Posts Tagged Focus

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Pope Francis rebukes Cardinal Sarah on liturgy
“Pope Francis has publicly corrected Cardinal Robert Sarah(link is external), Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in a letter released by the Vatican on Oct. 22, 2017. In that letter, the pope informs the cardinal that the commentary attributed to Sarah on the motu proprio ‘Magnum Principium,’ regarding the translation of liturgical texts, is not a faithful and correct interpretation of that papal decree.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
— Francis corrects Sarah: liturgical translations not to be ‘imposed’ from Vatican(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Pope tells Sarah power is indeed shifting from Rome to the bishops(link is external)By Crux Staff on Cruxnow.com
— Expert says on liturgy, Pope isn’t settling scores but harvesting fruits(link is external)By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Clerical sex abuse disclosures skyrocket in Pope’s Argentina
“Karen Maydana says she was 9 years old when the Rev. Carlos Jose fondled her at a church pew facing the altar. It was her first confession ahead of her first Holy Communion. She blames the trauma of that moment(link is external) in 2004 for a teenage suicide attempt. And yet she never spoke about it publicly until this year. After hearing that two women who attended her school in the Argentine town of Caseros were allegedly abused by the same priest, she joined them as complainants in a case that in July led to his arrest for investigation of aggravated sexual abuse.” By Luis Andres Henao and Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press

Ex-president of Vatican hospital convicted of abuse of office
“The former president of a Vatican-owned hospital in Rome on Saturday (Oct. 14) was convicted of abuse of office(link is external) for diverting nearly half a million dollars of funds to renovate a top cardinal’s luxury apartment. The Vatican court, a three-judge panel, gave Giuseppe Profiti a one-year suspended sentence. The prosecution had asked for three years for the former head of the prestigious Bambino Gesu hospital. It also reduced the seriousness of the charge against Profiti to abuse of office from the initial embezzlement. Massimo Spina, the hospital’s treasurer, was acquitted.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, in U.S. News & World Report

Pope Francis endorses internet safety resolution
“For three days last week (Oct. 3-6), about 150 experts in technology, child safety, medicine, mental health and theology gathered in Rome at the Child Dignity in the Digital World Congress(link is external) to talk about how to keep kids safe online and protect children from sexual exploitation. On the final day, the group had an audience with Pope Francis, who endorsed the Declaration of Rome, a 13-point manifesto that outlines the group’s goals for keeping children safe.” By Larry Magid, The Mercury News

ACCOUNTABILITY

Unfinished
“Four years ago in September, I sat at the kitchen table in the rectory reading the newspaper. I was a parish pastor and had been serving parishes and schools for over 23 years. I saw the headlines and was disturbed(link is external). There was yet another story on clergy sexual abuse. I felt angry at Church leaders and fighting attorneys. I felt frustrated that this issue had been going on since before I was ordained. I felt sadness and compassion for victims and their families.” By Father Charles Lachowitzer, The Catholic Spirit, Archdiocese of Stain Paul & Minneapolis

POPE FRANCIS

The new art of pope-watching
“Monsignor Vincenzo Tizzani, one of the most remarkable witnesses of papal Rome’s nineteenth-century transition from temporal power to a landless spiritual authority, observed in 1871: ‘In the halls of the Vatican the human heart very rarely shows itself.’ He was talking about the studied subtleties of the court of Rome, where the pope, a supposedly absolute monarch, was far more dependent(link is external) on his ecclesiastical nobility than other monarchs. That kind of papal court does not exist anymore; the world of more-or-less formalized clienteles is gone, or, better, those clienteles have changed names.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

BISHOPS

What is Pope Francis’ approach to appointing new bishops?
“Among the most lasting aspects of a Pope’s leadership(link is external) is his appointment of bishops. To understand a Pope, it’s important to understand how he makes decisions about episcopal leadership. With that in mind, Pope Francis’ approach to the selection and appointment of bishops is worth considering.” By Andrea Gagliarducci, CAN/EWTN News, in The Pilot

CELIBACY

‘Priests should be allowed to marry,’ says Derry clergyman
“Fr. Paddy O’Kane, of Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty, said the move could help address the global shortage of Catholic priests. A quarter of Catholic parishes worldwide now have no resident priest. Fr. O’Kane said the Church may have to ‘take another look at celibacy(link is external) and women priests. Many priests might choose to be celibate, but for those who want to get married it should be an option,’ he said.” By BBC News Northern Ireland

PRIESTS

Does a Catholic priest have any standing to talk about Harvey Weinstein?
“My voice isn’t really credible on this topic, I get that. In fact, I respect it. Even though so much was before my time, even though I had nothing to do with it, I get it. I understand that I have no standing here, that it’d be better and wiser simply to be quiet, hold my tongue. As a priest of the Catholic Church(link is external), I get the near ironic hypocrisy of me saying anything at all. I get it, the anger still smoldering, blazing in some, in the hearts of those wounded by our crimes. I accept it, and I will continue to accept it. Because there’s something about their anger that is just, even holy … But I’m a strange priest, you see, married before I was ordained, I have three daughters and a son, all under 8. And so I see all this, even my own church, with another pair of eyes, that is, with a parent’s eyes.” By Joshua, J. Whitfield, Dallas News

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

What was Paul doing crashing a woman’s worship service?
“For the past several days, I have been boning up on St. Paul’s ministry in Greece as I prepare to lead a FutureChurch pilgrimage to early Christian sites where women had founding leadership roles(link is external). Most Christians are completely unaware that women helped establish many of the earliest churches in Greece, Turkey and Rome. This is because church tradition always credits their founding to Paul.” By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

New scholarship offers hope to women who long to be ordained in Catholic Church
“‘There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in,’ Graham Greene writes in his novel The Power and the Glory. For Sheila Durkin Dierks, that moment came around the age of 5 or 6 when she was playing priest(link is external). ‘I can still see the light and feel the air in the room,’ Durkin Dierks said in a recent interview with Women’s Ordination Conference. ‘And I said to my mother that I intended to be a priest when I grew up.’” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Participation in lay ministry training programs down 16 percent
“A study released this summer by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University indicates a 16-percent drop in participation in lay ministry training programs(link is external) over the past year. Zeni Fox, a retired professor of pastoral theology at Seton Hall University, wrote her doctoral dissertation on such programs. She told NCR that the numbers could be an indication that such programs are being increasingly abandoned by dioceses.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Can the Catholic Church keep millennials from passing it by?
“August 15 marked two important events for New York-area Catholics this year. It was the feast of the Assumption of Mary. It was also the start of the Subway Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. The Diocese of Bridgeport decided to celebrate both, with an event billed as ‘Baseball with the Bishop(link is external),’ which is exactly what it sounds like. Young adults of the diocese were invited to attend the game. The group began the evening with Mass in Bridgeport, Conn., before boarding a charter bus bound for the Bronx.” By Zac Davis, America: The Jesuit Review

Catholics of color are keeping the U.S. Catholic Church alive
“As an African-American Catholic, I often feel like the unnamed black man from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, present but not really seen … The truth is, the Catholic Church in the United States is being transformed by its black and brown parishioners(link is external), whose numbers and voices are rising. They and priests from around the world are keeping the church alive. When the National Gathering for Black Catholic Women met in Charlotte a few years ago, I connected with my sister, still holding strong in her Baltimore parish—transformed from white to black and offering services with hymns, praise dance and more emotion than the services of our youth. Yet the parishioners are as devout when it comes to the celebration of the Mass.” By Mary C. Curtis, America: The Jesuit Review

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Those pesky privileges
“In a brief commentary at the Catholic Thing, Fr. Gerald E. Murray rebukes Cathleen Kaveny and Fr. Anthony Spadaro, S. J., for contradicting the ‘plain meaning’ of Christ’s teaching(link is external) about divorce and remarriage at a recent conference on Amoris laetitia. Murray, a canon lawyer, has been a vocal critic of Amoris Laetitia since its publication, and his criticism of Kaveny and Spadaro is really just an extension of his earlier criticism of Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper.” By Matthew Boudway, Commonweal

Let ‘Amoris Laetitia’ be heard
“Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s 2016 apostolic exhortation, is translated as “The Joy of Love,” but its reception over the last year has been anything but patient and kind(link is external). A richly textured if occasionally unwieldy document that stretches to over two-hundred pages, the controversy it’s generated has almost entirely focused on one chapter—even one footnote—that raises the issue of divorced-and-remarried Catholics receiving Communion.” By Matthew Sitman, Commonweal

VOICES

The madness of Barbara Blaine
“‘Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.’ — Virgil — This quote in Latin is not a Catholic one. It is from Virgil, the great first century Roman poet. It can be translated in various ways, most literally, ‘If I cannot deflect the superior powers, then I shall move the River Acheron,’ and more commonly, ‘If I cannot bend the heavens, then I shall move the powers of hell.’ This is the epitaph I would give to my generous, difficult and ‘mad’ friend of over 25 years, Barbara Blaine(link is external), whose sudden death Sept. 24 I am still finding incomprehensible.” By Peter Isley, National Catholic Reporter
— Remembering Barbara Blaine, a visionary advocate for survivors everywhere(link is external)By Pamela Spees, The Daily Outrage, Center for Constitutional Rights Blog

CHURCH FINANCES

Priest’s plan to spend £15,000 on statue of Christ causes controversy
“These are tough times for churches(link is external), with both congregations and donations dwindling rapidly. As such, a Catholic priest has incurred the wrath of some of his parishioners for choosing to blow £15,000 on a sculpture of Christ to help make the church feel more modern.” By Victoria Ward, The Telegraph

Indonesia bishop resigns in finance, mistress scandal
“Pope Francis on Wednesday (Oct. 11) accepted the resignation of Bishop Hubertus Leteng(link is external) of Indonesia’s Ruteng diocese. The Vatican sent an investigator to look into allegations that Leteng had a mistress and secretly borrowed $94,000 from the Indonesian bishops’ conference and another $30,000 from the diocese without accounting for it.” By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com
— Vatican asks Indonesian bishop to repay funds he allegedly stole(link is external)By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter
— Anomalies abound in Vatican trial over diverted donations(link is external)By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Pro-Child Victims Act PAC presses for constitutional convention
“The founder of a PAC formed to support candidates in favor of the stalled Child Victims Act in the Legislature is urging sexual assault survivors to vote yes on holding a constitutional convention(link is external) in November. Fighting for Children PAC founder Gary Greenberg, a sexual abuse survivor, said Tuesday (Oct. 17) that a constitutional convention, which would be held in 2019, would allow victims of sexual abuse to run as delegates and ultimately propose amendments reforming sexual abuse statutes. Delegates would be selected in 2018 if a convention process is triggered.” By Matthew Hamilton, Albany Times Union

False hope for Maryland childhood sexual assault survivors
“At first glance, the newly enacted Maryland law that extends the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse(link is external) from age 25 to age 38 appears to offer hope to individuals who, for any number of reasons, are psychologically unable or unwilling to seek a remedy for the horrors they experienced as children until they are well into adulthood. That’s not how it worked out, however, and at the very least this law delivers false hope. House Bill 642 instead dealt a stealthy and significant win to the Archdiocese of Baltimore — and any other employer that has allowed perpetrators under their purview to persist in terrorizing children.” By Joanne Suder, Baltimore Sun

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Diocesan program seeks to aid survivors of clergy sexual abuse
“The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced today (Oct. 16) the establishment of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program(link is external) (IRCP) for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The IRCP allows survivors of sexual abuse by priests or deacons of the diocese to seek financial compensation. This program is a major commitment in ongoing efforts by the diocese to respond to the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. By The Long Island Catholic
— Long Island diocese creates program for victims of clergy abuse(link is external)By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

CALIFORNIA

The Catholic Church knew he was an abuser, but helped him get a job in public schools
“Time and again, the record shows, Brother Edward ‘Chris’ Courtney was accused of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic schools(link is external) where he taught, and the church responded by moving him to another jurisdiction. That makes his case similar to those of hundreds of other priests and brothers who committed sexual abuse before the problem exploded into national consciousness more than 15 years ago. What sets Courtney apart is this: According to a lawsuit settled last week in Seattle’s King County Superior Court, he was ultimately shuffled off to a public school, where he continued to commit sexual assault.” By Rick Anderson, The Los Angeles Times
— Moving an accused abuser to public schools is a new low for the Catholic Church(link is external)Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Times

MINNESOTA

Statement regarding reinstatement of Rev. James Devorak
“I have accepted the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board (MRB) and the Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment to return Father James Devorak to ministry(link is external) in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis … In July 2017, an accusation of an alleged single incident of sexual abuse said to have occurred in 1995 was reported to the Glencoe Police Department. On August 31, 2017, the Glencoe Police Department announced that it had completed its investigation, that Father Devorak had fully cooperated in the investigation and that no charges would be brought … It is my hope that this one allegation will not over shadow the life’s work of Father James Devorak.” By Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico judge orders release of clergy sex abuse records
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has released hundreds of pages of court records related to sexual abuse allegations against clergy(link is external) members in response to an order from a New Mexico judge, marking the largest disclosure of such records since alleged victims began suing the archdiocese nearly three decades ago … The documents include letters showing church leaders knew of sexual abuse allegations that had been leveled against three priests from the 1960s through the 1980s.” By Associated Press on ReligionNews.com

A cautionary tale: clergy sex abuse victim’s confidentiality breached
“The story of plaintiff Jane L.S. Doe’s clergy sex abuse lawsuit(link is external) in Coconino County Superior Court should be a cautionary tale for all sex abuse victims. Particularly for any abuse survivor who is given promises that his or her identity and personal information will be kept confidential by attorneys and the court system. In the case of Jane L.S. Doe v. the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Michael Indian School, Doe’s real name, identifying information and confidential details about her abuse have been published all throughout the public court file for months courtesy of the attorneys for the Sisters and Catholic school and her own attorney is now scrambling to seal all those documents.” By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, Gallup Independent, on Bishop-Accountability.org

NEW YORK

Alleged victim of clergy abuse shares story as diocese unveils fund
“As the Diocese of Rockville Centre unveils a compensation fund for victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external), a Long Island man who says he was sexually abused by a priest decades ago is sharing his story. Thomas McGarvey says he grew up in a typical Irish Catholic family. He also says he was abused by a priest at St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square, starting when he was 16. Ever since then, McGarvey says he has struggled in both his personal and professional life.” By News12 Long Island

OHIO

Former Catholic church music director facing federal child porn charges
“A man behind the music at a Catholic church for almost a decade is facing charges of receiving and possessing child pornography(link is external). Investigators found stacks of images inside the Clifton home of Dan Fuerst, 69, in August. Fuerst was the music director at St. Maximilian-Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township from March 23, 2001 through June 30, 2010. The Diocese of Cincinnati confirms he also worked in other churches in the diocese previous to 2001.” By Amanda Kelley, WLWT-TV

PENNSYLVANIA

Religious institution-focused training in child abuse prevention now available
“Did you know mandated reporters are people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse(link is external)? To tell them about their obligation, the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance provides child protection and Mandated Reporter Training. Recently, the PFSA began offering religious-based institutions specialized training materials for their mandated reporters of child abuse. Reverend Kathy Nice of the Presbytery of Kiskiminetas had requested these materials to better meet their training needs.” By Anna Nguyen, The Philadelphia Inquirer

WASHINGTON

Sex abuse lawsuit filed against Catholic diocese
“A lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) was filed against the Catholic Diocese of Yakima in Superior Court on Tuesday (Oct. 24). The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a young man who said that the Rev. Gustavo Gómez Santos abused him at St. Juan Diego Catholic Church in Cowiche in 2012 when the alleged victim was 16 or 17 years old. Last May, after the young man reported the abuse to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Gómez was permanently removed from public ministry by Bishop Joseph Tyson.” By Jane Gargas, Yakima Herald

AUSTRALIA

Former Campbeltown Catholic priest charged with historic sex offenses
“A former Catholic priest who also worked as a Campbelltown teacher in the 1980s and 1990s, has been charged with historic sexual assault offences(link is external). It is alleged the 78-year-old man assaulted three boys. One of the boys was allegedly assaulted during the man’s time as a teacher in Campbelltown.” By Wollondilly Advertiser

Catholic Church ‘hiding behind the law’ over historic abuse compensation claims
“A man who was raped and beaten by priests and brothers(link is external) as a 12-year-old says he felt like a beggar when he asked the Catholic Church for money to pay for medical bills for treatment of the mental and physical illness he suffered as a result of his abuse.” By Louise Milligan, ABC News Australia

Head of Catholic Church body updates response to Royal Commission
“‘The Catholic Church has been the single largest institutional grouping to have perpetrated sexual abuse on children(link is external) over the past half century,’ says Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice Healing Council. The Council was set up to coordinate the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. With the Royal Commission’s report due to be handed down by the end of this year, the Council’s CEO updates Jon Faine on the progress of the redress scheme.” By ABC News Australia

GUAM

Church revamps child protection policy
Child sexual abuse allegations(link is external) against Archbishop Anthony Apuron went unchecked for years because of an inadequate policy for the protection of children and young people, according to Archbishop Michael Byrnes, who said the island’s Catholic church has completely revised its policy. Byrnes said the decision about whether to move forward with an investigation rested with the archbishop. That decision now will be made by an independent body, he said Tuesday (Oct. 24).” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Archdiocese committed to protecting youth against sexual abuse
“Over the last several years the Archdiocese of Guam has found itself in the midst of sexual abuse scandals(link is external), to date over 100 cases of sexual abuse has been filed against the church. But even more alarming in each case it is alleged that the Archdiocese was aware and conspired to cover-up the widespread sexual violence … Today, it appears that at least for the Archdiocese of Guam, they are attempting to make a change, through the implementation of policies addressing the problems of sexual abuse by clergy, employees and volunteers.” By Jolene Toves, Pacific News Center

New priest accused of raping boy for five years
“Another priest, the now-deceased Monsignor Jose Ada Leon Guerrero, was added to the list of Guam clergy accused of sexually abusing or raping children(link is external). A plaintiff, identified in court documents only as C.M.V. to protect his privacy, said in his complaint filed Wednesday (Oct. 17) that the priest sexually abused him, including penetration, when he was about 9 to 13 years old from about 1969 to 1973.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Lawsuit: Apuron tells altar boy to ‘pray, get over’ sexual abuse by another priest
“Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron allegedly told an altar boy that he will get over an evil situation if he prays about it, after the boy told Apuron that Father Raymond Cepeda sexually abused him from around 1992 to 1999(link is external), a lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday (oct. 17) says. The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as P.P. to protect his privacy, said in his lawsuit that he made several attempts to report Cepeda to members of the clergy including Apuron. ‘During P.P.’s meeting with Apuron, Apuron told P.P. that ‘P.P. needs to pray about these types of evil in the world and that P.P. would get over it, if he prayed about it,’” the lawsuit says.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Call to open Church records to abuse survivors
“The Government must push the Catholic Church and religious orders to open their records to abuse survivors and academics(link is external). Catriona Crowe, former head of special projects at the National Archives of Ireland, said that it ‘should not be a matter of grace and favour’ that survivors are granted full access to records, but a matter of right. She said Ireland had seen unprecedented disclosures relating to treatment of vulnerable women and children across a unique archipelago of institutions — mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, industrial schools, and reformatories. She said the only way to achieve a complete picture of what happened is to have full access to their archives.” By Conall O’Fatharta, Irish Examiner

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Listen to families on ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ bishops and theologians say
“While much of the debate over ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ the controversial 2016 document from Pope Francis about pastoral outreach to families, has focused on the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, more than three dozen cardinals, bishops and lay theologians gathered at Boston College(link is external) this week (Oct. 6) to explore the broader implications of the letter—and to strategize ways to promote it in the United States.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review
— Conference weighs how ‘Amoris Laetitia’ rejects ‘infantilization of the laity(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— ‘Amoris Laetitia’ conference signals big changes, highlights problems left(link is external)By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
— National Catholic Reporter ‘Amoris Laetitia’ Feature Series(link is external)

Top Vatican official says ‘tragic experience’ on sex abuse helps Church lead
“At the opening session of a major conference at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University on the protection of children in a digital world, the Vatican’s number two official, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Catholic Church’s ‘tragic experience’ with clerical sexual abuse(link is external) allows it to be a leader in the fight against child abuse in other arenas.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Canadian bishops won’t publish new policy on minor protection till 2018
“In June 1992, the Canadian bishops published a report entitled ‘From Pain to Hope,’ entirely devoted to sexual assaults by the clergy(link is external). The bishops proposed ‘ways and means both to eliminate in the church the after-effects of past scandals and to prevent new cases of aggression against children.’ The adoption by the Vatican of new standards for the protection of children made it necessary to revise the standards and policies of the bishops’ conference.” By Francois Gloutnay, Cruxnow.com

Expert says Vatican botched response to child porn suspicions about envoy
“German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, who leads a child protection center at a Roman university and serves on a papal commission advising Francis on reform, says the Vatican should have been more transparent(link is external) about recent reports that an envoy at the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., is part of an investigation for possible involvement in child pornography, seeing it as part of an going struggle to be more ‘up-front.’” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Clair Giangrave, Cruxnow.com
— Vatican needs boots on the ground to promote child safety, expert says(link is external)By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

How can we protect children from abuse online? A congress in Rome will seek solutions
“A pioneering international congress on the risks and challenges to children in the digital world and how to protect them from online sexual abuse(link is external) will be hosted by the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from Oct. 3 to 6. ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’ is the first congress of its kind and ‘opens a whole new scenario,’ said Hans Zollner, S.J., the president of the child protection center at the Gregorian, at a press briefing in the Vatican.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review
— Vatican urges online protections for children(link is external)By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in San Jose Mercury News

ACCOUNTABILITY

Australian bishops meet in Rome as Church reels from recent crisis
“Last week, Church leaders from Australia traveled to Rome to meet with Vatican authorities to discuss the various crises Catholics in the country are currently undergoing, largely tied to a history of clerical sex abuse(link is external). According to an Oct. 7 communique from the Vatican, the leadership of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference traveled to Rome last week to meet with officials from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and other relevant offices of the Holy See ‘for a wide-ranging discussion concerning the situation of the Catholic Church in Australia at this time.’” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Vatican shines light on child abuse as claims against priests persist
“For a church hierarchy excoriated for decades over the sexual abuse of children(link is external) in its trust, hosting a conference this week (Oct. 3-6) about the spreading scourge of online child pornography was an opportunity to strike a positive note about the Vatican’s role in protecting minors. ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, when asked Tuesday (Oct. 3) night at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome if the Catholic Church could lead a global response to the problem.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Guam’s day of reckoning after decades of sex abuse
“The river looks completely different from that day 46 years ago when B.J. says he was raped repeatedly by Fr. Louis Brouillard(link is external), a priest and then-Boy Scout leader. B.J. was only 11 years old, and remembers the water was calm. The trees weren’t pressed so hard against the water’s edge … The magnitude of the (clergy sex abuse) claims is staggering. According to a recent USA Today analysis, Guam, with a population of only about 160,000, has a per-capita rate of abuse claims more than five times higher than in Boston.” By Anita Hofschneider, Honolulu Civil Beat, National Catholic Reporter

Church more aware of crime, harm of child abuse, top Vatican official says
“‘We must work to take control of the development of the digital world(link is external), so that it might be at the service of the dignity of minors,’ Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, said in his keynote address at the opening of ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World,’ the first world congress focused on addressing the dangers children and adolescents face on the internet.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Fr. Zollner on PCPM achievements, goals and lessons learned
“The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors concluded its 4-day Plenary Assembly on Sunday (Sept. 24), with a renewed commitment to its mandate(link is external) as an advisory body to the Holy Father for the protection of minors. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Commission member Father Hans Zollner spoke of the key areas of focus during the plenary and of the lessons learnt during the past three years of work. He also spoke of the encouragement expressed by Pope Francis during a private audience at the start of the Plenary, and of his ongoing support since the Commission was established.” By Vatican Radio

MASS TRANSLATIONS

German-speaking bishops move to take full control over liturgical translations
“Cardinal Reinhard Marx says ‘Liturgiam authenticam,’ the rules for translation the Vatican issued in 2001(link is external), was a ‘dead end.’ But thanks to a recent decision by the pope the bishops now have greater freedom.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, La Croix International

POPE FRANCIS

Canon law must serve Vatican II vision of the church, Pope says
“Pope Francis says the Church’s law must always be perfected to better serve the church’s mission and the daily lives of the faithful(link is external). Canon law, he said, can and should be an instrument for implementing the vision of the Second Vatican Council.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

Child safety summit reflects Pope’s ‘extraordinary’ power to convene
“Look around at the lineup at an Oct. 3-6 summit at Rome’s Gregorian University on ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World,’ and it’s a host of experts from the biggest outfits in their various fields — Harvard, Interpol, Facebook, UNICEF, Microsoft, and so on. It’s the cream of the crop, and it’s another illustration of the Vatican’s unique power to convene(link is external), since basically nobody can say no to an invite from the pope.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Amid avalanche, real questions about the papacy risk being obscured
“In the last few days, Pope Francis has faced three remarkable accusations(link is external) — one of suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, another of heresy, and a third of dropping the ball on financial reform of the Vatican. In trying to sort through it all, one towering problem is that in an environment defined by hysteria, separating legitimate criticism from the same-old, same-old is increasingly difficult.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CARDINALS

Pope names Cardinal Burke a judge on Vatican supreme court
“Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature(link is external), the church’s supreme court, which the cardinal headed as prefect from 2008 to 2014.mMembers of the Apostolic Signature serve as judges in the cases, which mainly involve appeals of lower-court decisions or of administrative decisions by other offices of the Holy See.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in The Pilot

Cardinal Dolan: Church needs to be transparent, honest about its flaws
“New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan suggested to more than 400 priests of the state of Louisiana that humbly and openly sharing the ‘wounds’ and shortcomings of the church might bring those who are alienated back to the practice of the faith. Using the image of the church as ‘our supernatural family, which we, as priests, are called to image,’ Cardinal Dolan told the opening session of the three-day Louisiana Priests’ Convention Sept. 19 that human weakness has been a part of the church from the beginning(link is external).” By Jonelle Fotz, Clarion Herald

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

BISHOPS

Bishop Kicanas of Tucson retires; pope names Kansas bishop his successor
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson(link is external), Arizona, and named as his successor Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger, who has headed the Diocese of Salina, Kansas, since 2012. Bishop Kicanas, former vice president and former secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has headed the Diocese of Tucson since 2003. He is 76. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation when they reach age 75.” By Catholic News Service

PRIESTS

I became a priest 50 years ago. Here’s how the perception of priesthood has changed
“Both of us (Robert Collins and the author Roger Haight, who were seminarians together) have had the privilege of living across the canyon of an epochal change in the image of a Catholic priest in North America(link is external). Since we are celebrating 50 years of priestly ministry I think I should risk a comment on how I, at least, have experienced changes in the perception of a Catholic priest. I will propose a thesis from my experience that others can react to on the basis of their own. I mean it as applied to Jesuit priesthood rather than diocesan.” By Roger Haught, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Vatican official condemns discrimination against women
“The need to recognize women as having equal worth as men(link is external) and allow them to fully exercise their human rights is increasingly urgent due to the ‘resurgence of divisions in today’s world,’ a top Vatican official told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.” By Matthew Fowler, Catholic News Service

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

El Paso parish’s ministries awaken missionary community
“One of the largest and youngest parishes in the El Paso Diocese, St. Mark Catholic Church, mirrors the rest of the city(link is external) in Texas: 85 percent Hispanic, largely bilingual, and home to mainly Mexican-Americans with ties across the border in Juárez, Mexico. Just outside the church is a 30-foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which came from Guadalajara, Mexico, and is surrounded by a towering wall and waterfall. Inside the church is the ‘Missionary Jesus’ statue, draped in a thin quilt with fabric from various countries. At Sunday’s 12:30 p.m. Mass in August, children with maracas led the procession.” By Soli Salgado, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic community life on the wane?
“Volunteer fire departments, bowling leagues and fraternal orders live on in much the same way the American elm has: Once a feature of the American landscape, their presence is increasingly vanishing — with important ramifications for the Church in the United States. Social scientists have been calling attention to the weakening of American community life(link is external) for more than a decade, and a new research group in the U.S. Senate, called the Social Capital Project, has been established to investigate the causes of that decline.” By Nicholas Wolfram Smith, National Catholic Register

Pittsburgh plan would consolidate 188 parishes into 48 groups
“There will be grief, but a new, more effective church outreach will emerge out of a massive planned consolidation(link is external) in the Pittsburgh Diocese, diocesan spokesman Bob DeWitt told NCR. He spoke after a diocesan planning commission, which includes DeWitt, recommended to Bishop David Zubik that the diocese arrange its 188 current parishes into 48 groups. The plan now goes to the bishop for a decision, which will take place after Easter 2018, with implementation to begin in the fall of that year … No diocese has undertaken such a massive change.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

‘Amoris Laetitia’ controversy predates the document itself
“The controversy surrounding Amoris Laetitia(link is external) (‘The Joy of Love’) began even before the document was issued, even before the two synods that discussed the issues surrounding marriage and the family, discussions that served as the basis for Amoris Laetitia.” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Bishops, theologians gather to consider U.S. implementation of ‘Amoris Laetitia’
“Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on family life, Amoris Laetitia, is perhaps the most hotly debated Catholic church document since Humanae Vitae(link is external), Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical letter that reaffirmed the church’s ban on birth control … In five panel discussions over two days Oct. 5-6, two cardinals, 12 bishops, and 24 other invited participants are set to discuss what organizers are calling the ‘new momentum’ Amoris Laetitia gives local bishops to renew their pastoral practices toward families.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis: Engaging with people’s real lives does not ‘bastardize’ theology
“Seeing, understanding and engaging with people’s real lives does not ‘bastardize’ theology, rather it is what is needed to guide people toward God, Pope Francis told Jesuits in Colombia. ‘The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all(link is external); it began with reality and rose up to the Father,’ he said during a private audience Sept. 10 in Cartagena, Colombia. The Rome-based Jesuit-run journal, La Civilta Cattolica, published a transcript from the meeting Sept. 28. The journal provided its own translations of the original Spanish remarks.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

VOICES

Open to opposition
The heat that a group of conservative academics generated by publicly accusing Pope Francis of heresy(link is external) this summer in a letter they released September 23 is warming up the Catholic environment for dissent. And in the end, the pope’s patience with critics like these could do a lot to reform the culture of the church. It is one more way Francis is sculpting the church that the Second Vatican Council envisioned … The conservative academics have posted to the web a carefully defined basis for their dissent … Voice of the Faithful has relied on the same canon law to buttress its right to question church authorities (in a much milder way). By Paul Moses, Commonweal

Kick-starting a new Catholic conversation
“The sorry state of the Catholic conversation about same-sex love prompts us to make a constructive proposal. If we have any hope of moving the discussion in a justice-seeking direction, we need a new approach to the problems of homohatred(link is external) and heterosexism that begins not with church teaching but with real people’s lives. Rehashing old arguments on the morality of sexual activity, about which there is substantial and deeply hurtful disagreement, is useless.” By Mary E. Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial: Stop censoring, have a civil discussion
“In September, NCR and GSR have reported on three tales of Catholic thinkers censored — Jesuit Fr. James Martin; Boston College theology professor M. Shawn Copeland; and Rebecca Bratten Weiss, co-founder of the New Pro-Life Movement. The excruciating irony of these tales begins with the fact that it no longer requires an edict from the Holy Office or a word of disapproval from the local bishop to silence thought(link is external) and to pronounce someone persona non grata … It no longer takes the time it once did for tiny minorities to derail careers by slandering anyone who asks inconvenient questions.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Five things Hollywood could learn from the Catholic Church after Harvey Weinstein
“Living in Los Angeles and watching the cascade of horror that is the unraveling story of Hollywood uber-exec Harvey Weinstein and his abuses of women, I have had a strange sense of déjà vu. I was a seminarian studying for the priesthood in Boston in January 2002(link is external) when The Boston Globe began publishing its astonishing series of articles on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church … I suspect the Weinstein story, too, is just the beginning of a much larger set of revelations about abuse and power in the entertainment industry. And 15 years into the Catholic crisis, having witnessed the choices the institutional church has made (some of them disastrous), I suspect there are things that Hollywood could learn from that experience right now. Here are five that come immediately to mind.” By Jim McDermott, America: The Jesuit Review

CHURCH FINANCES

Vatican bank launches legal action in Malta over major investment loss
“Launching the legal action demonstrates the bank’s desire ‘to accept responsibility for abuses in the past(link is external),’ he (Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman) said. According to the written communique, such a move also reflects the bank’s ‘commitment, in the interest of transparency, to report to the competent authorities any potential abuses perpetrated against it and to take, as in this instance, any appropriate action to protect its financial and reputational interests, including outside of the Vatican City State.’ By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on CatholicPhilly.com

Vatican trial finds ‘opaqueness,’ ‘disorder’ in handling of papal finances
“In the latest session of a Vatican trial concerning the misappropriation of funds(link is external) from a papally-sponsored hospital to remodel a large Vatican apartment, the prosecution asked that the former president of the hospital, layman Giuseppe Profiti, be charged with three years imprisonment and pointed to a profound “opaqueness” and “disorder” in the handling of papal finances.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

Catholic priest sentenced for embezzling $1.4 million
“As a priest for the Diocese of San Jose, 57-year-old Hien Minh Nguyen funneled more than $1.4 million in church donations into his bank accounts(link is external) over a five-year period, but the princely sum sat mostly untouched, according to court records. Tensions that Nguyen believed existed between the Vietnamese Catholic community in San Jose and the Diocese reportedly were what drove his criminal conduct. He believed that he could make better use of the money for his parishioners than the Diocese. Whatever his motivations were, Nguyen now faces time behind bars.” By Jason Green, The Mercury News
— Catholic priest sentenced to three years in prison for stealing(link is external)By Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report

Testimony at Vatican trial shows cardinal ha hand-on role
“Italian businessman Gianantonio Bandera told a Vatican court on Monday (Oct. 2) that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, played a hands-on role in making the arrangements(link is external) for remodeling his Vatican apartment that ultimately led to criminal charges. Bertone is not charged in the case, and was never considered a suspect.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Four-week court hearing for Cardinal Pell
“As many as 50 witnesses will give evidence during a hearing that will determine if Cardinal George Pell stands trial on historical sexual offence charges(link is external). The highest-ranking Catholic official to be charged with sexual abuse has appeared in court for the second time, again for a brief administrative hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. The case will return to the same court for a four-week committal hearing beginning on March 5.” By Australian Associated Press on sbs.com.au

Jeff Anderson’s firm to fund law school’s Zero Abuse Project
“A $2 million gift from a leading firm in sexual abuse litigation seeks to turn a Minnesota law school into a national training and resource center(link is external) for child abuse prevention and response. The donation, from the firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, will create at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, what is called the Zero Abuse Project. The effort will educate and train lawyers and other professionals in the skills necessary to recognize signs of child abuse, how to better work with people who have experienced such trauma, and ultimately how to advocate for an end to child abuse through courtroom litigation and legal reform.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Barbara Blaine spoke truth to power
“Although she had already climbed mountains for the victims of child sex abuse, Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP, passed away(link is external) before she had achieved all that she could. Since the 1980s, her sights had been set on ending child sex abuse in the United States Catholic Church. Even before SNAP, her mission was to help the vulnerable, whether they were the homeless or the abused. She stepped down as president of SNAP earlier this year to head the Accountability Project, which would have expanded her focus to the globe. I have no doubt it, too, would have changed the world.” By Marci A. Hamiltion, Verdict.Justia.com

ILLINOIS

$50M suit filed against ‘sexually violent’ ex-priest Daniel McCormack
“A lawsuit filed Thursday (Oct. 5) in Cook County Circuit Court seeks more than $50 million in damages from convicted child molester and defrocked priest Daniel McCormack(link is external)and the Archdiocese of Chicago. The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, developed a trust relationship’ with McCormack while playing on a basketball team the pastor coached at St. Ailbe School, according to the suit.” By Chicago Sun-Times

KENTUCKY

Several priests in prison for child sex abuse still being paid by Louisville Catholic Church
“They stand convicted of committing terrible sins, but pedophile priests are still being paid by the Catholic church(link is external) in Louisville. ‘I think it’s absurd,’ Michael Norris said. ‘I just don’t understand it.’ Norris is one of Fr. Joseph Hemmerle’s victims, molested at age 11 at camp Tall Trees in Meade County in the 1970’s.” By Gil Corsey, WDRB-TV
— Convicted priests still getting pensions and medical benefits(link is external)By Connie Leonard, WAVE-TV News

MINNESOTA

Minnesota diocese settles in lawsuit against Bishop Hoeppner
“The Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, has settled one part of a lawsuit brought by a deacon candidate who accused his bishop of coercing him into silence about alleged sexual abuse(link is external) by a past vicar general. The rural northwestern Minnesota diocese announced Sept. 20 that a settlement had been reached on charges brought by Ronald Vasek against Bishop Michael Hoeppner. In May, Vasek sued Hoeppner on counts of coercion and intentional infliction of emotional distress, in addition to bringing negligence and public nuisance claims against the diocese.” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

MISSOURI

St. Louis priest settles part of civil suit against accuser and clergy abuse survivor’s group
“A Roman Catholic priest has settled part of a federal lawsuit he filed against the mother of a boy who accused him of abuse(link is external), the group that supported the accuser and police, court filings Tuesday (Oct. 10) say. In a filing in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, a lawyer for the Rev. Xiu Hui ‘Joseph’ Jiang wrote that the case had been settled with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and SNAP officials, and that Jiang and the mother of his former accuser had ‘reached an agreement in principle.’” By Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

MONTANA

Judge orders Montana Catholic diocese to update court settlement plan
“A U.S. bankruptcy judge last week (Sept. 29) ordered a hearing intended to map out the remaining settlement proceedings(link is external) between the Great Falls-Billings Diocese and the 86 victims claiming they were abused by eastern Montana priests through the 1900s.” By Seaborn Larson, Great Falls Tribune

NEW JERSEY

Judge finds probable cause to charge priest with sex assault
“A hearing has found probable cause for the filing of charges against a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a young parishioner(link is external) two decades ago. Probable cause was found for charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault against the Rev. Michael ‘Mitch’ Walters on Wednesday (Sept. 27), according to an official with the Guttenberg court. The case was then transferred from the municipal court up to the Hudson County Superior Court.” By Justin Zaremba, NJ.com

NEW MEXICO

Dark Canyon: Trust and Betrayal in the Northern New Mexico Church
“For the second feature-length installment of our series, our reporters go to Northern New Mexico where Catholicism has been a central part of life for centuries, since the Spanish conquest of New Mexico. The list of 74 credibly accused priests, brothers and deacons(link is external) released by the Archbishop last month names more than a dozen priests who served the parishes in the Taos area.” By Ellen Berkovitch, Rita Daniels and Hannah Colton, KSFR-FM, Santa Fe Public Radio

NEW YORK

Number of women accusing Catholic priest of sexual abuse rises to 23
“The number of women alleging they were abused as children by a Catholic priest(link is external) in Queens has swelled to 23, the Daily News has learned. The accusers of former Rev. Adam Prochaski, ranging in age from 39 to 57, say the priest abused them in the Holy Cross parish in Maspeth between 1972 and 1994. The women were between 11 to 16 years old when the abuse allegedly took place.” By Graham Rayman, New York Daily News
— Number of abuse allegations against Queens priest are growing(link is external)By CBS News, New York
— 23 women accuse former queens priest of abusing them as children,(link is external) By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

NYPD opens investigation into Catholic priest sex abuse claims
“Prosecutors and the NYPD have opened an investigation into allegations that a Catholic priest sexually abused 15 victims(link is external) decades ago at a parish school, officials said. The Queens District Attorney’s office and the NYPD’s Special Victims squad are looking into the allegations made public Tuesday (Sept. 26) by the 15 women against former Rev. Adam Prochaski, who once worked at Holy Cross School in Maspeth, police officials said.” By Esha Ray and Graham Rayman, New York Daily News

ARGENTINA

Catholic Church struggles to erase stain of child sex abuse
“Pope Francis admits the Church has not done enough to tackle the abhorent acts commited by some members of the clergy(link is external). The Vatican and the Argentine Synod say they are taking steps to tackle the problem. But survivors, victims and experts warn that some inside the Church are resistant to change and that many cases still go unreported.” By Santiago del Carril, Buenos Aires Times

AUSTRALIA

Australian church facing biggest crisis in its history, says Brisbane archbishop
“The archbishop said the Church had been ‘shaken to the core’ by the abuse scandal(link is external)and today was being called to a ‘greater authenticity.’ A leading Australian bishop says the Church in his country is facing the biggest crisis in its history after taking part in talks with the Vatican over how to address the problem. The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, who is Vice President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, told The Tablet that he and fellow bishops were in Rome to discuss the fallout of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and how the Church will adopt a new approach.” By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

Attacks on the credibility of abuse survivors not justified by research
“For a quarter of a century, the concept of ‘false memories’ has provided a scientific fig leaf for skeptics of child sexual abuse allegations(link is external) … However, for those uncomfortable with the social and legal reforms required to address child sexual abuse, the idea that large numbers of allegations are the product of ‘false memories’ remains attractive. This argument underpins recent reporting in the Australian, which has called into question the findings of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, on the basis that sexual abuse survivor testimony cannot be trusted.” By Michael Salter, The Guardian

‘Prevention is crucial’ in safeguarding children
“Working together to protect children and create child safe cultures(link is external) was the focus of a workshop hosted by the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Melbourne yesterday (Sept. 27), Melbourne Catholic reports. The ‘Safeguarding children: Leading change’ workshop was for those involved in child protection, and provided thought leadership on how to prevent child abuse in a proactive manner.” By CathNews.com

CANADA

Catholic priest wanted for alleged child porn offenses committed in Windsor church
“A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a high-ranking Vatican diplomat who police believe committed child pornography offences at a Windsor church(link is external) during the Christmas holidays. Monsignor Carlo Capella, 50, is wanted for accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography, according to Windsor police. ‘The Diocese of London confirms that it was asked to, and did, assist in an investigation around suspicions involving Msgr. Capella’s possible violations of child pornography laws by using a computer address at a local Church,’ wrote spokesperson Nelson Couto in a media release.” By Dan Taekema, CBC News
— Canadian police seek recalled Vatican envoy for child porn(link is external)By Nicole Winfield and Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, in Akron Beacon Journal

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Roman Catholic priest absconds with Vatican funds after sexual abuse accusation
“A Roman Catholic priest withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and went on the run in Albania after he was accused of sexually abusing schoolchildren(link is external) in the 1970s and 1980s, a court heard.” By Abe Hawken, Daily Mail

London priest ‘sex abuse victim’ had ‘nightmares’
“Laurence Soper, 74, the abbot of Ealing Abbey from 1991-2000, was headmaster and senior priest at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London. He is on trial at the Old Bailey where he denies 19 charges of child sex abuse against 10 boys(link is external) between 1970 and 1980. The boys allege they were subjected to sexual touching and beaten with a cane. The witness told the court he would get “flashbacks” and “nightmares” about Mr Soper.” By BBC News

GUAM

Lawsuit: Abuse occurred in 2006
“A 23-year-old former altar boy is the latest victim to come forward alleging he was sexually abused by a Capuchin brother(link is external) assigned to the Agana Heights parish in 2006. J.C.M.P., who used initials to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Capuchin Friars and Vernon Kamiaz.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Second boy claims priest brought him to Minnesota for sex abuse
Four new clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) were filed in local and federal court, including one by a second former altar boy who said priest Louis Brouillard paid for his summer trip to Minnesota and sexually abused and molested him. The lawsuit states that Brouillard forced the boy to engage in sexual activity with another boy during the trip.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
— Lawsuits: Brouillard took advantage of ‘childhood an innocence(link is external),’ By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Pose

Boy sexually abused daily while living with priest
“A 14-year-old boy whose parents thought it would be best for him to live with a Catholic priest after he ran away from home was sexually abused daily by the priest(link is external) for about two weeks, according to a lawsuit filed in local court on Thursday (Oct. 5).” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

ITALY

Police capture ex-priest who fled while serving sex abuse sentence
“An ex-Catholic priest serving a 14-year sentence for sexual abuse of seven minors(link is external) in Rome, and who had been given permission to receive treatment for a health condition in a nearby clinic, surreptitiously left last week and hailed a taxi, escaping detection. On Thursday, police caught up to him in Milan’s San Raffaele hospital and placed him in custody. Now, he’ll have to serve the remaining 11 years behind bars.” By Cruxnow.com Staff

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


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

VATICAN

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

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

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

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

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

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

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

VOICES

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

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

COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

MARYLAND

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MINNESOTA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

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

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

OHIO

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

WASHINGTON

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

WISCONSIN

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

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

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

INDIA

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus, Sept. 15, 2017


TOP STORIES

Editorial: Retain abuse survivors or risk irrelevancy
“It is distressing to learn that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors may be restructured so that survivors of sexual abuse by clergy may have no direct voice in that body(link is external). The commission has helped the church make great strides in addressing this global issue, but it is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Signs of trouble with the commission began to surface in 2016, a year after its inception, when one of two abuse survivors on the commission, Peter Saunders, was suspended. The trouble became acute when the sole remaining survivor on the commission, Marie Collins, resigned earlier this year.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops
“Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church’s liturgies are translated(link is external) from Latin into local languages, moving most responsibility for the matter from the Vatican to national bishops’ conferences. In a motu proprio issued Sept. 9, the pontiff says he is making a change to the church’s Code of Canon Law so that the Second Vatican Council’s call to make the liturgy more understandable to people is ‘more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.’ The motu proprio, given the title Magnum Principium, modifies two clauses of Canon 838. The rewritten clauses say simply that the Vatican is to ‘recognize’ adaptations of Latin liturgical texts approved by national bishops’ conferences.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Australian Catholic Church falls short on safeguards for children, study finds
“A study that examines child sexual abuse worldwide in the Roman Catholic Church has found that the Australian church has done less to safeguard children in its care than its counterparts(link is external) in similar countries have. The report, released on Wednesday by the Center for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, also found that the church’s requirement that priests be celibate was a major risk factor for abuse. And it said that the possibility of abuse in Catholic residential institutions, like orphanages, should be getting more attention, especially in developing countries.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Living with echo of clergy abuse (Part 1 of 3)
“For a more than a decade, Catholic priest Donald Grecco sexually abused children in Niagara(link is external). On Thursday (Sept. 7), he will be sentenced for the abuse of three boys in the 1970s and 80s. This three part series is the story of one of his victims.” By Grant LaFleche, The St. Catherine’s Standard

ACCOUNTABILITY

Müller sacked for publicly opposing pope, especially on women deacons’
(Sept. 6, 2017) “A noted German Protestant theologian who attended the Catholic Church’s 2015 Synod on the Family has claimed that Cardinal Gerhard Müller was dismissed as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) because of his public criticism of Pope Francis(link is external), especially on the issue of women deacons.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, International La Croix

As Vatican trial waits to resume, who’s actually got the most to lose
“With a Vatican trial focusing on charges of misappropriation of funds(link is external) from a papally-sponsored children’s hospital now on hold until Sept. 19, the question arises of who has the most to lose from its outcome: The two lay defendants themselves, or the cardinal whose reputation appears to be on the line and the fate of the financial reform launched by Pope Francis?” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Why world meeting of families is more than potential papal visit
“From August 21st-26th, 2018, families from across the world will gather in Ireland for the ninth world meeting of families. Much of the local commentary has focused on whether Pope Francis will attend(link is external) and what this might mean for the future of church and society in Ireland. Those of us involved in organizing the event are careful not to talk about a papal visit. Not because we aren’t delighted at the prospect of the pope coming but because, if he comes, it is clear he will come first and foremost for the world meeting of families itself.” By Fr. Tim Bartlett, The Irish Times

CARDINALS

Vatican reform process ‘nearly complete,’ C9 member says
“Bishop Marcello Semeraro said the Council of Cardinal’s work in advising Pope Francis on the reform(link is external) of the Vatican’s organization and church governance – describing it as a three-step process of ‘listening’ to the contributions from the bishops, the Roman Curia and ‘many people who have written,’ reflecting on those proposals and checking them over – is almost done.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Cruxnow.com

BISHOPS

Vatican investigator wraps up cash, mistress probe
“A Vatican-appointed investigator has completed a probe into allegations leveled against an Indonesian bishop by rebel priests(link is external) within his own diocese. Holy Cross Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung was appointed by the Vatican as its apostolic visitator last month to look into allegations that Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng misappropriated church funds and kept a mistress. Bishop Bunjamin told ucanews.com on Aug. 24 that he had collected enough evidence during an Aug.-15-18 visit to Flores Island, during which he interviewed about 30 priests and laypeople, and would be sending a detailed report to the Vatican.” By Ryan Dagur, UCANews.com

PRIESTS

For historic Philadelphia seminary, enrollment hits a new peak
“The number of seminarians(link is external) at Philadelphia’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is on the rise, and rector Bishop Timothy Senior says Pope Francis’ visit has been a positive influence on the seminarians. ‘With 167 seminarians, we’re very excited and not only just the numbers but just extraordinary young men, candidates that really reflect the rich diversity of our region,’ Bishop Senior told CBS Philly.” By Catholic News Agency in Angelus News

WOMEN DEACONS

Irish priests call for diaconate pause
“The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has called on the Irish bishops to halt the introduction of permanent deacons(link is external) in their dioceses until the Vatican’s commission on women deacons has concluded its report and Pope Francis has made a decision based on its findings. In their statement, association leaders said they believed that proceeding with the introduction of male deacons at this time would add ‘another male clerical layer to ministry’ which was ‘insensitive, disrespectful of women and counter-productive at this present critical time.’” By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

The U.S. Catholic experience is increasingly Hispanic and Southwestern
“A new survey of the religious composition of the United States shows that white Christians are increasingly less dominant in American society(link is external), with fewer than half of U.S. states having white Christian majorities, down from 39 states in 2007. For the Catholic Church here, that means a shift from a predominantly white church clustered in the Northeast and Midwest to a church influenced by Latin American immigration and located in the South and West. About 18 percent of all Americans identify as Catholic, the report found.” By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Seeking a path form Pell to a Plenary Council
“Arriving in Sydney, Australia, this summer for a round of conferences sponsored by the Broken Bay Institute of the Australian Institute of Theological Education, I found a church confronting events likely to have a profound impact on its future(link is external): the Royal Commission’s completion of its work on an ‘institutional response to child sexual abuse’; the return of Cardinal George Pell from Rome to face charges on sexual abuse cases alleged to have taken place decades ago in the diocese of Ballarat; and the announcement of a Plenary Council for Australia set for 2020—the first since 1937.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Numbers of Catholics stable as more than half of British public now have ‘no religion’
“More than half of the British public now describe themselves as having no religion(link is external), a new survey has found. The decline in religious affiliation has hit the Church of England particularly hard with the number of Anglicans falling by 50 per cent in under two decades, the British Social Attitudes survey, released on 4 September, revealed. By contrast the number of Catholics — at around 10 per cent — has remained relatively stable over the same time period. The number of people saying they have no religion (53 per cent) is at its highest ever level, up from 48 per cent in 2015, the National Centre for Social Research found in their social attitudes survey of 2,942 people.” By Rose Gamble, The Tablet

VATICAN

Vatican fails to submit report to U.N.
“As sexual assault cases against the Archdiocese of Agana continue to increase, it appears that the Vatican has found itself in trouble with the United Nations(link is external). Three years ago, the Vatican was called to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which begged the Vatican to take concrete steps to remedy decades of institutional complicity and cover-up of widespread sexual violence. September 1, 2017, marked the deadline for the Vatican to submit a comprehensive report on their progress, but the Vatican did not submit the report.” By Jolene Toves, Pacific News First

MARRIED PRIESTS

Petitioners to Rockville Centre bishop: Ordain married men
“Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese wrote in March that Pope Francis was ready to reconsider obligatory priestly celibacy(link is external). Reese wrote the pope was only waiting to be asked by bishops. ‘If the people of God want married priests, they need to let their bishops know. The pope is waiting for the bishops to ask,’ wrote Reese. NCR reader James Stubenrauch took up Reese’s challenge. And he brought along 52 other friends who reside with him at Dominican Village, a retirement community on the grounds of the Dominican Sisters Motherhouse here on Long Island.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Editorial: Fling open door for women
“Though the church exhibits ‘a keen awareness of the extent to which women have been victims of injustice, violence and oppression,’ she (Tina Beattie, British theologian) said, the Vatican has increasingly found itself in opposition(link is external) to international and local movements calling for greater rights for women and children. The reason for this, of course, is the official church’s inability to move away from the traditional teaching on the distinctions between male and female that has formed Catholic theology over centuries.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

CHURCH FINANCES

Catholic church in Gardner under investigation for alleged financial wrongdoing
“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is investigating alleged financial improprieties at a parish in the Johnson County(link is external) town of Gardner, officials announced Sunday (Sept. 10). A statement was read during Masses this weekend at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Gardner, where the alleged incident occurred, said Anita McSorley, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.” By Phil Anderson, Topeka Capital-Journal

If trial’s a test of accountability, what grade will the Vatican get?
“As the latest Vatican criminal trial, in this case for financial misappropriation(link is external), opens on Thursday (Sept. 7), many observers are still wondering how two laymen can be charged with illicitly spending roughly $500,000 from a pediatric hospital’s funds to remodel a cardinal’s Vatican apartment, but that cardinal isn’t facing any charges at all. If this is a test of accountability, in other words, what grade will the Vatican get?” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Retired Canton priest accused of stealing church wine, money from collection plate
“The Rev. Eugene Katcher, former pastor of Resurrection Parish in Canton, has been charged with three counts of larceny(link is external) after authorities say he stole money from the collection plate and from the donations parishioners gave to light votive prayer candles. He is also accused of stealing property, including church wine.” By Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
“What Australian researchers say about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church(link is external) worldwide: it has always been an issue; can be traced back to New Testament times in the first century; is a global phenomenon within the Catholic Church; To attribute it solely to a series of personal failings of individual priests and religious insinuating they were just a few ‘rotten apples’ is simply not credible; young and vulnerable Catholic children, especially boys, were in danger and at risk in the presence of psychosexually immature, psychosexually maldeveloped and sexually deprived and deeply frustrated male priests and male religious, particularly those who had not satisfactorily resolved their own sexual identity.” By Australian Associated Press on 9news.com.au

Government cuts redress payout proposals in half
“The child abuse redress scheme proposed by the Turnbull government will provide a minimum compensation payment half the size recommended by the royal commission(link is external), The Australian reports. Confidential draft legislation reveals compensation payments of between $5000 and $150,000 — both below commission recommendations — as Canberra attempts to woo the states, territories and abuse institutions to opt into a $4 billion national scheme. The draft bill has been circulated to the states, and insiders believe the government will set a low bar for proving claims as part of the drive to prevent re-traumatizing victims, of whom an estimated 60,000 will seek redress over the next decade.” By CathNews.com

Sorry, Father, but the jig is up
“Until I read his piece in today’s (Sept. 4) edition of this newspaper, I had never heard of Father Brian McCoy. He takes me to task for either exaggerating or inventing claims of child abuse in Balgo(link is external). Violence of all kinds at Balgo was obvious in Balgo and the good Father must have missed it all. I do have people who knew what we were told about child sexual abuse when we visited.” Commentary by Graham Richardson in The Australian

Faith reclaimed: how survivors of clergy abuse return to the church
“Though individuals abused by clergy(link is external) regularly flee the church for good, others, like (Patsy) Seeley, eventually make a painful and circuitous journey back, finding the homecoming a transformative piece of their healing and a source of sustenance, peace and strength.” By Katie Scott, Catholic Sentinel

‘Shame keeps so many victims silent’: MN clergy abuse victim speaks out
“(Joe) McLean is one of hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse who have made clergy abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis(link is external) in the past few years, forcing it into bankruptcy court. A Minneapolis bankruptcy court judge will hear arguments Tuesday (Aug. 28) over competing plans to move the organization back to financial stability. As the courtroom wrangling continues, McLean said he wanted to make his story public. It only happened once, but McLean said (Rev. Mike) Charland’s abuse and betrayal made him feel tainted, less worthy than others, and isolated. It contributed to his depression and alcoholism.” By Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

CALIFORNIA

A decade after settling sex abuse cases the diocese of San Diego still copes with the fallout
“Whenever Heidi Lynch thinks about priests molesting children, she shudders with memories of her own abuse(link is external) and worries whether the Catholic Church is doing all it can to protect potential victims. ‘Are they really taking care of the children?’ asked Lynch, a 60-year-old San Carlos resident, who between the ages of 8 and 11 was repeatedly raped by a priest. ‘Are they really taking care of the abusers? Are they still hiding this?’ Ten years ago this week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego agreed to pay $198.1 million to settle the lawsuits filed by Lynch and 143 other adults.” By Peter Rowe, Los Angeles Times

ILLINOIS

Judge to decide if ex-priest who molested boys can be committed indefinitely
“The accusations against ‘Father Dan’ were seemingly endless. Court records show more than two dozen boys and young men have alleged Daniel McCormack molested them in their youth(link is external), most notably at St. Agatha Parish on Chicago’s Southwest Side, where the young Roman Catholic priest coached basketball, taught algebra and delivered eloquent sermons … Now, almost eight years after McCormack completed his prison term, Illinois prosecutors want him declared a sexually violent person …” By Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune

MINNESOTA

Archdiocese bankruptcy plans face off in court
“Before an overflow crowd of clergy abuse survivors(link is external), a federal bankruptcy judge heard arguments Tuesday (Aug. 29) for two competing compensation plans to settle abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. U.S. Judge Robert Kressel heard from more than 20 attorneys about the plans, which aim to put an end to more than two years of legal wrangling. The plan by the committee representing abuse survivors, calling for tougher settlements with insurance companies and far greater contributions from the archdiocese, faced objections from the archdiocese, parishes and insurance companies for being too far reaching and essentially ‘liquidating’ the archdiocese.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

NEW MEXICO

Archdiocese of Santa Fe releases names of accused priests
“Following years of criticism, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has released the names of 74 priests and religious leaders who were accused or later found guilty of sexually abusing children(link is external) by state or church authorities. Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester announced the release of the names Tuesday (Sept. 12) in a letter to parishioners after decades of pressure from victims and their family members who wanted a complete list.” By Russell Contreras, Associated Press, on Religion News Service

Judge rules good cause to open files on three ex-priests accused of child sexual abuse
“A state district judge said Friday (Sept. 1) there is good cause to open sealed records on three former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children(link is external) across New Mexico. Judge Alan Malott said he will review three binders filled with years-old documents from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, including parts of depositions and personnel files, to decide which records will be released to the public for the first time.” By Andrew Oxford, Santa Fe New Mexican

NEW YORK

Disgraced ex-priest accused of sexually abusing teen in Saratoga County
“A disgraced former priest convicted in 2003 of sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy(link is external)on Long Island is facing new allegations in Saratoga County of sodomy, sexual abuse and using a child in a sexual performance. Michael Hands, 51, who was previously sentenced to two years in jail, also cooperated with investigators at the time in a probe of sexual abuse within the church because he too was a victim.” By Robert Gavin, Albany Times Union

Ex-priest Francis Stinner dies, but sex abuse controversy lives on
“Francis Stinner, a defrocked priest with ties to Somers, Bronxville, Chappaqua and Goshen, died earlier this month at the age of 76. But the sexual abuse controversy that has long surrounded him(link is external) did not die with him. At least three new claims of sexual abuse have been filed against the former Catholic priest and teacher through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program or IRCP, a special compensation program set up by the Archdiocese of New York.” By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, lohud.com

OREGON

Fairfield priest in prison for child sexual abuse loses his chance to appeal
“A Catholic priest lost his attempt to appeal a 2013 conviction for taking a 10-year-old Price Hill boy across state lines and allegedly raping him(link is external). Robert ‘Father Bob’ Poandl, 76, is in prison after a jury in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati convicted him of taking an altar boy, David Harper, on a trip to serve Mass at a church in West Virginia and raping him in a rectory bedroom there in 1991.” By Paula Christian, WCPO-TV

PENNSYLVANIA

No charges against accused Catholic priest
“An investigation into sexual misconduct by a Catholic priest(link is external) in the Diocese of Scranton is closed after state police say the alleged victim refused to testify. The person came forward in April of 2016 accusing Fr. Martin Boylan of abuse when the alleged victim was just a child. Fr. Boylan was serving as pastor of St. Patrick’s parish in Scranton when those accusations were made. No charges were filed against Fr. Boylan.” By WNEP-TV

AUSTRALIA

Ex-Catholic priest Adrian Van Klooster jailed over child sex abuse drawings
“A retired Catholic priest, with a past history of sex abuse against children(link is external), has been jailed for a year after disturbing illustrations of children being abused by adults and other children were found on a CD at his home. Adrian Van Klooster, 75, was already a reportable sex offender and on the national pedophile register after being jailed for eight years in 2003 for the abuse of a group of children who were staying overnight at his parish house in Australind.” By Tim Clarke, The West Australian

Sexual abuse victim re-traumatized by Catholic Church compensation process
“A Victorian woman who was sexually abused as a teenager(link is external) says the process of getting compensation from the Catholic church was ‘unnecessarily agonizing’ and sent her to ‘an absolute state of unwellness.’ The woman’s revelation adds weight to calls for an independent redress scheme, the final framework of which is expected to be released in the coming weeks, following a proposal put forward by the federal government last year.” By Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian

Victims demand plaque depicting sex offender be removed from St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral
“The plaque on the external wall of the cathedral honors former Archbishop Sir Guilford Young and depicts the late Monsignor Philip Green. In 2004 Green pleaded guilty to assaulting a former altar boy(link is external) and was given a three-month suspended jail term. Julian Punch, a prominent former Hobart priest, also claimed he was sexually assaulted by the former Monsignor.” By Stephen Pigram, ABC News Australia

Liturgy launches Safeguarding Month
“The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay is dedicating the month of September 2017 to Safeguarding, with the theme Compassion and Commitment. The month was officially launched with a Liturgy held at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral Waitara on Thursday 31 August. Led by Most Rev Peter A. Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay, the gathering came together to pray in solidarity for those affected by abuse(link is external).” By Diocese of Broken Bay

Vatican’s safeguarding expert visits Australia
“One of the Church’s front-line fighters against child sexual abuse(link is external), German Jesuit Fr Hans Zollner, is in Australia this week (Sept. 5) to share his experience and promote safeguarding efforts, reports The Catholic Leader. With a reputation as a reformer, Pope Francis named Fr Zollner a founding member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014. Fr Zollner is president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.” By CathNews.com

Australia’s worst ever pedophile priest to die in prison
“Australia’s worst paedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale will likely die in prison with another three years added to his sentence. The 83-year-old will spend a total of almost 33 years in jail in total for his unprecedented child sex crimes over three decades(link is external).” By Australia Associated Press and Nic White, Daily Mail Australia

Bunbury victim seeks justice for alleged child sex abuse by Catholic priest
Twenty years after Alan Rowe first approached the Catholic Church seeking an apology for alleged sexual abuse by a priest(link is external) in Bunbury, he is set to file writs against the Catholic Diocese of Bunbury in the New South Wales Supreme Court. Mr Rowe was an altar boy at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He claims Father Kevin Johnston, one of the parish priests, abused him on about 12 separate occasions.” By Andrew Elstermann, WAToday

GUAM

Lawsuit: priest influenced altar boy to watch others being sexually abused
“Father Louis Brouillard sexually abused an altar boy(link is external) and influenced him to watch other boys being abused, a lawsuit filed late last month in the Superior Court of Guam states. The plaintiff, identified in court documents only as R.C. in order to protect his privacy, was sexually abused by Brouillard on church grounds and at Boy Scouts outings during the time he was an altar boy for the Barrigada and Tumon parishes and a boy scout with Troop 13, the lawsuit states.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Clergy sex abuse suit withdrawn
“A clergy sex abuse lawsuit accusing a now-deceased priest(link is external), filed earlier this week (Aug. 31) in federal court, has been voluntarily withdrawn. Through attorney David Lujan, accuser ‘A.J.A.’ on Aug. 31 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of his lawsuit, which he originally filed Aug. 28. The plaintiff, now 61 and now living in Las Vegas, is identified in court documents only as A.J.A. to protect his privacy.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

16th priest accused in sex abuse suit
“Another Catholic clergy member on Guam has been accused of child sexual abuse(link is external), according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday (Sept. 5). Father Louis William Rink, who is now deceased, was sued by a former altar boy identified in documents only as R.R.C. to protect his privacy. The lawsuit accuses Rink of abusing the boy, who was 10, in Dededo in the 1980s. Rink is the 16th Guam clergy member accused in court of child sexual abuse.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Apuron’s attorney says claims against her client are time-barred
“As sex abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Agana(link is external) continue to be filed, Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s attorney Jacque Terlaje argues a motion to dismiss the four sexual abuse cases against her client saying that the claims are time-barred. Terlaje argued her client’s motion to dismiss on two grounds. ‘We have asked the court to dismiss the complaint involving the four Archbishop Anthony cases and that is simply because the plain statutory reading of the statue, that it did not apply to old cases such as the one Archbishop Anthony is involved in,’ stated Terlaje.” By Jolene Toves, Pacific News Center

INDIA

Indian priest charged with molesting student, bishop cries harassment
“A Catholic priest who is the principal of a school has been charged by police for molesting a girl student(link is external) in a central India state but bishops there say this is part of ongoing harassment against Christians. Police in Madhya Pradesh state Sept. 1 filed criminal charges against 40-year-old Father Sebastian Panthalluparambil, principal of the church-run Jyoti Senior Secondary School in Rewa, under Satna Diocese. The 17-year-old girl who made the complaint said two of them went to their principal’s office to seek his permission to organize a farewell program for a retiring teacher. The permission was denied and the principal ‘inappropriately touched’ her body, a police official told ucanews.com quoting the complaint.” By Saji Thomas, UCANews.com

PHILIPPINES

‘Forgive them Father for they have sinned’
“The Department of Justice has filed a case against Monsignor Arnel Lagajeros of the Diocese of Antipolo for molesting a minor(link is external). Lagajeros, 55, was caught in an entrapment operation while inside his gray Ford explorer at the parking area of Blue Wave Mall along Sumulong Hi-way in Barangay Sto. Nino, Marikina City, where he and the minor were supposed to meet. Lagajeros was not the first local prelate in the Catholic Church accused of sexual harassment or misconduct.” By The Manila Times

SICILY

Unpacking the ‘strong powers’ insulating lay group charged with abuse
“The leader of a lay Catholic group in Sicily, arrested for allegedly abusing six underage girls(link is external), was able to create a system of connections and relationships with high ranking members of the judiciary and political system, which kept himself and the group immune from government and ecclesiastical oversight.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Round-up


TOP STORIES

Ex-Catholic bishop of Phoenix accused of sex abuse of boy
“A former bishop who led the Roman Catholic church in metro Phoenix during a worldwide child sexual abuse scandal has been accused of molesting a young boy(link is external) 35 years ago. Retired Bishop Thomas O’Brien is accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing the boy on several occasions at parishes in Phoenix and Goodyear from 1977 to 1982. The Diocese of Phoenix says O’Brien denies the allegation.”
By The Associated Press in The New York Times

Canon expert: Vatican protected bishops for centuries
“The ongoing canonical trial of Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron(link is external) is significant in that it’s only the second time in centuries a bishop has been put on trial by the church, said Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest and former board member of the Canon Law Society of America. The last archbishop to undergo a canonical trial — Jozef Wesołowski, who was accused of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic — was defrocked in 2014.”
By Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News

German abuse report ‘shocking’ and not the end, Church expert says
“Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading anti-abuse expert and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, called a report documenting hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse at a German boys’ choir ‘shocking(link is external),’ and warned that as the taboo lifts in other parts of the world, similar accounts are likely to keep emerging.”
By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

On abuse: Francis yet to make critical clerical changes
“NCR’s editorial, ‘On Abuse: church has changed but not enough,’ rightly identifies the all-male clerical culture as a critical factor in the sex abuse scandal(link is external), but it fails to point to the failure of Pope Francis to change parts of canon law that embody that culture.”
Commentary by Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

Bankrupt archdiocese files objections to creditors’ reorganization plan
“The bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says the latest reorganization plan proposed for the church by creditors would strip it of all assets required to pursue the church’s mission(link is external). The archdiocese filed its objections to the creditors’ plan Friday (Aug. 4) and urged acceptance of its own $156 million settlement. ‘The committee’s plan isn’t a reorganization plan, it’s an unlawful dismantling of the Catholic Church in the Twin Cities,’ read a joint statement from Tom Abood, chair of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Brian Short, a member of the Archdiocesan Corporate Board of Directors. ‘The committee’s plan is also simply unworkable from a legal or practical basis.’”
By Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

July 18, 2017

TOP STORIES

Cardinal Pell returns to Australia, charged with sexual offenses
“Cardinal George Pell returned on Monday (Jul. 10) to his native Australia, where he has been charged with sexual offenses(link is external), as a commission released a new trove of documents from its investigation into the Roman Catholic Church’s past response to abuse allegations in the country. Cardinal Pell, 76, one of the highest-ranking figures in the church’s global hierarchy, was met by the Australian Federal Police at Sydney’s international airport, where his flight from Singapore landed just before 6 a.m.” By Adam Baidawi, The New York Times
— Cardinal’s sex abuse charges raise questions about pope’s record(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
— Prominent cardinal returns to Australia to face sex abuse charges(link is external)By Camila Domonoske, National Public Radio

Pope Francis defrocks Italian priest convicted of child sex abuse
“Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse(link is external), three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light. Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012 after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014 … On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a ‘definitive ruling’ that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

The Vatican’s failure in the abuse scandal
“For all of Pope Francis’ deserved acclaim in leading the Roman Catholic Church to new directions, he is failing badly on his promise to address the child abuse scandal(link is external) at the crucial level where ranking churchmen systematically protected priests who raped and molested children.” Editorial in The New York Times
— The Catholic Church and sex abuse(link is external)By Marci Hamilton, Letter to the Editor, The New York Times

More power for Catholic bishops? Not so fast
“A lot has been written about Pope Francis’s goal of making the church more democratic, with less control by the Vatican and more power to individual bishops(link is external) … However, unless the institutional church actually reaches that goal, and power truly devolves to the grassroots, giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops might make things worse, not better, at least for progressive Catholics.” By Celia Wexler, Contributor, Huffington Post

Francis replaces Cardinal Muller with deputy Ladaria as head of doctrinal congregation
“Pope Francis has decided not to renew the expiring term of Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Muller(link is external), choosing instead to replace the German prelate with his deputy, a Spanish Jesuit theologian known for keeping a relatively low public profile. The pontiff has appointed Archbishop Luis Ladaria, 73, as the new prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He had previously served as the office’s secretary.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

ACCOUNTABILITY

Vatican money man says abuse charges are a smear campaign
“A senior Vatican cardinal charged in Australia with multiple historical sexual offenses has denied the accusations(link is external) and denounced what he called a ‘relentless character assassination.’ Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’s chief financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic, said he would take a leave of absence as the Catholic Church’s finance tsar and would return to Australia to fight the charges. Cardinal Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official charged in the church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal.” By Nicole Winfield and Kristen Gelineau, Scotland Sunday Herald
— Vatican No. 3 charged with sexual abuse by Australian court,(link is external) By Elliot Hannon, Slate
— Senior Catholic Church officials have rarely faced charges in the sexual abuse of children. Here are a few who did(link is external)By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
— Cardinal George Pell charged: What a mess?(link is external) By David Armstrong, LaCroix
— Vatican cardinal charged with ‘historic sexual offenses’ in Australia(link is external)By Laurel Wamsley, National Public Radio

Secrecy over clergy abuse standards causes confusion in India
“Three months after India’s theologians and Catholic religious pressed a congress of bishops to act aggressively against a wave of sex abuse cases involving priests(link is external), no official response has come. But top church leaders told National Catholic Reporter in exclusive interviews that bishops in India are following Vatican-approved guidelines for handling clergy abuse cases. The guidelines took effect in 2015 but have not been shared beyond bishops and religious superiors to protect the policy from being misused, an officer in the bishops’ conference told NCR.” By Jose Kevi, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

Francis makes clear his mission as pope is far from ended
Pope Francis made it clear(link is external) this morning (Jun. 27) that he believes his mission as successor to St. Peter and leader of the Catholic world is far from over. The message can be read as an answer to those who hope his pontificate may end soon. He said that his mission entails being able ‘to dream’ and to share this dream and experience of life with young people today so that they may live prophetic lives.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

CARDINALS

Marie Collins: Cardinal Pell’s leave from Vatican service comes ‘far too late’
“A former member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has responded to news that Australian police are pursuing charges against Vatican financial chief Cardinal George Pell over allegations of historic sexual abuse against minors(link is external). Marie Collins, an Irish clergy abuse survivor, said she will not pre-judge Pell’s guilt or innocence regarding the charges against him. But she said Francis should not have appointed the cardinal the prefect of the new Secretariat of the Economy in 2014.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal Pell’s situation may be unique, but there are plenty of parallels
“Although Cardinal George Pell of Australia is the first cardinal and Vatican official to face criminal charges related to sexual abuse(link is external), he’s hardly the first Catholic bishop to be prosecuted on those grounds, and also not the first Vatican official to face a criminal indictment. A rundown of several such recent cases allows one to compare and contrast with the Pell situation, including the fact he’s not playing the immunity card.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Francis tells new cardinals to look at reality facing today’s Catholics
“Pope Francis has told the world’s Catholic cardinals not to seek privilege(link is external) but to look at the situations Catholics in their care are facing today and to serve them as brothers and sisters. Speaking during a formal ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica marking the creation of five new cardinals, the pope told the prelates that God is calling them ‘to look at reality, not to let yourselves be distracted by other interests or prospects.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Francis names five new cardinals, including associate of Oscar Romero(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

BISHOPS

Pope names Bishop Nelson J. Perez as new leader of Cleveland diocese
“Bishop-designate Nelson J. Perez, born in Miami but most recently serving in New York state, has been named the new leader of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese(link is external). Pope Francis’ decree was made public this morning (Jul. 11), and the new bishop will be introduced at a 9 a.m. news conference.” By Karen Farkas, Cleveland.com

Pope Francis names Atlanta auxiliary bishop to head Diocese of Raleigh
“Pope Francis has named Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama to head the Diocese of Raleigh(link is external), North Carolina. He succeeds Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, who last October was named to head the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, where he was installed Dec. 6. Zarama, 58, has been an Atlanta auxiliary bishop since 2009. A native of Colombia, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1993.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis accepts Scola’s resignation, appoints native son Delpini to Milan
“Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Scola as archbishop of Milan and appointed Bishop Mario Delpini(link is external), 66, a man of spartan habits who rides a bicycle and lives with elderly priests, as his successor. The Vatican made the announcement on July 7, confirming rumors that had been circulating in the Italian media in recent days.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Local priest named fifth bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania
“On Tuesday (Jun. 27) the Vatican announced Pope Francis’s pick of Monsignor Alfred A. Schlert to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Allentown(link is external) in Pennsylvania, himself born and raised in the diocese … It is the first time a priest of the diocese has been named its bishop.” By Hannah Brockhaus, Cruxnow.com

PRIESTS

Crisis in Irish priesthood revealed at meetings of clergy
“Eight priests have taken their own lives in the past 10 to 15 years in Ireland, a meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests(link is external) (ACP) in Cavan has been told. At another such meeting in Co Limerick, there was a call for the setting up of a national confidential priests’ helpline. Minutes of the latter meeting in Caherconlish quote one attendee as saying: ‘Our morale is affected because we are on a sinking ship. When will the ‘counter-reformation’ take place? We’re like an All-Ireland team without a goalie. We need a national confidential priests’ helpline. We’re slow to look for help.’” By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Four-day convocation in Orlando called ‘a journey’ for U.S. church
“Theirs was a monumental responsibility(link is external): shepherding lay leaders, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, religious, deacons, musicians, event staff and a legion of volunteers at the historic ‘Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America’ July 1–4 in Orlando.” By Laura Dodson, Catholic News Service
— Lofty rhetoric aside, why the U.S. bishops’ ‘Convocation’ mattered(link is external)By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

VATICAN

Top theologian is out in Pope Francis’ move to be more inclusive
“Pope Francis took the decision to replace Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller(link is external) , a German, with Jesuit Luis Ladaria Ferrer, a Spaniard, as the prefect of Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith. The outgoing chief theologian was at odds with the pope as the latter tried to open the Catholic church to ‘imperfect’ Catholics like divorced ones.” By Kelly Frazier, World Religion News
— Was Muller’s exit really a ‘night of the long knives’ move?(link is external) By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

New Swedish cardinal suggests high-level advisory group of women
“One of the five prelates Pope Francis just made a new cardinal of the Catholic Church has suggested the pope consider creating a special advisory body of women akin to the College of Cardinals(link is external) to offer more opportunity for women’s leadership in the church. Stockholm Cardinal Anders Arborelius, whom Francis made Sweden’s first cardinal in a consistory Wednesday, June 28, said he thinks ‘it’s very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

MARRIED PRIESTS

Editorial: Time to welcome married priests
“… It’s time the Vatican considered what other Christian denominations have long accepted: the ability of clergy to marry(link is external). While the male-only priesthood is Catholic doctrine and cannot be reversed by papal decree, clerical celibacy is only a discipline of the church. Were he so inclined, Francis could begin ordaining married priests tomorrow …” Editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Leader of largest U.S. Catholic church advocates for married priests
“The leader of the largest Catholic church in the U.S. said he would support allowing married men to become priests(link is external), among other church reforms. Monsignor John McSweeney said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer Friday (Jul. 7) about his upcoming retirement that he would support a reversal of the church’s celibacy requirement for priests.” By Joshua Gill, The Daily Caller

The pluses and minuses of married priests
“Ten or 12 years ago, I wrote a feature story for The Kansas City Star about a married Catholic priest(link is external) in southeast Kansas. He was, as no doubt you’ve already guessed, a convert from the Episcopal Church, which he had served as a priest. He was also conflicted. He loved his wife and loved the Catholic Church. He said he felt married to both, but that divided loyalty wasn’t easy. Indeed, he told me that if he had been a Catholic official with the authority to approve his request to convert to Catholicism and become a priest, he might well have said no.” By Bill Tammeus, National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

Why the Catholic Church must continue soul-searching
“The news that a high-ranking Vatican official has been charged with sexual abuse is a reminder that the church’s sex abuse crisis is not over(link is external) — and that it has potential to affect the entire church, across so-called liberal or conservative lines, even to the top echelons of the church hierarchy. Cardinal George Pell, former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne and current head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, denied the allegations that will require him to return to Australia from Rome to face multiple charges of sexual assault.” By Heidi Schlumpf, CNN

Lay groups lament Paprocki’s decree denying same-sex Eucharist
“Although response from Catholic clergy has been muted in the wake of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s June 12 decree that prohibits Catholics in ‘same-sex marriage’ from receiving Communion(link is external), lay organizations have been vocal about their disdain for the decree. The decree bars Catholics in same-sex marriages from receiving Communion as well as from receiving “ecclesiastical funeral rites,” unless they show signs of repentance before death.” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican II being unleashed through Pope Francis
“People are free to raise questions about certain teachings(link is external) but should remember Peter is the rock of the Catholic faith, according to the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl was in Orlando for the July 1-4 ‘Convocation of Catholic Leaders,’ and spoke with Crux about the impact of the pontificate of Pope Francis. ‘We are 50 years after the [Second Vatican] Council. What’s happening is all that Pentecostal energy that the Council unleashed is now, with this Holy Father, being felt,’ Wuerl said.” By John L. Allen, Jr., and Ines San Martin

U.S. priests’ association wants to focus on formation
“‘All means all — no exceptions, no small print. God loves all of us, whatever our differences,’ Fr. Bryan Massingale said as he recalled the anniversary of the Orlando massacre of LGBT people in the Pulse nightclub a year ago. Amid sustained applause from 170 members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests(link is external), the Fordham University theology professor challenged the sixth annual assembly gathered in Atlanta, June 19-22, to retrieve a crucial insight of Martin Luther King Jr. — the need to ‘redeem the soul.’” By Jeannine Gramick, National Catholic Reporter

CHURCH FINANCES

Millions missing from Catholic church near Lansing
“An audit so far has found that nearly $5 million is missing from a Roman Catholic church(link is external) near Lansing. The disclosure was made Friday (Jul. 7) during a court hearing for the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle, who is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos. Wehrle’s attorney, Lawrence Nolan, says $5 million is a ‘new high-water mark.’” By ClickOnDetroit.com
— Alleged embezzlement by Lansing priest approaches $5 million(link is external)By Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter

Abuse charges against Pell not good news for Vatican financial reform
“With criminal charges of sexual abuse having been filed against Cardinal George Pell in his home country of Australia, many questions will be asked, most about the accusations and Pell’s defense. From a Vatican point of view, however, a key question is what all this means for the prospects of financial reform(link is external), and the best answer probably is, ‘Nothing good.’” By John L. Allen, Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Survivors of non-recent abuse in Scotland can now bring civil claims
“The three-year time limit on cases of childhood abuse has been lifted(link is external) by Scottish Parliament. This is a monumental step forward for survivors of abuse who previously may not have been able to bring civil claims for damages. The time bar has been removed by the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill, which was unanimously approved when MSPs voted.” By Lexicology.com

The silence of children (locked away in secret archives of the Archdiocese of New York City)
“New York lawmakers last week (Jun. 26) closed their 2017 session in ‘legislative hell,’ as one Senator called it, without resolving a number of important issues, including the Child Victims Act, which would reform New York’s antiquated child sex abuse statutes of limitations(link is external) (SOLs). It would extend the civil and criminal SOLs, revive expired civil SOLs for one year, and eliminate the ‘notice of claim’ requirement that has hobbled public school victims’ access to justice.” By Marcia A. Hamilton, Verdict.justia.com

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Pope Francis’ toleration of sexually abusive clergy leaves a stain
“Pope Francis, who pledged a policy of “zero tolerance” for sexually abusive clergy in the Catholic Church, has turned out to be all too tolerant(link is external). On Thursday (Jun. 29), Australian police brought criminal charges against Cardinal George Pell, a top Vatican official and kitchen- cabinet adviser to the pope, for multiple alleged incidents of sexual assault. The charges against Cardinal Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief and the pope’s hand-picked agent of administrative reform, shook the Holy See, notwithstanding long-standing allegations that he ignored, dismissed and excused cases of sexual misconduct during his pre-Vatican years as a priest and church official in Australia.” Editorial in The Washington Post

In fighting abuse by members of Catholic Church clergy, victim sees resistance to change
“Has the Catholic Church made enough progress in fighting abuse by its priests(link is external)? That question has renewed urgency after George Pell became the highest-ranking member of the clergy to be formally charged. Cardinal Pell of Australia is a close adviser to the pope. He’s been charged with sexual assault … Joining us to talk about the case from Dublin and the broader questions it raises is Marie Collins. She was until recently on a papal commission dealing with the sexual abuse of children by clergy.” By Lulu Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio

Editorial: On abuse, church has changed, but not enough
“… this is not 1985, when the U.S bishops’ conference and the Vatican could bury detailed reports on the abuse of minors(link is external) and cover-up in Lafayette, Louisiana, and ignore advice from a priest, a lawyer and psychiatrist on how to proceed in transparency and justice. The U.S. bishops would go blithely on for another decade before some individual dioceses would begin to implement policies to handle abusive priests.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Timeline: A look at the Catholic Church’s sex abuse
“For more than three decades, the Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals spanning the globe(link is external). And for decades, the church has been accused of protecting itself rather than the victims of child sexual abuse. Here are some major scandals and revelations involving the Catholic Church and allegations of abuse.” By Madison Park, CNN

GEORGIA

Molestation claims resurface against former DeKalb priest
“The allegations against Father Stanley Idziak(link is external) never really went away. Even as they receded into memory for most as a dark part of DeKalb County history, the boys who say he molested them still carried the weight of his sins.” By Joshua Sharpe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ILLINOIS

Priest who abused child still working with kids
“The Claretians Roman Catholic order has settled a lawsuit from a man sexually abused as a 6-year-old(link is external) by a teenager who later became a prominent priest in Chicago, confirming in the settlement obtained by The Associated Press that the longtime cleric recently left the priesthood. But Bruce Wellems, 60, still works as executive director of a non-profit that offers youth mentoring, alternative schooling and other programs for children, according to a staff list at the Peace and Education Coalition. Its head office is also located in the same southwest side Chicago church where he served as priest for two decades.” By Michael Tarm, Associated Press

Man says Chicago Archdiocese, Catholic bishop responsible for priest’s sex abuse
“An individual is suing The Archdiocese of Chicago and The Catholic Bishop of Chicago, alleging battery and sexual abuse by a member of the clergy(link is external). An unnamed man filed a complaint on June 15 in Cook County Circuit Court against the defendants alleging defrocked Catholic priest Daniel McCormack sexually abused the plaintiff while he was still a practicing member of the clergy in Chicago.” By Louie Torres, Cook County Record

KENTUCKY

Louisville priest now faces nine years in prison for sexual abuse
“A Catholic priest is facing an additional two years in prison after a sentencing hearing in Meade County Thursday (Jun. 29) for sexually abusing a boy(link is external) at a summer camp in the 1970s. Father Joseph Hemmerle, 74, who was serving seven years for the sexual abuse of another victim, was sentenced to an additional two years in prison as well as eight years of probation.” By Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal

MARYLAND

Netflix’s ‘Keepers’ prompts call for archdiocese to release priest’s files
“The release of ‘The Keepers,’ a Netflix documentary series examining the unsolved death of a Catholic nun and abuse at then-Archbishop Keough High School(link is external), has sparked calls for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release files on the priest at the center of the story. An online petition on change.org has more than 11,000 signatures urging church officials to make public its files on A. Joseph Maskell, who died in 2001.” By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun

NEW JERSEY

Man claims monk sexually abused him more than 100 times as a kid
“A New Jersey man who attended the now-shuttered St. Elizabeth of Hungary School more than four decades ago has anonymously stepped forward and accused a Benedictine monk of abusing him on more than 100 occasions(link is external) as a teenager. In a lawsuit filed Friday (Jul. 7) morning, a plaintiff identified as John Doe III alleges he was sexually abused on numerous occasions by the Rev. Timothy Brennan between 1968 and 1971 while a student at St. Elizabeth’s School.” By Justin Zaremba, NJ Advance Media on nj.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Diocese places priest on leave for alleged misconduct involving minor in mid-1980s
“A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was placed on leave from public ministry(link is external) Wednesday (Jul. 5). Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the diocese, said in a release that Rev. Anthony J. Petracca has been placed on leave from public ministry.” By Ron Musselman, WJAC-TV

AUSTRALIA

Laws introduced to help prevent child abuse
“New laws have been introduced in Victoria to help protect children from abuse(link is external), holding religious, childcare, government and community organizations to account and modernizing child pornography laws. The Wrongs Amendment (Organizational Child Abuse) Act 2017 came into force on Saturday (Jul. 1) with new duty-of-care requirements for organizations that care for or have authority over children.” By SkyNews.com.au

The case of Cardinal Pell raises hope of reform among Australian victims of clerical abuse
“The Catholic Church, long damaged by sex abuse scandals(link is external), is facing a fresh crisis following the laying of charges of child sex abuse against one of its most senior clerics, the Australian cardinal George Pell. The 76-year-old Pell, who as the Church’s treasurer is the most senior Vatican figure to be charged with sexual abuse, returned home to Australia from the Vatican early Monday (Jul. 10), where he was met at Sydney airport by police. He is due in a Melbourne magistrate’s court on July 26 for the hearing of charges that he has strenuously denied.” By Sharon Verghis, Time

Catholic priest’s alleged inappropriate conduct kept hidden from school nearby his residence for ‘privacy reasons’
“The Catholic Church decided not to tell a Canberra primary school a priest living next door had been accused of inappropriate conduct with children(link is external) because it was concerned about his privacy, an independent report has found. The historical allegations involve two girls, and include the priest putting his arms around an 11 or 12-year-old from behind and nibbling her ear when they were alone in a Tumut church in the Riverina.” By Jesse Dorsett, ABC News Australia

Catholic boys school in Ballarat apologizes to victims of child sex abuse
“A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse(link is external) has called on Catholic institutions in Melbourne to take the lead of a Ballarat school, after it offered the first public apology to its abuse victims. St Patrick’s College is one of Ballarat’s most enduring Catholic institutions. Some students have graduated to become priests, archbishops and even a cardinal.” By Charlotte King, ABC News Australia

CANADA

Catholic Church to fingerprint priests, other workers
“Catholic priests and church workers in Quebec will have to give their digital fingerprints in order to work with minors, the elderly and the sick by 2020, according to several news outlets. This new rule is part of larger pilot project initiated by the Montreal Catholic Church in the fall of 2016. It aims to protect anyone considered to be at-risk or vulnerable(link is external). The 10-part process includes obligatory background checks on all personnel and having more than one adult present with minors.” By Montreal Gazette

GUAM

Vatican judges to deliberate
“A panel of Vatican judges will soon begin deliberating the fate of suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who is facing accusations of child sex abuse(link is external) when he was a Guam priest decades ago. Apuron’s ongoing canonical trial in the Vatican is in its penultimate phase, Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes said during a press conference yesterday (Jul. 6).” By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post
— Guam Catholic look to Vatican, court process for closure,(link is external) Editorial in the Guam Daily Post

Stop fighting accusers in civil courts
“The world’s largest group of clergy sex abuse survivors(link is external) said Thursday (Jul. 6) the only way the Archdiocese of Agana can now make amends is to stop fighting accusers in the civil courts.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

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Voice of the Faithful Focus

TOP STORIES

Australian cardinal and aide to Pope is charged with sexual assault
Australia’s senior Roman Catholic prelate, and one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, has been charged with sexual assault(link is external)(link is external), the police in the Australian state of Victoria said on Thursday (June 29). The prelate, Cardinal George Pell, became the highest-ranking Vatican official in recent years to face criminal charges involving accusations of sexual offenses. The case will test the credibility of Francis’ initiatives to foster greater accountability after abuse scandals that have shaken the church around the world.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Vatican sex abuse scandal reveals blind spot for Francis(link is external)(link is external)By Jason Horowitz and Laurie Goodstein
George Pell, Vatican finance chief, charge with sexual abuse(link is external)(link is external)By Robb M. Stewart and Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal
Cardinal Pell, Vatican finance chief, charged over historic allegations of sexual abuse(link is external)(link is external)By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Defiant and determined, Pell says he now has chance to clear his name(link is external)(link is external)By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com
George Pell’s charging and what it means for the Catholic Church in Australia(link is external)(link is external)By Paul Kennedy, ABC News Australia
Top adviser to Pope charged with sexual assault offenses(link is external)(link is external)By Joshua Berlinger and Laure Smith-Spark, CNN
Cardinal Pell: Vatican treasurer denies Australia sex offenses(link is external)(link is external)By BBC News
Top-ranking Vatican cardinal charged with sex offenses in Australia(link is external)(link is external)By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post
Cardinal George Pell takes a leave of absence after sex assault charges(link is external)(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
George Pell profile: the pope’s Australian hard man faces the fight of his life(link is external)(link is external)By David Marr, the Guardian
Pope’s close aide charged, bringing sex abuse scandal to Vatican(link is external)(link is external)By Philip Pullella and Byron Kaye, Reuters
Remarks by Marie Collins(link is external)(link is external)clergy abuse survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, on Cardinal Pell’s charges

Brooklyn diocese seeks to compensate sex abuse victims
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced a program on Thursday (Jun. 22) that will seek to compensate hundreds of victims who were abused as children(link is external) by its priests and deacons. The program is modeled on one begun last year by the Archdiocese of New York. Like that program, it will be run by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, mediators who administered the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and awarded compensation to victims of abuse by Jerry Sandusky at Pennsylvania State University.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Catholic Church in Brooklyn to compensate sexual abuse victims(link is external)By Jonathan Allen, Reuters
Brooklyn diocese announces abuse compensation program(link is external)By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter
From 9/11 to Orlando, Ken Feinberg’s alter ego in compensating victims(link is external)By Roger Parloff, The New York Times
A gesture of good faith: NYC dioceses abuse-compensation play(link is external)Editorial by New York Daily News

Francis considers mandating consultation of laity in bishop selection
“One of the members of the Council of Cardinals said the group is considering whether to advise Pope Francis to make it mandatory for Vatican ambassadors to consult with laypeople before making recommendations(link is external) for possible new bishops in the Catholic Church. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias suggested the nine-member group might recommend that ambassadors be instructed to consult with members of a diocese’s pastoral or finance councils before passing on names of who to consider for bishop.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic groups launch conversation about female deacons
“Several progressive Catholic groups are launching an initiative aimed at giving lay Catholics and clergy across the U.S. a direct say on whether the church should ordain women deacons(link is external). Their actions follow the appointment of a panel of experts set up by Pope Francis to consider the controversial question. The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful have launched DeaconChat in a bid to promote education and dialogue on the topic.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

Catholic Groups launch conversation about female deacons(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in The Gazette, Colorado Springs
Catholic groups launch conversation about female deacons(link is external)By Josephine McKenna, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
Topic of female deacons in the Catholic Church is being debated(link is external)By Elisa Meyer, World Religion News

U.S. bishops urged to be vigilant, never complacent, in stopping abuse
“Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, urged the U.S. bishops June 14 during their spring meeting in Indianapolis to continue to keep their commitment to stopping clergy sexual abuse(link is external) and supporting victims of abuse “at the forefront” of their ministry. He said sexual abuse of minors by clergy is ‘not a thing of past’ and stressed the bishops have to always be vigilant and be sure to not ‘let complacency set in’ in their efforts to stop it.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Papal abuse commission member suggests changes to group expected in fall
“A member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse has suggested the composition of the advisory body may change(link is external) at some point this fall, as the original three-year terms granted to individuals in the group expire. Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, who was appointed by Francis with seven others in March 2014 as the initial members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said the group is hosting its last planned plenary session in September.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

POPE FRANCIS

To understand Pope Francis, you have to understand the Jesuits
“Discernment is one of the words Pope Francis repeats most, especially when speaking to priests and seminarians. He often expresses his desire for greater formation in discernment(link is external) – a concept that may seem obscure without an understanding its importance to the Pope’s Jesuit formation.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Service

As clock ticks on pope’s ultimatum, Nigeria diocese in is tumult
“Following a dramatic show of papal authority in Nigeria(link is external), with Pope Francis demanding that all the priests of a diocese write him a letter pledging their loyalty and promising to accept the bishop the pope has appointed, the matter seems far from resolved. Some priests seem willing to go along, while others are submitting a half-apology, and others are even calling for the pope’s resignation.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
— Pope’s ultimatum in Nigeria has roots in 2014 letters(link is external), By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Nice guy or tough guy? The two faces of Pope Francis
“To the vast majority, Pope Francis is the compassionate face of Catholicism today(link is external). He’s rescued refugees, opened the Vatican’s doors to the homeless and told Catholics there’s no sin God won’t forgive. But there is another streak to the Argentine pontiff that has been on display in recent days: A willingness to flex papal muscle and lay down the law.” By Christopher Lamb, Religion News Service

CARDINALS

Dubia cardinals seek papal audience
“After seven months of not receiving a response from Pope Francis to their request that he clarify highly disputed parts in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), four cardinals asked the Holy Father for an audience(link is external) in April but the Pope has yet to respond, it has emerged.” By National Catholic Register

Full text of dubia cardinals’ letter asking Pope Francis for an audience,(link is external) By The Pilot

BISHOPS

Gregory: Bishops ‘can never say we are sorry enough’ for tragedy of abuse
“Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said June 14 the U.S. Catholic bishops ‘can never say that we are sorry enough(link is external) for the share that we have had in this tragedy of broken fidelity and trust—the clergy sex abuse crisis. He made the comments in the homily at an evening Mass said to commemorate a ‘Day of Prayer and Penance’ for victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The liturgy was celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis at the end of the first day of the bishops’ spring assembly.” By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter

Letter from Rome: Who will be the next bishop of Milan?
“Pope Francis is preparing to change the leadership of several important dioceses(link is external)around the world. The moves, which he’s expected to begin rolling out in the coming days, are likely to give a huge boost to his unrelenting and long-term project to change the mentality and direction of the global Catholic Church.” By Robert Mickens, Commonweal

The ice begins to break in conservative chokehold of USCCB
“As I opined last week, I did not expect much from this week’s (Jun. 14-15) spring meeting of the U.S. bishops’ conference … There are still more bishops in the U.S. who consider this papacy a bit of bad weather they hope will pass than there are bishops who have embraced Francis’ papacy as the breath of fresh air the church needs. What did become obvious in Indianapolis, though, was that the tide is turning and the ice cracking in the conservative chokehold of the conference(link is external).” By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Updates from the U.S. bishops’ meeting: Continue to fight Trump-backed immigration proposals
“Live updates as the bishops gather June 14-15(link is external) in Indianapolis for their annual spring meeting.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

PRIESTS

The future of the priesthood looks more hopeful
“My concern about the future of the priesthood in the United States(link is external) has centered around everything I have heard and experienced involving those priests ordained in the last few decades. Now Time magazine presents a thoughtful article on the latest attitudes among seminarians today, and it is encouraging. I should say that if I were writing my vision of the future of the Catholic priesthood, it would certainly include priests being able to marry if they choose to, and a priesthood that includes women in significant numbers. It would also include a clergy even less driven by doctrine than the young seminarians appear to be. Yet, the article does suggest that the youngest crop of seminarians is moving in a positive direction.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

New Catholic bishop reassigning many priests in Memphis
“An unusually high number of parish priests in the Catholic Diocese of Memphis are being reassigned by new Bishop Martin Holley(link is external). All of the reassigned pastors are being given new titles: Parochial Administrator. Holley has not provided a public explanation for the changes, but priests and parishes have been informed.” By David Waters, USA TODAY Network, in The Commercial Appeal

Dozens of priests resign from Indonesian diocese to protest bishop
“Dozens of Indonesian priests have quit their posts(link is external) after accusing a bishop on the Catholic majority island of Flores of embezzling more than $100,000 of church funds for personal use. Ucanews.com reported that at least 69 priests from Ruteng Diocese submitted letters of resignation in mid-June, quitting their posts as episcopal vicars and parish priests, and demanded that Bishop Hubertus Leteng heed their calls for a complete overhaul of how the diocese is run.” By Catholic News Service on CatholicPhilly.com

Mutinous Indonesian priests quit posts in bishop protest(link is external)By Ryan Dagur, Jakarta, and Ronaldus Tarsan, Ruteng, Indonesia, UCANews.com
Rebel Indonesian priests seek Vatican help over bishop(link is external)By UCANews.com

Pope wants priests to be shepherds who encounter their flocks
“The Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, says Pope Francis’s vision for the priesthood(link is external) offers a template for renewal, as priests join the faithful in carrying out the New Evangelization as missionary disciples in today’s world, helping people encounter, love and follow Jesus.” By Mark Zimmerman, Cruxnow.com

Catholic priest whose style split N.C. mountain parish is leaving
“The pastor of a Catholic church in the N.C. mountains whose conservative leadership style split the congregation(link is external) and drew national media attention has resigned. In a Facebook post, the Rev. Christopher Riehl of St. John the Evangelist parish in Waynesville wrote that he was ‘worn out or burned out’ and for his own well-being needed to take a sabbatical.” By Tim Funk, The Charlotte Observer

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Diocese of Youngstown participates in synod surveys
“Bishop George V. Murry wants high-school youths and young adults in the Diocese of Youngstown to be part of Synod of Bishops surveys on the topic ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment(link is external).’ On Jan. 13, Pope Francis wrote to young people in the Catholic faith that a Synod of Bishops will take place in October 2018 on the topic.” By The Vindicator

Catholics face fewer options in northwest Iowa
“The Diocese of Sioux City is rolling out changes that will close or consolidate many Catholic churches(link is external) in northwest Iowa as part of its Ministry 2025 plan. A shortage of priests and declining participation in weekly Mass fueled the Diocese to find more efficient ways to serve Catholic communities. Father Paul Kelly celebrates Mass in English and Spanish at St. Rose of Lima in Denison, a small western Iowa city that may soon welcome more parishioners from nearby communities.” By Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio

Detroit wraps up synod with plan to ‘unleash the Gospel’
“Nearly seven months after the Detroit Archdiocese’s Synod 16, Archbishop Allen Vigneron released a pastoral letter outlining the synod results, along with launching a new website and coat of arms to ‘Unleash the Gospel.’ The letter was released following the Pentecost vigil Mass on June 3. Vigneron wrote that the letter is meant to ‘serve as the charter for implementing the fruit of Synod 16(link is external).’ In an accompanying video, Vigneron states that the letter and synod ‘is not just the project of a year. This is a project of a generation.’” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

Gary diocese’s first synod hopes to ‘move the mission of the church’
“Mentioning the city of Gary, Indiana tends to evoke an image of dilapidated buildings, unemployment and crime. Following the steady decline of the steel industry in the late 20th century, Gary’s population faced dramatic reductions … Those numbers weighed on Gary Bishop Donald Hying’s mind when initially proposing the synod(link is external). ‘We have significant poverty here in our diocese. … That’s something that’s on everyone’s hearts as well,’ Hying told NCR. ‘[The synod] will benefit not only the church but also the world as we live the mission of Christ.’” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter

As Minnesota congregations become more diverse, churches struggle to find Latino clergy
“Twenty-six years ago, when Jacqueline Belzer immigrated to the United States, there were only two churches in the Twin Cities that served Catholics who wanted to worship in Spanish … But there is another issue that has remained a persistent problem for both Catholic and Protestant churches throughout Minnesota: a shortage of Latino clergy to minister to the state’s increasingly diverse faith communities(link is external).” By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost.com

Area towns may lose Catholic churches
“Some rural communities in the area might be without a Catholic church(link is external) if preliminary recommendations hold true. The church consolidations are being recommended as part of a long-range plan for the Archdiocese of Omaha. ‘The main reason is just to make sure into the future we have vibrant parishes able to sustain themselves and be mission-oriented,’ said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese.” By Julie Blum, The Columbus Telegram

Archdiocese of Hartford to send delegates to historic Church convocation in Orlando
“Guided by the missionary vision of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Guadium, or Joy of the Gospel, the Archdiocese of Hartford will send delegates to the Convocation of Catholic Leaders(link is external) in Orlando, Fla., in July. The purpose of the national meeting, organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is to discuss the issues facing Catholics in the 21st century. Its ultimate aim is to equip delegates with tools and resources that they can use to evangelize in their respective dioceses.” By Catholic Transcript of the Archdiocese of Hartford

WOMEN DEACONS

Catholic groups launch conversation about female deacons
“Several progressive Catholic groups are launching an initiative aimed at giving lay Catholics and clergy across the U.S. a direct say on whether the church should ordain women deacons(link is external) … The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful have launched DeaconChat in a bid to promote education and dialogue on the topic.” By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in The Gazette

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Vatican women’s council hopes to be ‘electric shock’ for global Church
“The female advisory board of the Pontifical Council for Culture has big plans: By sending an “electric shock” within the Church(link is external), it hopes to spark thousands of similar councils around the globe in search of solutions that go beyond women priests.” By Claire Giangrave, Cruxnow.com

VATICAN

New child protection experts graduate from Rome’s Jesuit university
“Before students were presented with their diplomas in safeguarding minors, they each received a logoed mug as a memento of their time in the Center for Child Protection’s intensive program(link is external) at the Pontifical Gregorian University … The graduates — 24 men and women from 18 different countries — would be going back to their dioceses, bishops’ conferences or religious orders to kick-start or strengthen child protection policies and measures.” By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, on Catholic Philly.com

Vatican statistics track church health indicators
“The health of the Catholic Church(link is external) can be measured in many ways, and the Vatican has a special office just for that purpose. The Central Statistics Office, which operates under the Vatican Secretariat of State, conducts a variety of studies for the Roman Curia throughout the year. But one of the office’s biggest projects is compiling the annual, 500-page Statistical Yearbook of the Church.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

CHURCH FINANCES

Mysterious exit of Vatican auditor begs question: Is reform even possible
“Almost a week later, it remains mysterious(link is external) why Libero Milone, an Italian businessman and auditing expert hired in 2015 for a five-year term as the Vatican’s first-ever Auditor General, abruptly resigned. Whatever the case, the optics don’t seem encouraging in terms of the current state of Pope Francis’s reform effort.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Pope accepts early resignation of Vatican’s first independent auditor(link is external)By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

Zimbabwe: Catholic treasurer embezzles $6,000
“A treasurer at St Alois Roman Catholic Church in Chitungwiza appeared in court last Friday (Jun. 16) charged with stealing $6 000(link is external). Kurauone Chokuona (40) appeared before Chitungwiza magistrate Mr Oliver Mudzongachiso facing charges of theft of trust property. He was represented by Sandra Mbetu and Roswitter Madembo and was remanded to June 21 for trial.” By Fungai Lupande, AllAfrica.com

Vatican bank reports $40 million profit in 2016
“In its annual report the Institute for the Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, made a profit of about $40 million(link is external). The institute held assets worth 5.7 billion euros at year’s end, and all of the profits will be turned over to the Holy See, with none being placed in the institute’s reserve account.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Victims of child abuse get 50-year compensation window after MSPs vote to remove time bar
“The Scottish Parliament has voted to remove the three-year limit on child abuse survivors suing for damages in court(link is external). This will allow victims of abuse dating back to September 26, 1964, to claim compensation for their injuries following the implementation of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.” By PoliceProfessional.com

New York Senate won’t take up Child Victims Act
“Though he said discussions continue, state Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan said after leaving the governor’s office on Tuesday (Jun. 19) afternoon that the Senate will not take up the Child Victims Act legislation(link is external). That bill, which would extend the time during which young victims of sexual abuse could bring a case against their abuser, has passed the Assembly and has the support of the governor … ‘It’s under discussion, but the Senate is not going to be taking that bill up,’ he said when asked to clarify that the bill is dead for the year.’” By Matthew Hamilton, Times Union

Republican state senator voices support for Child Victims Act breaking ranks with party(link is external), By Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News
Young victims of abuse need chance to fight back(link is external)Editorial by Times Herald-Record

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic Church says sexual abuse by clergy still unresolved with 25 new cases
Sexual abuse by clergy continues to be a problem within the Roman Catholic Church(link is external), according to a recent annual report. The Church’s National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People found in May that between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, there were 1,232 abused individuals who brought forth 1,318 allegations of sexual abuse by clergy. ‘These allegations represent reports of abuse between a specific alleged victim and a specific alleged accused, whether the abuse was a single incident or a series of incidents over a period of time,’ noted the annual report.” By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post

In God’s name, how many more did he violate?
“One cold November afternoon in 1969, a 17-year-old schoolgirl called Jean Wehner was driven to a remote rubbish dump on the outskirts of the American city of Baltimore. There, she was led to the rotting corpse of her murdered teacher, Sister Cathy Cesnik. ‘This is what happens when you say bad things(link is external),’ the terrified teenager was warned. The chilling scene from the new Netflix series, The Keepers, may seem like the plot of a Scandi-inspired thriller, but the hit show keeping millions of viewers on the edge of their seats is not a voguish noir fiction, but a cold-case documentary.” By Rene Graham for the Daily Mail on Sunday

Who killed Sister Cathy?(link is external) By Peter Jeffery, Commonweal

USCCB president appoints four new members of the National Review Board
“Four new members have been appointed(link is external) to serve on the National Review Board by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The NRB advises the bishops’ committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at the USCCB. The NRB was established by the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which the bishops adopted in 2002.” By USCCB, News Release

Leading group for Church abuse victims faces uncertain future
“Today SNAP boasts 25,000 members, but foes and friends alike are unsure if the organization will be able to survive its latest scandal(link is external) … In January, a former SNAP employee sued the organization. In her lawsuit, Gretchen Rachel Hammond alleges she was fired after she raised questions about whether SNAP was colluding with attorneys in a kickback scheme—referring sexual abuse victims to attorneys in exchange for donations from those same attorneys. The group firmly denies the allegation, but the claim is particularly damaging to an organization whose mission is to defend the vulnerable.” By Lilly Fowler, Religion&Politics.org

Fifteen Years after Dallas: A Series
“So in honor of the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Dallas Charter, I thought I would take a look at some recent scandals that show us that the problem is far from over and that any glad-handing on behalf of the members of the USCCB this week is just for show. Nothing has changed, except the window dressing.” Introduction(link is external)Part One: The Altoona-Johnstown grand jury report(link is external)Part Two: is there a crook in the diocese of Crookston(link is external)Part Three: a priest admits abusing, Chicago cardinal does nothing(link is external)Part Four: Convicted priest deemed ‘safe’ by Oklahoma City archbishop, Catholics rightfully upset(link is external)Part Five: Naughty Nienstedt and the Vatican shred(link is external)Part Six: A seminarian in Ohio attenpts to buy babies, while bishop pretends nothing happened(link is external)Part Seven: Sister Cathy turns Baltimore into a troll(link is external).; Part Eight: (Dis)Honorable Mention: Guam and the hope and healing hoax(link is external) … By Joelle Casteix, TheWorthyAdversary.com, an award-winning author, and since 2003, the volunteer Western Regional Director of SNAP.

Hawaii’s Catholic Church must confront its past
“There are two Roman Catholic Churches(link is external) when it comes to taking responsibility for child sex abuse cases in Hawaii: the repentant and the defiant. The repentant is occasionally seen in public statements … Under the veneer of the repentant Church is the defiant. Many decades of denials have been discarded for public, but hollow, apologies and solemn, though insincere, promises of atonement and amends.” By James Wright, CivilBeat.org

MASSACHUSETTS

Attitudes that keep victims silent
“Susan Manter was watching coverage of the Bill Cosby trial last week when the man once hailed as ‘America’s Dad’ left the courthouse in Norristown, Pa. ‘We love you, Bill!’ someone shouted from the crowd. The Holden woman cringed. Late last month, she settled a civil case against a different kind of father, a Shrewsbury priest convicted in 2012 of beating her and ripping off her clothes(link is external) during horrific counseling sessions that dragged on for three years.” By Dianne Williamson, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

NEW YORK

Why did diocese wait three years to make abuse allegations public?
“Three years ago, when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse found credibility to allegations that a Utica priest committed acts of child sexual abuse(link is external), it was not Bishop Robert Cunningham’s policy to make public those matters, said Danielle Cummings, the diocese’s chancellor and director of communications.” By Greg Mason, Utica Observer-Dispatch

PENNSYLVANIA

Philly diocese fogs up again
Is there a new transparency issue(link is external)? Why isn’t Father Louis Kolenkiewicz listed in the online Archdiocesan clergy directory? He is listed in the clerical appointments that went into effect today. Father Kolenkiewicz is returning from a removal from ministry and his new gig as parochial vicar at the Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul prompted an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Given this, you’d think all the i’s wouldn’t have been dotted and t’s crossed. But as of 3pm today (Jun. 19) – his name [is not on the list].” By Susan Matthews, Catholics4Change

AUSTRALIA

Armidale detectives investigate new allegations of historical abuse
“More than 10 new people have contacted detectives to lodge complaints of historical abuse(link is external) against a former New England priest. Fairfax Media can reveal Armidale detectives are questioning ‘upwards of 10 people’ about historical allegations of abuse by retired priest David Joseph Perrett. Perrett is on bail for nine charges, accused of molesting four young boys between 1970 and 1982 in Armidale and Guyra.” By Breanna Chillingworth, The Armidale Express

Decision on George Pell child sex charges ‘imminent’: police
“A month after getting legal advice on whether to charge Cardinal George Pell over historical child sex allegations(link is external), Victoria’s highest-ranking police officer says a decision is ‘imminent.’” By Australian Associated Press on au.news.yahoo.com

Priest: I was with Pell and know he’s innocent
“ABC reporter Louise Milligan has peddled an implausibly lurid claim: that Cardinal George Pell caught two choir boys drinking altar wine after Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral and made them give him oral sex. Melbourne University Press has even published Milligan’s book detailing this allegation, which police have spent more than a year investigating. And now a priest who was always with Pell at Mass at this cathedral says it simply could not have happened(link is external).” By Andrew Bolt, Melbourne Herald Sun

Catholic school St. Stanislaus under fire for staging apology for victims of abuse
“At least 160 students of St Stanislaus College in Bathurst were abused by paedophile priests and staff(link is external) over three decades, between the 1970s and 1990s. The school plans to host an ‘Apology Service of Sorrow and Hope’ on Friday (Jun. 16) night but victims say asking them to attend the school – where the abuse happened – and incorporating the apology into a religious service would trigger painful memories.” By Lorna Knowles and Alison Branley

CANADA

Montreal Catholic Church will fingerprint all priests working with children
“The Catholic Church of Montreal will expand its pilot project that bars priests and church volunteers from being alone with children(link is external) and requires them to provide digital fingerprints to work with vulnerable populations. Around 10 churches have been taking part in the pilot project, which was launched last fall. All churches will now have to follow these rules by 2020.” By CBC News Montreal

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Catholic monk admits ‘alarming failure’ to protect children from abuse
“A senior Catholic monk has admitted there was an ‘alarming failure’ by brothers to protect children(link is external) in care, a public inquiry into child abuse heard. Brother Laurence Hughes, provincial of the De La Salle Brothers, also accepted there was a ‘disturbing lack of awareness’ of abuse in schools run by the order in Scotland.” By Brian Donnelly, The Herald Scotland

Catholic Church engulfed in new abuse scandal after Scots priest admits affair with vulnerable woman
“A Scottish priest has been struck off by the Catholic Church after he admitted having a 16-year affair with a ‘vulnerable’ woman(link is external) who went to him for counseling when he was a parish priest in Australia. A senior bishop has also issued a ‘full and sincere apology’ to the victim after the priest admitted he ‘allowed the situation to develop inappropriately’ when the woman was feeling ‘grief, fear and loss of sense of her worth.’” By Peter Swindon, The Herald Scotland

Scotland: Catholic Church safeguarding review group established
“In December 2016, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Scotland announced that Helen Liddell would Chair the Independent Review Group (IRG) set up as a result of the McLellan Commission Report into the current safeguarding policies, procedures and practices within the Church in Scotland. The IRG is an autonomous body which will function separately from the Church and will review safeguarding standards and carry out independent audits as recommended by the McLellan Commission. The Group met for the first time on 27 May and established working groups to develop and scope the future activities of the IRG.” By Independent Catholic News

Nuns say ‘sorry’ amid hundreds of child abuse allegations
“More than 400 allegations of child abuse have been made against an order of nuns which ran four orphanages in Scotland until the 1980s. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry heard details of 257 civil actions and a further 147 complaints made in connection with children’s homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth, the last of which closed in 1985.” By Chris Marshall, The Scotsman

GUAM

Guam priest, Fr. Ray Techaira, accused of raping and sexually assaulting boy
“Father Ray Techaira reportedly raped and sexually assaulted a boy from 1984 through 1987, the lawsuit issued in the District Court of Guam says. Techaira, on the other hand, is now dead, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff, who was identified in court documents only as J.A. to keep his identity and image, is now 40 years old and resides in Oregon.” By Kari Megeed, Business-News.online

Chandler man files sex abuse lawsuit against Catholic archbishop of Guam
“Chandler resident Francis Charfauros, 49, wanted to be a priest when he was younger, but he said an encounter with the Rev. Jack Niland when he was 14 and living on the small Pacific island of Guam changed that. Charfauros is now one of many who have brought lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Agana in Guam alleging sexual abuse at a rectory there.” By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, The Republic, ascentral.com

Local judges continue to stay away from clergy sex abuse cases
“Superior Court of Guam judges continue to recuse themselves from hearing Catholic clergy sex abuse cases, even as plaintiffs’ lawyers have started exploring the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. Sixteen clergy sex abuse lawsuits have been filed in local court between March 7 and May 10.” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

Guam archbishop won’t settle abuse suits while at Vatican trial
“Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron’s lawyer says her client won’t seek to settle the sex abuse lawsuit against him while his canonical trial is ongoing. ‘I am not considering, my client is not considering settling any cases until such time as a canonical trial is complete,’ Apuron’s attorney Jacqueline Terlaje said after a status conference at the District Court of Guam Tuesday (Jun. 13) morning.” By Haidee Eugenio, USA TODAY

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Abuse victims slam Stormont stalemate
“Victims and survivors of institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland care homes have said plans to help them are ‘gathering dust’ on Stormont’s shelves while those affected are ‘still denied justice to their death beds.’” By Allan Preston, Belfast Telegraph

Abuse victims wait 17 months for compensation without Northern Ireland governmentBy Karl McDonald, inews.co.uk

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