guilty priests.” By Sanghamitra, OPINDIA.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Priest steps aside due to historic abuse investigation
“A Catholic priest has voluntarily stepped aside from his duties in the Northern Ireland diocese of Dromore while police investigate a historical allegation of abuse(link is external) against him. A statement from the diocese says that both it and the priest are co-operating fully with the ongoing PSNI investigation and that they will continue to do so.” By Joe Little, RTE

NEW ZEALAND

Church abuse victims resigned to being left out of inquiry
“Church abuse survivors have resigned themselves to being excluded from the upcoming Royal Commission of Inquiry(link is external). The public consultation period about how the inquiry should run wrapped up a week ago (May 1) and its chair Sir Anand Satyanand has begun going through the 300 submissions. ‘At this stage I have not formed any final views or recommendations,’ he said in a statement last night (May 7). However, Liz Tonks of the Network of Survivors of Faith-based Institutional Abuse said she got a very different impression from meeting with Sir Anand.” By Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

SWITZERLAND

Controversial bishop reports priest to police
“Vitus Huonder, the controversial Catholic bishop of Chur in eastern Switzerland, has reported a local priest to the authorities over alleged sexual offenses(link is external). The bishop acted after he received information about a an alleged criminal offence of a sexual nature committed against an adult individual,’ according to the website of the diocese, which reported the incident on Wednesday (May 23).” By Swissinfo.ch

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Francis admits ‘serious mistakes’ in handling of Chile abuse cases
“Pope Francis has admitted making ‘serious mistakes’(link is external) in his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases in Chile, telling the country’s bishops in a lengthy letter that he feels ‘pain and shame’ for the ‘crucified lives’ of those who suffered abuse. But Francis has not revealed whether he will sack a Chilean prelate accused of covering up abuse, whom he has previously defended to the outrage of abuse survivors. Instead, Francis has asked the country’s bishops to come to Rome en masse for a meeting at some point soon.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

As diocese prepares to pay victims, its primary source of money: parishioners
“Bishop Richard J. Malone assures donors that no gifts to Catholic Charities will be used to settle clergy sexual abuse claims. But area Catholics – one way or another – are paying(link is external). To compensate sex abuse victims, Malone said the diocese will rely on insurance coverage, investment reserves and the possible sale of property, all of which trace back to the wallets and pocketbooks of people in the pews.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

First class action against Church looms under new laws
“The Sale Diocese (Australia) could become embroiled in a landmark class action to be brought by alleged victims of child abuse(link is external). The proposed action relates to alleged historical child sex and physical abuse offences at St Patrick’s College in Sale, many of which are said to have occurred in the 1970s when the school housed boarders. Two St Patrick’s cases have already been prosecuted in the criminal system, with another case against a Marist Brother, alleging multiple victims, set to go to trial later this year.” By CathNews.com

In Gaudete et Exultate, Pope answers ‘Amoris’ critics; don’t ‘reduce, constrict’ Gospel
“Although a new document from Pope Francis on holiness reflects permanent themes in his thinking and in Catholic spirituality, in context, it also offers indirect commentary on two recent burning questions(link is external): First, what does the pope really believe about Hell, the afterlife, and the spiritual realm? Second, how would he answer critics such as the several hundred who gathered in Rome to contest his 2016 document Amoris Laetitia?” By Inés San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Catholic Whistleblowers want ‘substantial revisions’ to church’s sex abuse policies
“A Catholic watchdog group is challenging the U.S. bishops to make ‘substantial revisions’ to their nearly two-decade-old policies regarding sexual abuse of minor(link is external)s, and to include abuse survivors and the laity in the process. Among seven reforms to the guiding documents — the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Young People, or the Dallas Charter, and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons — proposed by the Catholic Whistleblowers are: extending its zero tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse to any cleric, religious or church employee, including bishops complicit with abuse …” By Peter Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Sex-abuse report looms over Catholic dioceses
“Since July 2016, a grand jury seated in Pittsburgh has been quietly hearing testimony on alleged rape and sexual abuse of children by priests and others associated with the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). The scope of the investigation spans seven decades and from one end of Pennsylvania to the other. What is expected in the coming weeks is a report that could be the most comprehensive and geographically expansive official report ever produced in the United States on the enormity of the scandal.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Downingtown pastor resigns after ‘inappropriate’ expenses, relationships
“Seven years ago, Msgr. Joseph McLoone was dispatched to Downingtown with a tall task: to try to stabilize St. Joseph Parish, a Catholic community left shell-shocked after its pastor was charged with protecting priests who preyed on children(link is external) across the region … But this weekend (Apr. 15), St. Joseph parishioners learned that his tenure had come to a shocking end. The archdiocese announced that McLoone, 55, had resigned – less than two months after he went on an indefinite leave of absence – amid an investigation into financial improprieties and inappropriate ‘relationships with adults’ that violated archdiocesan standards.” By David Gambacorta and John V. Smith, The Inquirer

Victims of Legion of Christ founder seek compensation for abuse
“Eight victims of the Catholic Church’s most notorious pedophile priest(link is external) are pressing the Legion of Christ religious order to compensate them for the sexual abuse they suffered and the psychological harm they say resulted from the order’s prolonged campaign to discredit them. The men sent a letter to the Legion’s leadership seeking public. … The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, is the latest indication that clergy abuse victims are increasingly demanding recognition and apologies for the retaliation often inflicted on them by Church leaders after they report allegations of abuse.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on Cruxnow.com

Chilean abuse victims welcome Pope Francis’ letter, call for zero tolerance
“Victims of clergy sexual abuse welcomed Pope Francis’ letter in which he apologized(link is external) for underestimating the seriousness of the crisis in Chile. James Hamilton, Jose Andres Murillo and Juan Carlos Cruz, victims of Father Fernando Karadima, released a statement April 11 saying they appreciated the pope’s letter and were ‘evaluating the possibilities’ for meeting with the pope. ‘The damage committed by the hierarchy of the Chilean church, to which the pope refers, has affected many people, not just us,’ the victims said.” By Jane Chambers, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

POPE FRANCIS

Chile victims meet Pope April 28-29 at Vatican
“The three main protagonists in denouncing Chile’s sex abuse scandal will meet with Pope Francis on April 28-29(link is external) and will stay as his guests at the Vatican hotel where he lives, one of the men told The Associated Press. Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Chile’s most famous predator priest, said he and his colleagues had agreed to Francis’ invitation to come to Rome so the pope could personally apologize for having discredited them during his recent trip to Chile.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Pope Francis’s ‘Gaudete et Exsultate,’ the devil vs. the middle class of holiness
“The call to holiness is universal, and it is incompatible with individualism, dogmatism, and sectarianism. This is the heart of the exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate(link is external), the fourth major pontifical document to appear since Francis became pope (not counting the encyclical Lumen fidei of June 2013, largely written by Benedict XVI before his resignation). The new exhortation is also the most important magisterial text of the Catholic Church on holiness since Vatican II’s Lumen gentium, which insisted on the ‘universal call to holiness.’” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Pope Francis’ new exhortation on holiness is deeply Ignatian
“Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, ‘Gaudete et Exsultate,’ (‘Rejoice and Be Glad’) offers Christians a rich reflection on the ‘Call to Holiness in Today’s World(link is external).’ It is both steeped in the church’s spiritual tradition and at the same time is a passionately personal document. The third of the pope’s apostolic exhortations, it bears the date March 19, 2018. Thus it marks the fifth anniversary of Francis’ inaugural Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 2013, and, in many ways, can be read as a recapitulation of major themes and concerns of his papal magisterium.” By Robert P. Imbelli, America: The Jesuit Review

Panelists look at ‘new lens’ of Pope Francis
“Among the plethora of events commemorating five years of Pope Francis’ pontificate this spring, the one at the University of Notre Dame aimed to focus on his contributions to Catholic social teaching on peace(link is external), the poor and the planet. But another ‘P’ also kept coming up: polarization. Although Francis remains popular, controversy about his pontificate is real, especially among inner-circle Catholics deeply invested in the church, said speakers at the April 3 event, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops try to clarify Pope Francis’ decision not to apologize for residential schools
“The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says it’s incorrect to suggest that Pope Francis is refusing to apologize to survivors of Canada’s notoriously abusive residential schools. The conference has sent a background paper to MPs and senators in a bid to clarify what it characterizes as ‘misunderstandings and factual errors(link is external)’ in media reports about the Pope’s decision not to personally apologize for the role played by the Roman Catholic Church in operating the schools.” By Andrew Medichini, The Associated Press, in The Globe and Mail

CARDINALS

Cardinal Pell’s sex abuse hearing closes, ruling expected May 1
“A lawyer for the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis(link is external) told an Australian court on Tuesday (Apr. 17) that Cardinal George Pell could have been targeted with false accusations to punish him for the crimes of other clerics. Defense and prosecution lawyers were making their final submissions in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in a hearing to determine whether the case against Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic was strong enough to warrant a trial by jury.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Flannery urges end to silencing of Irish priests before papal visit
“Vatican silencing of six Irish priests(link is external) should be ended in preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next August, one of those priests has said. Redemptorist priest Fr. Tony Flannery said that ‘if Irish bishops really cared about justice and fairness in the church’ they would be making efforts to have sanctions placed on the six priests during the pontificate of Pope Benedict lifted.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Get rid of the clergy but keep Holy Orders
“In their fascinating exchange on the clergy (‘Imagine There’s No Clergy’), William M. Shea and David Cloutier seem unable to distinguish the ‘clerical state’ from the ‘sacrament of orders(link is external).’ One author appears to seek elimination of both for the sake of evangelical renewal, while the other appears to seek preservation of both for the same reason. Contrary to what appears to be the argument of both authors, the ‘sacrament of orders’ and the ‘clerical state’ are historically distinct and institutionally separable. During its first three centuries, the Greek-speaking church developed and sustained the ‘sacrament of orders’ for episcopoi, presbyteroi, and diaconoi (bishops, presbyters, and deacons). But there was as yet no ‘clerical state.’ That came only in the fourth century, through the Constantinian fusion of the Catholic Church with the Roman Imperial State.” By Joe Holland, Commonweal

Priests’ group wants significant change in priest formation process
“The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests has called on the U.S. bishops to assure that teachings of the Second Vatican Council(link is external) become the bedrock of U.S. priestly formation programs, not ‘little more than an historical footnote’ or ‘a distortive moment in the Church’s pilgrimage through time.’ On March 29, the national group released the text of a 5,000-plus-word statement outlining ‘five overriding concerns’ about priestly formation. The document and an explanatory letter was sent to Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, in late January. Tobin chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, which is overseeing revision of the Program of Priestly Formation for U.S. seminaries, part of a global effort mandated by the Vatican.” By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Catholic sisters are not an ‘endangered species’
“I was deeply inspired by a recent interview of young Catholic sisters(link is external) who are entering religious communities at a time when some wonder if this lifestyle is doomed to extinction. Worldwide there are about 670,000 Catholic sisters, but there are 75 percent fewer U.S. sisters today compared to 1965, when 180,000 sisters were serving in Catholic schools and hospitals. Today, 45,605 serve in more diverse ministries, and many are well into their wisdom years. Still, over 1,000 U.S. women are preparing to become sisters right now, and over 200 women and men profess perpetual vows annually.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

Sisters on the front lines declare: ‘we’re the Church, we’re leaders!’
“As anyone who follows the Catholic Church has known for a long time, in many of the ways that matter, including leadership of some of the Church’s keenest social justice fights, religious women represent the front lines(link is external). That point got an exclamation point at a Rome gathering on Wednesday (Apr. 11), with nuns involved in combating human trafficking and ending some of the world’s most chronic conflicts declaring, ‘We are the Church, we are women, we are leaders!’” By Claire Giangravè, Cruxnow.com

CHILD PROTECTION

Archdiocese reveals investments in child protection, victim aid
April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month(link is external), and on April 23 the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will conduct a conference on the topic for safe environment coordinators and facilitators at the Doubletree by Hilton in King of Prussia. A letter announcing this conference written by Archbishop Charles Chaput was sent to all archdiocesan priests and deacons earlier this month.” By Lou Baldwin, CatholicPhilly.com

Hundreds march in downtown Boise to demand an end to child abuse
“Hundreds of people hit the streets of downtown Boise Wednesday (Apr. 4) in a stand for children – and against abuse. Chanting ‘No excuse for child abuse(link is external),’ the group marched from the Grove Plaza to the Idaho Statehouse for the Idaho Child Abuse Prevention Rally. Many of the participants dressed in blue and carried blue pinwheels, which organizers call the symbol of the happy, healthy, carefree childhood that all children deserve.” By KTVB-TV

Online course focuses on child sex abuse prevention
“A Ronkonkoma-based nonprofit on Monday (Apr. 2) announced that the group has launched a free online course that seeks to teach adults how to detect, report and, hopefully, prevent child sexual abuse(link is external). Enrollees will learn tips on how to prevent a sexual assault from taking place and “tricks” sexual predators employ to gain access to children, said Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law and The Crime Victims Center.” By Chau Lam, Newsday

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Quebec bishops ponder possibility of married priests
“The Catholic bishops of Quebec have discussed the possibility of ordaining married men to priesthood(link is external). During a conference dedicated to the future of the Catholic Church in Quebec, Auxiliary Bishop Marc Pelchat of Quebec said consolidating parishes was not a solution to the lack of priests. ‘During a closed hearing at a recent plenary session of bishops, there was talk of the ordination of married men of a certain age, whose ecclesial commitment is tested. This is an important reflection that we have right now,’ he said in mid-March.” By Veronique Demers, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN DEACONS

A return to church tradition on women deacons
“Two new books in Italian join the expanding conversation about women in the diaconate(link is external), one a collection of academic essays, the other a more accessible, general book. Both Donne Diacono? and Diacone are in response to Pope Francis’ May 2016 announcement and August 2016 appointment of the Papal Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. The books’ titles belie their views. Women Deacons? and Deacons seem innocuous enough in English, but their matching linguistic subtexts present the view that women deacons are just that.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Should women rejoice over ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’?
“The first impressions of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, are in and, not surprisingly, the reviews are glowing. And with good reason: in his reflection on the universal call of all of God’s people to holiness, Francis taps into one of the richest dimensions of the Catholic imagination. That is, the notion that those who live in our midst, from our next-door neighbor to the homeless person on the street, can, and often do, reflect God’s presence … But, sadly, another hallmark of Francis’ theological vision also resurfaces in this latest work: his narrow view of a woman’s purpose in the world(link is external).” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

There are also women there
“The first thing that jumped out at me in Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate, is how much he has put women in the foreground(link is external). Women are usually in the background of papal statements, if they appear at all. Not here. They are upfront and visible. Right at the outset (§ 3), Francis brings up the witness of Sarah (along with Abraham), and calls attention to the role of our own mothers and grandmothers as holy witnesses who have shaped our faith.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Pontifical Commission for Latin America proposes synod on women
“The Catholic Church in Latin America must recognize and appreciate the role of women(link is external) and end the practice of using them solely as submissive laborers in the parish, said members of a pontifical commission. In addition, at the end of their plenary meeting March 6-9 at the Vatican, members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America proposed that the church hold a Synod of Bishops ‘on the theme of the woman in the life and mission of the church.’” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Cardinal Tobin warns against temptation to shrink Catholic community to pure members
“Attempts to make the church smaller and more pure(link is external) will only achieve one of the two—and it is probably not the latter. That was the message from Cardinal Joseph Tobin in a talk at Villanova University on April 12, during which he urged Catholics to resist allowing ‘the individualism that permeates our culture’ to infect the church.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Weekly Catholic Church attendance in decade-long decline
“Weekly church attendance among Catholics in the United States has been on a steep and steady decline over the past decade(link is external), Gallup data released Monday (Apr. 9) indicate. Gallup’s data found an average of 39 percent of Catholics reported attending church within the past seven days between 2014 and 2017, compared with 45 percent from 2005 to 2008.” By Daniel Uria, UPI

German bishops ask Vatican for clarity on Holy Communion
“Seven German bishops have written to the Vatican, asking for clarification on the question of Protestant spouses of Catholics receiving Holy Communion(link is external). The letter was sent to Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The signatories, among them the Archbishop of Cologne and five Bavarian bishops, did not beforehand consult with the president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx.” By Anian Christoph Wimmer, Catholic News Agency

VOICES

‘Biggest obstacle to Catholic Church is itself,’ claims bishop
“The Bishop of Galloway has released a letter suggesting: ‘It could be argued that the greatest obstacle to preaching the gospel today in Scotland is the Catholic Church itself(link is external).’ The clergyman’s letter came just days after a priest from his diocese was jailed for child sex abuse. He said negative publicity was ‘embarrassing’ to Catholics. The pastoral letter from Bishop William Nolan said recent sexual abuse scandals involving clergy called into question the trust parishioners have in their priests.” By BBC News Scotland

Appalled by what Catholic Church has become, I am walking away
“I am voting with my feet. As a 62-year-old practicing Catholic, one would think my religious adherence has been well and truly set. To an extent, that is correct; I love my church’s rites and, most especially, the beautiful sacraments that have helped to sustain me throughout my life. I appreciate the redemptive power of confession, when used in appropriate circumstances and with the freedom of surrender. Despite this deeply felt connection, I have concluded my only way forward is to turn away(link is external).” By Maryanne McNeil, The Chronicle Herald

CHURCH FINANCES

Expert in diocesan finances has ‘never seen’ pension move like La Crosse’s
“Jack Ruhl, an expert on diocesan finances, frequently wanders through the thicket of church financial disclosures, but has never seen anything like the dissolution of the Diocese of La Crosse(link is external), Wisconsin, lay pension plan … He told NCR he has never seen the approach taken by the La Crosse Diocese, which says it will not be able to meet its promised obligations to hundreds of retired Catholic school teachers, parish workers and custodians.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Downingtown St. Joe’s parish members in shock after sudden resignation of pastor
“Over the weekend (Apr. 15), parishioners were informed that (Monsignor Joseph) McLoone had been placed on administrative leave by the archdiocese after he acknowledged that he had set up a private bank account in the church’s name, and had used funds from that account — which in all totaled about $110,000 over a six-year period beginning in 2017 — for ‘personal expenses of an inappropriate nature(link is external) … related to relationships with adults.’ By Michael Rellahan, Delaware County Times

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

What’s next for Child Victims’ Act in Albany
“The bill was included inside a New York State Assembly budget proposal this year, but was not included in the final spending plan. Currently, victims of child sex abuse in New York state can only seek civil penalties against their abusers until the age of 18. The Child Victims Act, which aims to extend that age to 50, would also open a ‘look-back’ period of a year for those who were abused at any time.(link is external) Despite originally being included with the state budget this year, it was removed before the budget passed late last week.” By Katrina Fuller, The Post-Journal

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Barbara Dorris, two board members the latest SNAP leaders to leave
“More leadership upheaval(link is external) has hit the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Roughly a year after founder Barbara Blaine and executive director David Clohessy departed the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, another longtime leader, Barbara Dorris, has left the sexual abuse victims’ advocacy organization, along with the president of its board of directors and another board member.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Can justice heal scars of sexual abuse by a priest?
“Nothing damages a child more than betrayal of trust. Failure by a person who is supposed to love and/or protect the child leaves lifelong scars. Knowing that, it is painful to read that a state grand jury is poised to deliver ‘the worst report ever’ on child abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external) in six dioceses, including Harrisburg. State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, who counts himself as a survivor of clergy abuse, said the grand jury had no trouble finding witnesses to testify. His hope is that the report will prompt the Legislature to pass laws allowing victims to get justice despite the passage of time.” By Nancy Eshelman, PennLive.com

CONNECTICUT

Civil lawsuit filed against Connecticut priest accused of child sex abuse
(Apr. 18, 2018) “A man who says he was sexually abused by a priest(link is external) while growing up in Bristol is taking his case to court. A civil lawsuit filed in New Haven Superior Court names the priest, Reverend Gregory Altermatt, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. It claims sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s when the plaintiff, now in his 40s, was 7 to 15 years old.” By Justin Schecker, NBC News Connecticut

ILLINOIS

Religious orders should publicize names of those accused of sexual abuse, just like diocesan priests
“On its website, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet publishes a document called, ‘List of Diocesan Priests With a Credible/Substantial Allegation(link is external).’ When I checked Friday (Apr. 13), the list contained 35 names and was last updated in late 2016. I’d like you to take note of the word ‘diocesan’ in the document’s title.” By Ted Slowik, Chicago Tribune

Ex-Providence Catholic president under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of student
“The former president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, whom police investigated earlier this year for ‘potentially inappropriate material(link is external)’ on his cell phone, is now under investigation for allegations he sexually abused a male student in the mid-1990s, police said. New Lenox Police Chief Bob Sterba said Thursday (Apr. 12) that the department began a criminal investigation into the sexual abuse claims against the Rev. Richard McGrath after the alleged victim came to them in early January.” By Zak Koeske, Chicago Tribune

MAINE

Maine House votes to save child abuse prevention program
“The Maine House voted Tuesday (Apr. 10) to rescue a $2.2 million child abuse prevention program(link is external) in an attempt to overturn efforts by the LePage administration to terminate it. The bill to save the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children has attracted bipartisan support, with Democratic lawmakers joined by Republican Senate Majority Leader Michael Thibodeau and Republican Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough. The measure was approved on a voice vote and will now go to the Senate.” By Joe Lawlor, Portland Press Herald

MARYLAND

Former youth minister at Rockville church sentenced to three years for sexual abuse of teen
“A former youth minister at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville was sentenced Tuesday (Apr. 3) to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a teen parishioner(link is external), according to Montgomery County prosecutors. Brian Patrick Werth, 34, had been arrested in 2016 in connection with the abuse of a then-16-year-old girl, to whom he had sent explicit text messages for two years and had sexual contact with her earlier that year. He was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault.” By Joe Zimmermann, Bethesda Magazine

MICHIGAN

Prosecutor jabs back after DeLand’s attorney calls charges ‘outright appalling’
“A Catholic priest in the Saginaw area is facing additional charges. Rev. Robert DeLand was jailed Thursday, April 5, on four additional charges … DeLand of Freeland originally was charged in February with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting two males(link is external), ages 21 and 17. Det. Brian Berg with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department said three of the new charges involved the same victim from the original February charges. The fourth charge involved an additional 18-year-old victim who claims DeLand tried to sexually assault him inside St. Agnes Church in May 2017.” By WNEM-TV

Upper Peninsula priest on leave denies allegation of sexual misconduct with minor
“A retired priest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula currently on administrative leave has denied allegations he committed sexual misconduct involving a minor(link is external) back in the 1970s. The Mining Journal reports Rev. Frank M. Lenz said that he is innocent ‘without reservation’ and that he looks forward to the investigation clearing his name. Lenz was accused on Friday, March 30 by a woman who said he sexually abused her at least a dozen times while she was underage.” By Benjamin Raven, MLive.com

NEW JERSEY

Lawsuit alleges Bergen Catholic covered up wrestling coach’s abuse
“A former wrestler has sued a prestigious Catholic high school in New Jersey, claiming school and church officials conspired to cover up sexual and verbal abuse in its nationally recognized wrestling program(link is external). Andrew Miltenberg represents the former student, who accuses Bergen Catholic High School wrestling head coach David Bell and assistant coach Dominick Spataro of sexually harassing the boy and others on the team.” By ABC7NY.com

NEW MEXICO

Not all abusive clergy listed in archdiocese list
“In September, after years of pressure from survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe publicly released the names of 74 priests, deacons and brothers it says have been credibly accused of abusing children(link is external) in its parishes in the past several decades. Many people hailed the list as an important first step in the archdiocese taking accountability for widespread suffering caused by a deeply rooted scandal. But a lawsuit filed Thursday (Apr. 5) in a state District Court in Albuquerque accuses the archdiocese of issuing a list that was ‘deceptively incomplete.’” By Phaedra Haywood, The Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Buffalo bishop to sell mansion to compensate clergy sex abuse victims
“Bishop Richard J. Malone mentioned in March that no Catholic Diocese of Buffalo properties would be off-limits from the possibility of being sold to help compensate childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse. The sell-off started on Tuesday (Apr. 17), with Malone’s sudden announcement that he will put on the market his own residence(link is external), a palatial mansion on one of Buffalo’s most exclusive streets that’s been home to Buffalo bishops since 1952.” By Jay Tokasz and Jonathan Epstein, The Buffalo News

Priest who taught at two Buffalo-area high schools was target of sex abuse complaint
“A priest who taught students at two Buffalo-area Catholic high schools for more than a decade was suspended from any public ministry in 2014 after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor(link is external), The Buffalo News confirmed this week (Apr. 9). The Rev. Michael M. Lewandowski, now 71, was suspended after the allegation was made in May 2014, according to the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pa.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Priest accused of sexual abuse at Lewiston church
“In 1981, a Western New York native says a man he trusted, did the unthinkable at a Catholic church in Lewiston. ‘I had asked to have a confession and after the confession, he sexually abused me(link is external).’ That survivor came forward Thursday (May. 5), over the phone. We’ve identified him as ‘John Doe’ because he doesn’t want to reveal his identity.” By Rochelle Alleyne, Spectrum News Buffalo

50 years later, man accuses prominent Niagara Falls priest of molesting him as a child
“A 63-year-old Youngstown man alleges he was sexually abused 50 years ago by a Niagara Falls priest(link is external) who received many awards and honors for his work with poor people, the homeless and disadvantaged teenagers. Niagara County resident Mark V. Lynch said he was 13 years old when he was molested in 1968 by the late Rev. Joseph A. Schuster in a Niagara Falls rectory.” By Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese suspends deacon, says child porn charges against him ‘disturbing’
“A deacon with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been arrested and is facing child pornography and related charges(link is external), accused of trying to contact a minor over the internet. Investigators say the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested 73-year-old Rosendo ‘Ross’ Dacal, of McCandless, at his home on Tuesday (Apr. 11).” By Ralph Iannotti, KDKA-TV CBS Local, Pittsburgh

Grand jury investigation into Harrisburg Diocese nears completion; findings to be worse than other reports
“The findings of a state grand jury investigation into clergy sex abuse(link is external) in six Roman Catholic Dioceses across Pennsylvania, including that of Harrisburg, are shaping up to be the most damning to date against the Catholic Church, according to one of the biggest advocates for victims of child sex abuse. State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, on Wednesday (Apr. 4) said the findings out of the grand jury will likely prove to be worse than those out of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

Erie Catholic diocese priests, laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse
“Erie Catholic Diocese released a list of all priests and laypersons credibly accused of sexual abuse(link is external) during a news conference Friday morning (Apr. 6). The list includes 34 priest, 20 of whom are deceased, and 17 laypersons, two of whom are dead. The list includes the names of people who have been credibly accused of actions ranging from furnishing pornography to minors to direct, sexual assault of minors. The Diocese said it believes these actions disqualify them from working with children and youth.” By ErieNewsNow.com

Survivor of abuse warns that grand jury findings of Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses will be graphic, troubling
“Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse are bracing for what they say is certain to be stunning findings(link is external) out of the most current investigation into abuse across six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. One of those advocates, Shaun Dougherty, himself a childhood victim of sexual abuse by a priest, warned that the findings expected out of the grand jury investigation could be extremely troubling. ‘There’s some graphic things coming,’ Dougherty told PennLive during a phone interview from his home in New York. ‘If their report reflects the reports I’m hearing, yes some parts are going to make the Altoona-Johnstown report look like Disney World. This is huge.’” By Ivey DeJesus, PennLive.com

ARGENTINA

Argentine bishop’s new law orders priests: ‘hands off children’
“Priests in Argentina are now banned from touching children(link is external) under new guidelines intended to help curb pedophilia in the Catholic church, but relatives of survivors say the move doesn’t go far enough. New ecclesiastical legislation from Archbishop of Parana Juan Alberto Puiggari, in the province of Entre Rios, rules that priests must refrain from all physical contact; must leave the sacristy door open while hearing confessions; must be accompanied by another adult during road trips with minors, and are prohibited from sharing a hotel room with children.” By TeleSurTV.net

AUSTRALIA

States slow to sign on to redress scheme
“Recalcitrant states – rather than the churches – are looming as the biggest roadblock to the Commonwealth’s $4 billion sexual abuse redress scheme(link is external). As the broad Catholic sector moves to opt in, the Turnbull Government will use a state and territory ministers’ meeting on April 30 to urge Western Australia and Queensland to join the national victim compensation scheme.” By CathNews.com

Former Shenton Park priest charged with historic child sex offenses
“An 83-year-old man has been charged with historic child sex abuse offences(link is external), allegedly committed while he was a priest at a Shenton Park Catholic church between 1979 and 1992. Police allege the man physically and sexually assaulted seven children – boys and girls – who were aged between six and 12 years old at the time of the first offence.” By The Sydney Morning Herald

Archbishop denies in Australian court knowledge of pedophile
“A Catholic archbishop on Wednesday (Apr. 11) denied under oath in an Australian court that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest(link is external). Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson is the most senior cleric in the world to be charged with covering up for a pedophile priest. The 67-year-old was tried in the Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday after Magistrate Robert Stone rejected his application to have the case thrown out. Wilson has pleaded not guilty and faces a potential two-year prison sentence if convicted.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Former Catholic principal, 80, sexually assaults five young boys
(Apr. 6, 2018) “A former Catholic principal has pleaded guilty to assaulting five boys(link is external)while he taught at a Victorian school in the 1970s. Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, 80, was the head of St Paul’s Catholic College in Traralgon and the sports master when the assaults happened. He pleaded guilty during a committal hearing at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to abusing five boys during his tenure, the Gippsland Times reported.” By Cait Kelly and Australian Associated Press for Daily Mail Australia

CANADA

Convicted of sexually abusing boys, ex-priest granted parole
“William O’Sullivan arrived at Penetanguishene, Ont, Friday (Apr. 13) expecting the worst but hoping he was wrong. He wasn’t. Donald Grecco, the former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing O’Sullivan as a boy(link is external), will soon be a free man. After deliberating for more than four hours Friday, Ontario parole board members at the Central North Correctional Centre voted to grant Grecco’s request for early release after serving six months of an 18-month sentence.” By Grant LaFleche, St. Catharine’s Standard

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic Church ‘sorry’ but yet to contact priest sex abuse victims
“The Catholic Church in Scotland has apologized to two victims of a priest jailed for sexual abuse(link is external) but is yet to contact them. Father Paul Moore committed the crimes in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996. Two of his victims, Paul Smyth and Andi Lavery, went public with their stories after waiving their right to anonymity.” By BBC News Scotland

Top Catholic school stripped of pupil welfare responsibilities
“A leading Catholic school has been stripped of its responsibilities to protect children(link is external) amid concerns over the way it has handled allegations of sexual abuse. The Charity Commission has appointed a lawyer to take charge of safeguarding at Ampleforth College, a prestigious boarding school in North Yorkshire. Emma Moody has been appointed to manage the charities that run the college and Ampleforth Abbey. Both bodies have been under investigation by the commission since 2016 following reports of abuse.” By Harriet Sherwood

GUAM

Father Adrian Cristobal accused of sexually assaulting altar boy
Another sexual abuse lawsuit(link is external) has been filed against the church, this time naming former Chancellor Father Adrian Cristobal. The alleged victim is now 35 years old and is only known by the initials L.J.C. He alleges that Cristobal molested him when he was between the ages of 12 to 14 years while an altar boy at the San Vicente Church in Barrigada.” By Janela Carrera, Pacific News Center News First

New archbishop cracking down on clergy sex abuse
“He’s the leader of Guam’s faithful. Archbishop Michael Byrnes was appointed to the Archdiocese of Agana two years ago. At the time there were only a handful of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits. Though the count is now upwards of 160-lawsuits(link is external), he’s worked tirelessly to prevent future cases. And his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He’s the recipient of this year’s Visionary Voice Award. Earlier this week, Archbishop Byrnes accepted the award during a proclamation signing to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Priest admits sexual assaults
“A 79-year-old priest who got a suspended jail term last month for sexually assaulting a girl throughout her First Confession(link is external) in West Cork pleaded guilty yesterday to carrying out similar assaults on three other girls in the mid-1970s. John Calnan who is now living at The Presbytery, Roman St, Cork, was formally arrested and charged yesterday (Apr. 9) by Detective Garda Maurice Shanley.” By Liam Heylin, Irish Examiner

MEXICO

Mexican diocese apologizes for failing to stop abusive priest
“A Mexican diocese has apologized and asked for forgiveness for failing to stop a priest from sexually abusing Catholic school children(link is external). At the time, the priest had been banned from his priestly duties in a neighboring archdiocese. ‘As a church, we ask for forgiveness from the victims. … We manifest our commitment to always act truthfully and with justice and, as an institution, take preventive measures so that nothing similar ever happens again,’ the Diocese of Irapuato, in the western state of Guanajuato, said April 3 in a short statement.” By David Agren, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Vatican verdict against Guam archbishop likely not for sexual abuse, say canon layers
“A Vatican tribunal’s guilty verdict last month against a Guam archbishop, hailed by some as the first instance of the Catholic Church successfully prosecuting a bishop(link is external)accused of abusing minors, appears likely not to have been made in direct relation to allegations of sexual abuse by the prelate. A number of prominent canon lawyers say the punishment announced for Agana Archbishop Anthony Apuron — removal from office and a prohibition from living on the U.S. island territory — simply seems too lax to indicate the bishop was found guilty of abuse.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Police search Michigan bishop’s home, citing lack of cooperation in sex abuse investigation
“On Thursday (Mar. 22), police in Saginaw, Michigan, raided the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone(link is external), as well as the diocesan chancery and its cathedral rectory, as part of an ongoing investigation into sex abuse allegations against several diocesan priests. CNA has reached out to the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan for comment but did not receive a response by press time.” By Mary Rezac, Catholic News Agency

Youth want bishops to face sex abuse, women in the Church
“Since Pope Francis called a summit of Catholic bishops on youth and discernment two years ago, fixing it for this October, speculation has swirled about which topics would loom largest during the meeting, given that its themes seem vast enough to embrace almost everything under the sun. We won’t really know until the Synod of Bishops gets underway, but if 300 young people from around the world who met in Rome this week (Mar. 25) to provide input to the bishops have anything to do with it, two tough subjects will be unavoidable: The Church’s sexual abuse scandals, and the role of women in Catholicism(link is external).” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey and the former Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, has been appointed administrator. McAreavey announced his resignation on 1 March in wake of concerns raised by parents of children(link is external) whose Confirmation he was due to preside over later this year. It was reported earlier this year by the BBC Spotlight programm that McAreavey had officiated at the funeral mass of a priest accused by 12 people of sexual abuse.” By The Journal

Jesuit ‘man on a mission’ sees change happening on sexual abuse
“Father Hans Zollner, an earnest 51-year-old Bavarian Jesuit psychologist and vice-rector at Rome’s prestigious Gregorian University, who’s considered perhaps Catholicism’s leading expert on sexual abuse and child protection(link is external), is a man on a mission … Zollner is, in other words, the other face of the Catholic Church when it comes to the sexual abuse scandals – the face not of dysfunction and denial, but of reform and hope.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Priest accused of embezzling $5 million from his church for lavish estate
“A Catholic priest accused of embezzling more than $5 million(link is external) from his central Michigan church spent about $100,000 on an indoor swimming pool and stained glass windows for his six-bedroom, 12-bathroom home, according to a lawsuit seeking to recoup some of the money.” By Associated Press in Money

ACCOUNTABILITY

French cardinal to stand trial in sex abuse cover-up
“A French court has set a date in early 2019 for the criminal trial of a French cardinal and a high-ranking Vatican prelate suspected of covering up a child sex abuse(link is external)scandal in the eastern diocese of Lyon. Victims of a priest who has confessed to preying on them have summoned Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, Monsignor Luis Ladaria Ferrer, head of a powerful office in the Vatican, and five other Catholic Church officials to appear together in court for allegedly being informed of the priest’s past abuses and not reporting them to authorities.” By Philippe Sotto, Associated Press

I am appalled at the response of the church to child abuse
“There are many myths around this sordid subject of child abuse(link is external). One is that women are not perpetrators. Let’s nail that lie. I offer Myra Hindley, Rose West and the many men I have spoken to over the years who have suffered abuse at the hands of women. And that includes abuse by nuns. Many people, victims of these crimes, find it very difficult to talk about it. Men find it particularly difficult to talk about abuse at the hands of a woman. As a member of the victims and survivors consultative panel to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse and as a Roman Catholic, I am appalled at the response of the institutional church to these dreadful crimes.” By Peter Saunders, Daily Express

Grand jury wrapping up abuse investigation of six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania
“A grand jury that has been hearing testimony about sexual abuse by priests in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Pittsburgh, will soon conclude its work and issue a report this spring(link is external), according to two sources. The grand jury, which was impaneled in 2016, was extended from late 2017 until the end of this month, said State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, who testified before the panel. He said he hopes a report will be forthcoming in May or June.” By Tim Darragh, The Allentown Morning Call, in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Accountability and transparency in the Catholic Church
“I would like to raise a few thoughts regarding the accountability and transparency in the Catholic Church(link is external). This in no way reflects the Church as a whole but rather the Church in Jaintia Hills and I will cite what is happening in Jowai Parish which is the cathedral parish of the Jowai Diocese in order to put forward my thoughts.” By Benjamin Mylliem, The Shillong Times, India

Australian court to decide whether Cardinal Pell faces trial
“The contentious committal hearing of Cardinal George Pell(link is external), the Catholic Church’s third highest-ranking priest, adjourned on Thursday (Mar. 28), as a magistrate prepared to decide whether the case will go to trial. The cardinal, the Vatican’s de facto finance chief, has been charged with committing ‘historical sexual offenses.’ He is the most senior member of the Catholic Church ever to face such allegations, and the outcome of the hearing will mark a significant moment for the Vatican as it grapples with the problem of clerical sex abuse.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times

POPE FRANCIS

After five years, Pope Francis seems tired of the struggle
“What can we expect from Francis after five years? Sr. Joan Chittister makes two very important points in her article on the first five years of the Francis papacy. Sadly, her first point is that it seems only too clear that the momentum of the Francis papacy has stalled(link is external). So many of us had such great hopes for what Pope Francis would be able to do, but there is little to show for these past five years.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis will not issue apology over abuses at Canadian schools, according to bishop
Pope Francis will not personally apologize(link is external) to Canada’s indigenous population for mistreatment at Catholic-run institutions, according to the president of the country’s bishops’ conference. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he personally invited the pontiff to make the apology during a meeting at the Vatican last May. In the late 19th century, the Canadian government established a program to remove children from Canada’s indigenous population – called the First Nations – and send them to residential schools, most of which were run by religious institutions, including the Catholic Church.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

At Chrism Mass, Francis warns against ‘making idols of certain abstract truths’
“In a homily addressed to the Catholic priests of the world March 29, Pope Francis urged pastors to be close to their people(link is external), calling proximity ‘the key to mercy’ and warning against ‘the temptation of making idols of certain abstract truths.’ During the Holy Thursday morning Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pontiff said truth “is not only the definition of situations and things from a certain distance, by abstract and logical reasoning” but also a practice of fidelity towards people.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis to visit Ireland in August
Pope Francis is to visit Ireland in August(link is external) – the first papal visit to the country for almost 40 years. He will arrive in Dublin as the city hosts the World Meeting of Families, an international Catholic event which is staged every three years. The last pontiff to visit the Republic of Ireland was Pope John Paul II. He drew crowds of over 2.5m – more than half the state’s population – in 1979.” By BBC News

Pope Francis believes in hell, a place God doesn’t send people – they choose it
“Social media posts have been going crazy with reports that Pope Francis has denied the existence of hell(link is external). Even some mainstream media have picked up the story supposedly based on an interview by an Italian journalist. Anyone who has followed the pope’s talks and sermons would immediately know that something does not smell right here. The pope has in fact spoken of hell in the past in a way that clearly indicates that he believes in it.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in The Salt Lake Tribune

BISHOPS

We need bishops to stand up to spread of fake news
“We need more actions like (Cardinal) Cupich’s. We need bishops standing up against the calumny(link is external) spread by these self-appointed watchdogs. (Bishop James) Johnston had an opportunity to stand with a man (Dan Schutte) who has dedicated his life to ministry in the church against forces aiming to harm the church. Regrettably, Johnston let the opportunity pass.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

The synod on young people needs to listen to all voices – Catholic or not
“Our task was seemingly impossible: to write a document that summarized the current experience of youth and young adults around the world(link is external). We were told to capture what they think about faith, how they understand Jesus Christ, what they do to discern their vocation and how they find and maintain identity. Three hundred young people gathered in person while thousands more participated in online forums to discuss these topics. We were encouraged by Pope Francis to be bold and unafraid to speak our minds honestly, without fear of judgment. And so we did.” By Katie Prejean McGrady, America: The Jesuit Review

Three part series from National Catholic Reporter
“In the run-up to the Synod of Bishops on young people in October, there has been much talk about young Catholics and their connections — or lack of connections — to the Catholic faith. But one national ministry has had massive success reaching out to college-age Catholics: the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS. In this three-part series, national correspondent Heidi Schlumpf takes an in-depth look at this organization.” By National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Women religious: the unsung heroes of the Catholic Church
“Last week I had the distinct honor to join first lady Melania Trump to pay tribute to 10 remarkable women at the 2018 International Women of Courage(link is external) award ceremony in Washington. This annual award is given to women from around the world who show extraordinary courage and heroism to advocate for peace, justice and human dignity, often at great personal risk.” By Callista Gingrich. AngelusNews.com

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

“Where are the millennial Catholic activists?” We are right here.
“In a recent article for America, Colleen Dulle asked, ‘Where are the millennial Catholic activists?(link is external)’ The question was prompted by the arrest on Feb. 27 of 40 Catholic leaders who had gathered in the U.S. Senate building to demand action to protect Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. She noted that those who were arrested were overwhelmingly older people, and made the case for greater millennial engagement in Catholic social justice movements.” By Mary Cunningham, America: The Jesuit Review

CHILD PROTECTION

April marks sexual assault awareness month and the statistics are staggering
“This April marks Sexual Assault Awareness month(link is external), a time when survivors and advocacy groups work to raise awareness surrounding the pervasive issue of sexual violence, as well as educate the public about ways to prevent it. ‘We know that one month isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence,’ Laura Palumbo of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) said in a statement, adding that the annual event serves as ‘a reminder that we can change the culture through the things we say and do each day.’” By Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News

Announcing Child Abuse Prevention Month 2018
“It’s that time of the year again: April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month!(link is external) This year we are celebrating the 35th Anniversary of our national awareness month as April was first designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Over the years, April has been used to raise awareness of the problem of child abuse. These days, we use April to focus instead on how we can prevent child abuse and neglect. And our own research shows that most Americans are engaged in prevention, they just don’t know it.” By PreventChildAbuse.org

Child safety must be ‘center of the Church’s mission’
“The head of the Church’s new safeguarding body says protecting children from danger must be at the center of the Church’s mission(link is external). ‘If the safety of children and other vulnerable people is not at the very center of the Catholic Church’s mission both here and in all other places around the world then something has gone very wrong in our Church,’ Sheree Limbrick, chief of Catholic Professional Standard Ltd (CPSL) said yesterday (Mar. 21).” By CathNews

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

The movement for women’s equality in the church cannot be stopped
“As Catholic feminists and leaders of organizations committed to justice for women within our church(link is external) as well as throughout society, we have followed Voices of Faith’s efforts to crack open the Vatican walls by sponsoring an annual forum about women inside one of the last remaining bastions of male domination in the western world. Since 2014, Voices of Faith has marked International Women’s Day (March 8) with an event that examines how the intersection of Catholic doctrine and practice impacts women globally.”By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Kate McElwee, and Mary Hunt, National Catholic Reporter

Women no longer content to be silent on lack of church role
“While there have been important cultural advances for women in terms of their role in society, the one institution that does not appear to have altered its attitude towards women to any great degree is the Roman Catholic Church(link is external). This is despite Pope Francis’s 2013 remarks that women are ‘essential for the church.’” By Sharon Tighe-Mooney, The Irish Times

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Catholics invited to ‘speak from the heart and mind’
“Lana Turvey-Collins does not shrink from the challenge of leading a high-stakes national conversation about the future of the Catholic Church(link is external) in Australia. As the facilitator of the Church’s historic Plenary Council 2020, she is leading a three-year ‘transformative journey’ with the cultural reform of the Church on the table.” By CathNews.com

VATICAN

Francis, Benedict XVI, and the unfinished conclave
“Communication problems are usually not just communication problems: this is as true at the Vatican as it is anywhere else. The fiasco surrounding Benedict XVI’s letter declining an invitation to write the introduction for a series of volumes on Pope Francis’s theology was more than a PR snafu. It reveals deeper issues in the ongoing transition from the pontificate of Benedict XVI to the pontificate of Francis(link is external). In his now-famous letter about Francis’s theology, Benedict XVI rejected the ‘foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation.’” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

VOICES

Australian Catholics need to wake up
“Australian Catholics are being conned. After all the disgrace of the Royal Commission evidence and its specific and telling recommendations, the response effectively proposed by the Australian Bishops is to call a Plenary Council of the church in Australia in 2020-21. Australia’s Catholics seem to be meekly agreeing to what is an unconscionable delay and a fudge(link is external). In short, the bishops have us where they want us: corralled and quieted.” By Terry Fewtrell, The Sydney Morning Herald

Synodality and its perils: baby steps towards a more representative church
“The Catholic Church and the world’s constitutional democracies are today facing the same critical challenge(link is external) – how, as institutions, they can credibility represent their people. We saw this in the church several days ago after some 300 young people who met in Rome to offer their views on the next session of the Synod of Bishops issued their final document. Their text was just the latest occasion for the usual critics of Pope Francis, especially in the United States, to once again take aim at the pope.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International

Youth call for a more transparent Church
“A Vatican-hosted conference of 300 young people has acknowledged that some in their generation want the Church to change its teachings(link is external) on ‘polemical issues’ such as same-sex marriage and contraception. In a final document issued after a week-long (Mar. 25) meeting in Rome, the young people also called on the Church to better include them at all levels of its global community and noted women are ‘not given an equal place’ in Church leadership.” By CathNews.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Bishop, five priests arrested in Brazil, accused of embezzling Church funds
“A Catholic bishop, five priests and other administrative officials in the Brazilian state of Goiás have been arrested on accusations of embezzling more than two million reales (about $600,000) from the Catholic Church(link is external). Bishop José Ronaldo of the Diocese of Formosa was among those arrested March 19, as part of operation ‘Caiaphas.’ Among other findings, the operation discovered 70,000 reales (about $21,000) in cash in a cabinet with a false bottom. The cabinet belonged to Fr. Epitácio Cardoso Pereira, in the Planaltina township.” By Catholic News Agency

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Rhode Island lawmakers mull ending statute of limitations on lawsuits against sexual predators
“A Rhode Island lawmaker has ripped the scab off the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal(link is external) with legislation born out of her older sister’s repeated abuse, as a child, by their family’s parish priest. Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would remove the seven-year statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against perpetrators of sex abuse. The statute of limitations derailed a lawsuit by two former victims of an infamous pedophile priest in 2016.” By Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal

‘Look back’ laws worry Catholic leaders over potential sex abuse
“Nearly two decades after revelations of sexual abuse by priests were widely reported, legislators in states around the country are considering changes to laws that would give victims of child sex abuse more time to file criminal and civil complaints(link is external). Catholic leaders in those places support many of those changes—but some claim provisions in the proposed laws unfairly target private organizations and that they could open them up to lawsuits over abuse that occurred decades ago.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Priest-abuse survivor backs state’s Child Victims Act
“Lex Filipowski was a 7-year-old altar boy at Holy Cross Church in Wawayanda, alone with the pastor as they changed into their robes before Mass, when the Rev. George Boxelaar pulled him close and began kissing him on the lips. Thus began an abuse routine that escalated to groping and lasted for four years(link is external) in the early 1970s, ending when Filipowski’s family changed churches … Today, Filipowski has added his voice to an intense campaign on behalf of the Child Victims Act, a state bill that abuse survivors and their advocates have sought for more than a dozen years and that was part of budget negotiations in Albany this week (Mar. 28).” By Chris McKenna, Times Herald-Record

Waiving limitations on civil abuse suits called ‘unfair, catastrophic’
“Georgia lawmakers are considering waiving the statutes of limitations on civil lawsuits claiming sexual abuse of young people(link is external) against nonprofits and businesses, but not government agencies or public schools. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta said the bill called the Hidden Predator Act, or H.B. 605, is unfair to the Catholic Church and would be catastrophic to the church’s mission. Many of the cases of alleged abuse could go as far back as the 1940s.” By Nichole Golden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

New York archbishop pushes against Child Victims Act litigation provisions
“The spiritual leader of millions of Catholics in New York was at the Capitol Tuesday (Mar. 20) lobbying against a push to give a one-year window for alleged child abuse victims(link is external) to sue for damages dating back decades. ‘Look-back would be toxic for us,’ Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said of a one-year litigation period being pushed by child victim organizations and many state lawmakers. Dolan … said the church is supportive of ‘very vigorous’ changes to statute of limitations that would increase the age for victims to file civil and criminal actions.” By Tom Precious, The Buffalo News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Pedophile priests preyed in local parishes
“The pedophile priest scandal in Boston, a story told in the Oscar nominated movie Spotlight, earned the Boston Globe a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for breaking the news. But pedophile priests were commonplace decades earlier(link is external) on the East End, a story that has, for the most part, gone untold. As reported last week exclusively in The Independent — this newspaper has followed the story since 2003 —the Diocese of Rockville Centre often sent priests accused of inappropriate behavior to eastern Long Island, believing they would blend in better in the sparsely-populated communities here.” By Rick Murphy, The Independent

No ‘private meeting’ of Pope, brother accused in abuse cover-up, Vatican says
“Months after his rocky trip to Chile in mid-January, Pope Francis’s visit to the Latin American country is still grabbing headlines, mostly related to the way he’s handled the country’s clerical sexual abuse scandals(link is external). The latest: News broke on Tuesday (Apr. 3) that while in Chile, he met with a Marist brother who’s charged with covering up abuse cases in the country.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

‘The secrecy must end’
“The shudder of an unsavory case first unearthed in Boston about 16 years ago is still being felt today, even in Western New York. In January 2002, a secret world of child sex abuse was uncovered in the Catholic Church(link is external) by a special team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe known as the Spotlight Team. Buffalo and the surrounding areas felt the reverberations this past week (Mar. 19) after the Buffalo Diocese released a list of 42 priests who had been removed from ministry, retired or had left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.” By Katrina Fuller, The Post-Journal

Outraged Catholics say Australian church leaders are ‘locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture’
“Australian Catholic church leaders are ‘locked in a misogynistic and unaccountable culture(link is external)’ that has failed to adequately respond to the child sexual abuse scandal and is denying the need for urgent reform, say Catholic groups meeting in Canberra on Friday (Mar. 23) to demand change. More than 50 leading Catholic reformists are expected to seek an urgent meeting with Australia’s bishops after a request to release the first formal church assessment of child abuse royal commission recommendations was declined last week by Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart.” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

What the Buffalo Catholic diocese’s abusive priest list doesn’t say
“Sexual abuse victims say the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo releasing a list of priests accused of sexual abuse is a good first step. But they say that’s all it is — a first step(link is external). Victims and their lawyers say there are categories of potential pedophile priests that this list leaves out.” By WKBW-TV

MARYLAND

Baltimore’s rally protest Catholic Church coverup of sexual abuse cases
“On a brisk, Palm Sunday morning about 20 activists, carrying signs and posters, gathered at the Villa Assumpta on North Charles St. at Bellona Avenue in Baltimore County, MD … The protesters claim (sexual predator John) Merzbacher’s tenure was ‘a reign of terro(link is external)r’ for many of his students – male and female alike. They insist Sister (Eileen) Weisman (principal at the Catholic Community Middle School) knew or should have known, about his serial sex abuses and other outrageous conduct, including repeatedly threatened students with a loaded handgun – and did nothing.” By Bill Hughes, Baltimore Post-Examiner

MASSACHUSETTS

Springfield diocese must do better in response to sexual misconduct
“When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield reached a settlement with Richard Koske in 2013 after he described sexual abuse by a former Northampton priest(link is external) years earlier, it could have remained just another ‘personnel matter’ kept behind closed doors. In fact, that’s how the diocese treated the incident until Koske, 62, of South Hadley, went public this month, detailing his story of sexual abuse at the hands of retired priest Eugene Honan in the rectory of St. Mary’s Church in Northampton during the mid-1990s.” By Daily Hampshire Gazette Editorial Board

MICHIGAN

Priest on administrative leave following allegation of sexual misconduct
“Father Frank M. Lenz, a senior (retired) priest of the Diocese of Marquette, has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. This action was taken as the result of a recently-made credible allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external) with a minor dating back to the 1970s. Father Lenz has denied the allegation. In accord with diocesan policy, the allegation has been reported to the Marquette County Prosecutor.” By WLUC-TV

Police raid Saginaw diocese while priest faces sex charges
“Police in Michigan have raided three properties of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw following the recent arrest of a priest accused of committing sex crimes(link is external). Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner says the warrants were executed Thursday (Mar. 22) after the diocese didn’t cooperate with authorities.” By Associated Press in Detroit Free Press

NEW JERSEY

Priest groped teen girl, told her she was ‘sexy’
“A recently ordained Roman Catholic priest accused of groping a 13-year-old girl(link is external)under her skirt last summer has been indicted on criminal sexual contact and child endangerment charges. Morris County prosecutors say the Rev. Marcin Nurek touched the girl’s buttocks over her underwear and told her she was ‘sexy.’ The indictment was recently handed up by a county grand jury.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

NEW YORK

Archbishop Walsh denies it paid money toward $1.5 million sex abuse settlement
“Archbishop Walsh Academy and Southern Tier Catholic School officials are denying the school paid any money in a $1.5 million sexual abuse settlement(link is external) against one of its former priests. The 2016 settlement went to a former Archbishop Walsh High School student who alleged in a lawsuit he was sexually abused in the late 1970s and early 1980s by the Rev. James A. Spielman, who taught religion. In addition to Spielman, the lawsuit named the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Walsh as defendants, claiming the two institutions were aware of the abuse yet failed to stop it.” By Tom Kinki, Olean Times Herald

NY Archdiocese ‘most secretive’ on priest abuse
“The Archdiocese of New York is among the ‘most secretive’ Catholic districts in dealing with sex abuse allegations(link is external) against priests, a new report alleges. BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts-based clergy abuse watchdog group, said this week that the nation’s second largest diocese has done so poorly exposing sex abuse by priests that it has exposed fewer than one of the nation’s smallest dioceses.” By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, The Journal News on lohud.com

Former altar boy details alleged sexual contact by Buffalo diocesan priest
“As Holy Week begins, the Catholic sexual abuse scandal that has exploded(link is external) in the Diocese of Buffalo now reaches an active priest. The Rev. Dennis Riter, current pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Dunkirk, was put on administrative leave by Bishop Richard Malone this afternoon, the bishop’s spokesman told the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team.” By Charlie Specht, WKBW-TV

Diocese extends deadline for abuse victims to apply for compensation
Locals sexually abused by Catholic clergy(link is external) in the Diocese of Brooklyn have one more week to apply for the fund set up to compensate those victims. Diocesan leaders set a new deadline of March 31 to report incidents in order to be eligible for money from the program, after announcing the fund in June 2017.” By Brooklyn News

Another victim claims sexual abuse by a Catholic priest
“On the same day the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo issued an apology to victims of sexual abuse, another victim has come forward(link is external). WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley has the story. ‘And then one night he asked me to come over and watch t.v.,’ said a tearful Wayne Bortle. Former Western New Yorker Wayne Bortle could not hold back his emotions as he described being sexually abused by Father Robert Conlin at St. Mary’s Parish in Pavilion around 1980 when he was 15-years-old, nearly 40-years ago.” By Eileen Buckley, WBFO-RM Buffalo’s NPR Station

Catholic diocese report offers vindication for Falls pries accuser
“For decades, no one but his fellow victims would believe or admit what happened to Nick D’Amico was true. But now, more than 15 years after he first publicly revealed his alleged sexual abuse at the hands of a priest(link is external) from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, D’Amico has found vindication. On a list of priests that the diocese admits ‘were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor’ is the name of the man D’Amico says abused him, Father Richard P. Judd. The revelation has only increased what D’Amico called his ‘outrage.’” By Rick Pfeiffer and Philip Gambini, Niagara Gazette

Priest who abruptly left St. Mary’s in Batavia named in sex abuse scandal as Diocese releases 42 names
“Four days after The Buffalo News detailed sexual assault allegations against a priest(link is external)who abruptly left a Batavia parish in 2002 and the priest’s denial, the Diocese of Buffalo has released his name, along with 41 other priests accused of sexually abusing children. Father Donald Becker’s name was on that list. Becker left St. Mary’s Church in Batavia in 2002, ‘because of a medical leave of absence,’ the Diocese said at the time.” By Scott Desmit, The Daily News

Sex-abuse victims say Buffalo diocese’s list of accused priests doesn’t go far enough
“For Michael F. Whalen Jr., Tuesday’s (Mar. 20) action by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to publicly identify 42 priests accused of sexual misconduct(link is external) with minors is a good start. But it’s not enough. Whalen, who last month accused a priest of sexually abusing him as a child, unleashing a wave of new allegations against priests, wants to see the diocese do more.” By Aaron Besecker, Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Erie diocese takes another welcome step
“The Catholic Diocese of Erie announced on Wednesday (Mar.21) that in the coming weeks it will release the names of priests in the diocese who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external). That has taken too long. But it’s a welcome step in the right direction nevertheless. The Erie diocese made the announcement a day after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of the accused there. That diocese identified 42 accused priests, 24 of whom are dead.” By Editorial Board, GoErie.com

Philadelphia priest under investigation for alleged misconduct with a minor
“The pastor of a Northeast Philadelphia Catholic parish has been placed on administrative leave while police investigate a report of alleged misconduct with a minor(link is external), a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Sunday (Mar. 25). The Rev. Armand Garcia, formerly of St. Martin of Tours parish in the city’s Summerdale section, was removed from his post March 16 – the same day that investigators executed a search warrant on the parish rectory, said Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the archdiocese.” By Jeremy Roebuck and Stacey Burling, The Inquirer

Ex-priest names former ECC headmaster as alleged abuse
“Former-priest James Faluszczak, 48, now of Buffalo, N.Y., has decided to speak out — naming his alleged abuser(link is external), an Erie priest with local ties. Faluszczak has identified the Rev. Monsignor Daniel J. Martin, who served as pastor of St. Boniface Parish, Kersey, in 1962, and as headmaster of Elk County Christian, as the school was then called, serving there until 1970. Martin died in 2006 at age 88.” By Katie Weidenboerner, Courier Express

AUSTRALIA

Pedophiles to be punished with strengthened sentencing and new laws in changes slated for NSW
Repeat child sex abusers(link is external) will face a possible life in jail as NSW overhauls paedophile punishment legislation, but the Premier sidestepped introducing state laws to break the seal of confession. The NSW Premier and Attorney-General announced a suite of changes in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse final report released late last year.” By ABC News Australia

Catholic Church recruits police child protection officer to teach kids to identify sex abusers
“Catholic youngsters are being taught to identify grooming by sex abusers(link is external) by a child protection veteran who claims most children have no idea when it is happening, even if confronted with pornography. Andrea Musulin, who worked in the police child protection unit for three decades before being recruited by the Catholic Church to run its Safeguarding program, said most children were uneducated about pedophilia.” By Kim Macdonald, Perth Now

Calls for urgent systemic reform within the Catholic Church
“In the wake of the damning findings of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, several Catholic groups are demanding the Church make systemic changes(link is external). They say disillusioned Catholics are increasingly turning away from the faith. And they’re worried attempts at reform will be stymied by a lack of accountability within the Church.” By Sarah Sedghi, AM, ABC Australia

COLOMBIA

Catholic Church in Medellin protecting 17 pedophile priests
“The archdiocese of Colombia’s most Catholic city, Medellin, is protecting 17 priests who have been either convicted or accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), according to W Radio. The journalist who reported the story, Juan Barrientos, said this is ‘the biggest scandal of the [Catholic] Church in Colombia in the last 50 years.’ Barrientos said he became curious about the Catholic Chruch in the city after watching the award-winning film Spotlight about a US newspaper that uncovered widespread sexual abuse in the United States.” By Frank Cardona, Columbia Reports

CROATIA

Pedophilia scandal hits Catholic Church in Coratia
“The Catholic Church in Croatia has been hit by the latest pedophilia scandal(link is external). The Split-Makarska Archdiocese issued a short statement this morning (Apr. 3), saying that Archbishop Marin Barisic had sanctioned one of the local clerics with suspension. The reason is the fact that the Archdiocese Ordinary has received notice about possible criminal activity by the cleric in questions.” By Vedra Pavlic, Total Croatia News

GERMANY

Older pupils also abused students at German Catholic choir school
“A German public broadcaster on Tuesday (Mar. 20) broadened the scope of allegations of decades of abuse(link is external) at Germany’s most famous Roman Catholic choir school, saying not only teachers but older students were to blame. Last July, an independent report chronicled physical and sexual assaults by teachers against 547 pupils between 1945 and 2015 at the boarding school of the ‘Regensburger Domspatzen,’ or Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows.” By Reuters

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic Church facing payout over claim Peter Tobin priest raped schoolgirl
“The Catholic Church is bracing itself for a compensation action over claims(link is external) the priest disgraced in the Angelika Kluk murder trial repeatedly raped a schoolgirl. The Archdiocese of Glasgow has been paying for the victim to attend counseling sessions after she made allegations against the late Father Gerry Nugent three years ago. Now a 51-year-old mum is to launch a civil action against the church over the alleged attacks which she says destroyed her life.” By Craig McDonald, Daily Record

GUAM

Guam Catholic Church has a lot to do
“A Catholic Church watchdog on Guam says the church has a lot to do to rebuild trust(link is external), after the top Archbishop was convicted by a Vatican trial last week. A secretive Vatican trial on Friday (Mar. 16) found Anthony Apuron guilty of ‘certain accusations’ related to the sexual abuse of minors. Dave Sablan, whose group, Concerned Catholics of Guam, was formed around the time allegations began to surface, said the verdict was the first bit of justice for the dozens of men who came forward.” By RNZ News

‘Historic’ archbishop’s residence for sale
“In a move described as symbolic(link is external) – the turn of a chapter in history of the Catholic Church on Guam – an entire hilltop property where the archbishop lives and where Pope John Paul II slept during his historic 1981 visit is being offered for sale. Archbishop Michael Byrnes described the Archdiocese of Agana’s decision as a ‘turning of another page’ in the Catholic Church on Guam.” By Jamie Ward, The Guam Daily Post
— Guam archdiocese to move offices, sell chancery, other church properties(link is external)By Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Irish priest who claimed he had sex with a murder victim accused of raping schoolgirl
“A disgraced Irish priest who claimed he had sex with a murder victim(link is external) has been accused of raping a schoolgirl. The accuser is now aged 51 and is to launch a civil action against the Church over the alleged attacks that she says destroyed her life. The woman – who asked to be identified only as Teresa – said Fr Gerry Nugent made his way into her life when she went to stay with her gran as a vulnerable 11-year-old.” By Craig McDonald, Irish Mirror

Young boy was abused daily at Catholic home by Irish nun
“An elderly man, a former choirboy, has revealed that he was repeated raped by a nun(link is external)while he was homed in a Catholic children’s home, what’s more, she fell pregnant with his child. Edward Hayes, now 76 years old, has come forward with the shocking claims that he was sexually abused when he was just 12-years-old by a nun.” By IrishCentral.com

NEW ZEALAND

Catholic Church wants to be included in state abuse inquiry
“The Catholic Church has written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking for religious organizations to be included(link is external) in a Royal Commission looking into abuse in state care .. The letter, signed by Bishop Patrick Dunn, the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and Sister Katrina Fabish RSM, congregational leader of the Sisters of Mercy, said they supported the work of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care but wanted the Inquiry’s terms of reference broadened to include a range of Church institutions.” By Lucy Bennett, NZ Herald

New Zealand Catholic Church still keeping issues behind closed doors
“Where it occurs in the Catholic Church, and priests are the perpetrators, Cardinal John Dew, who is also bishop of Wellington, has been uncompromising in the past in calling it out. It was ‘professional misconduct by means of sexual abuse(link is external)’ for any priest to have a sexual relationship with a parishioner, he has said. ‘It is always, in the case of a member of the clergy, his professional and pastoral responsibility to recognize the vulnerability of the person he’s ministering to and to take appropriate steps to avoid emotional, physical and sexual involvement.’” By Phil Pennington, Radio NZ

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