Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

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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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Vatican sentences Guam archbishop accused of abuse to removal from office, exile
“A Vatican tribunal has found Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who had been accused of sexually abusing young men decades ago, ‘guilty of certain of the accusations(link is external),’ imposing a penalty of removal from office and a prohibition from living on the U.S. island territory. A five-judge apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced its verdict in Apuron’s canonical case March 16 with a brief press release.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal’s alleged abuse victims end testimony in Australia
“The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official charged(link is external) in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis finished testifying to an Australian court Wednesday Mar. 14). A hearing began last week in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put Australian Cardinal George Pell on trial.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

Francis invites change, but we are the change
“There was a time in life when I wanted things done and wanted them done now. I still want things done now but over the course of the years, I discovered that, at least where the church is concerned, I was looking for action in the wrong places … It’s the average layperson living out the faith in the temper of the times(link is external) who shapes the future. It is the visionary teacher, the loving critic, the truth-telling prophet that moves the church from one age to another.” By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter

Fresh financial scandals hit Vatican
“A fresh round of financial scandals(link is external) has emerged in the Vatican as Pope Francis marks five years as the 266th successor of Saint Peter today. On Thursday (Mar. 12), a former president of the Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia, 78, who headed the institution for 20 years until 2009 will go on trial before a Vatican court with his lawyer, Gabriele Liuzzo, 94. The pair is accused ‘unlawful conduct’ involving ‘the disposal of a considerable part of the institute’s real estate assets.’” By Tess Livingstone, The Australian

Catholic Church fails to confront tragedy of ‘epic proportions’
“The Catholic Church has failed to fully accept the horrific impact of child sexual abuse and its own role in a tragedy of ‘epic proportions(link is external),’ a member of the royal commission has said. In a surprisingly frank speech, Robert Fitzgerald – one of the six commissioners that oversaw the recently completed, five year inquiry – has slammed the church’s approach to abuse survivors, and its failure to tackle practices that contributed to the scourge of abuse and the secrecy around it.” By Ben Schneiders, Royce Millar, Chris Vedelago, The Canberra Times

ACCOUNTABILITY

Australian court hears public testimony in Cardinal Pell abuse case
“A judge allowed reporters into an Australian courtroom on Wednesday(Mar. 14) to hear witness testimony during a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell(link is external), the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking priest, in a high-profile sexual abuse case that has largely unfolded behind closed doors. Cardinal Pell has been accused of ‘historical sexual offenses,’ meaning they took place decades ago, but the details of the criminal complaint have not been made public. For the past 10 days the court has been closed to the public as those accusing Cardinal Pell were questioned via video conference.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times

Abuse that stretched to Atlanta among reports emerging in Buffalo
“More details about the handling of predatory priests(link is external) in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, are coming to light after a 52-year-old man came forward last week with allegations that he was abused by Fr. Norbert Orsolits, a now-retired priest of the diocese. The Olean Times Herald reported March 2 that Orsolits, now 78, claims he was assigned to serve at multiple parishes and to teach at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean, New York, after receiving treatment for his predatory behavior in the 1980s. Earlier that week, Orsolits had admitted to The Buffalo News that he had abused ‘probably dozens’ of young boys during his career as a priest.” By James Dearie, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican removes from office and exiles Guam archbishop accused of sexual abuse
“Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was accused of sexually abusing young men, has been found guilty of some of the charges against him(link is external) by a Vatican tribunal, which removed him from office and exiled him from the island. He retains the right to an appeal. The five-judge apostolic tribunal of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced the verdict on Friday (March 16) but did not specify which allegations the 72-year-old archbishop had been found guilty of, according to the National Catholic Reporter.” By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis is beloved. His papacy might be a disaster
“…So the idea of this pope as a ‘great reformer,’ to borrow the title of the English journalist Austen Ivereigh’s fine 2014 biography, can’t really be justified by any kind of Roman housekeeping. Instead Francis’ reforming energies have been directed elsewhere(link is external), toward two dramatic truces that would radically reshape the church’s relationship with the great powers of the modern world.” By Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Over five years, Pope produces major shift in church culture
“Whenever Pope Francis visits prisons, during his whirlwind trips to the world’s peripheries or at a nearby jailhouse in Rome, he always tells inmates that he, too, could have ended up behind bars(link is external): ‘Why you and not me?’ he asks. That humble empathy and the ease with which he walks in others’ shoes has won Francis admirers around the globe and confirmed his place as a consummate champion of the poor and disenfranchised. As he marks the fifth anniversary of his election Tuesday Mar. 13, Francis still faces criticism for both the merciful causes he has embraced and the ones he has neglected.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in the Boston Globe

Five years of Francis: How has he changed U.S. Catholicism
“Five years ago this week the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church selected the first Latin American pope—and the first from a Jesuit religious order known for its fierce commitment to social justice. Pope Francis immediately began changing the public face of Catholicism(link is external). He warned that the church can’t only be ‘obsessed’ with opposing abortion, struck a more welcoming tone toward LGBT people, and chose to live in a Vatican guesthouse instead of the more regal Apostolic Palace … But for all that Pope Francis has accomplished in chipping away at culture-war Catholicism and prioritizing social justice, his woefully insufficient response to clergy abuse is conspicuous.” By John Gehring, Commonweal

Five years on, Pope Francis has failed to deliver on his promises
“Five years on, Francis’s efforts at reforms have got stuck. The pope recognizes the problems(link is external) of overhauling the unwieldy structure of the Vatican bureaucracy: he has likened it to cleaning the Egyptian sphinx with a toothbrush. Then there is his calling of synods to discuss the family, especially the treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics. They have won him huge support among millions of people in the pews, but have led to open hostility from conservative prelates. Two issues above all remain a problem for him: child abuse and the role of women.” By Catherine Pepinster, The Guardian

U.S. Catholics offer wide range of answers when asked about Francis’ most notable action as Pope
“Most U.S. Catholics continue to have a high opinion of Pope Francis(link is external) as he marks his fifth year as pontiff, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January. And when we asked Catholics to tell us the most significant thing Francis has done so far – in their own words, regardless of their opinion of the pope – they offered a variety of responses that cover many facets of religious and public life.” By Elizabeth Podrebarac Sciupac, Pew Research Center

Cardinal blames Barros interviews for bad press during pope’s Chile visit
“A Chilean cardinal and member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Cardinals has sent a letter to the presidents of various Latin American bishops’ conferences to rebut media reports that the pope’s visit to Chile(link is external) in January was a failure. A Chilean cardinal and member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Cardinals has sent a letter to the presidents of various Latin American bishops’ conferences to rebut media reports that the pope’s visit to Chile in January was a failure.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Could O’Malley be the center-right candidate for the next pope?
“This Sunday (Mar. 18), Crux’s Christopher White and I bumped into one such old friend, and over breakfast we had one of those conversations that people absorbed by Church affairs often do. My friend posed the following question: If there were a St. Gallen group of center-right cardinals today trying to prepare for the next papal conclave, who would their candidate be(link is external) … White and I kicked the question around, and here’s what we came up with: Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston. I know, I know, the idea of an American pope seems a stretch, but hear us out.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Cardinal Pell may face new charges
“Cardinal George Pell may face fresh charges after his committal hearing(link is external) heard a witness, who was due to face cross-examination, had provided a new statement to police. The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday that the witness had supplied the new statement to police on Monday (Mar. 19) evening.” By CathNews.com

BISHOPS

McAreavey remains bishop despite resignation announcement
“Despite announcing his resignation earlier this month Dr. John McAreavey remains on as Bishop of Dromore(link is external) until his standing down is accepted by Pope Francis. This has yet to happen. When it does, the Dromore diocese college of consultors will then meet and, in accordance with its rights and duties under canon law, elect a diocesan administrator who will take charge of affairs until a new bishop is appointed.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Springfield woman appointed by Pope to serve on panel to protect minors
“Teresa Morris Kettelkamp never envisioned such a quick return to Rome. ‘Stunned. That pretty much captures it,’ said Kettelkamp, a Springfield resident and Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishioner, about her appointment Feb. 17 by Pope Francis to a three-year term to the Pontifical Commission(link is external) for the Protection of Minors, finding out after an early birthday lunch at Bella Milano.” By Steven Spearie, The State Journal-Register

CLERICALISM

‘Clericalized’ Catholic Church will not survive, says McAleese
“The Catholic Church in its current form will not survive(link is external), former president Mary McAleese said in Rome on Thursday (Mar. 8). ‘The clericalized church will not survive and that will be good. Just how long it might take or whether I’ll be around to see, or whether my children will be still Catholics, my grandchildren that I don’t know. But frankly I did my best and the people who let me down in the job that I was given, the vocation as a Catholic mother and a Catholic woman, the people who let me down are not very far from here (in the Vatican),’ she said.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

The Catholic Church must listen to the courageous voices of women
“My first encounter with the Voices of Faith event(link is external) happened on International Women’s Day in 2015. From my desk, I watched the live stream of the event that took place inside the Vatican and featured the stories of Catholic women working on the frontiers of the church in areas like education and health care for girls and women as well as initiatives that supported migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking. The event featured a panel in which five accomplished women raised critical questions and spoke about their hopes and dreams for the leadership of women inside the Catholic Church.” By Luke Hansen, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

Catholic women’s event persists despite Vatican’s rejection of progressive participants
“For the past four years, the Voices of Faith conference(link is external) has brought prominent Catholic women from around the world to the Vatican to highlight women’s voices and their contributions. But this year, the Vatican’s approach to the International Women’s Day event has caused a great deal of controversy ― even prompting one prominent Catholic leader to call her church an ‘an empire of misogyny.’ Unlike in past years, this year’s conference had to be held outside the Vatican’s walls.” By Carol Kuruvilla, Huffington Post

When my daughter whispered to me, ‘I wish girls could be priests,’ I didn’t know what to say.
“The rites of the annual paschal triduum fascinate and inspire me more than almost anything else that the church’s liturgy has to offer, and I know I am not alone. Like many other Catholics, I find myself drawn in and moved, year after year, during those three great days. So I probably should not have been surprised to realize last year that they were also moving my 9-year-old daughter(link is external).” By Barry Hudock, America: The Jesuit Review

CHURCH REFORM

You to bishops: yes to guidance, no to clericalism, questions on secularism
“Judging by day one of the March 19-24 gathering (pre-synod of youth meeting), however, not only did the Church succeed in bringing together a good cross-section of the fractured reality of young people(link is external) today, but already relevant and recurring topics have begun to emerge – such as the real need felt by youth for guidance, the need for more effective engagement with secularism, and the toxic nature of clericalism.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

The tensions between church reform and pushing an agenda
“The Catholic Church does not seem quite able to manage the expectations of reform(link is external). The ancient motto ecclesia semper reformanda (‘the church is always in need of being reformed’) has taken on a slightly new meaning in our day where leaders are measured more by their ability to reform rather than to govern. And this stands in contrast with a genuine theology of reform.” By Massimo Faggioli, La Croix International

Dismantling Catholic misogyny: searching for a way forward
“The former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, garnered worldwide media coverage when she bluntly called out misogyny in the Catholic hierarchy(link is external) in her keynote speech at the Voices of Faith event held in Rome on International Women’s Day. ‘The Catholic Church has long since been a primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny,’ McAleese said. ‘It has never sought a cure, though a cure is freely available. Its name is equality.’ Previous Voices of Faith events were hosted at the Vatican, but this year Cardinal Kevin Farrell denied permission for McAleese and Ugandan advocate Ssenfuka Joanita Warry to speak because of their support for LGBTI persons’ rights.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

FOCUS promises to ‘fight for this generation’ on college campuses
“While the rest of the Catholic Church is wringing its hands about the ‘nones’ who have distanced themselves from organized religion, thousands of young people spent part of their winter vacation — in frigid Chicago, no less — at a conference about their Catholic faith … ‘It was amazing seeing everyone come together(link is external) in praise and worship and being able to surrender everything,’ said (Madalena) DeAndrea, who attended the Jan. 2-6 Student Leadership Summit sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Church to hold first Plenary Council in 80 years
“Pope Francis has given his approval for the Church to hold the first Plenary Council – the most significant national gathering that can be held(link is external) – in Australia in more than 80 years. ‘The Australian Bishops are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for affirming the decision and we ask all people to join in prayer as we embark on this journey together as God’s people in Australia,’ said Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, chair of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council.” By CathNews.com

Young delegates headed to synod preparation
“Some 300 young people from around the world will come to the Vatican in late March for a weeklong conference meant to prepare the way for an October Synod of Bishops on issues facing youth today(link is external). Several of the delegates to the March 19-24 meeting say they want to discuss specifically why so many young people raised Catholic are deciding to leave the faith as they grow older.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Reaching young ‘nones’ will take an authentic evangelizing voice
“Last week (Mar. 9), my colleague Heidi Schlumpf reported on a conference at the University of Notre Dame, aimed at creating ‘cultures of formation’(link is external) that will help stem the exodus of young Catholics into the ranks of the ‘nones.’ I was especially interested in the keynote address by Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. Barron began by recalling what then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio said at the pre-conclave meetings of the cardinals, about the need for the church to go out to the peripheries, ‘not simply the economic peripheries, but the existential peripheries as well.’” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Young people seen as urgent crisis at pre-synod conference at Notre Dame
“Negative cultural influences have left generations of young people confused, anxious and unhappy(link is external) — conditions the church could help address if the young people weren’t disconnected from church institutions. This makes the upcoming Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment all the more urgent, said speakers at a conference at the University of Notre Dame.” By Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Why the Catholic Church can (and does) change
“In his preface to ‘To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism,’ Ross Douthat describes himself as something of a Graham Greene character: the ‘good bad Catholic,’ or the ‘bad good Catholic,’ depending on how one uses the term. He was raised in an Episcopalian family that became Catholic when he was a teenager, but his early years were shaped by various Protestant circles: mainline, evangelical and Pentecostal. Now, despite what he calls his ‘spiritual sloth,’ he is a deeply committed Catholic. Hence his problem with Pope Francis, who he fears may be breaking faith with Jesus(link is external).” By Thomas P. Rausch, America: The Jesuit Review

Young people are not the problem
“If the recent conference at the University of Notre Dame — where speakers postulated reasons for young people’s disassociation from the Catholic Church(link is external) — represents the approach going into the upcoming Synod of Bishops on young people, we would beg church officials to postpone the gathering. What we heard was a familiar litany, placing blame for missing young people on …” By Editorial Staff, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Bishop arrested on corruption charges
“Bishop José Ronaldo and six other priests are accused of diverting money(link is external) from the coffers of churches in three cities around the capital Brasilia. Prosecutors said they are investigating the disappearance of around $600,000 (£430,000) from church accounts. Police say they expect to make more arrests.” By BBC News

How $42K-a-year priest built mansion worth millions
“The Rev. Jon Wehrle, who is proud of his prowess as a builder, constructed his masterpiece on the rural outskirts of this central Michigan town … Wehrle, 67, who was pastor of St. Martha Church in Okemos, lived in the mansion, which a contractor said was worth $3 million to $4 million. How could a Catholic priest who earned $42,000 a year afford such opulence(link is external)? Police officials argue the clergyman had stolen from the Sunday collection plate for at least 19 years. An audit found $5 million missing from church coffers, they said.” By Francis X. Donnelly, The Detroit News

Eastern Montana Catholic diocese wants to back out of bankruptcy
“The Catholic diocese for Eastern Montana is hoping to back out of the bankruptcy proceedings(link is external) it entered into a year ago, petitioning instead for a settlement with sex abuse victims in state court. The move comes after negotiations were stalled by disputes over which church assets are fair game in the bankruptcy.” By Phoebe Tollefson, Montana Standard

Catholic Charities appeal takes hit from growing sex abuse claims against priests
Sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests(link is external) in Western New York are having an impact on the annual Catholic Charities Appeal. The $11 million campaign is behind other years, according to Catholic Charities of Buffalo CEO Dennis Walczyk. He tells 7 Eyewitness News that part of the reason is because some community members are reluctant to contribute out of concern that their donation will be used to pay out settlements between the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and victims of sexual abuse by priests.” By WKBW-TV

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Conservative groups split over child sex abuse legislation
Controversies like this are likely to spread(link is external) across Georgia if legislation being debated in the state Senate becomes law. It’s splitting Baptists and other social conservatives against organizations such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts.” By Ty Tagami, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Child sex abuse bill unfairly shields public institutions, Atlanta archbishop warns
“The Archbishop of Atlanta released a statement Friday (Mar. 9) announcing his opposition to a bill in the Georgia legislature(link is external) that would discriminate between government and private entities in past cases of sex abuse. House Bill 605, which is currently under session at the Georgia General Assembly, would extend the time limits for child abuse victims to sue their perpetrators, changing the age from 23 to 38, and potentially longer.” By Catholic News Agency

Catholic Church needs to take responsibility
“The Catholic Church has been attempting to cover up cases of child sexual abuse for too long(link is external). A bill in Michigan inspired by the Larry Nassar case could extend the amount of time children who experienced sexual abuse have to sue their abusers. This is drawing concern from the Catholic Church, which leads some to believe this concern is an attempt to continue covering up United States’ clergy abuse cases.” By Emma Getz, Indiana Daily Student

Lobbyist for archdiocese tries to gut childhood sexual abuse bill
“A Georgia legislative proposal to give adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue pedophiles and organizations has encountered opposition from the Catholic Church(link is external). A lobbyist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta proposes gutting a bill that would extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits and make it easier to sue entities that harbored pedophiles. The Archdiocese is led by a clergyman who was in charge of the U.S. Catholic church’s response in the early 2000s to the priest pedophilia scandal and who has publicly spoken out for justice for the victims.” By Ty Tagami, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Overseas abuse survivors also need justice
“Truth, Justice and Healing Council chief Francis Sullivan is calling on the Church in Australia to deal with crimes carried out overseas by Church officials(link is external). Mr. Sullivan said it was clear that priests with child sex allegations made against them had been sent overseas to developing countries, including Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, although he was not prepared to concede that those actions were deliberate. But he said the Church needed to treat overseas survivors exactly as they would those in Australia, and ensure they get justice.” By CathNews.com

A courageous woman steps up again on behalf of child sexual abuse victims
“A convergence of events has got me thinking about a question I raised during the 2013/14 Special Commission of Inquiry into Hunter Catholic pedophile priests James Fletcher and Denis McAlinden … The question is what the Catholic Church has done to identify and support ictims of the pedophile priests(link is external) it knowingly and deliberately exported all over the world – a reality proven by formal inquiries in Australia, Canada, the United States and Ireland.” By Peter Gogarty, The Herald

IDAHO

Boise Catholic priest charged for child porn, drug possession back in custody
“A retired Boise Catholic priest facing child porn and drug charges(link is external) is back in custody. Seventy-two-year-old Thomas Faucher has been charged with seven extra counts of possession of child pornography, one count of child porn distribution and an additional count of drug possession.” By Norm Gunning, Boise State Public Radio

Clergy abuse victim says of Springfield Catholic diocese discipline: too little too late
“Richard Koske sits at a restaurant not far from the Roman Catholic parish where he has worked as a janitor and handyman for 15 years. It seems a suitable role for a devout man who traces many of his 62 years of memories back to the Catholic church — for better or for worse. A longtime South Hadley Falls resident, Koske and four siblings were students of Catholic schools growing up. But he and the church remain at odds over the discipline of a once-trusted pastor who sexually assaulted him(link is external) once when Koske was an adult.” By Stephanie Barry, MassLive.com

MICHIGAN

Michigan diocesan priest charged with criminal sexual conduct
“A Saginaw, Michigan, diocesan priest, previously cleared of accusations of sexual abuse of a minor, has been caught in a police sting operation and charged with criminal sexual conduct(link is external). Fr. Robert DeLand, 71, pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, Michigan, was arrested Feb. 25 after a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy complained about sexual misconduct by the priest.” By James Dearie, National Catholic Reporter

NEW YORK

Buffalo diocese paid $1.5 million to settle priest sex abuse lawsuit
“The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo quietly paid $1.5 million in 2016 to a man who alleged a priest sexually abused him(link is external) when he was a teenager more than three decades ago. It was the diocese’s second financial settlement of a lawsuit alleging abuse by James A. Spielman, a former diocesan priest who served in at least six Western New York parishes and taught religion at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean. The settlement is the largest that has come to light so far in the Buffalo Diocese for a clergy sex abuse case. The News found the case in a recent search of federal court records from Hawaii, where the lawsuit was filed.” By Jay Tokasz, Buffalo News
— Victims to Diocese of Buffalo on priest sex abuse: ‘secrecy must end(link is external),’ By Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich, Buffalo News

Minnesota law firm prods bishop on names of local priests accused of abuse
“A Minnesota law firm known for representing victims of clergy sexual abuse(link is external) is urging Bishop Richard J. Malone to release details about the extent of abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, including identifying the names of accused priests … (Attorney J. Michael ) Reck will be in Buffalo Tuesday Mar. 13) to release a new report that identifies 13 priests in the Buffalo diocese who have been publicly accused of alleged sexual offenses against minors.” By Jay Tokasz, The Buffalo News

Despite Syracuse diocese claim, parishioners will help pay sex abuse victims’ settlements
“In announcing a program to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse(link is external), Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse officials said payments to victims would not come from parishioners’ donations. Instead, they said, the money would come from the diocese’s general liability insurance fund. In reality, however, money collected from church members each Sunday will be used to help pay the victims. That’s because the diocese is self-insured. It doesn’t buy insurance from a third party like an insurance company.” By Patrick Lohmann, Syracuse.com

Priest followed two sex abuse victims from North Tonawanda to Atlanta
“When Janet and Frank Larango moved from North Tonawanda to an Atlanta suburb, they were happy the Catholic priest they considered part of their family(link is external) also made the move. The Rev. Stanley Idziak, who had celebrated Masses at Our Lady of Czestochowa parish in the 1960s and 1970s, arranged to have himself transferred in 1978 to the Larangos’ new parish 900 miles away. The Larangos did not suspect anything beyond friendship was motivating Idziak’s move.” By Lou Michel, The Buffalo News

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-priest says a priest abused him as a teen in Erie
“James Faluszczak, now of Buffalo, said he testified about the abuse before a grand jury investigating the Catholic Diocese of Erie. A former northwestern Pennsylvania priest has provided a glimpse into a Pennsylvania grand jury’s investigation of the Catholic Diocese of Erie.James Faluszczak, who resigned from the active priesthood in the Erie diocese in 2014, said he testified before the grand jury about how a priest in Erie sexually abused him(link is external) when he was a teenager in the 1980s.” By Ed Palattella, GoErie.com

‘We named names’: Pennsylvania law didn’t cover child sex crime victims. That didn’t stop the D.A.
“The document she was about to present to the press was historic: More than 400 pages that described sex crimes against children(link is external) in horrendous, relentless detail. More than a decade later, activists credit the report for setting a precedent in Pennsylvania: This state — more than anywhere else in the nation — exposes the truth of child sexual abuse, even if convictions aren’t possible.” By Joel Shannon, York Daily Record

AUSTRALIA

Former church worker charged with abuse offenses
“A 79-year-old man has been charged with child sexual offenses(link is external) linked to incidents alleged to have happened while he was an employee of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese almost 30 years ago. NSW Police will allege the man was performing an administrative role within the Archdiocese when he met the 15-year-old alleged victim.” By CathNews.com

Cardinal Pell committal hearing opened to the public
Cardinal George Pell’s committal hearing(link is external) in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court has been opened to the public and the media (Mar. 14) for the first time since it began on March 5. The hearing has been closed up until yesterday to allow the complainants to give their evidence, which is standard practice in Victoria for cases involving sexual offence charges.” By CathNews.com

Archbishop Hart welcomes redress scheme
“The Church has welcomed two states signing on to a national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse(link is external), despite claims by the Attorney-General that the Church is ‘making excuses’ about joining the scheme. In a major development, NSW and Victoria last week became the first states to sign up to the scheme, which would provide up to $150,000 in compensation to victims of child sex abuse.” By CathNews.com
— Church moves quickly to join redress scheme(link is external)By CathNews.com

NSW, Victoria sign up to redress scheme
“A national redress scheme for child sexual abuse survivors(link is external) is a step closer with NSW and Victoria signing up to an agreement that offers practical services and compensation of up to $150,000. Malcolm Turnbull will reveal the agreement with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today (Mar. 9), in an agreement that puts each state on the line for costs that will run to hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade.” By CathNews.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Fr. Seamus Reid connected to sex abuse at St. Coleman’s
“Fr Seamus Reid, who died in 2001, was not a teacher but did visit the school. In 2015 the Catholic Church confirmed that a catalogue of allegations(link is external) had been made against the priest. In February, it came to light that Fr. Malachy Finnegan, who taught at St Colman’s from 1967 to 1976, had sexually abused pupils.” By BBC News

Priest guilty of child sex abuse
“An 82-year-old Catholic priest has been convicted of sexually abusing three children(link is external)and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years. Father Paul Moore committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996. The court heard how he abused one boy at a school, another at a leisure center and a third on the beach at Irvine in the 1970s. He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a student priest in 1995.” By BBC News

GUAM

Parties for 160 sex abuse lawsuits against clergy due in court
“Back in court this week (Mar. 17) will be parties for the 160 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits(link is external). Back in January, majority of counsels were in agreement on pre-mediation protocol and anticipated mediation to take place in June or earlier. Only one group of plaintiffs, those represented by attorney Anthony Perez, requested lifting the stay on those cases in the local court.” By Krystal Pace, KUAM-TV News

Guam Catholic Church seeks to rebuild after Vatican verdict
“After a Vatican tribunal convicted Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron and removed him from office(link is external), Catholics on Guam said this could be a turning point in the healing process of a church rocked by clergy sex abuse scandal. ‘I feel the healing will start. It will be a slow, slow process but it will happen,’ Tamuning resident Van Morada said as he and his family were about to attend Sunday Mass at Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña, the mother church on the island.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Priest abused boy to cleanse him of sin
“A new clergy sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) against the Archdiocese of Agana accuses deceased Rev. Ray Techaira of sexual abuse while Techaira was a priest serving at Niño Perdido y Sagrada Familia Catholic Church in Asan. J.M.R., of Dededo, filed a civil complaint filed with the District Court of Guam on Friday (Mar. 9) alleging he had been sexually abused by Techaira after asking questions about the Catholic faith during confirmation class in 1984.” By Mindy Augon, Guam Daily Post

IRELAND& NORTHERN IRELAND

Suspended sentence for former priest who abuse girl as she made first confession
“A west Cork priest sexually assaulted a little girl(link is external) throughout her First Confession, and yesterday (Mar. 16) the 79-year-old got a suspended jail term. Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin noted that the accused had served two previous jail sentences for similar crimes at this time and said that there was no point in re-committing him to jail at this point in his life.” By Liam Heylin, Evening Echo

Catholic bishops will cooperate with any abuse inquiry
“The Catholic bishops have said they will fully cooperate with any statutory inquiry into clerical child sexual abuse(link is external), following former President Mary McAleese’s call for a public inquiry into the Church’s response to child abuse allegations against Father Malachy Finnegan. Responding to McAleese’s call for a public inquiry into the Church’s response to child abuse allegations against Finnegan in the northern diocese of Dromore, a spokesman re-issued the bishop’s statement on child safeguarding published following last week’s regular Spring meeting of the hierarchy.” By Joe Little, RTE News

MEXICO

Archdiocese of Mexico backs sentence of priest jailed for abuse
“The Archdiocese of Mexico reaffirmed its commitment to fighting sexual abuse(link is external) and expressed its support for the 62-year jail sentence for a priest found guilty of abuse. The archdiocesan communications office issued a statement March 13 on the sentence imposed on the priest Carlos Lopez Valdés, who was found guilty of molesting Jesús Romero Colín several times between 1994 and 1998.” By Catholic News Service

17 Coahuila priests accused of abuse
(Mar. 10, 2018) “A man who describes himself as a survivor of sexual(link is external) abuse in the Catholic church has given church authorities a list of 17 priests whom he alleges are part of a ‘network of pedophiles.’ The first indication of sexual abuse in the diocese of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, was revealed when two men came forward and formally accused parish priest Juan Manuel Riojas of sexual assault. Close to 20 men of the cloth are now facing similar accusations.” By Mexico News Daily

SOUTH KOREA

South Korea’s Catholic Church forms sexual assault prevention body
“South Korea’s Catholic Church said Friday (Mar.9) it will form a special committee to fight sexual assault(link is external) within the church amid a controversy over a priest’s alleged attempt to rape a female volunteer worker in the past. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) announced that it reached a decision to form a committee addressing sexual violence within the church at the conference’s five-day spring general meeting, which started on Monday (Mar. 5).” By Yonhap News Agency

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup

TOP STORIES

Cardinal to face Australian court on sex abuse charges
“The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged(link is external) in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving secret evidence to an Australian court on Monday (Mar. 5). Australian Cardinal George Pell wore his clerical collar for the first day of the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. The committal hearing is scheduled to take up to a month.” By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Irish bishop resigns after criticism of his treatment of abusive priest
“An Irish bishop announced his resignation(link is external) March 1 after increased criticism over how he dealt with revelations of an abusive priest. Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore was criticized in a program on BBC Northern Ireland Feb. 28, after it emerged that he concelebrated a parish anniversary Mass in 2000 with a priest he knew had stepped down after being sent for treatment following complaints of abuse.” By Michael Kelly, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Bishop at heart of abuse cover-up claims testifies in Chile
“The Chilean bishop accused of covering up sex abuse(link is external) by a pedophile priest has testified before a Vatican mission looking into the allegations, a priest involved in the interviews said Friday (Feb. 23). Bishop Juan Barros has been among those interviewed by the team, said Father Jordi Bertomeu, who has been handling recent interviews in the investigation. But he did not say when the interview occurred, or whether Barros appeared voluntarily or was summoned.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

Former papal advisor says Francis need to make sex abuse a priority
“A former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has charged that Pope Francis is not making the fight against sexual abuse a priority(link is external), and expressed her frustration with the procedures and limitations of the group, which she said led her to hand in her resignation last year …French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet said she tendered her resignation letter in June to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a member of the C9 group that advises the pope and the president of the commission, after she failed to convince the majority of its members to enact changes she perceived as necessary.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

The shocking case that shows how far the Vatican has to go in child protection
“We canon lawyers, unfortunately, spend a lot of time dealing with tragic, disturbing, sometimes appalling situations. It’s all too easy to become inured. But even among canonists who routinely deal with cases of child sexual abuse, the news that Mgr Pietro Amenta, a senior Vatican judge, has been convicted of possessing child pornography(link is external) is shocking.” By Ed Condon, Catholic Herald

St. Cloud Diocese to declare bankruptcy after sex abuse claims
“The Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud will become the fourth Minnesota Catholic institution to declare bankruptcy following a flood of clergy sex abuse claims(link is external). Its announcement reinforced Minnesota’s position as the state with the largest number of bankruptcies related to clergy sex abuse. It follows dioceses in New Ulm and Duluth, as well as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which filed for Chapter 11 in 2015.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Vatican inspector meets bishop mired in child abuse case
“A Vatican investigator sent to Chile(link is external) by Pope Francis to interview sex abuse victims met on Friday (Feb. 23) with Chilean Bishop Juan Barros about accusations that he covered-up sexual abuse of minors committed by a priest. The investigator, Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, declined to share details of the interview with Barros, but told reporters the meeting was ‘cordial and friendly.’” By TelesurTV.net

Santiago sex abuse victims ask Vatican to investigate another case
“A group of people who say they were sexually abused by members of the Marist Brothers congregation(link is external) in Santiago asked on Thursday (Feb. 22) that their cases be considered by Vatican representatives who are in Chile to investigate other abuse claims. The group’s spokesman, Isaac Givovich, has requested a meeting with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a Vatican envoy who traveled to Santiago to meet with witnesses accusing a bishop of covering up the sexual abuse of minors by a priest.” By Antonio de la Jara, U.S. News & World Report

Vatican sex crimes investigator meets Chile Marist victims
“The Vatican’s sex crimes investigator interviewed several victims(link is external) of sexually abusive members of the Marist Brothers religious order Tuesday (Feb. 27), suggesting that his mandate has expanded beyond investigating alleged abuse cover-up by a lone Chilean bishop. Archbishop Charles Scicluna, tasked by Pope Francis with investigating Bishop Juan Barros, was forced to extend his trip in Chile by several days after having undergone emergency gall bladder surgery. He and his colleague from the Vatican, Father Jordi Bertomeu, have taken advantage of the extra time to add more interviews, including with victims of the Marist Brothers.” By Patricia Luna, Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis still highly regarded in U.S., but signs of disenchantment emergy
Five years into Francis’ papacy(link is external), the vast majority of U.S. Catholics continue to have a favorable opinion of the Argentinian pontiff, and most say he represents a major – and positive – change for the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time, a new Pew Research Center survey finds signs of growing discontent with Francis among Catholics on the political right, with increasing shares of Catholic Republicans saying they view Francis unfavorably, and that they think he is too liberal and naïve.” By Pew Research Center: Religion & Public Life

Pope Francis and reform: clergy sexual abuse
“Pope Francis was elected largely on the basis of reforming the Church’s handling of clerical sex abuse(link is external) and streamlining a Vatican beset with financial scandals, bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. So as the Holy Father approaches the fifth anniversary of his pontificate, how has he fared in these areas? When it comes to reforming the Vatican’s handling of clerical sex abuse, the verdict is mixed.” By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register

Reflections on Francis and the deconstruction of the ‘Imperial Papacy’
“Sometimes ideas arrive fully formed, springing like Athena from the head of Zeus, but other times they’re more of a slow burn, requiring multiple pieces of the picture to fall into place before they really take shape. I’ve been working on one of those slow burn ideas recently, to wit: As we near the five-year anniversary of Francis’s election(link is external) to the papacy next month, it’s becoming steadily clearer that a core aspect of his legacy may be a deconstruction of the strong ‘imperial papacy’ many observers believe has taken shape over the last century or so.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Five years into Pope Francis’ papacy, there is much more noise to be made
“Three years ago this March, Pope Francis made a startling observation during an interview with the Mexican media company Televisa: ‘I have the sense that my pontificate will be brief: four or five years.’ Since two years had already passed since his election on March 13, 2013, Francis’ offhand remark seemed to put an unexpectedly short timeline on his papacy. We now mark five years of Francis’ pontificate(link is external). The editors of America wish him many more. ‘Hagan lio,’ he told a crowd of millions at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, ‘Make some noise,’ and there is no question that this pontificate has done just that.” Editorial in America: The Jesuit Review

One key to understanding Pope Francis? His approach to judgment
“For good or ill, a single sound bite sometimes sums up the essence of an entire papacy(link is external) … Those sound bites help us understand the priorities and personalities of the popes, and while it’s perhaps too early to speculate which sound bite will ultimately define Pope Francis, it’s hard to imagine anything coming close to a question he asked in 2013: “Who am I to judge?” … It was a simple question that nonetheless would go on to define the papacy of a pastor whom the world was just getting to know.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Leading Vatican observer claims ‘Francis revolution almost over’
“Massimo Franco, the political editor of Corriere della Sera and widely respected commentator on the Vatican, said this week (Wednesday, Feb. 21) that he believes the ‘revolutionary appeal of Pope Francis is almost over(link is external).’ Speaking without reporting restrictions at London’s Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs independent think tank, he contrasted the expectations of reform that followed Jorge Bergoglio’s election in 2013 with the actual results five years on. Referring to Francis’ remark in his annual Christmas speech to the curia on 21 December last year, that reforming the Vatican is like ‘cleaning the Sphinx with a toothbrush,’ he said that this comment was an indication of Francis’ powerlessness.” By James Roberts, The Tablet

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Vatican magazine denounces nuns’ servitude
“A Vatican magazine has denounced how nuns are often treated like indentured servants(link is external) by cardinals and bishops, for whom they cook and clean for next to no pay. The March edition of ‘Women Church World,’ the monthly women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, hit newsstands Thursday (Mar. 1). Its expose on the underpaid labor and unappreciated intellect of religious sisters confirmed that the magazine is increasingly becoming the imprint of the Catholic Church’s #MeToo movement.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in the Sacramento Bee

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Abuse commission needs working time with Pope Francis, former member says
“Pope Francis’ clergy sexual abuse commission could be more effective in protecting children(link is external) if the group were granted more time to work directly with the pope and given resources to hold more in-person meetings each year, a former member has suggested. French child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet, who was among a group of six founding members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors not reappointed by Francis last month, said the ‘most important thing’ is that the group does not have adequate time to explain its proposals directly to the pontiff.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Papal adviser on sex abuse wants Church to offer experience to the world
“A Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to advise him on the fight against sexual abuse(link is external) now is looking to repair its relationship with victims and to ‘go forward’ in order to lend its expertise and resources to the outside world, according to a recently appointed member. Last week (Feb. 17), the Vatican announced that Francis had confirmed seven members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and appointed nine new members, some of whom are former victims of sexual abuse.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

Member of Pope’s anti-abuse panel insists, ‘the church is not failing’
“In a Feb. 20 Crux interview, Kettelkamp also insisted that ‘the Church is not failing’ when it comes to the effort to prevent sexual abuse(link is external). ‘Sometimes, people just love for the Catholic Church to fail,’ she said. ‘The Church is not failing on this issue, the Church is aggressively addressing it … maybe not as fast as other people would want to see done, but it’s a change in culture, in a lot of cultures … People who want things to change faster are not realistic about how things change.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Trust in the Catholic Church has been ‘broken,’ says top nun
“The Church has to change a ‘deep-seated culture’(link is external) that resists transparency and accountability when dealing with clerical sexual abuse, according to one of the new members of Pope Francis’ child protection body. Sister Jane Bertelsen, named last week to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told The Tablet that this culture has been around for centuries and that the Pope had made attempts to change it. ‘We have to restore credibility. Trust has been broken. And we have got to keep trying to restore that credibility, with truth-seeking, compassionate listening and in whatever way we can,’ she said.” By The Tablet

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Celibacy revisited
“Writing in the first person is always a risk, but the subject matter of this column is best done, I feel, through personal testimony. In a world where chastity and celibacy are seen as naïve(link is external) and to be pitied and where there’s a general skepticism that anyone is actually living them out, personal testimony is perhaps the most effective protest.” By Fr. Ronald Rolheiser

Catholic Church considers married priests to ease Amazon clergy shortage
“In the remote Brazilian town of Tabatinga, João Souza da Silva helped construct the Roman Catholic church where he got married 31 years ago, a wedding that officially ended his boyhood dream of becoming a priest(link is external). He may get a second chance, as Catholic leaders in the vast Amazon basin consider whether the church should let married men become priests in certain cases. The issue is likely to be discussed at a gathering of bishops Pope Francis has called for next year about the church in the Amazon.” By Luciana Magalhaes and Francis Rocca, The Wall Street Journal

WOMEN DEACONS

What’s the problem with women deacons? Nothing, says this scholar of women’s ordination in the early church
“At least 25 years ago the late Archbishop of New York Cardinal John O’Connor told me there were secret discussions in Rome about restoring women to the ordained diaconate(link is external). The problem, he said, was that they could not figure out how to ordain women as deacons and not as priests. The confusion remains. One priest, a convert to Catholicism, wrote me recently: ‘It seems somewhat disingenuous for an expert in women’s ordination to the diaconate to then insist that there is no connection with women priests.’”By Phyllis Zagano, U.S. Catholic

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Signs suggesting a turning point for the role of women in the Church
“While tensions over women in the Church have been a constant in Catholic life for a long time, recent signs suggest a turning point may be looming(link is external), with conferences, assemblies and media outlets both within and outside the Vatican speaking up in a new way about perceived injustices. Women meeting at a Voices of Faith conference this week (Mar. 8) in Rome, for instance, are saying the ‘Church is at a very important crossroads.’” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

Christ reduced to ‘misogynistic’ figure by church leaders, McAleese says
“Former president Mary McAleese has said she fears the Catholic Church’s hierarchy has ‘reduced Christ to this rather unattractive politician who is just misogynistic and homophobic and anti-abortion’ … and criticized ‘the patronizing platitudes that women have heard from a succession of popes and cardinals(link is external)’ … Ms McAleese also said Pope Francis should visit Newry, Co Down, if he comes to Ireland next August, in the wake of clerical child sex abuse revelations there which led to the recent resignation of the Bishop of Dromore.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

Thoughts on women in ministry, in a bit more than two sentences
“One wedding and two children ago, I seriously considered becoming a priest(link is external). I looked into two orders and my home diocese, as well as the archdiocese I was living in at the time. Things progressed far enough with one of those entities that I received — and for some reason still have — the application materials for acceptance into the seminary … And so, on this the start of Women’s History Month, I thought I’d finally answer one of those questions, and perhaps you the reader would like to join me …” By Mark Piper, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Where are the millennial Catholic activists
“Looking back on the ‘Catholic Day of Action to Protect Dreamers’ in late February—when dozens of Catholics, many of them members of religious orders, were arrested while demonstrating in support of undocumented people(link is external) who were brought to the United States as children—it was difficult for me not to notice something striking: the average age of the protestors. Perhaps it was because so many of the photos were taken from above, capturing the gray- and white-haired heads of peaceful protesters in concentric circles flanked by the Capitol police officers who would later arrest them.” By Colleen Dulle, America: The Jesuit Review

A wake up call to liberal theologians: academic theology needs the church as much as the church needs theology
“The estrangement between academic theology and the institutional Church is one reason many younger Catholics are now turning to neo-traditionalist circles(link is external) for instruction. 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

Pittsburgh Catholic diocese calls for more deacons as reorganization approaches
“By day, he’s a the chief clerk of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Pittsburgh, but after hours and on weekends, John Vaskov has been called to be something else — a deacon in the Catholic Church. ‘It is a call to serve the church and serve the people(link is external),’ says Vaskov. And Bishop David Zubik wants to find more like him, requesting his priests to nominate men in their parishes for a deacon-in-training program.” By Andy Sheehan, Pittsburgh,CBSLocal.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Cardinal lays out plan for parishes to implement Amoris Laetitia
“Cardinal Donald Wuerl has issued a broad and detailed pastoral plan for parishes to implement Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’). ‘Amoris Laetitia is a call to compassionate accompaniment(link is external) in helping all to experience Christ’s love and mercy,’ the Archbishop of Washington said in the 58-page pastoral plan.” By Catholic Herald

World Meeting of Families’ congress to center on ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“Some of the church’s best-known prelates have been lined up to expound on church teachings on the family for the ninth World Meeting of Families(link is external). On Feb. 28, organizers of the international gathering, to be held in Dublin Aug. 21-26, unveiled the preliminary program for the Pastoral Congress, Aug. 22-24 … The Vatican has not confirmed that Pope Francis will attend.” By Sarah Mac Donald, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Understanding ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“University President William P. Leahy, S.J., welcomed 15 U.S. Catholic bishops to Boston College on February 19 for a daylong seminar designed to help them better understand and implement Amoris Laetitia(link is external) (‘The Joy of Love’), Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation on the family. The event was the first of three—held on separate days at Boston College, the University of Notre Dame, and Santa Clara University—organized by BC Jesuit Institute Director and Canisius Professor of Theology James F. Keenan, S.J., with Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase Cupich and Vatican Prefect Cardinal Kevin Farrell.” By Boston College News

VOICES

Law, politics and media make abuse scandals different in U.S. than Chile
(Mar. 2, 2018) “As Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta returns from his on-the-ground investigation of alleged sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros of the Chilean diocese of Osorno, some American Catholics have likened this latest chapter of the Church’s clerical sex abuse scandals to post-traumatic stress disorder(link is external) … It’s not clear there would be a major contrast between America and anywhere else in a case in which the accusation against a bishop is not abuse itself, but cover-up. However, fundamental differences between the U.S. and much of the rest of the world in terms of legal, political, and media pressures suggest that something like the Barros saga would, nevertheless, play out differently.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

Vatican studying ways to speed up sexual abuse cases
“The topic was a main point of discussion in three days of meetings between the pope and a group of nine cardinals from the around the world who gather four times a year at the Vatican to discuss reform, Church finances and other issues. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said they had discussed ‘various options’ to shorten procedures in cases of abuse(link is external). They are currently handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican’s doctrinal department.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

CHURCH FINANCES

Houston woman sentenced for defrauding Catholic mission
“A 38-year-old Houston woman has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding more than $1.1 million from a Catholic mission(link is external) that supports schools in Mexico and Colombia.U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas also placed Rosina Blanco on probation for three years following her prison term and ordered her Monday (Mar. 5) to repay the more than $1.1 million as restitution.” By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

Ex-head of Vatican Bank sent to trial on embezzlement charge
“A former president of the Vatican Bank has been ordered to stand trial on charges of embezzlement and money laundering(link is external), the Vatican said, the highest ranking Holy See financial official to be indicted. A statement by the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), said the former president’s legal counsel was also indicted … It said damages had been estimated to be more than 50 million euro and that the IOR would be seeking compensation for damages. The trial is due to start on March 15.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, in U.S. News & World Report

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Abuse survivors push to change New York statute of limitations
“After three metro area dioceses offered programs to compensate victims of church sex abuse, Brian Toale was one of those who applied. Toale describes a horrific series of events in the early 1970s when, he wrote, as a student at Chaminade High School in Mineola, Long Island, New York, he was systematically groomed and abused(link is external) by the Marianist school’s radio club moderator.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Chileans lose faith as Vatican scrambles to contain sex abuse scandal
“Providencia is home to El Bosque, the former parish of priest Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years(link is external), spurring a chain of events leading to this week’s visit by a Vatican investigator. A Chilean judge in the same year determined the Vatican’s canonical sentence was valid but Karadima was not prosecuted by the civil justice system because the statute of limitations had expired.” By Cassandra Garrison, Reuters

Catholic priest sex abuse isn’t new. Diocese bankruptcies started in the Northwest
“It started in Portland. The Catholic Church there — as similar allegations spread worldwide — faced accusation after accusation of child sexual abuse by clergy(link is external). Then the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland reached financial strain it could no longer withstand … It became the first diocese in the country to declare bankruptcy due to sexual abuse cases … Since then, the 15 dioceses nationwide that have declared bankruptcy have paid out a total of about $542.6 million in settlements to victims, though not all of the cases are closed.” By Michael Katz, Idaho Statesman

CALIFORNIA

Presentation High: new independent office to handle sex abuse complaints
“A prominent San Jose Catholic girls high school, rocked by accusations that it failed for years to report sexual misconduct complaints(link is external) against teachers and staff, announced Tuesday (Feb. 20) it will create a new independent office to handle such claims from students in the future. The announcement came after Presentation High School officials spent months insisting they’ve had sound policies in place for protecting students from sexual harassment or abuse and properly handled complaints brought to their attention.” By John Woolfolk, The Mercury News

IDAHO

Retired Boise priest accused of crimes must leave diocese house. Where will he go?
“It took four attempts to hand-deliver the eviction notice, but the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher received official word Feb. 13 that he must move out of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise house that he leases by mid-April, according to the priest who delivered it … The move to evict the 72-year-old priest came on the heels of his Feb. 2 arrest on child porn and drug possession charges(link is external).” By Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman

MARYLAND

Did some nuns, teachers know of child sex abuse in Baltimore Catholic schools
“For some time now, WJZ has been investigating a dirty secret: child sex abuse at the hands of priests(link is external), police and a teacher back in the 1960s and 1970s. Many asked how it was possible that no one noticed. Multiple sources have told WJZ’s Denise Koch that many people, including some nuns in positions of authority, did know about the abuse but instead of reporting it, they looked the other way.” By Denise Koch, CBS News Baltimore

MICHIGAN

Police hear from dozens more potential victims in priest sex abuse case
“A Saginaw County District Court judge formally charged Father Robert DeLand, Jr. Monday (Feb. 26) with three crimes. The most serious is second degree criminal sexual conduct(link is external), a 15 year felony. Tittabawassee Township Police Detective Brian Berg told ABC12 dozens of people have come forward since the public learned of DeLand’s arrest.” By ABC12 News

MINNESOTA

Twin Cities archdiocese backruptcy drags on, taking a toll on all parties involved
“David Lind has waited three years for justice. But the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis still drags on — entering its fourth year with no settlement in sight and no relief for Lind and more than 400 other men and women who claim they were abused by local priests(link is external) when they were children and teenagers. The case is now on track to be one of the longest archdiocese bankruptcies in the nation, and the protracted dispute is placing mounting strains on all parties involved.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

NEW JERSEY

Middlesex priest accused of sex abuse
“The pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish has been accused of sexual abuse by three people(link is external) when they were minors more than 30 years ago, Diocese of Metuchen Bishop James F. Checchio said in a letter to parishioners Sunday (Feb. 25). Checchio said the Rev. Patrick J. Kuffner is on a leave of absence and the Rev. David Skoblow will serve as temporary administrator of the parish.” By Suzanne Russell, MyCentralJersey.com

NEW YORK

Bishop Malone: ‘We’re are so very, very sorry for the pain of abuse’
“Days after a retired priest admitted sexually abusing ‘probably dozens’ of teenage boys(link is external), the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Thursday (Mar. 1) said it was taking steps to compensate other victims while attempting to address the pain its inaction has caused. During an afternoon news conference at the Catholic Center downtown, officials announced the creation of a fund to settle claims of alleged sex abuse against clergy in the diocese, a move officials said promotes healing and would offer closure to victims.” By Aaron Besecker, The Buffalo News

Diocese of Ogdensburg to offer compensation to those alleging they were abused by north country clergy while minors
“The Diocese of Ogdensburg is allowing an independent, two-person panel to determine whether financial compensation will be given to those alleging sexual abuse as children(link is external) at the hands of Catholic clergy across the north country … Catholic officials in Ogdensburg said Thursday (Mar. 1) that the Diocese of Northern New York has established an ‘Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program’ to assist victims of clergy sex abuse.” By Larry Robinson, Watertown Daily Times

Advocate: many stories of sexual abuse by priests yet to be told
“For the past 22 years, Judith Burns-Quinn has listened to the shocking and heartbreaking stories of people who were sexually abused by priests(link is external). Most of them, she said, are adult men who were molested as young boys and teenagers. ‘Every victim I’ve talked to has their own story, but for every one, the experience of being molested by a priest has had a profound impact on their life,’ said Burns-Quinn, 74.” By Dan Herbeck, Buffalo News

Man says he was abused as teen by Buffalo-area priest
“A South Buffalo man is alleging he was sexually abused by a Buffalo-area Catholic priest(link is external) when he was a teenager nearly 40 years ago. Michael F. Whalen Jr., 52, said the alleged abuse occurred during a weekend ski trip south of Buffalo in 1979 or 1980 when he was about 14 years old. Whalen named the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits as his abuser. The Diocese of Buffalo on Tuesday (Feb. 27) would not answer specific questions about the allegations made against Orsolits, but said in a written statement that he was removed from the ministry in 2003.” By Aaron Besecker, Buffalo News

Defrocked Long Island priest, sex offender found dead in Saratoga jail
“A former Long Island Catholic priest and convicted sex offender was found dead in his Saratoga County jail cell after an apparent suicide on Tuesday (Feb. 27), just days before he was to be sentenced to state prison for molesting a child(link is external). Michael L. Hands, 51, admitted in September to twice molesting a child younger than 17 in July in Charlton.” By Steve Hughes, Times Union

PENNSYLVANIA

Hollidaysburg woman protests on anniversary of Kane report
“Rosalind Merritts, a retired nurse from Hollidaysburg, stood Thursday (Mar. 1) on the front lawn of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, displaying photos of children allegedly abused by priests(link is external) and hoping to catch the attention of motorists along busy Logan Boulevard. Despite a driving rain and a bleak sky, motorists were able to spot Merritts, clad in a long, bright yellow rain coat and carrying a large sign bearing the inscription, ‘PROTEST.’” By Phil Ray, Altoona Mirror

TEXAS

Former Catholic priest sentenced to 60 years for raping 13-year-old girl
“A former Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted in Texas of raping a teenager(link is external) in 2011. Jurors on Thursday (Mar. 1) convicted 61-year-old Stephen Tarleton Dougherty of aggravated sexual assault. He was then sentenced. Another jury in 2017 deadlocked on the charge.” By Associated Press on WFLA.com

AUSTRALIA

Survivors will soon be able to sue Catholic Church under new law
“Victoria will abolish the so-called Ellis defense, an ‘unfair legal loophole’ which has prevented child sexual abuse survivors(link is external) from suing organizations like the Catholic Church. Under proposed laws introduced to parliament on Tuesday (Mar. 6), unincorporated associations such as churches, would have to nominate an entity able to pay damages.” By Georgie Moore, The Courier

Child sex abuse commissioner hits out at lawyers who attack victim credibility
“One of the six commissioners who oversaw the landmark child sexual abuse royal commission has criticized defense lawyers who ‘mischievously’ attack the credibility of abuse victims(link is external). Robert Fitzgerald said that the country’s criminal justice system has previously favored alleged abusers, and even today ‘the pendulum has barely moved.’ He criticized defense lawyers for attacking the credibility of survivors over the length of time they took to report abuse.” By Australian Associated Press in The Guardian

Cardinal Pell’s barrister: loud, socially progressive and an avowed atheist
“Robert Richter is not the obvious choice to defend Catholic Cardinal George Pell(link is external)against historical sex charges. But the celebrity silk’s reputation for skewering witnesses – and winning cases – has delivered him the most high-profile case in his long and storied career.” By Tim Elliott, The Sydney Morning Herald

Senior Catholic leader faces sex abuse accusers via video link
“The most senior Catholic Church leader to be charged with sexual abuse(link is external) came close to confronting his accusers on Monday (Mar. 5) in a video-linked Australian court hearing to test the strength of the prosecution’s case. Cardinal George Pell’s alleged victims began testifying in the Melbourne Magistrates Court against Pope Francis’ former finance minister in testimony that cannot be made public.” By CBS News

CHILE

Sex abuse at Chilean church school was an unending ‘perverse game’
Sexual abuse at the hands of priests(link is external) marked the childhood of Jaime Concha since the day when, at age 10, he entered a school run by the Marist Brothers religious order in Santiago. He is now 55 years old and a doctor. After all these years, his case is one of the dozens finally being investigated by the Catholic Church in Chile — a church rocked by the scale of a sex-abuse scandal that tainted the recent visit of Pope Francis. Concha told AFP his treatment at the hands of the Marist Brothers was like ‘an everlasting perverse game.’” By The Sun Daily

Chileans lose faith as Vatican scrambles to contain sex abuse scandal
“To understand why Chile, one of Latin America’s most socially conservative nations, is losing faith in the Roman Catholic Church, visit Providencia, a middle-class area of Santiago coming to terms with a decades-old clergy sex abuse scandal(link is external). Providencia is home to El Bosque, the former parish of priest Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing teenage boys over many years, spurring a chain of events leading to this week’s visit by a Vatican investigator.” By Cassandra Garrison, Reuters, in U.S. News & World Report

GERMANY

German ex-priest convicted of sexually abusing boys
“A court in southeastern Germany has sentenced a former Catholic priest to 8 ½ years in prison for child sex abuse(link is external). The regional court in Deggendorf, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Munich, found the defendant guilty Thursday (Feb. 22) of abusing five boys on more than 100 occasions since the mid-1990s. He was also convicted of bodily harm, forging documents and possessing child pornography.” By Associated Press in The Washington Post

GUAM

Former Capuchin brother wants clergy sex abuse claims dismissed, accusers object
“Former Capuchin brother Vernon T. Kamiaz has asked the federal court to dismiss three clergy sex abuse claims(link is external) filed against him over failure to timely serve him with the summons and complaints. His accusers separately said the service of process on Kamiaz was timely.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Island bishop accused in two Guam clergy sex abuse cases dies
“Saipan’s Bishop EmeritusTomas A. Camacho, one of several Catholic clergy members accused of sexually abusing altar boys(link is external) on Guam, died Monday (Mar. 5) after a long illness, church leaders said.Camacho was 84 and had been Saipan’s highest-ranking Catholic Church leader for some 25 years, from 1984 until his retirement in April 2010, according to Father James Balajadia of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News, on THV11.com

Counseling for clergy sex abuse accusers continues
“Professional counseling services continue for victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external), nearly a year since the Archdiocese of Agana created Hope and Healing Guam in April 2017 amid efforts to try to settle clergy abuse lawsuits. Hope and Healing’s mission to provide counseling, treatment and spiritual healing doesn’t overlap or duplicate the work of the attorneys representing the archdiocese in the clergy sex abuse cases, said Andrew Camacho,the organization’s president.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Survivors of Catholic Church abuse in Ireland demand papal meeting
Survivors of sexual and physical abuse(link is external) in schools run by the Catholic church in Ireland have demanded a meeting with Pope Francisduring his visit to the country in the summer to discuss compensation.The Irish Catholic church has invited the pontiff to a religious conference in August. It will be the first papal visit to Irelandsince John Paul II’s tour in 1979.” By Henry Mcdonald, The Guardian

Lawyers and rights groups call for clerical abuse inquiry
“Lawyers and human rights groups have called for a public inquiry into allegations of clerical child sex abuse(link is external) in Northern Ireland. Amnesty International said recent revelations of abuse by Father Malachy Finnegan, former president of St Colman’s College in Newry, strengthened the case for an inquiry.” By IrishLegalNews.com

County Down GAA club urged any victims of pedophile priest Malachy Finnegan to come forward
“A CO Down GAA club has urged any victims of abuse by pedophile priest(link is external) Malachy Finnegan to come forward. Clonduff GAC in Hilltown said anyone affected by the actions of Finnegan, a former president of the club, should ‘bring this to the attention of the PSNI.’ It comes as it was revealed that parents at four Co Down primary schools have said they do not want the Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey to officiate at their children’s confirmation after he said Requiem Mass for Finnegan.” By Suzanne McGonagle, The Irish News

Priest guilty of sexually assaulting schoolboy 36 years ago
“The jury of nine men and three women returned to Courtroom one at the courthouse on Washington St, Cork, before 3 p.m. with their unanimous guilty verdict. The 74-year-old priest had denied indecently assaulting the boy at a sch(link is external)ool in Co Cork early in the 1980s. Tadgh O’Dalaigh was convicted yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on a charge of indecently assaulting the boy on an unknown date between Sept. 1, 1980, and Jan. 28, 1981 at the Sacred Heart college, also known as Coláiste An Chroí Naofa, Carraig Na Bhfear, Co Cork.” By Liam Heylin, Irish Examiner

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand PM urged to expand royal commission over St. John of God child-sex abuse
Australian victims of notorious St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath(link is external) have urged New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to include churches in a child abuse royal commission after McGrath’s fight against extradition from New Zealand stopped the Australian royal commission from a public inquiry into the Catholic order.” By Joanne McCarthy, The Sydney Morning Herald

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Francis’ commitment to abuse survivors in question
“It is hard even to imagine the pain survivors of clergy sexual abuse have had to endure(link is external). After being raped or brutalized by people their communities had taught them to see as nearly infallible, many were left silent for decades, ashamed or just unable to speak. When they did come forward, their motives were questioned and their integrity impugned. They were savaged, re-victimized, in court proceedings and public announcements, as bishops, diocesan lawyers and church officers denied their charges … Within the space of four days, Pope Francis twice slandered abuse survivors. On the papal flight from Peru Jan. 21, he again called testimony against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid ‘calumny.’” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Call for Pope Francis to meet with abuse survivor Marie Collins during visit to Ireland
“A meeting between Pope Francis and clerical abuse survivor, Marie Collins, must be on the papal agenda(link is external) when the Pope visits Ireland next August, a Catholic lobby group has said. We Are Church Ireland (WACI), a lobby group seeking to liberalize some of Catholicism’s structures and sexual teachings, said a personal meeting with Collins would show the Pope’s appreciation of her ‘valuable work’ on the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Sarah MacDonald, The Independent

Let laity lead parishes, priests’ resolution urges U.S. bishops
“Priests are graying, fewer in number, with little relief in sight. That reality was the impetus for a resolution endorsed by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, calling upon Catholic bishops in the United States to enlist the aid of lay pastoral workers to administer parishes(link is external). Passed by the association at its convention in Atlanta last June, the resolution calls upon the church to allow ‘well prepared pastoral ministers who, working collaboratively with canonical pastors, can know, guide and accompany the faithful on their journey of faith via parish communities.’” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Proud to be Catholic? A groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the Church
“Catholic women may be part of a Democratic voting wave in 2018. They are ready to welcome women deacons. Many feel their parishes are inclusive of women and welcome divorced and remarried Catholics and non-heterosexual Catholics. But they think the church could do more to welcome unmarried parents, single mothers and people who have lost their spouses … These are just a handful of the findings of the America Survey, commissioned by America Media(link is external) and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in partnership with GfK, a survey firm.” By Mark Gray and Mary Gautier, America: The Jesuit Review

ACCOUNTABILITY

Amid abuse allegations, Vatican names trustee to lead Sodalitium
“Saying Pope Francis is following the situation with concern, the Vatican named a Colombian bishop to be the trustee of the scandal-plagued SodalitiumChristianae Vitae(link is external), a Catholic movement based in Peru.The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life appointed Bishop Noel Londono Buitrago of Jerico, Colombia, trustee of the group, the Vatican press office announced Jan. 10.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Pope delivers mixed messages to clergy abuse survivors during Chile trip, casting doubt over his commitment to reform and healing
During his recent visit to Chile (Jan. 15-18), Pope Francis sent mixed signals to clergy abuse survivors. Early in his visit, he met with survivors, wept with them, admonished Chile’s clergy for abuse and betrayed trust, apologized for “irreparable damage” done by abuse and sought forgiveness from victims. Just before celebrating Mass at the end of his visit, however, the Pope changed course when confronted with questions concerning Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who had been accused of covering up Fr. Fernando Karadima’s sexual abuse. The Pope said, “The day someone brings me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. But there is not one single piece of evidence. It is all slander. Is that clear?” Here are links to some of the media coverage that resulted:

Pope Francis to face protests in Chile over bishop appointment
“Chileans protesting Pope Francis’s 2015 appointment(link is external) of a Roman Catholic bishop accused of protecting an alleged pedophile threaten to cast a shadow over the pontiff’s visit to South America next week. Parishioners in Osorno, a small city 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the Chilean capital, say Vatican representatives denied their requests to meet with Francis. They plan to protest every day of the Pope’s Jan. 15 – 18 stay in Chile.” By Dave Sherwood, Reuters

CELIBACY& MARRIED PRIESTS

Serving isolated parishes may mean ordaining married men
“The idea of exceptionally ordaining older married men of proven virtue to celebrate the Eucharist(link is external) in isolated Catholic communities is something that should be discussed, said Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. ‘It is not about being in favor of or against something, but about attentively evaluating various possibilities without being closed or rigid,’ the cardinal said in a new book in Italian, Tutti gli Uomini di Francesco (‘All Francis’s Men’) released Jan. 22 by Edizioni San Paolo.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

The humble, indispensable women leading the Catholic Church you’ve (probably) never heard of
“Coleen Heckner grew up immersed in Catholic culture(link is external). From her parents and her devout grandfather, who served as an usher in his parish, to the Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of Mercy, who educated her in grade school and high school, she was surrounded by examples of faith. A member of the Vatican II generation, she was influenced by St. John XXIII and became passionate about issues of social justice, in part because the peace activists Daniel Berrigan, S.J., and Phil Berrigan were among the speakers brought to her Baltimore classroom. ‘I grew up in a really neat time to have all these folks touch my life in some way,’ she said.” By Kerry Weber, America: The Jesuit Review

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

New study seeks to understand why young people leave the church
“More Catholics are leaving the faith than ever before — more so than in any other religion — and a new study out this week is trying to help make sense of why so many young adults are leaving the faith(link is external) at such an early age. ‘Going, Going, Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics,’ released by Saint Mary’s Press of Minnesota, in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, comes at a time when Pope Francis is seeking to focus the attention of the global Church on the needs of young people.” By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Pope aide says tensions around ‘Amoris’ reflect a ‘paradigm shift’
“According to the pope’s top aide, the sometimes-tumultuous debates unleashed in Catholicism by Pope Francis’s 2016 document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, aren’t primarily due to ‘certain aspects of its content,’ but rather the ‘paradigm shift’(link is external) for the Church the document represents. ‘At the end of the day, what resulted from Amoris Laetitia is a new paradigm that Pope Francis is carrying forward with wisdom, with prudence, and also with patience,’ said Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State and effectively the most senior figure in the Church after the pope himself.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

VOICES

Time to Heal
“There is no delicate way to say this about an institution that so many believe in so fervently, and put their faith in daily. It’s for that very reason — so many entrust their lives and their faith in an afterlife with the Catholic Church and its teachings — that we feel compelled to point out that the Brownsville Diocese has a serious image problem(link is external)right now and church officials must address it quickly … And it has many in this heavily Catholic region questioning whether such an incident could be repeated today or whether the church — which was just beginning to recover from a sex abuse scandal 15 years ago emanating from revelations involving the powerful Boston diocese and involving dozens of priests who abused children — has truly reformed its ways. Such questions came to the fore as a nonprofit group called Voice of the Faithful, borne of the earlier sex scandals, rated the Diocese of Brownsville among the lowest in the country as it relates to openness regarding church finances.” Editorial in the Brownsville Texas Herald

CHURCH FINANCES

Report shows operating surplus for 2017 in Archdiocese of Baltimore
“Improvements in the stock market and sound controls on expenses helped the Archdiocese of Baltimore achieve a positive result on the financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017 … In November, Voice of the Faithful, a movement of Catholics concerned with church accountability and transparency, reviewed the websites(link is external) of all 177 dioceses and archdioceses in the country to gauge fiscal accountability practices. Using a 10-question scale, the group looked at whether diocesan financial information could be easily found and reviewed. The Archdiocese of Baltimore was one of the top six dioceses in the study, earning 55 out of 60 possible points. Baird noted that the only deduction the archdiocese received was for not having a list of the members of its finance council on the web. That has been rectified, with the addition of the roster of the Board of Financial Administration to the site.” By Christopher Gunty, Archdiocese of Baltimore Online Newspaper

Thief steals collection money from Montclair’s Immaculate Conception
“A thief made off with part of the collection money(link is external) from a Sunday morning Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and township police are investigating the crime. The Roman Catholic house of worship informed parishioners of the robbery in an email Sunday (Jan. 21) night. ‘I write to advise you that today, during the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception, the first collection was stolen from the sacristy with the second collection for heat being left behind,’ wrote the Rev. Amilcar Benito Prado, administrator of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish.” By Linda Moss Montclair Local

Two-thirds of Catholic dioceses do not publish accounts online
“Almost two-thirds of the 26 Catholic dioceses in Ireland do not publish any financial details on their websites(link is external), a new survey has found. The reverse is true in the US, where almost two-thirds of the 177 dioceses carry such details on their websites. The Irish survey was carried out by We Are Church Ireland, a lay Catholic lobby group, which has called for greater transparency in diocesan finances. A summary of the financial details of each diocese, and other relevant charities in each, are published on the Charities Regulatory Authority website. However, the level of detail made available to parishioners on diocesan websites varies significantly.” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

$319,000 possibly stolen from St. Luke Catholic School, audit shows
“An investigation into missing funds at St. Luke Catholic School yielded evidence of a possible embezzlement plot amounting to $319,000(link is external), according to a release from the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The archdiocese said it sought the risk audit after concerns regarding the school’s finances arose. The audit found ‘questionable financial transactions and irregularities at the school for a several-year period.’ https://www.ksat.com/news/-319-000-possibly-stolen-from-st-luke-catholic…(link is external).” By Mariah Medina, KSAT-TV

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Albany, pass the Child Victims Act
“If the #MeToo movement of the last few months has taught us anything, it’s that it is extremely painful and risky for victims of sexual harassment or assault — even those with power, money and connections — to speak out against their abusers. Now consider how much harder it must be for a child(link is external) … For these reasons, many states — including eight last year alone — have done the right thing and extended or eliminated statutes of limitations for the reporting of child sexual abuse. This has encouraged more victims to come forward and seek justice for abuse that was never properly addressed, if it was addressed at all. New York, which has had no shortage of child sex-abuse scandals, should be on that list.” By The New York Times Editorial Board

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Sex abuse prevention to feature at Vatican’s family meeting
“The Vatican’s upcoming conference on families in Ireland will feature a seminar on child protection(link is external), after the church’s sex abuse scandal devastated the credibility of the Catholic Church in the country.” By Associated Press on FOXNews.com

FLORIDA

Priest fights witness subpoena in child sex abuse trial
“Uncomfortable discussing a sensitive matter with her family, a teenage girl made an appointment with a priest to reveal a dark secret she had been carrying for years(link is external), according to prosecutors. While taking part in the Catholic Church’s Sacrament of Reconciliation, commonly known as confession, prosecutors claim the girl disclosed to Rev. Vincenzo Ronchi that a relative had sexually abused her on several occasions beginning when she was 7 years old.” By Mike DeForest, News6 Orlando

MINNESOTA

Former St. Cloud priest, teacher added to list of likely abusers
“A Catholic priest in the St. Cloud diocese who taught at Cathedral High School in the 1970s has been added to a list of clergy who likely abused children(link is external). In a news release Friday (Jan. 12), the Diocese of St. Cloud said the Rev. Antonio Marfori is the latest name added to the diocese’s list of credibly accused priests and monks.” By Kirsti Marohn, Minnesota Public Radio

Priest returns to limited ministry
“Father Jonathan Shelley, who has been out of ministry since June 2012, will return to limited ministry(link is external) in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced Jan. 11.’ By The Catholic Spirit

MISSOURI

Religious education teacher in Troy, Mo., Catholic Church accused of videotaping bathrooms
“A 28-year-old Lincoln County man is accused of covertly installing video cameras in bathrooms(link is external) at a Catholic church and in an amusement center where he worked. The surreptitious recordings were first discovered when an employee at Adrenaline Zone, a bumper cars and laser tag complex in St. Charles, called police Jan. 15 after a camera installed in the bathroom fell through the ceiling, according to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Andy Binder.” By Erin Heffernan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis area priest charged with 16 counts of child porn and possession of meth
“A Catholic priest who was arrested Monday (Jan. 8) by Belleville police was charged with 16 counts of child pornography(link is external) Tuesday (Jan. 9). (Rev. Gerald) Hechenberger, 54, also was charged with possession of methamphetamine … Belleville police issued a statement saying Hechenberger was identified as being in possession of multiple images of child pornography in which the photographed victims were under the age of 13.” By Kaley Johnson, The Kansas City Star

NEW YORK

Child Victims Act would bring hidden predators to justice
“When I first heard the claims of child sexual abuse(link is external) against Alabama’s disgraced former Senate candidate Roy Moore, I was sick to my stomach. But as a long-time advocate and abuse survivor, I was not surprised that such a predator was able to remain hidden in plain sight for so long.” By Kathryn Robb, Valley News

OREGON

Three men sue Archdiocese of Portland alleging sex abuse in North Bend
“Three men filed a lawsuit Wednesday (Jan. 10) against the Archdiocese of Portland alleging they were sexually abused as children(link is external) by a priest in North Bend during the early 1980s. The lawsuit, filed today (Jan. 11) in United States District Court for the District of Oregon, alleges that the three victims, who were not identified in the complaint, were each abused by the Rev. Pius Brazauskas who worked at the Holy Redeemer Church in North Bend from the late 1970s until as late as 1990.” By Tim Epperson, The World

PENNSYLVANIA

Clergy abuse victims react to diocese creating child protection office
“The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown announced the creation of a new office dedicated to protecting children, but clergy abuse victims are worried(link is external) about its leadership. The Diocese hired Cindy O’Connor, of Johnstown, to be the director of the new Office of Children and Youth Protection, according to a release … The office’s creation and the decision to have O’Connor as the director have victims including John Nesbella concerned. He thinks that her being both Catholic and a member of the same diocese might be a conflict of interest.” By Katie O’Toole, WJAC-TV

TEXAS

Lawsuit dismissed against late priest, former Notre Dame principal
“A lawsuit was dismissed by District Judge David Evans in Tarrant County related to charges of sexual abuse(link is external) by a now-deceased priest and a former principal of Notre Dame Middle/High School. In March 2015, Jason Lloyd Montgomery filed the suit against the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and Bishop Michael F. Olson, claiming he was sexually abused by the late Rev. John Sutton when he was a Notre Dame student in 1990-1992.” By Claire Kowalick, Times Record News

VERMONT

Edmundites to pay up in priest sex-abuse lawsuit
“A Colchester-based religious order is among several Roman Catholic institutions that recently settled a priest sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) in Connecticut for nearly $1 million. The court case centered on misconduct claims involving defrocked priest Charles Many, a Vermont native and St. Michael’s College graduate who helped lead parishes in Essex Junction and in Groton, Connecticut, and was a member of the Society of St. Edmund.” By Adam Silverman, Burlington Free Press

AUSTRALIA

Former public servant on board to help protect children
“A former West Australian public servant and administrator has been appointed to the Church’s independent child protection standards(link is external), auditing and reporting organization. Dr Ruth Shean, the former WA Commissioner for Public Sector Standards with responsibility for oversight of legislative and regulatory standards in the WA public sector, will join the board of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) from February 1.” By CathNews.com

Child rapist priest spared deportation by AAT named
“Irish pedophile priest Finian Egan(link is external) has been named as the child rapist the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is trying to save from deportation. AAT deputy president Janine Stevenson recently set aside former Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s decision to cancel Egan’s Australian citizenship. She also ordered that Egan not be identified and that evidence given in the case be suppressed.” By Keith Moor, Herald Sun

Ex-teacher charged with child sexual abuse
“A 71-year-old former teacher, counselor and school nurse at two Perth Catholic colleges has been charged with child sexual abuse offences(link is external) dating back almost 40 years. Arthur Frank Mowle, 71, has been charged by detectives tipped off by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Carolyn Bennett asks Catholic groups to allow residential school survivors to have documents outlining abuse made public
“The federal government is urging Catholic groups that ran Indian residential schools to allow former students who settled their abuse cases(link is external) before a compensation deal was signed with school survivors to file their court documents with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Justice Department lawyers say permission from both the government and the Catholic entities is required before abuse survivors who launched court cases before 2006, when the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was struck, can house papers related to their cases at the center in Winnipeg that is chronicling the schools’ tragic legacy.” By Gloria Galloway, The Globe & Mail

CHILE

Controversial bishops in Chile deny sex abuse coverup
“Well before Pope Francis arrived here Monday (Jan. 15) night, it was clear that his Jan. 15-18 visit to Chile would be trying, in large part because of fallout from clerical sexual abuse scandals(link is external) that have badly frayed both the Church’s public image and its internal morale. As Francis was making his way from Rome to the Chilean capital on Monday, I spent over an hour with the bishop at the center of that storm, Juan Barros Madrid, whom Francis appointed to head the diocese of Osorno in March 2015. We were joined by the bishop of Talca, Horacio Valenzuela, who, along with Barros, is accused by three victims of witnessing their abuse and covering it up.” By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Disgraced priest to give evidence at Scottish child abuse inquiry
“A disgraced priest who sexually abused young boys(link is external) in care is to give evidence at the Scottish child abuse inquiry. Sex offender Bernard Traynor, 64, has been called to give his testimony after allegations about him were made to the inquiry by former residents at Smyllum Park in Lanark last month. Two former residents told Lady Smith, who leads the inquiry, they were sexually abused by Traynor after they were moved to another orphanage run by the same Catholic order in Newcastle.” By John Jeffay, The Scotsman

GUAM

Guam archbishop denies allegations of rape, sexual abuse
“An embattled archbishop in Guam has denied an allegation that he raped his nephew(link is external) nearly 20 years ago, when his accuser was a teen. Mark Apuron, nephew of Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron, filed a lawsuit Jan. 10, claiming that his uncle raped him in a Church bathroom in 1989 or 1990. This is the fifth lawsuit to accuse the archbishop of sexual abuse of minors during his time as a pastor and bishop.” By Catholic News Agency on Cruxnow.com

Church sex abuse mediation could leave victims fighting over money
“At least one attorney in the Catholic church sex abuse scandal is raising concerns over the current settlement proposal(link is external) by some of the parties—arguing it could leave 158 victims in a precarious situation in which they could end up ‘fighting over the money on their own.’ By Jolene Toves, Pacific News First

IRELAND& NORTHERN IRELAND

Irish bishop warns against thinking sexual abuse crisis is ‘behind us’
“A bishop in Ireland is warning that the greatest danger in the fight against abuse is to ‘relax(link is external) and believe that the worst is in some way behind us.’ Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said society sometimes wants ‘to simplify this issue and move on. To stay with an awareness of the pervasiveness of abuse and those dark parts of our human nature and the tendency to exploit weakness and vulnerability, may be almost too much,’ he said.” By Charles Collins, Cruxnow.com

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand abuse inquiry will not include faith-based organizations
“The Catholic Church in New Zealand is disappointed a government inquiry into state abuse of children may not expand to include faith-based institutions(link is external), including itself. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the primary role of an inquiry would be to focus on the state’s responsibility.” By CathNews.com

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

‘Catastrophic institutional failure’ can be fixed
“The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) spent five years interviewing over 8,000 survivors, their abusers and personnel from institutions that had covered up the abuse. The Commission found that 61.8 percent of all survivors within religious institutions had been under the care of the Catholic Church. The Commission’s 17 volume Final Report, released on Dec. 15, 2017, made hundreds of recommendations for change in structures, practices and internal laws of institutions.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter
— 15 recommendations from the royal commission into child sexual abuse that you should know about(link is external)By ABC News Australia

Clergy abuse database releases new names in Chile
“The leading Catholic clergy sexual abuse tracking website has identified nearly 80 priests in Chile that have been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors(link is external), releasing their names online just days before Pope Francis is to visit the country. BishopAccountability.org calls the list only a sampling of the number of Chilean priests who have likely committed abuse, saying that unlike in the U.S., the church in Chile has yet to face substantial outside investigation into its handling of sexual misconduct.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Publicly accused priests, brothers, sisters, and deacons in Chile(link is external)By BishopAccountability.org

‘The hurt is still there’: clergy abuse survivors, others react to Cardinal Law’s death
“Reaction to the death of Cardinal Bernard Law(link is external), the man who came to be the face of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, has been emotional, particularly for survivors of clergy abuse. Law, who led the Boston archdiocese for 19 years before he stepped down in disgrace over the scandal, died in Rome early Wednesday. He was 86.” By Deborah Becker, WBUR-FM

German church accused of failing to make finances transparent
“The German Church has been accused of failing to make church finances transparent(link is external) as the German bishops’ conference had promised it would in 2014 after Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst — since referred to as the Bishop of Bling — was suspended by the Vatican for spending more than 31m euros (£26m) on renovating his bishop’s palace. ‘We feel and understand the faithful’s desire to be informed about the dioceses’ assets and about how the money is being spent,’ the German bishops’ conference declared at the time and promised that each diocese would publish its balance sheets by the end of 2016.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet

Top five under-appreciated Vatican stories of 2017
“When there’s a surging river of news streaming down the line every day, it’s often tough to separate the important from the ephemeral. Herewith, then, my countdown of the Top Five Under-Appreciated Vatican Stories(link is external) from the last twelve months, meaning matters whose lasting significance arguably hasn’t yet been fully digested.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
— What’s coming up in the life of the U.S. church in 2018(link is external)By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
— 2017 in Review(link is external)By National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

The Editors: Pope Francis needs to restore trust in response to sex abuse crisis
“On Dec. 21, Pope Francis spent the morning addressing members of the Roman Curia. He focused on the need to reform the Curia, as well as the Curia’s relationship to the world outside the Vatican. That relationship must be characterized, he said, by a spirit of service. As the cardinal (Bernard Law) was laid to rest, the church waits for Pope Francis to officially renew the mandate of the Pontifical Commission(link is external) for the Protection of Minors, which had been allowed to expire on Dec.17. The official renewal is expected soon, with the membership of the commission to be announced in the new year.” By the Editors at America: The Jesuit Review
— Letting abuse commission lapse, Vatican sends disappointing message(link is external)Editorial by National Catholic Reporter

Church is urged to do more on clergy abuse since Cardinal Law’s resignation
“In the 15 years since Cardinal Bernard F. Law resigned in disgrace(link is external), the Catholic Church has removed hundreds of American priests accused of preying on children, and adopted new policies and training designed to prevent abuse. But many abuse survivors and activists say reforms have been made slowly, inconsistently, and under pressure, and the church has not fully reckoned with the crisis. In a troubling sign for victims, a Vatican commission on sexual abuse, headed by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, effectively lapsed this week, when its members’ terms expired.” By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe

After the royal commission, a new generation of Catholic priests looks to the future
“A new generation of Catholic priests(link is external) is promising to make the church more open, engaging and modern. Last month (December 2017), the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered damning findings about the Catholic Church. The commission’s final report recommended the Church break with centuries of tradition, tossing out the sanctity of the confessional and making celibacy for priests voluntary. There has been reluctance from senior leadership, but a new wave of priests-in-training believe the priesthood must evolve.” By Isabella Higgins, ABC News Australia

POPE FRANCIS

Ahead of trip, pope orders takeover of Catholic group in Peru
“Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican takeover of an elite Catholic society in Peru(link is external)whose founder is accused of sexually and physically abusing children and former members of the group. The move, announced by the Vatican on Wednesday (Jan. 10), is the latest in a saga that has damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church in Peru and comes a week before Francis is set to make his first visit as pope to that country and Chile.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

How to make the world a better place in 2018, according to Pope Francis
“Pope Francis has some surprising things to say about the state of the world. On Monday (Jan. 8), Pope Francis delivered his annual address to his diplomatic corps(link is external), ambassadors from 183 nations to the Holy See. The speech outlined a bold vision for a peaceful, free and just world. The pontiff touched on themes that have been in the headlines, like the Syrian war and the Rohingya refugee crisis. But he also drilled down on development topics like child labor, global inequality and the threat of technological advances that may put millions of people, especially the poorest, out of work.” By Malaka Gharib, National Public Radio

Conservative Catholic dissidents attack Popes Francis and Benedict
Conservative Catholic dissidents(link is external), who have been attacking Pope Francis, showed their true colors recently by attacking retired Pope Benedict XVI, calling his writings ‘subversive’ and ‘modernist.’ That’s right, they think Benedict is a heretic. In his new book, ‘Al Cuore di Ratzinger, Al Cuore del Mondo,’ the Italian philosopher Enrico Maria Radaelli goes after Joseph Ratzinger’s ‘Introduction to Christianity,’ one of Pope Benedict’s most popular books. Radaelli accuses him of embracing modern subjectivism by dabbling in Kant’s transcendentalism and Hegel’s ‘dialectical idealism.’” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis: theologians should be ‘faithful and anchored’ to teachings of Vatican II
“In an increasingly complex world of unprecedented scientific and technological challenges, theologians must communicate what is essential(link is external) about life and help Christians proclaim God’s merciful, saving grace, Pope Francis told a group of Italian theologians. The theologians’ task requires being ‘faithful and anchored’ to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and continuing the council’s focus on the church ‘letting itself be enriched by the perennial newness of Christ’s Gospel,’ he said.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis says reforming Vatican as hard as cleaning Sphinx with toothbrush
“Pope Francis issued a stinging new critique of the Vatican’s top administration(link is external) on Thursday (Dec. 21), saying ‘traitors’ stood in the way of his reforms and made any change as hard as cleaning Egypt’s Sphinx ‘with a toothbrush.’ For the fourth year running, Francis used his annual Christmas greetings to the Roman Catholic Church’s central bureaucracy, or Curia, to lecture the assembled cardinals, bishops and other department heads on the need for change.” By The Telegraph
— Pope’s ferocity with Roman Curia straight out of Jesuit playbook(link is external), By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com
— Pope upbraids Vatican bureaucracy: serve the world, not ‘degraded logic of small cliques(link is external),’ By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Drawing lessons from the life of Cardinal Bernard Law
“For those trying to understand the legacy of Cardinal Bernard Law, Donna B. Doucette, executive director of Voice of the Faithful(link is external), may offer the most useful insight. Doucette’s organization grew out of the revelations of clergy sexually abusing children and its cover up that forced Law out of Boston in 2002, ripped the lid off a simmering cauldron of scandal, and made the sexual exploitation of children by clergy an issue of global concern. She says Catholics should learn three basic lessons from Law’s legacy: ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ ‘secrets destroy’ and, for those interested in reforming church structures, ‘trust but verify.’” By National Catholic Reporter Staff
— Spotlight reporter recalls the real heart of the church scandal, the victims(link is external)By Mike Rezendes, The Boston Globe
— Since 2002, U.S. church has had strict protocols in place to address abuse(link is external)By Julie Asher, The Pilot
— Fallen kings: how Cardinal Law’s reign cemented the Church’s fading power(link is external)By Tovia Smith, National Public Radio
— Death of disgraced Cardinal Law reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church(link is external)By Melinda Henneberger, The Kansas City Star
— Cardinal Law’s overlooked legacy: a new anti-clericalism in America’s Catholic heartland,(link is external) By Catholic Herald
— The death of Cardinal Bernard Law and the legacy of clergy sex abuse(link is external)By James Carroll, The New Yorker
— The obituary Bernard Law deserves, by Eileen McNamara(link is external)WBUR-FM
— The scandal and tragedy of Cardinal Law(link is external)By Philip Lawler, First Things, The Institute on Religion and Public Life
— Cardinal Law’s legacy: a stain of scandal on the church(link is external)By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press
— Cardinal Law and the U.S.-Rome sex abuse divide(link is external)By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times
— A judgment Cardinal Law cannot avoid,(link is external) By Elizabeth Williamson, The New York Times

MASS TRANSLATIONS

Catholic bishops have the ‘right’ to re-examine liturgy, say U.S. bishops
“Catholic bishops have the right to re-examine translations of the Roman Missal(link is external) that have already been approved, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, ‘prudential’ questions should be asked about the need to do that, and ‘whether it would be worth the time and expense’ such a project would require, according to the latest newsletter from the U.S. bishops’ committee on divine worship.” By Ruth Gledhil, The Tablet
— How we got the Mass translation we have(link is external)By Daniel Horan, America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN DEACONS

Seeing is believing: why Catholics need women deacons
“As a child, I had a fairly good idea of what God looked like. When I prayed, I imagined God in the form of Msgr. McMahon, the pastor of my parish. Certainly the way people treated him seemed like he must be a step away from divinity. As a result, I conjured an image for God as an older male, balding, wearing a white alb(link is external), and maybe even speaking an Irish brogue. I knew God wasn’t Msgr. McMahon, but being surrounded by male-only church officials and male-only pronouns for the divine, the image of a masculine God was cemented for the first 20 years of my life. It took many more years to pry that male-only template out of my heart. But it still slips back from time to time.” By Nicole Sotelo, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Survey of U.S. Catholics shows refreshed enthusiasm among women
Women have been the backbone of the Catholic Church(link is external) in the U.S. and other Western countries since at least the beginning of the 20th century. Despite disagreeing with various elements of church teaching, they have long maintained a higher degree of participation than men have in the church’s sacramental and communal life, and have also been instrumental in keeping men within the fold.” By Michele Dillon, National Catholic Reporter

Discovering my priesthood as a Catholic woman in a Protestant seminary
“‘What are you, a deacon?’ the man asks from his bed. We are about 20 minutes into a pastoral visit. His parish deacon has been visiting regularly since he got sick. Now I have entered this man’s life as a hospice chaplain(link is external), and he does not quite know what to make of me. It is not the first time I have been asked the question. Sometimes they ask if I am a priest or a sister or if they should call me ‘Reverend.’ Their questions bring a smile to my face, but they also take me back to a time when I did not know what I wanted the answer to be.” By Nancy Small, America: The Jesuit Review

A woman now leads the Vatican museums. And she’s shaking things up.
“Vatican City has been governed by men since it was established as an independent state in 1929. A year ago, however, a woman joined the upper ranks(link is external): Barbara Jatta, the first female director of the Vatican Museums. In the 12 months since her appointment, Ms. Jatta has put her stamp on the role, resisting some of her predecessor’s initiatives and forging her own path.” By Farah Nayeri, The New York Times

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

The church cannot succumb to hurry sickness
“What’s a bishop to do? There are two broad choices: keep the parish open or close it. But, for too many bishops, the only way to keep a parish open is to place a pastor in it. No pastor, no parish. Simple mathematics makes the decision. That is going too fast. Several U.S. dioceses have decided that Canon 517.2 is not such a bad thing. Canon 517.2? That is the part of the Code of Canon Law that allows a bishop to appoint a non-resident canonical pastor(link is external) for a parish managed by someone else.” By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic leadership conference in Chicago aims to ‘inspire and equip’
“Thousands of Catholic leaders from all walks of life will ring in the new year at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) SLS Leadership Conference(link is external), which will offer five days of fellowship and evangelical instruction in the heart of Chicago. ‘Sometimes it can feel lonely trying to reach those in the world who seem too busy and distracted to realize God’s love for them,’ said Paul DeBuff, a previous conference attendee.” By Catholic News Agency

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Muller blames his ouster on anti-Roman, Argentine  clique close to Pope
“Cardinal Gerhard Müller has blamed a group of anti-Roman clerics from Argentina(link is external)for convincing Pope Francis to dismiss him last June as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). ‘From the very beginning, certain forces in the background suggested that I stood in the pope’s way and in the way of their notions of pope and Church, and they publicized their opinions,’ the former CDF chief said on December 5.” By Christa Pongrats-Lippitt, La Croix

CELIBACY

The Rev. Thomas Reese: Catholics will loosen up on clerical celibacy
“This is the year the Catholic Church will get serious about discussing the possibility of married priests(link is external). The church has experienced a shortage of priests around the world, especially in developed countries. There are not enough priests to provide the sacraments, celebrate Mass or give pastoral care to the Catholic people.” By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service

VATICAN II

Hostility to Vatican II runs deep with Pope Francis’ critics
“A little more than a year ago, I did a three-part series examining the opposition to Pope Francis(link is external). In the first of those essays, I argued that the opposition to Francis was rooted in a misconception about the reception of Vatican II and, indeed, about the Second Vatican Council itself. I stand by that assessment, but it is increasingly clear that the opposition to Francis comes not only from misconceptions about Vatican II but actual hostility to the council and to all the popes since. In short, the situation is even worse than I had suspected.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Conservative donors aim to shape Catholic narrative for the wider culture
“In early March, Timothy Busch stepped to a lectern in the sanctuary of the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In an apparent reference to the presidential inauguration that had occurred less than two months before, he told those in the congregation that Catholics looked forward to a new ‘time of light(link is external)’ … It is as illuminating an illustration as one might find of the influence that an ‘ideologically motivated funder’ can have on the direction of the church and institutions associated with it.” By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Law’s complex role in the contemporary history of clergy sexual abuse
“Public awareness of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy actually dates from 1984(link is external). It was triggered by the public exposure of widespread sexual violation of children by a single priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, and its systemic cover-up by the church’s leadership that lasted well over a decade. Cardinal Bernard Law, who went from in 1974 being bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to in 1984 being named archbishop of Boston, became the most powerful and influential Catholic bishop in the United States. This all came to a screeching halt in 2002.” By Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

New Ulm Dioceses scores low on online financial transparency
“According to a VOTF survey of 32 territorial archdioceses and 145 territorial dioceses, the average diocesan score for online transparency was 36(link is external) out of a possible 60. The New Ulm Diocese rated below this average with a score of 15 out of 60. The VOTF organization was started in the wake of the Catholic abuse scandal. VOTF’s mission is to provide a voice through which the faithful can participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. They work to support victims of abuse and correct institutional flaws in the church that led to a pattern of cover-ups.” By Clay Schuldt, The New Ulm Journal

Suspect arrested after video catches him stealing money form Philly church
“A man accused of taking bags of money(link is external) from a church in Philadelphia is now under arrest. Video captured the suspect on Jan. 8 around 2:50 p.m. entering the Calvary Roman Catholic Church located at 11024 Knights Road with a key. Once inside surveillance video recorded the suspect entering a room where he took bags of donations containing an undisclosed amount of money and checks.” By Brandon Longo, Philadelphia.CBSLocal.com

Monsignor who admitted to embezzling $500K to cover gambling debts headed to prison
“The Catholic clergyman who pleaded guilty last spring of stealing more than a half million dollars(link is external) from an unauthorized Philadelphia Archdiocese account has been sentenced. Prosecutor allege the money was spent to fund as a lavish lifestyle. In front of two dozen family members, friends, Catholic nuns and fellow priests, 78-year-old William Dombrow learned his fate on Wednesday (Jan. 3). A judge sentenced him to eight months in a federal prison, with three years supervised release.” By Kristen Johanson, KYW News Radio

Judge rejects archdiocese bankruptcy plans, orders return to mediation
“A federal judge has rejected competing reorganization plans for the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis(link is external) and ordered the church and its creditors back into mediation. In orders released Thursday (Dec. 28), Judge Robert Kressel said plans put forth by the archdiocese and a creditors committee made up largely of sexual abuse victims both had shortcomings.” By Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

Pope orders probe into finances of top Honduran adviser
(Dec. 22, 2017) “The Vatican confirmed Friday (Dec. 22) that Pope Francis had ordered up an investigation into alleged financial and other irregularities(link is external) in the diocese of one of his top advisers, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga Italian newsweekly L’Espresso said the investigation was initiated in May following allegations of failed investments, questionable expenses by one of Maradiaga’s deputies, and the ultimate destination of a 35,000 euro monthly payment to the cardinal by the Catholic University of Honduras.” By The Associated Press in The Kansas City Star
— Cardinal Maradiaga accused of financial mismanagement(link is external)By Catholic News Agency

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Abuse survivor pushes for extending statute of limitations
“A Webster woman, who is an abuse survivor, is pushing for extended statute of limitations(link is external) on childhood sexual assault victims. Across the state, advocates of sexual assault victims are pushing the governor to expand the limitations for child victims. Currently, they only have until the age of 23 to bring criminal or civil charges against their abuser.” By Carlet Cleare, 13WHAM.com

Time to protect New York’s Children
“Next year will bring yet another attempt to overhaul New York’s antiquated statutes of limitations(link is external) for victims of childhood sexual abuse — and it must be the last. With exceptions for rape and other forcible violations, prosecutors have just five years after individuals victimized as children turn 18 to bring criminal charges, a constraint that has protected many a pedophile. Victims have just until they are 21 years old to bring a civil complaint against organizations that may have been havens for predators.” By New York Daily News Editorial
— Some tough choices faces by New York state lawmakers as they start a new session(link is external)By Associated Press on WXXI-AM News
— Liberal activist Bill Samuels backing Child Victims Act(link is external)By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse the toughest test for the Catholic Church
“A former trainee Catholic priest whose evidence to the child abuse royal commission exposed the secret 20th century Vatican decisions behind a global child sex scandal said the church can heal if Pope Francis is up to the challenge(link is external). While royal commission final report recommendations in December on celibacy and the secrecy of the confessional attracted the headlines, less publicized recommendations presented more significant and fundamental challenges that the church had to grapple with, lawyer, author and former trainee priest Kieran Tapsell said.” By Joanne McCarthy, The Newcastle Herald

The role of apology in abuse redress schemes
“The profound apology has been an essential part of abuse redress schemes(link is external)adopted by a number of religious institutions in Australia for supporting victims of abuse within their organisations … These schemes have not only had a transformative effect for the victims of that abuse they also have had a profound effect on those representatives giving the apology.  As a result they have a powerful influence on bringing about a change of culture within those institutions.” By Greg Rooney, Mediate.com

Bernard Law’s legacy: a MeToo moment for Catholics
“What do Rupert Murdoch and Bernard Law have in common? They were both dismissive of actual human suffering(link is external). They both “allowed abusive predators” to use the workplace as a ready source of prey. Make no mistake, both are villains. There are not many heroes in the Catholic abuse crisis but Fr. Tom Doyle is a hero. He referred to the predatory behavior as “soul murder” because those priests used their role as spiritual figures to entrap their victims. Tamara Holder makes an analogous charge about Murdoch. “He ruined my life,” she said.” By Sally Vance-Trembath, Huffington Post, past vice president of Voice of the Faithful

CALIFORNIA

San Jose: Presentation High failed to report alleged abuse, victims claim
“Over three decades, Presentation High School administrators repeatedly violated state law and failed to report sexual abuse claims to police and the county’s child protection agency(link is external), according to allegations in two cases made public Tuesday (Dec.14). In one case, an alleged victim’s mother said her daughter was sexually assaulted by an instructor in 2013-’14. Classmates reported to administrators the teacher’s troubling behavior — touching, sending multiple daily texts and sexual SnapChat photos — Dina Leonis said. The school, however, did not report the matter to police, she said.” By Sharon Noguchi, The San Jose Mercury News

GEORGIA

Family of late Stone Mountain priest settles child molestation suit
“When a 47-year-old man decided to sue a former DeKalb County priest in 2017, he dreamed of facing his alleged abuser in court(link is external). But it turned out Father Stanley Idziak, who’d been accused of molesting multiple children in Dunwoody and Stone Mountain, had died months earlier, leaving the only legal recourse suing his estate. On Tuesday (Jan. 2), the plaintiff withdrew the complaint after receiving a settlement from the priest’s family, attorney John Burdges said.” By Joshua Sharpe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

HAWAII

Sexual predator abused children – and treated priests who did the same
“Long-hidden documents show how the same man, prominent Honolulu psychiatrist Dr. Robert Browne, played a central role in two of Hawaii’s biggest sex abuse scandals(link is external). Browne is accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 former students at Kamehameha Schools over nearly three decades, from 1958 to 1985. And, the documents show, he was also treating Catholic priests in Hawaii who had been caught abusing children.” By Lynn Kawano, Hawaii News Now

ILLINOIS

Metro East priest accused of possessing child porn
“A Catholic priest from a church in Mascoutah, Illinois is accused of possessing child pornography(link is external). Belleville police say they got a tip leading them to Rev. Gerald Hechenberger, who is the associate pastor at Holy Childhood Church and School. Investigators say he was distributing images of children under 13-years-old.” By KMOV.com

KANSAS

Kansas priest will not return to parish after hiking trip with children
“A Catholic priest removed from the pulpit after taking a group of boys on an unsupervised hike(link is external) in October will not return to the parish, Bishop Carl Kemme announced in a letter to parishioners in Conway Springs. The Catholic Diocese of Wichita would not comment on or confirm Friday (Jan. 5) the news about the Rev. Andrew Seiler, who was removed from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway Springs in mid-October after the incident. Being alone with a minor goes against behavioral boundaries set by the diocese.” By Stan Finger and Katherine Burgess, Wichita Eagle

MASSACHUSETTS

Archdiocese reaches settlement with victim of priest who served in Lowell
“The Archdiocese of Boston has reached a five-figure settlement with William Brown, a childhood sexual abuse victim(link is external) of the Rev. Arnold Kelley, who lived in Lowell for a number of years … ‘My client should be proud of himself for coming forward,’ Brown’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, stated in an email on Tuesday (Jan. 2). ‘In doing so, he is empowering himself, other sexual abuse victims and making the world a safer place for children. Sexual abuse victims should not and will not be silenced,’ he added.” By Aaron Curtis, The Lowell Sun
— Archdiocese of Boston reaches settlement with reported victim of priest in Jamaica Plain(link is external)By David Ertischek, Jamaica Plain News

MINNESOTA

Audit finds archdiocese ‘substantially compliant’ with clergy abuse settlement terms
“Former Hennepin County Attorney Thomas Johnson stood inside the Ramsey County District Courthouse on Friday (Jan. 5) morning and rattled off his email address and cellphone number to a handful of reporters gathered nearby. Then he made the unusual request of asking the media to share his personal contact information with the public. That’s the only way Johnson can do what the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office have collectively asked him to do: Serve as an independent and ongoing point-of-contact for victims of clergy sexual abuse(link is external)seeking help and a confidential ear.” By Sarah Horner, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Judge orders more mediation to resolve Minnesota clergy abuse settlements
Disputes over clergy abuse settlements(link is external) in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis have led a federal bankruptcy judge to order a return to mediation for all the parties involved. ‘Judge Kressel’s decision bolsters our resolve to move forward in the bankruptcy process,’ Tom Abood, chairman of the archdiocese’s reorganization task force, said Dec. 28. ‘We are guided by his words from earlier this year, that the longer this process continues, the less money will be available for those who have been harmed.’” By Catholic News Agency

Crookston diocese reinstates priest after no charges filed in abuse inquiry
“The Catholic Diocese of Crookston has reinstated a priest who was placed on administrative leave(link is external) as pastor of parishes in Dilworth and Hawley after allegations of abuse surfaced in early 2016. The Rev. Patrick Sullivan has been reinstated to priestly ministry at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley, the diocese said in a statement released Tuesday (Dec. 26).” By Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Attorney blasts reinstatement of Dilworth-Hawley priest accused of sexually abusing teen
“An attorney representing a man who claims a Catholic priest sexually abused him as a teen(link is external) expressed outrage Wednesday, Dec. 27, that the Crookston Diocese has reinstated the priest as pastor of the Dilworth and Hawley parishes. The diocese announced on Tuesday, Dec. 26, that Father Patrick Sullivan resumed his priestly duties at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley. Sullivan had been placed on administrative leave after the abuse allegations surfaced in 2016.” By Dave Olson, Inforum.com

MISSOURI

St. Louis-area Catholic priest charged in child porn case after cyber tip to police
“A St. Louis Metro East Catholic priest was charged Tuesday (Jan. 9) with 16 felony child porn charges(link is external), along with a count of meth possession. The Rev. Gerald R. Hechenberger is an associate pastor of Holy Childhood of Jesus Parish in Mascoutah, St. Pancratius Parish in Fayetteville and St. Liborius Parish in St. Libory.” By Erin Heffernan, Herald & Review News Service

MONTANA

Sex abuse lawsuit seeks $70 million is assets from Montana diocese
“Attorneys for victims of sex abuse have filed a lawsuit(link is external) against a bankrupt Catholic diocese in Montana last week to ensure that more than $70 million in assets will be available to their clients. A committee representing eight sex abuse victims filed a complaint against the diocese of Great Falls-Billings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Dec. 18 in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement in the dispute over the matter of $70 million worth of diocesan assets.” By Jardine Malado, Christian Times

NEW MEXICO

Ex-priest fell from grace after archbishop resigned
“Former priest Sabine Griego’s relationship with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe took an abrupt turn for the worse after the late Archbishop Robert Sanchez stepped down in March 1993. Just three days after Sanchez resigned, an archdiocese official sent Griego a letter telling him to ‘not exercise your ministry in parishes(link is external) or in any other ministerial situations.’” By Olivier Uyttebrouck, Albuquerque Journal

NEW YORK

Ex-priest admits to new abuse in Saratoga County
“A former priest convicted of molesting a 13-year-old boy(link is external) on Long Island in 2003 pleaded guilty Friday (Jan. 5) to sexually attacking a new young victim on two occasions in Saratoga County. Michael Hands, 51, admitted to two counts of third-degree criminal sex act, the legal name for sodomy. He faces 7 to 8 years in prison at his March 2 sentencing by Saratoga County Judge James A. Murphy III.” By Robert Gavin, Times Union

NORTH DAKOTA

$5M bail set for priest accused of abusing North Dakota boys
“A judge has set bail at $5 million cash for a Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys(link is external) in North Dakota in the 1990s. KFGO radio reports that Fernando Laude Sayasaya appeared in court on Tuesday (Dec. 20) via video from the Cass County Jail. He’s facing two counts of gross sexual imposition.” By Associated Press in Pacific Daily News

TEXAS

He claimed sexual abuse by Catholic leaders, but a judge wasn’t convinced
“A judge on Wednesday (Jan. 10) dismissed a lawsuit(link is external) against the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth filed by a man who said he was sexually abused while a student at a Wichita Falls Catholic school from 1990 to 1992. Jason Montgomery filed the lawsuit in 2015, saying he was sexually abused by the late Rev. John Sutton while he was a student at Notre Dame Middle High School. Montgomery later amended his lawsuit to say that then-Principal Ron Staley also sexually abused him during that time. Montgomery’s memory of the abuse returned in 2013, according to his lawyer.” By Mitch Mitchell, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

AUSTRALIA

Secret details of Cardinal Pell case released to Australia Public Broadcasting
“Secret details of the criminal case against Cardinal George Pell(link is external) have been released to lawyers for the ABC and lawyers for one of the broadcaster’s journalists, The Australian reports. The ABC and investigative journalist Louise Milligan were subpoenaed by the Cardinal’s legal team, along with Victoria Police and clergy abuse advocate group Broken Rites, but the media organization and Ms. Milligan have yet to hand over the requested material.” By CathNews.com

Retired Vic priest in court over sex abuse
“Men and women who were allegedly abused as children(link is external) more than 30 years ago have begun giving evidence against a former Catholic priest accused of multiple child sex offences. Retired priest Peter Maurice Waters, 72, appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday (Jan. 8) charged with 20 child sex offences between 1974 and 1987. He is accused of sexually abusing six children.” By 9News.com.au

Fr. Tom Doyle says tax concessions should be on table as church responds to royal commission
“The Australian Government should ignore the church/state divide and put ‘massive pressure’ on the Catholic Church to name child sexual abuse as a crime in church law(link is external), says the American Catholic cleric who first blew the whistle on the global abuse scandal in 1984. ‘The church gave up this privilege long ago when they started to enable sex abuse, lie about it to society and cover up for abusers,’ said Dominican priest Tom Doyle after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report in December recommended major changes, including to celibacy and the secrecy of the confessional.” By Joanne McCarthy, The Newcastle Herald

CANADA

Church reform is coming amazingly slowly
“I once again take up the topic of reform in the Catholic church, because I’m a kind of an insider/outsider, a Pope-watcher, and an analyst who knows the immense power and global reach of this church. And the sad effects of its mistaken teachings and practices. There were two items in recent news: one the death of American Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, age 86, who, after being indicted on charges related to his cover-up of clergy sex abuse against children(link is external), fled to Rome in 2002 and was put in charge of a major church. Remember the courageous journalism of the Boston Globe and the subsequent film Spotlight.” By Rosemary Ganley, The Peterborough Examiner

GERMANY

Catholic ex-priest refuses to speak at sexual abuse trial in Germany
“A 53-year-old former priest is currently on trial in a district court in the Bavarian city of Deggendorf. Thomas Maria B., who was born in Wuppertal, is accused of having sexually abused five German boys(link is external) under the age of 14 a total of 110 times between 1997 and 2016. The man is also accused of the attempted rape of an 18-year-old in Austria. The attorney defending the former Catholic priest has said that the man ‘feels incapable’ of testifying before the court. He also refused to address the court in December.”By Deutsche Welle

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Church in Scotland criticized for not meeting abuse victims
“The author of an independent review of the child protection policies of the Catholic Church in Scotland has said he is ‘disappointed’ in the progress the bishops are making(link is external) in meeting victims and survivors of clerical sexual abuse. Rev. Andrew McLellan, the former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, was asked in 2013 to chair an interdenominational commission looking at the issue of child protection in Scotland’s Catholic Church.” By Cruxnow.com Staff
— A sickness has infected the Catholic church in Scotland, By Kevin McKenna,(link is external)The Guardian

Former Kirk moderator Dr. Andrew McLellan Hits out over ‘astonishing’ delay in abuse response from Catholic Church
“The Catholic Church has been accused of failing to establish contact with victims of historic child abuse(link is external) as it pledged to do in response to an independent review. The Very Reverend Dr. Andrew McLellan, a former Church of Scotland moderator who carried out an independent external review of child protection and safeguarding policies within the Catholic Church, said it was ‘astonishing’ no contact had been made with victims’ groups.”By Stephen Naysmith, The Scotland Sunday Herald

Catholic priest jailed for 18 years over child sex abuse
“A priest was jailed for 18 years on Thursday (Dec. 21) for sexual abusing boys at a top British Catholic school(link is external) in crimes dating back to the 1970s. Andrew Soper, 74, fled to Kosovo in 2011 to avoid prosecution over charges that he molested boys while headmaster at St Benedict’s School in London.” By Vanguardngr.com
— London Catholic school abuse survivor speaks of ‘constant violence(link is external),’ By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

GUAM

Nephew accuses archbishop
“For the last 27 years, Mark Mafnas Apuron has held onto a secret, one that resulted in him being estranged from his immediate family members and left him ashamed and petrified. ‘When my experience happened, I thought I was the only one(link is external),’ Apuron said, as he sat in an office in Hagåtña yesterday, speaking with The Guam Daily Post. But Apuron resolved to make this year different by coming forward and speaking of the past. The 43-year-old will be filing a lawsuit this week alleging that he was sexually abused in the chancery in 1990 by his uncle, now-suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post
— Guam archbishop faces new sexual assault allegation(link is external), By Associated Press on FoxNews.com

Priest sexually abused boy during confession night in 1958
“Father Louis Brouillard allegedly sexually abused an altar boy(link is external) during confession night in or around 1958, according to a lawsuit filed Friday (Jan. 5) in federal court. The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as G.M. to protect his privacy, said Brouillard’s sexual molestation and abuse included fondling, masturbation and oral copulation during the time G.M. was a minor altar boy at the Mangilao parish and as a Boy Scout in the Mangilao troop.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Vatican tribunal, $500 million in sex abuse lawsuits
“Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes had hoped 2017 would be a year of reparation. It turned into a year of more than 100 sex abuse lawsuits(link is external), a canonical trial and efforts to fix a broken Catholic Church on Guam. At the start of the year, Byrnes gave the island’s Catholic faithful assurance that he would work to regain their ‘tremendous loss of trust’ in the Catholic Church, after suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron left the island amid allegations that he sexually abused altar boys decades ago when he was a priest.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daly Post
— No additional mediator in clergy sex abuse cases(link is external)Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND& NORTHERN IRELAND

Waterford bishop warns local schools of pedophile ex-priest’s recent activities
“The bishop of Waterford and Lismore has sent a letter to local primary schools and teachers warning them about a convicted paedophile ex-priest(link is external) who is living in the Waterford city area. The letter concerned Oliver O’Grady, who admitted to sexually abusing children while serving as a parish priest in California from 1973 onwards.” By TheJournal.ie

Law planned to stop sex offenders from going abroad
“Proposed new legislation to ban pedophiles and sex offenders from foreign travel(link is external) is to be unveiled in the new year. Plans to expand the passport ‘stop list’ have been drafted after Father Shay Cullen, the four-time Nobel peace prize nominee, called on western governments to tackle sex tourism.” By Ed Carty, The Times

NETHERLANDS

Report affirms Dutch church handling of abuse cases
“A special independent foundation overseeing the Dutch Church’s response to past clerical sexual abuse(link is external) has concluded that its programs have provided victims with ‘recognition, satisfaction and help’ including 28.6 million euros in compensation. Presenting its final report, it said the programs set up after a shocking 2011 inquiry into scandals from 1945 to the present had dealt with 3,712 reports of abuse. Of these, 2,062 led to formal complaints that a special panel examined.” By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet

SWITZERLAND

Catholic Church in Switzerland still dealing with abuse claims
“Some 250 cases of sexual harassment(link is external) within the Catholic Church in Switzerland have been reported since 2010, according to media reports. A sizeable number involve abuse cases against adults. The information was first revealed on Wednesday (Jan. 3) on local radio station Rhône FM, and was reported again in several Sunday newspapers.” By SwissInfo.ch
— Catholic Church rocked by new sex abuse scandal as 10 pedophile priests named in Switzerland(link is external)By Isabelle Garretsen, International Business Tiimes

Catholic church in Valais rocked by new sex abuse claims
“Accusations of historic sexual abuse(link is external) have been made against around ten Catholic priests in the bishopric of Sion in the canton of Valais. The bishop of Sion, Jean-Marie Lovey, has asked the victims for forgiveness, the Swiss news agency SDA reported, quoting Radio Rhône FM. It said the abuse of children and young people happened between the 1950s and 1990s, and all the cases were now too old for a prosecution to take place.” By TheLocal.ch

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