Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Catholic Archbishop to be tried for protecting pedophile priest has Alzheimer’s
“Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was given a ‘working diagnosis’ of Alzheimer’s disease two weeks before he was due to face court for failing to report child sexual abuse allegations(link is external)(link is external) to police, the Newcastle Herald reports. The diagnosis was made only weeks after Archbishop Wilson had a fall requiring stitches to a head wound in an Adelaide emergency department, which led to a cardiologist’s appointment and emergency surgery last week to have a pacemaker fitted.”  By CathNews.com

Hartford Archdiocese given poor grade for financial transparency
“A watchdog group has rated the Archdiocese of Hartford as one of the worst in the country for how much financial information it posts online(link is external)(link is external) in a just-released nationwide study of the Catholic Church. The study, done by the international watchdog group Voice of the Faithful, said the archdiocese in Hartford did not do things that should be routine, like posting audited financial statements and information on the weekly collections that are a key source of church revenue.” By Ken Byron, Hartford Courant

Parish roundup: follow the money(link is external)(link is external)By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

VOTF study reveals wide disparity in online financial transparency of U.S. Roman Catholic diocesesBy Voice of the Faithful

Brooklyn diocese names eight priests who sexually abused children
“Over the past 25 years, a university professor named Jaime Lara built an illustrious career in the academic world of sacred art history … On Thursday (Nov. 8), the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn revealed that 25 years ago, Mr. Lara, then known as the Rev. James Lara, was laicized by the Vatican for sexually abusing children(link is external)(link is external).” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Responding to sexual abuse will take years – and it should
“The flood of revelations about sexual harassment and assault(link is external)(link is external), whether in Washington or Hollywood, is unlikely to stop anytime soon. The walls of denial built up by position and self-protective ignorance have been breached. If the tragic revelations of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis are any guide, the process of reckoning with problems that have been avoided for decades will itself take decades.” By Editorial Board at America: The Jesuit Review

Vatican beefs up oversight of diplomats after two sex probes
“Pope Francis has beefed up the Vatican’s oversight of its diplomatic corps after two recent cases of alleged sexual misconduct(link is external)(link is external) and other instances of its ambassadors going off-message from the pope. The Vatican said Tuesday (Nov. 21) that Francis had created a new section in the secretariat of state to coordinate the selection, training and service of its diplomats. It said the change will enable the head of the diplomatic office to make more frequent visits to embassies and better coordinate with the Vatican’s secretary of state, and its interior and foreign ministers.” By Associated Press in Daily Herald

ACCOUNTABILITY

Catholic Church priests raped children in Philadelphia, but the wrong people went to jail
“Ask (retired Philadelphia police detective Joe) Walsh about his stellar career, and he’ll tell you he was just doing his job. But there is something he’s especially proud of—in his 35 years on the force, Walsh believes he never locked up an innocent man or woman. Until, that is, his last case, when he was asked to investigate the alleged multiple rapes of a former altar boy(link is external) a grand jury dubbed “Billy Doe” to protect his identity.” By Ralph Cipriano, Newsweek

Catholic Church ‘particularly subject’ to temptation to cover up abuse
“The Catholic church is “particularly subject to the temptation to cover up abuse(link is external)” in order to protect its reputation, the national inquiry into child sex abuse has been told. On the opening day of a three week hearing on the English Benedictine Congregation as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), lawyers representing abuse victims said mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct must be introduced in the church to prevent abuses occurring.” By Rose Gamble, The Tablet
— Catholic clerical abuse topic of 2017 Lester Lecture,’ By Carina Julig, Colorado University Independent

Why do state laws put an expiration date on sex crimes?
“Statutes of limitations are laws designed to protect a person from being prosecuted for a crime after physical evidence has deteriorated, or become less reliable, over time. These time limits vary from crime to crime, and between states. That’s a big problem for victims of sexual violence(link is external) who may need years or even decades to fully process trauma and understand what happened to them, said Rebecca O’Connor, who directs public policy for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, also known as RAINN, which tracks sexual offense statutes of limitation by state.” By Laura Santhanam, WGBH, Public Broadcasting System

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis supporters should make themselves heard
“There’s a perception out there—especially in the English-speaking world—that the Catholic Church right now is a simmering cauldron of discontent(link is external). The most recent pot-stirrer is Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy, former doctrinal chief of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference. He released to the press a letter he sent to Pope Francis, which faulted him for creating confusion, appointing errant bishops, and demeaning doctrine in general … Those who support Pope Francis’s leadership have tended to keep a fairly low profile by comparison.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

Pope reaffirms conscience as heresy debate divides church
“Pope Francis on Saturday (Nov. 11) reaffirmed the ‘primacy’ of using one’s conscience to navigate tough moral questions(link is external) in his first comments since he was publicly accused of spreading heresy by emphasizing conscience over hard and fast Catholic rules. Francis issued a video message to a conference organized by Italian bishops on his controversial 2016 document on family life, ‘The Joy of Love.’ The document has badly divided the Catholic Church, with some commentators warning that it risked creating a schism given its opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press
— More Catholic than the Pope?(link is external) By John Gehring, Commonweal

BISHOPS

USCCB Annual Fall Meeting
Catholic bishops are meeting in Baltimore this week(link is external) (Nov. 13-15) for their annual fall meeting, where the agenda includes an address from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, updates from working groups on racism and immigration as well as elections for heads of various subcommittees. The bishops as a body have been vocal in recent months about a range of political and social issues, from tax reform to gun control, as well as internal church politics. Some of these issues are sure to come up during their meeting.” By America: The Jesuit Review

U.S. bishops, as a group, still resist Pope Francis’ pastoral impulse
“The most important takeaway from the U.S. bishops’ plenary meeting(link is external) this week in Baltimore is that they as a group remain determined to resist the pastoral impulse and approach to which Pope Francis is calling the church. Just as it took Pope John Paul II years to take the conference in a more conservative direction, it will take the bishops who champion Francis a few more years before they have the votes to take the conference in a new direction.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Head of U.S. bishops: we must resist the division caused by hot-button issues
Resisting the division caused by hot-button church and political issues(link is external) must be a priority for U.S. bishops, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told the group Monday (Nov. 13) morning. ‘Ours is a diverse flock. People look, talk and even think differently from each other,’ Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said in Baltimore. ‘This is a fact that the forces of division will use all the more.’” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review
— Cardinal Parolin addresses U.S. bishops with call for ‘profound consensus,(link is external)’ By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
— Nuncio: bishops must focus on youth, evangelization, Jesus(link is external)By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter
— Catholic bishops take on racism in society and the church(link is external)By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter
— USCCB Fall 2017 Feature Series(link is external)By National Catholic Reporter

At home and abroad: bishops’ conferences show collegiality, solidarity
“The role of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other bishops’ conferences around the world is ‘catholic’ — working together to promote the church’s mission(link is external), but also ‘to support peace building and human development throughout the world,’ said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Cardinal Parolin responded to written questions from Catholic News Service Nov. 10, just before he was scheduled to travel to the United States. He was to preside and give the homily at a Mass Nov. 12 in Baltimore marking the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot
— A better agenda?(link is external) By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

7th Conference of the German Bishops’ Conference on Sexual Abuse
“With a call to continue to follow the issue of sexual abuse closely(link is external), the 7th conference of the German Bishops’ Conference on sexual abuse has come to an end today (Nov. 16). Under the theme “Irritated Systems – The Impact (Suspicion) of Sexual Abuse on Affected Systems and Possibilities of Qualified Assistance.” Bishops were invited by Bishop Dr. Stephan Ackermann, commissioner for questions of sexual abuse in the church and for questions of the protection of children and young people, about 90 Vicars General, personnel managers and the Abuse and Prevention Commissioner of the German dioceses and religious communities in Cologne have come together.” By Deutsche Bischofkonferenz

PRIESTS

Abuse by priests in not due to celibacy, says Vatican expert
Celibacy cannot be blamed for clerical sex abuse(link is external) because the average perpetrator does not commit the crime for up to 20 years after entering the priesthood, according to a top Vatican expert. Professor Hans Zollner, a member of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, said ‘celibacy as such is not the problem’ because the average age of clerical paedophiles is 39. If were a problem, the age would be closer to that when priests take their vows, which is usually in their twenties.” By Sarah MacDonald, Irish Independent
— Pay ‘greatest attention’ to protection of minors in seminarian training(link is external)By Sarah Mac Donald, The Tablet

Vatican says investigating alleged abuser who became priest
“The Vatican said on Saturday (No. 18) it had opened an investigation into reports that a former teenage altar boy, who allegedly repeatedly forced a dormitory mate to have sex with him(link is external), went on to become a priest. The allegations concerning the St. Pius X Institute, known as a pre-seminary, were made in a recent book and in Italian television reports.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, on Aol.com

MASS TRANSLATIONS

Seize the moment: authors say it’s time to roll back the 2010 missal
“Eminent Jesuit theologian Fr. Gerald O’Collins has appealed to every English-speaking episcopal conference in the church to seize the moment(link is external), dust off the 1998 English translation of the Roman Missal and substitute it for the contentious and clunky 2010 translation. In his new book, Lost in Translation: the English Language and the Catholic Mass, O’Collins, who is currently a research professor at the Jesuit Theological College in Australia, scrutinizes the church’s ‘liturgy wars’ and the Vatican’s ‘usurpation’ of the local bishops’ authority.” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter
— A nail in the coffin of Liturgiam Authenticam(link is external)By Rita Ferrone on PrayTellBlog.com

WOMEN DEACONS

Orthodox move for women deacons called ‘revitalization’ not ‘innovation’
“Orthodox liturgical theologians are voicing support for the decision of Patriarch Theodoros II and the Greek Orthodox Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to reinstate the order of deaconesses(link is external). ‘We respectfully support the decision of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to restore the female diaconate, thus giving flesh to an idea that has been discussed and studied by pastors and theologians for decades,’ nine theologians from theology schools and seminaries of the United States and Greece said in a statement dated Oct. 31.” By James Dearie, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women & the Church
“Writing from the Commonweal archives that investigates the women’s relationship to the church(link is external) through the centuries.” By The Editors, Commonweal

Catholic Church’s stance on women alienates people, archbishop says
“The low standing of women in the Catholic Church(link is external) is the most significant reason for the feeling of alienation towards it in Ireland today, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said. ‘Next would be the ongoing effect of the scandals of child sexual abuse,’ he said in an address on Thursday (Nov. 16).” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Irish priests told: reform takes working with bishops, parishioners
“Priests who are campaigning for liberal reforms within the church need to work harder to bring parishioners on board and quit arguing with bishops(link is external), according to one of Ireland’s more progressive religious voices. Fr. Mark Patrick Hederman, a prominent author and former abbot of Benedictine Glenstal Abbey, urged a Nov. 7 gathering of priests to become part of what he described as Pope Francis’ ‘velvet revolution’ to change the church.” By Michael Kelly, National Catholic Reporter

Europe’s church creatively rethinks as numbers plummet
(Nov. 15, 2017) “What made the task (Catholic education) more daunting, (Patric) De Rond (Luxemburg’s head of religious teaching) told Vatican Radio, was the church’s recent reorganization, which had reduced Luxembourg’s existing 274 Catholic parishes to just 33(link is external). How could such a small pastoral network possibly meet the challenge? In reality, such problems have been facing the church all over Europe, as its local leaders seek to adapt structurally and pastorally to falling numbers and dwindling participation.” By Jonathan Luxmoore, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN II

For Cardinal Parolin, Vatican II still benefits the Church
“The Second Vatican Council, rightly understood, continues to be a force for evangelization and renewal(link is external) in the Church, according to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Holy See. Cardinal Parolin, speaking Nov. 14 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., reflected on the council’s global impact, its focus on the poor, its efforts to counter clericalism and empower the laity, and its efforts to re-emphasize collegiality among bishops.” By Catholic News Agency

VOICES

Was it better back then?
“On October 31 Catholics and Protestants marked with ecumenical spirit or with polemical tone the anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. Just a few days later—November 4—came the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, one of the great saints of the counter-reformation, or ‘Catholic Reform,’ or ‘early modern Catholicism,’ depending on your preferred historical-theological interpretation of that very long period. He along with St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Philip Neri, and others were once associated with ‘the golden age’ of confessional Catholicism, but now that age does not seem so golden anymore(link is external). Some of the reactions against Pope Francis seem to be the expression of (or to express a new enchantment with) medieval Christendom.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican Bank’s deputy director is removed from his position
“The Deputy Director General of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), known as the Vatican Bank, was escorted outside the Vatican and removed from his position(link is external) on Monday (Nov. 27). Giulio Mattietti, was appointed in 2015 by the current General Director of the IOR, Gian Franco Mammì, and according to Italian news outlets was led outside the Vatican on Nov. 27. The Holy See press office confirmed the news of his removal to the media … The motivation behind the removal of Mattietti currently remains unknown.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

Catholic Church Down and Connor diocese has assets worth £140M
“A Catholic Church diocese in the north had an income last year of close to £25m – with almost half coming from donations such as offertory collections. Down and Connor diocese also had assets worth almost £140m including more than £20m of cash in the bank, but its expenditure reached nearly £29m. The finances are revealed in newly published records submitted to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. It is the first time a Catholic Church diocese has had its funds made public through the north’s charity regulator(link is external).” By Brendan Hughes, The Irish News

Catholic diocese surpasses $100 million endowment campaign
“The Buffalo Catholic Diocese has surpassed its goal of $100 million for its ‘Upon This Rock’ capital and endowment campaign(link is external). ‘The Diocese of Buffalo is blessed to report that we have raised over $107 million for these vitally important institutions,’ announced Bishop Richard Malone to a room full of supporters Monday (Nov. 20).” By Marian Hetherly, WBFO-FM, Buffalo’s National Public Radio Station

Okemos priest will stand trial in St. Martha’s embezzlement
“A long-time Okemos priest will stand trial on charges that he stole from his parish(link is external). The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle was bound over by District Judge Donald Allen Friday (Nov. 17) at the conclusion of a four-day preliminary examination. Wehrle will stand trial on six counts of embezzlement of $100,000 or more.” By Beth LeBlanc, Lansing State Journal

Former Onalaska church secretary gets four years in prison for theft of more than $800,000
“A former Onalaska church secretary who stole more than $800,000 from collection plates(link is external) during a nine-year period was sentenced Thursday in federal court to four years in prison and ordered to repay St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Barbara L. Snyder, 60, did not offer remorse or an explanation in court for the offense, which Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen, who is also a member of the church’s finance council, said was ‘probably the biggest tragedy.’” By Kevin Murphy for the La Crosse Tribune

Former Halsted Catholic priest David Clark cleared of £12K fraud charges
“A Catholic priest has been cleared of two counts of fraud(link is external). Father David Clark, formerly the parish priest at St Francis of Assisi Church, in Colchester Road, was accused of misappropriating funds during his time in charge between 2010 and 2014. But he was cleared by a jury of both counts when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court this week following a three-day trial.” By Robbie Bryson, Halsted Gazette

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Children at top Catholic schoos ‘still at risk of abuse’
“Pupils at Roman Catholic schools could still be at risk of sexual abuse(link is external) despite years of efforts to remove predators and improve child safeguarding, an inquiry heard yesterday. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has begun examining the prevalence of pedophilia among Benedictine monks and failures to protect young people.” By Josh White, The Daily Mail

Vatican investigating abuse at pre-seminary
“The Vatican announced it had launched a new investigation into reports about sexual abuse in a pre-seminary(link is external) for young adolescents run by the Diocese of Como, Italy, but located inside the Vatican. Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement Nov. 18 saying that beginning in 2013 when ‘some reports, anonymous and not,’ were made, staff of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary and the bishop of Como both conducted investigations … However, ‘in consideration of new elements that recently emerged, a new investigation is underway to shed full light on what really happened,’ the statement said.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Professor resigns after exposed as defrocked priest who abused kids
“A renowned professor of medieval art history has resigned from his post at Arizona State University after he was unmasked by the Catholic church as a former priest who was defrocked for sexually abusing children(link is external) 25 years ago. James Lara, who also went by the first name Jaime, served 19 years in the Catholic ministry in New York City before being ousted in 1992 for the abuse, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced on Thursday (Nov. 9).” By Nina Golgowski, Huffington Post
— Catholic Church waits 25 years to reveal pedophile past of Arizona professor(link is external)By david McAfee, Patheos.com

CALIFORNIA

Ex-Los Banos priest convicted of child porn possession for second time in two years
“An ex-priest of a Los Banos Catholic church pleaded no contest Tuesday (Nov. 28) of possessing child pornography(link is external) for the second time in two years. Robert Gamel, 67, pleaded no contest to possessing the same illegal images the led to his prior March 2016 conviction of possessing child pornography. He also formally admitted violating probation from his previous conviction.” By Vikaas Shanker, Los Banos Enterprise, in Merced Sun-Star

FLORIDA

Revered South Bay monsignor accused of covering up sex abuse
“By most accounts the Irish-born (Monsignor Michael) Lenihan was a revered spiritual leader. Now, an attorney handling a child sex abuse case against former St. Lawrence priest Chris Cunningham claims Lenihan knew the priest was accused of sexual assault(link is external) before Cunningham arrived at the Redondo Beach parish in 1998. The lawyer also said he has a witness prepared to testify that Lenihan was notified about the incident involving a child at St. Lawrence school before Cunningham was transferred to another parish in 2001 where he allegedly continued to molest young boys.” By David Rosenfeld, The Beach Reporter

ILLINOIS

Ruling delayed on custody conditions for ex-priest Daniel McCormack
“A former Chicago priest convicted of molesting children(link is external) will have to wait a little longer to see if he will be locked down indefinitely at a state facility for sex offenders. The fate of Daniel McCormack was to be decided Monday (Nov. 27). But Friday (Nov. 24) evening, the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said a decision has been delayed, though Monday’s hearing will go on. At that hearing, a new date for ruling on McCormack’s fate will be set.” By Andy Grimm, Chicago Sun Times

KANSAS

Kansas priest removed from parish after hiking trip with children
“A Kansas priest who took a hiking trip with children and no other adults has been removed from the pulpit, although no abuse has been alleged(link is external). The Wichita Eagle reported that the Diocese of Wichita described what happened in a letter to parishioners Thursday (Nov. 9). It said the priest was removed from ministry at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway Springs after an Oct. 9 hiking trip. Conway Springs is about 25 miles northwest of Wichita.” By Associated Press in The Topeka Capital-Journal

KENTUCKY

Terminally ill Catholic priest released from prison
“A Kentucky priest convicted of sexual abuse(link is external) has been released early from prison due to a terminal illness. James Schook was granted early medical parole and released from prison on Tuesday (Nov. 14). Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb says Schook will be supervised by a parole officer. In order to receive that type of release, Lamb says, an inmate ‘must have a medical diagnosis of being within a year or less of death.’” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

MAINE

Ex-priest who was fired from cheverus and went to prison faces new sex charges in Maine
“A former Jesuit priest who taught and coached at Cheverus High School for nearly two decades before being fired in 1998 is scheduled to be arraigned in Portland on charges he sexually assaulted a minor(link is external) in Freeport nearly 20 years ago. A grand jury indictment dated Nov. 9 and obtained by the Press Herald on Tuesday (Nov.28) identifies the priest as 80-year-old James Francis Talbot of Dittmer, Missouri.” By Dennis Hoey, Portland Press Herald

Former Massachusetts priest reindicted on Maine sex abuse charges
“The York County grand jury has reindicted a former priest from Massachusetts who is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing two boys(link is external) he brought to Maine in the 1980s. Ronald Paquin now faces 31 counts of sexual abuse in York County. He was originally indicted in February on 29 counts of sexual abuse for acts he allegedly committed in the mid- to late 1980s when he brought the boys to Maine for ‘short-term stays,’ Kennebunk Police Chief Craig Sanford said at the time Paquin was charged.” By Edward Murphy, Portland Press Herald
— Defrocked priest now faces 31 counts of sex abuse in Maine(link is external)By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report
— Defrocked priest pleads not guilty to 31 charges of sex abuse,(link is external) By CBS News WGME-TV

MICHIGAN

Priest who molested students at Jackson Lumen Christi loses case in Court of Appeals
“A former priest who says prosecutors waited too long to charge him with sexual abuse(link is external)has lost his case at the Michigan appeals court. James Rapp was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for molesting students at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson in the 1980s. He was in prison in Oklahoma for similar crimes when he was charged in Michigan in 2015. The appeals court says any statute of limitations was suspended when Rapp was locked up in Oklahoma. The 3-0 opinion was released Wednesday (Nov. 15).” By Associated Press on WILX.com

MINNESOTA

Retired priest removed from clerical state
“Richard Jeub, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis since 1966, has been dispensed from the clerical state(link is external), according to a Nov. 29 statement from the archdiocese. Jeub, 77, retired in 2002, but he has been prohibited from ministry since that year, following a credible accusation of sexual abuse of a minor.” By Maria, Wiering, The Catholic Spirit

Two years on, Hebda speaks about work done, work left to o in archdiocese
“On a recent Sunday morning in Lakeville, parishioners at All Saints Catholic Church celebrated the church’s 140th anniversary with a special guest: Archbishop Bernard Hebda. At the event, Hebda charmed the congregation with his self-effacing humor. ‘It was pretty obvious I was going to have to adjust the microphone after the deacon,’ Hebda said, making fun of his shorter, rounder frame. Hebda visits a new Church nearly every Sunday as part of his mission to reform the archdiocese. The Harvard-educated Hebda was chosen by the Vatican and installed as archbishop in 2016. He was tasked with healing wounds caused by the priest sex abuse scandal(link is external) that forced the archdiocese into bankruptcy.” By KSTP-TV

Duluth diocese insurer puts up $9M for clergy abuse settlements
“An insurer for the bankrupt Diocese of Duluth has agreed to provide $9 million that could help compensate clergy sexual abuse victims(link is external). But other insurers and the diocese have yet to agree on what money they may provide to more than 100 victims. Josh Peck, one of the attorneys representing abuse survivors, said it’s good to see the deal with an insurer but a resolution of the bankruptcy is not imminent.” By Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

MISSOURI

SNAP apologizes to accused priest as part of settlement
“A support group for victims of clergy abuse has apologized to a Roman Catholic priest(link is external) who sued after child molestation charges against him were dropped and jurors in a separate lawsuit concerning the allegations sided with the China-born priest. The Archdiocese of St. Louis on Monday (Nov. 27) disclosed the apology from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.” By Associated Press on FOX News

Former priest accused of sex abuse in 1970s
“There are new reports of sex abuse inside the Catholic Church(link is external). An accuser says reverend Dennis Zacheis sexually abused him while Zacheis was an associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Oakville from 1975 to 1979. The Archdiocese says Zacheis has been retired since 2010 because of financial irregularities while he was a pastor at Saint Anthony’s in Sullivan.” By KSDK-TV
— Archdiocese of St. Louis reports sexual abuse allegation against retired priest(link is external)By Blythe Bernhard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
— Man sues Roman Catholic priest over childhood sexual assault allegations(link is external)By Lhalie Castillo, Madison-St. Cloud Record

NEBRASKA

Priest who asked students about porn reassigned, will lead Mass on Sunday
“The young Catholic priest who was moved out of a parish(link is external) for his questions of seventh- and eighth-graders during confession has been reassigned under the guidance of a veteran pastor. The Rev. Nicholas Mishek will lead the 9 a.m. Mass Sunday at St. Frances Cabrini Church south of downtown. Out of the public eye, he has lived at the rectory there for at least a month, said the Rev. Damian Zuerlein, pastor. ‘He is young and inexperienced,’ Zuerlein said, ‘and is trying to learn from this and move forward.’” By Michael Kelly, Omaha World-Herald

NEW MEXICO

Shattered Faith Part II: The wide circle of silence
“Editor’s Note: This story is the second in a series called ‘Shattered Faith,’ in which KOB 4 Investigates examines the cases of three former Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe whose alleged widespread abuse of children(link is external) decades ago not only went undealt with, but has contributed to what many mental health professionals call a mental health crisis for New Mexico. The first story in this series, ‘A dangerous shuffle game,’ can be found here.(link is external) Read on for the second part of ‘Shattered Faith.’  By Chris Ramirez, KOB-TV

NEW YORK

Conflicting views on Long Island diocese’s compensation plan
“The three men grew up on Long Island in devout Catholic families. They attended Catholic schools and were befriended by parish priests they say were revered by their parents and often were dinner guests in their homes. The decades have passed: Today they are 42, 51 and 62. But when they were boys, those priests allegedly sexually abused them(link is external), putting their lives in turmoil and devastating family members who found out only years later.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Manhattan priest still on the job despite allegations of sexual abuse from two former altar boys
“A Manhattan parish priest remains on the job despite allegations from two former altar boys that he sexually abused the pair(link is external), an attorney charged Thursday (Nov. 9). The Rev. Lawrence Quinn targeted the boys in two separate incidents while in a Bronx parish, Our Lady of Mercy, where he spent nearly two decades, according to lawyer Patrick Noaker.” By Aaron Showalter, Laura Dimon and Larry McShane, New York Daily News

RHODE ISLAND

Priest accused of sex abuse now Newport psychologist
“Rev. Christopher Cunningham, facing two civil lawsuits, practices at Seaside Psychological Services on Bellevue Avenue. He was licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Health in 2013, after working briefly in Pennsylvania. A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children(link is external) in churches in Southern California in the 1990s and early 2000s is now working as a licensed psychologist in Newport.” By Jacqueline Tempera, Providence Journal

AUSTRALIA

Former Catholic priest accused of child sex offenses
“The victims of an alleged pedophile priest(link is external) who was extradited to Sydney from New Zealand, are disappointed he has been granted bail but say they are looking forward to the case finally proceeding through the courts. Former Catholic priest James Joseph Cunneen is accused of sex offenses against seven teenage boys from a Marist Brothers school in Sydney’s west in the late 1980s.” By Mazoe Ford, ABC News Australia

Cardinal George Pell’s legal team requests documents
“Lawyers defending Cardinal George Pell on historical sexual offenses(link is external) have requested documents from ABC journalist Louise Milligan and Melbourne University Press relating to a book about the senior Catholic published last year. The book written by Milligan called ‘Cardinal: the Rise and Fall of George Pell’ was voluntarily removed from Victorian bookstores after Cardinal Pell was charged in July.” By Karen Percy, ABC News Australia

CANADA

Quebec Catholic boarding school priest suspended following sexual assault allegations
“A 57-year-old man has applied for a class action lawsuit against Collège Servite in Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec and the religious Servite community, alleging sexual abuse(link is external) that he suffered at the hands of history teacher Father Jacques Desgrandchamps. In response, the priest accused has been suspended.” By Prashant Bhawalkar on MTLBlog.com

Canadian Catholic Church may be riven to bankruptcy by sex abuse lawsuits, says priest
“The Catholic Church in Canada could be driven to bankruptcy because of the numerous ongoing sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) against priests which could easily cost millions of dollars, according to a local archbishop. Speaking to CBC News in an interview, Moncton’s Archbishop Valéry Vienneau said their diocese previously had money ‘but doesn’t anymore.’” By Lorraine Caballero, Christian Daily

‘A long and tortuous road’: Catholic brother’s guilty plea brings relief for victim, but not closure
“After waiting seven years for the moment to come(link is external), he was anxious the night before. He kept his phone close and waited for the prosecutor’s call: surely, as had already happened so many times, there would be another delay. But the call never came. So the next morning, he woke early and left for the Montreal courthouse.” By Jesse Feith, Montreal Gazette

56 lawsuits against Catholic Church that allege sexual abuse are before N.B. courts
“Almost every month for a year, lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church in New Brunswick by alleged victims seeking compensation for sexual abuse by priests(link is external). Many of the priests are dead, but that hasn’t stopped the lawsuits in Moncton, Bathurst and Edmundston from piling up. CBC News has found at least 56 lawsuits are still before the courts, despite an extensive conciliation process a few years ago.”  By Gabrielle Fahmy, Canadian Broadcasting Company
— Lawyer representing sex abuse victims of New Brunswick Catholic priests believes hundreds more complainants will emerge(link is external), By Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press, in The Star

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

St. Albans priest posthumously accused of abuse by two victims
“Father Thomas Heley came to the Parish of Saints Alban & Stephens in St Albans in 1977, and stayed there until his death in 1986, during which time it was alleged he abused young boys(link is external). One victim said: “I have been seriously affected by the childhood sexual abuse I experienced. ‘It’s had a crippling impact on my ability to sustain relationships, as I feel I cannot trust people or let people get too close.’” By Frank Whieldon, The Herts Advertiser

Priest fled UK out of ‘cowardice’ after sexual assault charges
“Laurence Soper, 74, is charged with 19 counts of sexual assault against boys(link is external) at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, where he taught. Mr Soper was returned to the UK in May 2016 from after a five-year police hunt in Kosovo, the Old Bailey heard. Ten former pupils have made allegations dating back to the 1970s and 80s.” By BBC News

Catholic priest jailed for sex abuse granted right to appeal
“Michael Higginbottom, 74, from Newcastle, was found guilty of a series of sex assaults(link is external) when he worked as a teacher at St Joseph’s College, in Upholland, Lancashire, in the 1970s. He was jailed for 17 years in April. His lawyers told the Court of Appeal his convictions were unsafe due to an error in the trial judge’s ruling on what evidence went before the jury.” By BBC News
— Catholic priest jailed for sex abuse granted right to appeal(link is external)By BBCNews

Catholic church school pupils could still be at risk of abuse, inquiry told
“Children at Roman Catholic church schools could still be ‘at risk’ of sexual abuse(link is external)despite years of efforts to root out predators, an inquiry has heard. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is examining the prevalence of pedophilia in the English Benedictine Congregation and failures in protecting young people.” By Times & Star

GUAM

Former Guam resident files $10 million clergy sex abuse suit
“A former Guam resident now living in North Carolina said he quit the Boy Scouts of America in the 1970s after he could no longer handle the pain, humiliation and embarrassment that Father Louis Brouillard inflicted on him(link is external), according to a lawsuit filed Thursday (Nov. 29) in federal court.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Are sex abuse claims against clergy beyond statute of limitations?
“Is it too little too late? Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood will have to decide if a 2016 law that lifted the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases(link is external) covers all expired claims. The issue comes as defense for Archbishop Anthony Apuron motions for dismissal. At stake: the nearly 150 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits filed to date, both in the local and federal courts.” By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

Man says priest, who was family friend, abused him at home
“A 58-year-old man has accused former Guam priest Antonio Cruz, who died more than 30 years ago, of sexually abusing him(link is external) in 1974, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday (Nov. 14) in the U.S. District Court of Guam. The lawsuit, filed by a man identified only by the initials “L.J.G.” states Cruz was close friends with the man’s parents and visited the family weekly. It is the 143rd lawsuit filed in federal or local court, accusing a clergy member or other person associated with the Catholic Church on Guam of sexual abuse.” By Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News

Sex abuse victims say priest forced boys to undress and take turns sitting on his lap
“The latest sex abuse lawsuit filed(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana describes some of the routine practices of the alleged pedophiles against the victims. The latest lawsuit comes from B.F. who names two individuals, Father Louis Brouillard and Boy Scout Leader Edward Pereira. B.F. says that he was not a member of the Boy Scouts or officially an altar server but often participated in their events and outings.” By Janela Carrera, Pacific News First

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Priests given wallet-size help cards for handling abuse claims
“The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has issued a portable information card to assist priests faced with abuse allegations(link is external). It was claimed at its annual meeting in Athlone last week (Nov. 13) that guidelines prepared for the handling of such cases by the church’s own child protection watchdog, its National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), were not being followed by bishops and religious superiors.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times
— Irish priests advised on how to deal with being accused of sexual abuse(link is external)By Nick Bramhill, Irish Central

ITALY

Catholic officials warn ex-seminarians over sex claims
“Catholic officials in Italy have threatened former altar boys of the pope with criminal defamation charges(link is external) for having publicly accused an older seminarian of sexual misconduct when they lived together at the youth seminary inside the Vatican gardens. Church lawyers in the diocese of Como have also warned an Italian investigative news program against broadcasting the boys’ claims and have purportedly pressed a church official to recant his suggestion of a cover-up. The response is indicative of how the allegations of gay sex among altar boys inside the Vatican walls have touched a raw nerve in the Vatican and the Italian church.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on ABCNews.go.com

NEW GUINEA

Alotau police on priest sex allegations
“Twenty-nine victims of the alleged sexual harassment(link is external) by a Catholic priest at a secondary school in Milne Bay have had their cases formally investigated and completed by police. Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector George Bayagau confirmed that among the 29 victims are five teachers. He has also instructed the officers from police sexual violence unit handling the case to speed up the process. ‘We have done case by case reports from all 29 victims and are ready to call the suspect,’ he said.” By Papua New Guinea Post-Courier

NEW ZEALAND

Catholic priest, 58, extradited from New Zealand to face charges of sexually assaulting seven boys and young men
“A former Catholic priest has been extradited from New Zealand after being accused of sexually assaulting seven boys and young men(link is external) aged between 14 and 20. New Zealand police arrested a 58-year-old man at his home in Hamilton, on the nation’s North Island, in July. Investigators travelled to New Zealand on Wednesday to take custody of the man and return him to Australia.” By Kate Darvall, The Daily Mail, Australia

PHILIPPINES

Philippines to extradite priest accused of molesting U.S. boys
“The Philippine government is preparing to extradite to the United States a recently arrested Filipino Catholic priest who faces charges of sexually molesting two boys(link is external) in North Dakota churches in the 1990s, an official said Wednesday (Nov. 22). Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras said Fernando Laude Sayasaya was arrested over the weekend by police in Calamba city in Laguna province south of Manila and will be flown back to the U.S., which sought his extradition under a treaty.” By Associated Press on FOV-TV

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup, Sept. 29, 2017


TOP STORIES

Pope admits Catholic Church waited too long to respond to clergy abuse crisis
“Pope Francis has admitted that the Catholic Church waited too long(link is external) before taking reports of clergy sexual abuse seriously, suggesting that the former practice of moving priests accused of abuse to new ministries instead of reporting them to authorities kept the church numb to the scope of the situation … The pontiff also called ‘prophetic’ the men and women who urged the church for decades to face the problem.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Pope admits church realized sex abuse problem ‘a bit late(link is external),’ By Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, in The Boston Globe
— Abuse survivor calls for more accountability after Pope Francis promises ‘zero tolerance(link is external).’ By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

University report lifts the lid on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
“The most comprehensive report ever published(link is external) on the systemic reasons behind child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has recently been released. The August 2017 report … examined 26 commissions of inquiry, scientific research and literature since 1985 to find common features in the culture, history and structures of the church and the psychological, social and theological factors that contributed to the tragedy. The report, five years in the making, comes from a research team at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University headed by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter
— Catholic sexual abuse partly caused by secrecy and mandatory celibacyBy Melissa Davey, The Guardian

‘Magnum Principium’ is the latest event in the ‘liturgy wars’
(Part of NCR Magnum Principium Feature Series)
“Pope Francis’ Sept. 9 announcement that he was decentralizing the Vatican’s authority over translations of liturgical texts, turning that duty back over to local bishops, created quite a buzz in Catholic circles(link is external) because, for some, it capped a story that spans more than 50 years. It is the story of the ‘liturgy wars.’” By James Dearie, Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter
— Magnum Principium Feature Series(link is external), By National Catholic Reporter
— Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio “Magnum Principium(link is external)” Quibus nonulla in can. 838 Codicis Iuris Canonici immutantur, 09.09.2017

Official at Vatican embassy to United States removed over child porn allegations
“The Vatican has confirmed a priest serving at the Holy See embassy to the United States has been recalled to Rome after receiving information he had violated child pornography laws(link is external). The priest is now being investigated by the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com
— Vatican diplomat recalled amid child porn investigation(link is external)By Nicole Winfield and Matthew Lee, Associated Press
— Vatican diplomat to the U.S. recalled amid child pornography investigation,(link is external) By Gerard O’Connell, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review
— Vatican diplomat recalled from U.S. during child-porn investigation(link is external)By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

French cardinal ordered to stand trial over cover-up
“French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and a senior Vatican official were ordered on Tuesday (Sept. 19) to stand trial for allegedly covering up for a pedophile priest(link is external) accused of abusing several boy scouts in Lyon in the 1980s, Yahoo7 News reports. The most senior French Catholic official to be tried for failing to report a pedophile priest will go on trial on April 4 next year along with six co-defendants, a court in Lyon said. Cardinal Barbarin, who is Archbishop of Lyon, is accused of having shielded priest Bernard Preynat from claims of abuse involving scouts in his Lyon parish.” By CathNews.com

Parish removes priest who asked middle school students during confession if they masturbated or watched porn
“An associate pastor at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church has been dismissed from the parish(link is external) after asking middle school students during confession if they masturbated or watched pornography. Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor and spokesman for the Archdiocese of Omaha, said the Rev. Nicholas Mishek, 26, is an inexperienced priest who was overzealous in his questioning and made a lapse in judgment. He has been removed from St. Robert Bellarmine, but the archdiocese will work with him to review the training he received in the seminary.” By Erin Duffy, Omaha World-Herald
— Priest’s questions to kids about masturbation and porn rightly set off alarms(link is external), By Michael Kelly, Omaha World-Herald
— Omaha Catholic school priest fired for confession questions(link is external)By Associated Press

Scandals in the Catholic Church: Bad news and good news
“Leaders in the Catholic Church, like leaders in any organization, hate scandals. They wish that they never happen, and when they do, they try to deal with them internally so as not to get a lot of bad publicity. The problem is that they usually make a mess of it(link is external). Any attempt by the church to try to limit publicity is seen as a cover-up. A better strategy would be to recognize that scandals represent bad news and good news.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican, former Vatican auditor give differing accounts of resignation
“The first person to serve as the Vatican’s independent auditor said he was forced to resign(link is external) after opponents of Pope Francis’ financial reforms mounted a campaign against him. But the Vatican press office responded Sept. 24, saying Libero Milone, going outside his competencies, illegally hired an external company to undertake investigative activities about the private lives of representatives of the Holy See.’ ‘This, besides being a crime, irremediably strained the trust placed in Dr. Milone,’ the statement said. It added that the Vatican’s internal investigation of his actions was conducted with care and respect.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

When the pope releases a statement ‘motu proprio’ it’s important—but why?
“Over the last few weeks, the media has reported on two significant Vatican reforms set in motion by Pope Francis(link is external). One, ‘Magnum Principium,’ involved the fraught issue of liturgical translations, for which the pope shifted the responsibility back to national bishops’ conferences. The other, ‘Summa Familiae Cura,’ rebooted a Rome-based academic institute established by Pope John Paul II to study family life, in order to incorporate some of Francis’ teachings on the subject. In both instances, the pope’s teachings were issued motu proprio, a detail reported by Catholic journalists to underscore the significance of both moves. The Latin phrase certainly sounds weighty—and it is—but more than a few Catholics were left wondering what, exactly, it means.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Local responsibility, not disunity: Pope moves toward decentralization
“Pope Francis talks about the need for a ‘healthy decentralization’ in the Catholic Church, but how that should look and work has been a topic of debate since the Second Vatican Council. The discussion often centers on how people describe the way the church experiences and ensures its unity around the globe(link is external): For example, by focusing on a strong, decision-making central authority, that helps unites the parts to the whole or by describing the church as a communion where unity is found in sharing, cooperative relationships among the diversity of local churches. By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Pope calls new bishops to avoid ‘nostalgia’ for one-size-fits-all answers
“In remarks to newly appointed Catholic bishops during the last twelve months on Thursday (Sept. 14), Pope Francis focused on the virtue of discernment(link is external), saying it ‘can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.’” By Cruxnow.com Staff

Is Pope Francis right about traditionalists who love the Latin Mass?
“My experience with the Latin(link is external) Mass offers one possible answer to Pope Francis’ questions about why young people are attracted to traditional liturgies: Having grown up with the Mass in English, these young Catholics have a vague sense of what any given moment in the Mass is about. The unfamiliar rituals and language of the Tridentine Rite, however, allows them to see these moments with fresh eyes. Discovering the Latin Mass is, to many members of my generation, what the introduction of the vernacular Mass was to people like Francis.” By Timothy Kirchoff, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

Despite wing-clipping, Sarah not going quiet in defense of tradition
(Sept. 15, 2017) “Although Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea arguably just had his wings clipped(link is external), as Pope Francis recently transferred a share of his Vatican department’s control over translating liturgical texts to local bishops, a major address he gave on Thursday (Sept. 14) suggests that if anyone expects Sarah to go quiet, they can forget it — and equally, if anyone expects him to go to war against the boss, they can forget that too.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Sister Simone Campbell: The dangers of becoming a “celebrity nun”
“I was asked if I had a favorite mistake. I think I am making it right now. In my roles as the director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and the leader of NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus campaign, two groups that advocate for social justice, I seek to influence lawmakers. Having influence means we can protect the safety(link is external) net that so many Americans rely on; it means protecting immigrants caught up in an unjust system. It also means notoriety …” By Simone Campbell, S.S.S., America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Female envoys to Vatican say it’s past time for Church to empower women
Three female ambassadors(link is external) from different parts of the world and of different religious beliefs all agree that the Vatican is a pretty cozy place for women diplomats, but they also concur that when it comes to the role of women in the decision making process inside the Church, there’s still a long way to go.” By Ines San Martin and Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

‘Pontifical secret’ in abuse cases needs review, advisers tell pope
“Experts on the 15-member Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors have called for a new look at how the principles regarding ‘pontifical secret’(link is external) are applied during canonical processes and see where canon law may impede the reporting of suspected child abuse to civil authorities. The same experts also called for exempting cases that involve ‘sexual delicts’ and crimes against minors from those norms governing pontifical secret.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis’ abuse panel to also look into priests’ children
“Pope Francis’ committee of advisers on protecting children from sexually abusive priests is expanding its workload to include the needs and rights of children fathered by Roman Catholic priests(link is external). Committee members told the Associated Press on Sunday (Sept. 24) that a working group is looking into developing guidelines that can be used by dioceses around the world to ensure that children born to priests are adequately cared for.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

CHURCH REFORM

The pope’s new liturgy document: who was involved and what that tells us
“‘Magnum Principium’ is one of the major documents of Francis’ pontificate(link is external). For this reason it deserves an analysis that is not only one of historical-theological context—and not just from the point of view of its possible consequences for the liturgical texts in English—but also an analysis of the institutional context in which it was decided and published.” By Massimo Faggioli, America: The Jesuit Review
— A liturgical expert explains Pope Francis’ change to Mass translation rules(link is external)By John F. Baldovin, America: The Jesuit Review
— One priest’s hopes for the Mass translations(link is external)By Michael G. Ryan, America: The Jesuit Review
— Bishops may changes ‘sexist, archaic’ Mass text after Pope ruling(link is external)By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times
— All in good time: Liturgy document unlikely to bring quick changes,(link is external) By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

An Ordinary Sunday: A Nationwide Survey of Parish Masses
“So, on most weekends, it seems to me like the state of Sunday Mass is not so bad. And yet(link is external) I realize my parish is an unusual and healthy one, and that the more than seventeen thousand other parishes out there include many without the resources and talent we have. In the pages that follow, you’ll see reports on a wide variety of Catholic Sunday experiences on two weekends, one in June and one in July. It’s too small a sample, of course, to draw quantitative conclusions—but not, perhaps, to get an impression of how Catholic Sundays are faring.” By The Editors at Commonweal

Pittsburgh diocese panel proposes merging 188 parishes to 48
“A radical new plan in the Diocese of Pittsburgh could reduce the number of parishes to a third of their current number(link is external). A diocesan commission is recommending keeping multiple worship sites open in the parishes, although some churches would close. The number of active priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is expected to decline from 211 to 112 by 2025.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary
“Fans of the old Latin Mass have descended on Rome for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause(link is external), if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of the Latin Mass, Francis seems to be doing everything possible to roll that back or simply pretend it never happened.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on Religion News Service

A parish is the body of Christ – not a Starbucks franchise
“Over the past ten years, this all-too-familiar scenario has been repeated in one U.S. diocese after another(link is external). Currently, in addition to Hartford, the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Archdiocese of New York are also drastically downsizing, while priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago project closing up to 100 churches by 2030. Often, the euphemism ‘demographic changes’ leads the list of justifications for this assault on faithful Catholic communities like St. Joan of Arc (in New Haven, Connecticut).” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

VATICAN

Tools for thinking about the Vatican’s two latest scandals
“At the moment, the Vatican finds itself facing two less-than-edifying storylines(link is external), one involving a priest in the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., suspected of possible violations of child pornography laws, and the other featuring a Vatican trial for financial misappropriation against former officials of a papally-sponsored pediatric hospital. Here are a few resources for thinking intelligently about each.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Vatican holds seminar on young people ahead of 2018 Synod of Bishops
“The Vatican released a statement on Tuesday (Sept. 19) for the 15th Ordinary Synod of Bishops to take place in October 2018. In the statement, the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops said an international seminar on the condition of youth in the world(link is external) was held on 11-15 September 2017 at the Jesuit General Curia. Some 82 young people from around the world attended the event, as well as various experts and pastoral workers. The statement said the sessions reflected on several themes, including ‘the young and identity, the young and otherness, the young and planning, the young and technology, and the young and transcendence.’” By Vatican Radio

Don’t be embarrassed to talk about sex, youths tell Vatican officials
“Several young people attending a Vatican-sponsored seminar on the upcoming Synod of Bishops urged the Vatican and the bishops themselves(link is external) to be open to listening to youths talk and ask questions about love, sex and sexuality. A ‘big gap’ exists between the concerns young people want to talk about and the issues most bishops are comfortable discussing, said Therese Hargot, who describes herself as a philosopher and sexologist.”By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Cruxnow.com

Mary McAleese says the Vatican is moving backwards on children’s rights
“Former president Mary McAleese has criticized the Vatican for its stance on children’s rights(link is external). Speaking to the Royal Irish Academy yesterday evening, McAleese asked if an unresolved dispute between the Holy See and the governing body of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has caused the church to move backwards on children’s rights.” By TheJournal.ie

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Pope Francis is guilty of heresy over his thawing of relations with remarried Catholics
Pope Francis has been accused of heresy(link is external) over his thawing relations with remarried Catholics. More than 60 priests, theologians and academics have lashed out at the Pontiff in relation to his 2016 opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month, the 62 signatories issued a ‘filial correction’ – meaning brotherly correction – to the pope – a measure they said hadn’t been employed since the 14th century.” By Alex Matthews, Daily Mail
— Conservative theologians accuse pope of spreading heresy(link is external)By Nicole Winfield, Religion News Service
— Scholars say correction of Francis for ‘heresey’ marked by hypocrisy, lack of signatories(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Wuerl mounts strong defense of ‘Amoris’ and Pope Francis
“In the opening lecture for Georgetown University’s Sacred Lecture Series, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington defended Pope Francis’s efforts(link is external) to decentralize Church governance, his approach to synodality, and ‘Amoris Laetitia.’” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

VOICES

A Church that Can & Did Change
“Our society’s toxic ‘culture wars’ have colonized too many sectors within the Catholic Church(link is external). One thinks, for example, of the ‘liturgy wars’ concerning what constitutes ‘authentic liturgical reform’ or the recent disputes regarding Pope Francis’s pastoral accommodations for the divorced and remarried. At the level of Catholic ecclesiology, the ‘culture wars’ have morphed into the ‘council wars,’ a fight over the authentic interpretation of Vatican II.” By Richard Gaillardetz, America: The Jesuit Review

Jesuit priest stands up for gay Catholics, then faces backlash
“The Rev. James Martin knew his latest book – which urges a dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics who feel estranged from it – would be provocative(link is external). Even though the book was approved by his Jesuit superior as in line with church teachings and was endorsed by several cardinals, he did not expect everyone to agree. That’s fine, he said. That’s why dialogue was needed.” By David Gonzalez, The New York Times
— Backlash over Martin’s LGBT book prompts speech cancellations(link is external)By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com
— Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church(link is external)By Robert W. McElroy, America: The Jesuit Review

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Council of Cardinals takes ‘pause for reflection’ in latest meeting
“The group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy used its latest meeting to reflect on what the pope has said about reform(link is external) in the church before continuing on with its work. In a Sept. 13 briefing about the Council of Cardinals’ Sept. 11-13 meeting, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the group’s reflection material included Francis’ December 2016 address to the Roman Curia and his October 2015 address on the role of the Synod of Bishops in the church. Burke called the latest meeting of the council, the group’s 21st since its creation in 2013, a ‘pause for reflection’ led by Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, its coordinator.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

In Vatican trial, witness calls spending on cardinal’s apartment ‘anomalous
“In the latest hearing of the Vatican’s first-ever trial for financial crimes, an official of the Government of the Vatican City State said that a controversial remodeling project for the private apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, bypassed the normal competitive bidding process(link is external) and was ‘singular’ and ‘anomalous.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Leader of Vatican finance reform accused of spying on personnel
“The Vatican has accused its first-ever auditor general of ‘going beyond his powers(link is external)in hiring an external firm to carry out investigations on the private lives of exponents of the Holy See.’ The announcement comes after the auditor-general, Libero Milone, who resigned last June, broke his silence on Saturday (Sept. 23) and told reporters that he had been forced to resign or face arrest on fabricated charges. He claims that what happened was part of an effort by the old guard to slow down Pope Francis’ reform of Vatican finances.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
— Auditor says he was forced to quit Vatican after finding irregularities(link is external)By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Defendant in Vatican trial says cardinal ‘clarified’ affair with the Pope
“On the second full day of testimony in the Vatican’s first-ever trial for alleged financial crimes, one of the defendants told the court he was informed there should be ‘no problems’ with spending money(link is external) from a children’s hospital on remodeling an Italian cardinal’s private apartment, because that cardinal had spoken personally to Pope Francis and “clarified” the situation.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Queen of Apostles Catholic Church volunteer stole thousands from church in Alexandria
“An Alexandria church volunteer was arrested after she was accused of taking money from the church collection(link is external). The Fairfax County Police Department said 53-year-old Sandra Cortes of Annandale was charged with three counts of grand larceny after she stole thousands of dollars from the Queen of Apostles Catholic Church located at 4329 Sano St.” By Matt Ackland, FOX5 News

In Vatican trial, question remains: whose reputations are on the line?
“As the latest major Vatican criminal trial resumed on Tuesday (Sept. 19), judges seemed to challenge claims by the main defendant(link is external) that spending $500,000 from funds belonging to a papally-sponsored children’s hospital to remodel the private apartment of a Vatican cardinal was entirely routine and above-board. As the trial plays out, the reputations of both that cardinal and Pope Francis’s broader financial reform appear at stake.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Priest paying back money misused from charitable account, no criminal charges filed
“A Catholic priest who resigned after he misused approximately $130,000 in charitable funds(link is external) from the St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Kingston won’t face criminal charges and has paid back more than half of the money, the Diocese of Scranton said. An investigation by the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office determined Rev. John J. Chmil, former pastor of the parish, apparently did not personally profit and will not be charged, Diocese spokesman William Genello said Monday (Sept. 18).” By Jerry Lynott, Scranton Times Leader

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

‘Culture of celibacy’ to blame for Catholic sex abuse – study
“A five-year study into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church(link is external) has found that mandatory celibacy and a culture of secrecy within the entirely male-dominated clergy were ‘the major precipitating risk factor[s] for child sexual abuse.’ Former Catholic priest, Des Cahill, and co-author, theologian Peter Wilkinson, compiled information from 26 royal commissions and inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands since 1985 in their report.” By RT.com

Lina’s Project seeks atonement for abuse survivors
“A survivor-led project that saw the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle publicly acknowledge the devastation caused by clergy sexual abuse(link is external) was recently launched in Newcastle, mnnews.today reports. Lina, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a member of clergy in the Diocese, devised ‘The Atonement: Lina’s Project’ as a way of rebuilding her own trust in the Church and bringing some healing to those affected by the actions and inactions of the Church.” By CathNews.com

Barbara Blaine, who championed victims of priests’ abuse, dies at 61
Barbara Blaine(link is external), who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest as a teenager and went on to found the nation’s most potent advocacy group for abuse survivors, died on Sunday in St. George, Utah. She was 61. The cause was a sudden tear in a blood vessel in her heart, which she sustained on Sept. 18 after going hiking on a vacation, her husband, Howard Rubin, said. She lived in Chicago.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
— Barbara Blaine, founder of priest-abuse victims group SNAP, dies at 61(link is external)By Manya Brachear Pashman, Chicago Tribune
— Barbara Blaine, 61, founder of church sex abuse victims group(link is external)By The Boston Globe Staff and Wire Services

Diocese names board to oversee clergy sex abuse allegations
“A Roman Catholic diocese has appointed a five-member board to oversee its handling of child sex abuse allegations(link is external) against clergy as part of an agreement with the federal prosecutor who oversees western Pennsylvania. Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song announced the agreement in March with Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak after a state grand jury alleged a decades-long abuse coverup. Song’s predecessor had threatened to sue the eight-county central Pennsylvania diocese under a federal racketeering statute if reforms weren’t enacted.” By Joe Mandak, Associated Press, in U.S. News & World Report

MARYLAND

Baltimore archdiocese responds to petition calling for release of ‘Keepers’ priest Maskell’s files
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore has responded to the organizer of a petition that urged the release of personnel files(link is external) of the late priest at the center of ‘The Keepers’ documentary, saying it treated the request ‘very seriously’ but is still declining to make the documents public. More than 54,000 people have signed the change.org petition, which calls on church officials to release the records of A. Joseph Maskell. The priest worked as chaplain and counselor at Archbishop Keough High School in Southwest Baltimore during the 1960s and 1970s. Multiple people have accused him of sexual abuse. He denied the allegations before his death in 2001.” By Alison Knezevich, Baltimore Sun

MASSACHUSETTS

Church abuse survivor comes forward
“Brian Ward said he was sexually abused by the altar boy coordinator(link is external) at St. Brenda’s Parish in Dorchester, Massachusetts for two years while he was growing up. Twenty-seven years later, Michael Walsh – who pleaded guilty to the abuse – had been living down the road from Ward’s young relatives. Realizing that proximity is what pushed him to come forward.” By Glenn Marshall, NBC-TV, Boston

MINNESOTA

Judge begins decision process in suit against Crookston diocese, bishop
“A northwest Minnesota judge has until Dec. 19, 2017, to rule on a lawsuit accusing the Diocese of Crookston and its bishop of covering up abuse(link is external) and inflicting emotional damages on a man who says his bid to become a deacon was rejected because he reported being sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago.” By Andrew Hazzard, Duluth News Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Lawsuits filed against priests
“In 1986, when John Doe 46 was nine years old, he was selected as one of the altar boys for the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, in Española. For the next two years, he was allegedly raped by former priest Armando Martinez(link is external), who was killed in 1997. Doe is just one of the many victims of sexual abuse and violence at the hands of Catholic clergy in Rio Arriba County. Because he is a victim of sexual abuse, he is only named as ‘John Doe’ in court documents.” By Wheeler Cowperthwatte, Rio Grande Sun

More than a dozen abusive clergy served local parishes
“Armando Martinez grew up in Questa, the village of alfalfa fields and a couple of thousand people at the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Martinez didn’t look for work at the nearby molybdenum mine, like a lot of young men from the village. Instead, he went into a Catholic seminary(link is external), became a priest and headed parishes from Belen to Tucumcari, Springer to El Rito.” By Cody Hooks, Taos News

Archbishop identifies 74 clergy accused of child abuse
“Archbishop John C. Wester on Tuesday (Sept. 12) published the names of 74 clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children(link is external), together with an apology to survivors ‘for the pain and suffering you have endured.’ The disclosure marks the first time the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has provided a list of accused priests, deacons and religious brothers since the clergy sexual abuse crisis burst into public view in the early 1990s.” By Olivier Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal
— Archdiocese of Santa Fe publicly names priests accused of molestation(link is external)By Andrew Oxford, The Santa Fe New Mexican

OHIO

Arthur McCaffrey: Forgiveness must be earned, Bishop Perez
(Sept. 15, 2017) “The Beacon Journal recently reported on the formal installation of the new Catholic bishop of Cleveland, Nelson Perez (“ Cleveland rocks,’ new ‘bishop tells the faithful,” Sept. 6). The story highlighted his personal appeal to the laity for forgiveness for the church’s ‘horrendous’ history of child abuse(link is external), as if this was a novel gesture after the dour administration of his predecessor Bishop Lennon.” By Arthur McCaffrey, Commentary in Akron Beacon Journal

PENNSYLVANIA

Retired priest accused of abusing boy waives hearing
“A former Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy(link is external) has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The Tribune-Review reports 74-year-old Rev. John Thomas Sweeney waived a charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse on Wednesday (Sept. 20). Prosecutors say Sweeney abused the student at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell during the 1991-92 school year. The accuser, now 35, is serving in the Coast Guard.” By KDKA-TV

James Brzyski, infamous Philly priest, found dead in Texas motel
“James Brzyski, a defrocked Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest once described as one of the region’s most monstrous sexual predators(link is external), but who eluded prosecution after allegedly abusing dozens of boys in the 1970s and 1980s, was found dead Wednesday (Sept. 13) at a Texas motel. Authorities confirmed they were investigating a man’s death at the Super 7 motel on Seminary Road in Fort Worth. They had not officially determined his identity or cause of death but said they did not suspect foul play.” By Maria Panaritis, The Inquirer/Daily News, Philly.com

Former Catholic priest faces sentence for child porn
“ A former Catholic priest will spend time behind bars for possessing child porn(link is external). John Mraz was sentenced today (Sept. 14) to six to 23 months in Lehigh County jail. Mraz was the pastor at the Church of St. Ann in Emmaus, which is part of the diocese of Allentown.” By WFMZ-TV

WASHINGTON

Seattle archdiocese pays $1.3 million to settle sex abuse case
“The Seattle Archdiocese has paid $1.3 million to settle a sex-abuse lawsuit(link is external) involving a former member of a religious order who taught in its schools. A man sued the archdiocese in 2015, alleging the church knew Edward Courtney abused students at two archdiocesan schools in Seattle but later recommended him for a teaching job at a public school outside Tacoma.” By Associated Press
— Catholic Church abuse: Seattle archdiocese pays $1.3 million to settle case(link is external)By Conor Gaffey, Newsweek
— Archdiocese helped sexual abuser teach in Pierce County public school(link is external)By Alexis Krell, The News Tribune

WISCONSIN

Menasha priest found not guilty of sexual abuse of a child in church trial
“A Menasha priest accused in 2010 of sexually abusing a minor(link is external) has been found not guilty through canonical judicial proceedings. Father Paul Radetski had been placed on administrative leave from his duties at St. John’s, St. Mary’s and St. Patrick parishes in Menasha after civil authorities were alerted to what were said by the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay at the time to be credible allegations.” By Raquel Rutledge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

AUSTRALIA

An Australian priest is being investigated in Papua New Guinea over confessional allegations
“An Australian Catholic priest is being investigated by Papua New Guinea police for allegedly touching female students during confession(link is external) after a bishop denied the priest ‘caressed their thighs to get some personal satisfaction.’ Vincentian priest Father Neil Lams allegedly held a teenage girl on his lap, ‘cuddled’ some girls and bought gifts for them, touched girls on the thighs during confession, asked them questions about whether they had sex with their boyfriends and ‘how many times,’ slapped some students on the head and called others ‘sweet baby.’” By Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

In fight against sex abuse, Australian archbishop sees progress, challenges
“Amid ongoing controversy surrounding clerical sex abuse in Australia(link is external), one of the country’s archbishops believes the local Churches are making progress – but still face a long journey ahead. ‘It’s very much a work in progress; we still have a long way to go,’ said Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, according to the Australian Associated Press.” By Catholic News Agency

Church working to protect children but long way to go: Coleridge
“Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the Church in Australia is acting to protect children from sexual abuse although he concedes it has a long way to go(link is external), News.com.au reports. Archbishop Coleridge says a lot has been and is being done around Australia to safeguard children. ‘But it’s very much a work in progress; we still have a long way to go,’ he said yesterday (Sept. 14).’ ‘Because it’s not just a matter of changing procedures and protocols but of building a culture, and that takes time.’ By CathNews.com

GUAM

Ten new clergy sex abuse suits include Brouillard bringing two boys to U.S., Canada
Ten clergy sex abuse cases(link is external) have been filed in local court, including one alleging that former priest Louis Brouillard engaged in group sex with minors and had two altar boys accompany him on summer road trips to Minnesota and Canada, where he continued to sexually abuse and molest them.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Another clergy sex abuse case filed in federal court
“Another clergy sex abuse case(link is external) has been filed in the District Court of Guam. 62-year-old R.A.J. alleges he was sexually molested by now deceased, father Ziolo Camacho. The incident occurred at San Vicente Catholic School when R.A.J. was about 6 or 7 years old.”By Krystal Paco, KUAM-TV

1,000 lawsuits: Guam clergy abuse scandal could widen, group says
“A year after Gov. Eddie Calvo signed into law a bill allowing victims of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers(link is external) and the groups they are associated with, at any time, Guam has seen 110 Catholic clergy sex abuse lawsuits. And the number of cases filed could reach 1,000 because of the extent of cover-up, denials and vast reach of the abusers for decades, a national survivors group says.” By Haidee Eugenio, USA TODAY

Talks over mediation protocol continue in sex abuse cases
“The parties in nearly 100 clergy sex abuse cases filed(link is external) in the local and federal courts in Guam have until Tuesday (Sept. 19) afternoon to advise the court how they intend to proceed with mediation and settlement talks. Many of the attorneys for childhood sex abuse victims, the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and other defendants met in Hawaii on Sept. 5 to try to come to an agreement on how to proceed with mediation and a possible global settlement for all of the cases.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Lawsuit: Priest abused boys simultaneously, repeatedly
“Former Guam priest Louis Brouillard sexually abused multiple boys at the same time and repeatedly(link is external), offering them food as a reward, according to a lawsuit filed Monday (Sept. 18) in federal court. The lawsuit, which is among dozens accusing Brouillard of child sexual abuse, was filed by 48-year-old ‘M.I.Q.’ who, like most plaintiffs, used his initials to protect his privacy.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

INDIA

Church issues guidelines on sexual harassment at workplace
(Sept. 16, 2017) “With the Catholic Church facing embarrassment over allegations of sexual assault involving some of its clergymen(link is external), the community’s top decision-making body in India has released a set of guidelines to prevent such acts at the workplace, including a code of conduct to be signed by employees in all institutions under its control.” By Liz Mathew, The Indian Express

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