Posts Tagged Focus news roundup

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


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

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

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,


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

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,


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.,

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


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


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,

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,

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 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


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


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,

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


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,


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

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


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,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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 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


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


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 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


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


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


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,


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.,


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


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.’…(link is external).” By Mariah Medina, KSAT-TV


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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,


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 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

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


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,


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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


‘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. 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

‘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.,
— 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


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


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,
— Pope upbraids Vatican bureaucracy: serve the world, not ‘degraded logic of small cliques(link is external),’ By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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,

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


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,

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


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,

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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,


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


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


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


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


$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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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 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
— London Catholic school abuse survivor speaks of ‘constant violence(link is external),’ By Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian


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

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


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

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


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


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
— 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


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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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