Posts Tagged Focus

Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

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

BISHOPS

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

SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON YOUTH

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

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

WOMEN RELIGIOUS

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

MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS

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

CHILD PROTECTION

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

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

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

VATICAN

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

VOICES

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

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

MARYLAND

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MICHIGAN

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

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

NEW JERSEY

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

COLOMBIA

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

CROATIA

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

GERMANY

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

GUAM

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

NEW ZEALAND

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

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

CLERICALISM

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

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

CHURCH REFORM

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

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

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

VOICES

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

IDAHO

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

NEW YORK

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

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

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

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

PENNSYLVANIA

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

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

IRELAND& NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

MEXICO

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

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

SOUTH KOREA

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

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

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

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

CARDINALS

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

MASS TRANSLATIONS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

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

CELIBACY

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

VATICAN II

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

VOICES

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

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

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

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

GEORGIA

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

HAWAII

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

ILLINOIS

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

KANSAS

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

MASSACHUSETTS

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

MINNESOTA

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

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

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

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

MISSOURI

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

MONTANA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

NORTH DAKOTA

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

TEXAS

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

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

CANADA

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

GERMANY

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

IRELAND& NORTHERN IRELAND

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

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

NETHERLANDS

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

SWITZERLAND

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

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

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

Cardinal Bernard Law, who left Boston in wake of clergy abuse scandal, dies at 86
Cardinal Bernard F. Law(link is external), whose 19-year tenure as head of the Archdiocese of Boston ended in his resignation after it was revealed he had failed to remove sexually abusive priests from the ministry, setting off a scandal that reached around the world, died Tuesday (Dec. 19). He was 86. The Vatican’s newspaper confirmed his death early Wednesday. Cardinal Law will be buried in Rome, according to a statement from his successor, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley.” By Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe

‘Changes must be made’: shocking Australian child abuse inquiry ends
Children are still being sexually assaulted(link is external) in Australian institutions. That was the stark warning of an exhaustive five-year investigation by an Australia Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse that concluded Thursday (Dec. 14). In a short hearing in Sydney, Hon. Justice Peter McClellan, who has headed the investigation, said the ‘nation thanks the survivors’ who gave testimony about decades of systematic abuse and cover-ups in religious and state institutions such as churches, youth groups, care homes and schools.” By Lucie Morris-Marr, CNN News

Melbourne’s Catholic archdiocese let pedophile priests free to abuse children
“Culture of secrecy inside Melbourne’s Catholic Archdiocese let pedophile priests free to abuse scores of children(link is external), a damning report by the child abuse royal commission has found. Releasing its report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne today (Dec. 5) the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was most scathing of former Archbishop Frank Little.” By Shannon Deery, Victoria Herald Sun

Study ranks dioceses’ online financial transparency; Sacramento at top
“Separated by a continent, the dioceses of Sacramento, California, and Camden, New Jersey, are also divided by degrees of financial transparency(link is external). Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website. Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time. That is a takeaway from a study on financial transparency undertaken recently by Voice of the Faithful, a church watchdog group.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Retreat restores survivors’ spark
“Grief to Grace retreat director Anne Sherston is changing the lives of abuse survivors(link is external), writes Emilie Ng in The Catholic Leader. At a Grief to Grace retreat held in Hobart earlier this year, a Catholic priest guided 17 abuse survivors through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For several days the survivors unpatched hidden wounds caused by traumatic abuse experiences in their childhood or adult life.” By CathNews.com

ACCOUNTABILITY

Australian church, take abuse commission report seriously or risk irrelevance
“After five intense years of inquiry and more than 400 recommendations — with 20 new recommendations specifically relating to the Catholic Church — the report of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse(link is external) is due a considered response. Many will rush to draw conclusions and to try and sum it up long before it is properly digested. Others will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of issues that need to be addressed.” By Francis Sullivan, National Catholic Reporter

Australia and Catholic Church ‘failed’ abused children, inquiry finds
“A royal commission investigating the sexual abuse of children in Australia found Friday (Dec. 15) that the nation was gripped by an epidemic dating back decades, with tens of thousands of children sexually abused(link is external) in schools, religious organizations and other institutions. The commission, the highest form of investigation in Australia, urged government action on its 189 recommendations, including the establishment of a new National Office for Child Safety and penalties for those who suspect abuse and fail to alert the police, including priests who hear about abuse in confessionals.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Archbishop Wilson stands trial in Newcastle
“Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has been accused of covering up child sex abuse(link is external) by the Catholic clergy for nearly three decades. Crown prosecutor Gareth Harrison told the Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday Dec. 6) that Wilson had allegedly been involved in a number of cases where he had tried to prevent abuse claims being reported to police from between 1976 and 2004 to protect the Catholic Church.” By Australian Associated Press on 9news.com

Editorial: Integrity of Brownsville diocese in question; contrition asked of church leaders
“There is no delicate way to say this about an institution that so many believe in so fervently, and put their faith in daily. It’s for that very reason — so many entrust their lives and their faith in an afterlife with the Catholic church and its teachings — that we feel compelled to point out that the Brownsville Diocese has a serious image problem(link is external)right now and church officials must address it quickly.” By The Monitor Editorial Board

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis in 2017: question marks over what counts as ‘reform’
“From the beginning, Pope Francis has been labeled a ‘reformer(link is external),’ and also from the beginning, it’s been a bit unclear what exactly ‘reform’ means in his case. Is it revitalizing the public image of a Church that was emerging from an atmosphere of crisis in March 2013, changing the political and theological orientation of the Church in the direction of what some analysts call a ‘pastoral conversion,’ or the nuts-and-bolts work of cleaning house in the Vatican itself?” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com

Pope Francis: poplar worldwide, but some young conservatives question his approach
“The Catholic university overlooking the Ohio River here, with a campus abounding in images of St. Francis of Assisi and a replica of his medieval chapel, shares a namesake with the current pope. But a number of students and staff at Franciscan University of Steubenville are wrestling with the question of how much else they share with Pope Francis(link is external). They admire his personal simplicity and his message of divine mercy. But at a school that emphasizes a staunch defense of Catholic orthodoxy, many stumble over what they see as Pope Francis’ ambiguity on it.” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CARDINALS

Just some media coverage concerning the death Dec. 19 of Cardinal Bernard Law

22nd meeting of Council of Cardinals concludes
“Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, has reiterated that Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals are continuing to discuss curial reform(link is external). During a briefing held this afternoon in the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican spokesman informed journalists about the 22nd Session of the ‘Council of Cardinals,’ often called the “C9,” which began Monday (Dec.11) and ends this afternoon (Dec. 13) in the Vatican. Director Burke noted that the Pope participated in all, but this morning’s meeting, due to his weekly General Audience.” By Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit.org

PRIESTS

Permanent deacons – a solution to the shortage of priests
“While the Catholic Church in Ireland tries to address a shortage of priests there has been a concerted move to re-introduce an ancient ministry(link is external) – that of permanent deacons. One hundred men, many of them married, have been ordained to serve the community and assist priests in parishes across Ireland.” By Donna Traynor, BBC News

Ireland’s first healing circle for stressed out Catholic priests
Organizers of Ireland’s first-ever healing circle for priests(link is external) suffering from anxiety and stress have said more therapy sessions are likely to be held across the country from early next year. At least 10 priests from the Munster region attended an initial group therapy session in Parish Center in Ovens, Co. Cork on Tuesday, November 28. But the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), which organized the workshop, said the event could be ‘the first of many,’ provided there is a strong demand from members of the clergy.” By Nick Bramhill, Irish Central

PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORS

Letting abuse commission lapse, Vatican sends disappointing message
“In December 2013, Pope Francis sparked hope that the Catholic Church was (finally!) taking the scandal of clergy sexual abuse seriously. He created a group to advise him and future popes on how the church worldwide could protect children, appointing experts on the issue and even survivors of abuse to a new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors(link is external). Now, as of this writing four years later, that commission has lapsed into an inactive state. Its members’ terms of office, as set by the group’s Vatican-approved statutes, expired Dec. 17. Neither the pope nor the Vatican have made known when or if the current members will be reappointed or new members found.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Pope will extend the commission for the protection of children for three more years
“Pope Francis will renew the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors(link is external) for another three years, informed sources told America this week (Dec. 15). Its membership, however, will not be announced until the New Year. While many of its current members will be renewed for a second three-year term, others will be replaced. The news, which is expected to be announced in the coming days, comes after Francis met the full commission in a private audience in the Vatican on Sept. 21. He indicated then that he wished the P.C.P.M. to continue its work, or as he put it, ‘to continue to be of great assistance in the coming years to the pope, the Holy See, bishops and major superiors throughout the world.’” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Suspended member of papal clergy abuse commission to resign
“The member of Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse who was suspended nearly two years ago after publicly critiquing the pope says he will now resign his post in advance of the expiration of his term(link is external) of office Dec. 17. Englishman Peter Saunders told NCR Dec. 13 he is planning to send a formal letter of resignation Dec. 15 to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. ‘It’s just a kind of closure for me that I feel I’ve done my best for the church and the institutional church has kind of rejected me,’ Saunders said in a brief interview. ‘And so I will resign.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

CHILD PROTECTION

Progress on abuse reporting measure
“Leaders of a local effort to expand reporting of suspected sexual abuse of children(link is external)say they’re feeling good about chances of getting state legislators to take action on a bill this year. Members of a local committee formed to combat sexual abuse testified before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities last week on the bill that would broaden mandated reporting of suspected abuse to include a wide range of people who work with children, including volunteer coaches.” By Rick Foster, The Sun Chronicle

Default must be to trust the victim
“In our legal system, we presume an accused person to be innocent until someone can prove otherwise. In the case of sexual assault, violence or harassment, that means the burden is on victims(link is external) to prove their trustworthiness. Often, in those cases, we are asked to choose sides based on the stories of the only two people involved — the accuser and the accused. In the post-Weinstein milieu we are now experiencing, one is a woman and the other a man who holds some level of power. In a different conversation, the victims have been children and the powerful accused have been priests.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

CELIBACY

Abandoning celibacy won’t stop sexual abuse by priests
“Anyone committed to the protection of children should carefully study the important report by the Australian Royal Commission(link is external) into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. But not the recommendations to the Catholic Church on celibacy and sacramental confession, which media attention has principally been focused on. The commission said the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should press the Holy See ‘to consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy ‘ and argued that ‘compulsory celibacy (for clergy) and vowed chastity (for members of religious institutes) have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse, especially when combined with other risk factors.’” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

MASS TRANSLATIONS

New Zealand bishops ask ICEL to look at 1998 translation
“The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference will ask the members of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) to review the 1998 draft Roman Missal translation(link is external) in view of Pope Francis’ recent edict Magnum Principium. NZCBC president Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn said the New Zealand bishops agreed to write to ICEL to put the possibility of using the 1998 translation under discussion when it (ICEL) meets in February.” By Rowena Orejana, New Zealand Catholic

CLERICALISM

Australian bishop urges end to clericalism
“Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta, Australia, speaking to the National Council of Priests of Australia, urged an end to clericalism in the church(link is external) and expressed hope that a newly revitalized Catholic clergy would emerge from the sex abuse crisis that has wracked the Catholic Church in Australia. He spoke Aug. 30 to the National Council of Priests in Australia, which reprinted his remarks in the December edition of The Swag, its quarterly magazine.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Child abuse recommendations test church credibility
“The final report of the Royal Commission(link is external) into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse once more draws attention to the Catholic Church … Clerical status is important because the commission identified clericalism as a significant contributor to abuse within the Catholic Church. It defined clericalism as ‘the idealization of the priesthood, and by extension, the idealization of the Catholic Church. Clericalism is linked to a sense of entitlement, superiority and exclusion, and abuse of power.’” By Paul Hegerty, The Daily Telegraph

WOMEN DEACONS

The orthodox Church’s move on women deacons is a baby step forward
“It’s welcome news, though it is short of any goal favored by feminists, whether Orthodox or Catholic. Patriarch Theodoros II and the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria have decided to reinstate the order of deaconesses(link is external) in the Greek Orthodox Church. Granted, this is not a full acknowledgement of the equality of women and men, but it is a step in the right direction. And it’s a step from which the Catholic Church can learn. Indeed, Pope Francis expressed interest in this prospect in 2016, when he appointed a committee to study the matter. (It’s not clear where that committee is today in its deliberations.)” By Maureen Fiedler, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Interfaith panel describes women’s struggle for equality in religious traditions
“Decades of interfaith dialogue have demonstrated that there are many similarities among the three major Abrahamic faiths. Jews, Christians and Muslims share a common belief in one God. They share common characters, like prophets, angels and Satan. They bear similar codes of morality, social responsibility and accountability. They also share a common exclusion of women(link is external) from religious and spiritual leadership. Though some branches of Judaism and denominations of Christianity have allowed women equal participation in ministry, Islam, Orthodox Judaism, and the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches continue to dictate and enforce the idea that male superiority is ordained by God.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

‘I’m sure it will do a lot of good’
“Changes in canon law don’t come quickly, as the ongoing reception of Amoris Laetitia(link is external)since its promulgation in April 2016 is currently reminding us. But the news this week that Pope Francis has officially recognized the interpretation of Chapter VIII of the exhortation put forth by Argentine bishops indicates that change does nevertheless occur … This counts as big news, but there are also some additional interesting facts about it.” By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal

Pope’s letter to Argentine bishops on ‘Amoris Laetitia’ part of official record
“Describing them as ‘authentic magisterium(link is external),’ Pope Francis ordered the official publication of his letter to a group of Argentine bishops and their guidelines for the interpretation of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ his apostolic exhortation on the family. According to a brief note by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, Pope Francis wanted his letter and the bishops’ document to be published on the Vatican website and in the ‘Acta Apostolicae Sedis,’ the official record of Vatican documents and acts.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter

VOICES

It’s not about celibacy: blaming wrong thing for sexual abuse in the church
Many factors underlie the sexual abuse crisis(link is external) in the Catholic Church … One thing you don’t see on the list of factors is celibacy. Because celibacy does not cause pedophilia. But that hasn’t stopped otherwise thoughtful pundits and commentators, and among them even some Catholics, from opining on celibacy as a cause of the crisis.” By James Martin, S.J., America: The Jesuit Review

We all helped build the wall of silence around victims of sexual assault
“Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment claims led to Roger Ailes’s downfall, recently stated that ‘the culture of concealment and denial(link is external) is coming to an end’ and the Silence Breakers were just named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. But a culture of silence does not simply end when its victims are ready to speak up. For victims to be heard, we must understand what role we play in building the silence around them.” By Guila Benchimol, Huffington Post

Whether Hollywood or the Vatican, patriarchy gives me n license to abuse
“In mid-November, at what many thought was the height of revelations about sexual misconduct(link is external) by powerful men in the media, the New Yorker Radio Hour presented a series of interviews on the fallout from the unrelenting flood of sordid tales of sexual misconduct and assault by men. In one interview, feminist author and activist bell hooks was asked about the roots of this male aggression and violence. She told New Yorker editor David Remnick that, though she had read a lot of commentaries since the first revelations about Weinstein, hardly any commentator had used the word ‘patriarchy’ to explain the root cause of all of this bad behavior.” By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

Maryville College sociology professor sees impact of culture in recent sexual harassment revelations
“Tricia Bruce’s first book, “Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church,” published in 2011, is about the lay movement that started in response to that crisis within the church(link is external). Like the child abuse within the church that came out in the early 2000s, often decades after the fact, today women are feeling safer to talk about past harassment. ‘The behavior itself is not new,’ Bruce said. ‘The question is why are people talking about it now, why is there accountability for it now.’” By Amy Beth Miller, The Daily Times

CHURCH FINANCES

Analysis: What the Vatican does to stop money laundering
“The Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee has praised the Holy See’s financial intelligence unit, the Financial Information Authority(link is external), in a report published last week. The report noted the progress the Holy See has made in establishing an effective reporting system for suspect transactions, and in its international cooperation with investigation and reporting of financial irregularities. The report recommended that the financial authority “actively pursue” pending criminal cases of money laundering.” By Andera Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency

Vatican needs to strengthen fight against financial crime, Moneyval says
“The Vatican earned praise from Council of Europe experts for its updated legislation against money laundering and for its vigilance in flagging suspected cases, but the committee said the effectiveness of the Vatican efforts could not be proven(link is external) until Vatican courts actually prosecuted someone for a crime. Moneyval — the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism — released a progress report on the Vatican’s efforts Dec. 8.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Agency, in National Catholic Reporter

Brownsville Diocese scores low on openness
“The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville was among the lowest scoring(link is external) U.S. dioceses in terms of online financial transparency, according to a study released Nov. 7 by Voice of the Faithful. The nonprofit group originally formed to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse but also advocates for “accountability and transparency” in how the church handles its financial resources. However, a spokeswoman for the diocese said an initiative was already underway to make more financial information available online.” By Steve Clark, The McAllen, Texas, Monitor

The Catholic Church and financial transparency
“Sunday collections and annual appeals: How transparent is your Catholic diocese or archdiocese(link is external)? Do they post audited financial statements on their websites? How are cash donations protected from theft? Recent survey results make me feel as insecure as a basket of $20 bills in an empty room.” By Suzette Martinez, Bucks County Courier Times

Inquiry launched into financial records of Subiaco’s St. Joseph church
“A spokesman for Archbishop Timothy Costelloe confirmed Church administrators had begun a review of the books at the parish of St Joseph(link is external) to ensure ‘professional governance’ and to demonstrate ‘due diligence.’ ‘The Catholic Archdiocese of Perth Administration Centre received several queries raised by a parishioner/parishioners of the Subiaco Parish pertaining to the parish’s finances,’ the spokesman said.” By Nick Butterly, The West Australian

Man gets five years for embezzling $134,000 from UNC’s Catholic parish
“A former administrator was sentenced Monday (Dec. 4) to nearly five years in federal prison for embezzling more than $134,000(link is external) from UNC’s Newman Center Catholic parish. Brian Lee Cansler, 27, of Chapel Hill, pleaded guilty in May to three felonies: fraudulent use of a credit card, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Five additional federal charges were dismissed.” By Tammy Grubb, The Herald Sun

Latest Vatican mystery raises more questions about pope’s financial reform
“Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, unhappy news from the Vatican sometimes has a habit of breaking when the pope is out of town, and thus the media spotlight is momentarily somewhere else. When the Vatican decided to put a couple of former officials from a papally-sponsored pediatric hospital on trial(link is external) in early September for financial misappropriation, for instance, they started the proceeding on the day Pope Francis left for a much-anticipated trip to Colombia, apparently hoping it would be wrapped up before he got back.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS REFORM

Advocates demand state senators change child sex abuse law
“Advocates on Monday (Dec. 18) gathered outside the offices of two state senators to press them to help get a long-stalled bill passed in Albany that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases(link is external). The dozen protesters, including victims, university professors and supporters, said the “#MeToo” movement exposing sexual harassment against women is giving renewed life to their campaign, which started more than a decade ago.” By Bart Jones, Newsday

Judge’s ruling disappoints attorney
“A local attorney said Monday (Dec. 18) that he is disappointed with the recent ruling by a Blair County judge, concluding that the statute of limitations has expired(link is external) for a woman who last year filed a civil lawsuit, revealing that she was sexually molested, as a youth, by her priest. The ruling prevents Renee Rice from having her day in court, Altoona attorney Richard Serbin said Monday (Dec. 18).” By Kay Stephens, Altoona Mirror

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Catholic priest released from jail, but has no apology for sexual assaults
“A former Catholic priest who sexually assaulted young girls(link is external) over three decades has been released from jail after spending four years behind bars. Now 81, he was freed at the earliest possible opportunity, but when confronted by Seven News there was no apology for his actions.” By Laura Banks, 7News Sydney

In sex abuse cases, an expiration date is often attached
“Statutes of limitation are devised to protect people and institutions from false allegations that are impossible to defend because evidence is stale, witnesses are dead and documents have been lost. But as schools increasingly confront sexual abuse carried out against children in their care, sometimes decades ago, the statutes have also become a way for them to avoid paying victims(link is external).” By Elizabeth Harris, The New York Times

We must start believing victims of child abuse
“‘Who did you tell?’ ‘What did they do after you told them?’ These are questions I ask almost every child that I interview. The answers are important; they tell me not just who the child trusts, but also about that child’s history, including what their life as a survivor of childhood sex abuse(link is external) has been like. I am a child abuse pediatrician, specializing in the care of children with concerns for neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. The majority of my work is in sexual abuse, and I am often called to court to explain not only physical exam findings, but the process of disclosure. Most commonly, I explain why children wait to tell.” Editorial by Observer-Reporter

CALIFORNIA

Former Davis priest gets sex charge reduced, dismissed
“A former Davis priest convicted in 2014 of having a sexual relationship with an underage girl(link is external) returned Friday to Yolo Superior Court, where a judge granted his petition to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor and dismiss the count.” By Lauren Keene, Davis Enterprise

KANSAS

Catholic priest in Kansas City, Kansas, ordered to trial in indecent liberties with child case
“A 13-year-old girl testified Friday (Dec. 8) that twice when she was 10, a Kansas City, Kan., Catholic priest tickled her breasts against her wishes. A Wyandotte County District Court judge ruled the testimony at the preliminary hearing was sufficient to proceed toward a trial of the Rev. Scott Kallal, 36, who is charged with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties(link is external) with a child. The incidents allegedly occurred in 2015 but the police report was not filed until July, when Kallal was suspended and charged.” By Matt Campbell, The Kansas City Star

LOUISIANA

Diocese reports investigation of sexual misconduct involving local priest
“The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge said it has informed civil authorities of an allegation of sexual misconduct(link is external) involving a local priest, but its own internal inquiry has not substantiated the allegations. In a statement late Saturday (Dec. 16), the Diocese released not only the name of the priest – identified Fr. Eric Gyan of St. Theresa Avila Parish in Gonzales – but also the allegation: misconduct that allegedly occurred in 1996. The Diocese said the woman, now in her thirties, wrote to the Catholic church of misconduct by Fr. Gyan when she was a minor. At the time, the woman said, Fr. Gyan was pastor of a parish in Brusly.” By Trey Schmaltz, WBRZ-TV

MAINE

Ex-priest with long history as a sex offender pleads not guilty to new charges in Maine
“A former Jesuit priest and longtime Cheverus High School teacher pleaded not guilty Friday (Dec. 1) to charges that he sexually abused a 9-year-old boy(link is external) at a Freeport church nearly 20 years ago. James Francis Talbot, 80, appeared Friday in Unified Criminal Court in Portland. He has been held in the Cumberland County Jail since Wednesday, when he was extradited from Missouri.” By Eric Russell, Portland Press Herald

MISSOURI

Novice of credible allegation of abuse dating to 1950
“The diocese recently received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor(link is external) by Father Sylvester Hoppe dating to 1953 to 1956. The priest, who died in 2002, was chaplain to St. Mary’s Orphanage in St. Joseph at the time. Consistent with diocesan policy, the allegation was reported to the civil authorities and investigated. It was found credible by the independent ombudsman, Independent Review Board and Bishop Johnston. Several prior allegations have been received against Hoppe since 2002. He also was the subject of two lawsuits claiming child sexual abuse that the diocese settled in 2008.” By The Catholic Key

MONTANA

Victims: $70 million in assets from Montana Catholic parishes at stake in clergy-abuse settlement
“More than $70 million in assets at Catholic parishes in Eastern Montana, including in Billings, could be at stake as part of the regional diocese’s bankruptcy amid claims of sexual assault(link is external) stemming back to the 1950s. Survivors of sexual assault at the hands of priests and nuns dating back to the 1950s say the Great Falls-based diocese has understated its total assets by not including properties held in local parishes, according to documents filed Monday (Dec. 18) in federal bankruptcy court in Butte.” By Erik Olson, KTVQ-TV

NEW YORK

Legal group adds to list of Brooklyn priests names in child abuse cases
“A report sent to media outlets by an attorney group on Thursday (Dec. 14) details abuse allegations against 65 priests(link is external) at the Brooklyn Diocese, including eight priests who have never been publicly identified as abusers. The report comes out just days before a filing deadline to receive compensation provided by the diocese to abuse victims.” By Mary Frost, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

New York archdiocese stresses commitment to aiding victims of clergy abuse
“Nearly 200 sex abuse victims of clergy(link is external) in the New York archdiocese have received compensation through a program the archdiocese says shows the Church’s willingness to reach out to and listen to victims. ‘At a time when nearly every institution that involves minors has had to face allegations of abuse, the Church is now a model in how to respond to this horror,’ the Archdiocese of New York said Dec. 7. Since its program launched last year, the archdiocese has compensated 189 victims of archdiocesan clergy abuse in amounts totaling more than $40 million.” By Catholic News Agency

Archdiocese pays three local men $250,000 each after priest-abuse claims
“Three Hudson Valley men abused by a Catholic priest decades ago will receive $250,000 each in compensation from the New York Archdiocese, according to their Kingston lawyer. Joe O’Connor of Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor confirmed the payouts Friday (Dec. 8). The money from the Archdiocese was authorized after a review of the claims the three men filed with the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program(link is external).” By Paul Brooks, times Herald-Record

New York Catholic Church pays $40 million to clergy sex abuse victims
“Just over $40 million in compensation has been paid to 189 people who identified themselves as victims of clergy sex abuse(link is external), the Archdiocese of New York said in a report released Thursday (Dec. 7). The archdiocese noted that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program ended Nov. 30, but some additional claims are still being processed. Money for the payouts came through a long-term loan.” By CBS News

NORTH DAKOTA

Former Fargo priest facing sexual abuse charges has been extradited
“A former Fargo priest who faces child sexual abuse charges(link is external) has been extradited from the Philippines to the United States. Fernando Laude Sayasaya was extradited to face state child sexual abuse charges filed 15 years ago in Cass County District Court, U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced Friday. Sayasaya was arrested in the Philippines last month.” By Forum News Service in The Bismark Tribune

PENNSYLVANIA

Judge tosses lawsuit against suspended priest
“A lawsuit against a former Cambria County Catholic priest was tossed by a Blair County Judge on Friday (Dec. 15) because it didn’t fall within the state’s statute of limitations guidelines(link is external). In her ruling, Blair County Judge Jolene G. Kopriva called the two sisters’ claims ‘untimely’ because they were filed more than three decades after incidents against them occurred.” By David Hurst, The Tribune-Democrat

TENNESSEE

Victims of abuse in the Catholic Church find help locally
“In the wake of the hashtag #MeToo Movement initiated by ‘The Silence Breakers,’ women who spoke out against sexual abuse and assault and the allegations of sexual misconduct(link is external) that spans from the United State Senate, to prominent journalists, to Hollywood, one local diocese is offering help to local victims abused by a member of the Catholic Church.” By Janeen Gordon, WMCA-TV

WISCONSIN

Priest led away in handcuffs after judge hands down 1-year sentence for sexual contact with child
“It started when she was in first grade, when she still had her baby teeth. Robert Marsicek, a priest she trusted, repeatedly molested her(link is external) at a Catholic school in Wauwatosa. ‘My little self thought it was OK and I thought that this was normal,’ she said.”  By Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

AUSTRALIA

Catholic bishop warns parishioners that a pedophile priest who raped and abused young girls is set to be released from prison
“A Catholic bishop has taken the rare step of writing to parishioners about a pedophile priest who is about to be released from jail(link is external). Father Finian Egan, 81, is walking out of Sydney’s Long Bay prison on Tuesday (Dec. 19) He was sentenced in 2013 to eight years behind bars for rape and seven counts of indecent assault on young girls during the 1960s to 1980s.” By Stephen Johnson, The Daily Mail Australia

The child abuse commission didn’t flinch. Can Australia show the same courage?
“It’s huge. Don’t believe anyone who tells you they’ve already absorbed its lessons. Digesting the 17 volumes of the report of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse(link is external) is a work in progress for the nation. It’s going to take time. Journalists and economists are given a head start on the Australian federal budget each year: a few hours’ lockup to help them get on top of the budget before it’s delivered. We – survivors, bishops, lawyers and journalists – should have been locked up with this for a week.” By David Marr, The Guardian

‘I was abused, too’: the bishop who fought for sex abuse victims
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson(link is external) was born into a world of faith. But in another life, it’s quite likely that he would have been happier as a family man and may not even have been a priest. The retired Catholic bishop is aghast when he looks at 12-year-old boys today because at that tender age his mother, a good Irish Catholic, sent him to the seminary.” By Anne Kim, Eternity News

Royal Commission: support workers pay tribute to ‘remarkable’ abuse survivors
“To be heard, to be listened to, and to be believed. That’s what survivors of sexual abuse deserve(link is external), say the lawyers and social workers who have supported thousands of people who shared their tragic stories with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, to be handed down on Friday (Dec. 15).” By Miki Perkins, The Sydney Morning Herald

George Pell: complainants to give evidence on historical sexual offense charges over two weeks
“It is expected to take up to two weeks for the complainants against Cardinal George Pell(link is external) to give their evidence at an upcoming committal hearing, a Melbourne court has heard. The 76-year-old will face the pre-trial hearing in March next year on historical sexual offence charges, involving multiple complainants. No other details of the case can be reported for legal reasons.” By Emma Younger, ABC News Australia

Catholic Church Ballarat Diocese looks toward change after Royal Commission
“It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hear Anne Levey has not stepped foot inside a Catholic church for more than two years(link is external). Her son Paul’s tale of being sent to live with notorious pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in Mortlake in the mid-1970s was among the most harrowing heard across more than two years of testimony.” By Brendan Wrigley, The Courier

Victims fear abuse royal commission report will be shelved
“While survivors are grateful their voices have finally been heard and cover-ups exposed, there are concerns over what happens after the five-year institutions sexual abuse inquiry(link is external) ends on Friday (Dec. 8). There is a lot of hope but also much anxiety and a real lack of certainty, survivor and activist Dr Cathy Kezelman says.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au

Church revealed for all its ‘hypocrisy and self interest’
“Francis Sullivan, the chief executive of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council(link is external) that was set up to coordinate the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, has said the Church ‘has scandalized the faithful and those who rely on it as a moral compass and prudent guide.’” By Mark Broily, The Tablet
— Royal Commission slams Catholic Church leaders(link is external)By Monique Patterson, The Standard
— Sullivan calls for further Church reforms(link is external)By CathNews.com

Archbishop Wilson ordered to face court
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson(link is external) has been ordered to travel to Newcastle to face court this week (Dec. 4) if he is cleared to stand trial by a specialist doctor. Archbishop Wilson, 67, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in recent weeks, which his legal team has argued has impacted his ‘cognitive function.’ He was due to stand trial last week — more than 30 months after he was charged — on one charge of concealing a serious indictable offense.” By CathNews.com

Rush on abuse deals before scheme
“Some institutions are rushing to lock child sexual abuse survivors(link is external) into accepting top-up damages payments before a national redress scheme comes into effect, advocates say. A number of institutions are ‘herding people through’ before the mid-2018 start of the federal government’s redress scheme, church abuse victims’ advocacy group Broken Rites spokesman Wayne Chamley says.” By Megan Neil, Australian Associated Press, on News.com.au

CANADA

Retired western Newfoundland Catholic priest George Smith jailed again for sex crimes
“The victim impact statement filed in the sex abuse case of George Ansel Smith(link is external) was gripping. ‘I haven’t had the chance to live yet, I’ve only existed,’ read the words of the man who was abused as a boy by the Roman Catholic priest.” By Gary Kean, The Western Star

One-man play chronicles how ‘the force’ saved sexual abuse survivor’s life
“In an alternate universe, the force has moved mountains, dethroned despots and fine-tuned fighting instincts. For Nicholas Harrison, the force has had a more tangible application — it saved his life. Harrison is at the helm of a one-man show called How Star Wars Saved My Life, an 80-minute long play that debuts at Performance Works on Granville Island Dec. 6. The production hones in on Harrison’s experiences as a survivor of sexual and physical abuse(link is external) and how he reconciled those episodes of abuse as a teenager, and then as an adult.” By John Kurucz, Vancouver Courier

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

Former abbot Laurence Soper convicted of sexually abusing boys at Catholic schools
“The former Abbot of Ealing Abbey, Laurence Soper, has been convicted of abusing 10 boys(link is external) at a Catholic-run school in the 1970s and 80s. Andrew Soper, 74, was found guilty on Wednesday (Dec. 6) afternoon of 19 individual rape and sexual offences of offences after a trial at London’s Old Bailey. Soper sexually abused 10 boys while he was a teacher at St Benedict’s School, Ealing. He would abuse them after hitting them with a cane, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.” By Rose Gamble, The Tablet

Woman abused by Caldey Island monk tells of lasting impact
“A victim of a monk who abused girls on Caldey Island(link is external) has described how she took drugs to numb the emotional pain and eventually fled the UK to escape the memories. Alice – not her real name – told the Guardian her earliest memories were of the monk, Thaddeus Kotik, and how he lured her with sweets and pets into dens he had set up around the remote island off the Welsh coast.” By Amanda Gearing and Steven Morris, The Guardian

After waiting years to be heard, the children of Smyllum tell their heartbreaking stories
“The witnesses wept too as their stories unfolded. The children’s home – run by a Catholic order of nuns called the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul from 1864 to 1981 – is one of more than 60 institutes being looked at by the inquiry (Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry). But it’s the first to come under scrutiny by the inquiry which is examining cases of abuse from the 1930s onwards(link is external).” By Gordon Blackstock, The Sunday Post

Victim of pedophile priest left so traumatized he attempted suicide
“A man who endured years of sexual abuse(link is external) at the hands of a priest was so traumatized he turned to self-harm and extreme suicide attempts. Father John Kevin Murphy, 93, used his position of trust to groom four boys during the 60s and 70s while working as a priest at St Luke’s Parish in Whiston and the attached St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic School.” By Josh Parry, Liverpool Echo

GUAM

Notary for Vatican tribunal quits amid allegations
“The notary for the Vatican tribunal who came to Guam to investigate child sex abuse allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron(link is external) has resigned from his position at the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faithful. Rev. Justin Wachs, the notary and recorder for the tribunal, resigned from his Vatican appointed position for ‘personal and professional reasons,’ according to a letter from Sioux Falls, South Dakota Bishop Paul Swain’s letter to clergy dated Nov. 29.” By Mindy Aguon, The Guam Daily Post

Brouillard allegedly raped altar boy in Tumon church decades ago
“Former Guam priest Louis Brouillard allegedly raped an altar boy who was sleeping over at the rectory(link is external) of the Tumon church in the late 1970s, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday (Dec. 6) afternoon in the U.S. District Court of Guam.” By Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News

Judge limits defendants’ disclosure of clergy sex abuse accusers’ identities
“U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ordered attorneys for the defendants in dozens of clergy sex abuse lawsuits(link is external) to limit their disclosure of the true names of accusers who are identified only by their initials in court documents. In a Nov. 30 blanket order in at least 101 clergy sex abuse cases, the chief judge said defendants’ attorneys shall not disclose plaintiffs’ true names’until that person has certified in writing that the person is either an insurer or an investigator for the defendants or their counsel and further assures that the true names shall not be disclosed to any other person.’” By Haidee Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

Reporting of suspected child abuse becomes mandatory
“The Irish Association of Social Workers has criticized the HSE for failing to appoint designated liaison persons to oversee the handling of allegations of child abuse(link is external) that are brought to its attention. The criticism comes on the day mandatory reporting of concerns about child welfare has been introduced by the Government.” By RTE

Dutch Catholic church sexual abuse bill soars as hotline closes down
(Dec. 18, 2017) “In total, 3,712 people have reported being victims of sexual abuse(link is external)within the Catholic church to a special hotline set up in 2010 and the cost of dealing with the eight-year scandal could be as much as €60m. Of all the reported cases to the hotline, 2,062 became official complaints and 1,002 cases were declared justified. Several hundred were not accepted because of a lack of supporting evidence, the final report from hotline officials said.” By DutchNews.nl

SICILY

Pedophile priest arrested in Sicily
“For the last three years, a priest who worked in the village of Sant’Agata, on the southern outskirts of Catania, (abused those who) would have been entrusted to him(link is external). Not only would he frighten those who did not want to undergo his ‘rites,’ (he) carried (them) out with a great deal of holy oil. The Carabinieri (one of Italy’s police corps) arrested him this morning: Father Pio Guidolin is accused of aggravated sexual violence against minors.” By Fabio Albanese, La Stampa

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Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup


TOP STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCOUNTABILITY

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

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

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

POPE FRANCIS

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

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

BISHOPS

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

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

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

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

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

PRIESTS

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

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

MASS TRANSLATIONS

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

WOMEN DEACONS

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

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

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

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

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

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

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

VATICAN II

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

VOICES

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

CHURCH FINANCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLERGY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

FLORIDA

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

ILLINOIS

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

KANSAS

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

KENTUCKY

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

MAINE

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

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

MICHIGAN

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

MINNESOTA

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

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

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

MISSOURI

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

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

NEBRASKA

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

NEW MEXICO

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

NEW YORK

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

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

RHODE ISLAND

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

AUSTRALIA

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

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

CANADA

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

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

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

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

GREAT BRITAIN, SCOTLAND & WALES

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

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

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

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

GUAM

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

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

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

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

IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND

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

ITALY

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

NEW GUINEA

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

NEW ZEALAND

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

PHILIPPINES

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

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Voice of the Faithful “Focus” News Roundup


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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